Looking back, looking ahead

Traditionally, late December is a time for summarizing the past year and taking a look at what the next year might entail. Here in my blog I focus on my writing endeavors — what’s been accomplished in 2018 and what I hope work with in 2019.

2018: My Accomplishments

  1. Partisan, the Great Surprise: In March, somebody found the sole remaining printout of the legendary and never-published Swedish RPG Partisan and gave it to me. It deals with foreign occupation of our country, presented in the four settings Brown (Nazi Germany), Red (Cold War Soviet), Blue (Cold War with an authoritarian United States), and Ultraviolet (nefarious aliens from space). Serendipity: everybody had thought that the game was lost forever, but here is my incomplete manuscript from when the game was shelved thirty years ago. The printout nowadays rests securely in a safe. Link (Swedish) >>>
  2. During the autumn, I launched my Patreon page, where you can sponsor my writing role-playing games (RPGs) and get various goodies, such as the extant three Partisan settings Red, Blue, and Ultraviolet; and Thriller, my unpublished RPG manuscript from 1983 (espionage and sleuthing in the vein of the original Mission Impossible TV series). Link (English) >>>
  3. In October, Helmgast published Sorgeveden, my campaign setting for Krister Sundelin’s fantasy RPG Hjältarnas Tid. The book depicts an immense forest, stretching from spruces and birches in the subarctic north to jungles in the tropics. Link (Swedish) >>>
  4. In November, I delivered Märk hur vår skugga, an introductory adventure to the new edition of Chock, a Swedish horror RPG that will be published by Eloso in 2019. Link (Swedish) >>>
  5. In December, I launched my product page on DriveThruRPG. So far, it is a trial version, but I intend to use it to sell English PDFs of Traveller settings and other “stuff”. Link (English) >>>
  6. In December, my adult daughter Elin, aka the Tiger, joined forces with me as Team Fox. She is currently a student at an art & design school and she will illustrate some products that will get published at DriveThruRPG. Link (English) >>>
  7. In December, I published Dust & The Road, a paperback with two dieselpunk shortstories that are partially based on my experiences of serving in Afghanistan ten years ago. The stories introduce my setting Patchwork World, a fragmented steampunk & dieselpunk world. Link (English) >>>

Q4 2018 was obviously a hectic time. When I look at the list above, I feel contented with what I achieved.

2019: My intentions

  1. Since 2014, I have planned to make a revised version of the vintage Swedish postapocalyptic RPG Wastelands, but I quickly encountered various snags and obstacles. When Tove & Anders Gillbring a few years later decided to produce Freeway Warrior as an RPG, we agreed that I would turn Wastelands into a Swedish setting for the game. My vision is best summarized as “Lars Molin meets Mad Max”. Tove’s cancer has repeatedly delayed the project, but I hope we can get it moving during 2019.
  2. The hush-hush job: I have made a deal with an publisher about a major RPG project. A non-disclosure agreement prevents me from mentioning details until the publisher has announced the venture. But I am already working on it, and the production team has had fruitful brainstorming sessions on Skype. My deadline is late 2019. Yeah, I feel good about this project.
  3. Dusk and Dawn is a standalone steampunk novella taking place in Patchwork World, though far from the locations of “Dusk” and “The Road”. I have written the first half of the story and and I hope to complete it in 2019. Link (English) >>>
  4. I have outlined a Traveller universe with distinctive qualities, grimmer than the one Marc Miller developed. It’s there to be written when I get time for it. It will sooner or later get published via DriveThruRPG. What rules? Well, probably one set of Cepheus Light and one set of BRP.
  5. I have outlined a dieselpunk RPG, working name Iron Empires, that takes places in an alternate timeline. The game will get at least two Terrestrial and one Martian setting. It is too early to go into details, but you’ll get updates in my blog when I have something substantial to tell. My plan is to publish Iron Empires via DriveThroughRPG, using a variant of the Cepheus Engine rules.

I don’t expect to complete all these projects during 2019, but if I get sunny weather with the wind in my back, and there is plenty of coffee in my thermos flask of holding, I might walk a part of my road. However, an ancient word of wisdom cautions us: Man supposes, God disposes.

Blixt: The Next Generation

The icon for this blog is a red foxhead seal that dates back to 1997, when Tove & Anders Gillbring, Åke Rosenius and I launched the Sverox magazine as De gamla rävarna/the Old Foxes*. The four of us entered Sweden’s RPG business when it was in its infancy, so we are kind of the Traveling Wilburys of our gaming community. For practical reasons, we formalized the Sverox venture as the alliance Rävspel with the foxhead logo. We also published a few games together around the turn of the millennium, e.g. an edition of Western; Gondica; and Lemuria.

Twenty-two years later:

I am busy launching a line of small-scale English RPG-PDF products at DriveThruRPG (link >>> ). I am a prolific writer, but I simply cannot draw pictures. Therefore, I have enlisted the help of my artistic adult daughter Elin; she will finish what I started by illustrating my texts. Elin is a great manga and Marvel fan, and currently a student at an art school.

Hence, the Old Fox and the Young Tiger have joined forces as Team Fox.

The Tiger is currently busy doing her first illos for me. Stay tuned to this blog for further news about when her artwork goes live.

* “An old fox” is a positive Swedish idiom denoting a seasoned veteran who knows how to play the game.

Status of My Game Design Projects

  • I have just delivered Märk hur vår skugga …*, an introductory adventure for the new version of Chock, the upcoming Swedish horror RPG by Eloso. Ten thousand words about how young men die mysteriously in Stockholm’s finance quarters during the yuppie era of the late 1980s.
  • I am about to venture into post-apocalyptic landscapes by writing the Swedish Wastelands setting for Åskfågeln’s Freeway Warrior.
  • Non-disclosure agreements currently bar me from discussing other projects, but I can at least tell you that I have a few cool “RPG things” in the pipeline. 2019 will be an exciting year for me.

*”Mark how our shadow…”, a quote from the well-known song Fredmans Epistel no 81 by 18th-century troubadour CM Bellman. It describes the burial of a lady acquaintance.

From “Chock” to “Swedish Wastelands”

Completing a challenging game-writing assignment is always a mixture of elation and weariness. In this case, a few days ago, I delivered my intro adventure to the new second edition of the Swedish horror RPG Chock (“shock” in English) by Eloso. Ten thousand words dealing with young men dying strangely in Stockholm’s finance industry in the late 1980s. This setting coincides intentionally with my time at Target Games as its editor & in-house game designer; we then published the first edition of Chock, which (unlike the second edition) was a straight translation of Pacesetter’s Chill.

Designing games in my spare time is always an up-and-down experience: while writing this adventure, I have also had a regular office job as a techwriter, moved to new home, assisted my three daughters with this and that, been knocked over by an Italian stomach infection (steak tartare is tasty but hazardous), and so on. But writing games and fiction is such a pleasure that I won’t stop doing it despite being short on time.

Next major challenge is developing the Swedish Wastelands setting for the post-apocalyptic RPG Freeway Warrior by Åskfågeln. I have a pretty good idea what I want to do — for example taking a closer look at my old hometown Gothenburg and the farmlands of adjacent Västergötland — and I have some old stuff that can be overhauled to fit the new context. This will be fun.

If you want to support my continued game writing, please sponsor me at my Patreon page — link >>>

If I get sufficient backing, I’ll switch to designing new games and stuff full-time.

Quick Authorial Update For Q4 2018

I haven’t touched the blog for three weeks, because I have been terribly busy with my daytime job as a techwriter and with various family-related matters. However, I’m gearing up for an exciting fourth quarter. My first priority is to complete my introductory adventure to Eloso’s new Swedish horror RPG Chock. Only 20% of the text remains to be written.

After that, it’s time to get going on Wastelands Sverige, a Swedish setting for Åskfågeln’s postapocalyptic RPG Freeway Warrior. My setting is based on the classic Swedish RPG Wastelands from 1991, updated to fit the 21st century. I intend to pay a lot of attention to the port city of Gothenburg and to the fertile farmlands of the adjacent province of Västergötland.

And there are a few other “gamey things” in the pipeline, though my non-disclosure agreements prevent me from saying more. It looks like I’ll have an exciting 2019 when it come to writing games.

I am still working on my Patreon site, and I want to get it up and running before the end of the year.

As for my science fiction and fantasy novels, they are in the backburner for the time being; they have no deadlines, unlike the game texts.

Spelmakarens programförklaring

Summary in English: I explain why and how I these days write settings for Swedish roleplaying games.

Eftersom jag inte livnär mig på att skriva rollspel nuförtiden — det skulle jag gärna göra men Sverige är inte längre som hon var 1985-89 — så skriver jag bara produkter som engagerar mig. Skymningshavets gåtor till Drakar och Demoner 2016 är ett exempel: en setting som jag hade längtat i åratal om att få göra och äntligen fick jag chansen. Detsamma gäller rebooten av Wastelands till Åskfågelns Freeway Warrior: som idé har den funnits i min pipeline i fyra år och äntligen har jag hittat ett sammanhang där jag kan återvända till en av mina favoriter med några varsamma uppdateringar (jag skrev WL 1.0 i början av 1990 och dåtidens Sverige fungerade delvis annorlunda än dagens).

Alltså, för att gå rakt på sak, jag rebootar mina gamla settingar därför att det roar mig. Om jag kunde skulle jag återvända till fler, men ofta är det omöjligt av rättighetsskäl.

Och jag kör inga egna race längre, eftersom det kräver mer jobb än jag orkar med, utan jag samarbetar alltid med andra: Tomas Arfert & Saga Games för Sci-Fi!, RiotMinds för Skymningshavets gåtor, Krister Sundelin & Helmgast för Sorgeveden, och Tove & Anders & Åskfågeln för Wastelands 2.0. (Jodå, om någon vill anlita mina tjänster är det bara att höra av sig i en kommentar. Jag är rutinerad och flexibel.)

Åskfågeln + Wastelands = SANT

Tove & Anders Gillbring och jag kom strax före jul överens om att jag rebootar Wastelands som en svensk kampanjbok till Åskfågelns rollspel Freeway Warrior. Prelimnärt producerar jag boken under 2018 så att den kan publiceras 2019.

Inget är ännu spikat när det gäller settingens exakta detaljer. Följande allmänna principer gäller dock:

  • Vi är i Sverige efter katastrofen: Slitna läderjackor, timmerpalissader, buckliga Volvos, älgragu & halstrad abborre, barrskog, lera och ruskväder.
  • Livet är hårt: Varje dag är en kamp. Ha därför koll på ammunition och matransoner.
  • ”Makten sitter i spjutstångs ände”: Fria människor bär alltid vapen om så bara en kniv; endast trälar är vapenlösa.
  • Vrålande motorer: Bilar och motorcyklar är lika väsentliga här som hästar i en westernfilm.
  • Horisonten är nära: Folk vet vad som händer i hemtrakten, men vad som sker bortom länsgränsen är illa känt.
  • Patriarkatet är utdött: Gamla tiders kvinnosyn försvann vid Undergången. Kvinnor och män står numera helt och fullt sida vid sida i kampen för överlevnad.