Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Into the Unknown is complete! (pending proofs for release)

Today, I finished the last bit of writing, editing and proofreading on the last book, uploaded the files to onebookshelf and am now awaiting approval (which will go through no problem I expect) before I can order proofs. When they come in, and assuming they look as I expect them to look, I press the button for release and they are released! I expect this will be no more than two weeks away.
In between there is a few hours work with fitting the pdf products with cover and back cover, writing product descriptions and setting up bundle deals. But the files I have on my computer are basically the ones I expect to go on sale in two weeks or so.

I can't quite believe I am finished. This started out as a small scale project I thought I wrap up in a few months, grew into a complete game with ambitions for proper layout, plenty of artwork and all that jazz that people would enjoy having at their game table. The last year of sickness I've battled with didn't exactly speed things up.

The biggest challenge has without a doubt been book four, the gamemaster's guide. Where the other books were in large part about creative adaptation, much of the gm guide was written from scratch - Add to that, it took a very long time for my vision of it to condense into its current form and structure. The finished guide is my attempt at a definitive old school GM guide, most of which appplies to any ruleset - It straddles between brevity and focus vs completeness, fluff/advice vs. usable toolsets. Unlike the DMGs of D&D, it does not attempt to be a catchall versatile guide to all things D&D.

It's pretty focused on how to build a dungeon, build a wilderness sandbox, and build a settlement; and how to run adventures in these. Sprinkled with some advice on how to do all this in the Old School way. It's been thoughtprovoking to me that since Basic and Expert D&D, it's only really non-d&D products that have offered a tight focus on this aspect of gaming, in a way that doesn't either gloss over lots of stuff that old schoolers would consider integral to old school play (Pathfinder, 5e) or leaves a lot unsaid for newbies to figure out themselves or online (retroclones).

In that sense, Into the Unknown exists in a similar space to Torchbearer, The Perilous Wilds and Freeboters of the Frontier - As a modern and comprehensive light ruleset to emulate old school style of play. The difference to these is that ItU is basically teaching 5e how to play like B/X. "Un-advanced" 5e so to speak, with a focus on OSR style gaming.

I am glad that I did the heavy lifting early on while my enthusiasm was high. There is a lot of number-crunching on damage-per-round, design analysis etc., under the hood to make it fully 5e compatible that most players will probably never notice that I wouldn't want to ever do again. But it's done, and I am quite happy to be able to say that you can take your 5e dragonborn paladin or tiefling warlock and use at an Into the Unknown gametable without any conversion necessary.

There is a character sheet in the making, that I am excited to see myself. But I won't wait for it to finish. I am too excited to share all this with you guys!

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