Category: Big Irish Vlog

Shaintar – Why and Where We Are

This thing is way overdue; I was supposed to do this on the evening of my birthday, and obviously failed. Insert list of personal excuses here; if you care, feel free to ping me direct about that, but they do not matter to the results you rightfully expect.

So let’s get to it. I don’t think I ever really explained how I managed to screw the plan for the Shaintar Guidebooks and Black Lantern Reports up so thoroughly. I know I meant to, and I’ve explained to a few of you at cons and otherwise over the last year and a half, but it hit me while I was at Chupacabracon this past weekend that I’d failed to really get into it as openly here as I should.

When I first conceived and presented my Guidebook plan to MMK and the Savage Mojo crew (the great and patient folks who managed the KS for me and are still doing all the art and production for these books), I did so with the underlying assumption that all I really had to do was take the material I’d developed and written over the decades and give it a solid re-tread. Some polish here, some punching-up there, and add in some mechanics stuff – book, instant books!

I was delusional.

First off, I was way too excited about the Kickstarter and its planning, so I utterly failed to go and do the research and review of all that material that should have occured. I didn’t really look until near the end, when it suddenly hit me that most of that stuff was way out of date, or else just not nearly as good as I’d remembered.

At the end of the KS, even as the massive gut-punch of realizing how I’d screwed myself by not actually paying myself out of it was setting in, the self-administered knife in the back slid in as I realized all of those books would have to be written very nearly from the beginning.

Try to imagine you’ve got the pre-set ingredients for thirty cakes and pastries, all ready to go in bags and plastic containers, and you’re thinking you can crank out all that breaded goodness in short order, since all you have to do is add a bit of milk, do some stirring, and maybe tinker a bit here and there.

Now imagine that you’ve opened those bags and plasticware and discovered the ingredients went too stale, or got rotten, or you’d completely screwed up the proportions from the very start.

Now you’ve got to start practically all over again; what was supposed to take a relatively short while is now looking to be a nearly impossible task, given when you were supposed to get all that baking done.

That’s been my life since July 2013. Ethically, I simply cannot cheese this stuff. I love and respect my world more than that, and I love and respect all of you more than that.

That, friends, is the crux of how and why all this became such a mess.

As for where things are now…

Kickstarters can be viewed like venture capital efforts for various kinds of buildings, most of which are big, elaborate towers. Some never even see the foundation get built, while others shoot right up to completion.

The Shaintar Tower got the foundation done (Shaintar: Legends Unleashed), and a few floors have been put in over time. It’s a very slow, often stalled project, and understandably the citizens of the city are sick of seeing cranes everywhere and not hearing the machinery going nearly enough.

The chief architect couldn’t get his act together; he threw the plans out, started all new plans. He finally brought a new foreman onto the site, who’s done a pretty awesome job of pushing more floors into place. The quality assurance inspector is powering through the various emplacements.

The architect took a vacation for mental health. He is, at long last, back on site and returning to the key design work. The foreman is planning a scheduling meeting soon.

In more direct, practical terms, here’s what we have going currently:

* Two more novellas (Scott Corum and Dan McGirt) in hand; one is edited and needs to enter production, the other just arrived and needs read-through, editing, then production.

* The first production draft of Magic and Cosmology: Volume I is in hand and Carinn will be doing a final read-through today. There are some art notes we need to see handled, but at this stage, I believe we can talk in terms of a couple of weeks for release. Assuming all goes well, perhaps even days.

* There’s a manuscript from Shawn Gore in hand for Black Lantern Report: Snakes Den, which Carinn has on her editing pile. Guidebook: Kal-a-Nar Empire’s been in from Betty Law Morgan for a while and has been put off for too long, so that’s next on my personal agenda. We also have Ed Greenwood’s Serenity: City of Secrets in hand, which came in during the holidays. We’re particularly excited about getting this through edits and into production ASAP.

* Not part of the KS fulfillment, but the City of Eastport is on Ross’ desk for production into a release product soon, as well.

There may even be more that I am forgetting (Ross will get me more fully up-to-speed this Friday at our next Evil Beagle meeting), but as you can see, we’re not idle by any means.

The next big decision is which Guidebook I am going to delve into writing first, and I’ll be letting you all know that soon. There is also that Huge Project I talked about, which I still cannot reveal publicly just yet. I will be working on that, too; as I explained, it’s going to be how I continue actually making a living, since I was so foolish with the structure of the KS and the product line. It’s important that you, the supporters, know that I am splitting my time. However, the tower will go up, all the way to the top.

As always, my deepest and most abiding gratitude for your continued patience and support.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

By now, you’ve seen a few things come out, after a very long time where more or less nothing was happening. Most recently, we’ve released the novella, Edge of Honor, and Guidebook Goblinesh.

I’ve turned in Magic and Cosmology: Volume I, Godstrike Tempest (which I co-created with Miles M. Kantir), and the city book, Eastport, is almost done. That latter one isn’t specifically a Kickstarter product, but it’s a great piece that was done for a bespoke book, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the Shaintar fans at large.

We have drafts for Guidebook Kal-a-Nar Empire, Black Lantern Report: Snakes Den, Black Lantern Report: Mercenaries, the novellas The Hunt of the Midnight Dominus and One Night in Zanfar, with many more drafts incoming.

In other words, we have more progress and development for the Shaintar product line than we’ve yet seen.

This isn’t going to stop. We are off and running, with Carinn editing like mad, and Ross managing the product flow and increasing the output on all fronts (as well as throwing some great words onto the screen all over the place). Savage Mojo continues to flow words into layouts, embed graphics, and get exceptional artists crafting wonderful pieces for all of these books.

With all of this in mind, I am continuing my practice of total transparency and keeping faith with all of you as I bring you up to date on some revelations and new developments.

First, some truth-telling.

I’ve been struggling with some serious emotional issues where Shaintar is concerned. Most of you know this already – that’s not the Big Reveal here. What’s not been made completely clear, however, is the major reason why this is true. Not because I was holding anything back, but because I only recently (thanks in part to some new things that have happened in my life) came to terms with these truths for myself.

I struggle with Shaintar because I’ve been something of an indentured servant to it for a few years now. This has been especially true since the Kickstarter (which, by the way, is not at all an uncommon phenomenon, as I’ve spoken with many others in similar circumstances). Bad planning, over-promising, and other factors left me in the position of making so little off of every produced product as to make the entire situation untenable as a professional endeavor.

Let me be clear – I am solely responsible for this. I dug this hole I’ve been living in, completely failing to understand the terms I’d proceeded forward with as being completely wrong for me and Evil Beagle. Savage Mojo and my belovedest, Carinn, have made it possible to continue, mind you, for which I will be forever grateful…

… Yet as a professional writer and game designer, I am a shambles under the current circumstances. I am not able to contribute meaningfully to my family’s welfare; what I make barely helps buy some gas for the car once in a while, or pay for a meal out every now and then. I won’t belabor the details here, but the upshot is that I am not making anything close to a living because of how this all played out. This, in turn, creates resentment and depression, which cyclically results in a complete lack of productivity, and so on.

Now we come to today. An incredible opportunity is given to me (and to Evil Beagle), one that will ensure my capacity to actually make a living doing what I love while building Evil Beagle into a serious design and publishing operation. It’s a project I am incredibly excited about working on; I am being entrusted with an iconic IP and a product line that will no doubt become one of the definitive series of releases into the RPG marketplace for years to come.

Seriously, it’s that huge.

I cannot reveal any details at this point, and will not confirm anything until such time as all principles are ready to talk about it, so please don’t ask me to.

I hope at this point, you can understand why I must accept this opportunity, grasping it with both hands and for all I am worth. I need to be able to function as a productive human being, making a living wage and contributing to my family’s well-being. I need to enjoy doing what I do again.

At the same time, I must and will continue to fulfill my obligations to each and every backer of the Shaintar Kickstarter.

Regaining my emotional center and my enthusiasm for this hobby and industry is key to that, in fact. I take you back to the beginning of this message, where all of these excellent products are coming out now. Through the combination of extraordinary people signing on and working on many of them, as well as my renewed sense of purpose and happiness, Shaintar can slowly turn back into something I love, rather than endure.

In other words, I might desire a bit of travel to other lands, but Shaintar will always be my home.

So how will all this work?

First off, as stated, we are bringing in wonderful people to contribute to many of the projects in question. Drafts are flowing in constantly, thanks to Ross Watson’s exceptional planning and management, as well as Carinn’s constant editing. There’s an actual backlog now! That will likely continue for some time, as the fantastic folks at Savage Mojo keep doing their magic for each book.

Second, I will be scheduling myself regular hours to work exclusively on Shaintar content, in addition to this new project. Honestly, even with a specifically “part-time” approach to hours committed to Shaintar, you will see far more productivity from me than has been true for well over a year. Staring morosely at a screen, trying to create and failing, as a full-time occupation got us nowhere; hyper-focus at part-time every week, excited and energized, will result in far more fruit from the tree.

Honestly, I could have waited until official announcements started to appear about the Big Project before saying anything, and I don’t think you would have noticed anything other than more stuff coming out. However, that’s not how I roll here; I wanted to be able to look any one of you in the eyes and say unequivocally that I told you right away all that I could, when I knew about it. Your commitment to me – expressed through your financial backing of Shaintar and your continued patience and support – deserves no less.

As always, I am open to each and every one of you for questions and comments. I hope you are enjoying the products that have already come out, and will enjoy all that continues to flow forward. I also hope you will be excited for me and this new opportunity, in which I can regain the better part of my creative self and return to being productive and happy.

Thank you,

Sean Patrick Fannon

~ ~ ~

From Miles, Gayle, and the Rest of the Savage Mojo Team

Savage Mojo’s pleased that Sean has an amazing opportunity coming to him. It’s a testament to the excellent work he has done with Shaintar. From our perspective, we remain committed to ensuring all the rewards from the Shaintar Kickstarter are produced. We plan on continuing to take these awesome manuscripts and turning them into books with the high production quality you’ve come to expect from a Shaintar product.

Our commitment to that ongoing goal means we’ve talked with Sean and his Evil Beagle team, agreeing a change in the administration of the Kickstarter. In order for Gayle to oversee the process of finalizing the books as quickly as possible, we’re handing over management of the Kickstarter to Evil Beagle’s ever-efficient Carinn, who’s relishing being in touch with all you backers and distributing all the books as they’re finished.

Each time we finish a product, we’ll hand it over to Sean, Carinn and Ross and they’ll distribute it to you through the OBS (DriveThruRPG/RPGnow) system. They’ll make sure an announcement goes out via the Kickstarter system so you’re aware it’s coming.

We appreciate your continued support of Shaintar. Sean’s had a tough time and you’ve all stuck by him. Now he has a way forward and we’re looking forward to seeing it all come together. We’ve seen a number of manuscripts in recent weeks and are just as excited as you to see others just around the corner.

This is a big announcement from me tonight, friends.

Too Long, Didn’t Watch Version

I’ve finally finished Shaintar Magic and Cosmology, Volume I: Light and Life, which is clocking in at nearly 20,000 words.

The project that crippled me for over a year is crippling me no more.

Sean Patrick Fannon, creator of Shaintar, RPG industry veteran, and Chief Everything of Evil Beagle Games, expounds regularly about stuff he is into and stuff he feels like sharing… which could be pretty much anything.

Welcome to the Big Irish Vlog of 10/05/14

* Shaintar Books/KS Updates
– I got sick; you can probably hear a bit of it in my voice still. That kicked my butt in terms of productivity with Magic and Cosmology, Volume I (AKA Sean’s Personal Stone of Sisyphus). Targeting to have it done by tomorrow night.
– Guidebook: Goblinesh art – been something of a delay, but I am hopeful about seeing more final stuff this week.
– Cover for Edge of Honor novella needed some major work; more when I know.
– Work on books by people continues.
– There’s been a number of pieces turned in for Raven’s Feathers.

* RinCon this weekend (October 10-12, Tucson, AZ)
– Ross and I are both guests, both running games. We’re planning some special (and exclusive) Shaintar/Accursed crossover stuff that seeds some major events for the weeks to come in the Justice and Life campaign.

http://rincongames.com/

* Tips from the Table
– GMs, try not to be Bad Players…

Welcome to the Big Irish Vlog of 09/23/14

I completely screwed up this morning, as the notes in the thing will tell you. I recorded one version, but something happened off camera that totally threw me. I started over, but completely forgot to reset the recording when doing so. As such, the re-do ended up tacked onto the original. The embedded version here starts around where the re-start happens.

* Shaintar Books/KS Updates
– Final art and layout for Guidebook: Goblinesh is coming along.
– Cover for Edge of Honor novella should be finalized today or tomorrow.
– We’ve got Dave Newton, Shawn Gore, Betty Law Morgan, and Ray Greer working on books now.
– I’ve just about finished Volume I of Magic and Cosmology.
– The contracts are all out and done for Raven’s Feathers, the user-generated content product we’re working on. Headed up by Howard Brandon. If this works, it will become a periodical.

* Other Shaintar News
– Thanks to Brett Smith for running Shaintar at GrandCon this weekend. I love that more and more of you are doing this.
– Here’s our Con Prize Support approach; get me names and email addresses for your MVP of each table, and I will hook them up with a free PDF of something. It’s that simple.
– Gen Con 2015: Consider this an early call for everyone who can make it and is willing to run a Shaintar session (or more). We are examining our program, but you can believe it’s going to be huge, and we want to make sure all the games are integrated into a large story arc that will be one of the biggest and most interesting events of its kind.

* Happy Birthday, Shane Hensley!

* Table Tips
– Reasons to Say Yes
– Round the Table (even out of combat)

* Other Geeky Revelations
– Black and Read
– The New Firefly board game
– Latest Ascension product
– Lords of Waterdeep
– Citadels
– Upcoming Champions 4th Game with Lee Langston
– Carinn is talking about running an all-ladies campaign, which they are planning to vidcast.
Sean Patrick Fannon, creator of Shaintar, RPG industry veteran, and Chief Everything of Evil Beagle Games, expounds regularly about stuff he is into and stuff he feels like sharing… which could be pretty much anything.

Welcome to the Big Irish Vlog of 9/10/14

The OMG It’s Wednesday Edition

* Shaintar Kickstarter Update
– Malakar Dominion is done and out. Backers who were supposed to get it should have it; if not, drop me that email and we’ll straighten you out.
– The original order is out the window; we’re doing them in the order that lets us get them out the fastest, now. Numbering is gone.
– Magic & Cosmology continues to evolve – there’s a HUGE amount of material, way more than I ever anticipated, and more than a single Guidebook can possibly contain. We are still working out how best to handle this, but there’s some cool ideas on the table.
– Guidebook: Goblinesh is in full art development and layout. The novella, Edge of Honor (Steve Long) is almost ready for release.
– Both the Writer’s Guide and the Style Guide have been completed and assignments to other authors and creators are going out. The former is actually available for fans to read through if they wish; contact me if you’ve not seen it yet and want to.

* Tacticon 2014
– Fantastic event, tons of games. Shaintar was exceedingly popular at this convention.
– <Insert verbal summary of things here>

* Birthright: Phoenix Rising (D&D 5th)
– First chance to play face-to-face under the fantastic Ross Watson
– All-Star cast of players: Carinn, Bill and Tammy Keyes, Bryant Smith, Jake Burgess.
– Looked like a TPK near the end. Exciting and thrilling, with some decidedly Savage-y tones to it.
– Rulings over rules makes it easy for “Rule of Cool” to apply.

* Savage September
– Just a note to let you know about the 15% (or better) off of tons of Savage Worlds products on DriveThruRPG.
– Find out more here: http://seanspickoftheday.com/2014/09/10/savage-september-spotlight-i-seans-pick-091014/

* Black and Read
– Most awesomest used books/games/media store I’ve ever seen. `Nuff said.
Sean Patrick Fannon, creator of Shaintar, RPG industry veteran, and Chief Everything of Evil Beagle Games, expounds regularly about stuff he is into and stuff he feels like sharing… which could be pretty much anything.

Welcome to the Big Irish Vlog of 8/25/14

Starting to Look Like Monday is the Day Edition

* Gen Con, One Week Later
– Took it easier, not so devastated
– Lots more time with Shaintar fans and friends
– ENnies
– Endra’s Gambit

* More Shaintar Progress
– Guidebook: The Malakar Dominion – Art nearly done
– Novella: Edge of Honor – Cover art in early stages
– Eastport – Being set up as final print file; still need to examine how we’ll format that for mass release
– Guidebook: the Goblinesh – Early art and book dev
– The Shaintar Color Map!
— http://www.shaintar.com/?q=node/1705
– The Shaintar Writer’s Guide is DONE; last bits of feedback, then I will release it to the Shaintar fans for both the fun of it and for folks to really grok my thinking about this world and how to write/run it.

* What’s Next
– Magic and Cosmology
— Gen Con put me behind on it. That ends TODAY. Pretty much my sole focus, outside of TactiCon

* Speaking of TactiCon
– This coming Labor Day Weekend, Aug 28 – Sept 1, Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast
– HUGE program of Shaintar Games, called Olara: Stand or Fall. Big Epic Finale, featuring a combination of Spot Skirmishes and the Shaintar: Legends Unleashed Epic Battle Rules, for Savage Saturday Night – the Siege of Thuls!
— http://www.denvergamers.org/TC14_Booklet_Final.pdf

 

Sean Patrick Fannon, creator of Shaintar, RPG industry veteran, and Chief Everything of Evil Beagle Games, expounds regularly about stuff he is into and stuff he feels like sharing… which could be pretty much anything.

Welcome to the Big Irish Vlog of 7/20/14

Been a while, I know, but there are some huge things to get into tonight, so here we go.

* We’re In Denver!

* ENnie Awards Voting is Open!

– http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/
– Shaintar: Legends Arise is up for Best Rules
– Shaintar: Legends Unleashed is up for Best Electronic Book
– Evil Beagle Games is up for Fan-Favorite Publisher
– Deadlands Noir is up for Best Art, Interior; Best Cartography (for their New Orleans and Hexaco maps); Best Setting; Best Supplement (for the Companion); and Product of the Year
– Achtung! Cthulhu – Keepers Guide to the Secret War is up for Best Art, Cover

– This is a dream come true, just being nominated. However, if you love Shaintar – or any of the products and companies listed, please do vote, and get the word out to everyone else.

* The Anniversary of the Shaintar Kickstarter Funding

– This is bittersweet, due to all that should have been done by now.
– We’ve gotten the two core books fully out and delivered, to the best of my knowledge.
– I’ve not yet begun my run at the Roll20 stuff. One of my goals is to finally get set up to run games on a semi-regular basis, and to do so very soon now that we are moved. I am developing some ideas about an approach that will allow for different folks to operate from the same area, going on different missions.
– Villages, Cities, Kingdoms and the like have been integrated into the upcoming new map, being worked on by the amazing Alida Saxon. I will also be targeting where they go in the various books to be released. I will also be working those Bloodline submissions into various releases.
– The Guidebooks and Black Lantern Reports are still behind, but I’ve got something new to reveal on that in a few. I will say that I have manuscripts in from Eddy Webb (Malakar Dominion) and Phil Vecchione (Goblinesh), and all delays are my fault, not theirs.
– The Big Personal Thank Yous are being integrated into a special project called “Dramatis Heroica,” and none other than our dear friend, Al Bear, is scheduled to help me whip that into shape. Carinn is even now setting up our space to begin with her part of that project, which is all the kit-bashed minis for it.
– The Burning Heart Adventure is waiting in the wings for me to pull together into a solid, releasable form.
– Ed Greenwood’s “Serenity: City of Secrets” remains on the table; he’s just waiting for me to confer with him on getting it started. With the Big News coming up, I anticipate some new movement there very soon.
– The Godstrike Tempest still needs me and Miles to get our hands into it, but a lot of groundwork has been laid for that (as anyone playing in the Shaintar: Justice and Life campaign already knows).
– The Six Times Epic scenarios did get completed and released, so there’s another victory.
– Mythical Lairs Bonus Goal is still in development, and those folks have had their own share of bumpy roads. The scenario I wrote to go with it, however, is long done and out.
– The Accursed Crossover is currently being finished up by John Dunn at Melior Via. There’s very nice cover art, and I expect we will see a finished product soon.
– The Shaintar Adventure Cards are done, delivered, and available as print products on DriveThruRPG.
– Aaron Acevedo and I have chatted some more about the In Lord Severance’s Service supplement, and I know he remains excited about getting that done and out.
– The Pirate Press guys have finally gotten Battle for Oz done, so they should soon be able to put some work into the crossover scenario soon.
– Steve Long’s already turned in his manuscript for the Shaintar Tales novellas; I need to coordinate with Aaron Rosenberg, Dan McGirt, and Scott Corum about getting those other three in and produced for release.
– The “Frank’s Rangers” Bonus Goal – where I am writing unique adventures for him and two other backers, which are to be shared with everyone else who backed – is another area where I just have to carve the time and get it done. It will end up being a combined book, and I am pretty sure I will interweave the stories into a greater arc, so that should be fun.

So that covers all the Kickstarter Goals and Bonus Stuff. As I said, there’s a lot that remains too far behind for it being a full year since we funded.

Which is why I’ve taken a pretty major step towards fixing the problems with Evil Beagle Games. Tonight, I am very pleased to announce that Ross Watson is joining Evil Beagle as a partner, and he will be taking the role of Managing Director for the company. Ross has extensive experience with product development and management, as well as being an exceptionally talented writer and designer in his own right. I am turning over the management of things to him, and he will be seeing to it that I get my ducks in a row, and that projects get done and delivered.

He’s also going to help expand Evil Beagle’s overall production and publishing schedule, with new products and new talent making those products happen.

At the same time, Carinn is formally being instituted as the third partner in our new LLC. A founder, as I am, she is also our Editor-in-Chief, and she will be ensuring that everything is as right as we can make it before it goes out the door.

There will be more formal announcements and press information coming in the very near future, but I felt it was important to let Shaintar and Evil Beagle fans and supporters know this now.

* The GoFundMe Campaign

Ross, Carinn, Sammi, Riah, and I are all incredibly grateful to those who contributed to making our dream of moving here to Denver come true. It’s already been an exceptionally fantastic experience – an army of amazing people came through for us on both ends, helping with the loading and the unloading, and we are getting settled into the Raven’s Nest very nicely.

We will be going through the Rewards stuff starting next week, contacting everyone to arrange delivery of what was promised. We will likely take the GoFundMe down at the end of this month, and we again want to thank everyone for your incredible support of this dream.
Sean Patrick Fannon, creator of Shaintar, RPG industry veteran, and Chief Kibbler of Evil Beagle Games, expounds regularly about stuff he is into and stuff he feels like sharing… which could be pretty much anything.

Welcome to the Big Irish Vlog of 06/30/2014

Posted to Facebook –

“Ask me a question. Any question. Something about what I do, interests and/or hobbies, likes and/or dislikes. Whatever.

“No, this will not make the world a better place, but I need something to write about that will not bring down the ceiling.”

So lots of people asked me questions.

Here are my answers.