2020

Well, kids, it’s not only a new year, but it’s also a new decade. What does that mean? For the most part, nothing. It’s an arbitrary flow of numbers based on seasonal cycles and a supposed savior. But that’s not the way most people think. For many, it’s a time for renewal and change. The shedding of old habits and past haunts. Am I doing that? Fuck no. It’s onward with the same old plans. Make games and game-related material and keep on doing it until I drop.

This decade will just be more of the same.

So what’s been going on lately? Well, a lot of freelance work and working on Delve. I have to admit the stream of freelance coming across my desk has been even more significant than I expected it would be, and juggling that new reality has kept me churning. But fear not, just because my online presence has been a little lacking on the Delve front, doesn’t mean work on Delve has shifted into idle.

First off, let’s talk about conventions. Starting today, I’ll be at OrcaCon running Delve for some folks in the greater Seattle area. Folks will be adventuring under the Crumbling Spire all weekend, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people think of the game.

Next month, I’ll be at Winter Fantasy, running Delve all weekend. If you are anywhere near Fort Wayne Indiana the weekend before Valentine’s Day, think about checking it out. You can find tickets for that Thursday here and here. That Friday here and here. And that Saturday here and here.

I’m still working on the details, but my plans are to be at Norwescon, KoboldCon, Game Storm, and Dragonflight, at least, in the coming year. When those plans become stable, I will post the events here.

So, other than planning events, what else have I been up to? Well, writing the damn rules for the Proto book. Right now, Chapter 1 (Start) and Chapter 2 (People) are both nearing their final draft. Chapter 3 (Class), and Chapter4 (Talent) are at about 60%. Chapter 5 (Gear) and Chapter 6 (Story) are at 40%. Chapter 7 (Play) is in a rough outline state. I’m still wrangling how to organize that chapter for ease of reference and readability. And then there is the Mastery, Bestiary, and Grey Coast, and The Crystal Manse chapters. All of these are Delve Master specific chapters and are in various states of disarray. Beyond that, there’s the mega-dungeon, The Crumbling Spire, which is the sequel to The Crystal Manse. This adventure takes characters from 2nd to 6th level, and I’ve been playtesting zones of that adventure for the past few years. The newest versions will be unleashed at this year’s conventions for more playtesting.

If I can get the led out, crush all my various other assignments, and the fates are with me, I’m hoping to get the player-facing Proto chapters done this summer, with the Delve Master Facing chapters done by the holidays. If I can get it done sooner…well, yay fucking me. And yay fucking you for all the folks waiting for this thing to get done. I thank you for your patience and understanding that while this thing may eventually pay my bills, I still need to do that first.

This brings me, of course, to the Delve Patreon. As always, thank you to all the fantastic folks backing this project on Patreon. To date, I have most of the money raised on that platform unspent and earmarked for artwork. The money from Patreon gathered that I have spent has all gone toward artwork for the Proto rules. It’s good stuff. The beautiful and talented Rick Hersey has done a fantastic job of illustrating all six of the current iconic and illustrating the into of Chapter 1 (Start). Rick’s schedule willing, I’ll be ordering other chapter openers and a variety of other illustrations from Rick in the next six months or so.

Patreon is my leading platform for early sneak peeks, and minor but exclusive news. For instance, the current Friday Sneak Peek is Delver’s Luck, which is a fun little meta-game talent. You can find out about it if you are at least a Lurker on the site.

Once the Proto is released, Patreon participants are also bound to get discounts if not the whole damn thing for free. After all, your kind of loyalty is much appreciated.

Crumbling Spire Part 2 Grid-Flats
Here’s one of the current maps for the Crumbling Spire. We will see how many characters this level chews up this weekend.

As for cartography, I’ve decided to do the cartography myself. It’ll slow down the writing from time to time. However, I enjoy the break from writing from time to time. I enjoy making maps ( I mean I still design the Pathfinder RPG Flip-Mat and Flip-Tile lines), and recently I’ve enjoyed designing the finished map. Typically I sketch something for an artist who is much more talented than I am, so they can create these gorgeous full-colored renderings. In the vein of Delve’s ascetics, I can get away with creating striking black-and-white maps.

Anyhow, that’s the state of the project. I’ll post more in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned. It’s going to be a wild year.