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RPGNow Sale

It’s the Christmas in July summer sale at RPGNow, and our two Dragon Warriors books are both available at 25% off for another few days:

Dragon Warriors on sale

Unleash the beast! The Bestiary is out!

Installing new company. Progress: 96.5%

We’re almost there.  All hands are to the pumps making the final preparations for the Serpent King Games edition of Dragon Warriors to hit the e-stores, and the officially licensed product will be available once more.

We would hate to disappoint, so to be clear this is a “continuum” edition – the same books as you know and love (or are about to) from Magnum Opus, with a little further cleaning up of pesky persistent errata. An ongoing task with any rule book.

Just as soon as the books are available again we will let you know right here, so stay tuned!

And since we’ve announced that we shall also repeat that there are no current plans for a new reworked/revised/completely new system edition of Dragon Warriors, which we are often asked about.  We’re full steam ahead on the Players Book (speaking of which I better start some artwork, eh? – Jon) and some new really cool supplementary material is beginning to take shape.  And that’s our focus right now.

If you just can’t wait for something new, we’ve put up a brief history and description of the game, along with some useful links here: What is Dragon Warriors? which will hopefully be of use in spreading the word to those yet to experience the full thrill of a big dose of Legend right in the face.

And you saw this, right?:

Exciting times!

Dragon Warriors: Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated

Hi All,

Judging from our in-box it would seem that a lot of you out there are concerned by a couple of announcements you have seen around the net, and specifically in recent Mongoose Publishing forum ads, that indicate Dragon Warriors is going out of print and being permanently deleted from their catalogue.  Which you could be forgiven for thinking sounds very final.

These things are completely true for the Mongoose/Flaming Cobra Dragon Warriors line.  On April 1st that line will cease to exist, and Mongoose Publishing/Magnum Opus Press will no longer have a license to produce or sell Dragon Warriors material.  However Dragon Warriors will continue with Serpent King Games at the helm.  By agreement with James Wallis at Magnum Opus Press we will be reprinting and making available the reissued Dragon Warriors books that you might be familiar with, the only difference being a Serpent King Games logo rather than Flaming Cobra and Magnum Opus ones.

The ink is still drying on a couple of contracts necessary for this process, so there may be a a day, a week or even a month during which time the books are not available.  So for a short time Dragon Warriors will indeed be out of print.  Rest assured that as quickly as we are able to do so Serpent King Games will get Dragon Warriors back into print and available to you, as well as working on the next generation of supplements, starting with the much anticipated Dragon Warriors Players Guide which is currently in production.  Much as we would love to be able to be more transparent about our exact plans for the future right now, these things take a little bit of time and it would not be right to make announcements prior to everything being in place.

If the stars are right, and assuming you fellows haven’t snapped up every Flaming Cobra book there is, we may have some printed stock for sale direct from us. Details will follow as soon as we have them to share.

We’re on record here at SKG as recommending anyone wanting to get into Dragon Warriors take advantage of the great deals on offer from Mongoose Publishing right now.  You have only a few days left, so get busy if you would like to grab the DW rules at a bargain price!

UPDATE! Oh my gosh, how could we have forgotten – if you don’t fancy paying shipping nor waiting for your DW goodness, then do take advantage of the last few days of Magnum Opus’ e book sale here:


We remain almost hilariously overworked, and are still hoping to get back to regular blogging once the current Lonely Mountains and Relative Dimensions and Fimbulvetrs of work that we have to do for non-SKG projects this month are complete.

In the meantime, the ever-inspirational James Wallis has somehow found time to release a new edition of his Afterlives roleplaying game. The old edition came out almost a decade ago and can only be found in a long out-of-print back issue of Dork Tower, so a new edition was certainly due.

Afterlives is a meta-RPG, strictly speaking, fitting in to the fantasy tabletop RPG of your choice (assuming your taste is such that the fantasy tabletop RPG of your choice doesn’t include Resurrection spells, which Wallis quite rightly asserts are essentially rather naff; my perspective on this issue is that one of my favourite things about RPGs is that you only risk character death rather than actual death when you do heroic things, and if you take away the risk of character death too you might as well just be reading a book… probably a feelgood supernatural teen romance in which good triumphs over evil and the vampire always gets the girl) at just the point where most conventional RPGs end: when your character has just died.

(As an aside, live roleplaying games are far less likely to gloss over this moment than tabletop ones, partly perhaps because the dead character is usually still being physically represented by the lying-down, fake-blood-laden player; most LARPs have funerals, at least for significant characters, and several of the more progressive ones, such as those run by Profound Decisions, give at least some thought to what happens to one’s character after death. I’m not trying to hint that one genre is superior to the other, naturally, just remarking on the inevitable differences caused by the different forms.)

So. Afterlife. You sneak a Special Guest Star gamer in to your next gaming sesh to play God (literally, the dead character’s god), and play your Afterlife metagame out as a supernatural court scene. Court scenes in games can be really dull, unless they are deliberately constrained in time, and have a judge with powers so extreme, so arbitrary, as to be able to silence boring or off-topic speeches on a whim. Fortunately, Afterlife provides both these things. The game is quite tightly timed, and intended to last for one session only. The judge is a divine agent, perhaps even the character’s god, or the god of the dead in the character’s pantheon. Due process is likely to be whatever the judge feels like, which means that so long as the judge has a good sense of drama and narrative, this game should flow very nicely.

The judge is also basically impartial, since the Special Guest Star doesn’t know the regular characters of the game at all. I’ve not played Afterlives yet, but I imagine that if done well, it could play out rather like an almost-straight version of Aye, Dark Overlord, one of my favourite storytelling cardgames. The latter would make a pretty good training game for anyone fancying the role of judge in Afterlives.

I’m not going to say who plays the Persecutor, and who the Defence, not because doing so would render your purchase of the book unnecessary (it wouldn’t; there is so much superb advice here on running the Aftermath game that, though as with most great Wallis games the rules could be described in a few sentences, the rules are not why you buy this book), but because that info is something of a mild spoiler, and it is possible that your GM will buy this book even if you don’t.

If you do ever run any fantasy RPGs, this is well worth the $3.95. You may only use it once or twice, but it will provide better closure, more amusement, more game, and more fun than any roleplayed in-character funeral.

Derek Smalls’ Two Handed Sword

Hmmm.  I’ll confess up front this feels a bit weird.  I feel that perhaps pieces like the one I’m about to write should have been made for Magnum Opus Press, since they were kind enough to pay for the creation of the existing covers.  But then I can perhaps assuage that guilt with a hearty cry to go buy the MOP DW books whilst they are on sale.  Don’t wait for us to take over. Get them whilst the goodly folks who brought DW back from the dead can make their justly reward.

You’ll be buying the new books we do anyway.  Seriously, the things we have been discussing are extremely exciting.  I know you want to know more, but all in good time.

Anyway. This is all preamble.

So making the covers for the MOP edition was a pleasure. James Wallis is a fantastic art director, and certainly one of the people I seek to emulate when I’m doing my art direction duties for Cubicle 7.  Whilst he always brought something to the table he was as interested in my ideas as his own. Which is very rare, but absolutely brings out the best in a freelance artist. Well this one at least.  Sometimes you get hired as what a few of us call a “rentapen”.  The client directs you so tightly that you may as well be a robot arm.  But that was not the way of it on these pieces.

So up there is the cover we did for the Elven Crystals, along with a couple of the sketches.  We thought it was important to show something from the scenarios themselves, much as we loved the old cover. No we didn’t I’m completely lying but you know, it’s nice to be nice.

The demon Rimfax seemed particularly ripe for a starring role, which if I remember rightly was James’ idea.  I was pretty keen on doing Ned the Hobgoblin, but with the benefit of hindsight he would have been a harder sell.  And what’s not to love about a skeletal horse (horse skulls are the business – qv: Sauron’s helmet in the LOTR movies) with a body made of writhing black snakes made of smoke?

Bit of a challenge that though.  There are some things which sound awesome in text.  Black fire is one.  Things made out of smoke is another.  These things can be extremely challenging to paint.  But I said I’d have a go, and I think it worked out ok.

At the time I was painting this I was discovering very late in life, the joys of Led Zeppelin. And there’s something very fitting in listening to the Zep whilst painting DW stuff.  It’s British, it’s riffing (excuse the pun) off an American idea but bringing the folk angle.  It is kind of dirty.  There’s the whole Spinal Tap thing too if we’re honest.  Whilst I think many of us into fantasy and folklore are in it for the serious stuff there’s a whole gonzo side full of ludicrous overblown gestures, pomp and pretension, which I really enjoy.  And all of that is in Led Zep too.

So anyhow, when I sketched and painted this one I had Immigrant Song on repeat, and I still think there’s something of the rhythm of that song in the image, and I imagine the ensuing fight to play out to that music.  To name drop I mentioned synesthesia the other day to Dave Morris, and it turns out we both have a bit of that going on.

So there we go.  No really moral to this tale, but a load of anecdotey stuff for your hopeful enjoyment.

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