Projects

Lately, most of my attention has been settled on game design work for the Jonstown Compendium, Chaosium’s community content program on DriveThruRPG for RuneQuest. You can check out what I’ve published here!

Overall, I’ve found over the last few years that the creative portions of my mind work best when allowed to wander, at least to some extent. So, consider the lists on this page as more a “places Austin’s brain is visiting” rather than “projects which will be completed in this order.”

RuneQuest/Jonstown Compendium:

  1. The Fouled Earth: I’ve just recently started writing this standalone scenario. It seemed a productive way to take a break between larger projects, as Treasures of Glorantha 1 nears publication. It’s meant to provide a cathartic gameplay experience about kicking the ass of a disease goddess.
  2. The City of Sylthi: This is a setting book thoroughly describing the city of Sylthi, in the matriarchal land of Esrolia. It’s a small city, but I expect it to be a longish book. I want it to be an output for the reading and research I enjoy regarding ancient cultures. So, a lot of focus on religion, culture, art, and architecture, as well as weird things like spicy food stands and exploring the remains of previous cities on the site. Oh, and kung fu scholar-sorcerers!
  3. Dragon’s Rift: This is a sandbox adventure book, which explores the region surrounding the Dragon’s Rift. It’s a gigantic ravine which was made when a colossal dragon rose up and ate an army and temple-city. It’s been a while since I worked on Dragon’s Rift, but I want to return to it soon. It’s a weird, creepy place, haunted by ghosts and with draconic secrets lurking underground.
  4. Monster of the Month: I’ve been writing a series of small bestiary entries for the Jonstown Compendium, with a new issue each month (though I do cut it close at times). This is an ongoing process, though I keep telling myself I’m going to write a big batch of them at once and be done with it for a few months, I never get around to that.

Fiction:

  1. The Fall of Jiharel: This is your staple “big fat fantasy novel” that lurks in the back of most writing-inclined geeks’ minds. It’s a tragedy, explicitly, about how the city-state of Jiharel falls because its greatest hero tries to save it. Last time I attempted to write it I got mired down halfway through, and lost the thread of the story. I’ve been nibbling away here and there at more worldbuilding for the setting—Akhelas, the namesake of this blog—in an attempt to more firmly settle it in my head, for when I eventually return to writing this.
  2. Akhelas/”Endless Lands” errata: As I noted above, when I dabble with fiction, I’ve mostly been doing worldbuilding bits, or occasionally short stories. An example of this is I’ve started an in-world treatise on “The Nine Magic Trees of the Jihari” (or nine plants; haven’t decided yet). This also includes exploring outside of Akhelas, in other places in the world, as well as trying to explore what the universal or cosmological picture looks like. A notable place is the Havvermark, a bitterly cold wasteland-continent where the Powers of the natural world have overwhelmed and conquered humanity.
  3. The Rule of Iron: This was my first novel, and I’d like to explore the world of it more, or revise it to make it actually publishable. It might fit into the world-design of my “Endless Lands”, or it might not. I’m not sure yet, but it’s something I’ve considered. It’s a YA fantasy work about a young man who witnesses his father’s death, then gets drafted into fighting the war while struggling with (in modern terms) PTSD.

Miscellaneous Game Design:

  1. Might! D6: This is an idea I’ve had for some time, which I have a decent outline for and the basics of a setting sketched out. Basically, it’s a fantasy or superhero roleplaying game which only uses D6s. I started playing tabletop games with Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy, and this RPG will be a sort of love-letter to throwing fistfuls of D6s, whether for archers en masse or when casting a fireball. One of these days, I’ll write up a first draft and start playtesting. I’m looking forward to this; the setting’s rather silly.
  2. I’ve also got a doc of design notes for a D100-based game, set within the “Endless Lands” setting (the setting of Jiharel and other fiction stuff I’ve worked on). So far it’s mostly subjective tweaks on existing D100 games, but I think it has potential to be interesting, provided I can figure out the magic system.
  3. Experiment with the BRP OGL: Since Chaosium recently released their D100 system, Basic Roleplaying (BRP) with an Open Game License, I’m interested in experimenting with it and perhaps releasing a small RPG. Knowing me, that’s liable to become a large RPG. I think writing something based on the novel The Worm Ouroboros could be interesting. It’s one of my favorite novels, it definitely has a character of its own, and it’s also in the public domain.

Updated 5/11/2020.