Define Summer ‘Vacation’? (An Update On Work!)

The sun is shining. The air is humid in Brooklyn and I’m not in class. It’s summer in New York City.

And there’s work to be done!

The end of the NYU semester came and went with a bang. It was a real hustle to get through the end of the second semester, but I came away with a lot of amazing lessons I learned, not only about game design but about working with others, my own process of dealing with stress, and about myself in general. It was a process of self discovery as well as academia, and as hokey as it sounds it made a profound impact on how I want to work going forward. It was a breakneck pace of work that ended and then-

A break. Summer vacation. It’s meant to give you a chance to kick back and relax… right?

For most people past a certain age, summer vacation is no longer the bucolic months of adventure and fun that it is when you’re young enough not to work. For me, I haven’t had a real summer vacation in years. This is the closest I’ve had and yet I’m freelancing. And boy, has it been busy. Here’s been what I’m up to:

  • Phoenix Outlaw Productions, my company, is ramping up it’s creation process. Things were slowed due to many factors including graduate school and, honestly, the learning curve of a new company. Now I’m putting boots to ground on wrapping up Wanderlust, my tabletop RPG, and have begun organizing the schedule of projects we want to release. Stay tuned for way more information about that in the days to come.
  • June 1st wrapped creation of Wild City, a setting for the upcoming release of the Chronos Theatrical LARP System for Eschaton Media, co-written alongside Josh Harrison. Josh and I had worked on the core book of Chronos as well, so I’m excited to see the release going so well. You can learn more about it on Eschaton Media’s Chronos Facebook group right now.
  • I’m working with my fellow Team Awesome folks to get Octavia ready for submission for IndieCade. More information about that to come.
  • I was asked to come aboard the extremely successful Kickstarter for Trigger Happy by Caias Ward to write a stretch goal scenario, which I’m working on. It’s going to be about a kidnapped kid and what you’re willing to do to kick butt to get that kid back. Stay tuned for more information.
  • I’m working on the translation of the Heroine RPG into a LARP! I’m very excited for this project, as Josh Jordan’s game about girls on their adventures has been a person ‘I heart it so much’ project since I saw it on Kickstarter. I’m so excited to be a part of seeing it come to LARP.
  • I’ve been creative consultant to Michael Consoli on his video game Against the Wall and we’ve been meeting up

And speaking of LARPS – DEXCON. Oh my gosh, DexCon.

For those that don’t know, the Double Exposure conventions in Morristown New Jersey rock. Seriously, they do. I’ve been a regular at these conventions since 2006 and have enjoyed some of my best gaming experiences there. It’s no wonder that the work these good folks are doing is being recognized by the Diana Jones Awards with a nomination this year. I enjoy the hell out of all three of their conventions – Dreamation, DexCon and Metatopia – and would not miss one for the world. That said, I also enjoy the heck out of running LARPs and panels at their conventions and this year is no exception. My DexCon project plate looks like this:

  • The Unofficial Dresden Files LARP: We at Phoenix Outlaw Productions are proud to be wrapping up our first chronicle of our Unofficial Dresden Files LARP, started way back two years ago. The project has been very important to me and I’m so pleased to see us come to the end of the four game series with “Final Frost” this summer. After this, we’ll be going into another phase of the project, in which players will have dedicated characters in an ongoing chronicle setting. We’ve also wrapped up our latest version of the rules iteration, based of course on the wonderful Fate Core rules system, and based on iteration done at each of the conventions thanks to experience and great feedback from players. Saturday Night at DexCon, we head back to the Dresdenverse and we’ll see who survives the chronicle’s climax.
  • Battlestar Galactica LARP: At Dreamation I teamed with Mike Maleki of Last Minute Productions to come up with an idea for a Battlestar Galactica LARP. We were approached thereafter by Double Exposure to run this event as a signature LARP for the convention this summer. And so, “Straight On Til Morning: Tales of the Rising Star” was born. We’ve brought together our two teams to create a large game set aboard the Rising Star, a medical ship in the BSG universe. We’ve developed a brand new system inspired by more freeform LARP techniques to make this game an intense roleplay experience for folks. Come aboard and give it a spin on Friday night!
  • Night’s Black Agent Tournament – The LARP: It’s no secret I’m a huge Night’s Black Agent fan. Well, John Adamus has been involved in writing for the Night’s Black Agent tournaments for the incredible Kenneth Hite for a while now. Therefore when Pelgrane Press wanted to incorporate LARP into their tournament’s first round, we got the call! Myself, John Adamus and Josh Harrison have been working at building the first Night’s Black Agent LARP, where you can play a secret agent out to battle the vampire conspiracy threat! This will be the first round of the NBA Tournament – survive into the second round and see your team to victory.

Those are the three LARPs we’ve been working hard on for DexCon. Aside from that, I am also pleased to say I’ll be reprising two panels from the last convention: Women in Game Design and Let’s Talk LARP, a round table discussion with LARP designers. I’m also really humbled to be asked to a Wednesday night reading for authors at the convention. I’ve been asked to read from my recently published short story from The Lost Anthology by Galileo Press. And somewhere in there, I promise, I will eat a thing and sleep. Somewhere.

With all this going on, I’m also preparing for my upcoming convention schedule at GenCon, WyrdCon, PaxPrime and more, but that’s what I like to call ‘After July 4th Shoshana’s Problem’ (July 4th weekend being DexCon).

For now, I’m also reminding myself of the importance of balancing some summer fun with all this work- including attending great conferences like the recent Games for Change conference in New York, spending time with great people at Dystopia Rising (including at the new Pennsylvania game – congratulations to the staff there for an amazing first event!), and getting to see Neil Gaiman speak at Brooklyn Academy of Music the other night about his new book, Ocean At the End of the Lane (read it if you haven’t! It’s brilliant!).

That’s summer vacation, folks, and with that I’m off to get back into work, with a cup of tea and a lot of typing to go. More updates to come!

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