ffutures: Elvis: The Legendary Tours RPG cover (Elvis)
Pointed out by [livejournal.com profile] selenak

This is now officially canon for the Dianaverse (especially Elvis: The Legendary Tours...)

ffutures: (lander)
Having verified that Dragonmeet is indeed on December 1st, here's what I hope to be running:

Forgotten Futures X: The Tooth and Claw Role Playing Game
First preview of the new Forgotten Futures setting!
The Crimson Claw Mutual Assurance Company

When Yarge pirates start to target merchant ships flying Tiamath's
flag of convenience things show signs of going a little pear-shaped
for the country's oldest insurance company. Fortunately the Management
knows just the right people to handle the problem...

2-3 hours, 3-6 players, the adventurers are dragons.

Diana: Warrior Princess / Elvis: The Legendary Tours
Jailhouse Rock

There are strange rumours of hideous monsters at the tyrannical Uncle
Sam's most secure prison, The Rock. Someone needs to get inside to
find out what's really going on, and nobody else seems to be

2-3 hours, 3-6 players, ready-made characters.

Yes, I know that one of the Elvis adventure outlines is Jailhouse Roc - this is a different rock!
ffutures: illos from the novel by George Griffith (Angel of the Revolution)
Yesterday's Dragonmeet was, as always, extremely good fun. Also exhausting, since I had a sore throat from the start.

I made a big mistake in the pacing of the first Flatland / Forgotten Futures adventure, which ended up lasting just under two hours instead of nearly three - the problem was that I originally designed it with a Forgotten Futures detective phase which given the time constraints would have had to be done entirely by NPCs; instead the players (as Flatlanders temporarily occupying 3D bodies) got to cross London, destroy things and frighten the horses, then rescue someone and destroy a nameless evil (with rugose tentacles). I think everyone had some fun, but it was a lot shorter and more linear than originally intended. I'll write it up properly when I'm a bit better. One possibility is that some of the players could run two characters, one human and one Flatlander, with the human leaving the stage in the second act.

I'd compounded my timing error by allowing an hour's break between sessions, instead of half an hour, so ended up sitting and talking to passing friends for nearly two hours between games. Fortunately [livejournal.com profile] doctor_toc is now resident in the UK and made it to the con, and helped me out by table-sitting while I got lunch and had a fast mooch around the dealers. Also saw Phil Masters, Mike Cule, [livejournal.com profile] pwca, [livejournal.com profile] karohemd and other familiar faces.

The afternoon Diana Warrior Princess session in which Diana and Elvis characters (through a bureaucratic mistake during a silly-season crossover episode) ended up in the afterlife - it went well, but I think the plot needed more work. It seemed to go down well enough, but I hadn't quite thought through some of the things the players might do, so a lot of improvisation was needed. Such as coming up with a version of Death - yes, with the scythe - whose idea of playing Rock - Paper - Scissors was to materialise a boulder over the head of the person challenging him. The Supreme Being (a John Cleese clone, of course) seemed to go over well, as did various undead barmen, talking lizards, etc. Again, I'll write it up eventually.

After that I nipped home and dumped my stuff, and got back in time for the auction where I singularly failed to get any of the things I bid on - I only had 50 quid left, and that wasn't nearly enough for the things I wanted. It raised £1600+ for children's charities, which I think is a record for Dragonmeet. Highest price was the last item, signed and dedicated copies of the recent Dork Tower cartoons about Dragonmeet - bought by Angus Abranson for I think £400. Unfortunately [livejournal.com profile] muskrat_john didn't make it over this year, so he'll have to wait on the transatlantic post. After that I was pretty shattered and ended up going home for an early night. Didn't even make it to the post-con booze-up today because I just didn't feel up to it.

Later edit - sorry, that was £450 for the cartoons, and it's Angus who'll have to wait, of course, since [livejournal.com profile] muskrat_john will be sending them from the USA.

My big disappointment was that all of my sales were Diana and Elvis material - none for Forgotten Futures or Flatland, despite lots of people admiring the plastic cutout characters for Flatland and apparently liking the game concept. Again, it would really help if the game got more publicity, higher ratings on e23, etc., so if you've bought it and liked it please say so. Remember that all proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders.

I've been thinking about the long-term future of Forgotten Futures, and one possibility I'm considering is to make the core rules mechanisms (in the PDF version up to page 37) available on a free basis - anyone would be able to use them for their own games, add additional rules, etc., subject only to an acknowledgement of their source - and to allow anyone to write and sell worldbooks and adventures based on the complete rules (but not to print the entire 100-page rule book unless they want to pay royalties) if they don't want to develop their own game. I won't make money out of this directly, but Forgotten Futures is a reasonably flexible system and it ought to work reasonably well as an "engine" for most types of game, and encourage people to look at my material. At this stage this is still a "something I might do" idea, not a firm proposal, and I'd be grateful for comments.
ffutures: (Default)
Trying to work out what I'll be selling at Dragonmeet, so far the list is

Official Flatland RPG - all proceeds to Doctors Without Borders
PDF (on CD-ROM with Forgotten Futures freebies) £4.00
Cut-out flatlanders (colour laser printed on transparent plastic, 4 A4 sheets) £ 2.50

Diana, Warrior Princess - 20% to Cancer Research UK
Diana, Warrior Princess (book) £ 7.00
Diana, Warrior Princess (PDF with Forgotten Futures freebies) £ 3.00
Elvis, The Legendary Tours (PDF with Forgotten Futures freebies) £ 2.50

Forgotten Futures - all proceeds to Cancer Research UK
Forgotten Futures IX with extras £ 2.00

Pricing of the PDFs is a straight dollar conversion from the e23 prices with a small amount added for the blank CD-ROMs, wallets, labels etc.

I really wish that I could be ready to launch Forgotten Futures X and the other stuff I'm developing, but well into next year looks more likely.
ffutures: (Phrenology)
Here's the blurb for the adventures I'll be running at Dragonmeet this time next month:

SCENARIO TITLE: Charlie's Angles
System: Forgotten Futures AND The Original Flatland Role Playing Game
Time: 10.30-1.30 approx.
Genre: Victorian weirdness
GM: Marcus L. Rowland
Players: 3-6
Blurb: When eminent mathematicians start to disappear, the League of Extraordinary Geometers calls for the help of a few adventurers with unusual talents, for a mission into another universe with peculiar properties. But can anything really prepare anyone for an encounter with the chaos of the third dimension? Ready-made characters, 2-3 hours.

SCENARIO TITLE: How I Spent My Summer Vacation
System: Diana, Warrior Princess
Time: 2.30-5pm approx
Genre: Humour
GM: Marcus Rowland
Players: 3-6
Venue: xx
Blurb: Even adventurers need time off occasionally, but it's odd that so many seem to have chosen to take a break in the same resort. Coincidence? A vast conspiracy? Coincidence AND a vast conspiracy? Or just a travel agent without much imagination? Whatever the reason, there's trouble ahead... Ready-made characters, 2-3 hours.

Now all I have to do is finish writing them...
ffutures: Cover for Diana: Warrior Princess rpg (diana)
Not sure if I should be pleased or appalled that Diana and Elvis have just reappeared at the bottom of the 'top ten' charts on e23, the one tracking the last thirty days.

Pleased, because it confirms that they're steady sellers on a "few copies a month" basis which is bringing in a small but useful income over the course of a year. I knew that anyway from the last sales figures, but confirmation is always nice.

Appalled, because this suggests that a lot of other products which I would tend to think of as much stronger sellers must be doing worse.

On the whole I suspect that it's just a statistical blip, maybe there just haven't been many strong new releases in the last month, or possibly the result of a review I haven't seen. Whatever, it's nice to see them back there again.
ffutures: Cover for Diana: Warrior Princess rpg (diana)
Diana is back in the top ten for the last 30 days at e23; admittedly it's right at the bottom, with a less-than-massive eight sales, but it's there. It seems to be plodding along at about the same level it's had most of the time since I launched it, except for a couple of peaks (the initial rush when I launched it, and another short burst when I launched Elvis...), so presumably only nine other PDFs have outsold it in the last 30 days. If so, Diana is doing better than a thousand-odd other products. I suspect that this is a temporary blip, possibly due to thousands of the most rabid D20 gamers being at Gencon, since the usual bottom number is at least 12 or so. If not this does not bode well for the future of PDF publication...

Having said that, it's cheering that all of my stuff has made it into the top ten, and Diana has done so three times now. Today I got confirmation that e23 will be carrying Forgotten Futures as a freeby, and it'd be interesting to see what happens with that one - but I suspect that free downloads don't go into the charts.

It'd be very nice to see The Original Flatland RPG back in there, since all of its takings go to charity. If you've bought it please give it a rating, that might help to sway undecided buyers; if not, go spend some money!
ffutures: Flatland map (Flatland)
The Original Flatland Role Playing Game has just made it into e23's top ten for the last 30 days, in equal last place with Elvis: the Legendary Tours. Hopefully it's going to climb higher, and more sales and a few reviews and ratings would help that, of course. Since this is a charity project I'm especially keen to see it do well.

So far everything I've sold via e23 has made it into their top ten, which I think is pretty good going. Diana: Warrior Princess even went back into the charts for a few days, piggy-backing on Elvis's new players. I think I may put a free PDF version of Forgotten Futures on their site if they'll let me, it ought to introduce a few new players to the game.
ffutures: Elvis: The Legendary Tours RPG cover (Elvis)
Elvis: The Legendary Tours has made it to number three in the What's Hot chart for the last 30 days at e23, and looks like it may even have a chance of reaching number two - no chance of number 1, which has four times the sales, but even so it's an excellent result. Meanwhile Diana: Warrior Princess is back in at the bottom of the chart - presumably this is people who bought Elvis without seeing Diana first and liked it enough to buy the original game.

If they put the Flatland game out quickly I might end up with three games there - doubt it's likely, because something else will overtake Diana fairly soon, and of course there's no certainty that Flatland will do well - but that'd be a pretty good result.
ffutures: Flatland map (Flatland)
Spurred on by [livejournal.com profile] heliograph's nagging, and the realisation that I have better things to do with my life than wait two weeks before spending a day shopping for a (possibly) cheaper version of Acrobat at a computer fair, I bit the bullet yesterday and ordered a copy of the educational version (yes, Matt, I am legally entitled to buy it at the educational price) at a mere £99, which I think is about 2½ times the cost an American would pay for it, but never mind...

It arrived today and I've spent the evening making the PDF - had to do it twice, unfortunately, since the first time I realised (needless to say after I'd finished inserting all the chapter links) that I didn't have the Distiller settings right for the defaults Steve Jackson Games want.

I'd be VERY grateful if everyone who has access could take a look - it's in the same place and password etc, as the previous version - and let me know if there's anything that seems odd - I've tried it in Acrobat, Acrobat Reader on PC and Mac, Foxit Reader, and Mac OS-X preview and it works OK with all of them, so hopefully it's good. File size has unfortunately risen to 5.05mb.

There are also some text changes in the initial character generation section, mostly related to the nature of Flatland women and their characteristics, and femme fatale Lotte Linear is now on the page of cutout figures.

I'm aiming to get this out to e23 next week if I can, so comments by July 4th would be appreciated. If all goes well I'll get the final draft finished then.

In other news Elvis: The Legendary Tours has just made the "What's Hot" list of games sold in the last 30 days on e23, although it's right at the bottom. Who knows, one day it may reach the dizzying heights of bottom but one or so, if a couple more copies are sold...
ffutures: Cover for Diana: Warrior Princess rpg (diana)
...the Diana / Elvis military spin-off supplement, really isn't going to be happening.

So I really have no reason to make this, do I? )

Except that it was fun.
ffutures: Elvis: The Legendary Tours RPG cover (Elvis)
Allegedly Elvis: The Legendary Tours will be on line at e23 some time in the next day or so. Fingers crossed! I'll post a link as soon as it's up.

Later: And it's up!


Many thanks again to everyone who has helped get it to this stage! I managed to get in a few credits, but not as many as I liked - Flatland will do this much better.
ffutures: Elvis: The Legendary Tours RPG cover (Elvis)
Just when you thought I was all Flatland and no Elvis, I'm finally able to breathe a huge sigh of relief and say that the final PDF is ready. It appears to be working well on all platforms, but as usual I'd appreciate it if the beta testers could take a look and let me know if they spot any problems. I've a window of a couple of days to fix any problems and start the process of putting it on sale, otherwise it'll be a couple of weeks, so a fast response would be greatly appreciated.

The final version is again at


About 2.5 Mb - Same user name and password as before.

The sampler is at


About 460k - No password needed.
ffutures: Elvis: The Legendary Tours RPG cover (Elvis)
The final (I hope) version of Elvis: The Legendary tours is now on line for proofreading, testing, and comments. This has been through Distiller and ought to work OK with Mac preview.

If I already gave you the access details this version is on line as


Use the same user name and password as last time to access it.

If you haven't previously been involved and would like to be, send an email to marcus dot rowland at gmail dot com. I'll be limiting this to people I know, at least on line, and would like you to confirm in your email that you understand that the details of how to access this file, and the file itself, must not be passed on to others.
ffutures: Flatland map (Flatland)
Now on my second pass through the main rules and adventures, adding colour illustrations and extra twiddly bits and editing out some of the flab. I'm up to page 15 with the illustrations - a couple more to go in the first adventure, and four or five in the second - plus I plan to add the big "action figure" pictures I've previously mentioned, probably at an approximate 1:3 scale - that'd make the typical Square about 2" on a side, which will fit neatly into one column of a two column page. I may instead go for 1:2 scale, which would make most "figures" about 3" wide - the snag is that I couldn't use a double column page, but that isn't necessarily a problem - I can go to a single column page, though it means a damn section break, or use text boxes or something. I'll have to see what things look like at that sort of size.

Over the weekend I've also added some more recommended reading, films, etc., three adventure outlines, and more stuff on running the game with Forgotten Futures rules. I don't think I can really justify putting in rules for using it with Diana: Warrior Princess, though it's tempting; the genres are just too different.

I'm still waiting for stuff on using it with the Red Anvil Press Flatland game - the author has promised to send me something but not for another week or so, I'll have to see how that goes.

So at the moment I think I've finished writing 21 pages, and have finished the graphics etc. on fourteen of them, need to add a little more material on another three pages that are about 2/3 done, and need to add the cutout figures. My guess is it'll end up around 30 pages excluding titles etc.

I think I'll have a first draft finished (apart, possibly, from the Red Anvil Press stuff) by the end of the week, and will be able to put that on line for the usual suspects to comment later this week or next weekend. I won't be able to get it out for sale until the middle of next month, since the guy who puts things through Distiller for me will be away; I can create a readable PDF but without Distiller it won't work properly on every platform.

Meanwhile Elvis is off being distilled now, and I hope it'll be back and on line for reviewers etc. later in the week.

Still trying to persuade work to buy Acrobat Professional, which will let me do the distilling for myself. If I had the money I'd buy my own copy, but it's still ludicrously expensive in the UK.

Anyway, the last few days have been insanely productive - let's hope I can keep it up.

BTW, given it's the Flatland RPG, does anyone think that calling one of the adventure outlines Height Club is a pun too far?
ffutures: Flatland map (Flatland)
Just to keep people posted:

Elvis: The Legendary Tours is on its way to someone who is going to run it through Adobe Distiller for me; if all goes well the final version will be on line for reviewers later this week, and going out to e23 ASAP.

I made a good start on The Original Flatland Role Playing Game at the weekend - got up to page 6 of the main text, and reworked several of the illustrations. I'm going for a two-column layout on this one - I really dislike how Word handles columns, especially if you want to put in an illustration or table spanning two columns, but it gives it a different look to Diana / Elvis and lets me get in more text per page. So far I've covered the world, character creation, skill use and firearms. It helps that it's a very simple game, of course. If the rest of it goes this fast I ought to have the first draft on line by the end of the month.

I was thinking of including some life-size "cardboard hero" figures - since the typical flatlander is about 11" long they'd almost fit on a page. But 1:2 or 1:3 is probably more practical. Print them onto thin card or acetate sheet, no need even to fold them. I'll probably do them in colour, but make sure they look OK if printed in grey scale.

Anyway, cautiously optimistic. Now if I can just get my act together on the next Forgotten Futures project - which I suspect will NOT be Thorne Smith since I'm going around in circles with his estate - I'll be really happy.
ffutures: Elvis: The Legendary Tours RPG cover (Elvis)
I'm hopefully going to get Elvis: The Legendary Tours finished and out to e23 (and possibly other PDF sales sites) in the next few days.

Diana: Warrior Princess runs to 65 pages of text and sells for $4.99

Elvis is 50 pages of text, and should presumably cost a little less. I was originally thinking $2.99, but that was when it was going to be shorter and had no illustrations. Now it's illustrated, albeit mostly by me, and I think that it's now better value, so I'm veering towards $3.99 - on the other hand it might be better to set the price a little lower and hope that the value encourages more people to buy Elvis, even if they haven't already bought D:WP, and possibly go back and buy Diana if they haven't already done so.

Anyway, here's a poll. I don't guarantee to pay much attention to the results, but input and comments would be appreciated.

[Poll #720543]
ffutures: Elvis: The Legendary Tours RPG cover (Elvis)
Here's a link to a first stab at a sampler for Elvis: The Legendary Tours


It consists of the cover, title pages and contents, introduction, a page on Elvis impersonators, Elvis's stats, and the back page.

It's a bit over 1mb, mainly because it isn't distilled etc., and you'll need Acrobat or similar to view it - I don't think OS-X preview will work.

All comments gratefully received
ffutures: Elvis: The Legendary Tours RPG cover (Elvis)
As a sampler for Elvis: The Legendary Tours I want to create a PDF containing pages from the first, second, and last sections of the Word file (Word 2000) using the free PDFCreator software:

pages 1-3 (all of section 1)
page 4 (which is numbered as page 1 of section 2)
page 12 (numbered as page 9 of section 2)
Page 22 (numbered as page 19 of section 2)
Page 55 (the only page of section 4)

I've tried telling it to print these pages using commas etc., but what I invariably end up with is the first three correct, then pages 1-4 of section 2, then pages 12 and 22 of section 2. Page 55 doesn't appear at all.

For various reasons it isn't possible to convert the document into a single section. Anyone know a way around this?

Later edit: The answer turns out to be to print pages p1-3s1, p1s2, p9s2, p19s2, p1s4
ffutures: Elvis: The Legendary Tours RPG cover (Elvis)
If you're one of the people who offered to help with proof-reading and comments for Elvis: The Legendary Tours I'm VERY pleased to announce that the first draft PDF is now on line as


It's a 5mb download and is password-protected; if you previously proof-read the Diana... PDF it's the same user name and pasword as before - if you haven't, and would like to read this, please contact me at my usual email address, marcus dot rowland at gmail dot com. I should mention that I've had to take Diana... down from that site to make room for it, but you can still get it via e23 etc. Please remember that this will be a commercial product, and that the password etc. must not be published on line.

I'm reasonably happy with it but I'm willing to bet that I've missed a few grammatical errors etc., and probably one or two spelling mistakes. All comments will be VERY gratefully received.

For the moment this hasn't been through Distiller, and probably won't load into Mac OS-X preview; you'll need Adobe Acrobat or another PDF viewer to read it.

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