Deadline Looms: Adventure Companion - Part 1

Since Pat's been blogging of late, and I'm in a bit of a mental logjam after a beautiful 10 days visiting family and friends, I thought I'd offer a peek under the curtain with my current project - finishing off Fantasy Craft's second supplement, the Adventure Companion. Currently, I'm at about T-minus 7 days to finish the last chapters of the book - I've edited the Epoch and Sunchaser chapters and turned them in for final edits/layout, so it's all about sticking a knife into the Cloak & Dagger mini-setting and the rules-tastic Chapter 4: New Character Options.

The challenge at this stage of the process is not so much about making decisions - if you haven't made up your mind about what's going in by this stage of a book, you're largely screwed - but rather keeping up your momentum and making it all fit.  The latter being one of the biggest tricks to making a game book, since you're trying to hit a multiple of 16, and preferably 32, to get the best price when printing (this is why all nearly all modern game books are 64, 96, 128, 160, 224, or 256 pages). Momentum is not a problem - Chapter 4's about 97% finished and Cloak & Dagger's an old friend at this point - but I'm trying to stay disciplined. Because honestly, C&D's got me totally excited about the setting again and I want to keep writing.

The nice thing about a project that has lasted as long as the mini-settings have (those of you who remember the first FC previews from Christmas 2007 saw some early work) is that you get a chance to be close with them, and to let them age like a fine wine or whiskey. Sometimes you come back and find out the thing that's been aging has "gone off" a bit, but other times you return and find out just how well it actually worked out.  Cloak & Dagger is one of those projects that has aged very well, presenting a collusion of execution, genre emulation (espionage in a Greco-Romanesque fantasy world) and intriguing new rules developments which you often can't get from a project that's done in its entirety in 6 months. But unlike fine wines or whiskeys, projects that age don't sell for any more than younger ones, and so you eventually have to finish them :)

Anyway, I should get back to it. Tonight it's about polishing the last of the fantasy espionage gear and maybe hammering out a few NPC stat blocks to call it a night. Tomorrow, one last flavor section on the Known World's second oldest profession.