While Murders & Acquisitions has been alive for about two years, I'm now in the phase where I start to make a game book. There's a lot to do in this phase, which will run well into next year, but I have an update now concerning two specific aspects of "making the book."
Artwork is Underway
In the past week or so, I've contracted my first artist. He's providing some concepting first, so I can nail down the overall look of the illustrations in the book. Enjoy the sketch below.
These are concept sketches for four characters that will be used in three different ways in the book.
Firstly, a more detailed, final version of each illustration will be presented as part of an archetype character, complete with some character background/history and a completed character sheet. Readers will be able to play these characters straight out of the book. No fuss, no muss.
Bob is a data entry drone who likes bashing peoples' heads in with whatever he finds handy more than clicking away at a keyboard. Ricardo is a suave schmoozer who tells the truth and lies in equal measure. Tommy is the new intern, a jack-of-all-trades, who tries to do everything he can to ingratiate himself with his team members. Zoey is an IT guru who who can hack with the best of them and kit-bash electronics into whatever the group needs. (It's worth noting that Zoey's look will change significantly in the final version based on discussion with the artist; she'll be a little more "geek chic."
Second, these four characters will feature in the color cover of the book, along with another character. They'll be presented "in action" as opposed to the straight-on shot which will only be used for the archetype pages. The final cover illustration should be done by the end of September. I'll make sure to throw it up on the website when it's ready.
Finally, these four characters will be at the center of the "Example of Play" section early on in the book. They'll be presented overcoming some challenges and demonstrating how the game plays for the reader.
Contributor Content is Coming In
About a month ago, I sent writing assignments to four friends, each of whom is providing some game design and/or world development writing.
They are providing around 8000 words of book content including:
1. Write-ups for four corporations that exist in the world of M&A. Each entry is about two pages long, describing what the company does, their corporate culture, descriptions of several key NPCs who work there, and a few adventure hooks for GMs to use to create a story set in the halls of that corporation.
2. Ten new magic items for the "Magic" add-on rules.
3. Ten new monsters for the "Monsters" add-on rules.
4. A bit of fiction prose telling the story of two character having a discussion about the mean, terrible things they've done recently and how they're going to move themselves up the corporate ladder through whatever means necessary.
I have a few other things I might farm out to these very supportive and creative people. We'll see what happens with that.
In Other News
I've finished up my initial design pass on "Cybertech" add-on rules, including cybertech that characters can have, rules for hacking cybertech, and a few cybertechy monsters.
I'm about halfway through designing the "Cosmic Horror" add-on rules. For those not in the know, "Cosmic Horror" refers to things like H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, which features strange, powerful, unknowable, horrific creatures from beyond the edges of our perception. In M&A terms, think of a corporation whose board members have made unholy pacts with such a horrific being in exchange for wealth and power (and insanity, though that isn't something they expected).
Once I've fleshed out the cosmic horror stuff a bit more, I'll write a playtest adventure featuring both cybertech and cosmic horror to try out those rules. And then I'll be looking for playtesters again.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in playtesting.
So, there you go. Game on and spread the nerd!