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Posts Tagged ‘Spirit of the Century’

A Two-Fisted, Pulpy Election

November 4, 2008 2 comments

Fred Hicks of Evil Hat Productions has a special Election Day promotion running on his LiveJournal:

Spirit of the Election

A special offer in celebration of election day!           

Write one paragraph in the comments, here, detailing your fictional or real election-day adventures (whether you’re choosing to vote or not!) in the style of a pulp adventure and I’ll work it so you get a special code to either:

– Buy Spirit of the Century in PDF for only $5 (normally $15), or
– Buy Spirit of the Season in PDF for only $1 (normally $5), or
– Both!

This offer ends at midnight, so get your comment in soon!
Read more.
Drop by and share your two-fisted tale of democracy in action and score some awesome deals to these two great books.

To join the celebrations, I decided to add my own short tale, featuring some of the characters from Spirit of the Season:

It was a nice November morning, cool but not cold; the kind of temperature you can get away with just wearing a nice jacket or duster. Absentmindedly, when leaving the house, Judah Hammerstein had grabbed his mystic duster instead of his regular one. “Expecting a fight at the polls, are you?” Matthew D’Israeli teased him when they met downstairs. “Hey, winter’s just around the corner, and you know what the snow tends to bring.” They both laughed it off as they walked to the polling location. 

Judah stood in the long line waiting for his turn to cast his vote. Sitting on a nearby bench, still visible from Judah’s current place in the line, Matthew happily gulped down the stash of roast beef-on-rye sandwiches he’d brought. Not yet a citizen, Ben had to sit this election out, though he certainly hoped to remedy that for the next one. About twenty feet ahead, he was pretty sure he saw Codenames Dancer and Prancer in their civilian guises also waiting for their turn at the polls, and he briefly wondered where Nick Saint and the rest of the Reindeer Men voted. Uptown? Brooklyn? Queens, maybe?  

His reverie was abruptly broken when a scream erupted from within the polling place, immediately followed by dozens more. Chaos exploded as people ran in all directions. Chairs and desks flew through the air, some almost landing on a group of frightened citizens save for Matthew’s quick reflexes and brick-hard fists. In an instant, Matthew was at Judah’s side, with Codenames Dancer and Prancer, now in full costume, joining their allies scant seconds later.

“Good to see you, girls,” Matthew greeted the twins. “Live nearby?”
“What do we have here, Hammerstein?” Prancer asked, ignoring Matthew’s question.

From the building where people were supposed to be doing their civic duty emerged a figure clad in a red and black military uniform, chest covered in what seemed to be hundreds of tiny golden medals, a flowing cape catching the autumn breeze. “Flee, you insignificant plebes! I declare the Election Day at an end. For now begins my time as sole ruler of this nation and the world! Say good bye to democracy and say hello to THE DESPOT!!!”

Dancer chuckled. “The Despot? Is that the best he could do?”
“And here I thought we still had a few weeks to wait before the busy season. Good thing I grabbed this duster this morning, eh, Matthew?” Judah said something in Hebrew under his breath and instantly the foursome were surrounded by crackling mystic energy.
“I say we get this done fast so you chaps can get back to your voting,” Matthew said as he cracked his knuckles.

Nodding in agreement, as one, the quarter pounced forth to deliver two-fisted justice.

Spirit of the Season PDF – Now Available

Note: Though this isn’t a Highmoon Media Productions product, I did write for it, so I’m sharing the news and helping to promote it.


It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year… For EVIL!The miserly villain Doctor Scrooge hides behind legal technicalities as he steals from the pockets of the impoverished… explorer-gone-mad Jacques Frost preys upon the peoples of the north with his resurrected prehistoric murder monsters… the immortal Baroness Blackheart quests for the Elixir of Life, threatening to destroy all foundations of happiness for mankind… meanwhile Antiochus the Defiler and his spectral Seleucid Squad attack anything sacred or holy…

… and it’s up to Nick Saint — Codename: Secret Santa! — his Reindeer Men, their Chanukah allies, and you to save the holidays from their vile clutches!

Spirit of the Season is a holiday treat from the minds of Evil Hat Productions and Atomic Sock Monkey Press. Featuring characters and new rules compatible with both Spirit of the Century and Truth & Justice, Spirit of the Season is your ticket to two-fisted holiday pulp adventure!

Inside you’ll find:

  • A bevy of ready-to-roll heroes for holiday-themed one-shots and beyond
  • Five dastardly villains you can harry your characters with no matter the time of year
  • How to create pulp-style characters using Truth & Justice
  • New rules material for Spirit of the Century including Mystic Spellcraft and Companions Reloaded
  • Two heaping handfuls of plot ideas for kicking off two-fisted holiday pulp

For those who downloaded the free version during Christmas season 2007, this upgraded version contains over 20 pages of new material, including the aforementioned Mystic Spellcraft rules—as well as Empathy-driven minion stunts for heroes!

Written by: Chad Underkoffler, Fred Hicks, Daniel M.  Perez
Art by: Christian N. St. Pierre

Now Available in PDF from RPGNow!
$4.99

Also available in print from Evil Hat Productions.

Spirit of the Season v2.0 & Thoughts

March 5, 2008 3 comments

From the product page at Indie Press Revolution:

SPIRIT OF THE SEASON [Print + PDF Preorder]
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
Authors: Chad Underkoffler, Fred Hicks, Daniel Perez
Format: 72 page digest-sized perfect-bound book PLUS PDF
Ships: By Mid-April
Price: $12.00

The miserly villain Doctor Scrooge hides behind legal technicalities as he steals from the pockets of the impoverished… explorer-gone-mad Jacques Frost preys upon the peoples of the north with his resurrected prehistoric murder monsters… the immortal Baroness Blackheart quests for the Elixir of Life, threatening to destroy all foundations of happiness for mankind… meanwhile Antiochus the Defiler and his spectral Seleucid Squad attack anything sacred or holy…… and it’s up to Nick Saint—codename: Secret Santa!—the Reindeer Men, their Chanukah allies, and you to save the holidays from their vile clutches!

Spirit of the Season is a holiday treat from the minds of Evil Hat Productions and Atomic Sock Monkey Press. Featuring characters and new rules compatible with both Spirit of the Century and Truth & Justice, Spirit of the Season is your ticket to two-fisted holiday pulp adventure!

Inside you’ll find:

  • A bevy of ready-to-roll heroes for holiday-themed one-shots and beyond
  • Five dastardly villains you can harry your characters with no matter the time of year
  • How to create pulp-style characters using Truth & Justice
  • New rules material for Spirit of the Century including Mystic Spellcraft and Companions Reloaded
  • Two heaping handfuls of plot ideas for kicking off two-fisted holiday pulp

For those who downloaded the free version during Christmas season 2007, this upgraded version contains over 20 pages of new material, including the aforementioned Mystic Spellcraft rules—as well as Empathy-driven minion stunts for heroes!


Back in December, Evil Hat Productions put out the free version of Spirit of the Season as a cool gift. I immediately downloaded it, since I knew it was coming from having read Fred’s LiveJournal. As I related back then, I loved the supplement, but had an issue with something in it, namely the way Chanukah had been included in the product. Fred eventually got wind of my post and emailed me. We spoke about the reason for my dissapointment, and I made it very clear that I thought they had done a good job, and that the problem I was having was not their fault directly. Fred let me know the product would be revised and expanded into a for-pay version, so there would be the chance to get things right. I told him I would be delighted to provide any help I could, even help write stuff if it was ok with EHP. It was, and Fred invited me in to write the Chanukah section of the expanded Spirit of the Season.

I pitched a couple of ideas I had, and after the new year, we buckled down and hammered (no pun intended) out the expanded Chanukah section, with me doing the initial design and then having that knead like dough, shaped, baked and turned into a showbread by Chad Underkoffler and Fred Hicks. The result was an amazing new section that presented a number of new heroes, new villains and new mechanics, all of which fit the theme perfectly and, in my humble opinion, made the general book an even better product.From that short stint collaborating with Chad and Fred I gained a number of valuable lessons, including how to manage a multi-author collaboration, the flow of a project that needs a quick turnaround, and the fact that Chad Underkoffler is more productive, faster and creative than 99% of designers I know because he is a robot… from the future (seriously). If I gained nothing else from this opportunity, these lessons were more than enough, because they immediately impacted my own business, my own writing, and I stand to reap benefits from that for a long time to come.

Ultimately, the reason why I feel so elated over this book coming out is because I was able to do something good for Judaism. One of my stated goals in creating my company was to be able to spread Torah by the one means I am good at, games (to become, as I put it back then, the Matisyahu of Gaming). I have never been closer to that ideal than with the material I wrote for Spirit of the Season. It’s not overt at all, it’s not dogmatic in the least, and frankly, it’s almost not even an issue in the text. Except that the whole section, each character, each background story, each goal – heck, even the mechanics I sketched and then Chad and Fred created – all of that exudes Torah, it is all permeated with the lessons I have learned in the last 6 years of studying Judaism and then becoming a Jew. That this opportunity was given to me by another party means a lot, that it came from what was originally a misunderstanding, that (to quote Fred in an email to me) we were able to “turn the lemons of my initial disappointment into lemonade,” and that this worked in perfect accordance to the Torah principles that from the lowest shall rise the greatest and that G-d always sends the cure before the malaise, all these things fill me an inner joy that is simply amazing.

So many thanks to Fred Hicks for listening to me, for taking my concerns seriously, for inviting me to become a part of the solution and for giving me the opportunit to work with Evil Hat Productions. Thanks also to Chad Underkoffler for turning what were some ideas and ideals and fleshing them out into fantastic material which in turn inspired me to write more and better than the previous draft; during this project he was Prof. Salomon Mizrahi to my Juddah “The Hammer” Hammerstein, except in a good way, the way that those two kabbalists should work together one day.

Now go and preorder Spirit of the Season, because it truly is a great book, full of action and excitement, and some awesome new rules for your Spirit of the Century and Truth & Justice game. Go play.

Bothered, And Bothered by It

December 2, 2007 8 comments

I made the following post to a forum I frequent, but I also wanted to post it here to get feedback from some folk not on that forum. Let me very clear up front that nothing in this post is against the publishers of the product.

—–

So yesterday, the awesome folks at Evit Hat put out Spirit of the Season, a free supplement for Spirit of the Century that’s very much holiday-season oriented. It presents Nick Saint, aka. Secret Santa, and his Reindeer Men, as they battle against a bevy of Christmas-based foes like Dr. Scrooge and Jacques Frost. The supplement is excellent, as is to be expected from EVP, and I’m both thankful to them for putting it out, and enjoying it very much. I say all this to be very clear that everything that comes below is all about me, not about Fred or EVP.

Now, when I first read that this was coming on Fred’s LJ, I asked him, “Do we get some Channukah love in there as well?” to which he replied, “Not *really*, since the idea revolves around a Santa figure.” Peachy. He then goes on to mention the product may be expanded in a for-pay version that might include some Channukah-themed pulpy goodness as well. Yay.

Cut to yesterday when I get the PDF and as I am looking through it, and enjoying the reimagining of the tropes into cool pulpy characters, I run into Stories of the Season, a series of adventure hooks, and into this (pg. 43):

CHANNUKAH IN PERIL!
At the start of Channukah, in old Palestine, in the city of Jerusalem, Baroness Blackheart has unearthed a cache of consecrated oil dated from before 70 AD and the destruction of the Temple She intends to corrupt the oil’s purpose in her alchemical pursuit of the Elixir of Life! Can Nick Saint and the Reindeer Men brave international politics and reclaim the oil from Blackheart before this holy relic is lost forever to her sinister purposes?

And immediately the grin I had on my face vanishes and I get this very uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. A million thoughts are racing through my mind: Fred said there’d be no Channukah stuff in there, so why this? Santa Claus has to go save Channukah? What kind of crap is that? Why is there no Jewish pulp hero to take down the Baroness’s ass and save Channukah the way Judah Maccabee did it centuries ago? Why am I so fucking bothered by this???

Why, indeed?

I thought I was overreacting; I was going to post this last night but I said, no, let me sleep on it and see how I feel in the morning. I feel the same way.

The simple solution is to take matters into my own hands and create the aforementioned Jewish pulp hero that can defend Channukah: Agent Makav (Hammer) and Team Menorah. I’ll write it up and get some art done and voila. That part is taken care of. But that doesn’t address why I got so upset over this.

I think it’s because of the appropiation of my holiday. To wit, Channukah is not that big a deal in the Jewish holiday cycle, at all. Important, yes, but not one of the major ones. The only reason Channukah has this level of visibility is because it falls during the Christmas season and American Jewry has turned into a sort of Jewish version of Christmas, which it isn’t, at all (but that’s for another topic). Nevertheless, at a time when I can’t step out of my house without being bombarded with Christmas imagery (seriously, my neighbors across the way have this huge and very tacky inflatable snowglobe that makes the most horrendous noise), when I can’t go to buy my groceries without having to pass a pine tree honor guard, when I can’t put gas without getting an earful of “Jingle Bells” or “White Christmas” or whatever Christmas song was released by whatever pop star, Channukah is my own symbol that I can cling on for a bit of sanity. Seeing menorahs all over the place (I live in Miami Beach, so there are quite a few of us around here) raises my spirit and gives me an anchor to hold on to in a sea of wreaths and manger scenes. And just to be clear, I have nothing against Christmas; I obviously don’t celebrate it, but the rest of my family does (but again, that’s another topic).

So when I read that Santa Claus has to go all the way to Jerusalem to stop a plot to destroy Channukah, it irks me, big time. It’s not like there’s a team-up between gentile and Jewish pulp heroes to bring down evil, just the guy in red. We have been, effectively, written out of our own holiday.

And this isn’t about Evil Hat. Whoever penned that section wrote a kickass adventure seed that actually sounds very cool. This is about how I perceive it as an appropiation of my one beacon of light during December. And I still feel like that, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Am I overreacting? Fellow Jews, do you see what I’m getting at, or does it not make a difference to you? Comment away.

Spirit of the Century

Spirit of the Century

I broke down and finally got Spirit of the Century; I ordered the book/PDF combo from Indie Press Revolution, and I am already anxious to get my book. I’ve been hearing nothing but great things about Spirit of the Century for the past few months, especially in various of the gaming podcasts, and I have been drooling over the FATE System which powers SotC, amazed at its conceptual simplicity yet robust ability, and wondering how can I use it to power new products for Highmoon Media. Even cooler, there’s at least two new FATE-powered games in development out there–Houses of the Blooded by John Wick and Far West by Gareth-Michael Skarka–that promise to take FATE in new directions and have super cool concepts to look forward to.

At least I have the PDF to nibble on before the main course that is the 420-page (!) book arrives.