Category Archives: side projects

A Quest for Work-Life Balance, A Place for Questions, and Final Events…

As I sit down to write this, it’s just after midnight, and I’ve done a thing that I don’t normally do during the fundraiser.

I’ve taken an evening off.

Well, let me be clear. I did have a little meeting around 4:30. And I did make a couple calls to people to see if they might be interested in helping to read the early chapter of Doors of Stone with me if we hit our stretch goal. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about with that, you’ll have to check out Yesterday’s blog.)

But it was only, like, 3 calls. And it was worth it, because I got Homestar Runner on the project. And it was only a 40 minute meeting, which was worth it because I got to tell someone designing a graphic, “Pick a font that looks like Goku said it, then add an extra exclamation point.

But other than that, I just spent time with my boys. We had dinner and ate some cake. We played a bit of a game, talked about our feelings, and then watched some youtube videos. We hugged and cuddled and made nonsense jokes. I tried to relax and was mostly successful.

It’s something I’m working on. This whole work-life balance thing. Where I take time away despite the fact that we’re *right* and the end of the fundraiser and there’s about a hundred things I *could* be doing to tweak or nudge things along. And I’m the only one who can do them. And if they don’t happen right now things will will go off the rails…

It’s made easier by the fact that when I refreshed things on my phone, I saw we’d broken a million dollars. And we’d done so without me actively having my shoulder to the wheel the whole time, which is a really helpful thing for me to realize.

I’d like to thank y’all for that. Partly because I know you folks who care enough to tune into the blog are a lion’s share of the people who have been donating, and also helping to spread the word about the fundraiser and the prizes and stretch goals.

So thanks. Thanks for being good, and wanting to make the world a better place. Thanks for helping me roll this rock. We’re killing it this year…

I’m also *very* pleased that folks seem to be liking the new stretch goals I up on my team page. Including the *very* good graphics we keep updating and improving. The fact that y’all have been steadily donating there means I’m going to be hopping back on the stream early tomorrow to to try and make some progress against the Ender Dragon before I have to cough up TWO favor rings.

But it will have to be early, because after that, it’s a big day. Because in case you missed it before….

Pat's Streaming Schedule for 12/14

These are three pretty big things. And y’all don’t even know what that second one is, because I’ve been keeping it secret. But I’m excited to share.

Oh, speaking of, if you have questions for the Q&A, you can submit them here.

There’s going to be a *lot* of people on the livestream tomorrow, so it will be harder than normal for me to pull them straight out of the chat. Plus, I know not all of you can tune-in live….

Also, here’s a specific graphic just in case you didn’t notice the third thing on the schedule tomorrow.

Disco Does D&D

Yeah. Really. That’s going to be happening on my twitch channel tomorrow to help raise awareness of the Worldbuilders fundraiser.

What a wild world we live in. I can’t imagine what my mom would think if she was still around. She watched Star Trek when it originally aired. When I was a teenager she introduced me to it, and we stayed up late to watch it together on the weekends. When Next Generation came out, we tuned in for the premiere and groused about how weird and wrong the new ship looked… then tuned in every week to watch the new episodes faithfully, getting over our bullshit and quickly growing to love it….

What would she even think of what my life looks like now?

So… yeah. That’s what I’ve got tonight. I’m going to stop refreshing he fundraiser page and go get some sleep.

I’ll see y’all tomorrow. It’s going to be fun.

pat

Also posted in Ask the Author, boding, Book Three, My Mom Would Like This Blog | By Pat24 Responses

Concerning Minecraft, Faerie Bargains, and an Early Peek into The Doors of Stone.

Okay. There’s a story I’ve been wanting to share here for a couple days, but with all the chaos of the fundraiser, I haven’t been able to manage it.

Sorry it’s taken so long, as it’s related to Book Three, and I know that’s something everyone here is interested in to some degree or other.

So here we go:

Once years and miles away, there was a man who loved books, and games , and stories. He did not consider himself wise, but was still wise enough to know he was happiest when he was being a bit of a fool. He was an odd sort, beset by melancholy, and often felt as if he didn’t fit into the world. He was uncommonly lucky, and uncomfortably honest, and he always kept his word.

All of this taken together led some folk to wonder if his mother had been visited by the sort of odd folk who always seem to be showing up in the dark hours just as children are being born. The sort of people that leave no footprints, and speak oddly, so it’s hard to tell if they’re good oracles, bad poets, or merely self-important busybodies who lack proper jobs and have too much time on their hands.

Other people suspected it had nothing to do with events surrounding his birth. Instead they thought perhaps he had a demon riding in his shadow, or a single drop of faerie blood, or that one of his long-forgotten ancestors had lay down among the Gorse…

His name was Patrick Rothfuss. Those who knew him, knew he enjoyed a good wager. But those who knew him better knew the truth, and that was that he *loved* a wager, especially if it was reckless and unwise….

*     *     *

About a week ago, we fired up our yearly Worldbuilders fundraiser.

It’s going pretty well so far, by the way. As I write this, we’re just on the cusp on unlocking a new chunk of Matching Money….

As you can see from this year’s swank thermometer, it’s not just direct donations that will help us hit that goal. We’re also factoring in bids on our vast array of auction items and all the holiday shopping y’all are doing over in the Worldbuilders Market.

And as many of you know, I’ve been doing a lot of streaming over the last week. Talking about the charity. Playing games and doing various promotional events.

None of that is particularly new, of course. I’ve streamed a lot to promote the charity over the last 5 years.

What *is* different is that this year, I decided to kick off the fundraiser with a Marathon Minecraft Stream (TM) where I vowed to keep playing until I beat the Ender Dragon or my actual human real-world body failed me.

(Fig 1. promotional graphic.)

It was just some goofy fun. I enjoy Minecraft, but I’m not great at it. I’ve never beaten the Ender Dragon, or even made it to the end. I’ve never even found to the Stronghold or made an eye of Ender, now that I’m thinking of it.

And I knew it beating the game would take longer than normal because I’d be pausing to give away prizes and talk about charity. And I hadn’t played Minecraft much in the last six months, so I was pretty rusty….

Even so, I was pretty sure I could do it. I mean, I’ve seen people beat the whole game on youtube in under twenty minutes.

I know I’m no speedrunner, it might take me 8-9 hours. But that’s nothing. I’ve streamed 14 hours straight in previous fundraisers. Plus, I knew that me struggling and sometimes failing would be just as fun for people to watch as me succeeding, if not more so….

Fast forward. Charity is going well. Money coming in. People watching the stream. My Minecraft run was…  unimpressive. I was playing the long game, and making methodical progress. Hadn’t died. But I had no diamonds. No enchanted gear. No real lucky breaks. My base was a haphazard hole in the ground. The opposite of a hobbit hole. My farms were like something Dante would have written about if he wanted to scare cows into being better Christians.

Fast forward. More money. More stream. My boys came in to cheer me on. They brought me water and cuteness and comic relief. Perfect pit crew.

Fast Forward: I read the boys their bedtime story live on the stream (a chapter from Something Wicked This Way Comes). Then I went to tuck them into bed and came back to do charity and search for diamonds. I was fully prepared to play straight through the night until I had to drive them to school in the morning, then come back and keep soldiering on until I finally won or collapsed.

Then came the first wager. In a fit of hubris, I bet the chat that I could beat the Ender Dragon before they raised $100,000 on my team page. I dared them. I taunted and cajoled….

…I told them if they won, I’d read them the prologue of Book Three.

And thus the deal was made.

(Would you buy a used car from this man?)

But life is what happens while you were making other plans. My boys had been vaccinated that day, and over the next 4-5 hours, when I went in to check on them, they were increasingly sweaty and restless. So after 12 hours I bowed out of the stream with the blessing of the chat so I could go be a good dad. Because when you wake up sweaty and sick in the middle of the night, it’s nice to have your dad right there ready to take care of you…

And then, packing lunches, and school, and organizing and promoting the fundraiser, and scheduling events and being a dad…

… and I honestly I forgot about the wager.

But forgetting doesn’t make a wager go away. And, to make a long story short, after picking up my playthrough on my stream two days later, I lost.

So I brought to bear the fullness of my power. I summoned up the fullness of my will and wit, my terrible persuasion. All this and more I focused on the folk who were tuned in to the stream. And thus I spoke:

Yes they’d won wager. I would read them the prologue. Absolutely. They had it. Fairly fought and fairly won.

But a prologue. What is that, really? Just a taste. A tease. A paltry page. It’s barely a bite. A meager morsel for those whose hearts are hungry for a story.

Wouldn’t they like a chance to win… more? To wager what they’d won in hope of greater gain? Wouldn’t they like the chance for More? More secrets? More story?

Thus I offered them a second wager.

Their stakes: the prologue they had fairly won.

My stakes: Three things. Three secrets from Temerant:

  • I’ll read the prologue of The Doors of Stone live on stream.
  • I’ll provide a full, self-contained, spoiler-free chapter of Doors of Stone.
  • I’ll share some early, finished pages of my the comic I’ve been working on for years with Nate: the illustrated version of the Boy That Loved the Moon.

This is what I offered the chat of the livestream. A chance not just to win, but to win so much more….

But only if they raised more money for charity. Only if they got the donations on my team page all the way from $100,000 to $333,0000.

BEFORE I beat the Ender Dragon.

And then we took a vote:

I’ll embiggen the relevant portion myself so you can see…

(As you can see, the folks who follow my stream enjoy a wager too)

And so the deal was struck.

And now, even if you weren’t there, you know the story.

And t’know what? As a gesture of good faith, I’ll give you the first page of the comic right here and now, out of the goodness of my heart…

(Never let it be said I do not bargain in good faith.)

So. If my team page hits $333,333 before I beat the Ender Dragon. You win three things.

If I beat the Ender Dragon first, you lose.

That’s the Wager.

I’ve taken a break off from my playthough to manage the fundraiser and run other events. Also, I promised I wouldn’t continue my run until I’d made the announcement here on my blog to let y’all know the whole story. To let you know what was happening. What the stakes were. And as you all know, I keep my promises.

But I’ve done it now. Shared the news. Told told story.

As soon as I post this, I’m jumping back onto my livestream, and will be heading for the Ender dragon with marked determination. Because I *do* love a wager. But I also always play to win.

So. The clock is ticking.

Here’s the link to my Team Page.

Come at me.

pat

Also posted in Beautiful Games, Book Three, calling on the legions, cool news, graphic novels, hubris, My brilliant ideas, my dumbness, My Iconoclastic Tendencies, Nathan Taylor, Stories about stories., upcoming publications, video games, Warning: Mild Literary Faffery, Worldbuilders 2021 | By Pat36 Responses

The Tak FAQ

Well folks, we’re in the home stretch of the Tak kickstarter. Since my last blog on the subject we’ve launched some new stuff, like a much-requested cloth board and the opportunity to buy Devi’s board separately from the boxed set, so that more people can afford to pick it up.

1a5e006cecaa06cf2593880636d5887a_original(Also available in the appropriately-named Gaelet’s Pack.)

As I write this, we’ve just topped $800,000 in the kickstarter. Almost 7,500 people have jumped in to play with us, and there’s only four days left for people who want to get in on the action. So if you know of anyone who might be interested, this would be the time to ping them.

Since we started the kickstarter, I’ve been fielding questions here in the comments of the blog and on twitter. But some of them have come up enough that it feels like we’re overdue for an FAQ.

  • So… I thought Tak was just a different name for Go.

Nope. Sorry. Different game.

  • Is this game accessible to the blind?

A little, but ultimately, not really.

When this question first came up, I thought we were pretty good. The pieces have different shapes, so you can tell them apart by touch. What’s more, the Arcanist’s board has grooves, so you can even feel the squares.

But then I looked into it, and saw what a game really needs to be usable by the blind. Among other things, it requires pieces that can’t be accidentally knocked over. And that would involve us prototyping some sort of pegged pieces and a pegged board to go with it. And there just isn’t enough time.

My suggestion? Maybe start a conversation in the Tak subreddit and see if someone has and idea about adapting the pieces. Or if you have a 3D printer, you could design and print your own pieces that are more blind-compatible. There’s a plethora of options.

  • Can I make my own set?

If we weren’t cool with that, we wouldn’t be encouraging people to do it as a stretch goal. We know if you play the game you’ll like it and probably want to pick up a copy. But to play it, you’re going to have to make up a set.

Luckily, you can throw a set together from almost anything:

ChL3heKVEAAFBdn(Like Post-its.)

And play almost anywhere:

ChmDkW-W0AAfrxG(Like the Great Wall of China.)

Some folks have gone really crazy making their own sets:

CiRg7EqXEAIsaFj(Like this one made of iron. I think of as the Anti-Faen set.)

And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface, if you want to see a bunch more photos, you should check out the #Takgamephoto hashtag on twitter.

  • Can I make sets and then sell them?

Well… no. You shouldn’t do that. Because that’s kind-of a dick move.

Remember the kickstarter we’re running? Where we are… y’know, selling the game that we made? Selling something that belongs to someone else isn’t really a cool thing to do. Above and beyond the legality it’s just not respectful. James hammered this lovely, elegant game out of the pure awesome in his brain. And you know how he makes a living? Wait for it…. he sells games.

So yeah. Don’t do that. Kinda rude.

  • Why does it cost actual money to ship this thing? Don’t you have a magical teleporter to Europe?

Okay I know that’s not what you guys are actually saying, but the truth is, it kinda *sounds* like what you’re saying when you complain about how much international shipping costs.

I know it’s pricey. But please keep in mind that international shipping requires a box being carefully packed, then moved thousands of miles. This requires multiple planes and trucks. Multiple people. It is complicated and hard, and hard things cost money. I mean, there’s a *reason* spice used to cost so much, and it’s not just that the Fremen had a monopoly.

That said, we are sympathetic to your plight. And we were wondering if there was a way for multiple people to order games together and save on shipping. So we asked Carol, the true Mistress of Shipping Questions over at Cheapass, and here’s what she gave us.

I’ve fielded a few direct messages from people, and explained that all they need to do is back for one person (at even just the $5 level), and then do their add-ons through the pledge manager for up to another 10 games. That lets them see the exact postage as they go, and select the precise collection of products they want for their friend-group or buying club.

So there you go. Just team up with some friends and everyone saves money.

  • I have an idea for a rule change!

We’re pretty confident in the rules at this point. We wouldn’t have launched the game if we weren’t sure that the game was good.

  • I AM FROTHY WITH RAGE THAT YOU’RE MAKING THIS GAME AND NOT THE ONE I JUST INVENTED IN MY HEAD.

1. That is not a question.

2. I am happy you have a game in your head. You should make that game.

  • How can there be an Edema Ruh board or University board if Kvothe has never played before?

There’s a game I’ve played my whole life called euchre, and I’m guessing that 90% of you haven’t ever played it. Most of you have never played Go even though there’s probably group of devoted players in your nearby college or town. Ditto with bridge, or Sheepshead. Or any of  number of very common games.

Relax. Kvothe was only 12 when he lost his troupe, and he’s been kinda busy since then. Most importantly, not everyone experiences everything a culture has to offer.

  • I still don’t really understand how to play the game…

We have a video that will help with that.

  • How high do you think the kickstarter will go?

I honestly have no idea. Before we started, I was kinda hoping we’d get past $500K, but we passed that more than a week ago. I really don’t know where things are going to end up.

At this point, I’m just trying to be happy that so many people have been enjoying the game.

CiTPYTIUYAAJIhS

That said, I *have* been spending a lot of time over at Kicktraq. There’s a bunch of graphs and charts that juggle the kickstarter data over there, and I’m mildly addicted to it. Here’s a link if you’re the sort of person who likes graphs.

If you have any other questions, feel free to comment here on the blog, or drop them over on the kickstarter itself, where James and his crew will tackle them.

Later Space Cowboys,

pat

P.S. And a final link to the Kickstarter, for those of you would like to go check it out directly.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, FAQ | By Pat54 Responses

Update, FAQ, and Bast With His Shirt Off

Okay, there’s been a lot happening with the kickstarter in the last couple days, so today sharing some news. That will be the first part of the blog.

People have also been asking a lot of kickstarter question, so I’m going to answer a bunch of those. That will be the second part of the blog.

I will also be sharing art, making jokes, and engaging in my usual verbosic circumlocutions. But those will just be mixed through the entirety of the blog, as opposed to being in one particular place.

As I’m writing this, the Pairs Kickstarter has just passed 150K. So….

  • The Faen Deck Is Now Available

This is actually kinda old news by this point, as it unlocked at 130K.

Still, some celebration is in order, so here’s a picture of Bast with his shirt off.

3-Bast_v2-4

(Because I love you.)

  • Now Starring Veronica Belmont and Hank Green’s Butt

After I posted my last blog I started to think about the different cards in the Faen deck. Among the most interesting of these, for me, is The Mortal Guest.

Because what sort of Fae revel would it be without a mortal guest?

Then the question becomes, who would that mortal be? A farmer? A milkmaid? A tanner? And what would those guests be doing? Dancing? Singing? Cavorting?

It occurred to me that it would be a lot more fun to have several *different* mortal guests, each behaving according to their own desire.

So I gave Veronica Belmont a call, because a while back we’d talked about her lending her likeness to a different project. She thought being a Mortal Guest in the deck sounded like fun.

What would she like to be doing at the Faerie Revel, I asked. Singing? Dancing? Cavorting with…

Cavorting, she said. Cavorting with hunky faerie boys.

I’m not sure at what point I decided to call Hank Green, but it was an easy mental step for me to take. In my opinion, someone willing to film himself seducing a tree belongs at a faerie revel.

Hank was delighted to be invited. When, in the interest of full disclosure, I explained to him that there would be some mild cavorting going on, he said he’d happily allow his mortal likeness to be seduced by faerie women, if it was required for the artistic integrity of the deck, that is.

I also explained that… well… there was going to be some gentle nudity in the deck too. Felurian would be naked, because….

At that point, Hank burst out with something along the lines of, “You can totally show my bare ass!”

In that moment, my heart grew three sizes. And I realized I wanted nothing so much in the world as to show Hank Green’s naked ass in this deck of cards.

Those were the 140K stretch goal, and the 150K goal, respectively. Nate’s preliminary sketches are *amazing.*

If any of this bothers you, you probably want to check out the FAQ below, specifically the part titled: “How Sexy is the Faen Deck Going To Be?”

  • Party at PAX

Those of you who have done a few kickstarters know there are typically some high-end donation levels up past 1000 dollars.  I’ve heard them referred to as “Patron Levels” and not only do they offer up some cool perks, but they give people a chance to throw money at a project if they *really* want to show their support.

People were asking if we were going to add a level like that, so we did. It’s for a Pairs release party during PAX in Seattle.

At that level, you get twelve decks, the coin, the bookplate…

bookplate-sketch2[3]

…and all the other goodies included in the 120 dollar level. In addition to all that, you get a swag bag full of additional swag, too.

PLUS you get two tickets to the Pairs release party with James Ernest, Shane Tyree, Paul Peterson, myself, and whatever other cool geeks we manage to round up. And, given that it’s going to be PAX weekend, there will be some awesome geeks in town.

Personally, I’m hoping Phil Foglio will be there.

We’ll eat good food, hang out, and play games. If Catan is available, I will systematically play and destroy all who dare oppose me. Maybe we’ll be playtesting tak by that point. Or corners.

If only a few tickets sell, it will be a cosy affair. If more tickets sell, we’ll upgrade to full shindig level with a bigger venue where everything will be extra fancy and we’ll have some kind of hot cheese.

So now you know.

  • FAQ:

 

Can I order internationally?

Yes, the shipping just costs a little more. Details are right on the kickstarter page.

What decks are there again? What’s been unlocked?

There’s a new graphic showing this on the Kickstarter, but let me steal it and post it up here so everyone can see without having to click through:

Card display

(Click to Embiggen)

Why don’t you have a color Modegan card yet?

Well…. that’s my fault. I picked the hardest card in the Modegan deck to work on first, The High King. There’s a lot of iconography and detail work to get right, especially as this is the first glimpse of Modeg any of you are going to have. I spent hours on it with Shane… then realized it was all wrong and we had to start over.

Shane is a saint, really. He puts up with me being a real freak.

But the result ends up being some *beautiful* art:

Cards

Rest assured you’ll be seeing a couple cool examples of the Modegan Deck before too long though.

Are we going to hit 200K and unlock the Girl Genius Phil Foglio deck?

Absolutely. The last days for a kickstarter always end up huge. We’ll hit $200K easy.

 

Why did you bring in Hank and Veronica?

Short version? I thought it would be fun.

Long answer is the same as when I brought in Neil Gaiman and Felicia Day in the NOTW deck.

Some of these decks are going to be limited edition?

Yeah. The plan is for some of the decks to be re-printed indefinitely, showing up in game stores and conventions. Odds are they’ll retail for 10-12 dollars.

Other decks won’t be re-printed. They might only be sold in a few places after the kickstarter. And when they’re gone, they’re gone.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that the core deck will stay in print. Probably the Modegan deck too. Maybe… Pirates and Barmaids too?

Honestly, I’m just guessing right now. The best thing to do right now is if you want a deck, buy it now. If you want to have a spare deck, or one to give away as a gift, you might want to buy that now too….

So… just how sexy is this Faen deck going to be?

Apparently a non-zero number of people are concerned about how risque the Faen deck is going to be.

Unfortunately, there’s no solid metric that I can give you. I can’t say something like “It’ll be PG-13” because that means different things to different people.

Instead, I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t buy the Faen deck:

  • If the thought of seeing Felurian’s naked ass on a playing card will give you apoplexy, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If the thought of seeing Bast dance naked around a fire horrifies you, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If the sight of a bare breast will ruin your day, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If the thought of faeries seducing some mortal makes you uncomfortable, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If seeing a picture of two hunky elf dudes kissing will terribly offend you, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If Hank Green’s nude butt is going to freak you out, don’t buy the Faen deck.

On the other hand, if you like the thought of a deck of cards where consenting fictional characters cavort around playfully, some of them in moderate undress… well… then this deck might be for you.

Now is the deck going to be all full of nymph coochie and big wangly elf dong? No. I hope you know me better than that. (I’m saving that for my urban fantasy series.)

The Mortal Guest cards will be kinda naughty. Felurian will be naked, seen from behind. Remmen is currently wearing a loincloth and his cloak of autumn leaves. There will be hunky Fae boys with no shirts on. And that’s about it. Nobody’s going to be fucking a horse or anything. I’m not looking to do the Faerie version of Caligula here….

In brief, if you think this deck isn’t for you? It probably isn’t for you. The solution is to not buy it. That would be the right choice.

The *wrong* choice would be to buy it, unwrap it, look at it, get a magnifying class so you can see every tiny detail on the Faerie Revel card, become so angry you vomit molten bile, then have a stroke and die.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

I’m kinda confused about how I buy the decks I want…

Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you sign up at the 16 dollar level. You get one deck. After the kickstarter is finished, you get to pick your one deck from all the ones that have been unlocked.

If you sign up at the 42 dollar level, after the kickstarter is over you can pick out four decks. So you could grab 1 core deck, 1 princess deck, 1 Phil Foglio deck, and 1 copy of Falling, because you like the thought of playing a game where the object is to be the person who’s hitting the ground last.

Or you could buy 2 Princess decks and 2 Modegan decks.

Or you could buy 4 copies of the Faen deck, because you’re dirty.

 

But here’s the thing, once the kickstarter is over, it’s *over.* You won’t be able to add more decks after the kickstarter is closed.

Fair warning.

pat

Also posted in cool things, Dionysian force, Nathan Taylor Art, sexy | By Pat53 Responses

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle – Part II

Those of you who have been around for a while know about the picture book I wrote a while back.

Some of you might even have heard me read it story-time style. It’s huge fun to read to a crowd, and I do it whenever a venue has sufficient AV setup available, because, y’know, picture book. With pictures.

Princess cover

(It’s not what it looks like.)

  • Side Note: we just recently managed to get more hardcover copies back in stock at the Tinker’s Packs, if you’re interested in picking one up. They were impossible to find for a while….

As I said. I’m guessing most of you who read the blog already know about this book, since it’s been out since 2010 and I’ve talked about it on the blog several times since then.

What I’m guessing most of you *don’t* know is that about a year ago I wrote up a script for a sequel. Since then, the fabulous Nathan Taylor has been slaving away in the art mines, hewing beautiful graphics from the living rock.

I have to say I really like this arrangement. I spend a couple days writing a script, then get to turn the story over to someone else for, let’s be honest here, most of the heavy lifting. It’s so nice compared to having to do all the work on a story myself….

Anyway, we’ve finally reached the point where we’re announcing the book all official like:

The_Adventures_of_the_Princess_and_Mr_Whiffle_the_Dark_of_Deep_Below_BandW

(Click to Embiggen)

Those of you who have read the first book know how amazing Nate’s art is. When I teamed up with him that first time, I knew he was good, but I didn’t realize how good. The quality of his work really amazed me. He turned my amusing little story into something really brilliant and cool.

So imagine my surprise when I started to see the finished art for this second book, and it was even better than before. Like all real artists, Nate is always developing his craft, and as a result he’s even more amazing now.

For example, in my script, I wrote. “I want something imposing. This is no mere door. I want a fucking eldritch portal.”

Nate worked on it for a while, then sent met this:

The_Adventures_of_the_Princess_and_Mr_Whiffle_Page_Thirty_One

I said, “Yes. I think that is sufficiently eldritch.”

So what (I hear you ask) is this second book about?

Well… you should know by now that I don’t go in for spoilers. But I’m not opposed to offering up a bit of a teaser that doesn’t give anything away….

For one thing, the Princess gets a younger brother.

The_Adventures_of_the_Princess_and_Mr_Whiffle_Page_Three

(Say it with me: Awwwww….. )

For another, in this book the Princess goes exploring in the Deep Below.

And no, that’s not a spoiler. Why? Because it’s in the title of the book. It’s called “The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Dark of Deep Below.”

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There are a few versions of the book available for pre-order over at Subterranean Press.

The first is the lovely hardcover with the nice paper. The same format as the first princess book.

The second is the limited edition. That one’s leather bound, and signed by both me and Nate. Plus it has extra concept sketches from Nate, a color dust jacket, and will include my original script write-up (parts of which are pretty funny, if I do say so myself.)

The third is the lettered edition which has everything included in the limited version, AND its own slipcase AND a piece of unique hand-drawn art by Nate himself.

Fair warning, the Limited Edition of the first book sold out in less than 24 hours. So if you want one of these, you might want to make your order sooner rather than later.

Or you could just wander over there and take a sneak peek at more of the teaser pictures.

It’s your call…

pat

Also posted in Nathan Taylor Art, Subterranean Press, The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle | By Pat73 Responses

Concerning Games, Torment, and a Sense of Play

Let me tell you a story.

Well, actually, let me tell you a story that consists of several stories. And it’s *about* stories.

This should not surprise anyone, really. This is what I do.

*     *     *

Back in 2009 I attended Gen Con as author Guest of Honor. It was one of my first GOH gigs, and at a convention I’ve been attending off and on for most of my adult life.

That said, I was still a pretty new author in 2009. I only had one book out, and had only been published for two years. People came to my signings and panels. I had fun. But honestly, I wasn’t a very big deal.

Wandering around the dealer’s hall, at one point someone came up to me and said, “What makes you so honorable?” When I gave him a baffled look, he pointed down at the ribbon on my badge that said. “Guest of Honor.”

“Oh,” I said. “I write books.”

“Oh,” he said. And walked away.

*     *     *

After taking a break from Gen Con for a couple years, I headed back in 2012. I wasn’t GOH or anything, and was mostly going to play some games and hang out with friends, including my new bestie Robert Gifford of Geek Chic.

But in 2012 I’d been published for *five* years. And I had *two* books out. I’ve hit #1 on the New York Times. I’ve been hugged by Felicia Day. I’m not really a big deal, but I’m certainly a bigger deal than I ever was before….

The difference was most notable when I walked around the dealer’s room. People would stop and say, “Are you Patrick Rothfuss?” And we’d stop and chat a little bit. One particularly memorable couple came up to me and said, “That’s the best Pat Rothfuss cosplay we’ve ever seen! The beard looks so real!” and asked to get a picture with me.

I won’t lie, it’s kinda fun. One of the main reasons I go to conventions is to meet up with my readers. My readers are lovely people.

Still, I was surprised at how *many* people recognized me. Artists, dealers running their booths. Catgirls.

On Sunday, a tall dark stranger came up to me and said, “You’re Pat Rothfuss, aren’t you?”

“Yup,” I said. We shook hands and I read his badge. “Nice to meet you Colin,” I gestured to the vast panoply of geekery around us. “How do you fit into all of this?”

“I write games,” he said.

“Role Playing stuff? Computer games?”

“Both,” he said. “I worked on Planescape back in the day…”

“The computer game?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Planescape Torment?” I asked.

He nodded again.

“You are fucking kidding me,” I said. “I was just talking to someone about Torment. That was one of the best games I’ve ever played.”

He looked at little surprised at this, “Wow,” he said. “I….”

“The narrative was brilliant,” I said. “It’s been ten years, and I haven’t known a game to come close to it.”

“Well…”

“I mean you had honest-to-god open-ended character development that was an integral part of the main narrative,” I said. “Nobody else has ever pulled that off as well. It was amazing.”

“It…”

“I still remember the interaction you could have with some of the NPC’s,” I said. “You actually had to be clever talking to them. You could offend them and piss them off. The writing was solid and smart. You had a branching narrative that still felt cohesive and engaging. I’ve never seen that handled so well except for maybe in the early Fallout games.”

“…”

“And the dialogue,” I said. “It was great. How the hell do you manage to write things like that? To keep track of all the different ways a conversation can go…?”

Eventually I shut up long enough for him to tell me he liked my books. We traded e-mail addresses, and he offered to show me what the dialogue trees looked like when you’re writing a computer game.

I was happy as a kid at Christmas.

*     *     *

A couple months later, in November, Colin and I chatted a bit.

“We’re going to be writing a game that will follow in Torment’s footsteps,” he said. “Good character. Good story.”

“I’m tingly at the very thought,” I said.

“Want to help write some of it?” he asked.

“Oh shit,” I said. “Yes. I’ve always wanted to take a poke a writing a computer game.”

“Cool,” Colin said.

“No,” I said. “I want to, but I can’t. I have to work on Book Three.”

“We don’t want you to write *all* of game,” Colin said. “Maybe just a side area. Subplot. A piece.”

I made a miserable noise. “I can’t.” I said. “My editor would be pissed. My readers would be pissed. I’m already behind schedule.”

“That sucks,” he said.

“Yeah,” I said.

I’m paraphrasing a bit, you realize. But the sentiment is dead-on. When I said “no” I felt like a kid who had to stay inside and practice the piano while all his friends got to go eat ice cream and have awesome sex on the moon.

Nate's illo

*     *     *

January 2013.

Colin: You sure?

Me: I really can’t. Revision is going slow. I should keep grinding away.

Colin: Fair enough. I understand.

*     *     *

March 5th

I bring in Colin McComb, Jerry Holkins (From Penny Arcade), and Veronica Belmont (From Sword and Laser) to talk about videogames and storytelling on Storyboard.

It ends up being one of my favorite episodes so far, probably because everyone is passionate and outspoken. Colin, Jerry, and Veronica all know so much more than I do on the subject, and that’s great.

(Sorry. It’s embedding ugly. Just click over to Youtube.)

Colin mentions the upcoming Torment game. They’re going to launch the kickstarter tomorrow. They’ve got a lot of great creative people on the project.

During the panel, I get a little crotchety about modern games. I make some noises along the lines of, “Video games are pissing away the storytelling opportunities available to them. There’s bad writing. Foolish mistakes. When I was a kid….”

Jerry steps in and says, “We’re at the helm now. If we see these things we don’t like, it’s our fault. […] We can’t just point at it and expect the universe to fill it.”

It’s startling to hear. But he’s right, of course. I know he’s right.

*     *     *

March 6th

InXile launches their kickstarter for Torment: Tides of Numenera.

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They raise over $2,000,000 in less than a day. It seems like I’m not the only one who remembers those old games fondly.

*     *     *

March 7th

I realize the story I’m trying to write for an anthology isn’t working out. It’s my second attempt to write a story to fill this obligation I agreed to more than a year ago. I’m months overdue, and I feel like an asshole.

I need to get this story done and out of the way so I can get back to working on book three.

Though honestly, those revisions aren’t going that well either. It feels like a grind. It’s going slow.

*     *     *

March 10th

I’m at the Tucson Festival of Books, eating Pizza with Sam Sykes, Kevin Hearne, and Diana Gabaldon.

Sam Sykes says, “We’re at our most creative when we’re at play.” Then he tells a story about a famous director who would send people home for the day if they were taking their job too seriously.

And he’s right, of course. I know he’s right.

*     *     *

March 11th

Coming home from Tucson, I think to myself, “Fuck it. When I get home, I’m going to start a new story for that anthology. Something fun.”

*     *     *

March 12th

I decide I’m going to write a story about Bast.

I have no idea what the story will be about. I have no plan. I have no plot in my head. Honestly nothing.

When I teach, I stress that writing is not merely a communicative process. People think writers are effectively engaging in transcription. We have something in our heads, and we just write it down. That’s how people think stories happen.

But that’s not how it works. Writing can be communication. But most of the time, writing is a generative process. The story comes into being as it’s being written. It’s about discovery. Assuming you have to know what happens before you sit down to write is a rookie mistake.

So I sit my ass down. I decide I’m going to take my own advice. I’m going to write even though I have no plan. I’m going to write and see where it takes me.

I’m going to be irresponsible. I’m going to play.

At the end of the day, I’ve written 4,500 words.

*    *     *

March 12-16th

I write 16,000 words. Good solid words. That’s not even counting the crap I trimmed out and threw away. I finish the Bast story except for one or two small scenes. It will be a great fit for the anthology.

I feel great. I’m excited about writing again. I think about revising book three and it sounds fun. I want to get back to it.

If you don’t know how much 16,000 words is. Let me put it in perspective for you.

If I wrote 16,000 words every week. By the end of the year I would have produced over 800,000 words of text.

That’s twice as long as The Wise Man’s Fear.

If I can maintain my sense of play. I could easily write a book a year.

A book a year *plus* all the other things. Fun little stories. Poems and songs. Maps.

Games…

*     *    *

March 17th

I call Betsy, my editor. She’s glad to hear the writing’s going well again.

She’s not surprised that a fun side project has helped refresh me. She’s knows how writers’ brains work. She knows more about it than I do, actually. That’s her job.

She’s a great editor.

*     *     *

March 18th

I send Colin an e-mail. Then I decide to call him, instead because I know we’re getting down to the wire.

“Do you still want me?” I ask. “I know it’s kinda late.”

“We’d love to have you,” he said. “We can add you as a stretch goal.”

“How much writing are we talking about here?” I ask.

“Maybe 10,000 words,” Colin says. “More if you like. Less if you need it to be less.”

“Could I maybe help with some of the character arcs too?” I ask. “I’m pretty good with character. You could use me as a sounding board if nothing else, and ignore me if you think I’m being an idiot.”

“Um…. let me think,” Colin says sarcastically. I can hear the smile in his voice. “A chance to chat with you about stories and character development. I think the answer to that is…. yes. “

I want to for so many reasons. But still, I hesitate.

“We’ll pay you of course,” he says. He names a number. “I could get you more, if you need it.

“That seems fair,” I say. “I don’t want to put the squeeze on you.”

Then a knee-jerk instinct kicks in. “However…” I say in my best used-car salesman voice. “I do run a charity….”

“You mean Worldbuilders?” he says.

“Oh,” I say, pleasantly surprised. “You’ve heard of it.”

“Of course I’ve heard of it,” he says.

“Well,” I say slowly. “This year we started accepting corporate sponsorships….”

“I can make that happen,” Colin says. “I’ll talk to the boss, and one way or another, we’ll make it happen.”

“Okay,” I say. “You’ve got me.”

 *     *     *

So there you go. Pretty soon, within just a couple of hours, they’re going to be announcing my involvement in the project.

You can go and check out the Kickstarter over here.

I’m not going to lie. I think it’s going to be an awesome game, and I’m not just saying that because I’m writing a piece of it.

If you’re on the fence, here are a couple reasons to consider jumping into the kickstarter.

1. If you’re planning on buying the game eventually, it’s cheaper to buy it now.

2. If you know you’re going to want to try it later, chipping in early means they’ll be able to make it an even better game. More development money means more content.

3. If a healthy number of my readers rush over and jump onboard, I get to look kinda cool to the developers. They’ll think things like, “Oh, maybe we didn’t make a horrible mistake bringing that Rothfuss guy in.”

4. You have to give these guys credit for supporting Worldbuilders. That’s mighty damn nice of them.

5. This is the first step in my extended master plan. If this goes well, it means we’re *much* more likely to see a Kingkiller game. More importantly, a Kingkiller game I’ll be able to have a direct hand in. Personally, I think that would about a thousand flavors of awesome.

Later Space Cowboys, I’m off to sleep. I’ve got a story to finish tomorrow….

pat

Also posted in concerning storytelling, cool news, Stories about stories., Tales from the Con, The Story Board, video games, videos | By Pat152 Responses

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle

Those of you that have been around for a while probably already know about the picture book I did with Nate Taylor a couple years back: The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed.

The book was published back in 2010, but it’s been out of print for a long while. With the exception of the few copies we’ve had up in the Tinker’s Packs, people haven’t been able to get hold of it anywhere….

But now it’s being re-released in paperback. It’s got a new cover and everything….

They’re also doing a limited edition with a color version of the old cover, too.

[Edit: this limited edition version has a color cover. Just like I said above. Just the cover is color. Not the whole thing.]

What’s really interesting to me is that Nate (who did the coloring here) obviously thought of her dress as pink, whereas I’ve always thought of it as blue.

The new versions of the book have an new author’s note from me, if you’re into that sort of thing. But better than that, they have pages of Nate’s original concept sketches with both of our handwritten notes all over them. It was really neat for me to see those again after all these years….

Best of all, the folks at Sea Lion books are kicking a portion of all the profits raised from the sale of the book toward Worldbuilders this year. To start off, they’re donating 10% of each sale toward the fundraiser, but if they sell enough books, they’ve agreed to boost that percentage up to 15% 20% or even 25%

Personally, I think that’s really cool.

So. If you’d like to get a copy and help out Worldbuilders at the same time, you can pre-order it directly from Sea Lion over here. (The limited edition color-cover version is currently on sale, too.)

You can order it from other places, of course, but if you pre-order it there, then Sea Lion makes more money on the deal. Which means that Worldbuilders makes more money. And, in the interest of complete honesty, Nate and I get more money too.

Fair-warning: the pre-order sale will be done pretty soon, as the books will be shipping before Halloween.

Also I’m not sure how quickly the limited-edition color ones will sell out. The limited copies of Unfettered sold out pretty fast after I posted up the link….

Just so you know,

pat

Edit: A few more questions that Sea Lion noticed in the comments below and has asked me to answer.

1. The limited edition *will* come with the “This Shit is Not For Kids” sticker.

As always, I feel a slight twinge about this sticker, which on casual inspection makes my book look like a Caldecott Award winner. But then I remind myself that any parent that buys a book for a child based on an award sticker they don’t even read, deserves what’s coming to them.

2. The limited editions will still be for sale after Halloween, but they won’t be on sale. That’s just for the pre-order.

 

Also posted in cool news, Nathan Taylor Art, The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat54 Responses
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