Orctober Begins

It is October 1st. While the ghouls and ghosts rise from their graves to haunt the night, as the werewolves descend to share their cursed bite with swarms of bats swirling overhead, something else marches to join them. Something big, sometimes green, sometimes not. Something that looks right at home among the denizens of Halloween.

The orcs have arrived. It’s time for

orctober

For those who are new to Orctober, you can find a primer over on Fantasy Faction today, where Laura Hughes gave me a guest spot. For those returning and/or already familiar, welcome, friends.

Before we get into this year’s festivities, I’d like to take the opportunity to inform everyone that the kickstarter for the third Grimluk book, The Demons Within, is officially live! Get those early bird slots before they disappear!

Last year’s Orctober was a fairly successful event, in my estimation. Between having plenty to talk about, I had also just released Demon Haunted, and this year has a similar bend. I decided to go with a more cohesive theme for this year: Dungeons & Dragons. Partially to help me focus on content to post, partially because I’ve been playing my first full campaign this year after playing for the first time last summer and just digging into it with glee. On top of that, while I’m not releasing the third Grimluk book, I am running the Kickstarter campaign for it.

So let’s talk about what’s in store for the month.

First up, I’ll go over the current lore of the Orcs (including Half-Orcs) in Fifth Edition D&D. That will set up a couple of things for later revolving around tweaking the Orcs, for stats and lore. I’ll also be doing a big write-up on Gruumsh and evaluating his place as a Chaotic Evil deity.

Secondly, several of the creators form last year will be back this year with their own guest posts. Not everyone will be discussing D&D related topics but that’s hardly a problem. On top of that, we’ll be doing a one-shot D&D game which I’ll be recording and will be released towards the end of the month in mp3.

Thirdly, I’ll be doing some “Grimluk in D&D” type stuff, which will include a character sheet for our big hero. I’ll be doing two types of character sheets; one for D&D as written, and one for the changed rules I’ll be posting.

Somewhat related, while all this is going on, over on r/Fantasy, the Reading Resident Authors club will be reading Demon Haunted (which is currently still on sale for Kindle through Saturday night). If you’re interested and haven’t read it yet, that’s a pretty good excuse. There will be two discussion threads, the first on the 14th and the last on the 29th. And, once again, I’ll be doing a r/Fantasy Writer of the Day AMA on the 30th, where folks can come and hang out and ask questions and scream about Stranger Things season 2 with me. I’ve said it before, I know reddit can be a toxic place but, for the most part, r/Fantasy is a wonderful and chill place, so don’t be afraid to make an account and pop in.

Should be a good month. So brush your tusks, practice your war cries, and get ready.

D&D Fun

Hey all. Just wanted to let you know that DMsGuild finally let me upload all the files last week, so I got a couple of things to share. Both are pay what you want, so you could get them for free or you could toss a bit of change my way.

First up is the Fighter’s character sheet I made. I love the fighter class and it’s what I’ve been playing this year, so I decided to make my own character sheet, organized how I feel it should be organized. It’s very clean and I’ve been very happy with it. I built it and slowly tweaked it over a couple of weeks of play until I got it tailored to what it is now. For the time being, it’s only really useful for Eldritch Knights and Battlemasters. Champions don’t really have enough going on to warrant a reference sheet and I haven’t figured out a good design for the Purple Dragon Knight archetype from the SCAG book.

Second up is my own take on the Monster Hunter archetype for Fighters from the Gothic Heroes Unearthed Arcana article from last year. In all the feedback I found, the UA Hunter was deemed underwhelming and most people didn’t like that it was like a weaker Battlemaster, making use of superiority dice. I wanted to go at it to be more robust and unique, with a few features as shoutouts to the UA. No superiority dice and I’m definitely happy with strong it feels while still looking pretty balanced. I also included a version of my Fighter sheet with it. Very proud of how it all turned out.

An Ashe Update

A few quick updates today.

  1. There’s a new post up on Patreon about my experience with a tweet I made going viral a few weeks back.
  2. I’ve started work on Grimluk 4 and the second draft of book 3, The Demons Within. Keeping my word goal lower on book 4 at the moment, shooting for a 500 minimum daily goal. For Demons Within, I’m basically shooting for a chapter a day but that all depends on how much work needs to be done when I get to it.
  3. If anyone has any requests for Orctober, now is the time to make them. This year’s theme is going to be D&D related.
  4. This is your friendly reminder that the Kickstarter for The Demons Within will launch on October first! Had to change some plans on a reward tier but the new plan works pretty well, I think.

That’s all for now!

New Story And New Projects

First up, there’s a new story up on Patreon starring Gwen from the Grimluk series. It’s set a few weeks after the end of Demon Haunted.

Secondly, I’ve completed my plot summary for Grimluk 4 and will either be starting it soon or working on the second draft for Grimluk 3, The Demons Within. I haven’t decided yet. I’m still inclined to draft book 4 but I worry about having enough time to do the second draft of The Demons Within if the kickstarter is successful come November. I’ll figure it out soon.

I’ve also done a summary for a D&D module to work on along with basic ideas for a three-part module later on. This first one was me thinking a proper session 0 adventure would be good for newbies and would be a good way to introduce folks to the mechanics. The second will be a Curse of Strahd like campaign. I know Ravenloft stuff is generally pretty dark from what I’ve heard, but I love a good horror adventure so I thought maybe I’d do up a big story arc. Leaning towards doing it in three parts for all 20 levels of gameplay but we’ll see. I know planning for gameplay past like level 10 can get tricky because players are getting to be so powerful (especially magic-users).

Finally, as a side thing, I’ve started learning how to use the Unreal Engine and planning a video game project. Unreal is free to use and has a surprisingly simple UI. You don’t even have to know how to do any coding because it uses a visual system with nodes in place of handwriting C++ code. The ultimate goal will be to build either a 2D or 2.5D Metroidvania style game that’s heavier on the Vania. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at designing one for a year now and once I looked into what it would take to build one, I discovered a huge list of free programs to use and a huge community with tons of tutorials (especially for Unity). With Unreal, you only pay a fee for the program on release of your game and that’s that.

Who knows, maybe down the line I’ll make a Grimluk game. In any case, I’m picking at learning Unreal slowly. It’ll be a weekend thing. Making a game is a year’s long process, especially when you’re by yourself. We’ll see what happens.

And in other news, still getting things planned for Orctober but one item of note: Five of us will be playing a one-shot D&D game centered around orc protagonists (duh) and I’ll be recording it. Should be a fun time.

That’s all for now. Stay weird and be excellent to each other.

June News

It’s time for some news!

First up, there’s a new Patreon post up on dealing with creating art and Spoon Theory. It’s a bit rambly, and I’ll probably post it here as well next week, but there ya go.

Next up is less of a news item and more of a reminder. I’m still running a fundraiser to get a new car and medical stuff taken care of. I took my van in to have it looked at recently and the official diagnosis is that it does indeed need transmission work. I took it to a transmission specialist and the guy told me that I had two choices. The first was have them work on it, where they’d take it apart, fix it up as best they could, and basically hope for the best. That’s the cheap option. The second choice is they send my transmission out to be refabricated and it gets parts replaced and remachined back to factory specs. He also noted that I should do that if I want to keep the car for the next 3 to 5 years. On top of that, my battery contacts are extremely corroded and probably need to be replaced. So, along with all the other repairs and maintenance it needs, I’m looking at somewhere between $4-5000. And that’s provided they don’t get in there and find anything else majorly wrong.

What does that mean for the fundraiser? I don’t know. I’m honestly leaning heavily towards something newer still. I’ve already had to put a new engine in this thing once already and we had no idea on the mileage of said engine. I’m not hopeful that sinking thousands of dollars into it will keep it going until I can afford an actual car payment. That said, either way, I still need to raise thousands of dollars for medical stuff as well, so I guess we’ll just see where I can get to. If you don’t feel like donating, then considering becoming one of my patrons or gifting my books to people you’d think would enjoy them. Or yourself if you haven’t already read them.

For the final set of news, it’s a bit of a twofer. I’ll be doing some site maintenance soon, reworking a few areas, revamping others, and generally trying to make things look and work better. On top of that, it’s time to finally share the title of Grimluk 3!

The Demons Within

A little info about it: It will be a new adventure, set towards the end of the year after the first two books. Gwen will not be making an appearance, but there will be a host of new characters. This time around, Grimluk will be facing something he’s never seen before. A…thing from outer space. We’ll also be introduced to a new villain who will be recurring through the series. I’m fairly happy with most of the first draft but I made a lot of notes to improve things in the second.

I’ll be running a Kickstarter for the book in October. There will be a few less reward tiers this year, as I’ll only be offering this book but, if I can get it figured out, one of the tiers should prove pretty interesting and it’ll be a limited thing. I’m also looking at quotes for a couple of stretch goals in the event that they’re needed. And unlike last year, I won’t be taking to Indiegogo should the campaign fail. Tim Marquitz was nice enough to HEAVILY discount my editing fees as a friendly favor which allowed me to make use of the flex fund campaign on Indiegogo so this time it’s either full funding or I try again a few months down the line.

That’s all for now. Take care of yourselves.

Two Year Anniversary

It’s been two years since I released A Demon in the Desert.

Two years, man. It’s wild. Now I’ve got the third book drafted and I’ll be starting the fourth soon as well, with a Kickstarter for book 3 happening in October. I’ve learned a lot in the span of two years. I want to thank everyone who’s helped me and made this possible. Everyone who’s backed me, everyone who’s reviewed me, sent encouraging words, everyone who’s taught me craft and business. You’ve all been amazing. Who knows where things will be by year five!