Saturday, April 11, 2020

What Am I Doing??

We are in a global pandemic, it is entirely possible we Americans will re-elect a psycho reality show clown as President, and I turn 50 this year (if I live long enough). Yes, it's mass fucking chaos everywhere. Not cool, universe. Fuck off.

So in the midst of all this mess what exactly have I been doing? In terms of creativity, of course. Nobody wants to know what I'm eating for breakfast or what I do at my day job.

I've been keeping busy. I recently did a character sheet for The Other Side Publishing, I did a special Virtual Gary Con shirt design, I'm working on a GM-screen thingie for a client, and I did a cover for a future issue of Phantasmagoria. I have also turned down some recent offers because I am working on personal stuff and trying to keep my bandwidth under control.

What started out as a serious attempt to finally write my sand and sorcery game Dead Wizards, which changed to Sand in the Bone, morphed into a completely different game idea about a month ago. It is called GOZR (pronounced GO-zur). It is based on the same game system as Sand in the Bone but is entirely different in tone. Where Sand strikes a more serious tone, GOZR is balls-out sci-fantasy in the vein of early 80s romps like Heavy Metal and Wizards. It is an entirely visual game too. Meaning... I'm hand-lettering the whole fucking thing. And it's taking forever but I'm loving it. Something about doing hand lettering is relaxing and fulfilling to me. I don't purport to be great at it. I'm not a master letterer. But I have fun with it and I'm practicing the craft, hopefully getting better at it.

The game itself is an experiment. There's been no playtesting yet and I'm composing a lot of the rules, such as they are, on the canvas as I go. But it's a simple game without a lot of moving parts so I feel confident it will work. After all, there's not much new to the idea of rolling a d20 vs. a target number, is there? We kinda already know how that mechanic works.

The game is presented visually and is table-heavy. In fact, it's pretty much all tables. When it's all said and done you will be able to use this slim volume at the table even with little or no prep and run a fun romp of a game for a bunch of goofy bastards playing goofy bastards.

There is a The Pool element to the game. I made a few posts talking about Sand in the Bone's sand mechanic and GOZR, being more-or-less the same system, also has this mechanic. Here it's called GOOZ but it does pretty much the same thing. Spending your GOOZ lets you influence the game-story by adding facts or controlling outcomes, with a bit of a risk/gamble mechanic involved. I think this will be fun at the table.

I plan to run some GOZR for the Monday night group the next opportunity I get. This will definitely be before I finish it, so I can make tweaks if playtesting suggests it.

So that's what I've been doing, for those who are curious. More later.

Oh, I should caveat here. I have a long and proud history of getting heavily into an idea and then abandoning it. I make no claims that GOZR will actually be finished. However, I do tend to muscle through and finish things after some critical mass has been established. I have pumped many many hours into this thing so far. I have several finished pages that took a long time to complete. Plus this is a sci-fantasy romp... and I tend to greatly enjoy doing those. What I have a problem with is the more serious, dry projects. I am not good with that. So odds are this will actually see the light of day.

(Man, I'm so god damn honest when I'm blogging.)

Richard Corben... definitely an influence on GOZR.


  1. I really, REALLY, like the sound of what you're doing with GOZR, James. We need more gonzo. God speed, Man.

    1. Cool beans. I'll keep you posted right here on progress. I did not mention it here, but this is formatted like a comic book so it will be printed through Lulu (probably) in color comic book format.

  2. Hey, everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. GOZR sounds pretty good, just be sure to keep it away from the Key Master!

    1. "And this voice said "Zuul". And then I slammed the refrigerator door and I left."