December Content Update And Burden of Command Devblog

It’s the second week of the month, which means it’s once again time for another installment of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea. This month’s article continues covering the governance of the Unified Kingdom of Tierra, this time regarding the various ducal governments.

Remember that thanks to my supporters on Patreon, next month’s issue of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea will be joined by the first installment in a new column based on my second fantasy series: An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms. Those who pledge $1 a month will get access to both articles a week early, while those who pledge $2 a month get to vote on next month’s topics.

Speaking of the Fledgling Realms, The Cryptkeepers of Hallowford, the sequel to 2015’s The Hero of Kendrickstone, will release later this month. I’ll have a page up for it soon.

Last, but not least, I’ve written a development blog post on Burden of Command, regarding the importance of creating empathetic characters in narrative-based games, and how we are working to make sure that the members of the player’s company in Burden of Command will feel like complex and dynamic officers and men worth mentoring, leading, and protecting.


November Content Update

It’s the second week of November, and that means it’s time for another installment of The Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea. This month’s installment focuses on the mechanics of Royal Governance in the Unified Kingdom of Tierra, as the first part of a two (or three) part series about Tierran governance from the highest to the lowest levels.

As usual, this month’s article was funded by my supporters on Patreon. Those who donate $1 a month or more get access to articles a week in advance.

In addition, we’ve just hit the $300 a month tier, which means I’ll soon be doing two articles a month, one on the Infinite Sea, and a second one on the Fledgling Realms, the setting of The Hero of Kendrickstone, and its upcoming sequel, The Cryptkeepers of Hallowford, so look forward to that.

An Update on Hallowford (and October Content Update)

So, about two weeks ago, I submitted the text-complete version of The Cryptkeepers of Hallowford for review by Choice of Games. Since then, I’ve been receiving and incorporating feedback notes from both CoG and my regular beta testing group. Once the current cycle finishes (tomorrow or  thereabouts), I’ll be doing one last round of revisions (which will involve mostly cutting or streamlining repetitive text and testing the import system) before doing the remaining art, the reference materials, and finally sending it in for copyediting, hopefully, sometime before the end of the month.

With luck, I should be able to get a release date sometime in December or January.

In other news, the latest installment of The Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea is now up. As usual, you can support future articles by donating to my Patreon. Anyone contributing more than $1 a month gets access to new installments a week before they come out here.


September Content Update (and more!)

The September installment of The Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea is up. This segment covers the last part of the Wars of Unification, the birth of the Tierran state, and the circumstances that led an implacable enemy of the Unified Kingdom like Leoniscourt to end up joining it.

As usual, this worldbuilding content was funded by my Patreon. If you’d like to see more, then feel free to donate. $1-a-month Patrons get access to articles a week in advance, while Patrons at the $2-a-month tier get to vote on what topic I tackle for the next month.

In other news, I’ve finished the last chapter of The Cryptkeepers of Hallowford this week. There’s only the epilogues to wrap up before we go into post-production. Hopefully, we’ll be releasing at the end of this year, or the beginning of the next.

August Content Update

It’s the second week of the month, which means it’s time for another installment of The Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea.

This month’s article is a continuation of last month’s coverage of the Tierran Wars of Unification. This time, we cover the climactic battle of the First War of Unification, the foundation of the Unified Kingdom of Tierra, and the socio-political forces which led to Tierra’s unique breed of constitutionalism.

This article, as always, was funded by my supporters on Patreon. If you’d like to see more of this kind of content, feel free to pledge here. $1-a-month Patrons get access to these articles a week in advance, while higher supporter tiers get a say in what articles I write next.


July Content Update

Another month, another entry in the Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea.

This month’s installment is the first part of an overview of the Unified Kingdom’s early history. It includes a few names which you may find familiar, interesting, or both.

As always, Patrons who donated $1 a month or more got access to this article a week in advance, so if you don’t like waiting until the middle of the month to get access, you know where to go.

Announcing: Burden of Command

A lot of you have been waiting a long time for this announcement. I’ve certainly been waiting a long time to make it. Now that the project in question has finally been announced (with the help of a rather nice article from Rock Paper Shotgun), I can finally reveal what I’ve been working on.

Over the past year, I have been working alongside some supremely talented people as a writer on Burden of Command, a tactical RPG set during the Second World War.

In Burden of Command, the player takes the role of a company commander in the 7th US Infantry Regiment, a unit which not only carries a distinguished legacy dating back to the War of 1812, but also spent three years fighting in the European Theatre of Operations. The 7th (nicknamed “The Cottonbalers” after the story that they used bales of cotton as cover during the Battle of New Orleans) slogged through some of the hardest and least-known battles in the Theatre (Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Anzio Landings, Operation Dragoon, and the liberation of Southern France, to name a few).

Although Burden of Command has a lot of wargaming pedigree and its combat takes place mostly on a 2d hex map, its campaign not just merely a string of historically accurate tactical scenarios set up so that the player can push nameless counters across a static map, towards an arbitrary objective. The player doesn’t just control a handful of impersonal icons representing a rifle company. The player fully inhabits the role of the company commander, both on the battlefield and off. The player’s company is made up of vivid personalities, each custom-written with their own idiosyncrasies, mindsets, and histories. Some even have troubled pasts and hidden agendas. It’s up to the player to earn their trust and respect by managing their subordinates’ doubts, their fears, and their crises of conscience. Making the wrong decision in dealing with a platoon commander could lead to consequences on the battlefield. Keep alienating him, and the player could start a long-term feud, or even push him to the breaking point.

The mental dimension of war is a huge factor in Burden of Command. Not only can events on and off the battlefield wear at the nerves of the company’s platoon commanders, but they can also affect the player character’s own mental state. Embracing a certain way of looking at the situation around them can open up some options, but it can also close off others. Looking after nearly two hundred disparate individuals in the middle of a war is difficult enough. Doing so while also having to carry out orders which will put your company in harm’s way, and while trying to maintain a clean conscience could be enough to drive a player’s company commander to mental collapse at a time when decisive, competent leadership could mean the difference between life and death.

And there will be death. One can hardly make a game about war without it. The only characters who are safe are the historical figures who survived the war. Ordinary soldiers, platoon commanders, and even the company commander can be wounded or killed as a result of the player’s decisions, on or off the battlefield. Ultimately, the responsibility for who gets to go home in one piece and who doesn’t rests on the player’s shoulders, and we have done our very best to make sure that this essence of command will be a heavy burden to bear.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this project, and I hope that at least some of you are just as enthused as I am. Over the next few months, I’ll be occasionally posting some general updates regarding the state of the project. I’ll also be detailing some of the unique gameplay and narrative design elements I’m particularly proud of as we close in on our planned release date sometime next year.