Over the last couple of years, in addition to running my regular D&D games, I've discovered a growing interest in the creative process of writing and laying out supplements. Stuff like Theorems & Thaumaturgy, and the booklets I've produced for my upcoming Dying Sun campaign. I see this almost as a separate hobby. Rough hand-written notes are of course sufficient for most practical gaming needs, but (I guess like many people in the OSR scene) I've also found a lot of pleasure in making things "proper", and ending up with a nice-looking physical artefact to use in play and to potentially share with others.
Theorems & Thaumaturgy, for instance, could have just been a scruffy document on my hard drive and a scattered series of blog posts -- well, that's how it started out. But I think the collaboration with Kelvin & Cadanse (the illustrators), and Alex & Jim (proofreading / editing), and then the work of laying it out properly as a book, really paid off. I'm very proud of the end result, and had a lot of fun doing it!
So I'd like to do more stuff like this. (Albeit probably on a smaller scale than Th&Th... I'm thinking 16 to 32 page booklet sized projects.)
The trouble is, I'm not an artist. I unfortunately let my drawing skills drop off when I was about 13, and don't currently have the time or inclination to start learning again. One can, of course, simply use images grabbed off the internet -- which is what I did for the Ix booklets. Something produced in that way can't be legally shared with others though, as it's stuffed full of totally copyrighted images.
So what I had in mind was that it'd be really cool to find a creative partner. Someone who's into drawing pictures of weird D&D stuff, but not necessarily into writing (as I'm into writing but not drawing). (I have a great admiration for people like Richard LeBlanc and Gus L who can write and draw awesome stuff!)
Anyone who reads this blog has an idea about the kind of stuff I'm into writing, and Theorems & Thaumaturgy and Within the Radiant Dome (my module for Geof McKinney's Psychedelic Fantasies line) give a good idea of how my more polished stuff (i.e. more polished than a bunch of randomly meandering blog posts) looks. That should give an idea of the kind of flavour of material I'm talking about.
More concretely, some projects I've got in the works at the moment, which could be manifested into proper booklets, include:
- Dying Sun setting guide (split into separate player's and DM's booklets).
- Psionics supplement for Labyrinth Lord. (This is already written, but is awaiting some serious play-testing when I start running my Dying Sun games.)
- A rough draft currently entitled "Labyrinth Weirdness"... a collection of additional races, classes, equipment, rules etc to add some strange, gonzo, esoteric elements to Labyrinth Lord campaigns.
- Various short modules.
I know the "normal" way this works is that a writer/publisher who's working on a book pays artists as freelancers. But as I'm not really intending this as a "business", I just can't imagine getting into the world of paying professional artists big chunks of money to illustrate stuff. It's a hobby, and I don't want to get involved in big outlays and needing to sell X copies to recoup costs, and so on. (Not to say that's a bad thing... it's just not my thing.) That's also not to say that I wouldn't consider selling nicely produced materials for profit (naturally, shared with a potential collaborator), but rather that I want to keep this on the small scale, pocket money outlays/earnings level, rather than having to think about hundreds or thousands of $€£ expenditures.
So, is there anyone out there who finds this kind of collaboration a cool idea? If so, get in touch! (Either leave a message here, email me at the address in the sidebar on the right, or send me a PM on google+.)