[Pugmire] November Update!
Hello, everyone! Have you all been good dogs lately? I hope so, because it’s time for this month’s update!
PUGMIRE PLAYTESTING AND MANUSCRIPT
I got the edits back a couple of days ago, and I’ve already started diving in. (I needed to get the background material to the anthology writers, so it made sense to use the latest version of the files.) So far, it looks like Dixie did a great job, and I expect I’ll have her edits reviewed and integrated in no time.
From there, I’ll incorporate relevant playtest comments from the Google Doc. Over the past month I checked in a few times just to make sure everything was going okay. While I got some unusual and downright random comments, I also got a lot of fantastic feedback which has been immensely helpful. I’ve already turned the document to view-only, and once I’m done with everything I’ll be deleting it, so hopefully everyone got their feedback in by the 1st. Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment and test out the new systems!
I also had a great conversation with Rich Thomas and Mike Chaney about the art direction of the book. They had some great ideas to make the book even better, and Mike’s going to do a test layout to check and see if our page count estimate is accurate (since this book is a smaller size than most Onyx Path products). Rich has also been doing reference sketches for all the characters, and they’re looking great!
Rich adds: I’ve been steadily working away on the descriptions of known Pugmire NPCs that Eddy sent me, including a fair number of our NPCs sent in from our Kickstarter NPCs Reward Tiers. These aren’t the “Artist Model” rEwards, but those reference shots will also be in play as we send them to our artists to include in their illustrations. Generally, I’ll draw in pencil the Pugmire NPC character with an eye towards their profession, social status, and breed, using reference photos if those have been included. Pugmire clothing styles are deliberately a bit of a mix of our historical periods, in that the Dogs have some documentation of how Man dressed that they aim at duplicating, so they aren’t evolving their fashion as humanity did through the centuries. One recent fashion innovation, though, that has been met with some mixed feelings, is a tendency for the younger Dogs at court to wear more heavily decorated and involved clothing than previous generations did. Some have attributed this to a “cat influence” coming about as the cat/dog conflict became more of a cold war and trade was normalized.
I’ll scan the pencil art in, tweak the tones and sometimes clean up the sketch a bit in Photoshop, and then add written notes for the artists on colors and details. I also collect the scans into a “line up” in order to compare heights so we get a feel for their relative sizes, as shown here.
MONARCHIES OF MAU
I spent a chunk of the past month thinking over how to approach Monarchies of Mau. I wrote up a short pitch document for it, similar to what I sent way back when I first approached Onyx Path about doing Pugmire. That led to a great conversation with Rich and a few other people, and I’ve got a pretty good idea of how I’m going to proceed with the game featuring our feline friends. (I was also able to incorporate some of those ideas back into the Pugmire book, so the Mau material there lines up with what I’m thinking now). I’ll take chunks of the Pugmire manuscript and use them as the basis for “Monarchies of Mau Early Access.” From there, I’ll write the new material. Since I’m not doing the whole thing from scratch, putting MoMEA together should be relatively quick, and it’s something I can work on between discussing art and layout on the core Pugmire book.
OTHER PUGMIRE STUFF
I’m discussing outlines and initial ideas with the leads of the fiction anthology and Pan’s Guide, but I expect those will start taking off soon!
Meanwhile, the Pugmire Earplay has been moving forward. I’ve hashed out the design and chapter outlines so Dave Grossman can go over them and help me pull out the best parts. From there, we’ll move into scriptwriting, and then recording! I’ve also gotten tentative agreements with potential leading actors, who I can’t wait to announce! More information will come out soon, but so far things are looking great.
Working on audio drama helped me to think about some different nuances of the Pugmire world. For example, way back in my very first story “Winter of Man,” I had a line about how dogs and cats had different languages, but I was never happy with how the permutations of multiple languages have played out. This led to some particular snags in casting the audio drama, as well as some of the design.
Talking over some of these issues with Rich, we hit on the idea that perhaps the Old Ones developed a universal polyglot that was taught to the various uplifted animals. Over the years, that language has evolved a bit, so dogs and cats have their own lexicon and syntax, but the core of the language is still universal. This felt really good to me, and it also cleared up another point of the lore: the so-called “mystical language” of humanity is actually a jumble of all the pre-polyglot languages. I’m going to make a few minor adjustments to the other products to reflect this, but it goes to show that working on Pugmire in different mediums helps make the whole world stronger!
MIDWINTER GAMING CONVENTION
As we have for the past couple of years, a good chunk of the Onyx Path crew will be heading out to Milwaukee January 12th – 15th for Midwinter Gaming Convention. You can find more information at http://www.midwintergamingconvention.com/.
There will be a ton of Pugmire things there. The Wrecking Crew will be running games of Pugmire, and I’ll host the first-ever session of Monarchies of Mau. I’ll also be testing out some (yes, more than one) prototypes of Pugmire-themed card games I’ve been working on. On top of that, my friends at Earplay are also coming out, and on Sunday we’ll have some cool stuff to show you — maybe even a sneak listen of Pugmire on Earplay. Midwinter is certainly turning into a great place to try out the very latest Pugmire ideas!
AND EVEN MORE!
And there’s even more, but not much I can talk about at the moment. I’m in the process of sorting out a licensing agreement for a potentially fun Pugmire-related project. I have some early ideas for the non-interactive audio drama. I’m brainstorming fun and achievable stretch goals for the Monarchies of Mau Kickstarter next year. Trust me — the Pugmire train isn’t slowing down anytime soon!
Which means I need to get back to work. I’ll have another update for everyone in December!