One of the best things…

One of the best things about writing an RPG set in the Ancient Near East is that there’s always new resources being published…

One of the worst things about writing an RPG set in the Ancient Near East is that there’s always new resources being published…

A Handbook of Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Near East by Douglas R. Frayne and Johanna H. Stuckey was published this month by Eisenbrauns. It’s a much better resource than something like Black and Green’s Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, which most non-academics default to in this area.

The inclusion of Elamite and Hurrian deities is especially helpful to yours truly.

A Brief Update for 2021

Šumma awīlum marrūtim īriš-ma itêšu ubbiršu
awīlum ša marrūtim īrišu iddâk u itêšu marrūtīšu akkal.

I’ve known I’ve needed to post an update for the past few weeks, but I’ve put it off repeatedly. Why? After a prolific year and a half, I’ve fallen into a habit of un-productivity; I just haven’t been able to focus on writing for the past few months.

It long ago became cliche to attribute annus horribilis status to 2020. And that might be a part of what ails, even though it feels particularly ungrateful to complain about it. Unlike many of my fellow Americans, I continue to have a decent, rewarding job, my family and close friends are all healthy and (thus far) Corona-free, and I somehow managed to stay sanguine even as the US political system suffered spasms of disfunction and disorder.

The short of it is that I’m doing fine, but I haven’t made much progress on anything I feel comfortable publishing at this time. And in a way, that’s all right as well; I write because I enjoy it, not because I have to.

In the coming weeks, I’m hoping to reassess the myriad half-finished Scrivner documents I currently have active. Who knows, maybe I’ll be in a place to announce something soon?

The Doom of Ešnunna…still happening?

Those who have been paying attention to Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed since the first edition days will know that almost three years ago I began writing a supplement focusing on the kingdom of Ešnunna. The initial drafts of this work — provisionally titled The Doom of Ešnunna — encountered multiple false starts and other delays. Eventually I abandoned it altogether when I made the decision first to revise the original edition of BFJB, then to dispense with the OGL altogether in favor of a new edition with a rule system of my own devising.

Throughout the writing of both the second edition of BFJB and the Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea, I cannibalized the research and my work on the initial draft of this Ešnunna supplement. A significant portion of this contributed to the “gazetteer chapter” of BFJB 2.0 (§14). It also formed the basis for the plot elements that eventually evolved into CCoM.

All that said, several of my favorite bits from the Doom of Ešnunna draft remain unpublished. These include a discussion of the history of Ešnunna, biographies of several important historical personages, and a handful of adventure suggestions. Not a week has gone by since the publication of the second edition of BFJB that I haven’t opened the Scriviner file containing these pieces and tinkered with them.

Moreover, since the release of CCoM in August, I feel that I’ve been floundering creatively. Since 2014, the various writing projects I’ve undertaken (both under the Šukāmu Press aegis and elsewhere) have not only been gratifying in and of themselves, they’ve also provided a needed distraction from the pressures of my work life.

That said, over the past week I’ve resolved to finish The Doom of Ešnunna one way or the other, with the ambitious goal of releasing a completed PDF by the end of the year. Based on its current state, I’m projecting that it will be roughly the same length as CCoM, even if structurally, it will be very different.

So then, it’s time to “get back on this horse” so to speak. Three releases in the span of a calendar year (four, if you count my Ryuutama supplement Ravin’ Under Dark) is a pretty decent track record for someone who is essentially a one-man operation and maintains a law office and trial practice.

Let’s see if I can do it this time…

Now Available in Print: The Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea

The Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea is now available in print. You can read more about it here, or jump on over to the product page on DriveThruRPG.

A few more pictures of the final product:

Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed 2.0 is DriveThruRPG’s Deal of the Day!

The Second Edition of Babylon on Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed is DriveThruRPG’s deal of the day. This means that you can purchase the PDF for $8.99 instead of the regular $14.99 price. You can take advantage of this deal here.

BJFB 2.0 also received a very nice review on DTRPG, a portion of which is excerpted below:

The single best reference of Mesopotamian/Bronze age information for rpgs – there is none better. Well worth the money. Everything a player or GM would need: names for both sexes in 5 languages, culture, professions, weights and measures, maps, locations, hooks, threats, religions, gods, monsters, weapons, tools, magic etc, etc.

Dominic W., reviewer on DTRPG

Of course, I still maintain that the best way to own BFJB 2.0 is in print. “Deal of the day” sales don’t apply to DTRPG’s print-on-demand products (because of the costs of printing a physical book). However, as always, purchase of the print version means you immediately receive a free copy of the full PDF version.

First Print-on-Demand Proof of the Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea

After spending a week in postal service limbo, I received the print proof of the Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea.

I’m really happy with how this turned out, but before I release it into the wild, I want to fix that white space on the spine.

I’ve already sent an updated cover to DriveThruRPG. But, as with all print products, I want to approve a final version before I release it for sale.

If everything goes as planned, I’m thinking it should be up towards the end of August.

The Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea Released! BFJB 2.0 Back in Print!

It is a great relief to report that the issues with the print edition of the Second Edition of Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed have been resolved, and it’s available again via DriveThruRPG’s print-on-demand service.

That said, we’re also releasing the PDF version of our new adventure setting, the Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea. You can read more about this product here, and purchase it here. I’m currently awaiting a proof of a possible print version.

I want to thank DriveThruRPG’s customer service folks for all of their help this week. The situation was frustrating, but I was very happy with their prompt response.

Update on Release Dates, BFJB 2.0 Print Edition, and General Frustration

As I discussed in my previous post, an inadvertent error on my part led DriveThruRPG to think that I had updated the files used in the print edition of the Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed Second Edition rulebook. When this happens, DTRPG automatically removes the customer-facing print option until their printer approves the files and the individual publisher verifies a print proof. This basically returns you to day one as far as your print-on-demand product is concerned.

I’ve discussed the matter with DTRPG’s publisher relations today, and the best they can do is re-enable the print option once these files clear their printer’s pre-media check. With COVID-related limitations, they’re anticipating this process could take two weeks.

This, of course, is incredibly frustrating, and I’m trying very hard not to get upset about it. That said, I don’t blame DTRPG or anyone else for the situation, which would be a mere hiccup if it wasn’t for COVID-19.

Regardless, this situation puts me in a tough spot regarding the release of The Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea. I’m not really comfortable releasing the new book as it is while the print option is in limbo. So even though CCoM is finished, and I could release it with the click of a button, I’m going to hold it back for now in the hope that the situation with BJFB 2.0’s print edition can be resolved shortly.

As soon as I have any news, I’ll make sure to post an update here. In the mean time, if anyone desperately needs a print edition, feel free to email me and I’ll see what I can do.

Print Edition of BFJB 2.0 Temporarily Unavailable

In the process of preparing for the release of the Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea, the print edition of the Second Edition of Babylon on Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed was inadvertently updated.

By default, all of DriveThruRPG’s print-on-demand products have to be approved by their printer. This means that the print edition of BFJB 2.0 is temporarily unavailable — at least until I can sort out the issue with OneBookShelf.

If this doesn’t get cleared up over the next 24 hours, we will delay the release of the Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea, at least until the print edition is back up.

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes, and hope that this doesn’t stop anyone from purchasing the print edition.

Product Page and Description for CCoM Posted

Currently, we’re in the process of updating the site to prepare for the release of The Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea, the first adventure setting for the Second Edition of Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed.

You can find out more information about the book on our new product page, located here. As soon as the PDF goes live on July 20th, that page will be updated with a DriveThruRPG link where you can download it.