Christmas 2019 Update

I’ve been up to a couple of gaming-related things since my last update.
First and foremost, I submitted a scenario to the Ryuutama Holiday Scenario Competition.  All the entries were amazing, but somehow, I came in first place.  I won’t bother rehashing what Ryuutama is here, but if you’re interested in my scenario (Home for the Hearthsdays), or any of the other submissions, you can find all the submissions aggregated into one file here.
After a hiatus, all of the players in my online Star Trek Adventures group, for the first time since we started playing, were physically in the same place.  I ran a scenario of my own creation where the crew has to thwart a temporary technology exchange between the Dominion and the Borg.  The consequences of failure would have not only changed the events of Deep Space Nine‘s Dominion War, but also derailed the events leading up to Voyager‘s “Scorpion”.  My regular players are veterans of the game at this point, but their spouses played as well, so I collaborated with them on their characters and then produced a bunch of handout player cards and tokens.
I’m actually really proud of the way everything turned out, and everyone seemed to have a great time.  You can see some of the tokens I made below (using the Star Trek Miniature Maker 2.0), as well as player, ship and NPC cards which I designed myself using my aging copy of InDesign.
All that said, I’m in the process of finishing the last three chapters of writing on the new edition of BFJB.  Still no release date, but one of the beautiful things about being a small operation is that once it’s done, the road to putting it up for everyone to purchase isn’t that far away.

October 2019 Update

BFJB 2E

The Ešnunna supplement is officially on an indefinite hiatus. Instead, I’ve been working on a new edition of BFJB — one that dispatches with any vestiges of the out-modded d20-OGL ruleset. I’ll write about this more as we get closer to a release, but suffice it to say it’s 95 percent written, and about 60 percent laid-out as of this post.
Because I’ll be deprecating all of the BFJB products that use the 1.0 system, I’m reducing the prices of all of those products on DTRPG today, and pulling the print editions.
My hope is that this new edition can be a more comprehensive framework for adventuring in the Ancient Near East, while making character creation less convoluted and much, much quicker. This second edition also includes much more setting information, with more details about the cities and kingdoms around Babylon.
Here’s a taste:

What I’ve Been Up To (All Aboard for Murder! and Ešnunna Update)

First things first — the Ešnunna supplement continues to be delayed. The manuscript is roughly 75% finished. No ETA on completion, although I don’t anticipate layout to take as long as some other products I’ve made.
In the meantime, I’ve been playing or GMing various other games. My play-by-post Mesopotamian Rolemaster game continues at the leisurely pace of a forum game. My weekly Star Trek Adventures game has gone on a temporary hiatus, after my players once again encountered their favorite NPC.
But the real reason for this update is because today, I released a free scenario for the Japanese RPG Ryuutama. Ryuutama is a popular system for honobono (“heart-warming”) adventures, focused on traveling and discovery; it’s often described as “Hayao Miyazaki’s Oregon Trail.”
Here’s the product description:
All Aboard for Murder! is a free, unofficial scenario for the Japanese RPG Ryuutama.
The PCs board a train bound for a distant land, and travel for several days through the lawless wilderness between stations. When one of their fellow passengers is killed, and another passenger disappears, the PCs are presented with a cast of suspicious characters, and must determine who committed the murder before they arrive at their destination and the culprit escapes.
All Aboard for Murder! has 17 main NPCs and maps for each of the cars. You’ll need the Ryuutama rulebook to play.
You can download it at DTRPG, for free.

Core Book Corrected Edition Now Available

Two years on from the initial release, Šukāmu Press has issued a new version of the core book for Babylon On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed.  This revision includes multiple corrections and other minor edits.  Of greater significance is the updated timeline, which rectifies any discrepancies with the forthcoming Doom of Ešnunna supplement for the years from 1772 BCE to 1756 BCE.

If you’ve previously purchased the PDF version from DriveThruRPG, the new file is available to you now, at no cost.  Šukāmu is currently in the process of transitioning away from Lulu’s Print-on-Demand service, but for the time being the corrected edition is also available for purchase there.

Once we’ve completed the transition to DriveThruRPG for POD material, we will withdraw the Lulu editions, and update our links to this new service.

Thank you again to those of you who sent in corrections.

July ’18 Update

The Doom of Ešnunna

Work continues on the next BFJB supplement, The Doom of Ešnunna.  Previously, I’ve stated that it would be available in Q2 of 2018.  Well, since yesterday was the beginning of Q3, unless I have a time machine, and you’ve gotten stuck in an orphaned, pre-rewrite spacetime continuum — that didn’t happen.

As a window into the current state of the supplement, about 75% of the text exists at this point.  However, several issues regarding research and sources are slowing down the process.  An identical situation occurred at this point in the production of the Core Rulebook.  As one or two of the footnotes and a few editorial comments in BFJB indicate, our knowledge of Eighteenth Century BCE is far from complete.  In the Core Rulebook, and now in The Doom of Ešnunna, a fair part of the actual writing “work” lies in presenting and synthesizing conflicting data and theories about (often minor) aspects of life in the Ancient Near East.

There are several ways that I dealt with this in BFJB.  First, I would try to make all of the pieces fit.  When I couldn’t, I would instead choose whichever information I thought would be most compatible and interesting within the context of a roleplaying game.  Finally, at a few points, I had to invent information out of whole cloth, as I did when creating entries for Hammu-rapi’s wives.

The cities that fall under the hegemony of Ešnunna have their own problems, primarily that there is comparatively less written about them than those of Babylon or Mari.  Even something as simple as chronology can be difficult, and it’s hard to present a coherent historical narrative without deciding “okay, this happened before that.”

Revised BFJB Core Book

The mention of timeline revisions segues well into my next topic: I’m currently working on a revision of the Core Rulebook.  Several kind reviewers have noted myriad typos and errors, ones which I would like to reconcile as quickly as possible.  There’s also an image I would like to replace, and with the composition of The Doom of Ešnunna, I’ve discovered there are several minor adjustments to the timeline I would like to make.

As with all DriveThruRPG titles, this revision will be free to customers who have previously purchased the Core Rulebook.  You should be notified when it is available for download.

Reviews

I also want to say that I appreciate several people who have purchased the book and written reviews on DriveThruRPG.  It means so much to me that you not only liked my work, but took the time to write a multi-paragraph review of it.  I especially want to thank the customer who went through the book and provided a detailed list of typos and corrections.

Thank all of you so much.

The Plague of the Raging King

Lastly, I thought I would note that I am currently running a Mesopotamian-themed play-by-post game over at the Real Roleplaying Forums.  We’re using Iron Crown Enterprises old Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying (RMFRP) rules, and we already have a full party of player characters, but anyone who would like some ideas about adventures set in the Ancient Near East might find it interesting.

WIP Announcement: The Doom of Ešnunna

Tribes and Armies took longer to produce than expected.  As previously discussed, that book includes important supplemental character options and setting information.  It is a natural companion to BFJB‘s Core Rulebook, but was delayed because of the promised — but much less essential — system for adjudicating mass combat.

With Tribes and Armies now out of the pipeline, Šukāmu Press can begin to look beyond the Kingdom of Babylon, to Ḫammu-rapi’s neighbors.  Our next product, The Doom of Ešnunna is slated for release in Q2 2018.

Eshnunna Frontpage

Ešnunna — the city, the kingdom — is doomed.  Centered on a tributary of the Tigris River, this ancient city-state is surrounded by powerful, populous neighbors — Babylon to the west and Assyria to the north, with Elam to the south, and the wild, tribal areas of the Zagros Mountains to the east.

The Doom of Ešnunna details those areas which fall under the hegemony of the King of Ešnunna, Ibal-pi-El II, in 1767 BCE.  This supplement also focuses on the history of the city-state and its people, including the fascinating career of one Ṣilli-Sîn.  Born a commoner, destined to be king, Ṣilli-Sîn would only rule for a few years.  The city would be deserted within a decade.

We recognize that even with the Internet, detailed information on the world of Mesopotamia isn’t always readily accessible to interested laypersons.  While The Doom of Ešnunna will include a sample adventure, the focus of this book will not be on game mechanics, but rather setting material.  As with all BFJB publications, options will be included for fantasy campaigns, however, we remain committed to the presentation of historical Mesopotamia.

Tribes and Armies to be Released Nov. 6th

Just a quick note to say that Tribes and Armies is finally going to see the light of day.  Accordingly, we’ve updated the product page, and you can read more about the particulars there.

This book has been in the pipeline since November of 2016, but now it’s done, done, done.  After all this time I can’t be happier to get it out there.

Per usual, Tribes and Armies will be available electronically at DriveThruRPG.

Tribes and Armies Update

Now that we’ve completed the website move, I can refocus attention on the release of Tribes and Armies.

Currently, I’m projecting a release sometime in October early November.  The Tribes half of the book is already through layout, while the Armies portion is written and only awaiting example battle diagrams.  Once these are satisfactorily completed, I’ll be able to pin down an exact release date.

Ilū ayyūtumma ša tapallaḫu liballiṭūka.