On Selling Books

The most difficult part of the Golden Sky Stories Kickstarter, the part where we get physical product out to backers, is just about over apart from fixing whatever remaining cases there were of things going wrong. We’re in the process of getting things set up to launch into full retail sales, starting with Indie Press Revolution and the Level 99 Games web store. However there were also 13 game stores that took us up on the “General Store” backer level for GSS, which means there are several game stores around the U.S. (plus one in Germany!) that have GSS available for purchase. If you missed out on the Kickstarter and still want a print copy of GSS, it may be closer than you realized:

Gaming Grounds (Kent, OH)
Our Store is named Gaming Grounds, located at 416 Stinaff Street in Kent Ohio, 44240. We’re a store specializing in RPGs, Board Games, Card Games and all sorts of assorted geekery!

Tyche’s Games (Athens, GA)
Tyche’s Games is Athens, Georgia, biggest little games store specializing in RPGs, board games and card games.

+1 Gaming (New Orleans, LA)
Board Games, Cards, Roleplaying, Miniature Wargames, Tournaments, Leagues, Casual Play, and Geeky Fun Stuff in Metairie/New Orleans, Louisiana.

Little Shop of Games (Oklahoma City, OK)
Little Shoppe of Games, where there’s always something fun going on, is conventiently located in the heart of Oklahoma City – just off I-44 and I-235 Broadway Extension. With dedicated play space, customers may play in one of our daily events, bust into that new purchase, or possibly demo that game you’ve had your eye on. Members can play a wide range of video games on the premises or grab a game from our renowned “Game Closet” and play a game you can’t find on store shelves any longer.

Gary’s Games and Hobbies (Everett, WA)
Seattle’s one-stop shop for fun and entertainment.

Lone Star Comics (Arlington, TX)
Stores sell comics, games, and gifts.

Game On! Comics (Vienna, VA)
Our store has been called “the Cheers of comic book stores” because we take very good care of our customers. We learn everyone by name and our staff will always be there to help you.

Bridgeport Comics and Games (Chicago, IL)
Bridgeport Comics & Games is a family owned and operated gaming store on the South Side of Chicago. We have one of the largest play areas in the Chicago area (including a Private room for Role Playing Games), knowledgeable staff, and tournaments every day! We’re located at 3323 S. Halsted St., easily accessed from the Orange Line (and the Red Line when it’s back up)!

Sunken Treasures Games (Richland, WA)
Sunken Treasures Games is a video game store and hobby shop located in Richland, WA. In addition to games, we also specialize in Japanese imported goods, such as figures, plushies, and more! We hold tabletop and customizable card game nights regularly as well. ^_^

Atlantis Games & Comics (Norfolk, VA)
Atlantis Games & Comics, with locations in Norfolk and Portsmouth, VA we can meet all your gaming needs.

Sphärenmeisters Spiele (Herzogenrath, Germany)
We’re a small rpg-store in western Germany, you’ll find our website at www.sphaerenmeisters-spiele.de

Cape Fear Games (Wilmington, NC)
Cape Fear Games is focused on ensuring there is a family-friendly place for tournaments and Table Top Games in the greater Wilmington area.

The Hero Zone (Sandusky, OH)
Located in beautiful downtown Sandusky, OH we are a 5,000+ sqft. game and hobby community center. For more info please visit our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Hero-Zone/174626855677

Meanwhile With Maid RPG…
Things may change in the future, but for the moment we’ve been going ahead with plans to have Maid RPG be a long tail game with more of an emphasis on Print on Demand, and it is now available in print from DriveThruRPG and Amazon. Check the Maid RPG page for links. You’ll note that we’ve updated the cover design, but the interior is the same as before. I had originally asked Clay to add a Star Line Publishing logo and change the price and such, and he kind of went to town with a major redesign. The results are pretty great, but if you already have the book then you already have all of the content.

Posted in Golden Sky Stories, Maid: The Role-Playing Game, Star Line Publishing News

Maid: The Role-Playing Game and Star Line Publishing

coverBeginning in 2014, Star Line Publishing will be taking over handling Maid: The Role-Playing Game in English. Maid RPG is a slapstick anime comedy RPG, and an earlier work by Golden Sky Stories designer Ryo Kamiya. Andy K originally took the lead role in the business of publishing the game, while I handled most of the translation and otherwise took a back seat. With Andy moving to Japan and my own publishing venture getting up and running, it made sense to switch the game over to SLP. For the time being we’ll be treating Maid as a “long tail” product, making it available primarily through PDF and print on demand venues, though we’ll still be able to offer printed books at conventions and to interested retailers. We’ll be expanding to a few new POD/PDF sales channels as well, notably DriveThruRPG and Amazon’s CreateSpace (which will in turn make it available for order through Amazon), though given that Maid RPG has gotten and stayed disturbingly high on their sales charts, we’ll definitely continue the partnership with Indie Press Revolution that Andy started.

Whether there will be anything new for Maid RPG depends a lot on what we have the resources to accomplish and what people express interest in. I do plan to eventually complete and publish my Retail Magic game (a comedy RPG based on the Maid RPG rules, but about employees at a magic item shop), and I might go as far as to look into finally putting together a book of original Maid RPG material, and possibly a cheaper and slimmer introductory Maid RPG core rulebook similar to products like the Explorer’s Edition of Savage Worlds. If there’s something you’d like to see, let us know!

Posted in Maid: The Role-Playing Game, Star Line Publishing News Tagged with: , ,

Golden Sky Stories Tabletop Day 2013 Demo

Suzune under Cherry BlossomsIn celebration of this year’s Tabletop Day (March 30th, 2013) and in anticipation of the impending Golden Sky Stories Kickstarter, we’re happy to release a free Golden Sky Stories PDF demo pack. The demo features a simplified version of the GSS rules and “Cop Out of Water,” an original introductory scenario by Ewen Cluney. In order to play you will need to print out the included henge record sheets and get some pencils, tokens of some kind (playing cards, glass counters, poker chips, etc.), and one person to be the Narrator and 2-4 players.

Download Tabletop Day 2013 Golden Sky Stories Demo PDF

Mike will be running demos for Golden Sky Stories and Channel A at WonderCon this weekend, and Ewen will be running demos at Game Kastle’s store in Fremont, CA starting Saturday at 1 p.m. If you’re planning to run a GSS demo for Tabletop Day, please comment here!

Posted in Golden Sky Stories Tagged with: ,

Golden Sky Stories Replay: The Broken Window

Golden Sky Stories is taking even longer than the overly long time it had been taking, mainly on account of Real Life being difficult for us. I’m hoping to finally launch the Kickstarter in early 2013. The layout is now just about done barring a couple of tiny corrections, and we’re close to getting the math lined up for the Kickstarter. In the meantime I’ve got a little treat for anyone who’s been interested in learning more about the game.

The Broken Window” is a Golden Sky Stories replay made from a recording of a game session I ran for some friends a few years back. I put it together in order to give readers some idea of what a typical session is like, though GSS is quite unlike a typical RPG in many ways. The PDF has original art by Sue-chan, layout by Clay Gardner, and copious footnotes to help you understand what’s going on. The story is about how a broken window ultimately led to new friendships.

Download “The Broken Window” (PDF)

tanuki2

Posted in Golden Sky Stories Tagged with: ,

Golden Sky Stories Update: Progress and Bonuses

I figure we’re a bit overdue for an update on what’s going on with Golden Sky Stories, so here goes. Right now the plan is to launch the GSS Kickstarter on the heels of Tenra Bansho Zero‘s Kickstarter. Assuming Andy and Luke keep on schedule, that means we should be launching the GSS Kickstarter around the end of June. That means we have a couple more months, and we’ll be using that time to get everything in order so that when we do our own Kickstarter we’ll be that much more able to get everything out to everyone without undue delay.

Slow and Steady Does the Layout
The graphic designer for Golden Sky Stories is none other than Clay Gardner. He is the designer of OVA: Open Versatile Anime, and has done graphic design work for a huge variety of projects, including several games from Minion Games. The original Japanese version of Golden Sky Stories was already a feast for the eyes, but Clay is using his graphic design skills to add another layer of polish all the same. He recently put up a blog post where he shows off what he’s doing with the power descriptions for rabbit henge. Clay’s currently about halfway done with the layout, and I’m really liking how it’s looking so far.

Something Fishy
A while ago I hit on the idea of making a new, original character type for GSS as a Kickstarter reward. Ben Lehman (who you may know from games like Polaris and Bliss Stage) stepped up and offered to try his hand. About a day later he sent me his first draft of a writeup for fish henge. We’ll be doing some refinements between now and the Kickstarter of course, but Ben’s writeup is already wonderfully whimsical and mythical. It’s a bit of an “advanced” character type that’ll be a little tricky to play.

I’ve also been working on a writeup for “pony henge,” which are indeed partly inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, albeit with plenty of elements inspired by reading up on horses on Wikipedia. Looking up idioms/cliches about an animal is a great way to come up with powers for henge by the way. I’m still working out what exactly to do with these new writeups, but at present I’m thinking of having the fish henge be a Kickstarter exclusive and having the pony henge be a freebie.

Posted in Golden Sky Stories Tagged with: , , ,

Golden Sky Stories Update: Meet the Henge

This is going to be the first of a series of posts previewing various elements of Golden Sky Stories leading up to the Kickstarter and then the full launch. I don’t have much new stuff to talk about on that front just yet, but we are indeed on track so far. I’m also in the process of putting together a free replay, and we’ve now set up a GSS Facebook page too.

The stars of Golden Sky Stories are henge, animals with a bit of magical power that lets them take human form and do a few other nifty things. They are animals by default, and staying in human form takes a little effort. On the other hand, they can use human speech even while in animal form, though this does carry the risk of scaring humans away. Each henge has only one human form (though raccoon dogs can also copy specific people they know), which will appear between 8 and 18 years old. The artwork in the book shows them with their ears and tails showing (or wings in Sarah’s case); they can hide these to look completely human, but it takes more effort. The book will introduce you to six representative henge, though of course in the game you can make your character quite different.

Suzune Hachiman is a fox henge. Although she looks like a young girl, she’s actually over 300 years old, and maybe a bit stiff and prideful in her age. Despite looking like young girl, she dresses in a formal kimono and talks like a stuffy old woman. Of the henge, foxes are the closest to local gods, and there’s a shrine to Suzune in town that provides her with offerings of food and money. She has many magical powers, and is well acquainted with the local gods around town.

Riko is a raccoon dog henge. Raccoon dogs (also known as tanuki) are a species of canines found in some parts of Asia, and like the raccoon dogs of myth, Riko can transform herself into all sorts of things. She can become a copy of someone she knows, or turn into a giant monster or an object. She’s a bit of a klutz too, though she has a knack for using her clumsiness to lighten the mood. Riko is fairly young, but raccoon dog henge can life for a century or more.

Kuromu is a cat henge, and a stray black cat. She doesn’t mind when people give her food, but she prefers to just do whatever she wants. Japan has lots of myths about cats turning into monsters, and Kuromu is not a fan of them. Cat henge aren’t monsters, just clever, sleek, and all-around awesome animals. They do however have many powers that let them move about unseen, and they have a unique ability to look into someone’s heart and see what they’re thinking.

Koro is a dog henge. She’s actually someone’s pet, and to her the collar she wears is a treasured reminder of someone she loves. She loves to play and make friends, and she can be very protective of those she cares about. Dog henge have powers that let them protect, reassure, and comfort people around them. For Koro this is a natural fit, since she’s thoroughly good-natured and earnest. She also has plenty of dog foibles, including a tendency to chase her own tail. She’s sure she’ll catch it some day though.

Amami is a rabbit henge. Despite being so young, she’s already become very concerned about her appearance, and puts a lot of effort into making sure she’s dressed fashionably. Like most rabbit henge, she just hates being alone, so she’s constantly pestering people to play and spend time with her. Rabbit henge are good at drawing others to them, and they have a few magical powers that might come from the rabbit in the moon. A rabbit can make mochi to give as gifts, and every once in a while she can call upon the light of the moon to let people become animals and vice versa.

Sarah is a bird henge, a yellow canary. Birds spend much of their lives in the sky, hearing the songs of the wind, and the world of the ground is strange to them. Sarah sometimes seems barely aware of the world around her, but this is because she can hear the wind and everything it whispers. Her powers let her fly and hear the wind, and even give wings to someone else. Like a lot of birds, she has keen eyes but also has a hard time seeing at night (which by the way is an optional weakness that I don’t recommend if your game takes place at night).

A Note on Name Origins
In Japanese Riko is written phonetically (リコ), but it’s derived from taking an alternate reading of the character for tanuki (狸) and adding the character for child (子; commonly used in female names). The Kuro in Kuromu means “black,” and “koro” can mean “pebble.” Sarah’s name was written as Sera (セラ) in Japanese because Kamiya chose the name based on the Serra Angel card in Magic: The Gathering.

Posted in Golden Sky Stories

Announcing Golden Sky Stories

If you’ve been following my blog, noticing my forum posts, or talking to me in person, chances are you saw this coming.

Star Line Publishing is a joint publishing venture between me and my longtime friend Mike Stevens (with a few other people lending a hand), and I am very, very happy to announce that Star Line Publishing’s first big release will Golden Sky Stories, an English version of Yuuyake Koyake, a tabletop role-playing game by Ryo Kamiya, the designer of Maid: The Role-Playing Game.

Golden Sky Stories is a heartwarming role-playing game. Players take on the role of henge (pronounced “hen-gay,” like a chicken that’s happy, not a Celtic monument), animals with just a little bit of magical power, including the ability to temporarily take on human form. They live in a little town in rural Japan, where they help ordinary people solve problems and become friends. This is not a game that will replace all of your other games, but it’s a game you can turn to as a change of pace, to go somewhere warm and safe. It is a diceless, resource-based game, and it’s meant for game sessions to last between 45 minutes and two hours.

For Maid RPG we crammed three books worth of material into one volume, but for GSS we’re starting with a thorough and careful translation of the 120-page core rulebook. It introduces the base rules of the game, lets you play as six different kinds of henge (foxes, raccoon dogs, cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds), and includes a replay, NPCs with story hooks, two scenarios, and a guide to Hitotsuna Town. We’re aiming for a very faithful translation, and the only notable change will be the addition of several pages of cultural notes. The original Japanese version has three very excellent supplements (plus a doujin supplement for, of all things, Touhou), but the main book is wonderfully complete by itself. We very much want to put out the other material, to tell the full story of Hitotsuna Town and give you many other new kinds of characters to play and meet, but one thing at a time.

For various reasons it’s taken some considerable time to sort everything out enough to go public, so as of this announcement we’ve already been working hard on this project for some time. We aren’t yet ready to set a firm release date, but things are actually pretty far along. The actual translation and editing are already done, and our layout guy (Clay Gardner, creator of OVA) has already gotten started. We expect the book to be a little over 120 pages, and it will feature fantastic art by Ike, who has since gone on to find success with an excellent manga called Nekomusume Michikusa Nikki (Catgirl’s Wayside Grass Diary).

As with Maid RPG, I’ll be posting up previews with tantalizing details about the game and its workings leading up to the actual release. I’ll be writing about the setting, the game’s workings, and what you can expect when we do finally release the supplements in English.

If you would like to help make Golden Sky Stories a reality, we’re planning to do a Kickstarter to raise money for the first print run. We believe this is a wonderfully unique game, and we hope you’ll help us spread the word!

Retailers, distributors, and anyone else interested in this game are welcome to contact us at info@starlinepublishing.com.

Posted in Golden Sky Stories