Hey Planarchs!

Hey Planarchs!

Hey Planarchs! Time for a basic update on official Planarch stuff, I think. After talking with a ton of smart, experienced game publishers (including Luke “Burning Wheel” Crane who edits the games section of Kickstarter and also handles publishing responsibilities for Dungeon World now), I’ve been gradually and painfully convinced that it makes a lot more sense to publish new Planarch stuff as a 6×9″ book (same size as Dungeon World) rather than a plastic box full of mini-booklets, mostly because of (1) it simplifies the logistics and costs immensely and (2) even more importantly, it enables me to publish additional Planarch stuff in the future without having to launch a separate Kickstarter every time for the $4,000+ it takes to do a print run of three Scoutbooks in a box. All those facts make total sense, but it’s taken me some time to make peace with it, since I love the original mini-booklet format (as I’m sure a lot of you do too).

In the meantime, I’ve been exploring a bunch of other options and even had some sample books printed to see how a different format would work (see the attached image of a 120+ page Planarch hardcover). I don’t know the exact details yet, but I’m getting excited about how this may also give me a chance to revisit the stuff in Dark Heart and flesh it out with more examples, more tables, more support, and the extensive experience I’ve had running and playing Planarch since I originally wrote it. The book could even include some more specific suggestions for running Planarch with DW, World of Dungeons, and a few other related AW hacks like John Harper’s upcoming Blades in the Dark. I often switch between DW and WoDu myself, depending on the number of sessions and tone of the game we’re trying to create.

In any event, the bad news in all this is that it’s probably going to take a little more time to put the Kickstarter together, despite my promises to have it done this summer. There’s a possibility we could Kickstart in September, say, for a delivery by late December, but it might also make more sense to Kickstart in January for stupid U.S. tax reasons.

In the meantime, since people have been patiently waiting for this, I think I might end up just going ahead and releasing some of the Planarch material that I already have finished, since it seems kind of silly to keep holding onto it for the next 3-6 months. So you may see some new Planarch stuff pop up in the meantime, in addition to some other small weird games by me.

In any event, thanks for being understanding as I’ve tried to work through all these details. I care about Planarch and its fans a lot and want to do it in a way that’s sustainable in the future, so both me and other folks (like you!) can keep publishing Planarch stuff for years to come. I have a lot of other weird urban planar fantasy ideas that I’d like to continue to play around with and I hope you do too.

26 thoughts on “Hey Planarchs!”

  1. Yeah, I mean World of Dungeons and Dark Heart and Ghost Lines and Blades emerged partially from a series of overlapping conversations and play sessions around low-level urban fantasy freebooting, back when I was in Seattle and hanging out with John regularly, so they’re kindred projects in a way. I’ve certainly borrowed many ideas from John’s stuff (both the game texts and from playing in games that he ran, and even more from talking over beers or hangouts) and don’t see any reason why you couldn’t run Planarch with Blades rules and or even with much of the setting stuff intact.

  2. Scott Bennett I would love to, but minimum orders are 250-500, which makes it difficult to just print a bunch. Maybe it can be a stretch goal? I’ll keep looking for the chance to do it, for sure.

  3. I really like the idea of a single tome that has everything in it, tho I understand the appeal of the booklets. Hell, I own a couple of the booklets produced so far.

  4. Jay, would you consider expanding compatibility to OSR rulesets? I could write a short stretch goal for The Black Hack or B/X.

    Anything to encourage cross pollinating (and make the pundit mad).

  5. Eric Nieudan That’s an interesting suggestion. If we did that, though, I might lean towards spotlighting something like Into The Odd or Johnstone’s upcoming Nightmares Beneath. Though B/X would also be cool. Hmm…

  6. Aaron Griffin For sure! It’s pretty easy to run Planarch with B/X or Burning Wheel or whatever, because it’s mostly a premise, a set of campaign ideas, and some special moves. I’m thinking the system guidelines would mostly be a few pages talking about specific instances where you might want to tweak things. Like: if you wanna play a 1st level half-ooze half-shadowbeast tech-wizard apprentice who’s a refugee from the plane of liquid bones, here’s guidelines for how to tweak things slightly so that sometimes matters in play. Pretty straightforward stuff, I hope, but maybe useful for some folks.

  7. Thanks for that link, Joe Banner! Super exciting. Now I can just steal all your ideas, like usual 😉

    I’ll definitely be talking to you and some other folks soon, to see if I can hire you to do a little Planarch work.

  8. Dylan Green Scoutbooks will definitely come back sometime, probably in a one-off project that’s meant to be less of an ongoing format. My Metroid dungeon-crawl hack Super Suit is that size, for example.

  9. Just wanted to see if this is still a project that you’re working on. I’m anticipating this a great deal so would love to support this kickstarter if that’s the platform you use.

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