This page lists some tidbits that you might encounter, including special editions of published books. I’ve been writing since I was four, so if you look hard you might find other early writings scattered through university and high school ephemera. It’s all derivative at best, downright plagiaristic at worst, so I’d tell you not to bother.
- Tabletop RPGs
- Special editions
My very first books were neither technology nor fiction, but tabletop role-playing games.
Between 1991 and 1995 I wrote the tabletop role-playing game Gatecrasher. I thought it was a complete failure, despite going through two editions. Back in those days the Internet was limited to universities and nuclear launch facilities, so there wasn’t much in the way of feedback.
Much to my shock, it had fans. I just didn’t know about them.
And they’re still some of my very favorite book covers. I still have the covers of the first edition Gatecrasher and the supplement, Believe it or Else!, hanging my office. Back in those days, book covers were painted. The gentleman who painted them went on to do some other visual things you might have heard of. These images are scanned from my author’s copies.
Occasionally, someone asks me when I’m going to do a Gatecrasher novel. The answer is, never. It’s almost thirty years on, and I don’t believe the world any longer. I might revisit the genre, though, and use some of the Gatecrasher concepts. In my copious free time, of course.
And someone will certainly remind me of SLUGS. Because they do.
In the 1980s and 1990s, various right-wing religious groups declared tabletop roleplaying satanic. I was an avid, unabashed roleplayer living in a small Michigan town. Almost every day, someone informed me that my soul was damned. I got annoyed and (like you do when you’re in your twenties) said “You want a satanic RPG? I’ll give you a satanic RPG!” I wrote the Satanic, Loathsome, Unholy Game System in a weekend , playtested it for an hour before quitting in disgust, and released it in a limited edition of two hundred copies at Gencon 1994 under the pseudonym Gregory Donner.
It was immediately banned.
Word-of-mouth brought people to the booth, where if you left $5 on the table you would receive a mysterious package you weren’t allowed to open on the con floor.
What makes a game satanic? Well, your character’s stats were the Seven Deadly Sins. Your goal was to lose 1000 Karma Points and transcend to a lower plane of existence. Unfortunately, ridding the world of such a foul person is an inherently good act, so you had to do away with yourself in a way that made the world worse. Uh… let’s just say that angry young people need someone they respect to tell them “hang on a minute, let’s think this through.”
While folks have asked me for a license to republish it, the world doesn’t need it. Also, republishing would violate the limited edition aesthetic. Now and then the Muse snickers that I should publish the MAGA Edition, but I have no wish to spend more time in this headspace.
In that deranged youngster’s defense, SLUGS had quotes from Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, the best version of that story. It contains my earliest footnotes, directing complaints to the office of Senator Jesse Helms. And I must credit him with actually accomplishing things in an age where self-publishing meant light tables and hand waxing and other horrors today’s youngsters will never appreciate.1
These exist as limited editions for a special purpose, perhaps a Kickstarter perk or charity auction.
Prohibition Orcs Orcibus
An omnibus of Prohibition Orcs and Frozen Talons, exclusive to Patronizers and backers of the Prohibition Orcs Kickstarter. The Orcibus also came in a leather-cased edition. Only 33 of those exist.
Devotion and Corrosion Leather Case
The Devotion and Corrosion Kickstarter offered a leather-cased version. Only seven of these exist.
In case you miss it: that’s a whole lotta rats.