Toonaria: Creating a Universe Part 1

universe-for-blog

Creating a universe is a herculean task from any vantage point. I’m sure creating a real one is a real doozy, but I’m just talking fiction, of course. For well over three decades, I’ve devoted huge amounts of time to creating not one, but two: Toonaria and the Cosmoverse.

My quest was made a tad easier by sharing some concepts between them, despite their significant differences. This wasn’t laziness–I had some concepts overlap so I could explore how they are affected by their environment and opportunities. (Certain gods can be found in both, for example, but they are Not the same.) In other ways, the universes are significantly different and the tone is very different as well.

Universes being rather large constructs, we’re talking lifelong projects, here. I thought I’d take a lil break from the Mysteries of Toonaria series and spend some time talking about what sorts of considerations go into designing a universe.

First a bit of backstory: To date, I’ve designed over two dozen games (most still languishing in boxes) and have written three novels set in the Cosmoverse (one that is sitting on a shelf waiting for a good number of rewrites). I’ve also written a portion of three other novels, and wrote a huge pile of short stories set in both Toonaria and the Cosmoverse. I’ll publish as many of the best ones as I can while I can in the days ahead.

Wait a minute. You have published something, haven’t you?

Yes, finally. I got tired of seeing some of my games and stories sitting in boxes or popping up in other people’s works, so in 2015, I published my first book, Arcane Synthesis, via QT Games LLC. I have two more books due out by early 2018 (one is completely done, except book formatting, the other: The Sea of Worms, I’ll have done later this year, if all goes well.)

Actually, I’ve written a ton of contemporary plays and skits over the years as well, a large number of which I’ve produced and even acted in, both in the US and abroad. None of them were set in these universes.

Both Toonaria and the Cosmoverse are near and dear to my heart. Most of my board games are set in Toonaria, and in my spare time, I’m revamping one (Freeze Or Burn) that I created a very long time ago, along with a new card-based roleplaying game (Epic Destinies.)

As for Toonaria and the Cosmoverse, they have also been the backdrop for most of my stories and games. Chances are, countless stories could still be told in these universes long after I’m six feet under. That’s not a boast–I know I’m not perfect or the hottest author out there, but I’ve always taken my time to build into my universes plenty of mystery, and more than a little backstory, exotic creatures and fantastic places.

Of course, I haven’t been designing in a vacuum. I read books, play games and watch movies like everyone else. I’ve let many things inspire me over the years, and of course I also innovate, brainstorming new concepts and new spins on old concepts. If I find something I love and it seems appropriate to do so, the concept eventually makes its way into one of my universes, and sometimes both. I don’t just kitchen sink the universes tossing in anything that I feel like on a whim, though. I consider carefully how something might affect the rest of the universe(s) as well as the existing tone, backstory, etc. I make it feel like it belongs, or I leave it out.

As I love flexing my creativity, I can’t resist changing things, so sometimes when I have included a cool concept I ran across somewhere, I reenvision it, making it my own– changing numerous aspects. Everything from visual to psychological and origin story is subject to considerable changes. For example, I have a species of godzilla-like creatures living underwater, but they are quite different (and much smaller) than the famous one. I also have a Kong-like gorilla, but his backstory and abilities couldn’t be further from anything you’ve ever heard of. Creating is fun stuff! As I said, it’s hard work, too, but I don’t regret a moment I’ve spent designing universes.

With both Toonaria and the Cosmoverse, one of my goals was to build in ways in which the average Joe could accomplish anything. So, both universes include fantastic technology, magic and even superheroes. Some might call my work Science Fantasy genre, but I call it blended-genre. I’ve given my reasons for this before, so I won’t elaborate here, as this is already getting longish.) Just this one decision alone, blew the doors off of what was possible.

I wanted caches of exotic technology that few could understand, but anyone could accidentally activate, causing all manner of chaos and interesting stories, so I created the ancient Architects. These god-like AI have their own agendas and travel the universes leaving behind machines and objects of power for reasons of their own. They aren’t doing it randomly –these aren’t merely plot devices–they have a reason for every object they’ve placed, but the mysteries behind them are not usually obvious.

I devoted a blog post to the GodStorm recently. It is a magical phenomenon that moves around unpredictably between dimensions and universes changing everything it touches. I GM’d a long-running adventure of the gods on the QT Games forums (and WotC forums before that) a few years back that was just starting to get into the GodStorm. It ended before it’s time (I stopped it so I could devote more time to writing and designing). Had it continued, it would have revealed the origin of the GodStorm.

Why did I make it? I wanted something that even the gods were afraid of. I wanted an anomaly that could change life wherever it went, and came up with ideas on how it worked and why.  I’ve hinted here and there on such matters, and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It can be used for so many things by Game Masters as well as by authors (yep, I’m hoping to continue having other authors write in my universes in the future, as I don’t have time to write everything.) The GodStorm has appeared in many stories (both my own, and those I’ve commissioned from other authors.) It also appears in my upcoming novel: The Shadow Reaper.

Next week, I’ll talk about magic and how I turned the concept of spellcasting on its head to provide a unique and exciting experience for both readers and gamers. Do you have a Toonarian topic you’d like me to write about– an aspect of Toonaria you would like me to reveal? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Cheers!

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Mysteries of Toonaria: Part 4

clone-gate-QT-Games-sketchWelcome to another mystery. Today I’ll be talking a bit about the clone gates! If you haven’t read the other segments in this mystery series, feel free to scroll down and read those first. You won’t be sorry, and I’ll wait right here for you.

Done? Great. For those of you who have just started reading our fiction and/or blog, welcome aboard! I’ve been writing stories and games about two universes since the late seventies: Toonaria and the Cosmoverse. They are also campaign settings, which means they are backdrops for not just my novels, but roleplaying games and even board and card games as well. Further, those universes have several things in common, and are linked in many ways, but are quite different from each other.

Toonaria and the Cosmoverse also share a great many gates linking countless realms, some made of uber advanced technology, usually by the enigmatic Architects, while others were made of magic or a blend of the two.

Okay, you’re all caught up, at least enough to talk about the clone gates. Let’s forge ahead!

The clone gates are a series of magical gates linking the Cosmoverse to Toonaria. While one may stumble through a rift in reality and move from one to the other, the most common and fantastic way is to use the clone gates. Traveling through rifts is often more dangerous than one might imagine, so the clone gates are the preferred method (at least they would be if travelers knew better.)

Over the eons, several significant individuals (and even a few gods) have stumbled upon one clone gate or another, and perhaps thinking the gates mere mundane, or even teleportation or dimensional gates, passed through to explore the other side. None are ever prepared for what they find there.

The passage always leaves a being feeling a tad weak and dizzy, and it isn’t uncommon for those with a weak constitution to pass out. Aside from that, the gates seem to work like any other. But these powerful gates secretly make a clone of every single entity that passes through them, and stores the being within in a phased state, until the visitor attempts to leave. In fact, a sliver of the original’s soul is left behind in the clone.

When the original leaves through the gate to return to their own universe, the clone is awakened and stumbles out on the visited universe’s side, and then passes out. Upon waking up, the clone most assuredly assumes that something went wrong, but no matter how many times it attempts to go “home”, the gate always deposits it in the same universe, not the original’s universe.

Inevitably, such individuals eventually give up and create a new life for themselves in the new universe, unaware that the original is back home. The two are completely unaware of each other’s existence, but sometimes while dreaming, memories will slip between them, because of the single, splintered soul they share. Dreams being odd, generally unbelievable things, few give credence to such events.

A few travelers have made multiple trips through the gates, telling of epic journeys, exotic creatures and fantastic locations. One told a wild tale of running into their clone and eventually merging with it, only to run into another clone with new memories on a future trip. Yet another traveler kept meeting people who said they knew her, but she never found her clone, though she found evidence of her passing.

Some were surprised to find their clone was unlike them. Of course, as in our own universe, we are all slowly becoming unlike the person we once were, as we experience love, hardships, make choices and change, for better or worse.

Well, that’s all for today, folks. Want to read more from this series? Have a Toonarian topic you’d like me to explore? Let me know. Thanks, and have a great week, all!

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Mysteries of Toonaria: Part 3

skies-above-ToonariaWelcome to another exciting adventure in Toonaria! Where the moon never rises and the sun never sets. Today’s mystery is the sky arks, enormous floating structures that hang above a seemingly endless sea. Home to countless strange and wonderful monsters, sprawling communities, incredible technology, amazing magic, fallen gods and more, the sky arks are the centerpiece of Toonaria.

Sky arks are made up of seven layers of floating island chains held aloft by mysterious obelisks, aethyrstone and the will of the gods. The primary sky ark that we’ll be focusing on includes the following seven layers from top to bottom: Xanadu, Elementara, Arcasia, Colossea, Storm Garden, Everdark and Zothmaru. The PC core species start on either Arcasia, home of the gubblings, or Colossea, realm of the titans. We’ll explore these layers more and more in the days ahead, both here and in fiction, setting books and games, if all goes well.

The sky ark is lit by its own artificial sun, which rises from the GodStorm-infused Storm Garden and travels through the center of the island chains past Xanadu into the Cosmos above the sky ark. The two lowest layers of the ark never see the sun nor moon, though some say they once did. There is a great body of water in the center of Storm Garden.

No one has ever reached the bottom of that sea, but some theorize that in the distant past, the sun and moon passed through it to the layers below. How this is possible is but one of many Toonarian mysteries. Will the truth ever be discovered? Who knows?

It is generally believed that the sun rises into the heavens, loses its energy and falls back to Storm Garden as the moon, where it recharges in the GodStorm-charged sea to rise again the next day as the sun.

Those who dwell above Storm Garden enjoy beautiful, bright, cloud-laden skies and breathtaking views. We’ll talk more about the sun and moon in another post, but I will say that this magical realm is not scorched by the sun, nor badly disrupted by the moon, for they are far different than such celestial bodies in the real world.

As for the floating islands themselves, only the smaller ones have much to fear regarding falling out of the sky, barring world-shattering calamities, of course. Over mining a small island’s aethyrstone could cause it to sink in the sky and eventually plummet, but fortunately most of the islands are not held aloft by aethyrstone alone.

Throughout all of the sky realm, air is in abundance and properly suited to the species who dwell within it, therefore as long as one doesn’t travel into the far away Mysterium, high above into the Cosmos or down below the endless sea into the Void, breathing isn’t generally an issue.

Each island chain layer’s obelisks provide a rectangular prism of stable gravity pulling everything straight down. Ships and dirigibles can travel freely between layers. Some ships are capable of reaching the enigmatic Cosmos, others are not. As soon as one goes beyond the gravity planes of a sky ark, the risk of falling is zero, because they enter zero gravity. Floating about without proper mobility, a person could get stuck and eventually enter the Great Sleep for lack of food and water if not rescued by a passing ship. And few ships go beyond their sky ark’s gravity planes.

There are three sky arks linked together thematically, technologically and magically into a triskele structure floating above the sea. (A triskele is that shape you see representing the dot on the “i” in the Toonarian logo. The symbol has appeared in many ancient cultures. We’ll get more into the triskelion structure of the sky arks down the road.)

Technologically advanced cultures living in Toonaria have identified three triskeles, each with a seemingly unapproachable floating structure in its exact center. In addition to the sky arks, there are also other floating islands and exotic structures that appear to be independent, some fixed, others adrift in the endless sky.

Toonaria will never focus deeply on the science behind how everything works, though I always look first for scientific explanations before striking off on my own. Typically, the more you try to explain something fantastic scientifically, the more likely someone smarter than you will find a way to poke holes in it. For example, some of the greatest minds on the planet stand on opposite sides of the fence regarding major topics like global warming, future technologies, economy, and politics.

Those who insist that everything must be deeply entrenched in science probably aren’t that interested in floating islands, magic, adorable monsters, titans too big to support their own weight, or other fantastic things that can be found in epic settings anyway. I don’t fault them, but I won’t limit my creativity to that which is currently believed to be true or possible scientifically by earthlings. Instead, Toonaria will bask in its fun and fantastic elements, and leave it at that. If you are okay with our approach, then jump on and I promise you will have a lovely ride through Toonaria for many years to come!

That’s all for today. I hope you are enjoying our “mystery” series. We’ll be covering a lot more ground on various Toonarian topics in the days ahead, as well as delving deeper into Epic Destinies, the roleplaying game designed to enable players to go off on epic adventures in Toonaria. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Till next week—cheers!

 

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Mysteries of Toonaria: Part 2

The-GodStorm_QT_Games

Toonaria is home to countless magical creatures—some created by powerful beings, while others became magical due to the GodStorm (today’s mystery!) No one knows where the GodStorm came from, or why it sometimes strikes the same areas multiple times and skips over others completely. On occasion it almost seems sentient. Most of the time, it appears to act completely random. Worst of all, it’s spreading like wildfire across the realms, affecting both magic and technology in unusual ways.

Both Toonaria and the Cosmoverse are host to this epic, extremely dangerous and completely unpredictable phenomenon. Whether it started in the Cosmoverse and passed through a rift into Toonaria or started in Toonaria, is anyone’s guess.

Below, I’ll provide some fun examples of what it’s like and what it’s capable of. The excerpts were all taken from our Cosmoverse Campaign Setting fiction, but it’s the same GodStorm raging across Toonaria (I’ll give some Toonarian examples down the road – that work hasn’t been professionally edited—yet, unlike my Cosmoverse fiction.)

Okay, since you asked so nicely, here’s a quick Toonarian example before launching into the Cosmoverse ones . . .

In Toonaria, there is a region called Gubland that was hit by the GodStorm. Over night, several sections of Gubland were morphed into candy, including a river and forest (the river was turned into liquid white chocolate and the forest, into candy cane trees with gumdrop flowers —just two bizarre, but tasty examples. More serious consequences have occurred in Toonaria as well. Here’s some more from around the Cosmoverse . . .

Arcane Synthesis

The GodStorm took nearly everyone by surprise, sweeping away both gods and entire dimensions in its wake, and absorbing their energy. The storm has raged for over four hundred years, sometimes slipping between dimensions and then resurfacing without notice. Rather than diminishing over time, the storm continues to spread, changing and tainting everything it touches.

In many cases, the GodStorm’s passing resulted in merely bizarre, yet relatively harmless effects, but in others the damage has been great. At times the GodStorm leaves behind an abscess that warps a region into a nightmarish version of itself, fracturing galactic kingdoms and cutting off worlds, leaving them to fend for themselves against the coming darkness.

— excerpted from Arcane Synthesis: A Blended-Genre Anthology

Eight stories about the vast Cosmoverse were included in Arcane Synthesis. The GodStorm was mentioned several times because of the impact it has had on life everywhere. While the Cosmoverse, like Toonaria, is connected by series of gates (both technological gates and magical ones), enabling information to spread quickly, the GodStorm is called other names in certain realms. For example . . .

Her previous studies as an artificer held few answers for what she had become in the wake of the Cascadence, or the GodStorm as most called it.

Temporal travel, unlike spatial distance, could be manipulated and slowed as desired, now that she’d mastered her augmented abilities after scores of uncontrolled jaunts. She needed corroboration with others on her multiplying theorems, but that seemed unlikely, as her rebirth had been anomalous. The Cascadence had transformed her into an augment—a freak of nature, granting her the power to bend time, though the process was more art than science.

— excerpted from Steven E. Schend’s Emeraldeaths (Arcane Synthesis)

As you can see from these two examples, the GodStorm is a powerful, uncontrollable force that changes everything it touches. It affects things in different ways, transforming animals, geography, and even magic itself, which thanks to the GodStorm, is even more dangerous than ever to spellcasters.

Some teleport and dimensional gates were changed forever, becoming tainted, and tainting those who use them. More than one gate in Toonaria has become tainted and transforms those who pass through it into zombies of a most unusual kind. Most gates, fortunately, work entirely, as intended. The Cosmoverse has their own problem with tainted gates, all thanks to the GodStorm.

The only constant regarding the GodStorm is that it’s always unpredicable. It is a magical phenomenon, one that even the gods are not immune to, as evidenced from the above excerpt. In fact, it seems attracted to powerful beings and great magic, and it has indeed taken the lives of gods, who become one with it, their consciousnesses being carried along everywhere it goes, which explains why sometimes victims claim to have heard a voice in the wind.

Some have suggested that  when the GodStorm has changed things in a way that resembles something that a particular god might do—a sliver of divine consciousness might have managed to bubble to the surface briefly and manipulated the storm for its own purposes (hence the storm’s name.) But because of the diverse effects of the storm, it’s clear that if that does happen, it is indeed for only a brief period.

Much of the time, the effects are temporary, as long as the storm abated quickly. Such flash storms appearing suddenly and then vanishing are often relatively harmless, at least for most who are exposed to them, but such events are still odd and memorable, as in these scenes from my upcoming novel, The Shadow Reaper:

Tangible aberrations were not uncommon during GodStorm manifestations. One ship might report the sudden appearance of flowers or butterflies on board, another, feathers or even snowfall. The Dauntilus had been filled with motes of light that danced and changed colors as they drifted about the ship for hours. The motes were all gone now, but more than a few of them had exploded into harmless, but annoying clouds of confetti.

Another . . .

Overnight, the orc’s eyebrow hairs had grown down past his chin, his nose and ear hairs farther still. Through a curtain of wavy black locks, he stared at himself in the mirror, shaking his head in disgust. “Dreadlocks are one thing, but this? I look like a girl—a human girl with this head of hair!” he said through gritted teeth. “How is this even possible?” He shuddered when he thought back over the past forty-eight hours. “The GodStorm . . . it did this to me,” he whispered, as if to speak of it louder might summon the magical anomaly. He recalled the stories he’d been told in his youth of Deamond, Ariam, Lorel, Vomix and other gods who were swept up in the storm, lost forever, their spirits becoming one with the storm. He shuddered again.

And another  . . .

The magic-spawned GodStorm first appeared in the Audrysi system more than two centuries ago. Since then, it had resurfaced numerous times across the Pantara Galaxy. Hundreds of ships and humanus space mechs had been disabled by the arcane storm. Dozens had gone missing and some of them had still not been found.

— excerpted from The Shadow Reaper

As for The Shadow Reaper, in that blended-genre (fantasy/sci-fi/horror) novel some of the GodStorm’s effects are not only far more serious than confetti, they are permanent, and even scary. But you’ll have to wait a few months to read that book to find out. Fun, scary, cool stuff, I promise! It has also been edited to death (In addition to the 14 drafts I went through—more than any other story I’ve ever written, and I think you’re gonna love it!)

I think you’ll be pretty fond of Toonaria, too, when I start publishing that line of books and games. Anyway, that’s all for today. I’m sure you’ll hear more about the GodStorm and Toonaria before long (If you can’t wait for more on the GodStorm, start with Arcane Synthesis!)

Comments? Questions? I’m all ears. Till next week, remember that every day’s a gift! Have an awesome weekend, friends—cheers!

Bob Whitely
QT Games

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Mysteries of Toonaria: Part 1

gubbling

Welcome to Toonaria! Wait, what’s Toonaria, again?

Toonaria is a realm of epic magic, advanced technology, superheroes, skyships, fallen gods, secret agendas, secret societies, adorable, but dangerous monsters, towering kaiju, sky pirates, and much, much more.

Wait . . . that sounds like a lot of different genres! Yep, but when done right, genres go together like peanut butter and chocolate, or bacon and eggs! I don’t just stick characters into one genre and have them stumble upon other distant lands where the genres are different (although that can happen, too.) I don’t just toss the concepts into a blender. I’ve spent many years blending them together carefully and with much thought to get them just right (and still do–I’m constantly fleshing out and expanding the universe.) I don’t take myself too seriously, but I take my blended-genre seriously, and will do my best to continue to serve up memorable entertainment.

Toonaria is a blended-genre Campaign Setting, but it’s also more than that. Wait, what’s a campaign setting? Ah, yes, a campaign setting is a world or often a whole universe (in Toonarias case, it’s a whole universe) that is used as the backdrop for tabletop roleplaying games and fiction. Many companies, including QT Games, produces fiction based on characters and events in a campaign setting. So far we’ve produced 2 books that take place in Toonaria, and I’m deep into writing the 3rd. We have others planned, in addition to setting/art books that explore the setting. Toonaria goes further in that it’s also the backdrop to most of my board and card game designs.

Okay, let’s talk about one of the mysteries of Toonaria . . .

Pink Syndrome
A huge section of the floating islands are caught up in something called Pink Syndrome or PS for short. It is a magical (GodStorm-spawned) medical condition in which the affected are prevented from seeing all of the horrors that are sometimes part of life.

After a battle, you might see a fallen warrior, bloody and showing a rib poking out of his chest–dead as a door nail. To those suffering from PS (well, they aren’t actually “suffering”) they see a sleeping warrior who has leaked out a bunch of that mysterious pink stuff. Yes, pink. They never see red, kind of like how some foreign films use another color for blood to avoid a higher rating.) Such observers wouldn’t even consider the warrior dead, but sleeping. They call death the “Great Sleep”. Those who enter the Great Sleep are often celebrated, but there is some sadness, too, as the person will be missed.

Most folks fully believe Sleepers will rise again–and they have on occasion, actually. Way more often than you might think, though not always in ways you might expect. Yes, there’s resurrection and even cloning in certain regions, but there’s a lot of other interesting and mysterious things going on in Toonaria.

If you were playing Epic Destinies and your character entered the Great Sleep, it’s up to the Game Master how permanent that is, but there are a number of ways of coming back from it (some more dangerous than others.) But that’s another mystery . . .

Pink Syndrome does not usually reach those who live underground, or far away from the more densely populated islands. It dulls pain somewhat and keeps one calm and collected, even under difficult circumstances. It messes with vision and causing victims to see things as less severe than they actually are. This can lead to problems, such as not seeking medical attention when one needs it, though there are many places and ways to receive healing when one feels “weak” or “tired” from too much pink loss.

Pain helps us in many ways. It’s like a warning beacon to problems and helps the body compensate (such as heightening our senses and adrenaline during combat, or reminding us to never ever touch the hot stove again.) But pain also makes it hard to focus and is very distracting, so there are advantages and disadvantages to it. If one leaves a major population area for long, the effects of PS start to wear off.

Some creatures have the ability to inflict PS as well (usually it’s a side effect of something it does, not an attack form or talent), and this is usually how people in remote areas catch it. Whatever the case, it makes things pretty interesting and even those who have been healed from it, sometimes find themselves once more under its effects. Such is life in Toonaria. There are far worse and more dangerous mysteries, so no one’s complaining!

Next week, I’ll talk a little about the GodStorm I mentioned above. As always, I covet your questions and comments! Have an amazing week, friends!

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The Road Ahead. Why all the fuss?

the road ahead

Hi folks. I’m back from what feels like a long journey without a computer, due to a major house renovation project (everything’s been boxed up). No complaints, but that project and other challenging, time-consuming events have kept me far less productive lately than I would have liked.

Being a very driven author, game designer and artist with a pile of exciting projects on my plate, not being able to produce regularly has been driving me up the wall. Things have finally settled down somewhat. There’s still boxes to unpack, but I should be able to post regularly again now.

Since it’s been awhile, I’ll start with an update, which should also help those of you just coming on board. Okay, but what’s with that blog title? Sure, let’s start there . . .

Life goes on regardless of what dreams you may be chasing. Chances are if you haven’t given up on your dreams, you’ll accomplish at least one of them to some degree during your life. Happiness is a choice. If you choose to not be happy until you’ve caught all your dreams, then you’ll probably become an unhappy person, if you aren’t already. I’ve met so many bitter game designers and discouraged authors over the years. I feel for them. I get it. It’s hard. It can be frustrating—painful, even. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Life’s a roller coaster, so don’t expect things to always go your way. The one thing that never changes is that things are going to change. In a rough spot? Chances are that will change. In a valley? Keep going, there’s a mountaintop ahead! Keep a positive attitude, but be realistic, too.

I am not remotely as far along in my dreams as I thought and hoped I’d be by now, but I’m not going to fuss over it. We are not our dreams. We are bigger. Our success or lack of it does not—or at least should not—define us, nor determine our value. “But I live for my dream!” Don’t! Live to make a positive difference in the lives of the people around you. Investing in others is a powerful, necessary component in a successful life. At the end of the day, your career, your dream . . . they’re secondary to life. I am very passionate about my dreams, but if one focuses wholly on career, other areas of life will suffer.

We need to live a balanced lives. One is never truly successful unless they are well balanced. I have a family. They are way more important to me than any career or dream (for me, those are not the same thing—not yet, anyway.) I have my faith in Jesus, and he’s too important to me to be less of a man than he’s called me to be. He isn’t ignorant of your dreams or mine. He just has bigger plans for us. I mentioned God. Did I just lose 1000 subscribers? Nah, impossible. I don’t have that many. Or do I? I haven’t checked in awhile. Don’t worry. This isn’t a religious post, but asking me to leave God out of my conversations is like asking you to stop breathing while we are talking. Get over it. I won’t be offended if you won’t. But I won’t get preachy, no worries.

Now then, where was I? The need to live a balanced life doesn’t mean we should ditch our dreams. It just means they need to be put in their proper place priority-wise. I’ve been working hard at living a balanced life. The side effect is that my career and dreams will move more slowly, and perhaps with less grandeur, but you know what? I’m okay with that.

I am moving forward—not as fast as I’d like—but I’m not going to stress myself or my family out. I can get obsessed about my dreams, but there are only so many hours in the day. Dreams don’t make the world go ’round. They just make things more interesting.

Feel like your dreams have all but crashed and burned? Don’t give up! Soberly consider them and make a battle plan for moving forward. Revisit it often and adjust your dream(s) as needed to keep them realistic, smart, doable. Oh, and live. Breath! Move forward. Passion will never be enough. Neither will talent. I’m not sure why some people’s dreams are crazy successful while others are not, but one thing the successful ones all have in common is they were the result of tons of work, and never giving up. But life? Let things get out of balance . . . and things will surely come crashing down eventually.

‘Nuff said. A quick update:

My second book: The Shadow Reaper? Done, edited to death, and even better than I could have imagined. I’m stoked about this one, friends. This horror/scifi/fantasy novel is set in my Cosmoverse Campaign Setting and reveals some really cool Cosmoverse concepts. I’ll keep you up-to-date on when it will hit Amazon. I can’t wait for you to read it. But first, I have to finish another project . . .

My third book: The Sea of Worms is over half done. It is part of a Kickstarter campaign I ran awhile back. It’s going to be much bigger than I originally promised, hence it is taking much longer. It includes plenty of art, a journal and stories from around the Cosmoverse.

As for the Cosmothea Blended-Genre Roleplaying Game, it’s on hold. It is an ancient project I’ve been working on for a long time. It was on its 5th edition when I made the difficult decision to set it aside and change directions. I decided the right thing to do would be to put together a smaller, faster, more powerful rpg. Cosmothea included my Destiny Engine, and I’m porting part of that over to the new game. Further, some of the coolest ideas in the game will also be ported over. Other than that, the new game is a ground up endeavor . . .

Epic Destinies is a card-based RPG with some nice twists. It should be able to accomplish everything I wanted from Cosmothea and more (save that it isn’t married to the Cosmoverse.) I’ve been working on it for awhile now and it’s exceeding all of my expectations. Those of you who have been following this blog for awhile have heard a little about it, and I’ll go into more details in the days ahead. Cosmothea was married to my enormous (and decades old Cosmoverse Campaign Setting.)

I will continue to support the Cosmoverse with more books (and have several cool projects planned and in the works). And I hope to revisit Cosmothea when the time is right. Epic Destinies is married to my nearly as old Toonaria Campaign Setting, an extremely different campaign setting, but one I’m equally excited about.

Everything I write and design is blended-genre, a niche that is growing in popularity every day. It has excited me since I was a teenager, and my enthusiasm and dedication to blending the genres isn’t about to wane.

Want to know more? Subscribe to my blog (Heck, join my newsletter and get a free book to whet your appetite!) Stick with me and I think you’ll really enjoy the ride. Next week we’re back to diving into Toonaria and Epic Destinies. I’d love to hear from you, friends. Have an amazing week! Never give up. Cheers!

 

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Toonaria Campaign Setting

After looking at the samples I gave you over the past two weeks, while they were fun ones, I noticed that saying I barely scratched the surface of what sort of adventures you could have in the Toonaria Campaign Setting wasn’t boasting, but a big understatement.

There are post-apocalyptic regions to explore, great mech/abomination/bio-mutant arena events (that you can actually be a part of, and that have meaning and a story beyond simply smashing up cities—as if giant monstrosities trashing cities needs an excuse!)

You’ve also got superheroes, sprawling dungeons, weird, warped realms where the GodStorm has turned everything upside down, twisted time, creatures, technology and magic, secret, high-tech societies, an adult amusement park in which the guests can slip into living steel bodies and go off on wild adventures, space exploration, a bizarre dream world that can change lives forever, epic races and other contests, including an ever-changing, “living” maze built by the ancient Architects, and far, far more going on.

As such, I’ll revisit the Adventures In Toonaria series later and give you some more adventure seed examples. Sound good?

Okay, I’ve been crazy busy lately, so rather than launching into another topic shortly after midnight, I’ll keep this post short and sweet and dive into Toonaria once more next week and share some goodies, rather than rushing something out when I should be in bed. Have an amazing rest of the week, my friends, and as always, don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t, and let me hear from you. Have a question about Toonaria or want me to cover a particular topic sooner, rather than later? Let me know—thanks!

Posted in author, blended-genre, Campaign Setting, fantasy, Fiction, Game Design, novel, publishing, QT Games, Roleplaying, RPG, superheroes, Toonaria | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment