Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

The State of the Art

Today I got a few things done

Fiddled around with the design of the cutout boat I mentioned yesterday, and fixed the things I didn't like about the engine

Made a couple of hundred cards (basically saying "This is the Tooth and Claw RPG - UK postal regulations will charge me an arm and a leg if I include a letter here, so read the Readme file on the CD" to go into the disk mailers.

Wrote the readme file; it's behind the cut and I'd be grateful for comments - it basically explains why it's taken me three years to get this out, and I'm worried it might be a bit too whiney.


    Hi. It's been a while...

    First, my apologies for the extreme lateness of this CD. It's more than three years since I released the last Forgotten Futures collection. The reason is simple; due to endless problems with US copyright and the heirs of a particular writer, I was forced to abandon the project I'd originally intended to write after FF IX. Unfortunately I'd been working on it for more than a year at that point, since I'd initially thought that there wasn't any difficulty.

    The next idea I had just didn't work - again, it took me much too long to acknowledge that I was wasting my time on a project that wasn't getting anywhere. No copyright problems, just my brain refusing to cooperate.

    A lot of people went out of their way to help me with both abortive projects, and I have to offer my utmost apologies for the wasted effort.

    Fortunately a good fairy eventually intervened to save the day; at an SF convention in August 2007 I happened to mention my problems to Jo Walton, author of the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Tooth And Claw. A few days later she contacted me and suggested that I might like to write the book up as a Forgotten Futures setting. I hadn't actually read it at that point - it was on my "to read" pile and somehow vanished before I got round to it - but I eventually got hold of another copy, read it, and fell in love. It's a wonderful book, and although I'm not able to include it in the online material, it will be in print again early next year. As a taster, the game includes part of the first chapter, and three chapters of an unfinished sequel, Those Who Favor Fire.

    Tooth and Claw is a classic Victorian novel of love, marriage, death, society and inheritance... in which all of the characters happen to be dragons with a taste for cannibalism. They live in a country surrounded by enemies, the hated two-legged Yarge, who came close to wiping the dragons out and enslaved them for hundreds of years. It's a setting that offers endless opportunities for role-playing in a variety of genres, from social comedy to swash-buckling (or at least wing-flapping and fire-breathing) adventure.

    To do justice to this setting a complete rewrite of the Forgotten Futures rules was needed, adding mechanisms for characters considerably larger and stronger than the human norm, flight, the peculiar properties of draconic flesh, and everything else that makes it so unique. I'm pleased to say that the result is still fully compatible with the normal rules, and in some respects streamlines them. There's also everything else needed to play; a detailed worldbook, two long adventures and six adventure outlines, cutout characters, etc.

    I was fortunately able to persuade Hugo-Award winning artist Sue Mason (another Tooth and Claw fan) to provide some of the illustrations for this collection, others come from online sources etc. or were drawn by me. Overall it's probably the prettiest Forgotten Futures release so far. While Sue's art is the main reason for this, another is that it's been created as a PDF, with more control over layout than was ever possible with HTML. An HTML version is also provided, but the PDF is probably the best way to read it, and by far the best way to print it.

    So, without further ado, welcome to the world of Tooth and Claw. Enjoy your stay!

Marcus L. Rowland

    P.S. If you like this release please register - it will encourage me to write more, and 10% of all money received goes to Cancer Research UK.

    Forgotten Futures XI has the working title Planets of Peril, and will be based on the science fiction of Stanley Weinbaum (1902-1935), focusing on his unique visions of the Solar System and the worlds he described in classic stories such as A Martian Odyssey. It will contain at least a dozen stories, space travel rules, and everything else needed for a pulp SF campaign. Like Forgotten Futures X it will be published in PDF and HTML versions. If all goes well it will be available towards the end of 2009.

Designed labels for the distribution disk and the FF CD-ROM. Those I'm not going to print in quantity until I'm ready to use them, those labels are expensive. One of these years I will have to look into the white topped CDs and printing on them directly, but stack loading CD Duplicators / printers cost about a grand and I can't really justify it. I'm going with one of Sue's pictures for both labels, a nice dragoness which I manipped to add a bonnet and "Votes for Dragonesses" sign.

Did some more work on the other contents of both CDs.

Hopefully everything will be ready once I have Jo's corrections. So why am I sweating so much?

Time to go out and get some fresh air, I think...

Tags: forgotten futures, jo walton, rpg, tooth and claw

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