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> 1+ year after the Catapocalypse
emouse
post Jan 10 2012, 06:11 PM
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It's been just a little over a year since the big discussion thread that covered events that broke mid-2010 finally closed for the last time.

I'm wondering what's the fallout from what happened?

Clearly, Catalyst is still in business, and printing Shadowrun and Battletech.

They've fended off the bankruptcy proceedings, and have apparently kept Topps happy, as they've been able to retain the licenses so far.

It also seems like new releases have gotten back on track again.

On the periphery, it seems that Sandstorm ended up dropping their RPG publishing business this year, leaving Wildfire (Cthulhutech) out in the cold, while Posthuman (Eclipse Phase) went independent. It looks like Posthuman might have gone independent before Sandstorm's decision to stop publishing RPGs, I'm not clear on the timing.

So has Catalyst come out of this for the better? For the worse? Or is it just the same old, same old?

The big thing I'd like to know: have they cleaned up their act when it comes to paying authors and artists? I think that's what a lot of the more tempered observers wanted to see. When given a second chance, did Catalyst clean up its act?
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Patrick Goodman
post Jan 10 2012, 06:28 PM
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QUOTE (emouse @ Jan 10 2012, 12:11 PM) *
The big thing I'd like to know: have they cleaned up their act when it comes to paying authors and artists? I think that's what a lot of the more tempered observers wanted to see. When given a second chance, did Catalyst clean up its act?

I speak for no one but myself here. Not for Catalyst, and not for the other freelancers.

With the possible exception of some proofing credits (which I don't think are actually due yet; gotta check the records when I get back home to them), I am completely up-to-date; Catalyst owes me nothing for the contracts I have completed for them to this point.

I have one outstanding contract, for "Another Rainy Night," but I only just turned in my final draft. It's gone through the first editorial pass, art has been commissioned and turned in (and I think it's pretty sharp), but it's just now ready for the final editing pass and layout. Should still be out by the end of this month, and if things go as they have recently, I should see a meager check sometime in March.

So, basically, things are going swimmingly on this front from my perspective.
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Blade
post Jan 11 2012, 02:51 AM
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From what I've read, it looks like they've cleaned up their acts as far as paying/rewarding the freelancers/artists/writers is concerned. They're releasing a whole lot of books and small PDF.

So it looks like Catalyst in itself got out alright.

As for the line in itself, it's another story. The line still suffers from the loss of what was a very fine team of freelancers.
Sure we get plenty of releases, but the quality is far from what we were used to, both on the outside and on the inside. Maybe it's just personal taste, since it looks like some people here enjoyed the latest releases (with the exception of WAR!), but to me it feels like the line lacks vision and direction. Freelancers with greatly different visions of the game write things of varying quality (from good (and sometimes even excellent) to terribly bad) with little fact/consistency checking behind and it's all put together in some book.
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Wakshaani
post Jan 11 2012, 06:08 AM
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I'm not sure if the staff is 100% recovered, truth be told. There's no web monkey, for example, and I don't know how the editorial staff is at the moment. (Note to self: Contact Jennifer, see how her work schedule is.) As long as I don't bring the freelancers down with my general rookieness, they should continue to improve ... each book is getting better and, eventually, strides will be hit. Shadowrun's the #4 RPG right now, and the PDF side of things is doing well. The Missions line is solid, and metaplot stuff is starting to find fruition ... lots of arcs are hitting the high notes in the not-so distant future, and the kerfluffle that cost us many a good writer is, hopefully, past.

Overall, I'd say there's a rosy prognosis. You are, of course, free to ruthlessly mock my stuff. New guys get hazing; that's SOP. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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CanRay
post Jan 11 2012, 06:12 AM
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#4 means we only need to crush three enemies, see them driven before us, and hear the lamentation of their fanbois!
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Jareth Valar
post Jan 11 2012, 06:22 AM
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Lamination of their fanbois would be much funnier though. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
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ggodo
post Jan 11 2012, 07:22 AM
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Who's #s 1, 2, and 3? I need to start planning the attacks.
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Trigger
post Jan 11 2012, 08:51 AM
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QUOTE (ggodo @ Jan 11 2012, 03:22 AM) *
Who's #s 1, 2, and 3? I need to start planning the attacks.

D&D is #1 and Pathfinder #2, but the third I don't know.

EDIT: If I had to guess though, probably White Wolf and the nWoD.
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Blade
post Jan 11 2012, 08:51 AM
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WoD (as a whole, or maybe just Vampire)?
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Trigger
post Jan 11 2012, 08:53 AM
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QUOTE (Blade @ Jan 11 2012, 04:51 AM) *
WoD (as a whole, or maybe just Vampire)?


I see we had the same thought. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Saint Sithney
post Jan 11 2012, 11:58 AM
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QUOTE (Blade @ Jan 10 2012, 06:51 PM) *
to me it feels like the line lacks vision and direction. Freelancers with greatly different visions of the game write things of varying quality (from good (and sometimes even excellent) to terribly bad) with little fact/consistency checking behind and it's all put together in some book.


While we have a tendency to romanticize the past, I do feel like the signal to noise ratio is losing.

I can't even say what it is I want anymore, but I'm not really getting it. Maybe a really compelling setting book? Like Bug City Chicago or the Arcology during shutdown. I used to daydream about stories and the setting, but nothing new has done that. I guess another election book could do well, but I feel like the books are losing their grip on the street.
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Fatum
post Jan 11 2012, 01:32 PM
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QUOTE (Saint Sithney @ Jan 11 2012, 03:58 PM) *
I can't even say what it is I want anymore, but I'm not really getting it. Maybe a really compelling setting book? Like Bug City Chicago or the Arcology during shutdown. I used to daydream about stories and the setting, but nothing new has done that. I guess another election book could do well, but I feel like the books are losing their grip on the street.
Pretty much my sentiment. The new books are decent, but nothing in them really makes you say "wow". Just look - a pretty minor story about /dev/grrl and Kane has gotten quite a lot of both praise and flak, because nothing gripping seems to be going on elsewhere.
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nezumi
post Jan 11 2012, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE (emouse @ Jan 10 2012, 01:11 PM) *
On the periphery, it seems that Sandstorm ended up dropping their RPG publishing business this year, leaving Wildfire (Cthulhutech) out in the cold, while Posthuman (Eclipse Phase) went independent. It looks like Posthuman might have gone independent before Sandstorm's decision to stop publishing RPGs, I'm not clear on the timing.


Tangentally related, PHS was an independent group prior to Sandstorm closing up. However, they cooperated with Sandstorm for some of the processes on the business side. PHS wasn't in danger of getting shut down with Sandstorm, but I doubt it's helped their production schedule.

Losing Cthulhutech is too bad, though. It was an excellent game.
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GreyBrother
post Jan 11 2012, 03:26 PM
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I lurk more in the bigger german board, the SR-Nexus and there, the new books get bad rep and IMO it is justified.
Before the Fallout, german-speaking audiences preferred the english works for their accuracy in rules and writing, now Pegasus does objectively "a better job than the original devs". The added material also looks better than the OP'd stuff from the third edition.
The many many (low-quality) PDF releases are simply a method to just rake as much money in as possible before the ship vanishes into the deeps.

The drop in quality was noticeable and it doesn't seem likely that the line will go back to its former glory. I personally jumped to Eclipse Phase and back into Werewolf the Apocalypse.
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Draco18s
post Jan 11 2012, 03:29 PM
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QUOTE (Fatum @ Jan 11 2012, 08:32 AM) *
Pretty much my sentiment. The new books are decent, but nothing in them really makes you say "wow". Just look - a pretty minor story about /dev/grrl and Kane has gotten quite a lot of both praise and flak, because nothing gripping seems to be going on elsewhere.


Maybe it's because the metaplot is stalled?

I know there are people out there who detest the metaplot, but honestly, it's what makes ShadowRun, well, ShadowRun.

Sounds to me like we get little snippets of some minor actor who does nothing of importance, but that the world at large is in a state of non-action. The corps exist and are Doing Stuff, maybe. The dragons are around and Being Themselves, probably.

But we don't know what any of it is, because if it's happened, it hasn't made the front page news.
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Wakshaani
post Jan 11 2012, 03:42 PM
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Big fan of Werewolf: the Apocolypse, here.

I'd agree that the past few books have been a bit ... big. Sweeping changes, globe-hopping, etc. I'd like to see things on a smaller scale, but epic tends to be sexier. Might be room to squeeze something in at some point.

Heck, bouncing around in the back of my text files is a loose series of notes for "Thirteenth Street", a setting book which is, essentially, a few blocks of the Redmon Barrens. Locations, NPCs, a few plots, and ready to be used as a campaign setting for low-level Shadowrunners. Liquor stores, pawn shops, cash advance/check cashing places, run-down apartment complexes, and the people who live there. Would it be useful? I dunno. It's certainly *different*, but is there a market for it? I dunno. Just one of those "Ideas I should polish some day" that's not ready for a transition to prime-time.

A suppliment should be usable in the form that it's presented in, but it should also seed other ideas from it. "Oh, I didn't even think of an approach like this. You know, if I started from this base, but did this and this ... neat!" or "Oh man, there's an organization mentioned here of Troll Yodellers? A good way to communicate in the Barrens without anyone knowing what it means, to help drive off Lone Star invasions? I gotta use that!" (Not that I have anything on Troll Yodelling, but.) ... little nuggets like that can launch many a concept to GMs, and that's big.

There are a *ton* of ways to play Shadowrun. Getting a book that's perfect for you is the tricky part.
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Bearclaw
post Jan 11 2012, 04:34 PM
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I would buy 13th street.
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Adarael
post Jan 11 2012, 05:09 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Jan 11 2012, 07:29 AM) *
I know there are people out there who detest the metaplot, but honestly, it's what makes ShadowRun, well, ShadowRun.


That's pretty much on the nose, as far as I'm concerned. People may hate immortal elves and Or'zet and draconic machinations, but if you take those away Shadowrun loses a huge amount of its flavor.

That said, I think this "dragon civil war" - which is a shitty term, it's more like "dragon infighting" since dragons aren't a NATION - has the possibility of returning some of that to the game, as well as the info on the bug resurgence. I would also like to see something distinctly new and shadowrun-specific, too. Not another corporate collapse or anything, but some new cutting-edge tech that changes the playing field, like cybermancy and the original Grimoire did, when it added physads.
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Wakshaani
post Jan 11 2012, 05:39 PM
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For New, well, Technomancers and AIs should fit the bill.

Unless you want to go all kinds of transhuman up in this house, with nano-consciousnesses or aliens.
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Draco18s
post Jan 11 2012, 05:42 PM
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QUOTE (Adarael @ Jan 11 2012, 12:09 PM) *
I would also like to see something distinctly new and shadowrun-specific, too. Not another corporate collapse or anything, but some new cutting-edge tech that changes the playing field, like cybermancy and the original Grimoire did, when it added physads.


I'll just drop this here, for potential ideas, spawned from the real world (there's some good material halfway down*).

*
QUOTE
And while 3D printing will give rise to plenty of trivial complaints, there will be judges in the American South and mullahs in Iran who will lose their minds over people in their jurisdictions printing out sex toys. The trajectory of 3D printing will raise real grievances, from solid-state meth labs to ceramic knives.
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Adarael
post Jan 11 2012, 05:47 PM
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Technomancers and AI's don't really count, since Technomancers are now OOCly 7 years old. Think about it: SR4 was released in 2005, and although Emergence was released in 2008, it was a stalled effort due to the fact that people had been PLAYING technomancers since 2005, and suddenly their existence was retconned into "Oh nobody knows about your shit yet." Plus the whole fact that I've always felt they were a conceptual offshoot of otaku anyway. By the metric of when SR4 was released, Technomancers are right now older hat than Cybermancy was when SR4 was released - 2005 to 2012 is 7 years, while 1999 to 2005 is only six. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

AIs, yeah, I agree with that, but there hasn't been anything DONE with them other than "Here, have a new character type option." Same deal with full borg capsules. If there was some plot around this kind of thing, I would be happier.

Anarchy Subsidized spoiler alert:
[ Spoiler ]
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Patrick Goodman
post Jan 11 2012, 06:09 PM
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QUOTE (Wakshaani @ Jan 11 2012, 11:39 AM) *
For New, well, Technomancers and AIs should fit the bill.

Unless you want to go all kinds of transhuman up in this house, with nano-consciousnesses or aliens.

Transhumanism in SR can, as far as I'm concerned, die a horrible death.
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Starmage21
post Jan 11 2012, 07:26 PM
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QUOTE (Wakshaani @ Jan 11 2012, 02:08 AM) *
I'm not sure if the staff is 100% recovered, truth be told. There's no web monkey, for example, and I don't know how the editorial staff is at the moment. (Note to self: Contact Jennifer, see how her work schedule is.) As long as I don't bring the freelancers down with my general rookieness, they should continue to improve ... each book is getting better and, eventually, strides will be hit. Shadowrun's the #4 RPG right now, and the PDF side of things is doing well. The Missions line is solid, and metaplot stuff is starting to find fruition ... lots of arcs are hitting the high notes in the not-so distant future, and the kerfluffle that cost us many a good writer is, hopefully, past.

Overall, I'd say there's a rosy prognosis. You are, of course, free to ruthlessly mock my stuff. New guys get hazing; that's SOP. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


Where does this # come from?
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Sengir
post Jan 11 2012, 07:36 PM
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QUOTE (GreyBrother @ Jan 11 2012, 04:26 PM) *
The many many (low-quality) PDF releases are simply a method to just rake as much money in as possible before the ship vanishes into the deeps.

They are obviously working hard to generate a lot of cash is short time, but that could mean a lot of things. In no particular order, an extremely not exhaustive list of possibilities:
- The Colemans want to resolve the, ahem, "unfortunate co-mingling of funds", for that they need some income...
- CGL needs money for a project but are considered about as creditworthy as Greece, hence they have to stock up on cash
- The cow is dead, so it needs to be milked as much as possible before it starts smelling rotten


And if one things needs to die a horrible flaming death, it's the ubiquitous magic nanotech .
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Wakshaani
post Jan 11 2012, 07:42 PM
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QUOTE (Starmage21 @ Jan 11 2012, 01:26 PM) *
Where does this # come from?


I'd have to dig the thing up. There's an indy site that tracks sales figures for assorted RPGs, based on sales figures that the companies are willing to share. Pathfinder passed up 4th ed recently, but the two change the top slot often. One of teh World of Darkness line (Vampire, most likely) drops in at third, then Shadowrun at 4th.

As for transhuman, I, personally, agree with Mr Goodman, but there's always been a subset of Shadowrun that appeals to the transhuman side of things. SURGE people, meta-offshoots, geneblended furries, and so on. Anything that pushes the concept of "Human" outwards is a valid balliywick. Not something I do in my games, but, the options are there for those that want o go a-viking. Humans that get upgraded to aquatic operation, or elongated for space action, or who live in a vat because their organs went wild and now they spend their life in a tank, mind in the Matrix, dreaming of how to get themselves jacked into a new cyborg bod.

Takes all kinds. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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