Monday, July 15, 2013


Hi all, my name is Tom Miskey.  I've never had a blog before, I've always preferred to participate on forums and have an exchange back and forth rather than monologue about my own ideas and thoughts.  However, with a project I've been working on for a long time finally coming to fruition, I wanted 1 place to provide information, advanced looks, and discussion, so here we are!

I've been an RPG gamer for 32 years.  I started with the 1981 version of Basic D&D, written by Tom Moldvay with the Erol Otis cover.  From there I expanded to a wide variety of games in every genre, from d6 Star Wars to Shadowrun, Marvel Superheroes and DC Heroes to Call of Cthulhu, and everything in between.  Already a comic book collector, I added RPG books to my collecting habit and today I have thousands of game books that I treasure.  RPGs have always fostered my imagination and creativity as well as my inner B-grade actor.  Currently I play in a weekly face-to-face Pathfinder game, as well as online games of Dungeon World and Fate.

Like most RPG gamemasters, I was a rules tinkerer.  I created pages of house rules for many of my favorite games.  Some were only minor tweaks, while others were expansive changes that filled page after page of notebook paper.  Eventually, the tinkering grew into a desire to create my own system from the ground up.  In the mid-90's, I decided to create a new system for one of my favorite games at the time, Castle Falkenstein.  It used small dice pools of d6's, and later a pair of d10's.  I wrote dozens of pages, later changing many of them as new ideas supplanted older ones.  It never really seemed to be totally finished, though.

Fast forward to 2006.  I'd just picked up the Spirit of the Century RPG and I'm blown away by the concepts in it.  The focus on characters and the environment, the blending of a traditional RPG with indie game concepts like Aspects... this was what I'd been looking for, what I'd been trying to achieve.  I scrapped my plans for my own system for a while and set about adapting Castle Falkenstein to SotC and the Fate system.  I soon released Spirits of Steam and Sorcery for free and it had one of the first magic systems for Fate 3, as well as some of the first rules for non-human races, mechanical malfunctions, weapons and armor, and more.  I received a lot of positive feedback on it, as well as numerous requests to next adapt Shadowrun to Fate.  I decided that I'd create a futuristic version of the rules in SoS&S that was fully compatible, but added the necessities such as cybernetics, hacking, etc.  So was born Spirits of Chrome and Cyberspace.

Those 2 Fate rules-hacks got me noticed by Chris Birch at Cubicle 7.  He was creating a fantasy version of his Starblazer game called Legends of Anglerre, and he needed additional writers.  I joined the existing team at the same time as a certain +Mike Olson, and it was quite an experience.  I'd done artwork for RPGs many times before, and I'd written supplements on my own, but it was my first time as part of a team writing a whole core book.

After LoA, I turned my attention back toward Spirits of Steam and Sorcery, and I felt it was now time to expand and revise it into a full setting and system, taking some ideas from my old hand-written system as well as the original Castle Falkenstein and merging them with the evolving Fate system.  One of my main goals was to replace the Fudge Dice with playing cards, both because of the setting (gentlemen play cards, not dice) and because of the difficulty of finding Fudge dice at the time (It'll soon be much easier because of the Fate Dice from Evil Hat).  I spent months testing various ways to incorporate playing cards into the game, trying to find ways that were as fast and easy to use as a dice roll, but with all the additional information provided by a card (color, suit, face vs number, etc).  I finally developed a system that I liked and began writing, when the folks at Evil Hat announced the Fate Core book.  I didn't want to base my game on an "old" version of Fate, so I waited, joined the Kickstarter, and began adapting my game to the numerous changes in Fate Core. 

Fate Core is now released, and the "Powered by Fate" license is open.  I'm still writing more setting details and revising some older content to fit with Fate Core.  My current working title is Hand of Fate: Steam and Sorcery because you draw a hand of cards in place of your Fate Points.  It's currently almost 120 pages long and isn't finished yet, making it far longer than any of the settings or system hacks yet released for Fate Core.

The setting is a steampunk 1870's with air pirates, automatons, and clockwork gadgets.  However, there is also magic and various fantasy races such as Dragons, Fey Folk, Dwarves, and Goblins.  The other-dimensional realm of the Fey was destroyed and the shattered remnants of it crashed to Earth, bringing with it both magical energy and the Fey survivors.  Wherever a piece of the Fey Realm landed, the Earth was changed, taking on magical qualities.  This will be a setting that will allow you to focus on whatever areas you want.  It could be a spy campaign against Kaiser Wilhelm and his Unseelie allies.  You could play air pirates based in the Free City of New Orleans.  You might be explorers in the heart of Africa, the jungles of Southeast Asia, or the Amazon Forest, all of which were magically altered by the shattered pieces of the Fey Realm.  You could be mages from various Secret Societies working to keep dark forces at bay, or gadget-wielding heroes opposing Moriarty's World Crime League whenever they appear.  You might even have a chance to save the entire world, because whatever destroyed the Fey Realm is still out there, and it has followed the trail of destruction across dimensions to an unsuspecting Earth...

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