Dec 272011

So I’ve recently been pushing hard to make sure Evil Hat has enough plates spinning at once that we’ll have a pretty steady (if a bit irregular) slate of releases once the projects start reaching their conclusions. This means I have a spreadsheet with about a baker’s dozen projects listed in it, all in various states of development. And because Evil Hat is all about the transparency, I’m going to share some of what I’ve got in there — basically an outline for our nearish future in 2012 and beyond (sans release dates, because we don’t do that sort of thing).

It’s worth saying that some of these things aren’t surefire, definitely-happening projects — sometimes the project is figuring out if it’s a project — but most of them are capturing some amount of my attention on a regular basis, and I certainly want them to happen.

Do we have the money to make all of these projects happen at once, simultaneously? No. (We do have enough money to make sure the creative folks working on the projects get paid for their efforts — that’s my necessary minimum.) But they won’t be happening simultaneously, and in at least a few (or maybe even many) cases, we’ve got the option to throw a little Kickstarter juice at them. Our ambitions would be just a tad smaller if we didn’t have the option of crowdfunding in the mix. Thanks to Kickstarter, our ambitions are having a bit of a right time, right place quality to them, which is great.

Let’s get into the details.

Role-Playing Games

Don’t Rest Your Head

Don’t Hack This Game: Hopefully you’ve read the post about this already. Don’t Rest Your Head is over 5 years old at this point, and Ryan Macklin & I think there’s been a lot of great, creative play and hackery going on out there. Don’t Hack This Game will be a supplement for Don’t Rest Your Head where we collect some of the best ideas and give folks a roadmap for hacking the game to be what they want it to be. The system can be bent into all sorts of shapes, but that’s really only one piece of the puzzle.

Dresden Files

The Paranet Papers: This has been one of the “big dog” projects since the Dresden Files RPG launched. The Paranet Papers is part system update and setting catch-up (getting us mostly current into the beginning bits of Ghost Story), part campaign starter kit. That latter part is being addressed by us cracking up the city creation mold a bit and looking at six different “cities” that do it a little differently, all viewed in light of the fallout from Changes. Those locations: Las Vegas; the “Neverglades”; the open road (taking the Dresden Files in more of a Supernatural direction); the Russian Revolution; South America; and some of the “outlands” of the Nevernever.

DF Adventures: Fairly recently we got ink on a contract addendum that lets us do a handful of “for-pay” adventure arcs for the Dresden Files RPG. Previously we were only in the clear to do free web support type stuff, which is where our collection of one-shots for the Dresden Files (as well as a Fiasco scenario) came from. Now, we’re going to get to do some more ambitious stuff. We’ve got three such projects slated, and the option to do more. You’ll probably see these parcel out over the course of the next two years; at least one of them will include some new details about the Dresdenverse gathered straight from the Word of Jim.


Fate Core: This would be that new core Fate book that we’ve been promising folks since Spirit of the Century. We haven’t been burbling about this as much as we could over on, but that doesn’t mean the project’s on hold. Lenny is in straight up nose to the grindstone mode with this one; we’re hoping to have the full text to an editorial squad by February.


Bubblegumshoe: Evil Hat’s going to be exploring Pelgrane Press’s Gumshoe system a bit, with a focus on taking it in some more deeply “story-game” directions, in a pair of projects. The first of these is Bubblegumshoe, the teen detective roleplaying game. In essence, we’re looking for something that runs the gamut from Nancy Drew to Veronica Mars here — a mostly female-protagonist perspective, but with plenty of room for Hardy Boys and The Great Brain besides — with a focus on how our teen investigators interact with the authority figures and other relationships in their lives. This one’s got a trio of RPG experts working on it: Kenneth Hite, Emily Care Boss, and Lisa Steele.

Revengers: Evil Hat’s other Gumshoe system game will be penned by Will Hindmarch and features ghosts-as-cops who investigate murders for the recently dead and, when possible, get revenge for them. This one will be half whodunit, half let’s-get-’em, and Will and I have been talking about making several system decisions that put some real story-shaping power in the players’ hands, as well as building some unity between the game-space and the story-space. That’s a bit gearheaddy, so let me stress again: you’re dead cops solving murder mysteries and haunting the bejeezus out of the murderers. Badass.

Spirit of the Century

Strange Tales of the Century: A Spirit of the Century inflected tour of the mostly-real international pulps that existed in the first half of the 20th Century, with geek librarian superstar Jess Nevins as your tour guide.  This will be a must-have for fans of pulp who want to break outside of the often-common American-inflected mold. Strange Tales of the Century is one has been in the works for a while, but got spun into an editorial limbo a few years back. We’ve managed to breathe new life into it with an expanded editorial team and believe we’ll see this one out in 2012 for sure.

Board/Card Game

Race to Adventure: One of our two big forays into the board game arena. Race to Adventure!™ is an easy-to-learn family board game you can play in 20-30 minutes. It features heroes from the Spirit of the Century setting racing around the globe on a scavenger hunt, trying to be the first to get their passports stamped and return to the Century Club’s home base. Of course, they run into all sorts of complications from the villainous masterminds of the SOTC setting along the way. The game was designed by Evan Denbaum, Eric Lytle, and Chris Ruggiero, features card art by Spirit of the Century illustrator Christian N. St. Pierre, and graphic design by Daniel Solis.

Zeppelin Armada: The flipside of Race to Adventure, Zeppelin Armada is a fightin’ card game featuring the villainous masterminds of the Spirit of the Century setting. An artifact of ultimate power has been discovered — and EVERYONE wants it. So they gas up their zeppelins, and of course, all arrive at the site of the artifact at the same time. A nasty brawl ensues! Featuring rules designed by Jeff Tidball. This one’s going to end up coming up a little bit behind Race to Adventure in part because we’re using the same artist for both projects — there’s only so much he can draw at once!


Don’t Read This Book: A fiction anthology set in the Don’t Rest Your Head setting, edited by Chuck Wendig. This features some incredible authors — I’m seriously agog we got the roster we did for this — but I can’t list all the names just yet. I can say that it will contain a new short story by one of my favorite authors, Harry Connolly, and that I have read it, and that it is fantastic.

Dinocalypse Now: A novel — possibly the start of a trilogy if it is well-received — set in the Spirit of the Century universe, as psychic dinosaurs from the distant past try to take over the present and rule the future. Chuck Wendig will be writing this one, with the pulp action and strange science dials cranked to eleven. Expect to see the heroes from Race to Adventure put in an appearance, including our game’s classic love triangle, Jet, Sally, and Mack.

Graphic Novel

ElectriCity: ElectriCity will be a stand-alone graphic novel written by longtime friend C. E. Murphy — a superhero story set in a new world, with the rivalry between Tesla and Edison as part of the backstory of it all. We’ve been having a lot of fun developing the script and are working on finishing that up and assembling the artistic team. More than any other project on our roster, we’ll be relying on Kickstarter to help us determine if this is just a lovely dream or something we can actually bring to the world. 🙂

Mystery Projects

We do have a couple of them — pipe dreams, or opportunities that haven’t gotten any momentum yet. In nearly all of these cases that adds up to shouldn’t or can’t when it comes to talking about them, so I’m going to simply put a footnote here at the bottom that what I have listed above is not necessarily the whole span of what we’re hoping to do. In most cases, though, if something’s not listed above, it’s a project more likely to happen in 2013 than 2012 — though any of the above projects could end up in 2013 as well simply due to scheduling and effort particulars.


  27 Responses to “State of the Hat: 2012 and Beyond”

  1. Heh. “The living take what they want. We steal it back for you. We provide… revenge.”

  2. I will buy anything involving Tesla and Edison duking it out.

  3. Really waiting for Revengers!!!

  4. As a professional in the electric power industry and having read a lot on early utility history, I’m very much looking forward to ElectriCity.

  5. Fred, Evil Hat restores and keeps afloat my faith in the gaming industry continuously. Go forth, for I have cash to give you for these products.

  6. OMG, “Bubblegumshoe” made me snicker so hard! It must be mine! 

    Oh yeah, and that “Dresden Files” stuff sounds like it might be cool too. XD 

  7. This all sounds great. I am especially excited about the Dresden Files stuff. Is there any chance we might see a portfolio of characters available at some point. We just wrapped up a Dresden game. One of the problems I had as a GM was creating NPCs along with working, kids, life, etc. I found myself raiding your free published adventures for characters. I would change a couple of things to fit my particular circumstance. However, having a stack of characters with aspects that were ready to go was a great benefit to me.

    • Interesting thought. I hadn’t been planning on something like that, but I can see the utility.

      Anybody else reading this who thinks that’d be of use? About how many NPCs would it have to contain to be worth buying?

    • I suppose that depends on the price point. However, I think the larger the the more I would be willing to pay. Mulling it over in my mind, I am thinking something like $0.50 to $1 per character. For example, I would be willing to shell out $5 for a collection of 7 to 10 characters. Although, in reality, I would probably be more willing to shell out $20 for 30-35 characters. This would let me know I was getting a broad selection of types. Maybe a way to go would small collections (werecreatures, minor talents, white court vamps, wizards, etc.) then a larger item with all of the collections.

      I am thinking PDF only, just to be clear.

    • If you’re looking for sheer manpower, put out a call to your audience. “Submit your character. If approved, you’ll get a free PDF and credit.”

    • That’s a thought, but I don’t plan to rely on the crowd for everything. 😉

    • I like that. You’d get a much broader range of character ideas if they were coming from lots of different brains. 

      And you could include characters with several different levels of complexity–some complete, some just a couple of interesting Aspects and a job description. That way more would fit in fewer pages. 

      Another possibility in a supplement like that would be to include basic useful NPC ideas like “Beat Cop” or “Sorority Girl” with a handful of suggestions for interesting Aspects that would fit them. That way a harried GM could grab a couple off the list, maybe along with a list of their three or four best skills, and be good to go in two minutes, without a player who also owned the supplement knowing their exact strengths and weaknesses beforehand. (Not that most FATE players would exploit that sort of thing, of course!) 

      I’d buy it, although I’d be more interested in spending around $10 for that sort of a supplement. (Looking for maybe 20 complete characters or 40-50 if some of them were just partial sketches.)

    • Honestly, I suspect people will get a good selection of pilfer-able NPCs out of our Paranet Papers project. But I’m thinking about it.

    • I am all for the crowd-sourced NPC gallery. It frees up a lot of time and creative juice on your end, gets us a lot of goodies, and has a low overhead cost, meaning everyone gets more bang for their buck.

      However, from your description of Paranet Papers, it may cover the NPC needs on it’s own. I’d recommend doing that, and then seeing of there’s demand for an NPC supplement.

      BONUS IDEA: If you have NPCs you have to cut from PP, bundle them into a free web enhancement PDF. 2 birds with one spell

    •  Well, here’s a fun idea. Would anyone (By which I mostly mean the Evilhat people) mind if we grabbed a wiki and just started cranking them out? I have a stable of around fifteen faces and ex-PCs I could throw online pretty quickly, and I’m sure any other DM has around ten or so at least. This seems like it wouldn’t even really need the Hat to do anything other than say “go for it.”

      just my two cents.

    • Go for it! Bonus points if you stash ’em on

    • Might be a modified idea of a NPC list, but an interesting spin you can put on it would be providing a variety of characters from a few different factions as part of adventure? Give the various factions their own ‘goals’ (that all run slightly parallel with one major difference), and pile it into a set of campaign sessions.   Players can choose a character that suits them (Have a few White Council, Minor Talents/Weres, Fae-involved, WCV/Red Court Infectees and cops).  The twist would be that all characters need to work together but should have their own similar agendas.

      (To keep it secret, include a trouble aspect that emphasizes that revealing their goals to other players will cause bad things to happen).

      Doesn’t have to be a little (or anything) like this, but if I were to buy ‘a big book of NPCs’–this is the kinda thing that would interest me.

      (Also I will totally buy a book that has Las Vegas as a supernatural city. Read my mind!)

    • Speaking of NPC galleries, it might be expand the utility and inspiration to present two ways to use each NPC: As an Ally, As an Opponent. So the Beat Cop as an Ally might have different aspects than the BeatCop as an Opponent. Unknown Armies did something like this in their NPC writeups which was super-useful.

    • I would certainly be interested. It could be a collection (I think around 10 would be a good minimum for this sort of thing) of NPCs with short backgrounds to easily toss into any city. Or maybe a series of $1 NPC PDFs with a bit longer backgrounds? Both?

    • Late to the thread but put me down as a ‘hell yes’ to that.

  8. I’m excited to see these projects and find out what the mysteries are.

  9. […] Wow the folks at Evil Hat are going to have a busy 2012 (and 2013)! Check out Fred Hick’s post looking forward into the “State of the Hat” at Deadly Fredly. […]

  10. […] State of the Hat 2012 by Fred Hicks lets us peek at next year’s upcoming projects from Evil Hat Productions, including Fate Core, a Spirit of the Century novel, a couple of Gumshoe games, and the Zeppelin Armada card game. […]

  11. You can count on me to thoroughly enjoy *anything* of Dresden Files.

  12. […] at the end of 2011, I posted up an overview of the “State of the Hat” for the company, with an eye on the year ahead. We’re now reaching towards the end of […]

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