Sneak Preview: Crafting the Cover for STOLEN SOULS

CAT27200_Stolen Souls_Cover

Crafting a cover for Shadowrun goes rarely the same way twice. Sometimes the magic happens organically, sometimes its the a wonderful recipe combining a variety of ingredients, and sometimes you just need to hit it with napalm. When it came to crafting the title image for Stolen Souls the recipe included all three.

It all started with a plan…

I had an idea in mind that I finally wanted to have the legendary Raven Mimura bring the characters to life. Raven crafted some of my all time favorite character images from the Fourth Edition era, and his amazing character images infuse a range of intensity and storytelling that is among the very best in the industry. I’d long wanted to put him on a cover and as a huge fan of Shadowrun, he was glad for his shot at it.

Next we needed the details, so I tasked Jason Hardy with designing a set of notes that would allow Raven to really work his magic. Jason is a huge fan of Raven’s so he worked up a description for a character wizard to sink his teeth into, which in this case were the frayed ends of forced insanity caused by the dangers in Stolen Souls. Here were the original art notes:

    Setting: Interior hallway of a corporate office. Should be a nice place, with dark wood doors, brass wall sconces, beige walls, padded carpet, that sort of thing. As we get farther in the background, some of the walls look like they have been slashed with an axe…because they have been.

    The focus of the scene is on an executive running down the hallway (toward the viewer) at a full tilt. He is wearing a business suit and tie. His tie is slightly loosened. He is carrying a fire axe. It looks like some of his swings with the axe have been somewhat wild and have cut into his pants, so the lower part of them is looking a bit shredded. His facial expression should be very crazed, to a scary extent—like, say, Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

    Behind him is a runner team. They have been sent to extract him, but they had no idea just how far gone his mind is. They are supposed to take him alive, so they cannot just take him down. They are running after him—we should be able to see a female ork street samurai with a large stun baton, a male dwarf mage getting ready to throw a spell down the hallway, and a female elf shooter lining up a shot with a dart rifle. This team should look like the type you would trust to do a corporate run—not too crazy looking, professional and all, but still looking like shadowrunners.

Raven’s characterizations were right on target from the get go and he did an amazing job bringing these to life.

With those characters in place I then handed off the image to Victor Moreno to build the corporate setting around these characters. Victor has delivered some over-the-top amazing work for Shadowrun settings (like the upcoming Shadowrun: Crossfire box cover) so I tasked him with designing a background which showcased the scene and reinforced Raven’s storytelling. The heavily tilted ‘ground’ reinforced the unbalanced state of the foreground character’s state of mind, and wood panel color palette really sets off the characters nicely.

All told the collaborative result just goes to show how great a team we have here on Shadowrun, and the awesomeness of letting specialists play to their strengths. It’s a great image and does an excellent job illustrating the state of mind one risks in the Sixth World.

Brent Evans
Art Director

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Get your Shadowrun fiction fix with Sail Away, Sweet Sister!

New Shadowrun fiction is on sale now for your immediate consumption! It’s got hungry vampires, sardonic spirits, Anne Ravenheart, and so much more! Featuring Thomas McAllister, the main character of Another Rainy Night, the story is an exploration of shadowy deeds and dark desires–just what we like to see in Shadowrun! And as part of the Enhanced Fiction line, it comes with game statistics and rules for the main characters. If you buy the PDF version, the stats are right in the document. If you buy the ePub or Kindle version, you can get the stats for free right here. Or I guess you could just get the stats for free–but you’d be missing out on a great story!

Sail Away, Sweet Sister is available at the following outlets: The Battleshop has a bundle with the PDF, ePub, and mobi versions all bundled together; so does DriveThruRPG. Alternately, you can get the Kindle version at Amazon, and it will be coming soon to the Barnes & Noble online store–watch this space for the link!

Here are some more details if for some reason you haven’t already run out and grabbed it:

Monsters of the Shadows

Thomas McCallister’s area of expertise—the virus that turns metahumans into flesh-eating monsters—has taken him into some dark corners of the Sixth World. When he came face to face with the serial murderer known as the Mealtime Killer, he had hoped that a particularly dark chapter of his life had come to a close. But when night falls in the sprawls of the world, blood is still being shed, and people are still dying. Another killer is still out there, one that needs to be found and stopped, but the challenge McAllister is about to face is one he never could have anticipated. His resolve will be tested in ways he never anticipated in his darkest nightmares.

Sail Away, Sweet Sister builds on the events of Another Rainy Night, taking another dark turn down the streets of the Sixth World to face the monsters that lurk there. Along with a full short story, it contains game statistics for the major characters in the work, as well as spells, gear, and other game information that allows you can drop the people from this story right into your Shadowrun game (stats are included in the PDF version and will be made available as a free PDF that ePub/Kindle buyers can download).

Sail Away, Sweet Sister is dual-statted, meaning it can be used with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition or Shadowrun, Twentieth Anniversary Edition.

SASS_cover

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Run & Gun available now for PDF purchase, print pre-order!

The previews have all been posted. The ramp-up is all done. The time is here. Run & Gun, the core combat book for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is now available for PDF purchase and print pre-order (Battleshop, DriveThruRPG). And when we say print pre-order, we have a load of options for you, since along with the regular edition, we’re also releasing a limited edition of the book! Following on the look of the Shadowrun, Fifth Edition limited editions, this will feature a red leather cover with an embossed illustration of some of the weapons from the book.

So what do you get in Run & Gun? Well, the previews will give you a good taste, but here are some highlights: A monofilament chainsaw. Three laser weapons. Full-color illustrations of dozens of firearms, including the Savalette Guardian and the Ares Executioner. Fashion armor, mil-spec armor, and the deceptive murder armor. Group maneuvers in combat. Called shots on specific body locations. Information on using explosives in cars for assassinations. And so much more!

The graphic below outlines the bundles available at the Battleshop; below that is the summary text of the book if you need more information. Enjoy!

RG-Bundle-Graphic

Nothing Is Free

Guns and ammo cost nuyen. Mastering martial arts takes time. And learning how to use explosives without blowing yourself up takes patience and a steady hand. These weapons and more are out there, waiting for you. You have the chance to use them to become deadlier, faster, more dangerous than the next guy—and more dangerous than you were yesterday. You’ll have to pay the price to get what you want, but this is the Sixth World. Don’t you always?

Run & Gun is a combat core rulebook for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, containing more weapons, more armor, more modifications, and more game options such as martial arts and unit tactics. Explosives, survival gear, specialized techniques—they’re all here! Break the book open and prepare to raise your game!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Response

Crossfire At The Printers!

Shadowrun 5 Crossfire Logo

I think that’s worth saying again. Shadowrun: Crossfire is officially at the printers!!! My head does it feel so good to say that.

Why all the delays? Well, as I mentioned in a previous blog, we got a little carried away in our excitement and enthusiasm for all of the awesome-sauce games we want to publish for Shadowrun. While the roleplaying game will always remain near and dear to our hearts, the universe is what makes it sing. And it’s high time that universe was experienced through a variety of ways, from card games to board games and more. Additionally, we tried hard—so very hard, across many months—to see if we couldn’t print this game domestically. But ultimately we finally had to admit defeat and print it overseas.

Crossfire Box Lid

Crossfire Box Base

We’ve used those delays to good effect, though. Going to print simultaneously with the core box is a Demo Kit (we used this last year at Gen Con and Origins, and we’ll be using it for various conventions in the future). Every retailer that orders a set number of boxes (the exact details are still being worked on) will receive a free Demo Kit to help push play in their stores.

CAT27700_Crossfire Demo Box

On top of that, Character Expansion Pack 1 is also heading to print. It includes 20 Character Cards (with new art), 1 each of the Basic Cards with new art, and a full pack of character upgrade stickers found in the core box. It’s a quick $14.99 purchase that instantly expands your play and campaign options.

CAT27700_Crossfire Character Cards CC Expanded.indd

Finally, we’ve got a unique Character Card promo with art by the brilliant Echo Chernik that will go out with every single purchase of the first printing of the box. (The exact nature of what the character is … well, we’ll share that sometime in the future.)

“So, it’s at print—what does that mean?” I’m sure that’s the very next question. Well, in a nutshell, this is what’s going to happen (some of you are aware of this process, but sharing it for those who don’t):

1. They’ll send us digital proofs of everything to review and we’ll either approve as is or ask for some tweaks before approval. (This process is already underway with a swath of files already approved.)

2. Then they’ll print out physical proofs of everything (including huge card sheets for all the cards) and ship them to us. It’ll take several hours to carefully go over absolutely everything to ensure the colors are correct, card backs are with correct card fronts, all pieces are there, and so on. Those should be in hand within the next two weeks; obviously we’ll share photos when they’re here.

3. A complete white sample of everything will be built and shipped; generally simultaneously with the materials above. That allows us to see the quality of the paper being used, to make sure everything fits where it should and the box quality is solid, and so on.

In both instances above, we usually ship everything back after the review, so there are some additional days in shipping of materials on both ends.

4. The printer says the manufacturing/printing will take 55 days. I’ve seen that swing by almost 14 days (almost always to the longer).

5. Then the entire print run will be boxed up, palleted and placed on a ship; couple of days of work there. It generally takes 30 days to transit to a US port. It’s another week (provided there are no customs hold ups, which happens about 1/10th of the time) to transit to the warehouse. Then another two to three weeks to be fully processed and shipped out to retail stores all over the world.

Where does that leave us? Well, if you do the math, it means it could be anywhere from mid July all the way into September. That’s why we don’t provide release dates until it’s at least sitting in a US port, and usually not even then; it’s much better to provide that information once the game is in our warehouse. That way once we say “The Street Date is X”, we know it will hit that date.

Will it be at the big conventions? Again, hard to say at this point. We’re hoping to have some limited advanced quantities available at Origins and then stacks-to-the-rafters at Gen Con. But we’ll need to get much closer to those two dates before we’ll know for certain.

Now, at this point we need to point out that we are well aware of today’s date, which means people might take this post with a troll-sized grain of salt. We completely understand how that would be the case. All we can do is share a preview card our crack staff recently put together, and present it to you this way—either the Character Card presented here is completely genuine, or this announcement is. We’ll let you make the call as to which you think is real.

CAT27700_Harlequin Front

CAT27700_Harlequin Back

Or just download the PDF.

As we move toward launch day for the game, we’ve got a variety of digital initiatives planned. Obviously we’ll continue to showcase art and cards on our Tumblr. We’re looking at producing multiple promotional videos that players can view and share, as well as a “How To Play” animation video. We’re also planning a “Digital Shadowrun” that’ll involved the community in digging out cards and rules, and perhaps getting people started in playing. A Strategy & Tactics Guide … the full demo kit … the full rules … lots of plans … but we’ll hold more specifics of the when and where until we start pushing things out.

Thanks to everyone that have so patiently waited for this great game. It’ll be well worth the wait for the endless hours of Sixth World card-game goodness coming your way!

Randall

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Responses