Tag Archives: sinister

Razor Coast Kickstarter

Bethany Razor Works It

Bethany Razor Works It

Razor Coast, the mega-adventure by Paizo fan favorite author Nick Logue, has had a long and checkered past. But Frog God Games has it now and is running a Kickstarter to get it out the door finally! It’s in Pathfinder, but they also have Frank Mentzer (Red Box, fools!) himself working on delivering it for Swords & Wizardry too at the same time.

Razor Coast is set on an untamed coastline, with home base being a colonial power’s city and it surrounding plantations. Just on the land you have slavery, hostile natives, crocodile men, volcanoes, and monster-infested jungle to contend with. But Razor Coast, like Skull & Shackles, has a strong nautical component too.  Ply the waves and fight pirates, or be a pirate and fight the navy – plus weresharks and sahuagin and other demented denizens of the deep! (You can get a sneak preview of the maps for RC on Sean MacDonald’s site!) It wouldn’t be Nick Logue if it didn’t reveal the worst side of human nature and end up in various shrieking bloodbaths.

Pele, Goddess of Fire and Wrack

Pele, Goddess of Fire and Wrack

The good news is that the content is pretty much all done.  I was a volunteer editor originally and still am; this adventure (and all the related Indulgences and extras and whatnot) are in the can and just being fine-tuned.  I just finished another round of editing the various Indulgences to make them even better. So there’s not much standing between this and release, unlike other Kickstarters that are being done completely from scratch.

Yes, it’s pricey.  The hardback level is $110, but you are getting a huge tome and a lot of extras for that.  Lou Agresta explains the value and all what you get on the Paizo boards if you’re interested. FGG uses a very high quality textbook printer, made in the USA, so you are paying more but get a book that won’t fall apart and whose binding isn’t mixed with the tears of child laborers. Check out the higher Kickstarter levels too, they have sweet ship models and other cool swag. They’re 2/3 of their way to goal with 19 days left, now’s the time to get in on it! If you preordered back in the day from Sinister, they’ll honor that preorder, so no worries there. You can pledge some to get other bennies though.

Dajobas, Devourer of Worlds

Dajobas, Devourer of Worlds

I’m going to be running Razor Coast as part of my Pathfinder pirate campaign (“Reavers on the Seas of Fate“) soon! Actually, I already ran one of the Indulgences that were available back originally to kick off the campaign, and you can read the extended session summary here to get a feel for the kind of adventure we’re looking at!  (Well… I did zazz it up a bit myself.) I’ll be setting it south of the Shackles with Port Shaw as a Sargavan expansion port.

Do note that you don’t have to be  a pirate for Razor Coast, unlike with Skull & Shackles – it works for good parties as well. In fact, it starts at level 5 (and goes up through 12+), you could capture and impress your PCs with the first chapter of Skull & Shackles and if they end up being goody-goody and don’t want to go pirate, they could flee to Port Shaw and slot right into Razor Coast!  I actually used the first two chapters of Second Darkness to start my Reavers campaign and went pirate from there, out to Azlant and now to the Razor!

Maybe my PCs will see you there… Kickstart now to become on of their many victims!

Razor Coast Lives Again

Back in 2009, noted Paizo freelance author Nick Logue started Sinister Adventures, a small imprint which announced a great-looking product, the pirate mega-adventure Razor Coast. Sadly, it was colossally mismanaged and closed its doors in 2011 without having delivered.

However, the manuscript showed promise and Lou Agresta did a huge amount of development work (for free I might add) to try to save it at the time. I was one of the volunteer editors and it definitely was shaping up well.

So Nick has come back to the States and is paying some attention again and has said “Sorry I was such a doofus” (I’m paraphrasing), paid off refunds, and Lou got Frog God Games to pick the thing up as a Kickstarter starting on Christmas!

It’s a good play.  If I didn’t personally know the state of the manuscript I’d be staying way the hell away from this – “I know I colossally screwed it up once, but let’s try again” is the uninspiring clarion call of various sad sacks of the RPG industry. But it’s reasonably close to completion, and as long as they keep on top of the schedule, this could be sweet.  Certainly the Paizo faithful are eager to pour money into anything they do (the hugely successful Paizo MMO Kickstarter where you don’t even get the game for your pledge proves that). So maybe Razor Coast will see the light of day after all.

Just one caution.  Kickstarter is in a huge bubble right now. The RPG industry in general is all over patronages and pledges and kickstarters and all.  But it just takes a couple where people mess it up and don’t come through to tarnish it for everyone.

I personally am wrestling over pulling out of the Open Designs “Dark Deeds in Freeport” patronage.  I love Freeport but the project (started in 2010) has been plagued with designer turnover (“Previous one just disappeared”) and delays; two years in it’s unclear what’s going on. When head Kobold Wolfgang Baur is asked about progress and schedule, the answer is “I don’t know! I’ll refund you if you want.”

Well, I was going to bail, and it’s only the fact that that very day I got the email that the other Open Design patronage project I was in (Journeys to the West) had finished and would ship stopped me, raising their cred just above my waterline. Kickstarters/patronage projects get you seed money but they don’t reduce AT ALL your need to project manage the heck out of a product to get it out.

I hope FGG structures this so they’re not putting Nick on the critical path for anything, and that this one doesn’t become the thing that gives RPG kickstarters a bad name. With how much companies are starting to go all in on that model, if public opinion turned it could really hurt a lot of people in the industry very quickly. It’s a somewhat fragile trust-based mechanism to convince people to pay you up front – something that historically has been an awful bet in the RPG industry – and it’d be easy to convince people that “wait till it shows up in the store to plunk down money” is the more prudent course.

Anyway, let’s see if Razor Coast can finish out super strong! The third party ecosystem for Pathfinder has oddly been shying away from adventures and adventure paths – that’s maybe 20% of their output and they tend to focus on rules splatbooks just like the ones we all didn’t buy back in the 3.5e days – and since you can never have too much adventure, a third party AP that is a credible major success would encourage that!

Razor Coast Coming From LPJ Design?

[Edit: Never mind, this was an especially douchebaggy April Fool’s joke by Louis Porter. But he’s apologized for the lapse in judgement, so water under the bridge.]

If you haven’t been keeping up, Nick Logue’s Sinister Adventures was working up a mega pirate adventure called Razor Coast that had great potential. Preorders were taken. Nick kept dropping the ball, and Lou Agresta picked it up and whipped the manuscript into shape.  I was one of the two volunteer proofers on the project, and I really believe in the product.

But then Lou (and we!) delivered the product back to Nick, and it continued to languish, and finally the Sinister Web site went down for the last time. All seemed lost.

But in Louis Porter Jr’s latest blog post, he hints with his trademark subtlety (which is to say, not at all subtly) that he’s involved in it somehow and will be bringing it to market! That would be amazing. I’m glad it worked out, he did kinda bust Logue’s balls a couple times about the whole fiasco, I’m glad Nick saw that it was justified instead of backing away.

Razor Coast should be amazing – and I’ve read it! I hope it got a little cleaning up since the last version I saw, but it’ll definitely be many, many sessions of gaming goodness for those who partake, if it is finally going to see the light of day.

Sinister Adventures – Looks Like It’s Finally Dead

Well. Many of us have been waiting, waiting, waiting for Nick Logue’s Sinister Adventures imprint to publish Razor Coast.  He took pre-orders and said it was “close” in 2008. It wasn’t. Then he took a new job and effectively disappeared.

But the early stuff on Razor Coast looked AWESOME. Finally Lou Agresta and some volunteers (including yours truly) pitched in to try to the the manuscript completed, proofread, etc.  Lou did a great job of taking something half finished and pulling it all together. A complete manuscript got handed over to Nick a couple months ago. You can see a bit of the three years of trauma on this Paizo.com thread. You could see it on Sinister Adventures’ site, but as of now the domain name expired and it’s down. Probably for good.

Which is probably for the best.  The forums were overtaken by spammers, which Nick didn’t bother to do anything about (heck, or give the forum mod password to any of the people that would have been happy to do it for him). He dropped in on his own forums once every three to six months to say something chirpy and then disappear again. No answers to most emails. No meaningful updates or responses to customer queries.

Will Razor Coast eventually emerge?  No. No, despite it being completed except for layout and printing, Logue has shown that he really doesn’t care enough to do anything to complete the work required to get it out. Even though e.g. Louis Porter has offered to pick it up, even though I’m sure a quick layout job and then PDFing it would at least get it out there.

Nick Logue really dropped the ball in a completely negligent manner on this whole thing. I don’t think anyone has any legitimate expectation that this product will see the light of day. At least I hear he’s still giving refunds to those who can somehow find him to do so.

Nick – there’s no excuse for how you handled this. If you’re not going to do it, send everyone’s money back and close up shop. If you’re going to do it, then how much work does it take to go make a forum post once every two fucking weeks? Britain may be a shithole but they do have the Internet there and you work at a university. I guarantee you can send emails and access the Internet.  But people who invested in you apparently weren’t worth 15 minutes of your time every couple weeks – or, indeed, every couple months.  With the way you’ve handled this, you’ve effectively been saying “Fuck you” to a bunch of people that liked your work and believed in you, to the point of pre-ordering, a somewhat psychotic thing to do in the incompetence-riddled RPG industry.

Your work for Paizo was great and bought you some apparently ill-deserved credibility, and it’s unfortunate that this reflects back on them as well. Next guy that tries to spin off their own side thing from Paizo, I won’t be able to trust them one single fucking second just because they got stuff out there while working there. You’ve reflected poorly on yourself and degraded confidence in other Paizoites and the industry in general. You’ve reaffirmed that any given RPG company is probably incompetent and you should never give them money in advance, and that the rare exceptions like Open Design are probably just a temporary aberration. You have squandered more good will than most people in the industry ever. Solid work.

Indulgences, Waves One and Two Reviews Posted

My reviews of Indulgences, Wave One and Wave Two by Sinister Adventures are up on RPG.net.

These two products are four PDFs each, of adventures and supplemental material for D&D 3.5e or Pathfinder specifically designed to support a Razor Coast campaign – but any kind of sea-based adventurers will love them.  Check ‘em out!

Sinister Adventures Adds Savage Worlds Support!

Nick Logue’s RPG imprint, Sinister Adventures, has put out some good lil’ PDF tidbits and is about ready to put out their first large, blood-soaked adventure, Razor Coast.  They have a couple more things in the pipeline.  They had already announced that their products would support both D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder – when  you buy, you get to pick which print copy you want, and you get both PDFs for your trouble.

This was cool enough, but today they announced that their stuff will also support Savage Worlds!  SW is an increasingly popular alternative for groups (including ours) who want a game without the huge rule weight of modern D&D and don’t like retroclones.

I’ve been waiting for Razor Coast eagerly, and being able to run it in either system will be a big draw for me because it means more potential for reuse.  So props to Sinister for this big move!

Sinister Lives!

Sinister Adventures is a small RPG imprint founded by Nicolas Logue, a fan favorite adventure writer.  He contributed a bunch of Dungeon adventures back in the day, and now is probably best known for authoring the demented ogre hillbilly horror of The Hook Mountain Massacre, third in Paizo’s Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path and various other adventures like Crown of the Kobold King, Hangman’s Noose, and Carnival of Tears (Paizo GameMastery modules),  Edge of Anarchy (first in the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP), Blood of the Gorgon (an Open Design project), and Voyage of the Golden Dragon (an Eberron module).

Well, Sinister showed up, threw out some great ideas, awesome concept art, and some PDF products/previews for some upcoming mega-adventures – and then sank silently beneath the waves for a long time.  Like more than a year long.  Even the forums on the site broke and things went to pot.  Nick would occasionally chime in on the Paizo boards or whatnot but the upshot was that he had way too many other jobs going on.

Luckily for you and I, that has changed, and Nick and Sinister have resurfaced, fixed their site, and are charging towards a date of Sep 1 for their first, Razor Coast, to go into layout!  Pirates, cannibal cultists, shark gods, and more tangle in a blood-soaked orgy of violence.  Many previews and blindingly beautiful art pieces are posted on their site!

And the best part, it’ll be for 3.5 and Pathfinder…  I am psyched.  I was actually getting set to run a Pathfinder Pirates campaign and was dusting off my old Freeport stuff; I had given up hope of Razor Coast ever happening.  But now, it’s on and on for soon!   I do so look forward to watching my players weep in fear.