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Privateer: Port of Deceit

One of my winter projects is quickly heading for the printer and the store shelves: Port of Deceit, my first project with the Privateer Press crowd. For those of you familiar with the setting, it's the Five Fingers city book. For those not familiar with the Iron Kingdoms, it's their equivalent to Waterdeep, but with more pirates, geartech, gunpowder, and eldritch horrors. I was fortunate enough to play through the Witchfire adventure trilogy with a good group a few years back — the setting is best known for its excellent story and art, and for its bigger brother, the Warmachine minis game

My contributions were largely on the rules side and — given the twisted, roguish nature of Five Fingers — followed up on the approach from the Book of Roguish Luck. The work was a little more frustrating than I'd hoped: the Privateer outline was extremely tight, and there wasn't a whole lot of room to provide what the setting needs (tighter integration between story and game mechanics) or even to elevate the background writing.

I suspect that a well-done novel or anthology of short stories would probably push the setting up a level, detailing the larger picture. Sadly, I can't imagine any serious fiction writer working to the kind of outline they'd likely provide. It's a conundrum in shared worlds generally: trust external partners, or keep the IP more consistent and in-house? The old keeper of the vision vs. sharing the setting issue.

But I digress. The setting itself is just what I like: clockwork, grittiness, mercenaries and a pronounced Fritz Lieber influence. For PoD, I designed a few key elements of the setting, including gang elements for the syndicates of the High Captains (they don't call them "thieves guilds", but that's the gist of it), some rules for bribery and racial modifiers, and three prestige classes. The one that I expect to make the biggest splash are the Thamarites, who are one of the major villains of the setting. The prestige class is very, very nasty.

The book is a 200+ page hardback and should hit the shelves around the first week of July. Since they release just one or two RPG titles per year, the quality is usually quite high. I haven't seen any of the text from my co-authors yet, but I expect it'll be up to the usual Privateer standard.


( 5 sutras — Your wisdom )
Apr. 17th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing that. I hadn't heard of Port of Deceit, and now have placed it atop my must buy list. I love Iron Kingdoms, and I guess if you knew me you could tell as i'm purging my gaming collection of things I'll never use, but the IK and Thieves World settings are the only two that will remain untouched on my shelf. I enjoy them too much to think about getting rid of them.
Apr. 17th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
Privateer announced it at Gen Con last year as part of the 2006 releases, but they kept it pretty quiet. Which is just as well, as I think it was originally a March release or something along those lines.

IK and Thieves World fit together very nicely indeed. Have you read any of the more recent TW novels?
Apr. 18th, 2006 12:15 am (UTC)
Yep, I've read all the current TW novels (as well as the older books), and I really enjoyed them. I think that she transitioned the old series as well as you could, given the time lapse both in real time and in the world.

I hope that another book makes it out, but I'm not too sure about that as the last book didn't have the strongest sales from what I understand. I attribute that more to the hardback release. I think if it came out in PB first more interest would have been drummed up. I know that the author and the publisher make more per copy on hardbacks, but personally I find it hard to justify spending that much on a book. I tend to wait until the paperback is released, which is the case with the last TW book -- I read it thanks to my local library and will buy it once the PB is released.
Apr. 17th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
yaaaay! Congrats on the upcoming release. :)
Apr. 17th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
Excellent! Thanks for the explanation on the earlier entry too. (I'm struggling with a highly outlined contract myself, so it's nice to see the pros at work on that same issue.) This will move right onto my list!
( 5 sutras — Your wisdom )

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