Monday, April 6, 2015

Open letter to the lady geeks out there

Hello, ladies. Jason Richards, here.

You may know me from my blog that is just being updated for the first time in 366 days, or from my allegedly "best-selling" RPG, Breachworld, or from my long association with Palladium Books. I'm more likely just an Internet stranger, but that's cool as well. We can still all talk about this. All that really matters is that I'm a dude who is in the smallest of ways responsible for contributing to the global geek conversation as a creator and purveyor of nerdy goods. Pleased to meet you.

I'm taking a break from crafting said contributions to talk about a lingering issue in our geeky zeitgeist, which is the portrayal of women within nerd culture.

I was lured out of blogging semi-retirement to make a comment or two about women in geekery by Sam Maggs's article about the new Frank Cho Spider-Gwen cover, over on The Mary Sue. In this short, but precise bit of journalism, Ms. Maggs notes the obvious nod to a previous controversial cover of Spider-Woman by Milo Manara and calls Mr. Cho's apparent joke "reductive."

I'm not writing to become embroiled in the ongoing debate (or flame war) surrounding women's issues in comics, gaming, and the media at large. It's just that Mr. Cho's attempt at a joke felt totally opposite of something that I just wrote to a new prospective artist, who happens to be female, so I felt compelled to highlight it.

In asking this young woman to illustrate a female character, I said:
One note on illustrating female characters, is that it makes sense for them to be attractive, or even "hot," but don't feel like they need to be super thin with insanely long legs and a huge chest. Breachworld is a setting of survival and hardship, like the Walking Dead in a way. It's appropriate for women to be rough around the edges and not running around in chainmail bikinis and high-heeled boots! I'm not interested in that male fantasy stuff for Breachworld, and I don't want to alienate my female players/fans.
Reading it again now, I might even wish to take back the "hot" comment, though I think it's fair to include as a descriptor of most female characters in geek media. But, I said it, so it's in there. I'm not looking for a medal or a prize. I can be as pig-headed as any other slug carrying around his Y chromosome and deserve no quarter in the battle of the sexes. However, I do think that this message is very much counter to what we see demonstrated by many male creators, and that has to be worth something.

In closing, and seriously burying my lead, I just wanted to express the following: My geeky sisters, we dudes in the biz are not all jerks. Many of us love and appreciate strong women in our lives and in our fiction. Even more importantly, we recognize how our chauvinism can hurt you, personally, if we let it run away with us. The work of people like the gals at The Mary Sue has made us more aware and conscientious, and hopefully has helped us to mature, and to create better products in the end.

It just seems that stories like those surrounding Mr. Cho are all that we hear. Hopefully stories like mine help to restore some of the faith that has been lost.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Last day for the Breachworld RPG Kickstarter... free stuff to be had!

We're very close to the end of the Breachworld RPG Kickstarter, and it has gone great! We can finish strong by getting in new pledges in the last day. If we hit $11k, and every $500 beyond that, I'm writing and putting out a new advanced character type for free to all backers.

You can read all about it in THE LATEST UPDATE.

The best thing anyone can do at this point, other than pledge support, is to talk about it. Tell everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Funding goal met! We're not done yet!

An open message to my friends and supporters:

Thank you.
I mean it. You have decided to invest your precious time and money into learning about and supporting the passion project of one writer, gamer, and publisher, and it will now come to fruition. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done between now and the day I drop the first package in the mail, but I have seen the support and the dedication that you have shown. It inspires me. It humbles me. It motivates me. I will not let you down.
Meeting our funding goal is only the first step down this road. With the funds that have been pledged, I can produce a fun, complete, and exciting game with great art from great artists, but more and more it becomes clear to me that Breachworld can be more than that. I think that together, as a community, we can take this momentum and ride it through KS close-out on April 6. Push through stretch goals. Improve and improve and improve not just the actual core book that embodies the beginning of Breachworld, but the enhance the setting at large.
We can add to the scope of the world. Develop new challenges, enemies, allies, and environments for your players. Build layer upon layer until this post-apocalyptic Earth is bursting with detail and the opportunities for adventure.
When we cross that next line at a full sprint, we will find that we still have the energy to go further, and faster. We'll have found that we can shape a world of our own to explore, conquer, or destroy, and we'll want to keep doing it, together. Together.
That's what I have learned from this experience, so far. I've always believed that collaboration and community were key in the gaming world. I've observed that honest dialog and engagement yield only positive results. I've said time and time again that as a publisher, my job is to support you, the gamers. I believe that. The Kickstarter process has only made all of that so much clearer.
In the next day or so I'm going to work on rebranding the main Kickstarter project page to adopt our new focus, and to put all eyes on our new stretch goals and add-ons, in addition to making the funding levels as clear as possible. In the mad rush of getting funded, some things probably aren't as clear as they could be. I want to be sure that everyone is getting the best possible deals, and gets exactly what they expect, plus is aware of what's available for an extra buck or a "pay what you want" contribution.
With all that said, I just feel the need to again say, "Thank you for your support." It means the world to me. I take the faith that you've placed in me very seriously, and I promise that you won't be disappointed.
So, let's drive on! Tell a friend! Roll up a character! Hit me up with questions or suggestions! Let's keep riding this wave and see where it leads.

Friday, March 14, 2014

FREE Breachworld RPG preview now available

I'm pleased to report that the Breachworld RPG now has a free, 77-page preview available. You get a sampling of every section of the book, making it totally playable if you want to give it a run.

Get it HERE at, and remember to spread the word.

The Kickstarter is humming along, but we still have a ways to go. If you like what you see in the preview, then please consider supporting the Kickstarter campaign, which ends on April 6.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Breachworld RPG: Player Races preview

Howdy, friends and fans.

The Breachworld RPG Kickstarter campaign is humming along! We're at 56% funded with 26 days remaining, but that's still a long way to go. If you haven't checked it out, now is your chance.

To sweeten the deal, I've assembled a low-res, draft layout of the Player Races section, featuring the introductory text and five of the Player Races, with concept art. Keep in mind that this is all draft material, and the page size is as it will be laid out for the book printing, so it has larger margins than it will in the final product, after it's trimmed. It's very rough, but it should give you some idea of what sorts of things will be included in the final product.

You can see images of the pages below, or download a PDF HERE. Be sure to tell a friend so we can keep this train rolling all the way to funding, and beyond.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I know a guy: Leveraging a character's contacts

Who doesn't love some good espionage in their RPG? Whether you're playing Ninjas and Superspies or Call of Cthulu or even a classic fantasy setting such as Pathfinder, one of our most common gaming standbys is one of the players making use of a valued contact. Sometimes this is just old-fashioned role-playing, but often we even see "knowing a guy" as a mechanic. Whether a character has a set number of contacts to use, the ability to utilize a contact at a set frequency, or has some sort of percentage chance of finding a useful contact, the results are basically the same: a character uses his or her background or profession to gain an advantage in obtaining something needed for the campaign, usually information, money, or equipment.

A downside to this sort of element, whether it's just the GM and the players talking it out or a systematic part of the game, is that it can turn too routine. The last thing you want is to remove this chance for some good role-playing from the equation, so let's talk about a few ways to keep things fresh.

Friday, March 7, 2014

You can now own the all-new Breachworld RPG


The time has come. The Breachworld RPG Kickstarter is now live. We have 29 short days to see this come to fruition, and I know that we can do it.

Please consider supporting this effort. In addition to pledging (for which you get some great deals on what will be a great book), you can help by sharing this link on your Facebook, "liking" Jason Richards Publishing using the #Breachworld #RPG #Kickstarter tags on Twitter and Google+, talking about the project on reddit,, and other forums.

I'm nervous and excited. I both want to succeed, and also to be sure not to let down those who support me. This is a team effort, and I'm here to serve. If I can answer your questions or hear your comments, please drop me a note.

Let's get excited, and let's spread that excitement! What are you waiting for?! Go Breachworld, go!