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Things are moving at a break neck pace, folks. There’s so much happening that it’s hard for me to summarize it all while also conveying how cool and exciting each of these things is. So, I’m splitting this up into two parts really. We’ll talk about the where we’re at with production of everything related to the Kickstarter and other upcoming news. Then we’ll jump in to more game development discussion.

But first! A quick note! We’ve locked down current orders. Don’t worry, you can still pre-order or make late pledges through BackerKit and we haven’t locked down addresses yet. We’ll do that much later. So if you’re moving or not sure yet where you need your personal book shipped to, you have plenty of time. Also, please fill out your surveys if you haven’t yet. There are still around 1500 of you out there. Don’t make me wag my finger.

The good news on the Kickstarter is that most aspects are running on time or ahead of schedule. There’s one wrinkle in there that I’ll get to a minute, but for the most part, I’ve got nothing but good news.

  • We currently have eight Native writers and a copy editor working hard on finalizing the written copy.
  • We’ve got more than two dozen play testers digging into the mechanics and game play
  • We’ve brought on a layout designer to start assembling the pages of the book and they’ve hit the ground running
  • We currently have ten artists working on pieces for the game (eight of them Native)
  • We’ve signed on with an app developer to create our mobile app (which includes the dice app) and they are going to be including some fantastic touches that we hadn’t originally planned on
  • Our web designer and conlanger are deep into the work for our online name generator, language wiki and game forums
  • We’ve just signed with RetroPunk Publications to publish Coyote & Crow in Portuguese for Brazil and Portugal.

We’re also working on some…stuff. I can’t be too specific yet as deals are not in place. But here’s what I can say:

  • We’re in talks with an established board game designer about pairing with a Native game designer who wants to break into the industry and the two of them designing a Coyote & Crow tabletop board/card game together.
  • We’re working out the elements for our next Kickstarter. Including signing on an artist that I’ve wanted to work with for awhile now.
  • …and other really cool stuff that is going to have to stay in the shadows for now.

Speaking of shadows, let’s talk about the one dark spot amongst all of this light. I’ve spoken about this in previous posts going back more than two years and the issue is rearing its head again. While it hasn’t broken our timeline yet, it’s threatening to. That issue is getting all of the art assets we need in time to hit our production deadlines.

If this is all more detail than you need, feel free to skip down a few paragraphs after the image, where I’ll get to more fun stuff. But in the interest of overall transparency, I’d like to fill you all in on this process.

Any book with a lot of art – comics, rpgs, etc – often has their schedule dictated by the artists involved. Each artist has their own pace and process. Some of them have backed up schedules. Others have day jobs. This situation is magnified in Coyote & Crow because unlike some other games, we’re trying to work with as many Native artists as we can. Many of these who are amateur have day jobs or other responsibilities. The ones who are professional often have backed up schedules. Compounding things even further is the fact that our budget changed radically last month.

So when the Kickstarter launched and we were looking at a tiny amount of art with a tiny budget, December seemed pretty reasonable. You’d think with more money, there would be fewer issues. And trust me when I say I have an inbox FULL of artists from all over the world looking to work on Coyote & Crow. But there’s the rub. I don’t want artists from all over the world. I want Native artists. And I want good art. And I want it fast. And sometimes we don’t get everything we want.

Which brings us to now. Realistically, we don’t have much longer to get the art we need to finish the book if we still want to get you the physical books by December. And I really want that to happen. I’m pulling out all the stops to get it done, but I want you all to be prepared that we may not hit our original deadline. And look, I get it. How many Kickstarters actually hit their planned date? Most of them, awesome as they may be, hit snags. Especially in our current global environment where shipping, freight, and logistics are absolutely all in chaos right now. There’s probably a good chunk of our supporters who wouldn’t be shocked if this took two years to get to you.

But it’s important to me to convey to you that while we still aren’t going to sacrifice quality, we’re doing our damnedest to get it to you on time as well. I believe we’ve settled on a new lead illustrator who is going to pick up the bulk of the work between now and when we go to print. I’m excited about having them on board and hopefully I’ll be able to tease some of his work soon.

Lastly, I want to mention the roles we’re still hiring for. First, as I just mentioned, artists, especially Native artists are welcome to apply. If you think your art style is a fit for a science fantasy RPG, please do contact us, following the instructions in the link below. At this point, any artists we bring on will be for future Stories, expansions or materials beyond the core book.

We’re also hiring for a community leader. More than just monitoring forums, this role is about making how-to videos, leading streaming game plays, being a know-it-all on the rules and generally being the face of the Coyote & Crow RPG. We strongly prefer a Native candidate, but if none steps forward, well then, we’ll consider our options. Again, please refer to the link below for details.

Creative Opportunities with Coyote & Crow:

And just for fun, here’s an art tease for you of a Character using the Art Skill to create a mask. Art by Charles Utting.

A character creating a mask using the Art Skill

Let’s talk about the game now! Last time I discussed the six Archetypes. This time around we’re going to talk about Paths. Paths are really exciting to me and one of my favorite parts of both the in-world game play as well as character creation. They’re somewhat like the traditional concept of clans, given a fantasy spin and turned up to eleven.

From both a Player perspective (while you’re creating your character) and from the character perspective (as they’re transitioning into adulthood), Paths are something that are chosen. There are many, many Paths in Coyote & Crow. They’re a social construct combined with a specific biochemical product introduced to the character at a key moment in their adolescence in a ceremony. The biochemical product is produced from the cells of the Adahnehdi taken from various animals. We’ll get more into what the Adahnehdi is and the details of this ceremony and its cultural relevance in later updates.

For now though, what you need to know is that when the time is right, people in this world choose a path based on an animal. It’s a permanent, one time choice. In the core book, we focus on the city of Cahokia. In that region there are fifteen common Paths that people regularly choose from and that your character will have access to. Each Path has two effects. The first is a bonus to two specified Stats. For example, the Path of the Stag gives a character a +1 to Wisdom and Charisma during Character creation.

The second effect is the granting of an Ability, which we’ll also talk about in detail in a further update. While only 20% of people who go through the Adahnehdi gain an Ability, all Player Characters do. Abilities can be thought of as mild version of a super power. They don’t allow anyone to be god-like or flying around with a cape, but they do let your character do things that a normal human couldn’t.

These Stat bonuses and Abilities are often tied thematically to the animal named in the characters chosen Path. When combined with Archetype, you can start to get a very rough sketch of what your character can do, but it can also give you some insight into who they are, which is far more important.

Paths aren’t just mechanical. Yes, they dictate a couple of Stat bonuses and an Ability. But they also say something about who your character is in the world, how they view themselves and how others see them.

As a social construct and a choice made going into adulthood, many people proudly display tattoos, jewelry or other adornments that announce their Path. Some families strongly pressure their children to go down one Path or another, either the same as them or intentionally deviating from them. Some Paths are looked upon more favorably or more suspiciously, depending on the kinds of Abilities that are commonly associated with those Paths. Some people want to socialize with others of their Path, even more so than members of their family or tribe. Others want nothing to do with other members of their own Path. Some cults, clubs and militant organizations require their members to be from specific Paths. While Archetypes are out-of-game mechanical labels to help build your character, Paths have in-game social significance and are often an important part of a person’s identity.

Currently, here are the Paths offered in the core book:

  • Path of the Eagle
  • Path of the Bison
  • Path of the Beaver
  • Path of the Coyote
  • Path of the Fox
  • Path of the Owl
  • Path of the Stag
  • Path of the Spider
  • Path of the Falcon
  • Path of the Snake
  • Path of the Crow
  • Path of the Salmon
  • Path of the Bear
  • Path of the Raccoon

In expansions, we’ll offer new Paths and Abilities based on geographical regions and cultures. There are also icons associated with the Paths that are also commonly seen around Cahokia in jewelry, tattoos, clothing, and on some business signs. However there’s no such thing as an ‘official’ in-world symbol of a Path and lots of folks don’t display their Path at all or find their own unique ways of conveying it.

Three Path icons

That’s all for now. I hope you’re all well.

Coyote And Crow News ||