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Buckle up folks because this is going to be a long one. But if you’re interested in seeing – or helping create – expansions and sourcebooks for the Coyote & Crow RPG, this post might be worth your time.

How We Got Here

When I started seriously writing and crafting C&C back in 2018, it was just me at first. Eventually, I brought on a few writers and a few artists. By the time we delivered the game in 2021, there were well over 40 people involved in the creation, not counting all of our play testers.

Once the game took off, Coyote & Crow went from being just an RPG to being an entire game company. And while I want to write more RPG material, A) I also want to produce a range of accessible games for the whole family, and B) I’m not in a position where I have the right voice to be writing many of these books.

So while I’ve been developing other games, individual stories for C&C, and doing lots of other things, regional expansion books have kind of taken a back seat.

What I’m Aiming For

When we’re talking about expansions, my primary goal is to have Native authors and artists feel like they have a direct say in creating regional books that help tell the stories of the fictional nations in Coyote & Crow. I want those books to feel radically different from the core book. In their layout and style, but also in their content. Indigenous Americans are not monolithic, not by a long shot, and I want every region of both continents to feel like they have a chance to really shine and bring their own flavor to this alternate future.

Here are the books that I’d like to see at a bare minimum:

  • One book for each of the four fictional nations around the Free Lands:
  • Ti’Swaq
  • Keetoowagi
  • Haudenosaunee
  • Dine’
  • A Mesoamerica book that covers:
  • The Ezcan Empire
  • The Raramuri
  • The Taino
  • A South America Book that covers:
  • Tawantin
  • Cambaba
  • Aniil
  • United Tupi States
  • Confederacy of Bocata e Hunza

Just that list is six full books. And if we add in a full Free Lands book and made books for each of the Mesoamerican and South American nations, it’s double that. And that’s without even getting into conversations around localization for the core book or translations for any of these into languages that would be serving the communities we’re writing fictionalized versions of. Is the Ezcan Empire book published in the U.S., in English? Or do we publish through a Mexican partner in Spanish and then have it localized?

And which book should be done first? How do we choose an order for these books to be made in? If we make two of them and the third one fails to crowdfund, do we stop, leaving all of the other nations without source material?

The Hole I’ve Dug For Myself

Here’s an entirely self-created problem. I decided I want to be a game designer. Cool. I’ve also taken on the role of being a game publisher. Cool. Except that I really don’t want to be a publisher. It’s not where my strengths lie and frankly, it’s exhausting. I am not a Lord Business type. The reason I decided to become a publisher is that I didn’t trust anyone else (non-Native publishers) to handle the little seedling that is Coyote & Crow. Not that there aren’t good people out there. There are. But they are game companies first, and Native representation probably isn’t even a tertiary priority for them. Let alone having that be a focus for their games. “Coyote & Crow” brought to you by <Insert White-Owned Company X Here> just isn’t a good look.

Having a full time day job allowed me to work on Coyote & Crow for years in my spare time. But now, as a game publisher with a staff of one (me), if I want to be around in ten years time to publish the 6th Coyote & Crow expansion book, I have to focus on the things that will ensure my company doors stay open.

So, once again, I’m going to toss the traditional (game company) way of doing things out the window and I’m going to try to approach this from a different angle, a community angle.

You’re Going To Create Our Next Coyote & Crow Book

Which brings me to how we’re going to proceed. Coyote & Crow Games – as of now – is taking submissions for Coyote & Crow regional expansion books. Please read through this carefully if you’re interested because it’s closer to the idea of how a game designer might pitch a brand new game to a game publisher than it is how most RPGs are handled.

What I’m looking for specifically is a supplement for Coyote & Crow suitable to go to crowdfunding and focusing on one of the following:

  • The Dine’ Republic
  • The Keetoowagi Federation
  • Haudenosaunee
  • Ti’Swaq Alliance
  • Mesoamerica (Ezcan, Raramuri, Taino)
  • South America (incl. the 5 fictional nations)

If you are interested in creating one of these supplements, you’ll need to be prepared to submit the following to Coyote & Crow Games:

  1. A comprehensive chapter breakdown of the supplement that includes outlines of alternate history for the region, ideas for different Abilities and Paths, Icons & Legends and more (pre-gen NPCs, one shots, new equipment, etc).
  2. At least 10,000 words of edited sample text
  3. At least 12 original illustrations that you would expect to go into print in the book

In addition, when I say “you”, what I mean is that each submission will need to be compiled by a team, organized by and amongst yourselves. The team will need to meet the following minimum standards:

  • Minimum of 3 writers
  • All writers must have Indigenous heritage from the region they are writing about
  • The writing team must be of a diverse background outside of their Indigenous heritage
  • Minimum of 2 illustrators
  • The illustrations must not use AI in any way
  • While you can have non-Native illustrators involved, the plurality of your illustrations must come from Native illustrators, preferably from the regions you are writing about

Let me be clear that this is not a job opening. You aren’t applying for me to give you work. Don’t ask me to find you artists or ask me what you should write. What I want is for you and your team to present me with enough ready-to-go material that I can make a decision on whether to invest further in it and take it to crowdfunding.

So what do you get out of this? Well, to put it bluntly, whatever you want. When you submit the materials, you’re welcome to add in your budget to finish the project. How much do you and your team need to get this book finished? I’ll need a full breakdown of your costs and plans. While you don’t need to submit that to me at the time of your primary submission, it’s something we’d need to hash out before we go to crowdfunding. You’ll need to asses your time and effort and what value that has for all of you. Be realistic. Be fair to yourself. If you don’t have a clue, that’s okay. We can have frank conversations about that.

But it doesn’t end there. Because if you submit something and we come to an agreement on how to take it across the finish line, that means that you (either a single person or the entire team you collaborated with) will be responsible for putting together the rest of the book and getting it ready for crowdfunding. That will mean writing, working with editors and layout specialists, all of the things that go into putting that book together.

Make no mistake. This would be an enormous undertaking. But you have some things going for you too! First, having done this myself the first time around, I can help you avoid easy mistakes. You have a huge and excitable fan base to recruit from and for play testing. You don’t have to build out a new rules set and you have your setting already primed and ready to go. And when it comes to crowdfunding, publishing, sales, marketing etc., I’ve got all of that already covered and in place and you don’t have to manage that at all.

One final suggestion. If you’re interested in doing this, hop over to our Discord (https://discord.com/invite/CGGbwNBRDD ) And join the “Expansion Book” channel. This way you can find others to collaborate with. I’d hate for two groups of people who aren’t communicating with each other at all, each submit two separate proposals for the same regional book when they could have been working together from the start.

When you’re ready to submit, please send an email with a zipped folder or a link to a folder on the cloud with your materials. In the email, please include the names and background of everyone who worked on the materials and identify who your project lead is. Email that all to: connor at coyoteandcrow.net and use the subject line “Expansion Submission” please.

Wrapping It Up

I realize this is an unconventional way to do things. And it may not work at all. I get it. But I’d rather do this than wait until some magical day comes along when I can afford the time and money to hire a project lead and start on one new regional book, 3 years from now, just to have the majority of you annoyed that I didn’t pick a different region to start with. The power is in your hands now. You’re going to tell me what you all want and I’ll try to make it happen.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to expand the Coyote & Crow universe in ways that play to my strengths and heritage. Help me if you feel inspired to.

Wado,
Connor

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