Saturday, December 12, 2009

From the Creative Director's desk at Outland Arts

We are adding artwork to the Hub Rules book almost daily now, filling all those stark white spaces with their accompanying illustrations. Many of the images are tiny in this book, used both to clarify what something, someone or a relic looks like, and at other times to make a sort of visual placeholder for game masters and players to easily find a table, section or passage of text.

Today I am adding more art from various sections of the book. It seems we are leaning toward plenty of ink work, especially for the small stuff as it holds up in test printings we have been conducting. In other books, including the Excavator Monthly Magazine, we are going with more gray scale graphite, digital, ink wash and some color interior art.

That reminds me, next blog entry we will have a new, full color cover image for the magazines in the works.

In the meantime, enjoy these ink offerings, let others know about this blog and the upcoming release of the Mutant Epoch Rpg, and share your thoughts here. Also, click on the mutant skull banner at the bottom of this entry and sign up for the mailing list.

Best regards,

Will McAusland
Creative Director Outland

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Art Preview: More Typical PA humans for the Mutant Epoch RPG

This week we have added some more art which has recently arrived for insertion into The Mutant Epoch RPG Hub Rules book. Many of these are for the Typical Humans section as were those submitted last week.

We are still hard at proofreading and play testing, doing layout and developing web content for the full website.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"The Perfect is the Enemy of the Done"

Between edits, play testing, layout and art production, we’ve been busier than ever here at Outland Arts. When it comes time to sit down and either add an entry to this blog or get another section of a book or magazine edited, we seem to go for the edits instead. This has certainly kept our updates here at a minimum.

Our plan for this blog has been to utilize it frequently once the initial RPG release is imminent and after the release to update readers on new products and showcase art and related media.

From now to the release of the Mutant Epoch Hub Rules book, we will be making more regular blog entries, presenting art as it pours in.

This week’s imagery, spread through this entry, covers a newly added section to the core book: Typical Humans of the New Era. In earlier drafts of the Hub Rules book these people appeared only under the typical humans table as well as in special encounter listings, but as they are so often met in various adventures, supplements and circumstances, we felt that a richer, more detailed description of each, as along with an illustration, was welcome.

The added section has certainly slowed the release of the book as about twenty new inks drawings and another visit to the book’s layout had to be accomplished, not to mention more work for our editor and proofreaders.

Yes, the now famous and very true saying “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Done” is constantly on our minds here, and as we revisit rules, art, and edits of the hub rules book, we are painfully aware of how long it is taking to get this game on the shelves.

We have a few other sections to be inserted in the book yet including Common Vehicles, Scrap Built Vehicles, Airships and a few smaller sections, all needing edits and artwork, so the struggle and progress continues.

Our goal to release the game in early 2010 is still in our sights, and given the intensity of our recent progress, feel confident about meeting that goal. Once the Hub Rules book has all its art, cover art and design and final edits done, and the first printed proof on my desk, we will give a fixed release date and begin pre-launch promotions in earnest.

On a side note, check out the total blog to find other gaming blogs
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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Outland System Fantasy Role Playing Game is in the works!

While the name of the game hasn’t been released yet pending website domain purchasing, with a choice yet to be made between six closely related but different titles, we have commenced part time and highly enjoyable work on the fantasy RPG. This upcoming game will use the same game mechanic as used in The Mutant Epoch, with several additional character traits to reflect a fantasy world where magic, luck, and the Gods are all very real factors in daily life. The Outland System Fantasy RPG had a former life as a home brew for many years just like the Mutant Epoch did; however, the play test version that we are currently using is greatly expanded and incorporates many of the game innovations learned in the creation of TME as well as trends in the RPG industry.
Because we have been so hard at work on The Mutant Epoch and have still so much to do on it, and still have no firm release date, we don’t even want to hazard a guess as to when the fantasy game will hit the stores. We have been debating whether or not to release the fantasy game Hub Rules as a sort of supplement to TME, like our time travel and dimensional portals book, or Prehistoric World supplements, also in the writing stages. I personally think the reception of the Mutant Epoch will determine the scope of the FRPG line, and to divide the focus would not help Outland Arts until well after TME has been on the market and built a solid base of players who have expressed interest in changing genres but keeping with the Outland System game mechanic.

There are a ton of articles circulating around the internet about Fantasy RPG Heartbreakers. Check out this great and frightening essay: More Fantasy Heartbreakers by Ron Edwards .

Competing with Dungeons & Dragons TM and the OGL seems illogical from a strictly business point of view… however, as a gamer, one who loves the pace, simplicity and myriad of options available in the Outland System… I simply prefer our in-house rules, especially with the additional fantasy and spiritual traits found in the fantasy game, the two settings we are working on, and the unique look at fantasy monsters and magic found in the as yet unnamed Outland Arts fantasy RPG. I suppose it goes without saying that if we found what we were craving in d20 or OSRIC or other FRPG systems, we’d publish under one of those mechanics. We simply feel that The Outland System is the best tabletop gaming mechanic available for the sort of role playing games we enjoy.

As soon as we have a few of our FRPG test play characters ready, we will post PDFs of the character sheets here or on the site to give you a sneak peek.

Best regards,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Village of Walsave:: 1st rank adventure written and in playtest

The Village of Walsave, a 1st rank adventure for 6-10 player characters of The Mutant Epoch tabletop role playing game, is written and in the edit and illustration phase as of mid August 2009. This is our last for-purchase manuscript destined for the initial release in 2010. The adventure was initially to be part of a series of 50 page multi-path adventures, but even in its MS Word version it now stands at 80 pages, which will convert up to about a hundred pages when art, tables, graphic elements, appendices, maps, floor plans and other gaming goodness is inserted.

Play testing of the adventure will commence in the next two weeks and we look forward to reporting the outcome without spoiling the adventure for those of you who will be playing it down the road.

We will post sketches, finished art and maps for this project here and on the main TME site as they become available.

Have a great day



Thursday, June 11, 2009

It has certainly been awhile since we’ve loaded new content to this blog, having instead spent our time working on the last of the writing, edits and art for the initial launch.

While we are aiming for a release of early 2010, we have decided not to adhere to a set release date but instead ensure a perfected product line. Putting out a product that is not as excellent as it could have been, simply to save a month or two, even a year, is a recipe for bad reviews, an inferior product, typos, and rules issues which afflict all subsequent supplements and adventures. Besides ensuring we get it right the first time, we have our concerns about the economy, about printers, mail order fulfillment, and into-retail distribution.

There is certainly enough to consider with publication alone, let alone game design, to make us take a deep breath and enjoy the process of RPG creation, play testing, illustrating, layout and web design without the panic of a set in stone deadline. Still, setting goals is of paramount importance in any project, especially one involving different people and elements. We are of course eager to see our dream realized, to see the physical bound books, to start promotions and getting out of the studio and into the RPG hobby’s eye, but first there are a few enormous steps between now and then….

The Mutant Epoch Hub Rules book, which is the main core book needed to play the game and includes character generation, game mastering tips, ‘monsters’ and tons more, as opposed to having these elements broken up into three books as many game systems offer, has been getting a few alterations in phrasing, rules and artwork additions.

Changes to the Hub Rules so late in the production process delays the release because we need to insert new sections of text, re-phrase rules, update tables to reflect late play testing tweaks, and add newly updated illustrations and then reflow the layout.

All in all, we are increasing the Hub rules book by about 25 pages for the PDF version and by about 50 pages for the print version. What’s the difference between these two formats? Our previous publication model maintained a focus on PDF sales of all our books and supplements, including the monthly magazine, however, since that time, we have seen a rise in the popularity, user ease and cost effectiveness of POD (Print on Demand) publishing, not to mention have found cheaper printing sources for our direct mail sales option.

In short, when PDF was our focus, we went with a leaner, more densely packed and printer friendly version of the game, knowing that both download considerations and inkjet home printing issues were of concern to gamers who bought and downloaded RPG products from Your games now RPG now and drive through RPG. Our new plan is to focus on printed books… but still have a PDF version with all the same content, but with a more printer and download size friendly format.

In other news, we have been getting quite a few emails from people wanting to be put on the TME inform list, which is basically a list of people we will notify when the game is released and where they can buy a copy. We have decided to expand this notification list to a news list, providing a brief update on the progress and selected images. If you are interested in keeping tabs on the impending releases of The Mutant Epoch RPG, fiction and art, simply email us with the words ‘TME inform’ or something similar in the subject line.

Best regards,

Will McAusland


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Welcome to the TME Blog

Welcome to the Mutant Epoch Blog’s inaugural entry. We have big things planned for this place, and have chosen to use it as our main news and update platform leading up to the release of the Role-playing game and beyond. While the RPG is our main focus right now, we will also use this blog to promote anything related to the TME including the fiction and graphic novel we have in the works. I’ve personally found that a blog is the perfect news portal for a project or individual, better even than posting news on a homepage due to the increased exposure a blog gets by being part of a blog community, as well as apparently being more accessible by search engines. Finally, by using for our journal, I can update it while away from the office on trips or at the coffee shop.

The Mutant Epoch is more than a tabletop role playing game; it is a setting that has evolved over a decade of gaming, art and fiction, in no particular order. The three elements each enhance the other, bringing to life a richly imagined world wherein unique characters not only attempt to survive, but gain in prowess, community status, and knowledge of both their twisted new reality as well as the secrets of the ancient ones.

We’ve designed a preview website at as well as created a PDF preview document for easy download. The explanation of the setting, character creation, Outland System game mechanic, and what’s in production are all included on the site and in the PDF.

While serving as a news source for updates on the roleplaying game, we know that subscribers to this blog are busy people, so we will strive to keep all entries short and to the point, opting for more frequent entries as opposed to essays. Please feel free to join in and make comments or contact us directly at If you’d like to be put on the mailing list for the Hub Rules book releases date, go to our mailing list page at .

Thanks for stopping by,

Sincerely Will McAusland