[19:05] <+CJCarella> Greetings, y’all. I’m C.J. Carella. You may know me from such games as The Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG, assorted RIFTS books and the WitchCraft and Armageddon RPGs.
[19:06] <+CJCarella> More recently, I’ve started writing fiction. My first trilogy, The New Olympus Saga, came out in 2014, and the first book of my newest setting, Shadowfall: Las Vegas, came out in February.
[19:06] <+CJCarella> (Link: http://www.amazon.com/Shadowfall-Las-Vegas-C-J-Carella-ebook/dp/B00U1QZUTO/)http://www.amazon.com/Shadowfall-Las-Vegas-C-J-Carella-ebook/dp/B00U1QZUTO/
[19:07] <+CJCarella> A short story in the same setting as Shadowfall, Bad Vibes, is currently free on Amazon: (Link: http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Vibes-C-J-Carella-ebook/dp/B00MAYJCVM/)http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Vibes-C-J-Carella-ebook/dp/B00MAYJCVM/
[19:07] <+CJCarella> This new setting is a blend of action and horror, with a dash of humor and film noir elements.
[19:08] <+CJCarella> Basically, a major supernatural event in Las Vegas leads to the world realizing Lovecraftian entities are real and trying very hard to invade our reality.
[19:09] <+CJCarella> (over)
[19:09] <~Dan> Thanks, CJCarella!
[19:09] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:09] <~Dan> So is the novel centered on Las Vegas, or is that simply the location of the big event?
[19:10] <+CJCarella> The novel takes place in Las Vegas, and follows assorted characters as unnatural events begin to unfold.
[19:10] <+CJCarella> The main characters include a police detective, an exotic dancer, a gang member and a computer designer playing tourist.
[19:11] <~Dan> Can you describe the event, or is that too much of a spoiler?
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[19:13] <+CJCarella> Without giving too much away, things begin to happen over several days, starting with an increased rate in murders and suicides, followed by sightings of strange creatures, and then outbreaks of insanity not unlike a zombie apocalypse in slow motion.
[19:13] <+CJCarella> All leading to the main event – the Shadowfall.
[19:14] <~Dan> Is there cult activity involved, or are all of the antagonists inhuman?
[19:14] <+CJCarella> Yes, cultists are a big element.
[19:15] <+sir_amyza> cthulhu?
[19:15] <+CJCarella> The most notorious cult being the Santos de La Muerte, a Mexican death cult with ties to the drug cartels.
[19:16] <+CJCarella> The book does have Lovecraftian undertones. 🙂
[19:16] <+TQuid> (Actual figure venerated by Mexican gangsters . . . not so much a cult in the “summoning the Outer Dark” sense . . . I hope)
[19:16] <+sir_amyza> nice, so is this taking place in current times, like 2015?
[19:17] <+CJCarella> It’s set in current times, more or less (no actual dates given, and it features a fictional president who doesn’t deal very well with the crisis, unfortunately for many)
[19:19] <+sir_amyza> so there is some kind of magic?
[19:19] <~Dan> Speaking of which, how much of the rest of the world do we see?
[19:20] <+CJCarella> yes, magic of sorts exists, although it tends to have negative side effects.
[19:20] <+sir_amyza> for the magician?
[19:20] <+CJCarella> not much except in passing – for the most part everything is much like our normal world, at least as far as most people are concerned.
[19:21] <+CJCarella> yes, using magic is not good for one’s health.
[19:22] <+CJCarella> several main and secondary characters are Magi, and they all pay a price for it.
[19:22] <+sir_amyza> plans to turn this into a rpg setting?
[19:24] <+CJCarella> Nothing defnite, but the setting would lend itself to it fairly well – on some levels, Shadowfall works as a horror RPG session, especially towards the third act when all the disparate characters (the ones who live that long) end up working together.
[19:25] <~Dan> You mention a blend of action and horror… Does that mean that the setting isn’t totally nihilistic?
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[19:27] <+CJCarella> One reader called the novel an “anti-horror” story because most characters don’t just run around and die. Even if they die, they go down fighting. I’d say there is a bit of an optimistic side running alongside the traditional horror elements.
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[19:27] <~Dan> (wb, FaerieGodfather!)
[19:28] <+CJCarella> Although it is a dark story with some grim situations.
[19:28] <~Dan> CJCarella: Sounds a bit like WitchCraft/Armageddon. 🙂
[19:28] <+sir_amyza> it would be weird if not eh 😛
[19:28] <+CJCarella> Somewhat, yeah 🙂
[19:29] <+CJCarella> One big difference is that the occult elements are relatively recent, rather than the whole hidden history elements in my RPG settings.
[19:30] <~Dan> Really? But you mentioned magi… How have they had time to learn magic if it’s a recent thing?
[19:30] <+CJCarella> The concept is that for most of human history, there was actually little in the way of the supernatural, and that has only changed in the last few decades, reaching a crescendo in the Vegas Event.
[19:31] <+CJCarella> Most “occult knowledge” turns out to be bullcrap, the ravings of lunatics. But as the barriers between realities weaken, knowledge is revealed – usually at the cost of one’s sanity, unfotunately.
[19:32] <+sir_amyza> so there are being of power behind the ‘barriers’?
[19:32] <+sir_amyza> beings*
[19:33] <+CJCarella> Yes. It turns out that the human mind can perceive the Powers existing in other levels of reality, but interaction was minimal, beyond things like demonic possession, but over the last fifty years, the interaction has grown in intensity.
[19:35] <+CJCarella> The “in the know” characters speculate the precipitating event was a magical ritual conducted at a nuclear test site in the 1950s, possibly combined with the mass slaughter of the first half of the 20th century.
[19:35] <~Dan> Thus explaining the proximity to Vegas?
[19:36] <+CJCarella> Yes, Vegas unfortunately happened to be close to the site of the triggering event, although there’s more to it (revealed in the book).
[19:36] * ~Dan nods
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[19:37] <~Dan> Are the Powers in question of the cosmic uncaring sort or the actively evil sort? (If you can say, of course.)
[19:39] <+CJCarella> Well, there is a bit of everything. As it turns out, there are many Other Sides, and they are as alien to each other as they are to us. Some seem to be evil, some are evil in the way hurricanes are evil, and others have just utterly alien motivations, if they have motivations at all.
[19:40] <~Dan> Hmm. So it isn’t so much one sort of thing breaking *through* as the barriers between places breaking *down*?
[19:42] <+CJCarella> Pretty much. The Las Vegas Event is a breakdown across the whole spectrum of realities, leading to portions of the city becoming uninhabitable, which is not good news for the current residents.
[19:43] <~Dan> Is it only a matter of the inhabitants of the realities coming through, or does “Here” start becoming “There”, so to speak?
[19:44] <+CJCarella> a bit of both 😉
[19:45] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[19:46] <+sir_amyza> so the book is only available as kindle version?
[19:46] <~Dan> Can you reveal if any or all of the supernaturals are of a recognizable sort, or are they all totally alien?
[19:46] <+CJCarella> Currently, yes. A print version should be available shortly.
[19:48] <+CJCarella> Well, there are people affected who can be described as “zombie-like” (ranging from 28 Day Later/The Crazies “zombies” to classic walking dead zombies); the actual Beyonder Entities are somewhat indescribable 🙂
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[19:48] <~Dan> So do you resort to a whole lot of italics? 🙂
[19:50] <+CJCarella> something like this (from Bad Vibes):
[19:50] <+CJCarella> You could say it was like a spider or a starfish, an octopus or a scorpion; you could say any or all of those things, and you’d be just as wrong as if you called it a thing made of black razor wire and coalescing furry shadows, covered with tiny white twisty appendages that were eyes and tongues and teeth combined. Its shape changed even in the span of the mu
[19:50] <+CJCarella> muzzle flash and my perceptions struggled in vain to give it a form that I could accept; human senses, or even my couple extra ones, could only perceive a fragment of the whole. The Yonder keened and sang and hungered for our flesh and blood and bones.
[19:51] <~Dan> Oh, very nice!
[19:53] <~Dan> Coming from your gaming background, do you “see” your stories playing out like an RPG adventure?
[19:54] <+CJCarella> A little bit – my stories are character driven, so in a way I’m “gaming” what the characters would do in the circumstances, which in turn dictates the course of the plot.
[19:54] * ~Dan nods
[19:54] <+CJCarella> I don’t roll dice to determine outcomes, though 😉
[19:54] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:56] <~Dan> Do you have an idea of how long this series will continue?
[19:57] <+CJCarella> Well, it depends on sales, mostly. I’m working on the sequel, and playing it by ear. Unlike the New Olympus Saga, each book in this setting will be self-contained, rather than being part of a trilogy or the like.
[19:57] <+CJCarella> More like the Dresden Files than Lord of the Rings, so to speak.
[19:58] <+CJCarella> (although the later Dresden books have been getting increasingly less self-contained than they used to be 😉 )
[19:58] <~Dan> Different characters, or just different circumstances?
[20:00] <+CJCarella> Recurrent characters, but each book will reach a conclusion. No cliffhanger endings.
[20:01] <~Dan> Hmm. So the Vegas Event isn’t apocalyptic so much as it is a Big Change?
[20:03] <+CJCarella> Depends on whether you’d call Hiroshima and Nagasaki apocalyptic or a big change…
[20:04] <+BlasterKyubey210> Eh… one man’s Apocalyptic is anothe rman’s Big Change
[20:04] <+BlasterKyubey210> Something of a thought
[20:04] <~Dan> Heh. Fair enough. But I was asking mainly because I’m having a hard time visualizing how you’d have self-contained stories with recurring characters if the initial story is apocalyptic. If that makes sense.
[20:05] <+Kei_Kenobi> My friend lives in vegas and I hang out there in the late spring sometimes. I’m interested to see how you picture the city. Do any notable locations outside of the strip appear? Do you go into a lot of detail as to the layout of the city, or did you just sort of make it up as you went?
[20:05] <~Dan> The sense I’m getting is that the same folks will be dealing with incursions from different realities in different books?
[20:05] <+CJCarella> Well, there are survivors from the Las Vegas Event. How many survivors total – well, you’ll have to read the book.
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[20:06] <~Dan> (Howdy, Kei_Kenobi and Randy_CoA!)
[20:06] <+CJCarella> I tried a few locations outside the traditional tourist traps. The flood tunnels beneath the city play a big role in the story.
[20:07] <+CJCarella> There are a handful of recurrent characters from Shadowfall that will appear in the follow up novel.
[20:07] <+Kei_Kenobi> Suddenly I’m reminded of Resident Evil’s Racoon City catastrophy, and how the survivors from that go on to investigate other related incidents. Also the tunnels! Good choice.
[20:08] <+CJCarella> Yeah, when I started doing research the flood tunnels really caught my eye 🙂
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[20:08] <+Kei_Kenobi> Vegas is a good choice for an event of apocalyptic destruction, I think. But may I ask why you chose it?
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[20:08] <@Silverlion> Allo
[20:08] <+Randy_CoA> hello
[20:09] <~Dan> Hwody, Silverlion!
[20:10] <+CJCarella> Well, the triggering event to the whole supernatural forces invading Earth happened at the Nevada Test Site, not that far from Vegas. Then there is the whole intensity of human feeling revolving around the city, the contrast between the pleasant facade and the unpleasant realities.
[20:10] <@Moxiane> (Also, some guy rolled box-cars ten times in a row on honest dice)
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[20:10] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords, Mostlyjoe!)
[20:10] <+CJCarella> Three of the main characters deal with the city’s underbelly: a cop, a stripper and a gang member.
[20:11] <+Mostlyjoe> Heya Dan. Don’t mind me. Tinkering with my Chromebook.
[20:11] <~Dan> CJCarella: Was my speculation correct regarding future books?
[20:11] <+Kei_Kenobi> sounds really cool, CJ. I always enjoy your work, I expect that will remain the case here.
[20:12] <+CJCarella> Thank you 🙂
[20:12] <+Randy_CoA> sounds interesting why those 3 main characters?
[20:12] <+CJCarella> There are characters from the book that survive the apocalyptic event and move on to other things, Dan.
[20:12] <+sir_amyza> you cant go wrong with strippers.
[20:14] <+CJCarella> There are four main point of view characters, those three and a tourist guy. I picked those three because they look at the darker side of Vegas, and also because two of them aren’t the typicaly horror characters.
[20:14] <+CJCarella> (two of them are stone-cold killers, frex)
[20:14] <~Dan> (back in a sec — please continue)
[20:16] <+Randy_CoA> very interesting indeed
[20:16] <+CJCarella> btw, feel free to ask questions not related to the books if you have any 🙂
[20:16] <+Randy_CoA> did the cop and gang member have a prior relationship?
[20:16] <+CJCarella> I had fun writing the book, especially the action segments. It’s a dark, violent story, in addition to the horror elements.
[20:17] <+CJCarella> No, none of the main chars know each other at the beginning of the story.
[20:18] <+CJCarella> That changes as the story moves along.
[20:18] <+Randy_CoA> yes that kind of situation would bring them closer i imagine lol
[20:18] <+CJCarella> Hehe.
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[20:19] <+CJCarella> Let’s just say that most of such meetings occur under fairly desperate circumstances.
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[20:20] <~Dan> (back)
[20:21] <+Randy_CoA> is this a one of story or can we expect a sequel 🙂
[20:21] <+CJCarella> There is also a secondary group of characters who belong to a secret society of monster hunters. They aren’t point-of-view characters, but they play an important role, and one of them is the narrator of the short story Bad Vibes.
[20:21] <~Dan> Even if you don’t do a full RPG setting based on the books, could you see doing a Unisystem conversion notes thing like you did for your supers books?
[20:21] <+CJCarella> There is a sequel in the works.
[20:21] <+Randy_CoA> 🙂
[20:22] <~Dan> So were there actual monsters to hunt pre-Vegas Event?
[20:22] <+CJCarella> Yeah, I’ll probably do a WC conversion on my website at some point, and if there is enough interest, maybe a booklet.
[20:22] <~Dan> Excellent. 🙂
[20:22] <+CJCarella> Yes. The short story Bad Vibes is a prequel to Shadowfall, and it features some bizarre murders in a small Nevada town.
[20:24] <~Dan> Ah! I didn’t realize that is a prequel.
[20:25] <+CJCarella> Yeah. One reason I’m doing the free promo for Bad Vibes is that it will give readers a taste for the setting of Shadowfall.
[20:26] <+Randy_CoA> thats a good plan
[20:26] <+Randy_CoA> also drop a link here for the blog too i suggest!
[20:26] <+CJCarella> I did earlier, but might as well do it again 🙂
[20:26] <+CJCarella> (Link: http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Vibes-C-J-Carella-ebook/dp/B00MAYJCVM/)http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Vibes-C-J-Carella-ebook/dp/B00MAYJCVM/
[20:27] <~Dan> You can never have too much promotion. 😉
[20:27] <+Randy_CoA> agreed
[20:27] <+CJCarella> I’ve added the first five chapters of Shadowfall to the Bad Vibes short story, btw, so people can take a gander at it.
[20:27] <~Dan> Cool!
[20:28] <+CJCarella> And be warned, it’s an R-rated novel, lots of violence and strong language 😛
[20:29] <~Dan> So on a non-Shadowfall note: You are given the chance to return to a game you’ve worked on before and are told to do with it what you will. Which game would you choose, and what would you do? 🙂
[20:29] <+Randy_CoA> 🙂 sounds good to me
[20:29] <+CJCarella> I wouldn’t mind taking another swing at Nightbane 🙂
[20:29] <~Dan> Really? Interesting choice. 🙂
[20:30] <~Dan> Any idea of where you’d go with it?
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[20:31] <+CJCarella> I’d like to frame some additional storyline to it, a la World of Darkness, move the story along with some major events, that sort of thing, beyond just yet another Morphus Table, which is what most other writers did, when they weren’t engaging in BS revisionist stuff.
[20:33] <~Dan> I see a common thread running through a lot of your work: “The world’s going down the crappy, you’ve got the power to do something about it, get to work!” Fair assessment?
[20:34] <~Dan> (crapper, rather)
[20:35] <+CJCarella> Pretty much. I don’t like hopeless stories, or victim characters, even if they are victimized along the way.
[20:35] * ~Dan nods
[20:35] <~Dan> So would you say that carries over into Shadowfall?
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[20:36] <~Dan> (Howdy, Ismellzombies!)
[20:36] <+Ismellzombies> Hey Dan!
[20:36] <+Ismellzombies> how goes the talk*
[20:36] <+CJCarella> Yeah. Horrible things happen, but most of the people involved try their best to handle them – even when it is hopeless.
[20:36] <+Ismellzombies> *question mark button broken
[20:37] <~Dan> Goes well, thanks! Meet my favorite game author, CJCarella. 🙂
[20:37] <+CJCarella> Howdy.
[20:37] <+Ismellzombies> HI
[20:37] <+Ismellzombies> Your the Great Dan’s Fav huh*
[20:38] <+Ismellzombies> I just got home, Ill look at your KS as soon as I can get into mine lol
[20:38] <~Dan> It’s not a KS. His novel is already for sale. 🙂
[20:38] <+Ismellzombies> OH derp
[20:38] <+Ismellzombies> shows how much I know…
[20:39] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:39] <~Dan> CJCarella: Would you convert Nightbane to Unisystem?
[20:40] <+CJCarella> Done it, for my private campaign (a WC/Armageddon/WoD/Nightbane mashup).
[20:41] <~Dan> Oh, yes! I seem to recall you mentioning that in a previous Q&A.
[20:42] <+CJCarella> I might have been referring to my WC/Armageddon/Shadowrun/Cyberpunk2020/WoD/Nightbane/Wild Cards mashup.
[20:42] * ~Dan ‘s head asplode
[20:42] <+Ismellzombies> lol
[20:43] <+CJCarella> In all fairness, it started out as a Shadowrun/Cyberpunk/GURPS/Wild Cards mashup, with a PC from Warhammer 40K, and I added bits and pieces along the way. Long campaign.
[20:43] <~Dan> Wow.
[20:43] <~Dan> By the way, which setting do you enjoy more: WitchCraft or Armageddon?
[20:44] <+CJCarella> Depends on my mood. Armageddon for when I got full-on kitchen sink. WC for the more personal stories.
[20:44] <~Dan> I know, asking you to choose between children. 🙂
[20:45] <~Dan> And fair enough.
[20:45] <+CJCarella> I love them all equally 😛
[20:45] <~Dan> 😀
[20:45] <~Dan> But yeah, sometimes you want personal stories, sometimes you just want to bodyslam some high-tech undead mutant Cthulhu Nazis.
[20:46] <+CJCarella> Yeppers.
[20:46] <~Dan> Ismellzombies: His game Armageddon features such things. Check it out if you haven’t already!
[20:47] <~Dan> Hmm…. So what do you think would be your go-to game system if you hadn’t created one of your own?
[20:48] <+CJCarella> GURPS probably. About as much crunch as I can handle, although it broke down at high power levels, unfortunately.
[20:50] <~Dan> Speaking of GURPS, your book GURPS Voodoo sounds like it was very WitchCraft-like. Fair?
[20:51] <+CJCarella> Somewhat, sure.
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[20:52] <~Dan> Was Voodoo just one aspect of that setting in the same way that witchcraft is just one aspect of WitchCraft?
[20:53] <+CJCarella> The two settings had some distinct differences, though – Voodoo was somewhat more down to earth.
[20:53] * ~Dan nods
[20:53] <~Dan> (wb, Ismellzombies!)
[20:54] <+CJCarella> Yes, with a background that mirrored the conflict between the West and everyone else, and with a more politically-correct slant 🙂
[20:54] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:54] <~Dan> Was the concept yours, or were you given the premise to develop?
[20:55] <+CJCarella> Mine. I came up with the concept and also the rules for ceremonial/spirit magic.
[20:56] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:57] <+CJCarella> They were a bit messy, but they’re still using them, I believe, so I guess they were okay.
[20:57] <~Dan> Do you ever find yourself mulling over new games? And if so, what was your latest idea? I’m thinking in terms of game ideas that you’d love to develop given the time and funds.
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[20:59] <+CJCarella> tbh, the last game setting I envisioned was New Olympus, and that was like 2006.
[21:00] <~Dan> Just not in that “zone” these days, huh? 🙂
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[21:02] <+CJCarella> Not anymore. I’m pretty much into fiction now. And I’ve turned into a curmudgeon about the newer games – they all seem desperate to come up with some gimmick or another to justify their existence 🙂
[21:02] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:03] <~Dan> Is there anything about Shadowfall that we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up in what remains of “regular time”? 🙂
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[21:04] <+CJCarella> Just getting old, I guess.
[21:04] <+CJCarella> Nah, I think I promoted the crap out of it 🙂
[21:05] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:05] <~Dan> And happens to the best of us, re: getting old. 😉
[21:05] <+sir_amyza> i am eternal.
[21:05] <~Dan> Thanks as always for stopping by, CJ!
[21:05] <~Dan> If you
[21:05] <~Dan> oops
[21:05] <+CJCarella> If it sells well, I’ll write more books in the setting. If not, back to superhero fic.
[21:05] <~Dan> If you’ll give me a moment, I’ll get you a link to the log.
[21:05] <+CJCarella> kk.