2022 — Let’s go!

New branding header

Welcome folks! This is my first post over at Medium, which is where I’ll be doing all of my blog posts from now on. These will include development updates, behind-the-scenes looks at future games, and probably long rambles about other games when the mood strikes.

This post, however, is about the next steps forward for Boy Problems. As a production and publishing house.

To start, you may have noticed we have rebranded! The old Boy Problems brand was OLD and required an update to make the whole thing feel more cohesive and to not make my inner graphic designer sad anymore.

This new design is now live on the store page and main website. It’ll also be carried over into future releases!

The fonts are created by the amazing Adrian Wrobel and are Epsilon and NYU. When I settled on these for the design, everything just fell into place.

With this branding, I hope to make Boy Problems Tabletop Productions feel more professional and proper, especially as I look to publishing projects from other people.

This leads directly into…. what do I have planned for 2022? Well, I’m glad you asked.

The 2022 Plan

If you’ve read past updates… you’ll notice some familiar sights, but also some new stuff! The goal of 2022 is to release FOUR major projects, and TWO additional projects from outside creators. There are also a few other smaller projects and collaborations that are currently being discussed too.

Let’s layout the four major projects.

BLACK HEART 2.0

Well, this one is familiar. Black Heart 2.0 has been waiting on the wings for… over a year at this point and it is still on my docket to finish. The copy and mechanic reworks are complete, and it now just needs to all come together in the design phase. This was originally supposed to release so long ago but has been pushed back so many times because of other titles.

I’ve dragged my heels on it because I’ve spent so much time reinvesting in another world I’ve created already and burnt out on revamping my past work. That said, anyone who has seen Black Heart 1.0 and compared it to something like In Case of an Emergency or Boy Problems 4.0 knows that a major overhaul for Black Heart is necessary.

This will be a free update to all existing owners, and will also include a new bonus story called: “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power”. Thanks, Halsey.

SEVEN RINGS / RULESET

Seven Rings — it was a one-shot, then a setting, and now… a custom ruleset? Well, the answer lies in the middle of all of these. I’ve fallen in love with the world of Seven Rings and I’ve also recently decided to make a hack of Blades in the Dark (thanks again John Harper!)

These things all come together in two of my major releases of the year. I will be adapting my arcanepunk, colorful, weird, hopeful setting into a new swords & sorcery ruleset using the Forged in the Dark SRD.

It will have an entirely new (and custom) standalone magic system (that can also be added to Blades in the Dark or any other FITD system) that will help you and your players wield the chaotic remnants of gods long dead. All of this will take place in THE CITY. A sprawling super metropolis that becomes the focus of the next major release…

SEVEN RINGS / SETTING & CAMPAIGN

To start, let’s all read my initial pitch:

Seven Rings is a game about rebellion, magic, and reclaiming power within an urban setting. The players are part of a movement and group that want to seize power from a powerful ruling class that holds their position through government corruption, having law enforcement in their pocket, and by literally holding most of the artifacts and objects of power that grant magic in this world.

Magic in this world is derived from objects of power. The city was initially founded and built on a long-lost armory and vault from a past civilization that contained untold power. The world ended once and the survivors built a new metropolis on the bones of what came before. The magic power is finite, however, despite many attempts to replicate the process of infusing objects with magical power. Therefore, all trinkets and baubles are in the hands of the rich and powerful, to make sure they stay there.

The city itself has expanded and built up over the centuries, with the rich building higher and higher as they stand on the backs of those below them. The city is made of rings, with the upper rings gilded in gold and covered in silk, where magic flows like water. The lower you go, the city becomes more haphazard with buildings precariously stacked on one another. The lowest rings are in the ruins of the past civilization that have been stripped clean and hold unknown dangers. They are under the rule of various “crime” syndicates that have created peace and prosperity away from the judgemental eyes of the law.

The players can all come from all walks of life but are united in their goal of obtaining this magic power for themselves. Their reasons can be motivated by their past, their politics, or their own selfish gain. Whatever the reason, players will strike out from their hidden base in the lower rings and slowly build up in power so they can hit bigger targets.

In Seven Rings, players will grow in power as they steal from those above them and reclaim strength. They may start with a trinket or two that is almost drained of power (a ring with one remaining charge, a necklace that allows limited low light vision etc) and from there they will attack the entrenched powers that see fit to exploit those below them. With each heist, players will grow in personal might that will allow them to seek out bigger targets.

Players will also build out their base and support their local community. The locals around the base will support and become known to the group. The game will have a cycle of high stakes heist, then cooldown by returning home and helping the locals. There will be a balance as players can choose to invest their wealth and ill-gotten gains into themselves, or back into their home and those around them.

Violence in Seven Rings is dangerous. While blood will be spilled, it should be avoided. Death and injury come fast for players and their enemies. No one is immortal (probably). Violence will also bring even more attention from the law, with players running the risk of bringing the city’s guards down on their heads. Violence can be a quick and easy solution, but will always carry a cost down the line, even as far as groups looking for revenge on the crew and tracking the players back to their base of operations. Some of those that hold power though may need to die, as their corruption runs deep and must be pulled out by the root.

The city sprawls out in many directions, and from a vantage point looks like a sharp breeze may collapse the entire thing. It is twisting and full of hidden nooks that hide mystery and danger. It is also bright and colourful, and filled with magical lights that burn bright and mimic neon signage from our world. The denizens are equally varied and clad in colourful garments, as style is one of the more important expressions of self and power. The rich, with their magic trinkets, dress audaciously to stand out and show their wealth. Their clothes reflect light, shimmer with magic inlaid into their threads, and can shift in hue. Those in the lower rings might not have magic, but use texture and silhouette to stand out among the market crowds.

The world of Seven Rings is bright and pop-infused, but it casts a long and dark shadow. Those that rule from the upper rings have held power for too long and must be toppled. The actions of the crew may ripple out and cause real change, even just for the players and the home they have carved out in this city. Outside the city walls is a wasteland that stretches as far as the eye can see but within hums a city that teems with life, adventure, and hope for the future.

And…. end quote.

There is so much more that I have developed for this setting since this initial concept. Thanks to a campaign I am currently running in this setting we have a whole world now sketched out… from the taverns to meet contacts in, to the characters who will happily stab you in the back. Factions and families aplenty to align yourself with.

I’ll be sharing more about this… very soon.

A MYSTERY???

What’s this? A mystery???

Well, I have ideas for this. Some brand new, and some old. I’ll put a pin into this for now.

Now, you might be thinking… what about the other two projects?

Publishing!

Boy Problems is expanding! (no not like that). The company is expanding! We are currently looking to publish two outside projects from new creators. We hope we can shine a light on brand new creators for the scene and help expand our network of creators. We’re in talks right now with a couple of folks and might have some news on this front soon.

…so there you have it! Our current vague plans for 2022. There will be new games. There will be new settings. There will be new faces. There will be surprise collaborations. There might even be some gosh darn physical books printed!

Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for future updates. Y’all are the best and keep me inspired to make games.

A special shoutout to Orbital Blues, Wanderhome, and HIMBOS for your inspiration specifically lately.

Cheers and thanks,
Colin C

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30 years old, graphic & game designer. Creator and owner of Boy Problems Productions.

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Colin Cummings

Colin Cummings

30 years old, graphic & game designer. Creator and owner of Boy Problems Productions.

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