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Ewen Cluney
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Ewen Cluney

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In order to make Raspberry Heaven more accessible and have less footnotes and such, I made the characters American. That made it easier for me to bring in some elements from personal experience, but it also took away the option to have the convenient homogeneity of an all-Japanese cast (with maybe the one American exchange student).

Three of the seven characters in Raspberry Heaven are explicitly POC. I tried to make their portrayals genuine and non-stereotypical, mainly by basing them (to varying degrees and in various ways) on people I've encountered in real life, including some close friends. With the game getting closer to fruition I've been thinking more intently about how I'm doing on inclusiveness, which is what made me realize that although most people will read the other four characters (Elizabeth, Jackie, Leah, and Tessa) as white (and straight and cisgender), there's no particular reason they have to be. The character portraits are going to be monochrome manga-style artwork, none of them have last names that would point to any particular ancestry, and the text descriptions in themselves don't provide any particular hints except insofar as you'd be likely to assume that (for example) since Jackie's parents are Trekkies, the family is probably white. But really there's no reason that (for example) Elizabeth couldn't be Elizabeth Khan, Patel, Alvarez, Nakashima, Ngyuen, etc. instead of Elizabeth Smith.

My attempts at being inclusive are probably always going to be a work in progress, but I think the big lesson here is that signifiers matter. Given that people will assume certain defaults, simply leaving things open-ended isn't necessarily the best solution.

Regardless I am so excited to be getting this game out you have no idea.
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Ewen Cluney

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Your guide to the internet.
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Ewen Cluney

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I'm not at Gen Con this year (again), but several of my games are. Indie Press Revolution has Schoolgirl RPG, Magical Fury, Maid RPG, and Golden Sky Stories, and of course Asmadi Games is there with Channel A.
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Ewen Cluney

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Did I mention I already commissioned artwork for Tsundere Sharks RPG? Because I did and I'm not sorry.

It's going to be part of my "Dangerously Kawaii" mini-RPG trilogy, along with Assassin's Kittens and Melancholy Kaiju.
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Getting Sempai to notice you is in fact the objective of the game. :D
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Ewen Cluney

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Clay got started on doing the layout for Faerie Skies, which among other things means people will finally get to see all the gorgeous art that Clove did for it.

This here is from the NPCs section, featuring a Monument God (who watches over the ancient megaliths in the forest), a Sceptic (who wasn't really ready to deal with faeries being real), and the Bearer of the Book (who has a book from her great-grandfather that accurately details the fae).
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Ewen Cluney

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Since it's a pretty simple thing, and since it's not looking like I'll be able to playtest it any time soon, I decided to put AnimeCon up for free. It's a freeform RPG (rules-wise inspired by Remodel and Amidst Endless Quiet) about anime fans going to an anime convention.
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Ewen Cluney

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My artist friend was able to carve out some time to work on the art for Raspberry Heaven, which means I should be able to publish the game fairly soon. :D

These are Miss Rodriguez (the NPC teacher, who is a lot like a Mexican-American version of Yukari-sensei from Azumanga Daioh) and Jackie (the wacky fangirl).
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Nice!  I'd love to play a game like that!
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Ewen Cluney

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#RPGaDay2015  

2nd: Kickstarted game most pleased you backed

Definitely Strike! (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1835460386/strike-rpg). It started out as a hack of D&D4e and grew into its own thing, presenting a rich yet simple core mechanic and a super-quick and fun take on 4e's tactical combat. 4e had its good and bad points, and what I really wanted is games that learn from its strengths and address some of its weaknesses. Strike! is that in spades and has a really fun sensibility to boot.

(Close runner up: World Wide Wrestling)
Jim McGarva is raising funds for Strike! RPG on Kickstarter! Strike! is a tabletop roleplaying game of tactical combat and exciting twists.
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I missed this one on Kickstarter. Looks fascinating. :D
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Ewen Cluney

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An obscure Egyptian god has become a meme in Japan.
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Medjed shows that it's all about those eyes.
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Screw it. Let's show off some more artwork. Clove just sent me the sole piece he had left to do for Faerie Skies, the map of the sample town of Westwick.

Publishing Golden Sky Stories was one of the more amazing things I've done in my life so far. It was stressful as all get out, but also really fun, and I have a gorgeous book and a unique game to show for it. Faerie Skies represents a new level of original work for me.

I've written and published longer things (like I Want to be an Awesome Robot, which weighs in at 280 pages), but Faerie Skies is also going to have a distinct and cohesive aesthetic. I knew I wanted to give the book suitably whimsical color artwork, and when I saw Clove's art I knew I had found the right artist. He ran with my ideas, and rendered them in his unique style. He's one of those artists who has a clear anime/manga influence without being beholden to it, and there's more than a little of the style and bold colors of American illustrators and animators. I was trying to make the book diverse and inclusive, and he went above and beyond, and for example his three nymphs (including a dryad with a headscarf!) would be at home in Steven Universe.

Sooo yeah. I'm pretty elated with how this project is turning out, and generally really happy to be able to work with so many talented people.
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Really looking forward to this.
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I'm pretty sure that my video gaming habits make me an outlier, especially these days. There have been a few times when me and my friends got heavily into doing in-person multiplayer with a console game (notably with Phantasy Star Online, Halo, and a number of fighting games), but otherwise I've pretty much treated video games as a solitary hobby, something that's fun to do when I don't want to involve other people. If the survey questions had been about tabletop games or games in general rather than just video games, my answers would've been very different.

https://apps.quanticfoundry.com/lab/10#
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Me too. While my graph was more wider on action and creativity too.
However, I tried to answer some of those questions substituting the word "other players" with "friendly NPCs" :D
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Some goodies arrived from DriveThruRPG that I'd been meaning to get for a while. Itras By and Archipelago are from the Norwegian style tradition, and Carolina Death Crawl and Juggernaut are from Jason Morningstar, who I'm pretty sure got some influence from there (especially considering he and Matthijs Holter did Love in the Time of Seið based on Archipelago II).

I've been saying for a while that to use cards effectively in an RPG, they need to be something more than paper dice. The Norwegian approach steps away from randomizers as a way to determine success or failure in a conventional sense (though Itras By and Archipelago do have "resolution cards") in favor of using them as a self-contained source of things to seed the narrative. Some of these things could potentially be achieved with rolling dice on a table (there's Fiasco of course, and Strike!'s resolution mechanic reminds me of a d6 table version of the resolution cards), but there's a definite immediacy to having the information on a card, especially in a game like Juggernaut that makes the cards a part of the game's overall conceit (since they represent punch cards coming out of a computer that can predict the future). I especially like how Juggernaut manages to fit the full game into a 72-card deck.
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That's a fine looking collection.
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Work
Occupation
Translator/English Localization
Skills
Translation (Japanese-to-English, specializing in games), CAT Tools (DVX3, MemoQ), editing, localization, MS Office
Story
Tagline
Pronounced Like "Aaron"
Introduction
I've been playing RPGs for 20+ years now, and blogging about them since 2004 or so (and posting stuff online since 1998, before blogging became a thing). Along the way I've been trying to develop original games and posting most of the results online.

In 2008 I got to be the translator of Maid: The Role-Playing Game, the first Japanese tabletop RPG released in English. I never stopped working on various things, but it took until 2013 for me to launch the Kickstarter for Golden Sky Stories, a uniquely heartwarming RPG by the same designer. The same year I got Channel A, an anime-themed party card game, published through Asmadi Games. I also self published two books, Yaruki Zero: Collected Thoughts on Role-Playing Games and I Want to be an Awesome Robot. I have a zillion projects I need to work on, probably the most notable of which is Magical Burst, a dark magical girl RPG loosely based on Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

My day job is translating Japanese mobile games. It's okay.
Bragging rights
Translated Maid RPG, Golden Sky Stories
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Aaron