As some of you know, I'm a game design dilettante who the pros occasionally let play in the big leagues. I've done writing for Dungeons & Dragons, both the game and the comic, done some informal work for some indie companies (HKTPK), lots of design posts on various game forums and written the introduction for a few of my favorite game systems. But I've yet to do any serious game work.
Well, Fred Hicks and the Evil Hat humans, who have the fabulous game system FATE, foolishly asked me to contribute a supplement for their kickstarter as they launch the new, streamlined edition of their game. FATE is a very lean, elegant gaming system, with a lovely ration of dice rolling to descriptive play. Much like Savage Worlds and Cortex, there really aren't ANY stories that a FATE game can't handle.
When Fred threw the offer my way, I realized the only knowledge of value I have is of crime. Leverage episodes burned at least two or three crime stories or gimmicks on top of the main plot. In order to keep up with this narrative burn rate, we wound up doing a lot of research. A lot. Over the last four years my Evernote folder has become stuffed with notes on heists, alarm systems, cons, grifts, money laundering ... we were the first in the new cycle of con shows and still the purest. (If your partner's a cop, you don't count. Sorry. It negates a crucial part of the Con, the Blow)
And so game fans -- and heck, neophyte crime writers -- are going to get 10,000 words on the basics of cons and heists. Crimeworld: Heists and Cons will show you how to plan these crimes. Pick your mark, set the stakes, lay out the complications that occur before, during and after such capers. Although there will be FATE mechanics in the document in order to help game players integrate the ideas into their stories as efficiently as possible, I'm hoping it'll also serve as a decent primer on this particular niche of crime-writing.
Fred's asked us to make as much of our design process visible as possible, so this is the first in a series of posts about the book. If you check over to the right, the tag "CrimeWorld" will lead you to the other posts. I hope that, much like I've spent the last few years laying out the process of television for you folks, those of you who are interested will get to see how this sort of game and writing supplement come together.
I'll open up the Comments to you, both gamers and newbie writers, to put in your suggestions. What do you want to know about Heists and Cons? What would YOU want in such a book, either for gaming or as a sourcebook for your screenwriting? I'll definitely be checking this post for feedback, and as always look forward to involving you in the process.
Now ask away!