AquaVertigo Publishing

A Partial Success

My time over the spring break was partially successful in accomplishing my goals. However, it was good to take a break from a number of RL events for a while and review what is needed ahead of summer.

Here’s where I’m at this week.

Work on Games

Title image for Star Wars: Pathways, David MK.

Pathways in Star Wars

What started out as a simple revisit of the alternate setting listed in Eden for a starship became something of its own. However, the rules for narration seemed too light for me, and I remembered the prompts from Archipelago and smashed the two games together for a playtest set in the Star Wars verse during the Clone Wars timeline.

Why did I do this? Because the idea of exploration and discovery in Star Wars is appealing to me, and last year I was involved with a number of Star Trek-ish ttrpgs and the spirit of that lives on. Then I found out that Star Wars has its Exploration Corps (ExplorCorps, and I was set.

  • I’ve created a PDF with a simple setup and list of rules sheet and a character sheet as a preview for paid supporters.

Dark Well

Screenshot of the Dark Wall from Dark Well RPG run on, David MK.

After running the 8th session of what may be 10, I have returned to the text to both revise some mechanics and to begin another pass on the game ahead of Forge Midwest.

A new situation appeared that hadn’t happened before. We ran out of Life tokens from the General Well Pool. We had a good, brief discussion of what this may mean, and now I’m continuing the conversation over Discord.

Legends of the Realm

I’ve returned to Legends of the Realm after months away. I’m pulling all my notes and documents into one file in preparation to test it at Forge Midwest. I’ll be devoting time to the creation of the lists of tales and drafting notes in other areas for version 3.7 before doing a mockup of the components.

Other Games

Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games. Photo from

Wingspan by Elizabeth Hargrave

I’ve played Wingspan a handful of times recently, and it’s been interesting. What drew me in was my love of birds, and the artwork and information details are great. During the game yesterday, one of our friends used an app to play some of the bird sounds.

One of the things that I realized only recently was the game’s ability to switch modes (habitats) for some items (birds) and how this can drastically affect play with chained effects, which I’m still getting the hang of after repeated play (building up system mastery).

I’m reminded of some game ideas, including:

  • Modes from Evil Hat’s Atomic Robo (Fate Core), with each as a kind of skill group, but they don’t change during play.
  • Load in some Forged in the Dark games where you decide as you need on how much stuff you have.
  • Scale in Fate and other games, where there is a change in the fiction and/or rules in response.
  • For example, in Hearts of Wulin (HoW), a game of wuxia melodrama, Powered by the Apocalypse (, you have to find a way to reduce an enemy’s scale in order to defeat them.
  • In my game of Armageddon Accelerated (AA), a game about second-chance souls bonded to angelic bodies working to prevent the End Times, using Dresden Files Accelerated, the PCs and some NPCs can change their mode of interaction in the fiction for their vessels from appearing human with reduced capabilities to a hybrid human angel/demon, or to a full angel/demon, each with more power and different parameters. In AA, the change in mode is explicit, and the shared fiction as a vessel in full angel/demon mode will change the rules and influence the environment.

Monsterhearts 2 RPG by Avery Alder

I’m reading through Monsterhearts 2 in preparation to play it in the near future. Others have strongly recommended it to me as greatly improved from the first edition, which I enjoyed reading on the return trip from Origins Game Fair in 2013.

Kingdom 2 RPG by Ben Robbins

I’m finally reading the second edition, about half as long in pages after listening to the interview of Ben Robbins (Ben Robbins Interview (Microscope, In this World) back in February 2024.


Cover photo from Del Rey.

  • The Marvels: I shared The Marvels movie with my partner, and she didn’t hate it. She thought it was a fun movie, and that’s enough for me given how much my partner isn’t into superhero movies. This was my third time watching the movie, and I like it more than the first Captain Marvel film.
  • Dune, Part Two: I watched part two of the recent Dune films and enjoyed it more than I expected. Outside of the visuals and music, I was not a fan of the first movie. I still believe that Dune would be better served in a series format like Game of Thrones. If part three is completed, then I plan to watch it.
  • Carnival Row: A gamer friend suggested I watch season one of Carnival Row because of how it may be similar enough in space to my game, Eye of the Magi. After watching season one, I feel that The Nevers would be closer than Carnival Row.
  • The Shockwave Rider: This is a book I was assigned to read in college for a science-fiction literature course. I had trouble getting into the novel and have since tried reading it several times in frustration because of how fragmented it began. This past year, 2023-2024, was the year I would finish it and live to tell the tale. The Shockwave Rider was written in 1975 by John Brunner, a Canadian author. It’s about a future world controlled by a small group of people using information on a computer network, and what happens when some people try to make a difference. Here’s a tangential article,
  • Dice Exploder: Innovation in Game Design with James Wallis was fascinating, as I’d been hearing James’ name come up several times, usually with his game, The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen. So now I’ve added that game to my list to read and hopefully play. If you enjoy listening to people talk about what innovation may be and what excites them about it in ttrpgs, give this a go.

Next Steps

Continue to work on my goals and see where things align for the summer.


Let me know what you think. Was this helpful or insightful?


DMK, the founder of AquaVertigo, is a creatively curious artist, author, designer, educator, entrepreneur, and organizer based in the Midwest, USA.

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