Spinning plates.

Fall 2020 Update

Like with everyone, a lot has been happening over here in 2020. This post is long!

Going Online

Gaming-related, several face-to-face conventions have moved online. The use of Discord and Zoom has helped make that happen with relative ease.

Gen Con-Online logo

This meant that I was able to attend Gen Con for the first time in years, attended an AmberCon normally in the UK, played and ran games at a big UK gaming convention, and played with folks from Games on Demand who I’d normally see only at Origins every few years.

And while there was no Forge Midwest this year I did participate in Gamicon face-to-face right before the COVID-19 shut things down. In the near future, there are more online game conventions heading right for us, including one with the Gauntlet Community, and then Gamehole Con, AmberCon NorthWest, AND Metatopia all happening over the same set of days in early November. Why? Why?! WHY?!?

General Game Design Update

Cortex Prime Game Handbook cover

In addition to this, I’ve continued work on Space Station Omega, NightMirror, Dark Well, and other projects.

  • With Fandom publishing Cortex Prime and the books on their way this year, I’m going to read through the text and see what it versus the system manual will also do before launching back into SSO. In addition to this, I participated in a Cortex game design contest which resulted in Immortalis, a game about immortal family sorcerors.
  • For NightMirror I’m working on an idea inspired by For the Queen to produce the game in a card deck format. This needs more writing and then testing for use.
  • For Dark Well, I had some luck recently related to a development in the gaming community
  • For other games…
    • I ran NewWhere for an online convention and I feel like that game is almost ready for me to put up on itch.io when I have a chance to get help with some final editing polish.
    • I got the bug to return to hacking games for the Star Wars universe and worked with the Gauntlet members who are also Star Wars fans to create and play Bounty of the Week based on the Monster of the Week rules and inspired heavily by the Mandalorian tv show. As that wasn’t enough I then hacked together Ewok Guard inspired by Mouse Guard and The Woodlands RPGs. We’re hoping to do a Star Wars’ themed online gaming convention through the Gauntlet in December.
    • I also retuned to work on DNA Obscured which uses the Dream Askew sytem, about people with abilities like mutants or the specials from the Heroes tv show who are controlled by society but it’s unfortunately too close to real life so I’m shelving it at the moment.
    • And I also started work on two different ideas that have been demanding attention: Hero for Hire (using the Trouble for Hire game mechanics) to create a collaborative super hero story game, and Starfall (Powered by the Apocalypse) game dealing with the social-political community between humans and aliens on a post-war terraformed Earth.

Corridor Games on Demand

Before I jump into the new hoteness I wanted to mention a couple things.

Corridor Games on Demand Online

First, that Corridor Games on Demand has also moved online though we’re rather sporadic about when we offer games due to all of the uncertainty in our jobs and lives at the moment.

The second is that Jimmy from our group was kind enough to start up a Mage the Awakening campaign for many of us. It’s been interesting to play a game like that again after 20+ years and spending over 10 of them with indie games.

I have to admit that I have more love for the Mage the Ascension due to nostalgia and the ideas in Ascension about the factions. But this is my first time actually playing Mage and I’m greatful that Jimmy and Nick, another player in the game and long-time White Wolf gamer, can help walk us through the complicated steps of working with the version of the magic system in play.

Gaming Co-op

So let’s get to it the new hotness in my gaming life, which is involvement with a gaming co-op.

It’s technically not official yet (legal paperwork is in progress), but we’re discussing ideas and working on some great passion projects. I’m proud to be a community member of such a wonderful group of talented designers, writers, marketers, artists, and others working together on something to help each other improve and possibly publish something that we’re all proud of.

We’ll see where this goes. It’s a lot of work, but so far it’s also been very rewarding for many of us I feel.

Update on the Dark Well RPG

Dark Well cover mockup

As a result of this co-op coming to be, one very talented and kind member traded services with me early on. I worked on improving a characters sheet front and back for information and experience design use and they reviewed a draft of Dark Well. This person helped me see so many things and helped to clarify some issues and made effective suggestions. It was the kind of editing feedback that I have been wanting for so long as I know I’m not ready for copyediting on grammar and such yet.

With that lovely feedback, I feel that the work I’ve done since on Dark Well has been more successful. I still have a ways to go with the draft even after I complete my backlog of items. But my confidence in the text as rules is greater and love what I have, warts and all at this point. Asside from writing up some actual play content, making some examples for play aids, and going through final suggestions I should have a good fresh draft to use.

My plan is the work to run a short campaign to see how things go beyond a one-shot. Make more revisions and then see how soon I can get another round of feedback before having others who are not me to run the game. I’ll be running two playtests of the current version this October during the Gauntlet Con Open Gaming event, at least one during Gamehole Con, and hopefully two during Metatopia. Wish me luck!


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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