Welcome to The May Magnetic Monthly Magazine!
April showers bring May flowers… and BOOKS!
It’s true — we’ve got a lot of books dropping this month, but we made time to sit down with Andrew E. C. Gaska, the lead writer/designer for Magnetic Press Play’s first Tabletop RPG CARBON GREY to ask him a few questions about making that exciting dieselpunk adventure!
We were also excited to have Magnetic Production Wizard Chris Northrop give a talk and presentation about some of our production processes at Wacom Headquarters in Portland, Oregon!
We can’t overlook the FOUR NEW BOOKS that were released into stores this month: THE WORLD OF YAXIN, CATS CATS CATS!, THE COLLECTED TOPPI vol.7: SHARAZ DE, and BENEATH THE TREES: A FINE SUMMER!
So dive into this month’s issue for all the juicy details!
CARBON GREY TTRPG
INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW E.C. GASKA
CARBON GREY is Magnetic Press’s first full-fledged Tabletop Roleplaying Game built on the time-tested legacy of the D6 System by seminal developer West End Games. With a history of popular RPGs based on popular properties including STAR WARS, GHOSTBUSTERS, MEN IN BLACK, and THE DC UNIVERSE, this well-known and accessible rule system will allow players to dive into the world of CARBON GREY quickly and easily. Taking full advantage of the unique and popular “Wild Die” feature, adventures in CARBON GREY will be as thrilling and cinematic as players dare to imagine.
We interviewed CARBON GREY’s lead writer and game designer, Andrew E.C. Gaska, an ENnie and UKGE Award-winning writer for his work on Free League Publishing’s immensely popular ALIEN Roleplaying Game. Andrew E.C. Gaska is a narrative director, designer, and sci-fi author with over twenty years of industry experience. He is also the lead writer for Nightfall Game’s TERMINATOR Roleplaying Game as well as the Creative Director on Magnetic Press Play’s line of D6MV (“D6 Magnetic Variant”) RPGs.
Outside of gaming, Andrew E.C. Gaska’s many graphic novels, prose writing, and franchise consultation works have included PLANET OF THE APES, PREDATOR, and the official, classic CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE series. For seventeen years he worked for Rockstar Games on titles such as GRAND THEFT AUTO and RED DEAD REDEMPTION.
When adapting a graphic novel to a tabletop RPG, what do you look initially look for? What did Carbon Grey offer that proved specifically advantageous to game design?
The first thing my writing partner Eric Thomas and I look for is a setting that is rich enough to exist beyond the confines of the story itself. Carbon Grey implies a much bigger world than is show in its 300+ page graphic novel origins. There are many moving pieces behind and between the scenes that can be exploited by GMs and players alike. Open world is the most important thing to making sure players don’t feel railroaded.
Carbon Grey especially works as an RPG because of the time divergences inherent in the graphic novel’s plot. GMs can assume that without the PCs interference, things will occur similar to what happened in the comics—along with a GM twist or two, of course. They can also use the hooks in the Foes and Factions supplement to create an entirely new story of what happens this time around, without ever having read the graphic novel. This gives the PCs the chance to become heroes in this world and allows the GM to tell tales as big or small as their gaming table requires.
Can you explain the “Magnetic Variant” of the classic D6 system? What differentiates it from a more base D6 version?
Over the years, various versions of the D6 System have been developed by West End Games and its affiliates for different types of game play. The Magnetic Variant rewinds the D6 system back to its classic roots and streamlines it for a forward-thinking modern audience. There are several rules variations unique to the D6MV. One of the things we have done is created what we call SRP defenses— Surprised, Readied, and Psyche. This helps cut down on the off-the-cuff math a little bit to speed up number crunching at the table.
Other additions include Streamlined Skills, and specific Genre Defined Rules and Attributes, my favorite addition is the Character Personae traits in the form of Quirks, Mementos, and Obligations. Those traits provide roleplaying hooks for new players, give them abilities that make them unique, and offer the GM points to spin adventures out of. Finally, we’ve added a Wild Die to represent an element of chance and add a little bit of chaos to the game. The Magnetic Variant will evolve for each new property we tackle.
With Carbon Grey you’ve got a hardcover rule book, twenty-one detailed miniatures, 140 character and item cards, eight boards of punch-out map tokens, etc. When you are done with a project of this scale, sit back, and see the final product… what is that like on a personal level?
Eric Thomas and I are extremely proud of the work we’ve done on Carbon Grey. As Creative Director of the project, this is the first time I’ve been in charge of all aspects of a game from layout to the look of every page, from game content to the poses of miniatures, from map and card design and everything in between, let alone setting and tone. While I’ve done this kind of work through my BLAM! Ventures studio in the past, it has always been for graphic novels and illustrated prose works. There were a lot of moving parts but with Eric at my side managing game design and coming up with cool streamlined versions of old-school rules, we were able to knock this out of the park.
Magnetic Design Talk at Wacom
This past week at the WACOM Experience Center in Portland, Magnetic Production Wizard CHRIS NORTHROP walked creators through our book production using the Wacom tablet, InDesign, and Photoshop.
This was the first in-person meeting at Wacom Experience Center since the beginning of the pandemic, and it was made available online to participants who wished to attend virtually through Zoom.
The main book featured in Chris’s presentation was LETTERS FROM ANIMALS, one our our many popular books with an environmental conservation message. Artist Giovani Rigano’s art absolutely popped off of the screen!
If you’d like to know more about future WACOM events/meetups, you can follow them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wacom.experience.pdx. We look forward to working with them in the future again with more exciting projects and gallery displays! We want to thank WACOM for inviting us to pull back the curtain on the design process! Below are some photos of the event…
THE WORLD OF YAXIN: DAY OF THE UNICORN
On an island between dream and reality, a young faun named Gabriel is fascinated by the extraordinary new creatures called unicorns. “A magical thing born of nature,” he muses… Poetic and musical, each page is like a graphical haiku reflecting a feeling or idea rather than an event. The carefully crafted text supports this narrative idea and aims to awaken certain emotions buried in us.
Written & Illustrated by: Man Arenas
$19.99 40 pages hardcover
CATS CATS CATS!
Do they like us? Do they hate us? Who knows, but they’ll make you howl with laughter! Each feline in this book of silent comic antics may have its own personality, but any cat-lover will recognize these always-adorable but often-frustrating quirks, each with a touch of madness. This collection of wordless comic strips by noted cartoonists Lapuss’ and Philippe Larbier offers a lighthearted assortment of strips that anyone can fall in love with.
Written by: Lapuss
Illustrated by: Philippe Larbier
$16.99 96 pages softcover
THE COLLECTED TOPPI vol.7: SHARAZ DE
A set of tales inspired by the Arabian Nights by European comics master Sergio Toppi, exploring a barbaric society where the supernatural is the only remedy to injustice, as Sharaz-de, captive to a cruel and despotic king, must each night spin tales to entertain her master and save her head from the executioner. Featuring tales filled with evil spirits, treasures, risk, and danger, but ever at their center the passions of gods and men.
Written and illustrated by: Sergio Toppi
$29.99 244 pages hardcover
CARBON GREY OMNIBUS
Twins are born to a noble family — Mathilde and Giselle, the Sisters Grey. For centuries, the Greys have protected the ruler of Mitteleuropa, but this is a different time — it is the dawn of the Industrial Age and a great war rages. When the Kaiser is found dead, Giselle is accused of his murder. Pursued by her sisters and hunted by the enemy, Giselle must unravel the prophecy of the Carbon Grey before history itself is rewritten.
Written & Illustrated by: Hoang Nguyen, Khari Evans, Paul Gardner, and Kinsun Loh
$39.99 304 pages hardcover