This has been a tough year for Bedrock. Though we finally saw the fruit of a years-long project, as we were preparing for the print release of Sertorius in September, Bill Butler passed away quite unexpectedly. It overshadows anything else Bedrock achieved. For this reason I don't have much desire to reflect on the other things we accomplished during the year. I can say 2014 is a year I will never forget, because I lost a good friend.
Still I think it is important to talk about the last year because so much of it was a product of the seven years Bill put into Bedrock. I say seven (and not 6 or 5) because while our first book was released in December 2009, we had been working together as a team since 2007-08.
Last year we released two products. One of them was the Sertorius Roleplaying Game. The other was a free adventure for Sertorius called Beneath the Banshee Tree. We had made a deliberate choice to reduce our production schedule in order to improve the substance of our material. Before that we released multiple products a year to help support existing lines. While it didn't make a lot of fiscal sense to reduce our production schedule (releasing regular product really is what keeps lines healthy and revenue strong) it make good design sense. We couldn't have given Sertorius the attention it needed if we had been juggling modules and supplements for our other games. We also wouldn't have had the time to playtest as frequently as we did. In the end we were both happy with this decision because it enabled us to enjoy what we were doing in a way we hadn't before.
I am glad Sertorius is finally available and glad that Bill was able to see a proof of the final print release before he passed away. The reaction to Beneath the Banshee Tree in particular has been rewarding.
We were working on a number of things in 2014 and I hope to have those released in the near future. In order to speed that process up, I released our Sertorius Fantasy Packet on the blog (HERE), so we will have an easier time getting Book of the Archon and Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate out the door. The Fantasy Packet is basically a small set of optional rules to run Sertorius as a more standard Fantasy game.
Going forward in 2015 we hope to continue doing what we've done in the past but in a necessarily different way. Without Bill, we are a different company. I worked with Bill long enough that I feel like I know what he would like and what he wouldn't, but I also worked with him long enough to know he wasn't a static man. His tastes, like anyone else's, changed over time. So one of our guiding principles has become "what would Bill say about this?". We say that knowing that Bill liked a spirited debate and was always a bit of a fighter. So I think the best way we can honor his memory is continue to reflect on what he would want, and continue to debate with him where we might disagree. We just completed a game (which still needs play testing and review) called The Meddlers. This is our attempt to make the kind of game we think Bill always wanted to make. It is light (both in terms of rules and tone) but also incredibly dark in its own way, which I think is appropriate. Bill had a way as a GM of turning the benign and friendly into wicked and evil things.