Gritty Cop Show Test Game Episode 3: NY Confidential.

This Saturday we ran another play test of Gritty Cop Show, the role playing game.

If you want to see what Gritty Cop Show is, here is the recap of the first test game (where I stole the plot of Heat) :

And the second (where I stole the plot of Paranoia) :

We made a few rules tweaks after those last two to improve and streamline the system a bit more. It has been several months since the last test games, but that’s what happens when you’re a busy writing books, one of your regular players gets deployed, and another ends up working every weekend.

So I invited over the regulars and then a couple of neighbors (one of whom used to play a lot of D&D, and the other who’d never played an RPG before), and this time I stole the plot of L.A. Confidential. Only since I wanted to test out character growth, we moved it to 2018 New York.

If you read episode #2, you’ll remember that Detective Jimmy Moore shot a professional hit man while he was in custody. IA couldn’t prove it, but when we pick up with this session, Moore has been demoted and been “riding the boat” (yes, I love the Wire). Detective Tank Middleton is still at Major Crimes.  Since Detective Quinn and McRidge couldn’t make this session, we decided that Quinn had gotten promoted, and McRidge had quit the force, bought their local cop bar (now renamed Ox Knuckles’) and married the super hot waitress (I rolled a 10 on a d10!).

Major Crimes was joined by two new detectives. Vimes (a practical law and order guy who came over from SWAT, his advantages were Ice Water Veins  and Arson, Murder, & Jay Walking. But his disadvantage was Got A Feeling That I Can’t Let Go. and Detective Stiles,who’d spent the last couple years under cover with the Irish mob, who had Brute Squad, Fast Talker, and the disadvantage Flinch.

Since there are partnership advantages, Tank and Moore are Good Cop/Bad Cop while Vimes and Stiles have Cowboy Cops. Because it ain’t a gritty cop show unless you’ve got your cool partnership dynamic.

And yes, I’ve got four pages of advantages and disadvantages based on every cop show trope I could think of. My favorites are Doughnut Run, Fists of Ham, and Good is Not Nice.  Each one has a mechanical bonus, and is also kind of a guide for the player how they should play their character.

I didn’t tell the guys what plot I’d stolen this time (I figured everybody has seen LA Confidential, and if you haven’t, you should, fantastic movie) but I kept all the NPC names the same. Only there was no Exley, Vincennes, or White because the PCs replaced them. Plus, since these are different characters entirely, I just skipped all the early scenes set up, and we opened up with the shotgun massacre at the Nite Owl Café.

2:00 AM Major Crimes gets a call. Six people have been shotgunned in the bathroom of the NIte Owl Café. Tank, Stiles, and Vimes arrive to find a mess. One of the victims is identified as Dick Stensland, former detective, forcibly retired for beating a suspect on Christmas and getting caught on video. And to bring Moore back in from his exile to the harbor, Stensland used to be Moore’s partner.

Remember, Major Crimes has a new Captain now because the old one got murdered by his Russian mail order bride. In this game the PCs pick what kind of unit they are in, so this time instead of Shit Detail they are a Black Sheep Squad, so their new Captain only cares about results, not reputation.  So the new Captain thinks there is no way Moore actually shot an Austrian hit man inside the station, and he knows one of the vics, so should be useful, and brings him back.

The PCs start investigating, and immediately the new guys flub some rolls and add some stress. (remember, in this game there is an escalating stress mechanic that leads to complications and eventually a Dramatic Blow Up). Once you’ve got some stress points, you start having the potential for dramatic screw ups. And when you roll a dramatic screw up, it’s on the players to decide what happens to them.

Some good forensics rolls and they start to piece together what happened. It was obvious Susan Leffarts (who looks a lot like Scarlett Johansson) was eating with Stensland. (there were two female vics, but one was the waitress, and there was lipstick on the glass across the table from where they found Stensland’s blood, and it matches Susan’s)

Vimes and Stiles head out to Long Island to the address on Susan’s ID. One thing about using existing cop show plots, the GM needs to be ready to roll with it whenever the PCs do stuff out of order. So as they are talking to Susan’s befuddled old mom, there is the scene where they smell something rotten and see she’s got a towel stuck against the bottom of the door. So Stiles ends up in the crawl space under the house where he finds the rotten corpse of Buzz Meeks, another former NYPD detective.

So the plot is now out of order, but that’s fine. The PCs just know there is a conspiracy a bit earlier is all.

At the same time (in Gritty Cop Show you totally split the party) the other two are going through Stensland’s stuff (he drives a really nice car for an ex-cop who didn’t even make his pension), and they find some mysterious business cards that Tank recognizes (steetwise) as coming from a high end prostitution ring.

The next morning at the briefing, Deputy Chief Dudley Smith (I described James Cromwell, but left off the accent and didn’t call anybody Boyo to keep them from realizing what movie this was yet) passed on the tip about the three men in the red Mercury (changed to crappy ’97 Sable).

A bunch of research and streetwise rolls (shaking down chop shops and drug dealers) led our PCs to three bad dudes who matched that description.  (I skipped the kidnapped girl bit and escape from the station bits because of time) and they arrive at the home of Sugar Collins, to find two detectives from Robbery Homicide, Brunig and Carlilse at the Mercury. Brunig swears that they saw these three sawed off shotguns on the back seat, but Vimes is really suspicious that they just planted them because what kinds of idiots would leave three murder weapons in plain view.  (congrats, you are more observant than Guy Pearce).

But Carlilse lies convincingly and says that the guns were actually hidden on the floor boards, and they just moved them to the seat so they’d have probable cause, now you want to let these scumbags get away or not?

Vimes is ticked, but the three bad guys are upstairs, so the PCs, along with Carlisle and Brunig, swoop in. Of course, a running gunfight ensues. Moore gets grazed in the arm and shot in the vest (dramatically) but the three dudes get shot. Stiles tackles a 4th crack head who just happened to be there (Stiles has Flinch, so sucks with guns).  Of the three suspects, only one survives (eBay Fontaine, because I had to come up with street names on the spot for the other two dudes).

Moore is going to the hospital anyway, and since he and Tank have Good Cop/Bad Cop,  and Tank stuck most of his points into interrogation they ride in the ambulance with eBay. They grill him, but its pretty clear he’s a total scumbag criminal guilty of pretty much everything, but he doesn’t know a thing about the Nite Owl.

Meanwhile, Vimes and Stiles question the crack head (I was basically playing Tyrone Biggums, itching and all) who can alibi Sugar. (honest your honor, I couldn’t didn’t commit those murders because I was busy selling crack). So it’s a crappy alibi, but it’s an alibi.

But at the hospital, while Moore is getting stitched up, Deputy Chief Smith shows up with a pile of reporters to talk about the heroism of his officers for catching these killers so fast. Moore is back In Major Crimes, hailed as a hero, and everybody is calling him Shotgun Jimmy. (which I think is when this particular player realized what movie this was).

But the PCs know something is up. This smells like a frame job. They confide in their new captain (and since they took Black Sheep, he’s got their backs) so they keep investigating, but they are supposed to keep it on the down low.

The next day there’s a great scene between Moore and the IA detective who hates his guts and got him put on the boat, where he finds out how dirty Stensland and Meeks were. (this was when I got to sneak in Russell Crowe’s awesome line about a Big Rat in the basement). Of course, the IA still thinks Moore is dirty and wants to ruin him, because Gritty Cop Show reasons.

This is getting long, so I’d better condense. I introduced Sid Hudgens (I can’t do a very good Danny DeVito) who now runs a gossip blog called The Husher. More investigation leads the PCs to Lynn Bracken (and when I describe her as young Kim Bassinger, then they all knew which movie this was).  But when they stick Lynn into protective custody, this goes back to the Deputy Chief, and the next thing they know they’re getting yelled at by the DA. Stress is building. More and more complications are occurring.

Then Moore and Tank go out to Martha’s Vineyard to interview playboy Pierce Pratchett, who employed Stensland and Meeks as “drivers”. When he offers a thinly concealed bribe (he’ll give them $20k to moonlight as “security” at one of his “parties”) Moore flubs a roll, has one too many stress points DRAMATIC BLOW UP and breaks the millionaire’s nose. They get tossed out by security.

Meanwhile, Vimes and Stiles get the black mail photos of the DA from Danny DeVito, and go to confront the DA. They were smooth fast talkers, and didn’t even need to drown him in the toilet or dangle him from a window. He spills the beans on Dudley Smith.

(and because nobody ever went alone to talk to Smith, nobody got the Rolo Tomasi treatment)

When Vimes and Stiles realize just how high this goes, and that they put their one witness in protective custody (which is under Dudley Smith’s command, and he knows where every safe house is, and who is in it) they rush to where Lynn is being guarded by Nobs.

Oh yeah… Officer Nobs. Okay, so one of the things I wanted to test this game was random extra cop character generation. It’s designed so that you can create an extra NPC cop helper, fully statted out, in like 30 seconds (the system works fantastic). So the rookie cop who found the bodies at the Nite Owl had been assigned as Major Crimes gopher/helper. And he was the one guarding Lynn Bracken at the safe house.

Vimes and Stiles get there. Nobs and Kim Bassinger are missing. The lock has been picked. The (hidden) security cameras were all disabled.  They got Nobs! The bastards! They call Tank, who has just gotten back into the city.

With a witness and the rookie kidnapped, Moore and Tank decide to directly confront the two detectives who planted the shotguns (oh yeah, those matched the hulls at the scene).  Of course, this doesn’t go as planned.

So when they see Carlisle and Brunig in an alley, Carlisle immediately shoves down Tank all like “how dare you accuse me of being dirty!”.  Moore sucker punches Carlisle.  Who takes it, spits out a blob of blood, takes his coat and tie off, and hands his gun to his partner while telling Tank, “If either of us cheats, feel free to shoot us” See, these guys ain’t run of the mill mooks, I statted them all the way up with as many points as our PCs.  Alley fight!

Moore and Carlisle proceed to have a dramatic fist fight, which ends badly when our PC tries to smash the bad cop’s head into the car door, and instead ends of getting bounced across the hood. However, during this, Tank accuses Carlisle of kidnapping Nobs, and Carlilse is shocked. It’s one thing to frame scumbags who really need to get put in the ground anyway, but he obviously doesn’t know anything about kidnapping cops.

So a few hours later, instead of dispatch sending the heroes to the Victory Motel, it’s Carlisle giving them a tip. One thing about GMing is that when your PCs derail your plot, just roll with it. This guy is dirty, but he likes Nobs, and wasn’t down with that.

They can’t tell anybody, because it’ll just get back to Dudley Smith. So they gun up, armor up, and drive to New Jersey so we can have a big ass gun fight at the abandoned Victory Motel.

This happened in two waves. First was them trying to sneak in to rescue Kim Bassinger and Nobs, only most of these guys aren’t sneaky, so it turned into a big ass gun fight. Lots of drama happened. Stiles (who can’t shoot for crap) gets pinned down behind a car that’s getting riddled with bullets. Moore boots the door and spends two rounds shotgunning a bad guy in the vest. Tank dramatically saves his partner’s life by shooting a guy who came up behind him. And Vimes actually put a bunch of points in shooting, and asked for an AR-10. So he was pretty much just popping heads like grapes. (I made guns super lethal in this).

The hostages are saved. Tank takes Kim and Nobs out the back.

Only that’s when two more SUVs with lights and sirens come flying in. When Vimes looks at them through his scope, they aren’t from Jersey. They’re from the NYPD, which is a bad sign since they are dealing with an army of crooked cops.

Moore goes out to meet them. (a variation of the badge scene from the end of the movie, very fitting).  Only one SUV stops, and the other sweeps around the back toward where Tank is trying to get away. There’s a tense confrontation, but then the bad guy (Brunig) does a count down for Moore to turn over Kim Bassinger or else, only when he gets to one, Vimes (who is hiding in the trees) blows his head off.

(in the words of William Defoe) AND THERE WAS A GUN FIGHT!  Stiles gets shot again, and has a complication with his shotgun (kicks himself in the face with it, we decided it is a PGO). Moore ends up having a close contact hand to hand/John Wick moment with the driver of the SUV, and it ends up driving violently into the side of the hotel.

And in the back of the hotel, the other SUV opens fire on Tank. He takes one in the vest and goes down. But then Tank asks me if he can see the gas tank from there. I say yeah, but being a pedantic gun nut automatically say gas tanks don’t blow up when you shoot them in real life. But Tanks says this ain’t real life, this is GRITTY COP SHOW! Excellent point Rule of Cool always wins.

So Tanks rolls great, and Suburban goes up in a huge fireball. The bad guys even stumbled away, on fire, waving their arms, stunt man style.

Only Tank rolled a complication (and to illustrate how dramatic complications work) as Tank stands up, and Kim Bassinger runs to hold him, one of the on fire bad guys is still alive (play Karl music from Die Hard here! DUN DUNDUNDUN DUN DU!) and Tank sees him just as the bad guy is about to blow him away (and this is when I step in) BUT Rookie Officer Nobs suddenly fires a gun he picked up, and shoots the bad guy right between the eyes, saving Tank from certain doom!

Because Gritty Cop Show!

In the aftermath, now the PCs had to add up all the evidence they’d collected during the session, and I assigned points. Remember, the goal in GCS is to get as many evidence points as you can, and then roll a D12 and add them to it. You need to get at least a 12 total (representing the jury), or Dudley Smith, the DA, and Pierce Pratchett will walk.  They got a whopping 10 evidence points, and luckily managed not to roll a 1!  Boom. Convicted. Case closed.

And I almost forgot, one of my favorite dramatic complications during this session?  As they were driving back from Martha’s Vineyard, there was a call over the radio, the deadly hit man, Helmut Bookwalter, has escaped from prison! (he killed a guard with his TEETH). BOLO. Extremely armed and dangerous. Do not engage, hide and call SWAT. Better yet, call the National Guard.

Remember, Moore shot this psychopath in the stomach. He’s a bad dude. And when I say bad dude, I made up advantages and disadvantages for creating nemesis level bad guys, and his are called Plot Armor and Killing Machine. 😀  And the funny thing is, he never even showed up in the session. Just the threat of him being out there was enough to change the dynamic. I love dramatic complications. This is what happens when you watch a thousand hours of cop shows.

So that was our third test game of Gritty Cop show. The tweaks we made to the wound/health system worked good, but since none of our guys got incapacitated this time, I only had to test it on bad guys. Also the random NPC generator works great. It’s literally a few dice rolls, and they’ve got skills and a basic personality.

Sign David Weber’s Petition In Support of Free Speech at Cons

The petition is here:

So here is basically what happened to cause all this. John Ringo was supposed to be guest of honor at ConCarolinas. A small, but exceedingly loud contingent threw a fit about that (including some of the same people who threw a fit to get me kicked out of Origins). The con committee did not boot John, John mutually decided with the con that it wasn’t worth the hassle and he was going to stay home. However the con committee did bungle the announcement, so it sounded like John was the bad guy. The angry mob rejoiced and then emboldened went about trying to kick non-liberals out of other cons, succeeding in some (Origins) and failing miserably and getting their asses fired at others (DragonCon).

However, the head of the con committee, Jada, realized that they’d screwed up, and tried to make it right. She worked with the very reasonable and articulate David Weber to try and come up with an agreement to protect guests in the future. And then at the closing ceremony of ConCarolinas, they declared that never again would they bow to pressures from an online outrage mob, and disinvite already invited guests.

The seats weren’t even cold before their saying they wouldn’t cave to outrage, all of a sudden caused a whole bunch of outrage.

A petition was started to remove Jada and another fellow named Luis from the con committee. It’s all social justice speak about unsafe micro whatevers and how disenfranchised blah blah blah buzzword bingo.

As of right now, it has 113 signatures, and many of the signatories are “anonymous” or “interested party”.

David Weber is a good man, and he put in a lot of time and effort with the concom to work this out to protect other authors in the future (and also agreed to be their GoH next year, and he’s a huge draw), so when he saw the petition of goofy butt hurt he started his own petition in response, in defense of free speech and not booting guests just because somebody on the internet made up some allegations and threw a tantrum.

The petition is here:

Notice that it has 1370 signatures in less time, and these are all people using their actual names.

That’s 12 times as many people in support of Jada’s decision to stand up to the internet mobs than against. That’s pretty damned telling.

12 to 1 so far. I’m betting that is a similar ratio to real life sane humans versus the perpetually offended on the internet. Except the 1 gets all the attention, and all the media coverage, because they scream the loudest. In fact, they scream so loud, and so often, that many people overestimate how many of these people there actually are.

And that number is assuming that Anonymous or Interested Party isn’t just a funny way to spell Sock Puppet. They might be as real as File 770’s much bragged about internet traffic.

These people have gotten particularly shrill lately. They are dramatically flouncing out of anything that won’t bend to their will, and being really loud about it. That’s actually a good thing. See, the difference between people who believe in free speech and people who don’t, is that they want us to be silenced while we want them to keep talking so that everyone can see just how full of crap they are.

The original petition is to remove Jada and Luis. She is guilty of disagreeing with bullies. Apparently his crime was that he was the head of con security, has a concealed weapons permit, and was legally carrying a firearm. The hotel knew and didn’t care, the local cops knew and didn’t care, but icky scary guns they didn’t actually see also make these people feel “unsafe.” Of course, this didn’t stop some of the sleazy File 770 crowd from alerting the hotel about this maniac (i.e. law abiding citizen acting in accordance with state law) to try and get the whole convention booted from the venue. Because anything these people can’t control, they must destroy. Good thing they’re so inept about it.

So I would encourage everyone to take a look at David Weber’s poll, and if you agree, add your name to the list.

When organizations stand up against the bullies, and ask for things like evidence of their endless accusations, they need to know that they are supported. The bullies are loud and never ever stop. Most regular people just want to mind their own business and be left alone. But they won’t leave you be. Eventually you will do or say something that provokes them, and then they’ll try to destroy you too.

Some of us are even buying supporting memberships to the convention in order to send a bigger message. I just did. Because that’s another thing about us versus the perpetually outraged, our side actually spends money.  Caving in to that 1 in 12 doesn’t just make you look dumb, it also makes you poor, because the 12 are now going to be annoyed at you. As the saying goes, Get Woke, Go Broke.


EDIT:  It is now about 30 to 1.  So 30 people supporting free speech to every 1 safe space demanding social justice whiner. And it is probably even worse considering most of those are signed Anonymous.

Which just goes to show why nobody should listen to these cry bullies.

Origins sent out yet ANOTHER message about me, and my response

Gama sent out this email to all the exhibitors at Origins.  Basically, they screwed up, but Origins wants you to know that they’re the real victims here and Larry Correia and his fans are the real bad guys. Here it is in its entirety. My specific comments will follow:


Good afternoon Exhibitors,

We are a few weeks away from Origins and the anticipation is building!

Things are looking great for this year’s show. The Exhibit Hall is officially sold out and badges are currently trending 15% above pre-registration numbers from 2017.

We have taken a brief hiatus from social media but are fully prepared to continue promoting the show and its exhibitors starting this week. Before we begin communicating through social, there are a few things we wanted to bring to your attention.

Some individuals have rallied online with plans to harass companies exhibiting at the show—this is in response to the disinviting of Larry Correia as a guest at Origins.

To provide you with some background: our original decision to invite Larry as a guest at Origins was simple—he’s a successful author, has been a guest at other conventions in previous years, and any one that knows him knows that he is big into gaming.

Unfortunately, we were not aware of Mr. Correia’s online presence and following. Upon further research we found an abundance of confrontational discourse and polarizing behavior online.

We have nothing against Larry as a person or as a professional, but we have seen the drama that follows him, and we do not want that at Origins.

As an exhibitor at Origins, we wanted you to be aware of the general MO of the group we are explaining:

Company pages are inundated with comments and negative rankings
Employers and publishers are contacted
Messages with keywords regarding to the show are targeted

Time has passed, and things have calmed down, but we should all still be aware of these potential behaviors. If you receive any threats or libel regarding you or your company, please send them to John Ward.

Thank you for your support. Good luck with the final preparations for the show!


Wow…  Now I’m really starting to get annoyed at just how disingenuous this bunch is.  

That isn’t what happened at all. Here is my statement:

And the update from a few days later:

Let me break this down for you.

Some individuals have rallied online with plans to harass companies exhibiting at the show

My only comments during this entire debacle concerning the vendors was that they should be left alone. The vendors are just small businessmen trying to have a good sales weekend, and they have nothing to do with the incompetence of John Ward.  I’ve specifically gone out of my way to say that to my fans on multiple occasions.

The only vendors I’ve seen animosity directed at were the ones who specifically went out of their way to virtue signal on Twitter about how booting me for having the wrong opinions was So Brave. And that’s a short and very specific list who did that usual social media thing where they decided to throw punches, and then cry about getting punched back afterwards.

 But hey, toss that out there. The important thing is that everyone knows Origins is the real victim here.

To provide you with some background: our original decision to invite Larry as a guest at Origins was simple—he’s a successful author, has been a guest at other conventions in previous years,


Correction, I’ve been a guest at dozens of other conventions and events over the last decade (as many as 15 in a year) and I’ve not had an issue at a single one of them. I’ve been on a few hundred panels, and as far as I’m aware of I’ve never had any complaints made to a ConCom by anyone who was actually at any of these events

and any one that knows him knows that he is big into gaming.


Unfortunately, we were not aware of Mr. Correia’s online presence

By online presence, they mean that I have a history of interrupting social justice lynch mobs while they’re slandering people and trying to ruin careers. How rude!

and following.

Meaning I have a lot of fans who take it personal when they’re told that a guy they’re fond of, who they read all his stuff, and worst of all, agree with on a lot of his opinions… is actually a sexist, racist, homophobic, hatemonger. Because if they like such a person, what does it say about them?

So they got ticked off. Go figure. Don’t they know that only people on the left are allowed to share an opinion in public?

Upon further research


That is an utter and complete lie. Unless by “research” they mean that some angry people with an axe to grind showed up in their announcement thread to make up a bunch of outlandish nonsense, and John Ward immediately panicked and caved to their demands.


we found an abundance of confrontational discourse


Confrontational, meaning that I’m one of a relative handful of professional traditionally published authors who is openly something other than liberal/socialist in an industry which is overwhelmingly left wing, who will disagree in public with the agreed upon groupthink narrative about any given topic.  I guess Origins thinks it is okay to be a conservative or a libertarian, provided that you sit quietly and never ever disagree with your betters.


and polarizing behavior online.


Which is kind of funny, since there is a long list of super outspoken left wing authors and game designers who could be described as “polarizing”, but for some odd reason those don’t count.


Seriously, when I’m having all this “confrontational discourse” I ain’t talking to myself. I’m usually arguing with a left wing author, pundit, journalist, or publishing industry nut hugger. You going to ban all those too? Or just the guy you’ve decided is on the wrong side of history (along with half of America)?


We have nothing against Larry as a person or as a professional,


Which is why you lent credence to a bunch of vile slander from an online outrage mob (who weren’t even going to attend anyway), and why you continue to malign both me and my fans.  Or why John Ward never specified what my “beliefs” were that made me inappropriate for a “family friendly” event.


but we have seen the drama that follows him, and we do not want that at Origins.


Which is why John Ward managed to handle revoking my invitation in the most ham fisted, drama inducing manner, humanly possible.


As an exhibitor at Origins, we wanted you to be aware of the general MO of the group we are explaining:


I like that. “MO of the group”… As in Ward panicked, caved into a social justice witch hunt within minutes, publically screwed the pooch, and now they need to shift blame to the people who felt insulted by his inept, unprofessional handling of the matter.


Company pages are inundated with comments and negative rankings

Meaning a bunch of pissed off people left negative reviews on Origins page that day.


As far as other company pages getting lots of comments and negative rankings, I’ve got no idea what he’s going on about. But if someone at a company goes specifically political on their social media (Green Ronin, the one guy from Fate, Mike what’s his face at D&D) I don’t know why it should come as a shock that they get comments of an opposing political response.


Oh yeah! That’s right! “Polarizing” only works in one direction.  You guys can say whatever you want with impunity and half the country just has to suck it up. I forgot. My bad.  


Employers and publishers are contacted


Yep. That’s something people do to the sponsors of things which piss them off.


That one is kind of funny though, since Ward’s last email to the vendors he straight up lied to them and said he’d only gotten a handful of emails. Oops. Your damage control guys should really keep their stories straight.

Messages with keywords regarding to the show are targeted


I don’t even know what the hell he’s talking about there.


Time has passed, and things have calmed down


Which is why they decided to send this email to everyone to stir it back up.


Heh… By me making this public and defending myself, there I go being all “polarizing” and “confrontational” again.


but we should all still be aware of these potential behaviors


Including the imaginary ones he made up.  


If you receive any threats or libel regarding you or your company, please send them to John Ward.


Who I am certain will bungle it in the most inept way humanly possible.


Look, Vendors, you guys are the ones getting screwed here. I’m just going to stay home and paint minis that weekend.


John Ward goofed. The fiancé of a billionaire was butt hurt over something I wrote four years ago, made up a bunch of nonsense about how my presence at an event she wasn’t even going to attend made her feel “unsafe”, and Ward instantly caved to political pressure like a little bitch. The loudest, most politically biased (dare I say polarizing?) people in your industry threw a party about it on Twitter about how half your customers are stupid for having the wrong politics, and now they’re whining because those people gave them negative reviews.


Hence, this press release so they can shift the blame back over to the guy they screwed over who just wanted to go to a game con.


I hope you vendors have a good show. I hope you sell a ton of stuff and make a pile of money. But man, if I were you, I’d really want these goons replaced with some actual businessmen who will put your continued success over their petty partisan politics.


I’m not the one who started this. I was going to do some panels, teach a couple writing workshops (for free), play some games, buy some minis (seriously, I spent $1,000 before lunch the first day of GenCon last time), interact with fans, and then go see the manatees at the Columbus zoo.  I didn’t think it would be that different from the multitude of other cons I’ve attended without incident over the years.

Drama “follows me” because clowns like Ward give into the demands of the perpetually offended who scream the loudest.  A few days after this, spurred on by their success, the social justice crowd was already trying to get me kicked out of a different con (but unlike Ward, that ConCom had a spine) and they told the complainer to shove it..


So ask yourself if GAMA is going to have your back when someone at your company inevitably says something that crosses some perpetually offended person’s invisible line and a political outrage mob forms. We’ve already seen that if you’ve got the correct politics you’ll be fine, but as for the rest of you wrongthinkers? Your future is in John Ward’s hands.


Good luck.  😀

Announcing a New Project: Noir Fatale, anthology of noir sci-fi/fantasy

The silky note of a saxophone.  The echoes of a woman’s high heels down a deserted asphalt street.  Steam rising from city vents to cloud the street-lit air.  A man with a gun.  A dame with a problem…


We humans are collectively fascinated by the seamy underside of society as represented in stories and films.  Names such as Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Sam Spade… these have inhabited our collective consciousness for decades.  Humanity, it seems, loves the dark.  And within the dark, one figure stands out: that of the femme fatale.

Kacey Ezell and I are editing an anthology of all new, noir themed sci-fi and fantasy short stories titled Noir Fatale, and we’ve got a great line up of authors who will be contributing:

David Weber
Laurell K. Hamilton
Sarah Hoyt
Larry Correia
Kacey Ezell
Robert Buettner
Alistar Kimball
Griffin Barber
Michael Massa
Hinkley Correia
Christopher L. Smith
Patrick Tracy
Steve Diamond
Michael Ferguson

We just got the last of the contracts in. We’ve got some awesome authors, and several of them have already turned in their stories.

We’ve got multiple New York Times bestsellers, including Laurell K. Hamilton, David Weber, and me (all new Grimnoir).  We’ve got a bunch of really well known authors with a bunch of books out, and we’ve got a few new writers, including my daughter (a Japanese ghost hunter takes a case).

Kacey Ezell wrote a great sci-fi detective piece. Steve Diamond’s story takes place in the world of our upcoming trench fantasy collaboration about a secret policeman hunting golem smugglers.  Griffin Barber writes about a necromancer on a heist. Robert Buettner tells the story of a young starlet touring the moon. For Pat Tracy’s story, imagine playing a D&D game where Raymond Chandler was the DM.

This anthology will be published by Baen. I do not know the release date yet.

Me and my co-editor,KC.

The eARC for Target Rich Environment is out now

The eARC for Target Rich Environment is out!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with eARCs, it stands for Electronic Advanced Reader Copy. An ARC is what normally gets sent to reviewers months before the book comes out, but Baen realized a long time ago that people will pay to get books they want several months early. In fact, they’ll pay extra, and as devout capitalists, that’s awesome.

eARCs have not gone through the final copy editing process, so a lot of time you get to see all the happy fun bonus typos and author screw ups that didn’t get caught before turn in. Some eARCs have big changes from the final (like the legendary *insert explosions here*), but honestly my manuscripts have all been pretty clean, so I’ve never had a major change between any of my eARCs and the final product.

In this case, Target Rich Environment should be good to go because it is a collection of my short fiction. I’m very proud of this. Being primarily a novelist, I’m not known for my short fiction, but I’ve actually published a ton of it. This is volume one of my favorites.

Many of these stories have appeared in other places before, but most of my fans haven’t read them. Some markets are more obscure than others. There are also some originals where this is the first time they’ve ever been in print, including a Bubba Shackleford story co-authored with my daughter. This was her first ever professional sale (and her 2nd will out next year).

And for the first time ever in print, the complete Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent.

In this collection I’ve got fantasy, sci-fi, horror, action/adventure, and comedy. I’ve got stories from MHI, Grimnoir, Dead Six, a few other people’s IPs, and a bunch of original settings. So it’s a little bit of everything.

So check it out. The regular release will be in September.