Goodman Games is proud to showcase our amazing Third Party Publishers, and we want to give each of them a moment to shine. That’s the reason for our Community Publisher Profiles. This time up, we’ve got Paul Wolfe of Mystic Bull Games!
Mystic Bull Games is the company responsible for D.A.M.N! – the DCC Adventure Magazine and News. They are also the creators of fine DCC adventures! In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer is a collection of pulp fantasy encounters. The God-Seed Awakens is a full adventure inspired by The Stone God Awakens by Phillip Jose Farmer. Other products include The Curse of Cragbridge, the Pulp Weird Encounters series, and even some free adventures from their website!
Like most RPG gamers, Paul and his crew often talked about publishing their own products for their favorite roleplaying games. It wasn’t until they discovered Dungeon Crawl Classics that they finally made it happen. “DCC was such a strange and interesting animal that I feel like we were compelled to start writing,” Paul says. “I wrote a short adventure for another 3PP publisher and wrote some patrons for Angels, Daemons and Beings Between. I really enjoyed the process, but like everyone, I wanted to do my own stuff. I went back to my partners and proposed Mystic Bull Games — and our first project, In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer. They were in, so I was in.”
Despite having been a professional technical writer for 15 years and a project manager for even longer than that, there was still a lot Paul didn’t know about the other parts of the publishing process. “I’ve compiled an unbelievable amount of knowledge about writing, editing, project management, art direction, layout, print preparation, publishing, distribution… the list goes on,” he says. “And I still know a fraction of what I need to know to make the process more streamlined and to grow beyond what’s essentially a vanity publisher. I guess the most important thing I’ve learned is that I know nothing.” But learning was part of the appeal of the project for him.
Possibly as a result of his self-admittedly “scatterbrained” process, he didn’t notice until about six months ago that “sorcerer” was misspelled on the cover of In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (it’s spelled “sorceror” on the cover.)* The book was first published in 2013…almost six years ago!
According to Paul, the main draw of Mystic Bull products for DCC players is that they reflect the game, and one of the best parts of the game is the community around it. “Almost all of our books have been collaborative efforts. In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer, Pulp Weird Tales, and our three issues of D.A.M.N. Magazine were compilations of work solicited from DCC’s sizable and enthusiastic community. We’re not quite as talented as the Vances or David Fisher — who do all the writing AND art for their books — so in addition to writing, we pull in artists, cartographers, layout folks — the whole thing.” Paul has personally met almost everyone who has contributed to the books. His wife Brenda calls GaryCon and North Texas RPG Con their “nerd family reunions”.
What is being a 3PP like? Paul says it’s “long stretches of boredom punctuated by intense periods of inspiration, sweat, blood, tears, fighting, resignation, more tears, and a final push to get the project out the door. I swear at the end of every book—particularly a D.A.M.N. Magazine—that I’m never going to publish another book, even at gunpoint. And then about a month or so later, I’m already thinking about and working on the next one.”
We’re glad you keep working, Paul! Thanks!
*(Author’s note: I make that same spelling mistake ALL THE TIME. Thank Bobugbubilz for spellcheck!)