In my later days at RPGObjects, I had started shepherding some projects and writers. Mike Lafferty had done some writing for us, and Jason Tondro had an unreleased True20 setting called Arthur Lives! that had been quietly gaining steam behind the scenes. My first realization was that if Vigilance Press was really going to succeed, it needed to be more than an outlet for my writing, so Mike Lafferty and Jason Tondro came on board.
We released Arthur Lives! and other books for the True20 system. Sadly, those books didn’t do as well as we’d hoped, and we began, quietly, to look at other systems we might use. It was around this time that Steve Kenson, creator of Mutants and Masterminds and all around Super-Genius, began to use his powers for good again, working on a simpler, cleaner supers system more inspired by the classic TSR Marvel FASERIP system, where M&M was more inspired by Champions.
Credit here goes to Mike Lafferty, who kept pointing out posts Steve was making about his new game (eventually named ICONS). When we realized the game would have an open license, I decided it was time to head back into Supers. Vigilance Press took on a new life with a series of WWII supers books set in the golden age of the USHER universe, and they did extremely well.
We embarked on a very ambitious publishing plan of one short supers PDF each week and gamers responded, knowing on Wednesday they could count on a new installment of Golden Age supers for ICONS. We kept it up, amazingly, for almost 4 MONTHS, something I will never stop being proud of. You can look at those books today and see the quality of the art, layout, and writing and realize we did the first 16 in 5 months, starting before ICONS was available to third party support. It still makes me smile.
This culminated with the first full look at the USHER universe, called the USHER Dossiers, giving a complete history of the setting from 60,000 BC, when the first metahuman was born, until 2010 AD, when the superhuman scourge Scion was repelled from Earth.
We continued with supers as a primary focus, but also took a very interesting detour (one I hope to take again soon) into my other love, the Post-Apocalypse. Darrin Drader, former WOTC alum turned writer for 38 Studios, had a setting idea that he and I turned into a little book called Nuclear Sunset. Only one book for the setting has been done so far, but Darrin and I both hope to revisit the setting as our work lives permit.
By 2011, Vigilance Press had grown. Grown beyond my desire to run it. As the company had gotten bigger, I was turning more and more into a businessman and less and less into a writer. I began to look around for someone to take some management duties off my hands. Eventually, I talked to James Dawsey and liked his vision for the future of Vigilance Press so much I sold the company to him, fully intending to, in essence, freelance for the company I had founded and nurtured over the past few years.
Then Mayfair Games came calling. I had talked with them before, and it turned out they had an opening in marketing and liked a lot of the grassroots marketing I’d done for Vigilance Press. This took me out of the RPG writing business for the first time in 9 years.
So, this is the end. And like all ends, it’s also a beginning. My time with Vigilance Press is over, but the company lives on. James has guided the company for 10 months now, and I can tell you the best is yet to come.
Thanks for stopping by Vigilance Press and taking this little tour through the company’s past. But don’t leave, and don’t be sad, because the company’s future is even brighter, and the best is yet to come.
Or as Geddy Lee once sang, “Changes aren’t permanent. But change is.”