Without a Story..

Crusaders represents about 20 years of writing for me. I started out writing the story in notebooks in largely finished it many years ago. But it was written by a kid and needed a lot of work if it was going to become what it needed to me. I spent the last few years building up the 1st book in the series and am preparing it for becoming an E book online. This is the 1st manuscript I delivered for editing. When the editing is done you’ll be seeing this online and ready for each person to share in the story.

Black and White

I am a firm believer in describing good guys and bad guys, good and evil in black and white terms. Writers who spend so much time making every character shades of gray stump me. Stories that set up heroes to be heroes and vice versa for villains are the most intriguing to me personally.


We have been hard at work on Crusaders in the long lull.

We found that he structure for drawing, the idea of using separate decks with different costs is going to stay part of the game.

However, the way we began a game from the old to new version was no longer compatible. There was balancing issues and several cards will have to be rebuilt as they only work in an older version of the game.

For your viewing pleasure, here is the first draft of the start of the game under the new structure:


Players roll a six-sided die. The players with the highest number chooses which player goes first.
The player that goes first rolls 1 six-sided die.
He or she will draw cards according to the amount of the roll:
*1-2 – Draw 1 card.
*3-4 – Draw 2 cards.
*5-6 – Draw 3 cards.
The player draws 1 card from any of the
Six Supply Piles but no more than 1 from any 1 Supply Pile. The first player then rolls for the Strength
Gathering Strength Step and then plays Weapons, Items, Accessories, etc.
The first player cannot Attack during this first turn.
The player that goes second rolls 1 six-sided die.
He or she will draw cards according to the amount of the roll:
*1-2 – Draw 1 card.
*3-4 – Draw 2 cards.
*5-6 – Draw 3 cards.
The player draws 1 card from any of the
Six Supply Piles but no more than 1 from any 1 Supply Pile. If the second player draws less total cards than the first player, the second players places +5 Courage during this turn’s Strength Gathering Step.
The second player then rolls for his or her’s Strength Gathering Step.
The second player can Attack during this first turn.

Change comes to all

The play testing for Crusaders had that nagging feeling that the game lacked something, a greater strategic capability in battle. 
I came to the conclusion that separating the deck into the 6 types of cards, Weapon, Item, etc would add greatly add to the strategy players could employ. 
Each card type now carries an individual cost to draw. This means you’ll have access to all card types through out but won’t be able to draw them without a greater plan to pay for it. 
The current values are only placeholders and may need to be adjusted as time goes on.
The six spaces to the right will be each card type pile. The spaces to the left will be the ones used to show cards in play. 

The former space for the main deck is now the space for cards removed the game. 
Play testing is on going but this change added needed complexity and strategy for a story driven battle.

To Fix a Game 

I should explain why the following changes would be implemented. In all the play testing for Crusaders, a common issue plagued most battles. Randomness. Not the kind that comes from dice rolls or the like. It was that certain characters require or at least greatly benefit from certain types of cards making their way into a game. Phrases like:

“I never drew a potion all game.”

“I never did get a Weapon out to use X’s abilities.”

This sort of thing weakens a players feeling of being in the driver’s seat of their Warrior. I would even go so far that having the “luck of the draw” was becoming too important of a win factor. 

The solution to me was as radical as it was simple. 

“Reduce the randomness to a manageable level and allow for more strategy for players. But don’t break the game.” 
Shortly I’ll post the an image that will show what the changes I propose. 
Stay tuned.

An Excerpt…

An excerpt from a recent chapter of Crusaders:
“There’s no way back through that!” Ganf yells over the steaming gale coming from the fissure now blocking the tunnel to the surface. He watches as the gap grows wider and the heat grows unbearable.
“There has to be other tunnels, other ways out, right?” Ganf asks.
“The others, they used other tunnels, we could find them and get back out that way but what about the trials?”
“Maybe getting out alive is the trial!” Ganf is rapidly looking over the room they have found themselves in. The room is dark aside from the glowing, steaming line blocking the tunnel and the red light of his ring.
“Arn? Where are you?” Ganf loses sight of Arn and the light from his friend’s ring.
Spirit’s mystical senses, his ability to sense the essences of others, fails to locate Aalst. He feels awash in that great, ancient energy that permeates this place.
Cold creeping of fear seizes upon the back of Spirit’s neck.
Spirit yells Aalst’s name. It is swallowed by the darkness of the cavern.
He composes himself and focuses on expanding the light emanating from his hand.
“This shouldn’t be this difficult,” Spirit assesses as sweat soaks his brow.
Spirit closes his eyes tightly and grabs his right wrist with his left hand.
“You always struggled, even as a child. Has manhood made you no more adept than this?”
A familiar voice speaks from somewhere in the chamber.
Spirit does not immediately open his eyes.
The bearer of this voice is long dead.
He senses nothing beyond the tangled mass of energy around him.
“You are to speak when an elder addresses you… Spirit!”
Spirit opens his eyes.
From the dark appears Master Tok.
Just as Spirit remembers him. His gray robe, long beard, ornate sash and close cropped hair.
And his eyes.
As stern and disapproving as the last day he’d ever seen them.
“Have you lost the power of speech as well as your book?” Master Tok speaks through gritted teeth.
Thunderhawk is hoarse from yelling. Feather is nowhere in this endless darkness.
His rage boils.
As he begins to yell her name again he is grabbed by an unseen assailant, bear hugged and lifted into the air.
Thunderhawk overcomes this shock and senses that the man lifting him this way is strong, his size or even larger.
“Where now is your great strength brother? Your Fury.” The man taunts, sounding as if the effort causes him no strain to hold Thunderhawk captive.
Thunderhawk’s eyes flash with white light as he roars with rage. He breaks the hold of his attacker.
“Thunderbear!” Thunderhawk shouts.
“You should’ve taken my life brother. Our father would be avenged and I would not be destroyed under the weight of this madness!” Thunderbear says.
“I didn’t know what you did for certain. How would more death have changed anything?” Thunderhawk shouts.
Thunderbear lifts his great mace above his head.
“I grant you the moment brother! Fight Me! Avenge our father and grant me mercy!” Thunderbear smiles. His eyes glow and crackle with the same flow of lightning that covers his weapon.
The pools of red hot liquid are everywhere. Arn steps carefully to avoid the edges of the steaming fluid in the red light of his ring.
“Ganf could have fallen into one of these pools.” Arn, to his horror realizes.
The heat and the effort of his search draw him down to his knees.
A sudden brilliant yellow and orange flame lights up the cavern. A small geyser of fire is erupting in a nearby pool.
Arn leaps to his feat but remains transfixed on the sight of fire spewing like plume of water from the small lake.
He shields his eyes as the light grows unbearably bright.
The sound of the eruption ceases. Arn looks and recoils in shock as a huge chunk of steel protrudes from the spot the flames had been spewing from.
It rises from the glowing pool around it. As it ascends, it reveals it is a sword of shining metal. The hilt emerges and reveals no hand holds this weapon. It moves of it’s own accord.
The guard of this bizarre weapon bears a face. It appears frozen, cast in a determined gaze.
The weapon begins to float through the air towards Arn.
“Has your sword grown too heavy to draw it champion?” The previously frozen face speaks.
Arn draws his sword.
“Your strength will not save you.”
The sword appears to grow in size and then darts at Arn.