Other sites about my books and games

Welcome to my Blog!
Most of my posts will be to do with the books I write, or the games I design. Feel free to stop by my personal web page, or the game company's web sites.

Philip Blood This is a link to my personal web site.

Citadel of Sorcery This is a link to our MMORPG website.

MMO Magic, Inc. This is a link to the game company where I work.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

It's out, and available everywhere!
The Archimage Wars
Book 2
Sorceress of Atlantis

Following upon the first novel, Wizard of Abal, this second book in the series continues the adventures of Nicholas, the wizard who lost his memories.  The mysterious surrounding Nick are only getting stranger, as he now has to go back to Earth (yes, the Earth you THINK you know, but you don't) and after some crazy mage hunters, Dokkalfar Necromancers and other hell bent on his destruction, creatures, he is off to yet another world, a fantasy planet called Atlantis.

Like Wizard of Abal, not only is there a written novel, there is also a full audio play.  The book is available at all the major ebook sellers (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords,  iTunes, etc., and the Audio Play is available from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

If you don't know about the series, you can start with the novel, Wizard of Abal, for free, just go to Smashwords, here: Wizard of Abal, if you already read that, and need the second book, you can get it here: Sorceress of Atlantis
Audiobook fans!  These are not just your standard audio books, read by one person, they are done by a full cast of characters, making it easier to follow who is talking, and you get women playing, women and men playing men!  There are also some sound effects and ambient background sounds where appropriate, making these full Audio Plays.  You can find the Audio plays here: Wizard of Abal, Audio Play  or  Sorceress of Atlantis Audio Play.

Come join Nick, a different kind of hero, a guy with no patience, little self-control, and a mouth which gets him in SO MUCH trouble, on a crazy adventure across multiple fantasy worlds as he tries to find out WHY the evilest bastard on ten planets is after him, and he can't remember why.  He and his sorceress girlfriend, whom he also doesn't recall, a wizard tourist lush, an honor-bound, knife-wielding mage and a bloodthirsty mind warped killer, join forces on this crazy adventure.  It's going to be a doozy!

I'm hard at work on the next book in the series, which is scheduled for release November 1st!  The novel is finished, but we're working on the Audio Play version.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wizard of Abal now available... FREE!

I just published the first novel in my new series, The Archimage Wars, on May 1st, 2016.  It is ABSOLUTELY free to read if you download it from Smashwords.  Here is a link:


This is for the ebook, though there will be an Audio Play of the book released in about a week, or so, on Audible.

This is a big series, with ten books planned, but you can test out the first novel right now... for free.

I hope you enjoy the first novel in this new series.  Please sign up for my novel mailing list for new on future releases of the series!  You can also post questions about the novels there as well.   You may do that here:


Hope to hear from you!

Philip Blood

Variable Success in MMORPGs

One of our Patrons posted a question to me that he’d read somewhere, and I decided it was worth writing a short blog post about this subject.  The question was, “Should a player’s skills or a character skills be more important in an MMORPG”

The obvious answer is player skills, but let’s talk about that a bit more in depth.

First of all, what kind of player skills are we talking about?  The ability to manipulate a mouse or controller, mash buttons at great speed or just use your reaction speed is one kind of player skill, but this is not the kind that I would want to use in an MMORPG to differentiate players!
Instead, what we want to do in Citadel of Sorcery is make it so that the analysis, choices, decisions, plans, and mental reactions make the most difference in the game.  And to have those be new and different for each situation.

OK, but how do you do that without making it so that players who want things pretty simple can still play and enjoy the game?  That really is the trick, we want to reward ‘thinking’ and yet allow players who don’t want to think to still enjoy the experience.

Our answer to that is ‘variable success’.  The more you think, the better your possible outcome, but there are levels of success, so that IF you want to stand toe-to-toe, and not use the terrain to your advantage, or figure out how to make the best combination use of your character skills for the specific situation, or how to work together with your companions… you can still win the battle.  However, there are higher levels of success that can be achieved by thinking!

Why not achieve more, if you have the will and desire?

All of the quests in CoS are designed this way (as are even simple encounters).  There is always more than one way to succeed, in fact, there are many and each one comes with a level of success.  Your job is to achieve the highest level you can manage using your wits and skills to best advantage.  Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t die, it just means if you are successful, there are many levels of possible outcomes, and these are differentiated by the player skills FAR more than the character skills.
But let’s talk about Character Skills some as well.  In the design of CoS, we have several goals when it comes to character skills.  The first one is that NO player can be so powerful they cannot work with other players of ANY skill level.  The second is that players can advance their character at a steady rate, continuously.  To balance these two seemingly opposing goals we have created systems that allow players to continually improve their character, but in such a way that they are not getting too far ahead of everyone else.  This way they are driven to improve their character, but it puts more weight on the player skills in every situation.

This isn’t the time or place to go into the details of how all this works, I’ll just tell you that every system of character advancement is taken into account, so that they all continuously improve, and yet do not create super-characters that are so much better than anything else that the character makes the difference. 

In fact, a high-level character coming down to an entry-level area of CoS could easily do worse than a brand new character… this is assuming the brand new character is being played by a very good player while the high-level character is controlled by someone who isn’t thinking about much!  Of course, if you ARE just as wise as the new player, your high-level character will still have a slight advantage, but even then it is only slight!

We designed the game this way so that the player is more important to the situation than the character stats.

So, maybe an example might help?  Let’s say a high-level character comes down to an entry level situation and they get into a battle with some maggotmen.  This squad of maggotmen have a wizard and some archers, as well as warriors.

The high-level character is controlled by a player without much care for anything but going toe-to-toe and mashing his attack button of one skill.  So he stands there doing that.  Meanwhile, he is surrounded by six warriors beating on him at once, while enemy archers and the wizard are bombarding him from the rear.

Meanwhile, our newbie character, fresh out of training, chooses a position behind some stones, and between two large trees.  He talks to his other companions who take up a concealed position to use ranged weapons to keep any enemies from attacking him from behind.  Now, due to the narrow opening between the trees, only one enemy warrior can get to him at a time, and the rocks are blocking the enemy archers from shooting him.  Meanwhile, he also uses a hold spell to stop the first warrior from reaching him and then fires a ranged attack at the wizard, who has to retreat for cover to avoid damage.  With him out of the way, he releases the hold spell and concentrates on killing the first warrior.  Because he can concentrate on this one opponent, he kills him quickly. 

Once he is dead, he can take on the next.  When he fights the last warrior, instead of killing him, he purposefully disables him instead, knocking him unconscious.   When the warriors are vanquished, he and his companions jump up on some rocks and take out their bows and starts trading arrows with the enemy archers.   But the enemy archers are down the slope and they are up on a high rock, so the enemy arrows are slower and theirs are faster, due to gravity.  Our heroes are doing more damage than the arrows of their enemies.  When all the archers are down, and the wizard runs off.  The newbie goes down and ties up the unconscious warrior, when he wakes he asks him some questions and makes a bargain, letting him go in exchange for information on where a vast treasure is stored.
In the end, this new player and his buddies take out more of the enemy, faster while taking less damage and learn where a treasure is kept.  The high-level character still manages to kill some opponents and survive, but he only killed two, and he is wounded during the battle.   The battle is won, but the newbie did much better, gained more experience and is in better shape, all because he thought about the terrain, his opponents, worked out a plan with his companions and used his weapons and abilities to best advantage.

His level of success is higher, even though he is a lower level character.

The idea is simple, give the players enough options so that it is their thinking that makes the biggest difference in their level of success.

Friday, April 1, 2016

New Fantasy Novel Series: The Archimage Wars!

Hey everyone!

I’ve been hard at work on my new urban fantasy novel series, The Archimage Wars.  This is a ten book series, the largest I have written to date, with my Cathexis series being next at 4 novels, and my NexLord series 3.  Because I knew this new series was going to be even larger, I decided to get well into the story before I started publishing any of the novels.  This way, if I decided to change something about how the magic system, etc. worked, I could still make changes to the earlier books. 

Well, I’ve completed the first three novels and am well into the forth, so at this point I’m pretty confident that I have the worlds, their history, and the magic system, etc. all set.  So, I’m finally getting ready to publish Book 1 of the series, Wizard of Abal.

However, there is more!  I’ve also been producing my first audio play, book 1 of The Archimage Wars series!   I chose to do this as an audio play, rather than an audio book, even though that is a LOT more work.  To accomplish this, I used voice actors to play all the lead roles of the story, and I also layered in some sound effects where appropriate.

Both the written version and audio play are currently going through final editing, and Wizard of Abal should be available to read or listen to, in May, 2016. 

Keep an eye out at my website, www.philipblood.com, for news on the release, as well as links to where they can be purchased.

Oh, and I’d love you to contact me through there and join my mailing list.  Just use the contact system at the website and ask to be added to my mailing list.  I’ll occasionally (not too often) email you a newsletter, with some insights on previous books, news on new ones, and even some give aways!  (Free stuff is always good!).   Anyone who signs up for the newsletter soon will get a free copy of book 1, Wizard of Abal!

Also, if you email me with questions from www.philipblood.com, I may also include your question and the answer in that monthly(ish) newsletter!

Anyway, The Archimage Wars series is coming, I hope you enjoy book one, The Wizard of Abal!

Philip Blood

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Citadel of Sorcery, Sand Box or Theme Park?

Recently some folks who follow the making of Citadel of Sorcery, our MMORPG game in development, asked the question, is CoS more of a Theme park MMO or Sand Box MMO?  That is an interesting question.  So I thought I would go over that in this blog.

My first answer to them was, if I was only allowed to pick from those two choices, I would have to say we are closer to a Theme Park game.  However, that’s not an accurate description of Citadel of Sorcery, our game really doesn’t fit into either category; and why should it?  Who said there can only be two types of MMO games?  Just because most fit into these categories does not mean that there can’t be something new.

We’re all about new.

So in attempting to categorize CoS,  I thought I would first take a look at the generally accepted definitions of Theme Park and Sand Box MMO games, and see how we fit.

Let’s start with a Sand Box game.

Techopedia describes a Sand Box game as:
"A sandbox is a style of game in which minimal character limitations are placed on the gamer, allowing the gamer to roam and change a virtual world at will. In contrast to a progression-style game, a sandbox game emphasizes roaming and allows a gamer to select tasks. Instead of featuring segmented areas or numbered levels, a sandbox game usually occurs in a “world” to which the gamer has full access from start to finish." 

By this definition, CoS has a lot of Sand Box qualities.  We have minimal character limitations (there are no character classes, you make your character into what you wish by what you learn, and there are 2000+ Abilities to learn which may all be improved through practice and study).  You may roam the vast Earth planet sized worlds, and select stories and adventures that you want to do, it is not a linear progression game.  However, that being said, there is a progression of Tiers, which means you do not have access to everything at the start.

However, there are other definitions of a Sand Box game, like from wiseGEEK, which states:
“The major element that sets a sandbox MMO apart from other types, however, is the level of freedom and control that players are given; they are allowed to make the game into what they want it to be. In these types of MMOs, characters often have a great deal of freedom to advance in various ways and players are left to find their own way in the world."

There are varying degrees of freedom that can be allowed in a sandbox MMO, and some proponents of this sub-genre prefer it to be absolute. This would require that players are able to make characters and interact with the world in any way they see fit. The creation of new content and environments within the game and character advancement along undefined routes would all be welcome aspects for any sandbox MMO.“

By this definition, Citadel of Sorcery is even further away from a Sand Box game.  Players do not create new content or environments, though we do have character advancement along undefined routes (see above).  Their actions do change the way the story will unfold, but there are stories through which they will travel.

So, as we can see, CoS isn’t really a Sand Box game, though it shares some elements of one.

Now let’s take a look at a Theme park MMO, and how CoS fits.

Lorehound defined a Theme Park game like this:
“The “Theme park” MMO’s focus on creating an exciting thrill ride for players that will take them to see all the exciting sights of the game world and ensure that they are constantly provided with assignments to complete, so they are never bored or confused as to what they should be doing next.  It really is very much like a real life theme park, where the planners have thought about the path through the park that visitors are going to take and ensured that they are constantly presented with cool rides for them to try out.”

By this definition, CoS has some similarities, there certainly are exciting sights and assignments to complete, players need never be bored or confused as to what they should (or ‘could’ in our case) be doing.  We do this by having epic quests (not simple grocery lists ‘fetch me this’ ‘quests’), which are story driven to a grand climax in every case.  The game keeps the players current options available for them to see, though they need not follow these suggestions at all.

But is the world of CoS built like a theme park, not really.  There is no set path through the world, and we do not put players on a path that every player follows through the game.  In fact, it is a very open ended world, where the players may wander around each massive Tier of the game, and choose what they want to do, and in no particular order (with exception of Tier advancement).  Even more importantly, the world does not remain the same, as time moves forward the world is constantly changing.  Today really is different than tomorrow in Cos, it is not a ‘Groundhogs Day’ kind of world.

Giantbomb notes this about Theme Park MMO games:
“The term “themepark” brings to mind the idea of a setting with attractions to ride over and over. But no matter how many times you ride the attractions, the details just never change. If you wait several years and go back, they are right there, waiting for you...just as you left them. While this could be fun the first few times, it gets boring quick and you could find yourself looking at other themeparks for new and more exciting rides.”

CoS gets away from the ‘ride’ concept completely by changing each quest into something personal for that player.   The player’s past is figured into how starts and unfolds, who is in it, and what their motivations are.  As the player advances through the story how it unfolds and changes is based on game and player choices.

Not only that, but you cannot really repeat a story in CoS.  Even if you by chance see something similar on a different Reflected World, it will not be a repeat of the same events, locations, etc.  Stories are in constant change.  In most definitions, a Theme Park ‘ride’ never changes, and is the same for each player that goes through the attraction.  Clearly we are not a Theme Park by this definition since that is never true of our quests.

So if CoS is not a Sand Box or Theme Park game, what is it?  We prefer to call CoS a “Living World” MMORPG.  What is stressed in this type of game is an immersive and ‘realistic’ world, where life continues to more forward as time passes, it has nearly endless content, none of which repeats, all created in a full planet size world for virtually endless exploration and adventure.  Players make their characters into whatever they want, with their own personal story.  Or in short terms, they adventure in an open and Living World.

The concept of this is not really new, table top games like D&D or Gurps had the idea way back in the Seventies.  It has just not been translated well into modern MMORPG computer games.  Theme parks took the place of Living Worlds, and lately Sand Box games have become popular as players get tired of repeating the same content in Theme Parks.

But if you want to play something new and different, then once Citadel of Sorcery is completed, we invite you to play in a Living World.  Here you will have your own story, which will unfold differently, and on the path that you choose, unlike a Theme Park, and unlike a Sand Box, you will be in a world rich with history and backstory (one that matters) a story that you will help to continue as you forge your personal story in that living, changing world.  Some of your choices can affect the future of the world, and no one will walk the same path as you do through the game.  We have removed all the grinds and time sinks that we can, and replaced them with changing content and adventure.  There are no character classes, advancement caps, etc.  There is also no End Game, where player repeat the same game play over and over.  Your story continues to evolve in the Living World.

We believe that once players experience a Living World MMORPG they will never want to leave.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dragon Slayers, Incorporated Novel Published!

Dragon Slayers, Incorporated is my ninth published novel (tenth book), however in many ways it is the oldest novel that I have published.  I came up with the idea for the story over 30 years ago, and even wrote some of the first few chapters back then (though I have heavily re-written them now).

Let me start with where the story came from.  I used to do a lot of GMing for Dungeons and Dragons back in my wild youth.  In fact, I had one group that got together every week for five years, playing through one epic story.  Along the way they named their group, Dragon Slayers, Incorporated (and yes, T-Shirts were made, I still have mine).

Now, role-playing table top games are meant to have the players, well, role-play.  This means that they should act like they are actually people existing in the time and world on which the game takes place, without knowledge of modern technology or pop-culture.  My DSI team really didn't do a lot of role-playing, they were more like a group of teenagers from our time tossed into a fantasy world.  Of course, table top gaming is meant to be whatever you want it to be, so it isn't like they were ‘breaking the rules’ or anything, and they accomplished the most important element of that gaming, they had fun.

In fact, our games were more about comedy than story most of the time.  I remember one time when I asked Colin Morgan what his character had on him, after he pulled out a 50’ foot rope, tied it to a ten foot pole, used a hammer and spikes to attach it to a wall, and a pulley to slide down the rope.  I checked his character sheet and found he had something like fifteen 50’ ropes, six suits of armor, twenty 10’ poles, and much MUCH more.  I made him draw a picture of himself, where he had to put everything he was carrying in the image.  There was this little person, and a giant sack the size of a greyhound bus.  Santa Claus would have been envious!

But there were many other funny moments, like when one of our team learned how to move his body through solid stone, then he ran into a giant stone golem.  So, instead of fighting him, as I had planned, he went inside the stone of the golem’s body, moved up to the head, and stuck his arm and weapon out, and preceded to smack the golem in the head, from inside its head.  This is not standard fantasy battle stuff, but it was funny.

So, I got the idea to write a story about a company from our time, called Dragon Slayers, Incorporated.  The name meant that even though dragons are mythical, if you pay them enough, they will slay your dragon.  In other words, a company that claims they would take on the impossible for the right fee.

This company is then approached by an old man who wants them to do something clearly impossible, and meets the price they placed.  The send a team, expecting this guy is a nut case, and end up being transported, in their Chevy Van, with all their modern equipment, to the fantasy world of Zot.

This novel is about what a modern group of problem solvers does, when stranded in a wacky and crazy fantasy world.  And, just like my group of players, this is a comedic look at the outcome, not anything too serious.  The story also pokes fun at many fantasy clich├ęs, even things I have used in my own epic fantasy series, as well as doing parodies of things from Lord of the Rings, Conan and many other fantasy works.
It is all meant to be in fun.

Finally, because the idea came from a group of friends of mine, I decided to base ALL the major characters (and many of the minor) on those friends and family.  They are called by their name, and may (or may not) have some real elements about those people.  However, as I warned all of them, these are characters, and they aren't really those people.  I took as many liberties with them as I pleased, after all, this is a comedy!

So that is Dragon Slayers, Incorporated, my latest novel, and one that has been a long time coming!  If you are in the mood for a quick, light read, in a story that doesn't take itself at all seriously, then come join the crack squad from Dragon Slayers, Incorporated on their first adventure on a fantasy world.  And just remember, no matter what, Dragon Slayers, Incorporated always delivers!

Monday, February 24, 2014

My new novel is published: zONE: The End and the Beginning

Well, I've got my writer hat back on.  I like to keep my hand in writing novels, even if I'm busy making a computer games like the MMORPG, Citadel of Sorcery.  In fact, my new novel, zONE: The End and the Beginning has much to do with the MMO publishing world (in strange ways).  It even mentions Citadel of Sorcery as part of the story line!  So I've tied in my work (creating computer games) with my pleasure (writing novels).

But this post is about zONE.

This is my first out and out Science Fiction Novel.  It takes place around thirty years from now.  First off, think about what has happened to technology in the last thirty some years?  Let's take a quick trip back.  It's 2014, so if we subtract thirty years, we would be 1984, George Orwell's year.  Personal computers were just starting to get into a few homes, and were at the basic level of the Apple IIe, with green screen monitor, there were no cell phones, and no Internet.  Imagine that (or if you're older, think back to that time).

In just thirty short years we went from the Apple IIe to where we are today with the Internet, Cell phones and computers in, well, just about everything.  I think there are toasters with computers more powerful than the original Apple II.

How about politics?  Remember the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia?  In 1984, thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan made the gaff while joking with a live mic where he said, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever.  We begin bombing in five minutes."  Only seven years later, that same Super Power, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) formally ceased to exist on the 26th of December, 1991.

The First World War lasted just over four years, the Second World War lasted just six years.  These were world sweeping wars, hence the name, yet they only lasted a few years.

A lot can happen in thirty years.

And so, in my novel, zONE, subtitled, The End and the Beginning, a LOT has changed in the next thirty years.  The Internet is dead, cell phones are gone, and it was all changed by a new technology called, the Zones.  The Zones are a virtual reality where they can create any environment, story, world, or even universe.  When you go in, you feel like you are in a real place.  Every famous book, movie, time period, historical setting, etc. have been recreated into Zones where you can actually go there and experience it as a living person.  In the Zones you are a Puppeteer, or 'Teer', controlling a Puppet.  What this really means is that you get a new body, of your choosing, and you travel through these worlds as that person.

You can go, do or be anything or anyone you want, and it all seems real.

Not only that, but there have been sweeping changes to the political landscape as well, there is no more United Nations, in fact, there are no nations.  There is just one world government, run by a company called Zcerebral, Inc., the company that created, and owns the secret to running the Zones.

zONE is told in First Person from the mind of the lead character, T.C. Hamilton.  The problem is, he has lost some of his memories, but not all of them.  There are just big gaps.  He is the most wanted man on Earth, and in the Zones, he is a Pirate.  Pirates are like Hackers, but these are the very few who are on the top 50 wanted list.  These are people who have figured out how to create and sail their sculpted spaceship through zSpace and illegally enter any Zone.

As the reader you get to ride along with T.C. on his adventures through an Earth run by the iron fist of a new totalitarian government, who use the bodies of their own citizens as zombie bodies for their operatives to commandeer.  If T.C. is caught before he can discover why he is the most wanted person, then his body will be donated to the Zombies, the zPol police force.

But there is much much more to this onion than just why T.C. is wanted, and he will have to travel through the various story world, like Wonderland, Hyperborea, The Jungle Book, and through other famous people's worlds, like the Harrison Zone, the Roddenberry Zone, the Lucas Zone, the Rowling Zone or the Tolkien Zone in order to find the answers, and solve a great mystery.

I had a lot of fun with this, and got to pay a lot of respect to authors, directors, screen writers, and artists of many kinds in this novel.  This was a challenge in some ways because of copyright laws.   Fortunately, due to the 'Fair Use' I can mention authors or titles of other works, which I do.  I stay away from their stories, characters and other copyrighted information.  This means a certain amount of dancing around, unfortunately, but it is their work and their rights should be protected.  However, zONE pays homage to these works without infringing on their rights.

In the case of stories in the public domain, I had a lot more freedom, like Alice in Wonderland, or The Jungle Book.  I was also able to use some of my own previous novels as worlds, and did so simply because I knew I could without getting sued.  :)

There are many references throughout the book to other famous works, and this is an integral part of the story, as you will find out before the end, or was that the beginning?

As for what kind of Science Fiction, well, that's hard to pin down.  It has some science to it, though I wouldn't call it hard science fiction, and it has some fantasy to it, but I wouldn't all it fantasy.  This is mainly an adventure, with some romance and humor mixed into the science fiction.  As with all my novels, the most important part of it was to be entertaining.  It's a fun look at what might be, and what would happen if there were such things as the Zones.

I invite you to read the book, and remember that, as with all my novels, not everything is as it seems.  Please read zONE: The End and the Beginning.  It is now on Amazon (for Kindles) and at Smashwords.com (in many other formats).  Most importantly, if you enjoy the story you can really help me out by posting a review.  I've found that good reviews go further to spreading a book than anything else on the Internet (or in the Zones).  :)