More about me and this project
Hi, Carmen here.
There have been a lot of questions and some concerns about my company, Rogue Heroes LLC and my relationship with Palladium Books. I’m happy to answer for the sake of clarity.
Why did I as the owner of Rogue Heroes choose the RIFTS® license for my first Kickstarter?
I am a gamer geek. I LOVE games! All kinds of games, but especially role-playing games, miniature games and board games! I have purchased and backed more Kickstarters than I can count off the top of my head, certainly more than me and my wife can find space for.
It turns out I also have a good mind for game design and I love doing it. As I got more involved in writing for RPGs and then creating miniatures games and board games, I found I was even better at designing those types of games. I began to design my own miniature games for fun, including a Robotech game that I ran at the 2012 Palladium Open House using the old Matchbox toys as the figures. Everyone had a blast. I have also been working on a number of other ideas for miniature games of my own. One has been optioned by Upper Deck and another one I’m keeping for myself. My meeting with Upper Deck led to me doing freelance work them. They have been keeping me very busy, but a non-disclosure agreement prevents me from talking about the games I’ve worked on. Sorry. I would love to tell you all about them, but I can’t at this time.
For me Rifts presents a HUGE opportunity for Rogue Heroes as a start-up company. Rifts was a smash hit in the RPG market, and still has an established fan base. Millions of people know about Rifts. That’s why Rogue Heroes is interested in Rifts, and why Disney, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Nokia, and numerous other companies have sought various licensing deals or continue to seek to do work with the Rifts IP. There are a ton of cool things that I simply enjoy in Rifts that I know will be awesome as a miniatures game. And as a fan, it is a game world I know well and love to run games in. The board game starting in Chi-Town is just the beginning. A friendly intro-point for what I have in mind for the future.
So please understand:
- The Rifts® board game is all my idea. I was the one who came to Kevin about making this game back in 2015. Not the other way around.
- I am launching my own company, Rogue Heroes Publishing with this Kickstarter. Better to start with a well-known intellectual property (IP) that has an established fan base than one that doesn't. At least that is how I feel.
- I licensed the game rights for Rifts® from Palladium, just like any other company would do. Just like Pinnacle did for Savage Rifts. Just like Fantasy Flight Games did with Disney for Star Wars. I paid for the license. I am contracted with the license. I intend to use it.
- I am not Palladium Books. I am Carmen Bellaire, a gamer and fan boy who became a freelance writer and game designer. I now have 15 years of experience working in the gaming industry.
- I've invested my own hard earned money to get this game to the point where it is nearly ready to go into manufacturing. Around $40,000 dollars so far and I have been working on it for about 2 years now. The sculptors for about a year. I’m the guy who chose to make this game and this Kickstarter. It is my time, my vision and my effort, and that of my hardworking team. This is a shared dream with a number of people involved. And now we need your financial support to make it a reality. If you don't want to support it, then I can respect that. Don't support it and respectfully dismiss yourselves. Just please stop harassing the backers who choose to support this game. Everyone is entitled to their choice.
- Palladium Books is not my partner and does not own any part of my company.
- Rogue Heroes Publishing is a Canadian company, but I also have a Michigan-based LLC for the Kickstarter because the Canadian dollar is currently weak compared to the US dollar, and I do not want currency fluctuations to hurt the production of the Rifts Board Game. I live in Windsor. Michigan is across the river. Setting up an LLC in Michigan is the closest and most convenient location for me in the USA. A short trip to the bank. Livonia was just a convenient location for my USA address.
- My goal is to make an awesome, high-quality, miniatures games for Rifts. And more than what you currently see on the Kickstarter page. My hope is that the Kickstarter gets big enough to double the number of miniatures in the core game, so I can make a full miniatures game with 40 figures, more cards, more maps, more tiles and more dice. More of everything. And there are expansion packs too. A lot of expansions. I have always imagined Rifts as a miniatures game. My ultimate dream for the future is to make Rifts into a wargame, but I’m starting small and reasonable with this first game and plan to grow Rogue Heroes’ Rifts game line with expansion sets and additional games with new settings and adversaries.
- I’m doing a Rifts board game because I love the characters and the world. Love Kevin or hate him for whatever reason, it doesn’t change the fact that he created an awesome game world with Rifts. That’s my opinion and I know there are thousands and thousands of you who feel the same way, or I would not have wasted my time making this game. This is the game I want to see as a fan of Rifts and as a miniatures gamer.
What is your relationship with Palladium Books?
My relationship with Palladium Books is pretty simple and no secret. I have been playing numerous RPGs (including many produced by Palladium) long before I ever met anyone at Palladium Books. Back around 2002, I had a friend in my Heroes Unlimited campaign who convinced me that I should submit a bunch of the superpowers I had created for my own use in a game. A gamer and mutual friend introduced me to Kevin Siembieda, creator of Rifts and owner of Palladium Books. Long story short, Kevin liked my work so much that when I said I had ideas for a lot more, he had me write them up and turned my work into the Powers Unlimited sourcebook. The first of three books I would write for the Heroes Unlimited RPG series.
I went on to write more and contribute to a number of Palladium products, including creating the Splicers® RPG. As a freelance writer, I work from my home in Windsor, Canada. Over time, Kevin and I became good friends. Most freelancers who work for Palladium often become friends with Kevin. This is not just a "Palladium" thing, such friendships often happen in most businesses, especially when it is a hobby that you both share and love, and your boss creates a friendly atmosphere of cooperation. All my work for Palladium has been freelance, just like the 20+ other writers and artists that have done work for them over the years. I have never been an employee of Palladium Books. I also ran games at the Palladium Open Houses, have gamed a few times with Kevin, though always at conventions, and I’ve even been to a half dozen Christmas parties over the years.
The Kevin I know is not the guy some people would like to paint him as. He’s the guy who gave me my start and helped me to believe in myself. He has been a friend to me in every sense of the word. Kevin, Wayne and the guys at Palladium have been there for me, rooting me on for years, and especially now with this game. I may not agree with every decision that he has made, but what friend ever does? Palladium Books is Kevin's company and I have only worked as a freelancer (providing work for hire) for Palladium Books. I do not make policy or have any say on how Kevin runs his business.
As a businessman, myself, I have a licensing agreement with Palladium Books to use the Rifts intellectual property for the miniatures board game market. Like most companies that have entered into a license agreement, I have to be respectful with the IP. That’s easy because this is one of my favorite games and a dream opportunity. My representation of the IP has to be reviewed and approved by Palladium. This is nothing new in licensing. With that being said, this is a Rogue Heroes product, being designed, developed and produced by me. Rogue Heroes is the company that is liable for the Rifts board game creation and fulfillment. Not Palladium Books.
Will my Rifts board game make Palladium Books money? Of course it will, just like any license makes the Licensor money. Nobody gives you the right to make a game based on their intellectual property unless you pay them a royalty. If that bothers you, I don’t know what to tell you. I guess you will not support this game. Of course, that is your decision.
I would not have invested my hard earned money nor offered this Kickstarter if I was not confident that me and my team at Rogue Heroes could deliver it.
My Involvement with Robotech RPG Tactics
I got involved with Robotech RPG Tactics (RRT) in 2013, when Kevin asked me to help the Ninja guys develop the game's rules. I was paid a flat fee for that work, like the rest of the freelancers who worked on the game.
I understand why some people are angry about how Palladium has handled RRT and Wave Two, but go complain to them about RRT. Not on my Kickstarter page. I don’t mean to be rude about it, but Palladium is not my company. I have no control over what Palladium Books does, has done or will do with RRT. I’m friends with Kevin and grateful for this opportunity, but Rogue Heroes and Palladium are two completely different companies. Please do not bring the Palladium RRT issues and arguments here, they have no bearing on what I am trying to do. I don’t know everything that has transpired with RRT and Palladium, because I wasn’t around the office much. I had other obligations and I was working toward my career shift into designing miniature games.
Why the 2 year Delivery Date for this Kickstarter:
I listed the delivery date as two years from now because I didn’t want to over promise like other long overdue Kickstarters did (there are plenty of them out there). As a backer of many Kickstarters, I have tried to learn from their mistakes. I thought a two year lead time would be seen as transparent, reasonable and responsible. Better to come in six months or a year early than to be late was my philosophy. Maybe I was too worried about that. I am so far along on the game, that the release is most likely way under 2 years from now. I’m new to this, so I’m trying to be conservative and do right by Rogue Heroes' backers.
My Personal Life and Ordeal:
Early this year, I found myself in a bad place and I tried to commit suicide. My family and I live with that terrible choice every day. I am getting the professional help I need and am feeling more and more like my old self, every day. I’m learning how to better cope with stress, frustration, and matters beyond my control. The encouragement and support that I received from numerous family members, friends, gamers, backers, etc., really means a lot to me. My work on the Rifts® Board Game and preparations for this Kickstarter have been very therapeutic and is actually helping keep me inspired, motivated, grounded and in good spirits. Seeing the game and the miniatures come to life is part of my dream and the reason why I chose Rifts in the first place. So please respect that and leave my personal life and ordeal out of the Kickstarter discussions going forward. You may not agree with me or my choices, and some of you may not like who I have licensed my game from, but it’s my choice. And it is a choice that the Rogue Heroes backers want to see fulfilled. Please be respectful to them and to my company, Rogue Heroes Publishing.
I hope this answers a lot of questions. I will continue to post and be as transparent as possible. Thank you for your support and please spread the word about this Kickstarter.