Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018: Travel Hopefully

GIF & Caption (the one in the picture, smartass) by Swear Trek
Some stuff comes to mind. Two of my cats died this year. Apart from the obvious unpleasantness, I spent a ton of money trying to save them. I also spent a ton of money on an assortment of car repairs. I didn't actually have two tons of money, or even one, so the great taste goes on and on.

I continue to stumble forward in my work on The Nameless Way. I'm still not as productive as I should be, at least not consistently, but apparently it's the best I can do for now. I'll keep trying to do better, of course. Apart wanting to see this one complete, I have other things I need to write afterwards. Oh, also, I got rid of that Wordpress site I had for it because I don't know why I made that in the first place. Anyway, the book is gonna be awesome if I can finish it before I get hit by a super-tornado or something.

Some things got a little out of control in 2018. I'm leaving this vague because I'd like you to imagine a bunch of awesome "crazy artist" stuff and pretend that's what I did. The reality was boring. I think I've got stuff patched together well enough, now. It's not like I had a magical epiphany and solved everything, but if you want to tack that onto the end of the crazy artist breakdown in our little narrative, feel free.

Back in 2017, Julian May died. While this is, of course, sad, the event indirectly did something good for me. I read her Saga of Pliocene Exile back in the 80s. She was a huge influence on me. When I first got serious about being a writer, Julian May was the writer I wanted to be.

The funny thing is, I had forgotten that. After she died, I decided that I needed to reconnect with my literary roots, so I re-read the Pliocene books and now I'm re-reading the Intervention ones. I'm especially looking forward to getting to the Milieu series because, criminally, I never got around to reading those. And it's all been kaleidoscopic.

I've got a new wallpaper/color scheme thingie for this blog. Relatively new, anyway. I'm still trying it on, but it'll probably be here for a bit.

Also this year, I dropped out as a partner of Peryton Publishing. I had been thinking about it for a while. There's not any personal drama behind it or anything like that. I lost interest in game design a while back. Since I realized this and stopped, I've become more and more certain that it isn't just a mood. I don't miss it at all. It goes back to that "don't find your bliss; find what you're willing to suffer for" meme. Some of the stuff associated with game design can be fun, but I'm not willing to suffer for it. Now that I'm done suffering for it, I don't even want to touch the fun parts. I just don't care enough about games to do anything special with them. That being the case, there didn't seem to be much point in keeping my name on a game design company. I still help out with it, though, and the stuff I did is still there. Also, of course, I still play games.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 03, 2018

Three Mirages

Like most people who GM a lot of RPGs, I sit around thinking about campaigns I might run sometimes. Right now I've got an Icons campaign going that I love (although I still haven't written up the most recent session and the holidays have, as always, slowed it down), so the thing I pine for is D&D. Despite the picture, it would be 5th edition. I just really like that old Erol Otus cover. Anyway, these are the main ideas that keep surfacing.

World of Greyhawk
I had this one going for a while, and had to drop it because I was gaming all the time and had to cut a few things. It started off with a weird vegepygmy adventure which led to Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and then off into the Hool Marshes where they stumbled into the Feywild and then Castle Amber. I could easily pick this up again. While the time-sink was unfortunate, I was having a blast. This is probably the one I'd be mostly likely to do, because, even if I started a spinoff instead of resuming with the same characters, a lot of the set-up is already done.

Xarkis or Sarkis or Something
I think it might also be fun to run something in the world of The Nameless Way. I wouldn't try to follow the plot of the novel, because that feels a little too railroady. There are plenty of places to explore that I don't even go in this book, and of course the ones the book does visit still have other adventures to offer.

Middle Earth
Ever since Adventures in Middle Earth was announced, I've been turning the thought of a campaign over and over in my head. I've been thinking that, deviating from the official line, I'd run an alternate history where Isildur destroyed the Ring instead of keeping it, but there's still other stuff going on which I'm not going to get into right now. Some of that stuff helps explain why the present-day world (right after the events in The Hobbit) isn't really all that different. A drawback of this one is that I'd have to get the players to acquire and understand their own copies of the Player's Guide. The classes and the way characters are created deviate so much from standard D&D that, otherwise, I would go crazy, constantly trying to explain how everything works.

But of course I probably won't be doing any of these any time soon. Maybe after I catch up on some other stuff. I dunno.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Carnage 21

Okay, so, there were some bad spots and, to top it all off, I think I came home with con crud. All I want to say about the bad spots is that they had nothing to do with Carnage or the resort. Most of it is on me.
On the good news side, I got to hang out with friends I don't see often and made one or two new ones. I even reconnected with a friend I hadn't talked much to in a few years. I got to spend a long weekend on the mountain and stay in a nice room.
I missed my role-playing game session, but the other game I was running was Dungeon! and it was awesome. I had forgotten how much fun that game could be. I'll definitely be doing that again.
Oh, and there was lots of fog. Fog is cool.
And I got some writing done on the way home. I don't have any pictures for that.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

The Dreams in the Red Roof

Here's a dream I had Wednesday night when we stopped in Syracuse on the way to Carnage.

We were in kind of a Suicide Squad thing, at least in that nobody trusted us. We hadn't been in jail or anything, just sort of a variation on jury duty selection. There was even a reference to the fact that I had already served and something else about me having missed several phone calls about this and hearing about it on TV or something like that. There were several other people on the team but I don't remember anything significant about most of them.

Jerry was appointed the leader. I don't remember whether this came down from above or was a team vote. Either way, I missed the process because I joined up late. There was also this big monster kind of dude. His name was Groot, but he wasn't anything like the movie/comics Groot. He looked a little like the lanky, shambling trolls in first edition AD&D, but with short tendrils coming out of his temples like Man-Thing. He had kind of a sullen, cranky demeanor and spoke a little like the 80's Marvel Hulk.

There was a lot of sitting around at first, and most of the team avoided Groot. For some reason I had the idea that I was going to want to go all supervillain at some point, so I went out of my way to befriend Groot because he'd be pretty useful for that. The rest of us all had some kind of gimmicky gadget, but no real super-powers. I had this retractable metal whip thing that I could do an assortment of stunts with. This was fairly typical. Nobody had any advantage as formidable as being a giant green monster. So I started hanging out with Groot, making sure he didn't get chased away at mealtime and stuff (Groot was big and scary, but usually not all that aggressive).

I think the reason I was planning to go rogue was that it was kind of a dystopian Hunger Games world. The leader was called President, but was really a dictator who had seized power in a military coup. He had a name in the dream but I can't remember it. Definitely a dude, though. I remember going on patrol in the city and talking about options with Jerry and Tom. The general consensus was that the only way to really change things was to take out the President, but we didn't know how to accomplish this because he was well-defended and had easily anticipated and crushed similar attempts before.

Then we got the news that Groot had gotten into the narcotics cabinet and was now on a rampage. Why was there a narcotics cabinet in our headquarters? I don't know. So I decided that I could use this to further my plan by talking Groot down and making sure he was treated well or maybe helping him escape if things went wrong. Why did I think I could talk down a drug-crazed troll? No idea. I kinda liked Groot, though, so maybe I really was being a little heroic.

Anyway, Groot was up on a bridge decorated kind of like the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge in Cleveland and we arrived below. I used that whip thing to pull myself up, only to find that Superman (yeah, doesn't seem to fit the setting, does it?) had arrived on the scene and was dealing with Groot. I was trying to figure out how best to handle this when I woke up.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Cat Day

For cat day, here's my buddy, Ninja. He had a rough life before we got him, and he didn't last all that long after, but I'm glad we were able to give him enough love and comfort to take regal poses like this. And of course he paid us back a hundredfold for the love we gave him. He had a seductive, drowsy-eyed smile that I used to call his Idris Elba look.

And here's his brother from another mother, Tio, who did NOT have a rough life, but has also left us. He used to run in whenever I took a bath, demanding wet-handed skritches until he was all spiky-haired, after which he'd just blissfully chill out by the warm tub.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

No Fury Like Mister Fantastic Scorned

I was poking at a friend for pairing Susan Storm with Namor, because Namor is a dick. Plus, Reed is awesome. How often do you get a mad scientist of his caliber as a hero? During the conversation, he told me I should read What If #21, What If Invisible Girl Married the Sub-Mariner. I'm a fan of 70s & 80s comics anyway, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

At first, I didn't like it, because the portrayal of Reed was so negative, and I like Reed. In retrospect, it wouldn't be the only time he's been in a mood like this, but I guess what bugged me was seeing it contrasted with Namor, who is always like that, and was being portrayed as the adult in the room.

As I continued to read, though, I noticed something that the author was doing, and I'm pretty sure it was intentional. Reed is so bitchy, here. He yells at people for nothing, he throws tantrums, and he sulks. Johnny follows his lead. Ben is the only one with any sense.
Namor, on the other hand, while portrayed as mostly respectful and attentive to Sue, is all smug and nest-buildy, but simultaneously super-insecure, pouting over the least hint that she might care about anyone other than him in any way. 
Reed even goes so far as doctoring video footage to try and start a war with Atlantis, because obviously that's a great plan which could never backfire. Namor is mostly cool about stuff, but you have to remember, that's because he got what he wanted. Namor's type are often magnanimous when they feel like they're on top. 

And the way they're acting feels really familiar, doesn't it? Who else acts like that? Oh yeah, women! Well, women in stories written by men, anyway. Especially the older ones. Keep this in mind as Reed totally goes off his rocker. His plan to engineer a war foiled by Ben, he concocts an even more insane plan to turn all the people of Atlantis into air-breathers, while they're still underwater, in order to deprive Namor of his kingdom. Hell hath no fury, amirite?
Johnny seems to think they'll have time to make it to land, but I don't think Reed cares, because he's crazy jealous. You might even say he's hysterical. Of course, he snaps out of it. I guess, even in What If, an iconic hero like Reed being a mass murderer is a little too dark. Still, it takes some special persuasion from Sue, who, despite being in a lot of pain, manages to smack some sense into him.
So Reed switches off his gadget and (despite the death of at least one Atlantean soldier) everybody looks at the baby and starts making nice. Well, except for Johnny; he's still pissed off. In the end, even the Watcher is like, "I dunno. Reed might pull this shit again. Laterz!" 

And yeah, knowing Bill Mantlo, I really do think this role reversal thing was a deliberate move, engineered to make a point. And it totally kicks ass.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Stuff and More Stuff

I guess I should blog again, so, I guess maybe soon.

Writing's going well, although I'm a little distracted by the Blackridge project which has been so persistently worming through my brain that I've had to do a little work on it. I've also worked on The Nameless Way, too, though, so there's that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Gen Con 2018

The main thing about Gen Con this year is that I took it easy. I only ran two games. Both of them were in the afternoon so I could sleep in every day. I didn't try to promote anything or even hand out business cards. I just gamed, shopped, and hung out with people I like hanging out with. I didn't find all of them, but it's always like that. I even managed to keep up my meditation schedule.

Here's what I ran:

Archer: Phrasing (Thursday)
Vortex System
Nobody's sure what year it is, but the Cold War is still a thing and Mallory Archer is in charge of a spy agency.

Just Another Layover (Friday)
Star Frontiers
Diverting to a newly-charted system to answer a distress call, you find an outpost crew claiming it was a computer error, saying everything is fine. Of course, everything is not fine.

I was signed up for an interesting-looking seminar by Shanna Germain about staying creative in stressful times but the "Will Call" booth was unapproachable through most of the convention, so I never picked up my ticket. I've never been more glad that our GM badges come from a different booth. See that line, going off around the corner into the trees? That's nowhere near the beginning. It also runs all the way to the booths close to the main entrance.
So anyway, Tom and I slogged through the Indianapolis rush hour on Wednesday and arrived at the Marriott a little after 5:30. Check-in was quick, but it took a while to get rid of the car. They had a newly remodeled lobby. I was disappointed at first, because I always loved the old one, but this one was really nice and a lot of fun to hang out in, so it grew on me fast.
Curtis was already there, so he, Tom, and I had a drink at one of the two lobby bars. Someone gave me a sparkly d20 pin. Then we headed over to High Velocity in the JW for Old Home Night. We had a long table there. I think it's the only time I saw Jerry but we did get to chat some about D&D so okay. After dinner a lot of us went to the upstairs lobby and made a nest there. The idea was to discuss plans for Brett's giant superhero LARP, but several of us were just there to socialize.

I think they got stuff worked out. I don't know. We were out pretty late. I had a good time anyway.

Thursday I was hung over, but I still made it to my Archer game. Six of the eight people who signed up were there, so Curtis jumped in to play Lana. It went well, which means there were traffic-related deaths, plane crashes, mad scientists (more than one!), infighting, and alcohol.

I still wasn't feeling well, so after a brief visit to the exhibit hall, I went back to the room to chill.

Later on I met Tom and Caed at The Ram, and then Curtis, Dylan, and Jordan showed up too. I walked with Caed & Curt to get ice cream at Steak & Shake, but didn't have any myself.

Yeah, that's pretty much it for Thursday.

Friday, like every other day on the trip, started with me lounging around the hotel. Eventually I wandered off to run Star Frontiers. I had a good group, including at least one who was trying it out for the first time. One guy did show up an hour late because he was still on Central time, but it wasn't hard to work him in. They did well with the mystery and the alien communication stuff.

After the game, I stuck around the table for a while listening to Tom and Curtis run their games. He was doing a Crawlspace World War I horror thing, and Curtis was doing an Icons game about sharks. There was a third game going on, but I never really figured out what the deal was. In my head, I started labeling it, "Garden Party, the RPG" because it seemed like all they were doing was role-playing ordinary people hanging around a suburban neighborhood. The GM had a great voice, though and, whatever the game was, the players were way into it.
I wandered off for some more shopping, then hiked out to meet Tom, Caed, and Dylan at Scotty's. It was a good time, but the waitress was busy or something. They were giving away free dice, though, bringing my freebie total to three. Gotta love the free dice.

Later on, we hooked up with Bill and Darrenn at the one of the Marriott bars (Conner's) and closed it down, even going back to the room for a while. I don't remember that night very well, except that it involved a lot of whiskey sours and then just whiskey. It's not easy keeping up with Bill.

I was hung over again on Saturday, but it didn't last as long as the one from Wednesday night. Tom came by and we grabbed some bratwursts at one of those lobby concession things. I was done with all my obligations, so I just wandered around after that.

Eventually, Tom texted me about meeting for dinner at the Omni, so he could go from there to Rise of the Overlord, Brett's superhero LARP. He also wanted me to bring him some game stuff that he had left in the room. That restaurant was super-expensive, so I just had a salad, but I was introduced to a piece of alcoholic poetry called the Sazerac. It had whiskey, bitters, and absinthe and it was awesome. John showed up too and we opened the little bottle of wine Tom had bought to share. 

While Tom started constructing his cardboard villain costume for the LARP, Curtis got in touch with me and I talked him into coming over to watch the game, despite the fact that he was actually hoping to go eat.

Brett neatly divided up the room, set out some props, and got started. It wasn't as much fun to watch as I had hoped. I mean, the players seemed to be enjoying it, but nobody came in costume and it was impossible to follow all the different groups doing their stuff.

Curtis and I decided to go eat and maybe come back later. We stopped at the Old Spaghetti Warehouse, but there was a long wait and people were just packed in all around. Waffling on where else to go, we eventually found our way to Rock Bottom.

Curtis went back to the room to pack. I was going to go back to the LARP after dinner, but I had the beginnings of a blister on my foot and decided to just stay in. I had new stuff to read, anyway. Around four in the morning, Curtis woke up to catch his flight home. Tom and I wished him a groggy farewell and went back to sleep.

Tom had a game Sunday, so I wandered around some more. I thought I had done all the purchasing I was going to do, but then I found those Dice Saber things on sale. They had green, red, and blue, so I grabbed a blue one. I brought it over to Tom's game to show him, then went back to the room.

Later, after a brief return to the exhibit hall because Tom wanted to pick some stuff up for a Cleveland friend, we met up with Jordan to have a few drinks and play Imhotep, the board game he had just bought. It was faster paced than I expected. Good game, except that Tom won.  Then we headed over to Acapulco Joe's for our traditional farewell to Gen Con meal. Not much to say about that, I guess. It was good and, you know, margaritas.

And after that it was pretty much just winding down. We've been booking through Monday for the past several years because it makes Sunday so much more fun. It was a great Gen Con, a real vacation. Also a real expensive vacation, but oh well.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Goodbye Tio

The obligatory Gen Con blog is coming soon, but first I just wanted to say goodbye to Tio (Prince Theodoric, Golden Boy, Blondie Bear, Rednose, and other names) who has finally been reunited with his brother from another mother, Ninja. He literally died in my arms yesterday, quietly, after having been sick for a while. The vet never firmly identified the problem, but believed it was cancer. The last thing he did was knead my arm with his paws one more time.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Running from Tiamat

So I had this dream the other night. I was with some people in this old house and we were doing some kind of magic that we weren't supposed to be doing. I don't think my compatriots had real life counterparts. Something went wrong. There was something about Tiamat and a dimensional rift that wouldn't close. The rift was bad, but we were also worried about getting caught by the people who told us not to do this in the first place, so we split up and took off.

Part of the magic thing was that we could fly, so obviously that was gonna happen. Apparently this was around the Devil's Den park in Northwest Arkansas, because I was passing over the hills nearby. I made it to some place in Missouri before they caught up to me. They could fly, too. I was taken to this house that vaguely resembled where I lived as a kid... if you expanded it and twisted it into a maze. There were refugees there too, because apparently the Tiamat thing had become a big deal.

There was some of the usual dream confusion like figuring out where to hang my coat and trying unsuccessfully to get back to a part of the house I had only left a few minutes before. Something about a conflict with one of the people who ran the house. Then a bunch of us decided to play D&D. My alarm went off before the game started, though.

So anyway, I've been kind of itching to pick up my Greyhawk campaign again, but we've got so much going already that it seems like a bad idea. When I visited Arkansas a while back, I also hooked up with several friends nearby and we started a Buffy the Vampire Slayer campaign where I get to play an alternate Slayer. That's a blast. And of course my Icons campaign and Curtis's Icons campaign are still going strong. And Tom does one every once in a while, too.

I'm actually doing pretty well at keeping up with the writing too, but I don't feel like sharing any details. And then there's the conventions.

First, I've gotta get my Carnage events registered. I'm pretty sure one of them will be Star Frontiers. For the other, I've been considering doing a D&D game based on something from one of my books. More likely, I'll just bring Dungeon. Now that I get my gaming fix at home, this business of performing at conventions appeals to me less all the time. Carnage is special though, so I'm not sure. Either way, I have to decide before the end of the month.

The other thing about the end of the month is that Gen Con is right on the tippy-top of next month, super-early this year. And, yeah, unless some kind of catastrophe hits me, I'm going to have fun. It's just that it's a huge freakin' money and time sink happening right when I was starting to build some momentum in both finances and writing. It'll smack the first one right down, especially after what I just spent on cat meds. We'll see about the second.

I don't think I had any kind of point to wrap up here, so, I don't know, go review my books or something. Now that I'm done blogging for a bit, I'm gonna go do some real writing.

Monday, May 21, 2018

This is Not the Title

Ezren's Flowers
Work on The Nameless Way has picked up again after creeping forward for a few months. I also had a great gaming weekend a couple of weeks ago.

I finally figured out how to work in the future party's contribution to "The Beginning of the End" without overshadowing the current one. I had been planning to mostly gloss over it, but instead I'm using it now as a dream sequence everybody got pulled into because the telepath is having fits. And of course, that guy having fits leads into the developments that lead to this freaky time-trip anway, so it's also useful foreshadowing. It has, consequently, become really fun to write again. I'm cramming in writing time all over the place now, above and beyond the schedule I set for myself.

The gaming bit was neat, too. We didn't call it a hoot, but it kind of was. Tom set up a slot to run Spacers at the game store and several friends from out of town joined in. For the after-party, Saharrah volunteered to run an off-the-cuff game of Crawlspace called "Eat Me" in which we made our way through the jungle, starting fires and switching sides, while pursued by magic furry cannibals. The next day, after seeing the other friends off, I ran a session of my Icons campaign for the usual suspects, concluding the long-running backup story of Landshark's possessed dog.

I still need to work out what I'm going to do for Carnage, though.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Wonders of Kauai

A couple of years ago this week, I went to Hawaii, where I saw all kinds of cool stuff. I was just recently reminded that, when I first got there, I only posted pictures of boring stuff because... I don't know. I just thought it would be funny. Beauty like this should not be for only my social network friends to see, though. It belongs to the world. Here you go, world. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Gen Con Events

I ended up adding another event to my slate at the last minute, so here's what I've got:

Title: Archer: Phrasing
Short Description: Nobody's sure what year it is, but the Cold War is still a thing and Mallory Archer is in charge of a spy agency.
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Vortex System
Rules Edition: 1
Minimum Players: 4
Maximum Players: 8
Age Requirement (All ages, Teen, Adult): Adult
Experience Required: No
Material Provided: Yes
Preferred date/time: Thursday 1pm
Event Duration: 4 hours

Title: Just Another Layover
Short Description: Diverting to a newly-charted system to answer a distress call, you find an outpost crew claiming it was a computer error, saying everything is fine. Of course, everything is not fine.
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Star Frontiers
Rules Edition: 1
Minimum Players: 4
Maximum Players: 6
Age Requirement (All ages, Teen, Adult): Teen
Experience Required: No
Material Provided: Yes
Preferred date/time: Friday 1pm
Event Duration: 4 hours

I had been thinking about running D&D games based on parts of the book I'm working on, but I kinda decided that would be more productive after it's published. I suppose I could have used something from Losing Lanterns, but I didn't.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

BASHCon 2018: One More Time With Feeling

Tom & I missed BASHCon last year because we were in the middle of a move, so this was a welcome return to an always-cozy gathering. As I've said before, it's almost like another "hoot" but with better gaming spaces and some extra people buzzing around. We could call this Tol Hoot 9 instead of BASHCon 33. But we probably won't.

Tom left Thursday because he wanted to have a pre-con gathering. I'm told it was small but fun, and they even got in a late-night game of Crawlspace. I wanted to avoid using my precious vacation time, so I waited until Friday after work. At some point while I was driving, Tom texted me a picture of a woman's torso.

I got in and got registered in plenty of time for Jerry's private Stay Alive game, A Little Horror on the Prairie. It turned out that everybody was still getting settled, so there was time to hang out and even look around the commerce nook. I kind of had an urge to buy some dice all weekend, but nothing grabbed me. I was presented with some shiny gold and green earrings that Tom picked up for me, though. I learned that Phoenicia had moved to a larger space upstairs, but it was still around and still delicious, so no biggie.

So anyway, we found a big table in the corner and got into our Wild West horror personalities. Or Wild North, I guess. I don't know word stuff. We staggered around town for a while, doing our various con artist, gambler, or general trouble-maker things, until Jerry realized that a group this big was never going to be gently steered in the time we had. It worked out to be a good balance of free-roaming versus plot advancement, I thought.

It turned out that we had even less time than we thought, as the convention staff started shoving everybody out the door at eleven o'clock this year. Nobody else had plans, so we decided to re-convene Saturday night to finish the adventure.

Tom, Paul, and I went back to our rooms to consolidate vehicles and then off to Applebee's for a late night snack. That's right, Applebee's, not Del Taco, because Del Taco -- sigh -- was gone. Anyway, I was enjoying the conversation and the weekend break from my diet so much that I didn't mind.

We slept in and took our time getting over there on Saturday. Neither of us were signed up to run games. I had planned on signing up to play some stuff, but the only thing that looked interesting was Jerry's Sunday D&D event. There was a six-hour long Marvel Super Heroes session, but... six hours. I did bring my Icons rulebook, in case the opportunity for a spur-of-the-moment adventure came up. It almost did while we were having lunch at Phoenicia with Randy & company, but then he wasn't feeling well and canceled. He said he wasn't feeling well, anyway. The rest of the crew had already left to play other games, so, with only one GM and one player, gaming seemed kind of pointless.

I went shopping and picked up a sparkly garnet ring from this guy who always has cool jewelry at BASHCon, and chatted with Beckett at the Weird Realms booth. Well, I went over there intending to just chat. I figured he'd just have stuff from the store that I'd already seen, so temptation would be minimal. As it happened, he had recently dug up a bunch of old D&D stuff that had just been waiting to be cataloged or whatever. I ended up with a well-preserved copy of The Isle of Dread (the real one, not the ugly remake they did for the Mentzer edition) and a much less well-preserved copy of The Lost City. My old Isle of Dread was really ratty, and I had never owned a print copy of Lost City, so I snagged 'em.

Tom was still talking to the guy who made the wrestling game after all this, so I wandered into the hall and wallowed in my swag. My copy of the Star Frontiers hardback had arrived just before I left Cleveland, so I had that with me as well. I didn't get it at BASHCon, but it kind of feels like BASHCon loot. After a while, I went back to the wrestling guy to find Tom, talked for a while, and wandered off again. Later we wandered around and found Beckett at the auction.

Once everybody was free, we had dinner at Phoenicia with most of the BASHCon contingent. Beckett was working, Paul was elsewhere, and Randy was still under the weather, but it was still a big group.

And that brought us to Little Horror: Part Two. There were actually many more previous parts, but I'm just going with the BASHCon count. Jerry found us a nice conference room to play in, and Paul joined us just in time. There was a dimension-shifting church and a bunch of frog-demons and a sudden betrayal to deal with, but we managed to get back safely. Well, Saharrah did clock her boyfriend's preacher character with a bat, but he lived. We found Denny on the way out and noticed that it had started snowing pretty hard. There had been plans for a party, but the maybe not with all the weather stuff. We did still end up hanging around and drinking a little bit with the other Red Roof denizens, so it wasn't a total write-off.

Sunday morning was the event I named this blog after, Jerry's heavily customized 2nd Edition AD&D game, One More Time With Feeling. I always look forward to this one, and I wasn't disappointed. We didn't do a whole lot because the group was huge, but we did some exploring, some drow-fighting, and some role-playing, and we achieved our objective, so it was cool.

We may have lost Del Taco, but we still had our Sunday lunchplace of choice, El Vaquero. No Beckett, but we had a big enough group to squash the other patrons in the area deep into their booths with our boisterous nerd-revelry. And the food was really good. After everybody else left, Tom & I talked to Paul a bit more and drove home.

And I really did not want to go back to work on Monday.

Friday, February 09, 2018


"They have their goals -- touching or comical or mad. But I’ll be content to drift through the Exile world in my scarlet balloon, looking down on all the people and the animals, listening to wind and the cry of birds, smelling pollen, resin from the forest, smoke from wildfire on the grassland. I’ll come to earth only when I feel that the Earth is real again and I am."

Elizabeth Orme, from The Many-Colored Land, by Julian May

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Gen Con & Writing Stuff

I've only submitted one event for Gen Con. I didn't really even want to do that one, but I felt like I should make some token effort to contribute to my group in exchange for the badge (and yeah, I'm entitled to a few of their extra hours after all I've contributed over the years). In some ways it's a little sad because I always have fun running games and it's a chance to do creative stuff that I wouldn't otherwise do. I even picked up one of those newfangled cooperative board games that all the kids are playing, thinking it might be a prep-free alternative to RPGs. From my one play-through, it looks like fun, but not this time.

For all the fun I have playing those games, there are hours of stress that come first. There's time I could be writing that goes into bringing ideas together. There's time I could be packing, squaring things away with cats, or just relaxing, that goes into making those goddamn pre-generated characters. There's psyching myself up to perform in front of a bunch of strangers. In the case of the board game, I'd have to get the rules down well enough to teach it to strangers, just like I would with a new RPG. And, when that's all done, there's always teaching, which I hate even more than cleaning out litter boxes.

I don't need it this year. Hell, I still haven't started my D&D campaign back up because I'm still not sure what to do about the bloated roster. Sure, the hiatus may very well have solved that problem for me already, but I'd still have to start the process, and the thought of more organizing makes me tired.

Those are issues I've always dealt with, of course. I've probably nattered on about them in this blog, even. The reason they're not worth my time this year is the good news. If I need to run a game, my Icons campaign is back in action and doing great. More importantly, work on The Nameless Way is really picking up again. Now I'm just hoping I can finish it and see it in print before the last orange straw breaks some camel's back and this whole country turns into Ferguson.

I don't want to end on that note, though. I'm excited to be doing the stuff I'm doing. Maybe I can share some more information about what's going on, later. That's always harder than actually writing the story, partly because it feels so silly and pretentious, but I thought the last attempt came out all right.