Tuesday, December 20, 2011
But what of all the blogs that have went dark in almost mid-sentence?
Lord of the Green Dragons
Outlook is Grim
Sandbox of Doom
Sham’s Grog ‘n Blog
Advanced Gaming & Theory
Old Guard Gaming Accoutrements
Breeyark.org | "It's OK — Gary sent us."
Ode to Black Dougal
Confessions of Not a Grognard
Hamsterish Hoard of D&D
And I compiled that list in under 5 minutes...there are hundreds more. I have voiced that I thought that 2012 would be the year of the shaking out process. But I'm beginning to wonder if it hasn't been going on all along.
Up until now there have been several distinctly different groups all orbiting the world of the OSR / Indie / etc. Now it seems many of not only the larger players, many here from the start of the internet side of this, to the regular joes who don't post as often but have nonetheless added insight into the scene have just dropped off the radar.
I say it everyday-community is everything. That doesn't mean this is some big group hug kinda thing. We may battle verbally back and forth all day about a principle or topic but at the end of the day we make our world just a little better with the passion we bring to this very unique activity. I would have loved to see Joseph Campbell's take on what may well be the last modern form of communal story telling to exist.
Where this crazy boat ride takes us next no one can say. But I hope our fellow passengers are well and that we see their return.
Take care everyone, have a great holiday season and every chance you get-play often-play hard.
See you in the new year
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Between losing people to Wordpress, the G+ suckage that folks don't realize that when you try to revert back to your old settings it destroys your blog (have seen a lot of folks leave due to this fact as well) I took the preemptive strike of buying my own domain and have it tied currently to what is quickly becoming the hub of activity.
will become the new home more likely than not after the first of the year. I have a ton of work to do to clean out my Google accounts but I have had enough of the change for changes sake and will probably use my Tumblr acct in conjunction with some real hosting where I control what is going on a little more than when you are just begging space. It would be nice to have real file storage space again :)
So, no big changes at the moment but bookmark the above link and I will be posting it to all my blogs soon in case I decide to take the plunge and return to the world of being a real web master again (now if Dungeon Master only paid like that did back in the 90's I might have to turn pro :)
New structure might involve using Wordpress (which I loathe) but currently I only have one browser to make changes with on my blogs and I'm growing very tired of having to use 4 computers at a time when not that long ago my laptop was all I needed. Hell, I can do Tumblr from my phone!
So just wanted to give a heads up. I have voiced my opinion with the powers that be but I don't know how many others have so I will wait and see.
More as things progress...
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
First, streamlining. The news pages are very important to me and from the emails I receive they seem to be of use to many folks. I’m glad that my ‘lazy man news reader’ has been helpful to all.
There are many people in this community who have served as anchors when the winds of change have (literally) blown at my door. They serve as an example to me and I hope others of staying on target. You guys know who you are and you all need an email of thanks before this year is out.
Second, I have started a few other news sites to help ease the load on Eternal Keep. I have seen the results of too much crammed on one page and it reminds me of that online seizure, MySpace. So The Keep has gotten cleaned up and I have created additional sites to ease the load. I will be moving some entries to these new sites over the 1st Q to better distribute the load. Many may have spotted new links on the right side of the page at The Keep (I will be adding the links to all blogs). There are a few more to go there but the main issue is getting everything cross linked to make it easier to find the news source that fits your daily read.
The additional news sites are:
• The Lone RPG Gamer -Covering Solo News From Around The Web
• Weirdlands-News of Weird Fantasy, Space Fantasy, Planetary Romance & Swords & Planets-style RPGs
• The Call of the Dungeon-OD&D News
• Tabletop Skirmish-Wargames, Minis & More
The Eternal Keep will continue to function as the daily hub of news in general but the software limitations of the widget have topped out more than once this year and as new requests have come in to be added to the list I have found myself having to cut more blogs from the bottom of the list.
My plan is to move some of the slower posting blogs over to categorized sites and to keep more active blogs on the Eternal Keep. That keeps everyone just one click away from their favorites.
Having way to many irons in the fire this year has taught me how important knowing your limitations are.
I want the news sites to be basically self-sustaining so that I can concentrate on getting the projects back on track. As many might know by now I have opted to drop the pdf version of CRoA (Classic Realms of Adventure) in favor of just using the Classic Realms blog for the time being. I purchased the domain so that if the day comes that I want to put it all together somewhere else I will have a thread for folks to follow to find me. I will bring out the pdf and even possibly a print version of the zine but only when I have the proper help to do so. The 20 hour days are getting to me and the pace I have tried to keep this year is not good.
My main three outlets will be the ADD Grognard blog for announcements and commentary, Classic Realms of Adventure to act as a central hub for releases in general and the entries that will comprise the blog version of CRoA and the Forsaken Souls blog for announcements, development notes and eventually the hub for all things Forsaken that are currently in my ‘inbox’ that reaches half-way to the moon.
Speaking of Forsaken Souls, the work on the project has been re-booted and I am looking at different ways of bringing the system to market. It seems the one thing we have seen this year is a plethora of system releases and complaints of no support (I guess that would mean supplements, adventures, creature guides, etc) and the question from mid-year on has been ‘Do we need another D&D?’
I’ve posted that I’m not one to step between someone and their muse, but there does seem to be a bit of overload this year. I congratulate all those who have been able to bring their vision to life. But I find myself asking the same question as a gamer…do I need another D&D-type game in the collection? For myself, unless it is something that I am an ardent follower of, I am taking a break from new systems for awhile. I agree that we need more support and went back to re-do Forsaken Souls so that it isn’t viewed as ‘just another D&D’. I am attempting to satisfy the challenges I have read across the blogosphere to bring more to the table. If I feel that I am proceeding in the right direction I plan on using something like Kickstarter and releasing the first series of projects at some point next year. I will not tease a date because it is far too soon to call it and I don’t want another missed deadline. It is driving me crazy when I see that deadline looming and knowing I’m not going to make it.
As for the other side projects I currently have churning away out there they will have to wait (with the exception of Darkness Over Dunwich –dedicated to HP Lovecraft and the sites that cover all things Eldritch - and the FFG titles Elder Sign and Arkham Horror). I love working on them but there just isn’t enough hours in the day to try and keep this up. I will be deciding which to backburner and which to drop entirely after the first of the year. It won’t be easy but something has to be done to pare down the work schedule. I’m ready to see a completed project in someone’s hands and the sooner the better. With any luck I can afford to hire someone and take on a part time intern to help and then the pump will be properly primed.
And no, I will not be ‘nuking’ any sites but I will have the common courtesy to mark the blog as ‘parked’ for the time being.
Between all the activity on the horizon and the Mayans putting their 2 cents in on 2012 it should prove to be an interesting year.
I would like to take a moment and say thank you to those who have left the community over the last year. I probably wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for you guys and I am saddened whenever someone has to leave us. May the road rise with you.
Now that I have typed a novel I guess I need to give it a rest.
Until next time…
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Saturday, 19 November 2011The Ridiculous Censorship Bill
In case some of you weren't aware, the U.S. government is currently debating a proposed bill, the ridiculously named SOPA or "Stop Online Piracy Act", which could see ordinary internet users face up to 5 years in prison for posting a pop song on Facebook...
Go check out that link. Because you know what? If the SOPA bill passes, the US government or even abusive individuals within it could make it impossible for you to go to that link, or any number of others.
And from Tenkar's Tavern:
I have said it before and I'll say it again. We may not all see things the same way all the time but we are a community with a passion for the things in our lives and gaming brought us together.
Help keep the lines of communication open and let OBS / RPGNow / DriveThruRPG how you feel about their recent changes to the site.
Thank you taking the time to read this.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
For me, I like to get outside my comfort zone where I'm not just glossing over things and missing important details. DEEP DELVE helped a lot with that.
Lately I felt a need for a deeper cleansing and something that the creative side of it would be as play. That beast is ARKHAM HORROR.
It started with checking out a new release from Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) called ELDER SIGN and it was worse than crack. I had a session running 24 hours a day until just recently as I transitioned into its big brother ARKHAM HORROR.
Now waiting to complete the collection I have dove head first into fresh waters. I haven't played anything remotely called a 'boardgame' in years and this new generation has really opened my eyes as to why boardgame sales have been on the rise. The fan base behind the game, and I should call it a system at this point, has generated an enormous amount of support material that looks to be as much fun as FFG's work.
I have already felt my energy returning and have been re-organizing my approach to my rpg project after listening to the vox populi this year. I have to agree with many of the points made but I also have to stand on the principle that we know not whence or why our muse appears, just that she doesn't wait around for market trend reports. You have to create when the ideas are flowing and put them out there.
Are we a little top heavy on systems and a little light on support? Yes, but we are also a community evolving, finding our way in the dark forest that gaming had become after so many disappointing years of system separation. Please note that I'm not bashing anyone or any system they support. The waves that were created have spoken loudly and I have no sway towards any camp except that of fun and freedom to create.
And for me that is the essence of creation. Whether it be an adventure for your regular group to play in or a complete system to build new worlds with it has to be fun and when it's a drag it does not serve its purpose.
So, in your hour of need, where do you turn to find inspiration and fresh flame for the fire?
Monday, November 14, 2011
This trend, I assume from all the changes that Google is making to all its products, is something I have resisted and warned others about. By being the 'beta' testers for every new scheme they cook up we subject ourselves to losing what we have worked for. G+ has done more damage this year to the OSR community than all possible c&ds and lawsuits combined, deleting blogs or their content whenever someone tried to go back to a previous setting.
FAIR WARNING: ONCE YOU USE A NEW FEATURE FROM GOOGLE YOU CAN RARELY UNDO IT.
Now , there are worse things than Word Press, Live Journal comes to mind as the biggest piece of crap I have ever seen (crashed every browser on 5 different computers the other day due to some mutant script running) but that doesn't excuse Word Press. It is like when I signed up for MySpace. My only real experience with 'social networking' came to an end a week after signing up and being blitzkrieged by every creature who could figure out how to log in and spam the whole system.
The final straw, and I do not exaggerate, was the Myspace page that I went to that was 3 screens wide, had so much orange and lime green colors that it burnt holes in the back of my skull as I was overtaken by a seizure from the flashing and whizzing gizmos and rainbows and 5, count them 5, music players all set to start at the same time at max volume.
I've never returned and I never will.
The Eternal Keep was an accident. I started the blog because the title was available and because I hated Google's reader interface so bad that I toyed around with EK and found the blog widget could hold a substantial amount of titles.
And so it began. A pure accident. One of the most successful things I have done in the blog community became a hit with others I can only assume because it appealed to readers for the same reasons as me.
And it SCALED.
Due to a number of issues that I will not bore you with I have to be able to hold down Ctrl and use scroll on the mouse to be able to read a page most of the time. Blogger was great for this because it scaled for the most part very nicely.
Word Press, and please excuse my language, doesn't scale worth a SHIT. It makes an unreadable mess of everything and I want a page that has the full post, not just another snippet of lead in that I already got at the Eternal Keep. I also have the most amount of problems with their feeds and being emailed by the authors of WP blogs that something is not right at EK on almost a daily basis.
I am not a facist. I will not dictate where a person may spend their creative energies nor find their happiness. I also will not deal with Word Press any longer because at the end of the day the Eternal Keep is still where I get my news from and if I can't read it it is just taking up the limited space that I have available to list blogs on EK.
If there are WP blogs that are not causing a problem they will remain, but I will no longer spend half a day trying to figure out why WP does what it does. There are no ads on the site and I don't get paid to maintain it. Thus it needs to be a positive and not a negative thing in the daily routine.
I'm not trying to piss anyone off or chase them away. I am simply making a decision on what I am willing to tolerate from blogging software the same as others.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and please continue to enjoy the Eternal Keep as we go through this period of change. I have over 1,000 blogs back listed to start adding soon.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
It seems one of the ways we deal with this syndrome is by blaming our software. Frustration at the constant change online is reaching a fever pitch and as they try to push Web 2.0 down everyone's throat many have just packed up and went home.
I for one have loved blogs because of their simplicity. A simple interface that can hold a picture or two and link to a video for as an added benefit.
But the flight of many into Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc seems to be leaving a vacuum and it is having a rough time refilling itself.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no Luddite and like a new gadget (software or hardware) as well as the next guy. But it seems we have become so focused on the features of the hammer that we are forgetting that we were building a house.
It's been a tough year for many, myself included so I do understand, from the bad winter that segued into a worse spring (the old analog antenna that was on the roof when we bought the house coming through the ceiling during a micro-burst being the single event that focused my spring) filled with storms EVERY F'ING DAY for 3 months causing me to power every thing day and sit in the dark when the power would go out tested my patience to their limits.
We seem to be going through another transitional phase, where the last of the first wave of OSR bloggers are making their exit to the the second wave-divided over what constitutes the OSR, what material should be released,free vs commercial, what impact we have had,etc-now departing due to differences that imo shouldn't be separating us in the first place.
But people will be people of that there is no doubt. I watch as more blogs close up or just disappear and wonder if maybe some self-fulfilling prophecy is at work here. What will be left of us by the first of the year? Will 2012 be the end of OSR scene as we know it?
All I seem to read about these days is how the games have never been as big as they were in the '80s and how small and insignificant we are as a group, be it gaming in general or the OSR. That our numbers are so small we are a drop in a cosmic bucket.
But yet one of the biggest game corporations in the world is sending reprimands to bloggers demanding they print retractions about when store sponsored events can occur and cease and desist letters to those they feel are impinging on their copy rights and trade marks.
As I have said before, if we (the OSR) are so insignificant why do they bother to issue a 'Red Box' that is identical in all but company name in outward appearance to a generation of gamers who for the most part weren't even born when it first launched unless it was to try and bring back the large volume of gamers who have abandoned them for greener pastures.
There is only so much self-deprecating modesty necessary in the situation and I think we have reached our limit. The items I see being produced, even on a pure fan scale, are superior in material and design to what would have passed for commercial product not a decade ago.
I haven't posted much myself here in the last few months due to my bad habit of taking on too many projects at once. But a house cleaning is in order. I only have so much time and energy for these projects and now have to start deciding what will receive my attention.
No, I will not be nuking any blogs, although some will be seeing less activity and some will begin to change in nature of their content. I decided for me a way to regain my energy was to enjoy a bit of what I love about the hobby and that is playing. Granted I have chosen something that some might not fit in with an RPG / OSR theme, but I'm gaming nonetheless at something I have wanted to try for a long time. I have always been an HP Lovecraft fan and since my chances of playing a CoC session is very slim I am quite enjoying the FFG editions of Elder Sign and Arkham Horror. These activities have boosted my energy and lowered my contempt for looking at my own design notes to the point of where I can get back to work on them.
For me gaming is a long and winding road, made up of many different eras and I have always loved the idea that there is something awesome just around the corner that I have never played before. I miss my original group as much as anyone, but then everyone remembers their first and that's fair. But don't let the past stand in the way of enjoying the present for all that it is worth. I could go on about this being a Golden Age but hell, if I have to tell you that then I think we are failing each other in some way.
I consider this community to be one of the better things I have involved myself in and my hope for the future is that it continues to prosper and grow in strength and numbers. For those who have to go I might not like it but I will carry no ill will towards them and for those who decide to stay and re-invent themselves, taking on the challenges presented by this crazy hobby I offer a hearty handshake.
We may not ever get to sit at the same table and roll the bones in person, but I look forward everyday to being in the 'big room' that has been built out here in Will Gibson's 'cyberspace' and wish everyone health and happiness as we enter the holiday season and the challenge of a new year.
Now, I have to go show Mr. Cthulhu he needs to work on his people skills, not just his people EATING skills...
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I know it has been hit or miss of late but this year has been super crazy...I mean right up there with best of the worst. So many things draining time from me and me falling behind on the projects that are important to me.
So, it's time to schedule one day a week for the 'extras' that I do (news aggregators, personal crusades, long comments when shorts one will suffice, etc) and get back onto the main path of finishing my system and publishing Classic Realms of Adventure (CRoA).
Since it would seem I would pick the year that everyone and his grandma would release a system (not complaining...everyone should follow their muse while she calls) I figure I would use the system I am building to create stand alone games with. The most common complaint I hear is so many systems but so little support. So I decided to put the cart in front of the horse and produce something playable now and work on the system till I feel that it and the gamers were ready for it. The nice thing is that the stand alones will provide content already available for the system when it arrives because they will be based on the same engine. So for someone who has never played the stand alone it can be played as a straight forward adventure and someone who has played the stand alone will be able to play it again with more options.
I learned a lot from making DEEP DELVE and have tons of notes that didn't make it into the final cut of the Alpha that I can use in all my projects. Just common sense solutions (many gleaned from some of my favorite blog authors).
I had hoped for a better year but we do what we can. I hope the extra work on the FORSAKEN SOULS ENGINE 2.1 (FSE21) shows. As I have said before I have some really good ideas piled in with a lot of blah, so I have started from the bottom up and began using new mechanics and source that I will be discussing over at the CRoA blog.
Just so I don't confuse too much, CRoA is both a blog acting as a central location for releases and a pdf based ezine I am trying to finish up the premiere issue of. I had to wait for some material to arrive (like ELDER SIGN) so that I could have a chance to put in a first look and some other material I just needed to read over for a better grasp. I hope that 'different' isn't a dirty word. It sounds like from what I read that there is a lot of burn out and maybe some of this will help re-light the pilot and get motivation back up. This has truly been a great year for both new games and discovering older games and I wanted to share that in a portable format that you don't even need an internet connection to enjoy.
And now, back to the salt mines.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
The following is from what I consider one of the best online book references on the web. I found this years ago and caught myself wrapped up in reading these documents. For someone running an early American game or Horror theme (Lovecraft anyone?)these might provide some inspiration.
Just remember, what you are reading really happened. Truth is stranger than Lovecraft.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
What is Dragon Warriors?
Dragon Warriors is a game from the heyday of pen and paper roleplaying games, the 1980s. Penned by Dave Morris and Oliver Johnson, it was originally published by Corgi Books. They used a paperback format, which gave the game the appearance of the incredibly popular Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, and indeed many bought into the game thinking that’s exactly the kind of thing it was.
Dragon Warriors was in fact a full roleplaying game, with a Games Master and a group of players taking roles within the fantasy world of Legend. This being the 1980s, the game bore some distinct resemblance to Dungeons and Dragons. However, it came with a distinctly British flavour, especially when it came to the included setting – the Lands of Legend.
(Read More- http://serpentking.com/?page_id=153)
Thursday, October 20, 2011
There is a reason for my unstoppable support for this mangled masterpiece...it was the first time I thought I had seen the real future.
It was the first time I felt I had been told the truth.
And that was disturbing.
I knew something had changed inside me when I left the theater opening day after the first showing. I just didn't realize what it was until later.
But over the next several months in '82 I went through a transformation that scared people a little. I had always worn my hair long. I cut it the shortest it had ever been. I was working an early morning shift in winter and could only afford a motorcycle as transportation. I went into a thrift store and hanging on a rack was a mint condition vintage army trench-coat with the wool liner. I handed the lady my $5 and left the building.
I still own that trench to this day. Frazzled and worn it is still one hell of a coat and with the liner will keep you warm in deep Siberia.
I didn't know what cyberpunk was then. It didn't have a name. But there were books and other items that seemed to be part of a world not often talked about in fiction circles or any other circles for that matter.
I read Burning Chrome by William Gibson that same year. I began my Gary Numan collection. I bought John Brunner's pre-cyberpunk trilogy-Stand On Zanzibar / Jagged Orbit / The Sheep Look Up - and the grand-daddy of them all-Shockwave Rider (where he coined the word "worm" to describe a program that propagates itself through a computer network).
Prior to all this I had been a believer in the 'science will cure all our ills' future. Future Life magazine promised we would all travel to space and live forever. There would be no more war or disease. That science would deliver us from ourselves into a 'golden land of opportunity and adventure'.
Flash Forward 30 years - The planet is dying and we argue over whether the water will rise in Miami 24 inches or 24 feet. Genocide takes place everyday on this planet. Starvation is rampant.
And I watched what may very well be the last time this country puts a person into space in my lifetime.
With the last launch of a shuttle the curtain comes down on the finest achievement humans have ever made.
I hope I'm wrong. I hope somebody figures it out. The future we were promised was a bright one, filled with the technology and the know-how to fix the problems, to right the wrongs.
I'm just not holding my breath.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Many fields of intellectual properties have a had a tough time coming to terms with the new tech ecology that permeates ever aspect of our lives.
The only solution is to stop treating the downloaders as criminals and find new ways to monetize the content they are downloading.
First accept this: THE PAST IS DEAD AND GONE.
We must invent new models to find a balance between the the creator and the consumer.
Models that I see as helping to bridge that gap:
(1) Distribute your IP for free with support from advertisers that appeal to the demographic you are trying to reach. These advertisers must make a property that supports the IP yet cannot be distributed in the same fashion. In games for example minis make a good choice. And take it a step further. Join with them in creating custom minis for your IP. There are other items that fall under this heading (like custom dice).
(2) The Ransom Model / Kickstarter. Having the item paid for in advance is a way to insure a base return on investment. If no one wants to pay for it then there is no point in devoting time to a project if financial gain is your motive. Please Note: I'm a dyed in the wool hard core capitalist. I have nothing against making money except when it brings harm to others. I love for people to see the fruit of their labor. I know I enjoy it.
(3) Incorporating items that cannot be transferred over the web and play an integral part in the IP. Boardgames fit this profile. Even WotC is figuring this one out.
We have to get smart again about the way this new technology is not our enemy but our friend. I know many will disagree with these ideas and I wish you much luck in the future if your IP is purely digital in nature. But I hope it is just a hobby and not a serious business concern.
(4) And last but not least put a way to be paid on the internet and make certain people know where it is. I see many times when someone has created and distributed something for free that I would love to PayPal them a sum of money and a note that says 'keep up the good work!'. It's a simple thing but you might be surprised how many will contribute.
The last thing I will mention is an observation-people buy from people they like. Paizo has an all but cult-like status because of the access the fans have to the company and its output unlike WotC who always feel like they are trying to pull a fast one or being underhanded in how they approach their customers. Stop treating your players like crooks and be forthcoming in your activities with your fans. And don't mislead and screw them every five minutes and make them feel like a chump.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Currently waiting on new gear to get started on some must do projects.
Which brings us to the first issue of Classic Realms of Adventure. I was hoping to have the first ready for this week but with a delay in gear arriving it set me back a bit so I will be shooting for next week. If I have time I might do a sneak peek issue #0 just to give everyone an idea what will be included in each issue. I will have to see how things go after inspecting the new equipment (and believe me, after some of the deliveries I have received I check every thing twice :)
I want to try and update through the weekend as things re-surface. It has been a mad week and I've got travel time coming up soon so I want to get as much prepped as I can before I enter 'vampire' phase (I have always preferred working at night) as soon as road time is over.
Ok, it would appear new hardware is in the house. Let's get busy :)
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Thought I would just give a brief update. I haven't forgotten about this place, I've just been trying to make up for a crappy first 6 months to the year.
Anyway, FORSAKEN SOULS slowly makes its way through a third draft. I realized I have some really good stuff in there but my presentation was poor and needed to be re-worked.
It got to the point of being gibberish so I took a break from it and have nearly completed an introductory rpg, DEEP DELVE, that took me out of my comfort zone and into a more open concept behind design methods. It has been a good learning experience.
Meant to expose non-players to the concepts of role-playing without scaring them off with pages of math and phrases that are alien to them, the mechanics are simple but if a new player leaves and can sit down at another game table and have at least a basic understanding of language and general concepts in role-playing then I will feel like I have done my job.
And realizing that maybe I'm not cut out to be a full time designer I am shifting over to a format that I am much more comfortable with-the ezine. With pdf publishing allowing me to do things I have never had the chance to do with older formats I look forward to being able to cover what is turning out to be a very vibrant scene that is growing so fast that it's becoming tough to keep up with.
So CLASSIC REALMS OF ADVENTURE (which is also the name of the blog that will be the zines home base along with other projects like DEEP DELVE) will start off with an open ended publishing schedule (eventually settling into a weekly format) with a page count ranging between 32 and 128 pages (the wide range allows for a lot of wiggle room-I see the base model being a 64 page weekly but don't want to back myself into a corner).
It will cover news, previews, new releases and contain game content as well, along with 'guides' to various parts of the hobby like the emergence of 'Weird' and 'Swords & Spaceships' or what I call 'The John Carter Template'. Since blogs play a key role in this community I will be highlighting not only great posts but series that may span multiple posts or blogs and taking a lesson from Rob MacDougall I will go Paleo-Blogging, highlighting older posts from the more established blogs that might have been overlooked by new readers.
I just know that I miss the weekly update from The Underdark Gazette and want to do something that not only is of use to me but can hopefully provide others with a portable one stop mobile medium that can be carried around and read easily where ever you go.
So, please email me if I miss something or if you have a new release or news in general to include. I look forward to an overflowing inbox :)
Ok, next cup of coffee and back to it.
Till next time...
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I was stunned. This didn't even make the news...sad times we live in indeed:
Michael S. Hart
From Project Gutenberg, the first producer of free ebooks.
Obituary for Michael Stern Hart
Michael Stern Hart was born in Tacoma, Washington on March 8, 1947. He died on September 6, 2011 in his home in Urbana, Illinois, at the age of 64. His is survived by his mother, Alice, and brother, Bennett. Michael was an Eagle Scout (Urbana Troop 6 and Explorer Post 12), and served in the Army in Korea during the Vietnam era.
Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books, or eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg, which is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. He often told this story of how he had the idea for eBooks. He had been granted access to significant computing power at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On July 4 1971, after being inspired by a free printed copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, he decided to type the text into a computer, and to transmit it to other users on the computer network. From this beginning, the digitization and distribution of literature was to be Hart's life's work, spanning over 40 years.
Hart was an ardent technologist and futurist. A lifetime tinkerer, he acquired hands-on expertise with the technologies of the day: radio, hi-fi stereo, video equipment, and of course computers. He constantly looked into the future, to anticipate technological advances. One of his favorite speculations was that someday, everyone would be able to have their own copy of the Project Gutenberg collection or whatever subset desired. This vision came true, thanks to the advent of large inexpensive computer disk drives, and to the ubiquity of portable mobile devices, such as cell phones.
Hart also predicted the enhancement of automatic translation, which would provide all of the world's literature in over a hundred languages. While this goal has not yet been reached, by the time of his death Project Gutenberg hosted eBooks in 60 different languages, and was frequently highlighted as one of the best Internet-based resources.
A lifetime intellectual, Hart was inspired by his parents, both professors at the University of Illinois, to seek truth and to question authority. One of his favorite recent quotes, credited to George Bernard Shaw, is characteristic of his approach to life:
"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable
people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress,
therefore, depends on unreasonable people."
Michael prided himself on being unreasonable, and only in the later years of life did he mellow sufficiently to occasionally refrain from debate. Yet, his passion for life, and all the things in it, never abated.
Frugal to a fault, Michael glided through life with many possessions and friends, but very few expenses. He used home remedies rather than seeing doctors. He fixed his own house and car. He built many computers, stereos, and other gear, often from discarded components.
Michael S. Hart left a major mark on the world. The invention of eBooks was not simply a technological innovation or precursor to the modern information environment. A more correct understanding is that eBooks are an efficient and effective way of unlimited free distribution of literature. Access to eBooks can thus provide opportunity for increased literacy. Literacy, and the ideas contained in literature, creates opportunity.
In July 2011, Michael wrote these words, which summarize his goals and his lasting legacy: “One thing about eBooks that most people haven't thought much is that eBooks are the very first thing that we're all able to have as much as we want other than air. Think about that for a moment and you realize we are in the right job." He had this advice for those seeking to make literature available to all people, especially children:
"Learning is its own reward. Nothing I can
say is better than that."
Michael is remembered as a dear friend, who sacrificed personal luxury to fight for literacy, and for preservation of public domain rights and resources, towards the greater good.
This obituary is granted to the public domain by its author, Dr. Gregory B. Newby.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
My band used to use their second album to check our stage sound set-up before a set.
Not bad for a bunch of old guys. :)
Hope you enjoy
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Thanks to Sea of Stars for turning me onto this:
Friday, September 2, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
First, how do you make roleplaying games something that anyone can pick up and play for as much or as little time as they like – for example, at a party where people who aren’t already gamers are walking up and looking to experience this new thing without having to commit their whole evening to something they’re not sure they’ll be into?
So after reading some other blog entries commenting on this and generally thinking that D&D is what was to be played and how it wouldn't work.
And they were right. The method described is not workable with D&D. But there is more to getting people interested in rpgs than just D&D and the manners and methods we are accustomed to in our world of play.
But you can play a game where there is zero prep and players can come and go from the table without disturbing play.
So I decided to write it. Oh nooooooooooo...I don't already have enough irons in the fire I need to drop in another one in cause nothing says luvin' like 1,000 irons in the oven.
I believe I have lost my mind.
Anyway, let nothing spoil the parade.
I started a separate blog for projects OTHER than FORSAKEN SOULS (MUST FINISH IT! MUST FINISH IT!) and thought what better way to start off the new blog.
Classic Realms of Adventure will play host to several projects including the Junior edition of FORSAKEN SOULS (thought the parents might appreciate a little lighter tone for little Johnny than trying to explain a post-apocalyptic god-less setting to an 8 year old-then again they might dig it) and now it will also host 2 lite rules projects - DROP & DELVE RPG and THE ZONE.
DDRPG will be a freebie (I just want to see how it goes and I've never done one of those 24 hour challenges so I want to see if I can use this to break through to getting some real work done again on FS) and I'm considering releasing it as a standard pdf and as a series of Pocket Mods to make it easy to tote to parties and such.
If you like the idea of the Pocket Mods please chime in. I count those as yes votes :)
And after doing some research and noting that we have had a system released just about every week this year I'm backing up a bit and trying a different approach with my Basic Edition of FORSAKEN SOULS. This new presentation method is based on ideas I have been reading here in the blogosphere that I thought sounded solid and exciting at the same time.
I too want to bring more players to the table but I want to do it the right way. Don't just make Gerber pablum to get everybody to the table. Make something exciting and relevant. Make something honest. I think that is the single must important thing that a publisher brings to the table. To make the best product they possibly can for the public and don't try to sell something that it's not and make them feel like chumps. The big boys have done this and chased nearly everyone away from their tables.
Ok, back to the silicon mines...
Friday, August 19, 2011
But I just wanted to say please feel free to visit and post whenever you like and tell others. I made it for folks who were tired of the fighting on other forums and the inevitable bias that always seems to take place.
And if your favorite isn't listed or you have an idea for a new board to add please let me know. Just consider it a little backwaters tavern where you can put the sword and shield down for a moment and relax.
And fair warning to any who test that tranquility. I'm a Libra, the scales are my sign and I will not tolerate bashing about on other folks.
In other words be nice :)
As always it can be found at:
(PLEASE NOTE-The policy above does not discourage spirited conversation. Just when we resort to name calling or some such thing it is just childish.)
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I have been using a couple things I haven't seen others mention who seem to be having a good time playing on Google+ and thought I would share them.
Free Disposable Webpage
I thought this would be helpful. Set up a webpage in seconds that never goes away. Very simple (bookmark your link so you can find your way back)
I've been using this for some time with the ability to post pics to it as well for maps, monsters, items, etc it really has proven quite handy. Again, bookmark your link so you can find your way back.
Just a few simple yet powerful tools.
I notice most are dated from the time of the house damaging winds and contractor period.
I got a lots of finishing up and scheduling to do! :)
Time to get back on track...snow snow snow...hey, I can dream can't I?
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
PLEASE STOP DELETING YOUR BLOGS!
It seems like everyday now I visit another blog only to find it on the verge of being deleted or sometimes they are just gone.
As someone who has archived everything I can from the early days I can say I'm not the only person who felt like preserving our gaming heritage in those fragile, acid based paper fanzines or amateur publications. Axe & Hammer is another valuable resource for Gygax and Greyhawk material (do not feel left out if I don't mention every site-I just helped them to recover the blog after a complete wipe by unknown forces recently so it is fresh in my mind).
But I feel we face an even greater loss in the modern age when someone deletes their blog and it vanishes forever. Now, I understand if somehow you are paying out of pocket for the space or domain or any other cost. Times are bad and every penny counts.
But when I see the word 'blogspot' I know generally you are paying roughly the same amount to host your blog as myself...$0.
I know we don't always have time to post a comment or even follow every blog, but believe me when I say how important your work and the time you have invested into your blog is to myself and countless others.
I would implore those who about to close up shop just leave the blog 'as is' with a final post if you like about not continuing to update it. I will even start a new blog just to catalog those that have concluded so that others may research the work and benefit like I have from the knowledge and the, dare I say it, love we have for such an arcane past time. In a day and age when a new video game console comes out and replaces its predecessor every few years and computer game fans are realizing how much is being lost in their culture we have the ability to maintain ours by simply doing nothing at all.
I understand if for some reason you feel like you have to take it down, but if there is no other reason than just moving on please leave the blog so that others may still enjoy the benefits of your knowledge.
What good is the "Links of Wisdom' wiki if all the content is gone?
Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you know someone who is about to delete their blog I would appreciate you directing them to this post.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
A Princess of Mars was the first novel I ever read. It would set the tone for my reading habits for many years.
I was 8.
It would also color my world of what was possible, that as a species humans were capable of great things, and be contrasted by images of villages and bodies burning in Vietnam on television.
I didn't like television very much then. I preferred the company of my books. The confusion that a child feels is one of a deep and lasting nature. Children don't generally understand things like that at such a young age. I only knew that somehow, someway, as we reached out into space and landed on the moon that we were on a way to a great adventure and knowing then that Mars could never be what was written about in the books that somewhere we would find another Barsoom.
My only question was would we save it or would we burn it...
I have no delusions about this upcoming film version. Nothing can ever compare to the imagination of a child and the images that formed in the minds eye. But it's the thought that counts and for that I say thank you to all those who will have brought this special part of my childhood to the big screen.
Presented for those who have a bond with this type of literature is my small contribution to the re-examination of these worlds of wonder.
JOHN CARTER: WARLORD OF MARS Early Years
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Scroll down to Blog Announcements.
Remember to back up your blog to your hard drive and if something happens drop in to the forum here:
The Eternal Keep Meeting Place
This is the same link listed at the top of Eternal Keep.
If you have any problems posting let me know. I too may be looking into moving services to Tumblr or somewhere else. I have not experienced any other problems with the service but I am hearing and seeing a lot of folks who are.
Stay in touch! :)
Saturday, July 9, 2011
This was a nice find for a Saturday afternoon. This is a 52 minute version of what appears to be an even longer doc (noted at the bottom of the description on the page at Youtube).
FROM THE DESCRIPTION:
Discover the true behind the scenes history of Pulp Fiction and the Golden age of Sci Fi, Fantasy and Adventure, in this amazing fact filled documentary.
American Library Association - Booklist Review:
Pulp fiction (named for the low-quality paper on which the stories were printed) blossomed in the early twentieth century. Audiences (beaten down after WWI and the Great Depression) sought tales with strong heroes, exciting adventures, and alien encounters. This entertaining program traces the golden years of pulps, beginning in the 1920s, by highlighting numerous writers (including Earl Stanley Gardner and Edgar Rice Burroughs who turned out hundreds of stories. In interviews, popular and prolific authors Ray Bradbury and Frederik Pohl recall nominal pay, short deadlines, and insatiable demand for copy. Facing competition from movies, paperback books, and television, the demand for pulp fiction dwindled in the 1950s. However, many works have been recently reprinted for readers seeking escapist fiction. Great fun for pop-culture and genre-fiction fans. — Candace Smith, Booklist
* Tim Powers
* Kevin J. Anderson
* Otto Penzler
* Ray Bradbury
* Frederik Pohl
* Marc Zicree
Thursday, July 7, 2011
READ THESE TWO ARTICLES:
It's so nice to have to find this out from a 3rd party with no notice from Google on this at all.
We may need to set up a meet point somewhere to find each other. It's very unclear whether this means we have to be a part of Google + but I have no intentions of standing for that.
I would also suggest emailing Google for clarification on this as I plan to do.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
And no Sarah, I'm not mad at you or making too many assumptions. It is something I have heard time and again. Let's forget the old stuff and get on with the new stuff.
Well, when the new stuff sux let's not.
Should children drink Bacardi Rum? Or should Bacardi just tone down the liquor, maybe just put water in the bottle. This is what happened to D&D a long time ago and has fostered nothing but ill will ever since. D&D was an adult game made by adults for adults. The day it became a toy for children was the beginning of the end:
Commentary: Dragon Magzine #52, Moldvay Basic D&D Boxed set
Issue #52 of Dragon Magazine features articles from Tom Moldvay AND Dr. J. Eric Holmes looking at the basic boxed sets for D&D. They are very interesting to me for any number of reasons. As the Moldvay boxed set is where I started, I will start with Moldvay's article on the 2nd edition D&D Basic boxed set. , I think my historian background requires me to simply let you read the article for yourself first prior to adding any commentary. I will follow this post later with a commentary.
"...the market has changed since the earlier rules edition. The first D&D market was made up of game buffs and college students. Today, the majority of D&D players are high-school and junior-high students. The new rules edition takes into account the younger readership in its style of writing."
The beginning of the end.(And no, I don't think that children should be banned from gaming-I'm writing a system specifically for children with notes, background and references for parents to become involved and better understand what I believe is a very important part of child growth-make believe and pretend activities-that they rarely seem to get these days with passive entertainment modes).
When TSR caved to pressure groups the face of gaming was changed forever. After '89 it has been a fractured world at best.
I don't think gaming is for everyone. I don't think D&D is for everyone. I don't feel the urge to have to pull more people in to satisfy a bottom line. I think there is a natural balance in gaming that sets itself. The more you try to make a product for the masses the less relevant the product becomes.
The Neo post to me symbolizes what is wrong with the industry and I understand where they are coming from completely. 'PLEASE let me sell you something' becomes WotC's battle cry.
Even though your comment was mild in temper it says the same thing that made me quit most forums:
"This is likely to get me into trouble, but I’ll say it anyway. One of the biggest positives and negatives of the D&D community is that we care too much. We love the game, we love sharing the game, but we want to share our own version of the game. We will repeat old stereotypes, gather around our “the right way to play” banners, and drive off most of the uninitiated. Honestly, it sucks sometimes.
Personally, what I wish sometimes is that we could drop D&D into the hands of the uninitiated devoid of the 70s and 80s context that surrounds the game."
See, taking out the 70's and 80's context you take away the game. Call this new beast "Forever Combat" or "Ultimate Tactical Combat Simulator" and run with it. Build your own history.
But Dungeons & Dragons has a history. I know because I helped in my small way to make it. I went through a lot of crap for this game and the thought of kicking it to the curb just rubs me wrong. You have people burning crap in your yard yelling you are doing the work of Satan and end up closing a shop because people are tired of having to run the gauntlet of freaks scaring their kids and you will see things a little different.
I think it is best summed up with a post from WotC's own forums:
And I think the numbers tell the story. Paizo is now pulling ahead, D&D has went from 24 million players to 1.5 million almost overnight and now the word is they will announce the next atrocity this year at GenCon. Mike Mearls claims in his interview with The Escapist they didn't set out to run off all the players but ever since the release of 3.5 that seems like all they have accomplished.
I think it's Nintendo time for the Wizards...either build a Wii this time or you are out of he game.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
The World Of Lia-DragonQuest Rules Archive-Limks
For fans this is a cool drink. It's been sitting on my desktop for days waiting to be posted...and this is just the meaty links page.
A slow starter but deserving of love just for this bit alone:
For those who have been enjoying the paleo-gaming articles lately (Like the Ryth Chronicles piece) there is some great stuff here circa '84.
A chronicle of projects restoring and sculpting scale fantasy and science fiction miniatures
I've never quite seen one like this before.
A resource site for the game. Ton o' goodness.
Ok, I'm not even going near a description for this one...just go forth weirdly...
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Instead I'll just say my piece here.
I chuckled a bit when I read this. As much as 4e might have “failed” to meet its objectives in any broad sense, it seems to have worked exactly as intended for me. The “mistake” as you called it, allowed me to dip my toes in the water. But I realize that I’m not everyone and, even if I was, at some point, representative of the non-playing masses, many of us required people already invested in the game to show them how to play. If those invested players hated the game for the reasons you gave (and I know a number who do), then we blind newbies would either move to earlier editions/Pathfinder recommended to us or give up in disgust over the edition wars.
This is likely to get me into trouble, but I’ll say it anyway. One of the biggest positives and negatives of the D&D community is that we care too much. We love the game, we love sharing the game, but we want to share our own version of the game. We will repeat old stereotypes, gather around our “the right way to play” banners, and drive off most of the uninitiated. Honestly, it sucks sometimes.I realized at that moment exactly why I dislike so much of modern gaming. It's the Big Mac theory and a direct reflection on the industry.
To me the whole point of the RPG is to, for a short time, live inside a different world. And everytime you sit down at the table with a new Dungeon Master you'll visit a different place. Some will suck. Some will be awesome. That's life
McDonalds was so proud of the fact that whether you bought a Big Mac in New York or California you would always get the same burger. The experience would be the same everywhere you went. This became a big part of the reason why they became the huge multi-national they are today.
But not everything should be a burger.
Imagine walking into a bookstore and finding only one book on all the shelves entitled 'Book'. You laugh a little, buy a copy and go home and read it. It was pretty good and you head back to the store only to realize that ever single book is the same one you just read.
This is the modern gaming attitude that I have found where ever I go. I made a comment one time that no rules were perfect and that imagination came in really handy if you're going to be a gamer and the response was ' If I wanted to write my own F'ing rules I wouldn't have bought the game'.
As the guys said over at 'WTF?, D&D!?' said:
Steve: People cried about them dying (Arneson & Gygax), but when Gygax went what we really lost was a final authority on all rules arguments. And even though the number I had for Gygax was probably no longer in service, I always had that reassuring feeling like if I was really in a jam and my characters were insisting they wanted to grapple someone I could call up Gary and ask him how to resolve it.
Zack: He's gone now, Steve, but his spirit lives on in the exciting new 4th Edition of- I can't even type that out. Does anyone play that?
Steve: It's pretty fun.
Steve: For stupid babies.
Zack: I would imagine Gygax had his detractors back in the day.
Steve: Gygax didn't have 50 writers and 100 artists and color printing. He just went out there and said, hey, here's how you subdue a dragon and sell it as a slave. Here's what a robot is doing in a fantasy game. Deal with it. I made it up, deal with it.
Zack: And now a committee has designed everything.
Now I have to get back to the feast table. Lord Hurgamurga, is about to regale us with tales of his heroic balance.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I have been reading the on going battle for what seems like forever now about 'social contracts' and 'industry standards'. I have really tried to stay out of it. This is the kind of pitched battles that made me quit forums. Somebody says something, doesn't maybe understand the gravity of the statement and then all hell breaks loose. It all started with this:
"It is that LOTFP: Grindhouse Edition violates the social contract of the RPG community."
And ends up the biggest fist fight I have seen in some time. People are arguing with people that they have always been civil to. This one post has caused more damage to this hobby we call home than anything I can imagine.
What was so powerful about this to cause so many to react so aggressively? A simple mistake we have all made from time to time. When we speak we think we are speaking for the masses. And that offends a lot of people.
This could have been stopped by taking a step back and saying that it was a personal opinion but that didn't happen. The fuel was increased by somehow associating our group with a group we have nothing to do with and that is 'the industry'. If this were 'the industry' I wouldn't be here typing this. I would be filling out apps and trying to figure out whose ass to kiss next after Mearls over at Wizards. THAT'S the industry. This is 'the hobby' or 'hobby business' if you will.
This is the story of how our favorite hobby fell the 1st time and how we are now at the crossroads. again Will 1989 repeat itself? Or will we ignore the naysayers and forge our own path? The decision is ours.
In the past it started with Satanic panic, Mazes and Monsters and a lot of propaganda that would lead a company to make decisions that would change the course of gaming history.
TSR caved into pressure from religious groups and changed what had been an adult game into something acceptable to people who were not even customers, let alone gamers.
Now our own are quoting items out of context. The 'social contract' has nothing to do with the community as a whole. It is the agreement between players at a table and what they decide to play and how to play it. It is not a moral ruler to measure the acceptability of a game or anything else within the context of this community.
And here the added fuel:
The problem with LOTFP Grindhouse Edition is that it violates the boundaries set by the community. It goes over the line that people are willing to comfortably tolerate, it is beyond the acceptable standard of behavior, and people have reacted to that in a variety of ways."
What community set which boundaries? Not my community nor the community of others that I have seen. This product seems to be doing quite well.
There is a difference between having an opinion and expressing it and presuming that you speak for an entire group of people. No one speaks for me. I think for myself and choose for myself. I am not cattle or sheep, moving in fear away from the edge that exists to challenge us.
I could quote the entire post I have excerpted above, but it comes down to 1989:
"People don't want their beloved games on the same shelf with this stuff, they don't like to see it included in the mix. They don't want someone looking at LOTFP Grindhouse Edition as being a part of RPGs, lest the negativity flow back onto other RPGs. Our hobby went through a very long and painful doldrum period where we struggled with negative reputational effects. We are just now getting to the point where it is not a big issue anymore. The last thing people want is for something like this to trigger even more negative associations. I try very hard not to describe RPGs as being "like D&D" because of this negative history. I would truly hate to have to disavow even more material."
Is this being serious or supposed to be funny? Who are these people buying games they don't want and setting them on any shelf? Negative associations? Let me tell you, they still hate us and think we are doing Satan's work and corrupting people. Those people have always existed and always will regardless of what a publisher decides to print.
Has someone been sneaking into homes and putting games on game shelves under cover of darkness? Is this some covert operation? Where's my damn copy then? Cause I would certainly love to have a nice boxed set proudly sitting on my shelf.
I am not ashamed of the roots of this hobby or the culture it grew out of. Are there things I disagree with? Of course. But it's me disagreeing. Not me telling you what you should find disagreeable. There is a big difference.
We have no reason to tip toe around and try to go unnoticed. We can stamp our feet if we damn well please and if someone is not 'comfortable' with that then they don't have to be part of it. I'm certain there is a big pile of Monopoly game boxes sitting somewhere nearby that is nice and safe. Go play that.
The last time was a different world, where people forced their opinions on the lives of others and caused a ripple effect that made me, for one, leave the hobby. But things are different now. No more boycotts or threats to a business owners livelihood if they carry those 'awful' Dungeons and Dragons games.
We're in charge this time. We are not part of 'the industry' and I wish to never be again. I look forward to the absolute collapse of 'the industry' and good riddance. And if those 'rules' are truly for GenCon then what is left? A table to play Jenga on? No violence, no gore, no nudity, no religion, no cosplay...what the hell do you do? Drink coffee and check your watch constantly to see when your flight leaves?
It's our show and the more of this fascist group think crap that I read the more I want to Spinal Tap this mother and take it up to 11...How about we start with a module, say The Rape of Village Thiyus...the whole module is seeing how many things you can rape in a given amount of time. Men, women, kids, dogs, goats...if it's breathing then we're hittin' it...and do it fired up on drugs and alcohol...maybe betting contests between PCs to see who gets the higher count...see how this crap makes me react?
You see, I ran a game store back in the 80's and I was treated like a leper. They burnt shit in my yard and told me I was selling the work of the devil. My customers were scared by these fanatics.
OVER A GAME.
So you will have to pardon me that all that 'golden age' dust doesn't get in my eyes and blind me from the crap we have always taken. Go be a mouse if you want to. Just don't expect everyone to be a mouse. Some are lions and they eat mice.
And as I said the other day, we really need to be careful about stepping over the most heinous of all lines-hypocrisy. When you take it down to the basics the largest group of gamers play a game that is a perpetual race war where you kill other creatures and steal their stuff. And don't say that's not what fantasy rpgs are about. Since day one that was the basic game. If you have 'moral issues' with gaming you might want to start right there.
I think too many folks are in this thinking it is a stepping stone into that big ticket job in 'the industry' and for some it may well be.
But the majority of people I talk with know this is a small thing and always will be. This is the only reason this is worth doing. These are labors of love, homages to those who came before 'political correctness'. Look at the our collective past and the influences on the hobby. This is 'Old School'. Frank Frazetta. Boris Vallejo. H.P. Lovecraft, R.E. Howard, E.R. Burroughs.
When H.G. Wells codified miniature war gaming he made a statement that perhaps if we fought more of these small wars we would fight less big ones.
And RPGs are the same. Remember that the concept of role-playing was developed by Jacob Moreno, a Viennese psychologist who contended that people could gain more from acting out their problems than from talking about them. That it would evolve into a gaming hobby is quite remarkable.
But man is a rough beast and for all of our laws and social structures we remain animals at heart, part of a greater nature than we may ever understand. This is the place for where the beast can be released and we can learn something about ourselves in the process.
Too heavy? Maybe you wanna go play that Monopoly now...
Monday, June 13, 2011
"Well, Nicolas 'Snorri' Dessaux and myself, through our joint venture - Frightful Hobgoblin - are proud to announce the release of the English translation of Nico's Epées & Sorcellerie roleplaying game, now available in both print and pdf versions from Lulu."
Get it while its hot :)
Friday, June 10, 2011
To illustrate this point if you ask 1000 randomly selected people which would they rather play:
(1) A game with 15 pages of rules
(2) A game with 600 pages of rules
The majority of that group will say 15 pages.
Then you check actual sales and the core book for Pathfinder is generally the #1 selling rulebook at Amazon lately clocking in at nearly 600 pages. There is a psychological reason for this I believe and will go into detail about if anyone is interested.
Modern demographics fall apart on this level more often than not. There are many cases in history where focus groups tested the opposite of what the actual outcome was.
What I have done I refer to as the 'grains of sand' or 'buzz' theory. I feel the information in the initial period is more accurate than after time passes and people begin to be affected by others opinions that muddies the initial reaction.
I gather a wide amount of information, find the talking points and then rank most talked about to least talked about and rate them as positive or negative and make note of the distance between the two points. For an overall reaction I add all the positives and subtract all the negatives and compare this number to the total number of talking points observed. What follows is the distillation of hundreds of posts and comments made during the first 24 hours of the release of the DCC RPG beta. I hope it proves of some use to the games creators as they prepare a final commercial version.
the #0 = a negative response
the #1 = a positive result
TOP TEN DISCUSSED POINTS W/ REACTION
01. LIKE THE ART (+23)
02. DISLIKE THE NUMBER OF TABLES (-13)
03. DISLIKE THE ZOCCHI DICE (-13)
04. LIKE THE MAGIC SYSTEM (+11)
05. DISLIKE THE ART (-10)
06. DISLIKE THE SYSTEM (-8)
07. DISLIKE THE 0-LEVEL START (-6)
08. DISLIKE MAGIC SYSTEM (-6)
09. LIKE THE SYSTEM (+6)
10. LIKE THE 0-LEVEL START (+4)
TOP FIVE DISCUSSED POINTS (POSITIVE / NEGATIVE)
ART - (23 LIKE) (10 DISLIKE)
TABLES - (13 DISLIKE) (2 LIKE)
ZOCCHI DICE – (13 DISLIKE) (3 LIKE)
MAGIC SYSTEM – (11 LIKE) (6 DISLIKE)
OVER ALL SYSTEM – (8 LIKE) (6 DISLIKE)
0-LEVEL START – (6 DISLIKE) (4 LIKE (3 LIKE AS OPT +4=7)*
*A third reaction began to surface on the 0-level start mechanic of it being positive if added as an optional feature thus the extra added above.
Also, individual likes and dislikes have been counted together for a more uniform view of the overall reaction. For instance the dislike of the artwork was split about even between there being too much of it or they didn't like the style, etc.
An overall positive reaction to the artwork both in quantity and quality (the most discussed point which I found very interesting).
A very negative reaction to the number of tables included.
A very negative reaction to the use of Zocchi dice and the added cost and complexity they felt was unneeded.A positive reaction to the magic system.
A marginal positive reaction to the overall system of mechanics.
A negative reaction to the 0-level starting point of PCs but when added as an optional mechanic the reaction turns marginally positive.
There were many other talking points that appeared in smaller numbers and thus make them more difficult to sample but are included for the overall reaction rating. This is the complete sample list:
ART 1 (+23)
TABLES 0 (-13)
ZOCCHI DICE 0 (-13)
MAGIC SYSTEM 1 (+11)
ART 0 (-10)
SYSTEM 0 (-8)
0-LEVEL 0 (-6)
MAGIC SYSTEM 0 (-6)
SYSTEM 1 (+6)
0-LEVEL 1 (+4)
0-LEVEL AS OPTION 1 (+3)
RACE AS CLASS 0 (-3)
SYSTEM MECHANICS 0 (-3)
ZOCCHI DICE 1 (+3)
ALIGNMENT 0 (-2)
CHARACTER CREATION 0 (-2)
CHARACTER CREATION 1 (+2)
DEEDS 1 (+2)
RACE AS CLASS 1 (+2)
TABLES 1 (+2)
TRYING TO COPYRIGHT TABLES 0 (-2)
ALIGNMENT 1 (+1)
BFRPG MORE MODULAR 0 (-1)
CARTOONS 1 (+1)
CHARACTER MECHANICS 0 (-1)
CLASS MECHANICS 0 (-1)
COMBAT 1 (+1)
CORE MECHANIC 0 (-1)
D20 MECHANICS 1 (+1)
DUNGEON CRAWL 1 (+1)
EPIC LEVEL 0 (-1)
FUNNEL 0 (-1)
FUNNEL 1 (+1)
INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER RECORD SHEETS 1 (+1)
LIKES BFRPG BETTER 0 (-1)
MECHANICS 0 (-1)
MONSTERS 0 (-1)
NO ‘WHAT IS ROLEPLAYING’ SECTION 1 (+1)
ROLEMASTER-LIKE BETTER 0 (-1)
TARGET GROUP FOCUS 0 (-1)
THEME 0 (-1)
XP TABLES 0 (-1)
TOTAL POINTS: 129
POSITIVE TALKING POINTS: 48
NEGATIVE TALKING POINTS: 81
In my own work in the past I look at this type of analysis to help tag and track different aspects of something that causes strong feelings for or against. It is a small sample but can be used as a heads up to further test and narrow the two extremes and bring the points closer together (I see a -2 and a +2 as par and canceling each other out while a -13 and a +2 shows a strong dislike of the topic being discussed and resources can then be directed to understand the situation better,etc).
This is not a value judgment nor does it reflect my own opinions on the subject. It is meant as a simple tool among many that can be used to better understand the subject and initial reactions to it. I hope it proves useful.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The blog can be found at:
Monday, June 6, 2011
Google Search - In case anyone cares, the Google search gadget located on the right is broken. I have no idea why it no longer functions (it did so last week, I am certain...
DC Comics reboot, old-school supers RPGing, etc. - I’m sorry about the relative infrequency of my posts, but I’m running as hard as I can just to stay stationary lately. I never realized that writing a blog...
Brainstorming for a New Campaign - With the school year coming to close here at OSU coming, most of my players will be heading off home or will be away at prestigious internships
A quick update - So, there sure hasn't been a lot of updating over here.
Completely Embarrassed - I was trying to organize my notes from last week's game session, and realized I cannot for the life of me remember what the hell happened.
Unplugging for a Few Weeks - I'll be absent from the blogosphere for the rest of June, returning sometime during the first week of July. I've experienced several major upheavals...
Apologies - Apologies again for my lack of posts. We are dealing with a death in the family and that is taking up almost all of my time at the moment.
And that's just from a quick scan of my favorite blogs. I feel like any moment Neo is going to pull the wire out of the back of my head and say "Welcome to the real".
(Our house related suck has resurfaced again just to add icing to the s*** cake that is 2011).
Friday, May 27, 2011
Anyway, enough of the mundane. Here are some things I have ran across in the 30 seconds I've had each time I tried to sit down and catch up.
First good news for those who were disappointed when WotC dropped their mini lines.
And then Troll in the Corner added a Q&A on the subject:
And the press release:
Paizo and WizKids Launch Pathfinder Pre-Painted Minishttp://wizkidsgames.com/blog/2011/05/25/paizo-and-wizkids-launch-pathfinder-pre-painted-minis/
And since we are talking minis:
A Cheapass Solution for Miniatureshttp://swordsofathanor.blogspot.com/2011/05/cheapass-solution-for-miniatures.html
Book an Advert in Oubliette 6!
Issue 5 of Oubliette has reached over 800 people so far, which gives me every confidence that Issue 6 will have a circulation of over 1,000 copies - within one month of publication.
Commencing with Issue 6, I have decided to offer a limited amount of space to advertisers interested in reaching our readership.
(Get all the details at: http://oubliettemagazine.blogspot.com/2011/05/book-advert-in-oubliette-6.html )
I thought there was a certain irony here:
Hasbro Doesn't Even Sell the Latest Version of D&D on Its Webpage http://wondrousimaginings.blogspot.com/2011/05/hasbro-doesnt-even-sell-latest-version.html
The D&D Lair Assault promotion from WotC continues to heat up on both sides:
Wizards of the Coast Acknowledges 4E is Aimed at Min-Maxing Twinks
Ok, enough for now. A lot of ground to cover but that will have to wait till next time...
Sunday, May 22, 2011
There are times when this whole world of gaming drives me mad. I try to practice tolerance but there are times.
But then I remember why I like it, love it even.
I read a lot of posts, as many as I can everyday from the gaming blogosphere. I built The Eternal Keep just to try and keep up and love reading something that is just purely inspirational. I may not use every idea I read but it acts like oil to lubricate the bearings, to keep me focused on the fact that we make it what it is.
I remember back in the day if we went out to eat at a restaurant and knew we might have a bit of a wait we would just start playing right at the table. We always carried dice in our pockets and someone usually had pen and paper or we could get some from the waitress. (We would have LOVED having the ability to make pocket mods back then...that would have rocked!).
And to play that was all you needed. All RPGs are built around dialogue with bits of random events that are resolved with common sense or a die roll. That's it. Have fun. It was about imagination.
I feel sorry for many modern players that hate their game and blame the company that makes it for ruining it for them. No one can ruin my game but me. No set of rules is perfect. It's what you do with the concept that matters.
The looks we would get, especially from the waitress when the food came out, was worth its weight in gold.
And combat became so much easier (and healthier) when they started putting condiments out in packets. Plenty of minis and variety. Nothing like a horde of angry mustard orcs to make for some heroic tarter sauce action! :)