Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Ok, so maybe I’m jumping the gun on the end of the year thing but I want top have time to put everything in place and make the changes that will benefit everyone including myself.

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

Two Things You Need To Read

Hell is poppin' today and the real world needs a bit of our attention.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The 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:

OneBookShelf Changes It's Sorting System For Free Products and I'm Not Happy


More Thoughts on RPGNow's "Reorganization" of It's Free Products Section

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

Kindling For The Fire

It would seem that burnout and frustration has been the subject matter of late so I thought we should find the positive in it and ask this: How do you revitalize yourself from burnout?

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

And another disappears into the black hole of Word Press

Aldeboran is gone. Disappeared into the black hole of blogs, Word Press. I really liked Aldeboran.

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.


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

The Year Of The Great Burn Out

After seeing just how many of my favorite blogs have disappeared I realize I'm not the only one experiencing blogger burn out.

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

Ok, since everybody else is doing it...

I might as well get on the 'get my s*** together' band wagon :)

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.