End of Year post

This has been a whirlwind of a year. I published a  game  and an  adventure ! I met lots of lovely people who write, make art, and create games. I blogged ( a little ). I did some freelance work on other folks projects. (I also released this via my email list which is available here:  Email List. ) But most importantly, I played games. Here are some cool adventures and games I played this year, in no particular order, definitely not all inclusive: Paranoid Android   by Armanda Haller This solo game is so tight! You are undergoing an interrogation to determine if you are an android and you get to discover that for yourself throughout the game. Awesome. Mythic Bastionland  by Chris McDowall I love questing and strange spiritual encounters with knight stuff. This is extremely up my alley and I can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve. I played this in a play by post game with a few games friends. Character: Enid the Unproven. Empyrean Dynasty   and  Travail Saga   by Michael Raston (G

My creative process

Written mostly because Ty asked.   First: write down weird ideas all the time. Try to read books, get distracted, listen to podcasts about history, get distracted, look at the 70s Scifi Art Tumblr Land on a general idea or location. Write a sentence or a fragment of one that’s the mood for the area. Make a google doc and write a micro fiction. Can your adventure be summarized in a limerick? Try and remember you are not a gifted poet. Having a concept and location, take out some library books related to it. They will take a week to arrive from another branch. Play with a book you have to generate some ideas like the cairn starter packages or Into the Wyrd and Wild.  Read the books (Skim the books) writing down phrases that interest you. Decide on a literary mode or tone for the writing. Read some stuff in that tone e.g. Castle Orantro for Gothic. Write down phrases you like from that too. Make a bunch of tables from these. You have made your sparks.  Stop and draw a bunch of ma

Dungeon 23 Weeks 1 and 2

I  began working on Sean McCoy’s idea #dungeon23 on December 11, 2022 in a dotted grid notebook Mnemosyne A5. I decided to do my writing as nightly journaling with Sundays being the beginnng of each new week cycle where i put in extra effort for the week’s framing. I am scaffolding off of a Gygax75 project i started but didn’t finish. Let’s call it Project Taboo because that’s funny to me.  Week 1 I decided to begin this week on Sunday, December 11 by writing out a list of themes for the mini-setting framing, followed by a list i called “Ideas Without a Home”. Whenever i get a weird idea, find a neat sentence in something i am reading, or learn about a fact that’s interesting, i write it down in my markdown app Bear or my private discord server in a channel for ideas. I proceeded to list all those “Ideas without a Home” in the first page of the notebook. On the second page, I drew all the layouts from Traverse Fantasy’s Dungeon Analysis, and listed some Things to Consider. Final

The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place: Creating Complex Tone In Your Adventures

As a Referee and adventure writer, I wholeheartedly believe that horror and malevolent danger only work in adventures if they are balanced by moments of ease, lighthearted connection, and empathy.   In the movie musical Dancer in the Dark*, possibly the most depressing movie, the moments of viewer escapism are wrapped into the story via imagined musical numbers. They function like Tolkien’s poetry songs in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, creating an alchemical balance that deepens the connection of the viewer/reader. But how do I do this in my elf game? Relentless grim can easily become samey, inducing a kind of numbness in your players that can make them connect less with the world. There are a couple principles I consider and use to balance this in my home game. They are informed by the GMing philosophy of Nate Lumpkin over at Swamp of Monsters. 1.  The world is Not a Cold Dead Place: events do not revolve around your player characters’ actions. Another way of saying this mi

The Grinding Wheels of Disorder: A Method for Managing Factions and Their Moves

 I have struggled, and I know I am not alone in this, to maintain the movement of factions in my home campaign. When one plays biweekly, one is focused first on what the players will or could encounter at the table. I tend to prefer building campaigns that way, rushing a bit ahead of my players to hang drywall and slap up paint, creating a strange metallurgist intrigued by hypnotic space metals, what have you. But where this method (or lack of a real method) falls down is managing the various machinations happening "off screen". In my current campaign "Postcards from the Edge" which is based vaguely on Spelljammer 2e, there are four main factions which I have developed with my players during pre-session 0 world and character creation. I also have an intentionally deeply malevolent and authoritarian mindflayer faction, the Dominator Creed, or as they self style, "The Planar Voyagers".  As we are now a year into this campaign, I have found that it's diff



Wizard in Captivity (not keyed yet)