Saturday, June 6, 2009

Here's the promised heads-up

Blogs get deleted tomorrow at some point.

EDIT: I've learned never to say "never," but at the moment I don't see any chance I'll return to game-related blogging. I do thank those of you who've e-mailed to express concern or just to say goodbye. The sentiment is appreciated.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Done for foreseeable future

Thank you everyone for the great feedback and general good times. I'm leaving the blogs up for now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Friend's trial unexpectedly un-bumped.

The matter ahead of us resolved suddenly and surprisingly. We picked a jury today and start our cases in chief tomorrow. Still tasting blood, but in a good way.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A brief, fevered update

No government is ever really in favor of so-called civil rights. It always tries to whittle them down. They are preserved under all governments, insofar as they survive at all, by special classes of fanatics, often highly dubious.

Predictably, the week before a big trial, I've contracted a bug. We had to pull over about halfway home from Lexington yesterday and crash in a motel for about four hours because I wasn't going to make it all the way. This morning I feel awful and have to get my hearings for the day covered, so I'm home enjoying some participant-observation in the "febrile phantasmagoria" genre. Tomorrow, the grind begins in earnest.

When this trial ends, I'm coming back to World of Thool as my primary setting project, but will work on Ordained Dominion of Vologes on the side. (I'm getting Thool ideas percolating, and at the most inappropriately distracting time.)

I've decided, since I have no plans to publish Thool material beyond a campaign wiki, to open up the source material to include weird fantasy, fairy tale, and folklore elements from non-public domain sources. The original intent of the project was to see what I could do with a narrow public domain canon, and I'm satisfied that the answer is "quite a bit." Now I'm relaxing and using whatever I feel like using -- homages and direct lifts from later literature, comic books, video games, and the whole panoply of eerie shit that's readily available to me.

I'm not coherent enough this morning to outline what that means, exactly. I don't believe the tone of the Thool setting will change appreciably, I'll just have a more expansive toolbox. When I feel better and the trial is over, I'll set out some sort of calculus for what goes into Thool and what goes into Vologes (which will almost certainly become a sub-realm of Thool).

The short version is that Thool is a bizarre interdimensional dumping ground purpose-built for weird fantasy adventure gaming with desultory lip service to any unified aesthetic, and Vologes is a more coherently themed "traditional European fantasy" area. Thool is where you go if you'd like to play a Munchkin Wizard seeking a looming tooth of the Fenris Wolf jutting from the loam of a leprous grove in the shadow of a calcified Titan; Vologes is where you go if you'd like to play a grim Free Lance serving a Marcher Baron in skirmishes with witch-armored Knights Libertine and renegade Skraelings. Different strokes.

Anyway, Thool is opening up a lot once I've recharged, and Vologes will continue as an active side project. Hopefully I can maintain both blogs. I also hope to resume administering the PBP at some point.

I've often shied away from non-game-related blog entries, or cleared them out shortly after publication, in an attempt to keep this blog focused and navigable. Now that I have a campaign wiki to keep things organized, I'll probably start using the Thool blog as an occasional venue for ventings and ramblings regarding personal matters, vapid and self-absorbed musings on music, literature, cultural detritus, and so on. I apologize in advance for this window into madness/banality. I just don't want to start another fucking blog so I can plague the world with my pearls-beyond-price regarding whatever crap music I'm listening to, or poetry I'm misinterpreting.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New blog is up

I've made my first post on the new blog, The Ordained Dominion of Vologes. Please check it out if you get a chance. If you've enjoyed the Thool posts, then the approach I'm taking with Vologes may or may not be to your liking.

I'm not abandoning Thool, and won't be removing it as I did Wilderlands OD&D. However, I do need a break. I'll probably clean out some of the detritus from the Thool blog at some point, and I do intend to revisit the setting after I've recharged with something different for a while.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So, here's where I'm at

This is sort of a "thinking while typing" post, so thanks for bearing with me.

I'm talking to a couple folks about a tabletop group. If I can get two high-functioning gamers on board, I can probably shanghai my wife into finally trying out RPGs in a group setting (after nearly a decade and a half of bemused laughter).

I'm starting the traditional fantasy project I've been threatening for a while. Unlike the main Thool setting, this project will not be restricted to source literature in the public domain, and therefore I won't ever be publishing it in any format more formal than a blog and a wiki.

I don't yet know exactly how I plan to approach the traditional fantasy setting. There's a large portion of my brain that's obsessed with weird fiction, but there's another equally large portion that loves more "standard" fare like Lloyd Alexander, John Bellairs, C.S. Lewis, and of course J.R.R. Tolkien.

I think it's absolutely daft to think a setting inspired by such literature, along with European fairy tales and folklore, is by necessity boring or "generic." This is a pretty rich vein to mine, and as always, I'm interested in reading the source literature and coming up with my own take, rather than reflexively using the accumulated D&D interpretations. There are instances where the D&D interpretations are pretty cool, but I'd like to do my own thing first, then graft on the D&D stuff that fits.

Anyway, I'm still mulling things over. This project will be undertaken with the goal of using it for tabletop gaming in the near future, and I don't know yet what ruleset we'll be using. My conversation with a friend yesterday leaves me skeptical as to how much I'll like D&D 4e -- this guy knows my tastes fairly well and is 99.99% convinced I'll dislike it immensely. So we're probably looking at OD&D, B/X, AD&D 1e, or T&T.

I'm hoping this provides the needed change of pace ... I'll figure out later how to fit this project into the context of the overall Thool setting.

I need a tabletop group

I've concluded that a major source of my incipient burnout is that I spend a lot of time working on and thinking about setting concerns, but I don't get the big payoff/creativity catalyst of regular tabletop play. I'm working in a vacuum. (Play-by-post is nice, but it can take days to resolve a single combat, and it's an altogether different experience than face-to-face gaming.)

Time to actually look for gamers ...

Apparently I'm getting D&D 4e for free, so I'm going to check that out. I have no idea if I'll like it enough to try running it for a group, or if I'll recoil in horror. If I end up not liking it, I'll probably stick with T&T.

Another side effect of burnout is that I've had the urge to use someone else's setting for a while. When one's brain is tired, sometimes it's nice to have the heavy lifting done, fill in a few blanks, and get to rolling dice. If I'm using someone else's stuff, I prefer fairly standard fantasy settings like 1980-era Greyhawk or the Wilderlands -- if a setting is idiosyncratic enough that I have to study it, I might as well use my own.

Judges Guild's Verbosh might fit the bill. It's cheap, it provides a basic outline, it allows/requires a lot of customization, and it's obscure enough that one is unlikely to encounter canon-wonks. And the stupid humor fits right in with Tunnels & Trolls ...