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 ...