25 Aug

Kickstart the Weekend: The Fine Art of Making Me Smile

Kobold Jared von Hindman
Art by Jared von Hindman

Despite what you’ve heard, or what you’ve seen, or have been subjected to when I’m tired of explaining how an attack of opportunity works even after we’ve been playing the same game for ages now… I’m kind of a softy.

Yes, I have pretended to be asleep when my nieces wanted to go to the park. I have, on occasion, rolled my eyes so hard at someone that there was a danger of dislocating one. And sure, I mentally queue up Sarah McLachlan’s song from the SPCA commercial whenever I’m forced to listen to someone complain about #FirstWorldProblems. Oh, and I often say that I hate people. All of them. And mean it.

But, seriously… I have a compassionate streak. Somewhere. Continue reading

31 Jul

Off-Topic Tuesday: Pearls of Wisdom

I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes await the publication of finished articles with some trepidation. (Don’t worry, that hasn’t changed.) But there’s an accompanying excitement that builds, especially when I don’t know the exact date of publication. Part of it is the thrill of success, of completing something. And part of it is the desire to see the accompanying artwork and cartography. After all, I have a vision of something in my head but, lacking all talent for the visual arts, when someone turns my villain into an actual image, it’s like magic to me. And there is a special place in the Seven Heavens (or Arcadia, or the Twin Paradises, or wherever their alignment has decreed) for the cartographers who turn my insane maps into something people can get excited about!

As a writer, though, I’m also eager to see what final edits were made to a piece. I read the published article side-by-side with my final manuscript to see what’s different. Now I know this is not always the way of things. Obviously, a short story’s final look does not surprise the author. But, for gaming material (particularly adventures, the majority of what I do when it comes to gaming material), there are mechanical issues, balance issues, and the results of playtesting that all come to bear in one place. And there are people who are far better at those things than I am. Although no amount of staring at a Ben Wootten or Jason Juta cover painting is going to make me a better artist, making note of the changes made to a creature, an encounter, or even a passage of text can make me a better author. Continue reading

29 Jun

Kickstart the Weekend: Pens, Swords, and Anvils

So it’s been nearly a month since I told you how you should spend your money. Well, other than buying my stuff, anyhow. Here’s a diverse selection of interesting and noteworthy projects in the works. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s also Sangria Friday.

Artwork from the AD&D Rogue’s Gallery

AD&D Rogues Gallery
This was, hands down, the thief from my old AD&D group!

I was talking to someone after my appearance at the York Emporium about some of the “lost treasures” of the early days of D&D. Several artists have set out to recreate some of the artwork from those days (apparently, there was a “purge” conducted at certain corporate offices when space was at a premium). Jeff Dee is tackling the old Rogue’s Gallery and those images tweak my sense of nostalgia just a little. Now’s your chance to get some signed copies of those iconic images.

Clang

I’m all for games where my angry physical exertion creates a game effect! Don’t get me wrong, my first love is still the steady trigger pull on a perfectly executed rifle shot in a solid FPS. But there are times when my rage must be given form and motion. Hopefully Clang will make that a reality. Plus, I like Neal Stephenson. And the video made me laugh.

Tabletop Forge

Tabletop ForgeYup, they hit some stretch goals already so they don’t need your support. But you still might want to get in on this action. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with it, and that has a lot to do with the fact that they aren’t trying to do too much. Instead, it’s giving me the tools to create what I need without shoving me into a box with predefined actions. It’s lean and functional, and I actually like that it’s a part of Google+. (If you think Google+ is stupid, please keep thinking that. I want it to stay as nice as it is…)

4 May

Kickstart the Weekend: The Spice of Life

Alright, I have some drinking to do but I would be remiss in my bloggerly duties if I didn’t also Kickstart the weekend with something under 120 proof. Behold, three things that are worthy of your attention and perhaps even some of your money! (Of course, I’m assuming you still have money after propelling the Ogre Designer’s Edition beyond a half-million dollars!)

Quicksilver Worldbook for Pathfinder—

Quicksilver WorldbookClassic artwork and a fresh setting adapted to Pathfinder, what’s not to love? And you may recognize the names of the folks involved if you were playing “back in the day,” as the kids say. Last week I was extolling the virtues of the big guys and telling you why they are necessary. Now it’s time to look at the folks who are out  to do something genuinely different.

Prismatic Art Collection—

Prismatic Art CollectionI don’t want to get in the middle of the Other Controversy as we chart a course for a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Apparently, as a community, we have a hard enough time agreeing on what kind of fun is right or wrong (despite the fact that our fun takes place inside of our own imaginations miles away from tables where someone else’s fun is occurring in a different fashion). If we can’t even agree to disagree about fun, what hope is there for addressing real issues? I’m not agreeing with either Sarah Darkmagic or Jon Schindehette 100% but I will say that they both make valid, worthwhile, and important points. And I don’t need to agree or disagree with them to think variety in art is a good thing… it’s certainly not a “political” decision, it’s just personal taste.

Zombicide—

ZombicideAnd, now that you’re all fired up, go kill something. But don’t kill something living.  That would be wrong. Instead you should vent your righteous wrath on zombies. And a quick look at the numbers reveals you are not alone in that desire. (As a friend in the video game industry put it a while ago, “Zombies are the new World War II.”) You have approximately 2 days to decide not whether you will back this project, but how deeply you intend to immerse yourself in it.

Finally, hearty congratulations to Douglas Parker Gray for his successful Popable Dice Kickstarter. I was beating this drum a bit hard here and elsewhere but I’d like this idea to succeed and to take hold in places where these dice are not so much a novelty but a necessity.