How to Organize Game Writing

I've got an idea for some gaming content, and now I'm trying to sort out how to put it together into a supplement that people might want to read. There is never a lack of ideas, just a lack of finishing.

The path forward is mapped, and the habits are building. I'll keep things up to date here.


After the move, gaming

The tricky part about finding a new gaming group out here is the hunting.
There's a local gaming store with a bulletin board. Potential games include a blue Mage game, and a Call of Cthulhu campaign. I am really excited about the prospects!
Mage: the Awakening sounds amazing! I've been a fan since the revision of the WoD system, and would love to try out the orphans of Atlantis setting for it. Or, even just a mortals game.
As for Call of Cthulhu, to quote, "Don't throw me in that there briar patch!"
We shall see.


My Roasted Pepper Hummus Recipe

This is the average of about four different recipes I found online, and I enjoyed making it quite a lot. Simple to prepare, the hardest part was washing out the blender after using it!

Flash 64-bit on Squeeze

As root, give these commands a go:

# apt-get install flashplayer-nonfree
# aptitude purge gnash browser-plugin-gnash
# update-flashplugin-nonfree --install

close all browser windows

# ldconfig -v

fire up your browser and give flash a shot...

Squeeze to Sid- Avoiding Dependency Issues

Having committed to the Google ecosystem for many computing needs, I am free to put whatever OS I want on my personal laptop. I'm a serious Debian fan from way back, so I thought I'd give the unstable branch of that distribution a try. However, the testing version of the Debian GNU/Linux system is currently in the midst of some big changes... GCC and libc6 are both under the knife for wheezy and sid.

If you do the normal procedure for installing then moving to unstable, you'll have a mess of dependencies waiting to thwart your triumphant booting of GNOME 3. Here's the short version of how I got beyond the issues and got a Debian sid install working.


Review: The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Without spoilers, I can say that sorting through the clues of Spring Heeled Jack's appearances was really fun!

A hardened Sir Burton, called out by the monarchy to hunt monsters? Delicious. The descriptions were evocative, but the text sometimes got weighed down with an almost Lovecraftian-dense brace of "native slang" written-out all phonetical-like.

Once I wrapped my head around the accents being depicted this way, things went smoother. I'll be watching Hodder for more!

View all my reviews


[IMCotD] Lord of the Rings Rave

(8:49:07 AM) Gerall: Gandalf the Grey.
(8:49:13 AM) Gerall: Gandalf the White.
(8:49:20 AM) Kelly: grey is there
(8:49:25 AM) Kelly: white.. not yet
(8:49:28 AM) Gerall: Gandalf teh Ultraviolet!!
(8:49:32 AM) Gerall: Raver
(8:49:49 AM) Gerall: Uhhn-tss Uhhn-tss Uhhn-tss Uhhn-tss
(8:49:55 AM) Kelly: ooo, and the ..LOLOL.. treants & the tower would be awesome
(8:50:10 AM) Kelly: holy cow, man
(8:50:13 AM) Gerall: what?
(8:50:43 AM) Kelly: i'm having flashes of sparkly neon body suits, big hair and heels
(8:51:04 AM) Kelly: i blame Mama Mia
(8:51:08 AM) Gerall: don't forget teh Elves! with pacifiers and bodypaint
(8:51:23 AM) Kelly: :blink:


DnDNext, Modular Games, and Setting

When a new edition of the world's most popular role playing game is announced, people react. Boy, do they react...

I'm uninterested in stoking the fires of the edition wars with this post. If you're looking for flaming of a given edition or play-style, you're going to be disappointed. I was curious about another aspect of releasing a "modular" game system.

To be sure, the concept of a modular role playing game system is not a new idea. Take a look at Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying core rulebook, any edition of Steve Jackson Games' venerable GURPS, Hero Games' HERO System, Green Ronin's True20, or Savage Worlds. Each of these are useful and entertaining games.

My question: Should a core rulebook for a game include a default setting?

Several of these previously-mentioned games do not have settings included in their core books. (I think HERO might be the exception there.) Would a modular RPG benefit from having a solid, well-defined setting in their core rules books?

I feel that, given DnD's tremendous popularity, it will need somewhere solid into which the casual tabletop gamer can drop their spell-slinging mystics and thugs with axes. DnD4e's default setting was the Nentir Vale (borrowing heavily from previous editions' settings later in their development). DnD3x's default setting was Greyhawk, but it seemed to suffer from an editorial push to be generic enough that it didn't outshine the rules the game presented in the three core books.

Regardless, I'm curious about the kind of balance that authors feel should be created between a system and setting in a "generic" or "modular" game.

All the best games integrate elements of the setting into their rules. The things on your character sheet should mean something in the world your character lands in. An Orlanthi shaman won't have spells to summon fire elementals. The Knights of the Blue Rose will be expected to arbitrate disputes in the outlying areas of the kingdom, regardless of their arcane or martial abilities (or even their ability to speak the local language). You can tell how successful an Investigator in Call of Cthulhu is by comparing their number of encounters with the Mythos and their Sanity score.

To get this level of detail, in a potentially "generic" rule set, could be an editorial challenge. Done well, the integration of these two parts of game-craft should show inventive / creative types how to apply the core rules to their own settings.

At least that's what I'm hoping for.


To Greyhawk or Not To Greyhawk?

Every few years, I look at the current state of the table-top roleplaying culture and I wonder where I should be running my games. Not whose house to gather at, not which room to take over and strew books around in, but what setting to use?

Let's face facts: I don't have the same amount of time to devote to writing material to use for game. Work is more and more invasive on my time, real life takes its toll. So, how do I spend my time prepping for the sessions I run? So far, it's been about taking established Greyhawk material and translating it to Pathfinder rules. That, or creating whole-cloth the stuff that I need for my specific game. Greyhawk is awesome, and there are no more books being released there.

Golarion, on the other hand, has new material being released from both professional and amateur sources. (This is, of course, the default setting for the Pathfinder RPG. And more than just quantity, the quality of the Golarion releases is quite high. Personally, I haven't seen the kind of layers and detail that are being wrought for Golarion since 80's-era Glorantha. Detailed local shrines which actually have effects on the characters who attend them, personalities and politics in every corner of the world, well-balanced NPCs who genuinely need the player-characters as either their foils or their allies.

Also, have I mentioned that this is already in the system my players prefer to use?

Greyhawk was my first setting. I'm profoundly affectionate for it. However, I might need to swap over to a different setting for the games I'm running in my limited time. Yup. I'm thinking it might be time to set Greyhawk aside for a little while (at least until I get done with my writing for it).

Opinions? Confessions?

Let me know!