What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
After Winter Dark Campaign Setting

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Arcana Creations: From the Embers

At the start of this year, I wrote about the relatively slow start of the year.  Realistically, the past few years have been slow as far as my writing, projects, and even gaming was concerned.  I've managed to keep things going thanks to the Under Siege blog here as well as generally keeping in touch with a few members of the online gaming community as I continue pledging my support for the various project that Troll Lord Games put out as well as a few other independent creations here and there.

Things are changing on my end -- some good where as others, not so much.

I miss the enthusiasm I used to have when I was able to do more.  But the enthusiasm I still have helps to keep me going and dreaming.

As the first quarter of 2016 is coming to a close, I'm looking at my many incomplete projects be it old or new.  Part of the challenges have always been time and money to get various things done and sometimes, you need to make some hard choices.  I'm making some now.

My goal is to really get those fires burning again.

There WILL be releases this year but they will not be as I had originally envisioned.  However, they will be done one way or the other.  Time and money will continue being issues and while there are ways around being cash-strapped for certain things, time will always slip through one's grasp.  Of course, I've also had commitments from people willing to help but this never seems to materialize.  A one-man operation is hard to sustain with everything else but it can be done, even if it means making some changes to overcome certain challenges that keep blocking the way.

There will be more updates to follow as things become more concrete in the weeks ahead but they will be secondary to the work I feel matters most.

Suffice to say, I'm tired of waiting.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Weekend R&R: Empire of Imagination

For many gamers, March 4th will mean different things for them.  Since 2002, March the 4th is recognized as international GM's day, and since 2008, it also marked the a anniversary of Gary Gygax's passing.  GaryCon has become an event since then to remember him and honor his memory by rolling some dice with some friends and gaming in his memory and honor. This year, I chose to read 'Empire of Imagination' by Michael Witwer to commemorate this anniversary.

Much of what I read I have known for years but seldom have I read the account told in such an engaging way.  The book chronicles the birth of Dungeons & Dragons and the events that shaped the life of Gary Gygax.  It is by no means a 'heavy' read but certainly enjoyable.

The book itself seems to focus more on the earlier aspects of his life as opposed to his later years but it isn't an in-depth study nor do I feel it was ever meant to be.  The author presents the information more in the framework of a narrative then a collection of hard facts but, there are plenty of notes to back up the majority of what the book presents.  Above all, it did make me think, get a bit nostalgic about my introduction to the game, and reflect on my own gaming right now.

Honestly, I don't think there are many better ways to celebrate this anniversary save from actually gaming!

Out of everything that I read, the one thing that surprised me was the extent of description of the older first edition backstock that TSR still had on hand when they began to publish 2nd Edition.  A comment in the book likened 2nd Edition to how 4th Edition was viewed by fans of the previous edition and that 2nd Edition sold only half as well as original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons did.  Apparently skids of 1st Edition rulebooks were sitting in the warehouse as 2nd Edition was being pushed.

When I first was introduced to the game, I came to it while my father was stationed in Germany.  I made friends and a couple of them described to me this game which sounded fantastic.  This was D&D but what we all then collectively called D&D was truly a blending of D&D (Mentzer BECMI sets), AD&D 1st Edition and AD&D 2nd Edition.  Accessibility to gaming material, and above all dice, was challenging at times.  Ultimately, as 2nd Edition material became more available, this is what we played and I ran.  At the time I got into the game, I couldn't buy any of the 1st Edition core rulebooks (being the Player's Handbook, DM's Guide, and any of the Monster Manuals) but the all the other hardbacks could readily be found along with many of the classic AD&D and D&D adventure modules.  I also remember getting my hands the free TSR product catalog and was floored by all the stuff that was available.

But the passage of time also grants the gift of perspective.  I understand and view things differently now than I once did.  Ultimately, Witwer's 'Empire of Imagination' served to remind me of a couple simple truths...

While I think that pen and paper RPGs are still going strong today, the golden years were back in the 80's when it games to these type of games with TSR and D&D on top.  And, if it weren't for Gygax, we might not have any of this.