Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Renewal and Inspiration

The past few months have had me in an odd place re: gaming and publishing, and I've definitely been feeling burnt out. But stepping away from Twitter to get away from The (gaming) Discourse has been extremely refreshing, and last night's session in the Hill Cantons has helped a lot to rekindle my excitement about this hobby.

Along with slugging away on the Slumbering Ursine Dunes omnibus and the sequel to Lorn Song of the Bachelor, I'm also starting to get some wind back in my sails for my own projects.

I've started working on the Gygax 75 challenge, a framework for putting together one's own campaign setting. It's a way for me to channel the big inchoate Feelings about Legacy of the Bieth and put them into a gameable format that other people can actually use to run their own games. Unfortunately, I got stuck on the hexmap side of things. I've had trouble with creating hex setups on my own that felt well-designed and realistic, but part of me balked at using in-depth creation of the sort that Rob Conley has presented. (No slight against Rob intended by any means! It's a great series, but my heart quails at the full process.) 

I thought about using something like Chgowiz's Three Hexes but that framework also doesn't quite fit with part of how I've already conceptualized Legacy of the Bieth. Much to my surprise, I've found that an AD&D 2e product, the World Builder's Guidebook, is hitting the sweet spot for my design needs. It's still pretty top-down design, but presents enough of a scaffolding that I think I can abstract the highest level components, drill down to regional setup, and still get something that will make it easier for future development and design. 

I'm immensely proud of my existing editorial work on Hydra Coop products, but it's a separate field of excitement to move forward on my own creations. Relatedly, my first adventure for publication, "Home is the Hangman," will be coming out with the release of the upcoming Haunted West RPG by Darker Hue Studios. Chris is doing an amazing job on HW and I'm really glad to have contributed to the project. I will also be appearing in a Haunted West livestream starting later this month.

Finally, I spoke with Paco over at GMS Magazine about the OSR a few weeks ago - take a look!

So a question for all y'all - what are you working on? What's been tricky for you, and what's been flowing well?


  1. The Worldbuilder's Guidebook is my absolutely favorite gaming book. I don't know how many times I read it cover to cover as a teenager. It was definitely a formative work, beyond even gaming. I feel like I struggle similarly with designing a hexmap. Right now I'm trying to put one together for a 'zine issue for Spear! Fang! Raygun! and the process of breaking down what emerged in a three year campaign into something digestible for someone else is daunting and artificial-seeming.

  2. I've really gotten into writing up my OD&D based dungeon crawl ruleset, "CRAWL" and an introductory adventure "Tomb Robbers of the Crystal Frontier" which is sort of a Spaghetti Western setting about robbing crystal Space Elf tombs. It started as a way to teach myself better layout with Affinity and that's going well - being able to do the work myself (except editing) is really making things move faster, but distraction and scope are always my weak points. Turning rules into a Quickstart or limiting an adventure to just the 20 room location rather then 3 other locations and a sandbox region are a struggle for me (because I am not completing those larger versions of the product any time soon).

  3. Still trying to work on expanding Nine Black Jewel Moons from a pocketmod rpg to a pocket-sized rpg while shaking my head at tripping over all the bits when I already did a similar thing + whole new minisetting when I wrote Lost Emblem Saga based on the rules I made for 9BJM to begin with. *facepalms* Also a little planar travel minigazetteer, and some pocketmods about unicorns and skeletons/bones.

    Very little of it is budging because this yeeeeaaaaaar omg

    I made an extraplanar city for a game jam?

  4. I'm working on my TTRPG Maximum Recursion Depth: The Karmapunk RPG

    Still have a little over a week left on the Kickstarter!

    Already met the stretch goal for Fiona Maeve Geist and Scrap Princess!