Friday, December 30, 2011

Magpie Ambition

I often pull open a text file and start writing some opinion piece about what things inspire me or how much I like this game or that game or some esoteric crap about evoking player agency in games or blah blah blah whatever. I read other blogs by people who apparently have all sorts of stuff to say about all sorts of gaming topics (not that that's a bad thing, I mean, I do like reading them) and while there's always that same sort of "Me too!" feeling that happens whenever I observe any creative endeavour—although the magpie-like approach undermines the appellation 'creative' to the endeavours—I suspect there's something besides ADD keeping me from finishing an editorial post. There just isn't enough weight to back my lame opinions. I haven't actually been gaming all that long, especially compared with some of the bloggers I follow. Hell, some of the people I game with regularly were knee-deep in orcish cesspits by the time I was born.

That might be the reason my inner editor keeps my cursor away from the 'Publish' button: To the fellow-gaming community, my ideas sound like rehashes drawing on the same cultural melange but twenty years out of step. I read about things like the early days of Pagan Publishing with a sort of Lewisian wistfulness, a nostalgia for things never seen, dreaming of some frat house of horror gaming belching out still-unrivalled supplements. These days it's all crashes and doom and bursting d20 bubbles. Looking back through rose-tinted telescopes, I can just barely glimpse a day when there were giants in the earth. What paltry mortal means have I to even peer up at those lost heights? What does my name in a few supplements and rulebooks compare? I've been playing for a mere decade! I have barely a year of weeks-GM'd to notch on my sword. Definitely not enough to have an opinion to set forth in the basalt rock that is the internet.

There's still the magpie collection of half-gestated bloggery, though, and it mocks me even as it congeals. Perhaps the foolish ambition of the young will push me toward completion of something, even if it's a monster-a-month feature. Or geomorphs. Everyone likes geomorphs, right?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Maps: Crappy Edition



Pursuant to a conversation on G+, here's an example of how I draw wilderness maps.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Full Disclosure

Concept art is pretty cool. Not only is it a window into some weird new world, it's a window into someone else's mind, their thinking process; how they see as revealed by what they're showing you.

The same ideas can be extended to any creative process. Draft scripts, novel outlines, compositional doodles—they're all neat little windows into the process, all the more revealing for the polish they lack.

In the world of RPGs, the same could go for rules or published adventures, but the real expression of the practice is in what goes with the GM and the players to the table. What you use as cheat-sheets to either kill a monster or kill with a monster. Since so many different arts and skills converge at that table, I'm willing to bet that every has, consciously or not, developed their own toolbox of information-coding. Whole statblocks or just HD? Page numbers? Doodles or descriptions? How to do you tell yourself what you need to know? I'm curious.

So here's my notes for the last thing I ran. Post your own!