Thursday, June 29, 2017

Announcement: Sufficiently Advanced Dragons

This will not be the real final cover.

Sufficiently Advanced Dragons

In talking to people, I decided that the idea I liked the most of the ones I'd proposed in my last update was the "Sufficiently Advanced Magic" one. So, I'm starting work on the book which I am tentatively titling "Sufficiently Advanced Dragons."

I'll be attempting to jumpstart a lot of it through Camp NaNoWriMo. You can follow the effort here: http://campnanowrimo.org/campers/goal-entertainment/projects/sufficiently-advanced-dragons

That said, I've never been very successful at Camp NaNoWriMo, and I am not sure how much time I'll be able to focus on novel writing.






Rugrats property of Nickelodeon

Excuses

My day job has gotten a good deal busier, which is good, but limits the amount of energy that I have to direct towards my creative endeavors.

Additionally, my break hasn't been nearly as productive as I had originally planned on it being. Some things happened in the real world that mandated a lot of time and attention which, again, limited my ability to be productive in my creative endeavors. Sometimes trying to fulfill the obligations of a responsible adult is not fun.

Christian Fiction

I have still been thinking about the Christian Fiction stuff. I did start to come up with an idea, but then I ran into the same wall I keep running into. The stuff that I want to write about is the cool spiritual stuff, but humans don't really get to do a lot of the cool spiritual stuff in real life, and I don't feel like I'd be able to realistically have a divine (angel, God, Jesus) main character.

So, especially with a lot of things being based on "God conquers the spiritual troubles of the world," it's hard for me to tell a story where the protagonist is much more than an observer of other, more impressive, events and figures.

GenCon

My events have finally gone through the GenCon system and are now available on the GenCon website. 

If you're going to GenCon and want to play in one of my games, feel free to sign up while there are still slots. I'd be excited to have you!

System: S.C.R.A.M! (My homebrew accelerated combat system)
Adventure Title: Conspiracy Overload

System: Cypher System
Adventure Title: 1 Alien Invasion, With a Side of Explosions
https://www.gencon.com/events/122510

I'm still working on planning the specifics for both adventures, but I've got the overarching adventure structure for both. 

Heroism and Other Lies: Episode 104: Flashbacks


Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071KLRRKZ

Paperback:

Joe and Persephone wake up in the past. Together, they must figure out if the future is set in stone, or if it can be changed. They must work together to prevent Joe's biggest mistakes, and the deaths that came from them, from becoming manifest.

A greater question still remains: can they stop Jez from turning into the superpowered madman he becomes?

Computer Boards

Several months back, I made a post about board games. It's still something I think about a lot. I admitted in my previous post that what I really want to find is a board game that's actually a tabletop RPG. There are a few advantages of the board game format.
  1. If it's designed like most board games, then everyone can play, as players, on equal footing. (I understand that there are exceptions like Decent or Mysterium or other things). I like GMing a lot, but I also like playing games, and I don't have the time to really commit to a lot of campaigns or other real TRPG experiences.
  2. They are generally more self-contained and playable from beginning to end in a reasonable amount of time (There are absolutely exceptions to this, which is why I con't get to play Runebound or some other games as much as I'd like to.)
  3. They have a greater appeal to people who might shy away from tabletop RPGs. There is definitely a stigma against RPGs from non-RPGers, and I think a lot of it is just because they have this idea of what things are that doesn't really match with reality. So, people who might be unwilling to try even a short one shot of a simple RPG might be more willing if you put it on a board or series of cards and never called it an RPG.
So, I was thinking about this, and I came up with a really clever way of putting together this board game that's in my head.

It took getting to about the tenth deck of cards in my head before I realized that there might be a few too many decks of cards required to pull off what I wanted to do.

But!

A computer could handle it. A computer could have all the lists and random generators I wanted at the touch of a button. It could flawlessly run everything together if I gave it the information. 

And it wouldn't even be very complicated to program.

Except...I don't really know how to program. I used to know some Java, and I could probably re-learn it, but as with anything, it takes time. And the content alone for the project is pretty large, making the idea of having to learn programming on top of it pretty daunting.

So...we'll see.

Toybox
Tonight is the first Toybox session that we've had in what feels like forever. I have really missed running this game, and I'm looking forward to getting back into it. That said, I was hoping to be a lot further ahead in planning by this point than I am, and I feel woefully unprepared.

As much as I'm looking forward to running Toybox, I definitely don't miss spending the time planning for it or the time typing up the session summaries.

I'm looking at some tools that should make the summaries easier, but I am not sure how they'll work, and easier still doesn't mean simple.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Dragons...in SPACE!?

Credit to Lori Howe
I've been talking lately with fellow writer and publishing partner (I'm not really sure if that's the proper term.), Kit Bradley, about preawareness and some thoughts on what I'd like to write next. (Don't worry, I'm not abandoning Heroism and Other Lies, although there will be at least a gap after the end of season 1.)

Preawareness

Property of 20th Century Fox
If you check out Kit's blog, preawareness is a topic that comes up there a fair bit. The simple idea is that people are more likely to buy a product if there is something about it that they are familiar with-particularly if that thing is a prominent element of the thing that people are buying.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Maps and Minis


I read a lot of webcomics. One of them is called "Up to 4 Players" and is about a group of tabletop gamers. Their current series focuses on a campaign playing Savage Worlds.

With today's post, their blog entry that accompanied the comic talked about tabletop maps and use of minis. It's an issue that I've considered for a while, with differing thoughts on it. Here's the part that stood out to me:

"The group is using an erasable play mat (I personally use this one, from Paizo), with some meeple-like things to indicate who’s who. That’s not very high-tech, but that’s intentional – I find that if I use maps of specific settings or miniatures of specific creatures, the players’ imagination is fixed on these forms and go back to them even if I say “this orc-like mini represents the one-armed bandit”. If there’s no mini, but just a red token, their brains know it’s a representation of something, not an example of it, and so they can imagine whatever it needs to be."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Episode 109: The Champions Eight


The Toybox crew come out of the shadowpaths and explore a mysterious facility. In doing so, they find an extremely powerful entity built by the ancients. Is it a force for good, or a threat?

What follows is an account of the events during a session of my Toybox Campaign. This summary is written out in a prose format which may, for the sake of telling a story to a wider audience, take liberties with the events.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When a Break is Not a Break and Other Madness

A Few Announcements

E-Mail List

Now, if you sign up for my e-mail list, you can get a free download of Heroism and Other Lies Episode 101: Pilot! If you've been waiting to start the Heroism and Lies series, this is the perfect opportunity to jump on board.

Link: http://eepurl.com/cKrLjf

If you sign up for my e-mail list, I'm not going to bombard you with a bunch of spam or talk a lot about random things. That's what this blog is for. The list is mostly for book announcements so that I can keep people informed of new releases.

Heroism and Other Lies: Episode 103: Monster of the Week

The third episode of the Heroism and Lies series is going to be released in ebook form on Friday (26 May 2017). It's already available in physical print. This is one of the most action-packed episodes so far!

Ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/722906

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072HTMR23

Physical: https://www.createspace.com/7152394

Now On To What I Was Going To Talk About

*Sits down*

Hi. Hello. How are you?

So, I'm on a break, as it were. Not from work or from life, but from running Toybox. We had a session last week, so there will still be another recap coming soon-hopefully. But we have two sessions off, so there will be a bit of a gap before the next one after that.

I have a lot of things I want to do with the break in the time that I would otherwise be planning for Toybox. I'll talk about them in no particular order.

Toybox

"Wait, didn't you just say that you were using time you would otherwise be planning for Toybox?" Yes, I guess I did say that. Still, I want to get ahead on plans. I've got some good general ideas of where I want to send the group for the next several things, but I need to actually get down in the weeds and figure out maps and enemies and other stuff.

One Shot

I didn't say I was taking a break from GMing altogether. I am still going to do a one shot for people with alternative work schedules sometime over the break. I've got it mostly planned already, so that won't really be cutting too much into my planning time. I'll probably post more about it here afterwards, but I'm not sure if I'll post my pre-notes, a recap, or just a general thought response.

Blog Update

The links and such on the blog have fallen somewhat into disrepair. I need to update *most* of the Toybox pages, the links on a lot of the recap episodes, as well as everything on my "Now Available" page.

Heroism and Other Lies: Mini-sodes

I am wanting to write some short stories for Heroism and Other Lies. More on this later.

GenCon Adventures

At present, I'm planning on running a Cypher System adventure and a SCRAM adventure at GenCon. I want to work on putting these adventures together before I get too focused on other things.

Other Things

Here are some things that I generally want to work on, but that I'm not necessarily as concerned about getting done over the break.

New Novel

I have an idea for a novel that I'm wanting to work on, but I've been having some trouble in planning it. Without giving away too much at this point, the novel has two parallel parts that are developed simultaneously. I am having trouble planning and figuring out logistics for one of these parts. However, it's not the part I was expecting.

Cypher System

I've got a lot of different ideas of things I'd like to do with Cypher System.

Scooby Doo Adventure
I don't know why, but one night I was kept up thinking about making the Scooby Doo characters in Cypher System. I sort of like the idea of trying to put together an adventure that sort of parodies a Scooby Doo style thing with investigating monsters that may or may not be real. Probably something with a bit more battles than a normal Scooby Doo episode though.

Fae Guardians Adventures
I've been thinking of a setting that's not quite a fae-based thing, but definitely inspired by fae style things. Something that feels partly like the Trollhunters tv show (which, if you like animated kids adventure shows, I'd recommend watching it on Netflix.) My "guardians" adventures, if I get around to making them, would be short self-contained "episodes" designed to be run with little or no prep on the part of the GM. (Using a format inspired by the Instant Adventures that MCG has come out with for Numenera or The Strange.)

Fae Campaign Path
I would like to do a longer set of adventures-a whole campaign path, taking players from 1st tier (or lower) all the way up to 6th. The idea I have presently would be something set in the same setting as the above adventures, but with a deeper and more developed plotline.

I also have a lot of space-based ideas, but they aren't taking my focus very much.

The Problem

Mostly, it's that without deadlines, I have a really hard time focusing and getting stuff done. So, I really need to give myself near deadlines to get myself to focus, but I don't have any way of enforcing anything like that. So...yeah...

And it's weird, because I feel so much better when I'm actually working on and producing creative stuff. I definitely feel my best when I'm GMing stuff, when I can bring people into my world. Writing isn't quite the same, but it's still better than the alternative. So why is it so hard to push myself to do it?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Episode 108: "We really should have asked more about this before we went in here."

TM and © 2017 Monte Cook Games, LLC.


The crew of the Toybox take mysterious shadow paths and experience interesting scenes. Are they memories of the crews' past? Are they dreams? Are they something else altogether?

What follows is an account of the events during a session of my Toybox Campaign. This summary is written out in a prose format which may, for the sake of telling a story to a wider audience, take liberties with the events.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Hero's Journey and the Far Realm and/or Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

I've been having a lot of thoughts lately, but I've been having trouble figuring out how to put them down in blog-format. I'm going to try with this one, but forgive me if it comes out in a jumbled mess.

The thing I want to talk about is the Hero's Journey and the Far Realm. In doing this, I'm going to mention the movie Kubo and the Two Strings, the book The Magician King, possibly a bible story, and possibly other things I haven't thought of yet.

I want to talk about/review Kubo and the Two Strings beyond talking about the subject topic, so, rather than starting by talking about the subject topic and then sidetracking to talk about Kubo and the Two Strings, I figure I'll start by reviewing Kubo and then get to talking about the Hero's Journey, etc.

Or I'll just have really wordy intros explaining what I'm doing.

Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

I had missed Kubo and the Two Strings when it went into theaters. I didn't know much about it, but I'd heard that it was really good from people whose opinions I generally trust. A few weeks ago, I found that it had been added to Netflix and was excited to watch it. I was not disappointed.