Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Den, Dis Udder Time At Troll Camp

Da counselor led us on a twenny mile walk, then cut off our hands and feet and put them back wrong and made us walk all da way back dat way.

Didn't hurt.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things That Inspire

Being a dumping ground for things that run through my head when I think about that Western game I'll probably never run.

And because, sometimes, I think it might be fun to run Deadlands:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Dis One Time, At Troll Camp, I Ate My Own Hand On A Dare"

"-- Didn't hurt."

I believe this is how all campfire conversations amongst trolls should go.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The State Of The Gamer, October 17, 2011

I never intended for things to lie fallow here for so long.  This is largely going to be a post where I try to explain what's been going on and maybe figure out where things are going moving forward, for myself as a gamer and as a blogger of gaming stuff.

From a creative standpoint, and from anything resembling a happy person standpoint, I pretty much lost the entirety of August, September, and a good chunk of October.  I've alluded to work issues and that's been the big killer of time and producer of stress.  At one point, I was seriously considering finding a new job (not a small consideration given I've spent over a quarter of my life with this employer).  Fortunately, things have eased up, I was able to take a lengthy vacation, and I'm feeling much better about my current situation and the future.

Unfortunately, my gaming self suffered a lot during that time.  I missed out on GenCon, which has been a big source annual energy renewal.  My Saturday game for newbies hasn't met since early August, as my son loves to point out.  Our Tuesday game continues (we're back on Pathfinder), but I haven't been particularly engaged with it lately.  I need to correct that.  The occasional Sunday 4e game hasn't met in about a month due to scheduling conflicts.

And during this time, thanks to stress, I've been bouncing around between inspiration sources harder than usual.  One of my problems has always been the way my creative energies get hijacked by outside influences.  It makes it very hard for me to stay focused on one thing, because something else comes along and steals my attention.  This is one reason I always avoid "Sell Me On" threads over on RPGnet, because I've had existing plans come to a grinding halt due to my reading of two or three posts gushing about this game or that.

(Over the years, my psyche has developed a certain amount of coping skills to help me deal with this phenomenon.  Possibly the oddest is that I'll often find I've tailored my diet to match a particular obsession.  This is particularly obvious when I'm in a Feng Shui mood, and I realize I've eaten Chinese for lunch six days in a row.)

When the obsession is on, it's usually very ON, and nothing can easily dislodge it (for a few weeks, anyway).  When I get over one of my Fantasy periods, I'm inevitably confronted with a large stack of comics I've purchased but haven't read.  When I get out of others, there are always a couple of stray books lying around (physically or on my Kindle) I bought to feed the mania, but didn't quite get around to reading.  The problem is when the inspiration/interest is tenuous.  Then I bounce around from one shiny object to another, often seemingly at random.

And that, in a nutshell, is where I've been creativity-wise for the past two and a half months.  Blowing on the wind.  One day, it's superheroes, the next day it's 17th century France, the day after that, it's werewolves, then back to superheroes, no wait, fantasy, except I can't do that because of Kung Fu movies, oh look, Westerns!

(It was particularly bad last week when I was out in my garage sorting my comics collection while watching a bunch of Spaghetti Westerns on DVD.  Talk about your clash of influences.)

Yeah, Westerns have actually been a big part of the interest pile lately.  During the lead up to the project from hell, I finished re-reading Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove.  At the same time, I started walking on the advise of my doctor and found that a half hour episode of "Gunsmoke" (the old time radio series) is a great way to pass the time while trekking around the neighborhood.  As a result, Western and Western-ish game ideas are getting a lot of play in my head.  Unfortunately, it's a hard sell.  My Tuesday group already has something Western-ish for our secondary game, and I'm not sure I want to run something heavy on the alt-history, which is a turn off for a lot of folks.

So, the long and short of it is, I'm still in a point of creative congestion.  Hopefully, as things return to normal on the work front, I can try and normalize things on my creative front.  I've got a couple of OwlCon rounds to figure out, so I may do one of them as a straight-up Western, just to scratch the itch.  I've got an invite to a new D&D group that's close to my house that I'm going to check out next weekend.*  And hopefully, I can get things rolling with my home 4e game again before too much more of the year gets away.

In the meantime, my next few updates may be a bit scattershot, as I just try to get something out of my head and onto the screen.

*Incidentally, if anyone has advice for building a level 23 Epic Cleric for 3.5, I'd appreciate the input.  Apparently, this is an intentionally mega-high power game.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hey, Whaddaya Know? A New Idea

Hi folks.  My brain is finally beginning to unclench from work pressures and there's the prospect of actual time off in quantity in the near future (as opposed to the onesy-twosy stuff I've had to take here and there since the end of February).  Hopefully, this will mean getting my own D&D game back on track as well as considering something else to run in the not-too-distant future.

Oddly enough, I got the first real inspiration I've had in a while this afternoon.  Back in the spring, I saw "X-Men: First Class" and enjoyed the heck out of it, even though it's got basically nothing to do with either the comics or filmic X-Men continuity.  When it came out on DVD, I grabbed it up and finally got around to rewatching it today.

As it turns out, it's the lack of continuity that got me thinking: What if one were to launch an X-Men Universe wherein "First Class" (the movie, not the comic) was the only piece of canon?  So, Erik Lensherr: Suave International Nazi Hunter is canon.  As is swinging 60s Charles Xavier, a furry blue Beast as a founding X-Man, Mystique as Charles' adopted sister, and so on.

Also, there are no other types of superhumans.  The FF, the Avengers, whatever...not in this setting.  It's a bottle universe.  If you have superpowers, you must be a mutant.  Maybe an extraterrestrial, once they show up, but mutants are the default assumption for PCs.

The tone would be distinctly "Spy-Fi," something the movie did a great job of conveying. Players could even create their own versions of existing Marvel mutants, with altered backstories to account for the new continuity, which will borrow elements from all eras and incarnations of X-Men.

Of course, what I've typed above is the entirety of my thoughts on the matter so far, but at least it's got the juices flowing.