Friday, January 22, 2016


Welp, it's January 22nd, 2016. Probably about time I got back to writing.

Apologies for the delay. Travel, holidays, birthdays (my son's), and playoff football-induced dementia have all contributed to my utter slack in blogging...hell, writing in general. I've been "taking it easy" (i.e. "being lazy") and I'm a bit out of practice with simply getting up and putting words down.

Probably something that requires a new resolution for a new year.

Anyhoo...there's lots of ideas that have been floating in my head the last couple-few weeks, enough that I even bothered to write some down in my notebook (so as not to forget them while awaiting the return of my discipline). More Star Wars thoughts (of course)...the family made it back to theater for the third time, though I'm pretty sure that's the last time I'l need to see the film again (I've got everything I need to from a second viewing in English). Blood Bowl, too, as relates to the NFL play-offs (I was very angry with the Seahawks' last game of the season, though not for reasons one might expect). Also, thoughts on the 15th century, World War I, Flash Gordon, and Ars Magica. And, of course, I still need to get around to reviewing Alexis Smolensk's The Dungeon's Front Door (though truth-be-told, I'm probably going to need to give it a second read to remember my thoughts from November). Then of course there's a return to other serial topics that I've started and neglected...

Well, for a change I'm going to (somewhat) move away from my usual arbitrary "thoughts o the day" and instead look at that thing so many of my readers love and hold dear: B/X. A few weeks ago, James V. West (comic book artist and game designer...his 2002 freebie, The Pool, is credited with inspiring many of the indie games that came out of the early years of The Forge) suggested a personal challenge of designing a 64-page book that could "fit" with B/X...a campaign setting, bestiary, etc...something that would feel right at home with the 64 page box sets of the 70s and 80s. And because he wanted to make sure that he didn't hem-and-haw over the thing he set himself a hard due date of July 12th...a timeline of 6.4 months, beginning with a January 1st start date.

Others have since picked up Mr. West's gauntlet (Brian Scott, Reese Laundry, and James Mishler to name a few) and there's even a G+ community set-up for the thing. All in all, I think it's a pretty cool idea...there was a time (a couple-three years back) when I thought the main way *I* was going to end up making any money in the gaming hobby was by writing "campaign setting" books...that's all I was doing back in the days of Land of Ice, Land of Ash, Goblin Wars, etc. Nowadays, I'm not so sure that's the way to go (and I've pretty much allowed all that setting material to fall into neglect), but I still get a kick out of seeing other folks' creativity when it comes to tweaking and re-skinning basic D&D to fit a specific campaign profile. As I've noted before, B/X is a wonderful chassis on which to build one's personal fantasy vehicle.

I should note that I haven't thrown my own hat into the ring for this little challenge...I'm a little late to the party and, well, I've got a lot on my plate at the moment. But I am more than a little tempted. I've been away from B/X-proper for so long that...well, suffice is to say I am tempted. Heck, I even have a bit of an idea (though an incredibly derivative one). And I'm not sure if it would really be any fun for anyone but me. Hmmm...

BUT readers who are interested should definitely see what they can put together in the next six months. Even if you're already working on some sort of 300 page FHB monstrosity already, try paring it down to a more streamlined basic form. That kind of design exercise is pretty useful (in fact, one of the 2016 projects I'm working on is that 48-page something-or-other that I thought I'd kicked to the curb...more on this later). And after all, you can always go back and finish off your "advanced edition" later, including all the extra rules and bloat and whatnot you feel is necessary to make it complete.

Hmm...that probably sounds unkind ("bloat") or, at least, feisty. I don't really mean it as such...a playful jab. I'm actually starting to come back to the idea that these games of ours require as large a page count as they require, and needn't be limited to arbitrary numbers like 64 or 48 or even 100+. No, I'll probably never dig on something in the 400+ range (not in one volume anyway), but...well, that's a different post for a separate topic.

F. Maybe I will do up a setting book for this challenge thingy. At least to get my pen flowing again.
; )


  1. Well, no one has said welcome back, so I will. Welcome back. Looking forward to that review.

    1. @ Alexis:

      I know, man. This week, I hope.
      : )