Monday, December 4, 2023

Sunday NIght Musings

Man, I started writing a post...mmm...yesterday morning (I think)?...a whole 'hey, I'm back, here's what's up, here's what I'm doing, blah-blah-blah' thing, with some sort of half-hearted segue into role-playing theory.

Let's forget all that for the nonce.

The 2023 year has nearly slipped away from me, at this point. 47 posts at this lowest output total since starting this blog in 2009. Wow. Crap. That's what happens when you have a bunch of f'ing family members die on you, I suppose. 

And yet, some stellar game related stuff occurred, too. Ran some great D&D sessions. Campaign is struggling, limping along, but it's still going. Got to Germany for Cauldron...that was fantastic. Got my submission in for Prince's "No Art-Punk" contest for the third year running...that was, mm, grueling, but a hell of an accomplishment, considering the time constraints. So much travel this year (California, Port Angeles, Montana, Germany, Mexico). So much...

I need a break. And, yet, I don't. I need to do more work. More Work work (capital-W)...more vocational work. This game, this's my calling. It's what I do. Dumb as that is.

[just some Sunday night musings]

Been spouting off on a lot of different outlets lately. Mainly Discord servers. A podcast or two. In person (at the Cauldron convention). Other places. Some people care what I have to say; others don't. Some care but don't understand. All that's okay. Mainly I just have to be slightly careful of how I present information...I don't want some folks to make the wrong inference just because I wasn't thoughtful enough in my monologue.

Take the Cauldron convention, for instance: I set about crafting three different scenarios for it with very specific objectives. I like how they turned out...they more-or-less fulfilled my objectives. But do I think that my approach was the "right" approach? Or the "best" approach? Or the "only appropriate" approach that I could have taken? No...not at all! I created mid-level adventure scenarios with lots of danger (and lots of treasure) specifically because of the convention setting and its adherence to ADDKON rules (the German equivalent of the old FLAILSNAILS Conventions). I was writing scenarios for people to bring their home campaign PCs, place in danger, and yet reap big rewards (if successful).

I could have just easily run some sort of High Level one-off to showcase AD&D's extended potential. Or I could have run low level AD&D play, to demonstrate the survivability of such characters (in clear contrast to B/X play). Heck, there's lots of things I could have done for the con, but I figured I'd rather give the players some real up-the-ante, risk-reward stuff. Because if you're going to let players bring their own hard-ridden characters...then, yeah, let's give 'em some good stuff!

But I have to explain this to folks: I have to be explicit that just because I'm writing/running mid-level adventures does not mean that I presume this is "the best tier of play" or something. Honestly, I don't think there is a "best" tier of play...ALL tiers offer different experiences of game play, and the Great Joy of D&D...more specifically, Advanced D& that it facilitates game play at ALL these tiers. 

[and, what's more, it's possible to mix-and-match within the tiers...though that's a story for different day]


Man, I've been spending far too much time lately on social media platforms, particularly Discord. It's just so nice to interact with other humans who both A) have an understanding of, and B) give a rip about D&D gaming. But I think I'm going to cut back a bit...that, as much as anything, has contributed to the lightness of blog posts this year. Too many times someone has posted a query or a thought exercise or a subject of conversation that I've been all-too-willing to engage with (in long-winded format) when what I could be doing is writing about the topic Right Here. It might not be especially "deep," but it is (generally) on game-related (i.e. "on topic") and it gives my readership a reason to come back besides looking at old posts about yadda-yadda.

*sigh* More later...time to sleep.

[posted Monday morning, as I could barely keep my eyes open]


  1. I wouldn't worry about your blog output if your total creative output this year has been good.

    I would worry about if the Seahawks can win a game between now and next season.

  2. Blackrazor I would love to see your write up of Dwellers in the Forbidden city

    I'd be really interested to hear how you design and balance encounters for a mid level party

    whats your secret sauce for making it deadly? is it just playing the rules? good tactics?

    even if it was just a more detailed AAR of how the encounters worked out and why


  3. hmm not sure my comment posted

    I would be interested to see

    1. your Dwellers in the Forbidden City write up. love that module and some thoughts on what you changed and why
    2. what made your encounters fun and deadly at Couldron - some recaps with what made them work
    3. how do you design a mid level encounter/what do you specifically focus on

    1. Hey, Mr. Cavern:

      Comments on my posts are moderated (just to cut down on the spam), so they don't go up till I vet them. You're not being censored or anything (only bots get the boot).

      I will try to answer your questions this week...thanks for the interest!

  4. Quote:
    "Mainly I just have to be slightly careful of how I present information...I don't want some folks to make the wrong inference just because I wasn't thoughtful enough in my monologue."

    This is my No.1 rule when conversing with Americans in person and especially online. We might think that we speak the same language but so many of the assumptions that we bring with us are different (your use of the word nonce up there being one), and for that reason certain topics are off the table.

    With Europeans I'm less reticent, more often it's being careful to speak clearly and say exactly what I mean, both from an accent and word choice perspective.