Thursday, May 18, 2017

B/X Companion - Now Available in PRINT

As the title says, I am now in possession of a couple crates of my B/X Companion. For those who have been clamoring for a print copy, you may once again order it directly from me through PayPal by clicking on the drop down menu in the sidebar (make sure it's the menu underneath the correct image), and selecting the book's destination.

Sorry to have made you folks wait so long.

Anyway, my excitement is marred a bit today by the passing of one of the greatest rock vocalists to ever come out of the Seattle area: Chris Cornell. Like me, Chris was a local boy...attended the same elementary school my boy goes to, went to the same high school I would have (if I'd gone to public school) and worked as a sous-chef at a restaurant just down the street from my (current) home. I've had the pleasure of singing his music on occasion, but I'm a poor imitation (at best) being about an octave shy of his full range...and unlike me, Mr. Cornell was an accomplished and excellent songwriter, musician, and wordsmith. Prince and Bowie were losses that most of the world could grieve, but losing Chris...well, that feels much more personal.


Rest in peace, boys.

Louder than Love? Damn Straight.

Monday, May 8, 2017

"Last Words..."

"As two relative neophytes to the gaming industry, we aren't exactly sure what reception our baby...will get out there. Putting our time, energy, and scanty resources into this project has been an adventure for us, and it's now coming to an end, or rather to a climax. For now is the time of truth, the moment when we discover if others out their share our tastes, and if our thoughts were actually headed in the right direction all along. We must admit that we are tense with anxiety as we finally let this game slip from our sticky fingers and let it be at last completed. It is difficult indeed to stop working on a well-loved project that has taken more than two years of our lives to complete (in all four hemispheres of the earth!), and may take many more to be successful. If even at all.

"While we were designing, we had one main concept lodged tightly in our minds -- that was to make a role-playing game that helped us role-play, that let players immerse themselves in other people's lives, and for a time at least, vicariously live out those lives completely. Realism, playability, excitement, and personality were only included insofar as they move this game toward that goal.

"Now it only remains to be seen how many role-players there are out there, and how well this game suits their needs."

Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein-Hagen
Ars Magica, first edition
The wizard writes...

I think it's important for folks to remember that everyone starts somewhere; that we all have hopes and fears and doubts. And that we shouldn't let that stop us from putting out our labors of love even in the face of gigantic opposition or competition. 

Hopefully that inspires some folks. I know it inspires me.
; )

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fan Service

While I don't miss living in Paraguay, I've actually come to miss some things from that country (as I figured I would). For example, last weekend I ditched my old propane grill and picked up a cheap charcoal burner so that I could do a Paraguayan-style asado at my house...various cuts of red meat, rubbed in coarse salt and slow-roasted over several hours to be consumed in pieces sliced and shared (along with grilled sausages, mandioca, and fantastic sopa paraguayo baked by my lovely wife). Sure we consumed a medley of vegetables, too (we're a little more health conscious, after all!) but it was a nice reminder of flavors we enjoyed...and missed...from our time down there.

Another thing I've come to miss over the last nine months of American life is quality soccer. Sure the Seattle Sounders won the MLS cup this year (my son and I watched the championship game in a local Greenwood brewhouse), but the professional level of play in the U.S. is, unfortunately, not quite to the standard seen in South America (or, indeed, other parts of the world...the Classico this year was one for the ages!). This became readily apparent when my 6-year old (at the time five) joined his first American soccer team and played like a frigging superstar: scoring 8-10 goals a game, going end-to-end with the ball through multiple defenders, scoring goals from mid-field, one-timing passes like Leo Messi. Jaw-dropping for the other parents at his school (who said he needed to play with the 4th graders and bring some much needed power), and immensely entertaining for Yours Truly. However, it's more a mark that the competition in the States...and over-all player skill...just isn't up to the same standards as in South America.

The trophy is taller than my boy. We've measured.
Plus, my son brings a lot of enthusiasm to the game...after all, soccer is really the only show in town in Paraguay, and it's pretty much all he played and talked about with the other boys while he attended school there for a year-and-a-half. It made for an especially memorable MLS finals as we got to cheer famous Paraguayan Nelson Valdez (the guy on the left in the above photo), who was excellent in the Sounders' championship run.  After the season ended, Valdez (whose actual last name is Haedo-Valdez, and who is known in Latin America as Nelson Haedo) transferred to Paraguayan professional team Cerro Porteno, which just happens to be  my son's favorite pro club in Paraguay. When we visited Asuncion in February, we had a chance to see him in his second game with Cerro and, due to my wife's connections, our children got to meet Nelson in the locker room afterwards. He was was warm and gracious and signed all their jerseys (both Sounders and Cerro) and gave my boy a memory he'll cherish forever. For a fan, one couldn't have asked for a better experience.

I would certainly NOT consider myself any kind of "international superstar," but I know that I have a certain degree of fame (or at least notoriety) for my writing. A month or two back, the kids and I were up at Around The Table in Lynnwood (probably playing a game of Blood Bowl), when Nick (the co-owner) introduced me to some guys who were huge fans of Five Ancient Kingdoms; folks who owned and were playing it and whom I'd never before met. Their enthusiasm and praise was...well, frankly, it was a little over-whelming. I'm just not used to complete strangers gushing over my creative works, at least not face-to-face, and I may have been at a loss for words. I only hope I was nice and humble with them and gave them a good impression (i.e. that I'm a nice guy) and not some sort of aloof asshole.

Yeah, sometimes I worry about this kind of thing. I'm not really anti-social...I'm usually pretty gregarious in social situations. But deep down, there's a part of me that simply has a hard time believing folks really value my creations, despite the monthly evidence of payments being deposited for my PDFs and the emails I receive asking for a re-release of the B/X Companion in print form. And perhaps it is this doubt that has (in some subtle, subconscious way) contributed to me dragging my feet when it comes to actually getting around to re-printing the book, despite the numerous requests.

[which has led to some amusingly ridiculous incidents: like the person selling a copy on eBay for over $1K. I mean, it's not like I'm dead or something!]

And SO...I am doing a new print run of my B/X Companion. Called my printer today, in fact, to get a price quote. This will be a limited run...probably a hundred copies or so...and I'll need to check postage rates before I put the order button on the web site, as shipping prices have gone up the last few years. But the book's price should remain the same: $24.99. Once I have product in hand, I'll let folks know it's cool to order again.

Time to get back into this publishing thing.