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Brief Notation of Questionable Import

So, yeah.

For whatever reason, I managed 12,000 words on my novel today, the first day that I got around to putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys, as the case actually is), and it’s a solid chunk of writing that may not require a whole lot of revision or editing.  All told, that jumps me from just under 50K words to nearly 60K, with my end goal being somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 words.  (You know, the actual length of the blog itself, when I decided to put everything on hiatus?)

That means that, if I can get another four days of similar productivity, I’ll have the novel to the point where I can start editing and revising it into a final form.

The actual likelihood of managing another four days like today is nigh onto impossible, but I like to dream.

Also, the Journey documentary, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ is well worth the time.  It manages to avoid painting Steve Perry as nearly as much of a douche as he likely is, and it does a great job of following Arnel Pineda during his first year with the band.  Definitely well worth watching.

On the other hand, the documentary that NetFlix recommends I follow up with, having to do with Rick Springfield?  It’s a tad bit creepy.  There’s a whole lot of obsessive fan … women.  In their fifties.  I guess this would be what going to a screening of any Twilight movie would be like, sans any obsessive middle school girls.  Or ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, for that matter.

Anyway…  The end of the Journey documentary has an interesting notation about how ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ is the highest selling download from the 20th century.  And a careful Wikipedia examination shows the truth of this.  This is mostly because there is literally no other song from before 2003 that even manages to chart on the list.  It’s all due to the final episode of The Sopranos, but I can’t begrudge them that.

I can, however, begrudge Steve Perry for putting one of the song’s characters in Canada, even though he didn’t realize it at the time.  Seriously, who does that?

Insofar as gaming goes, the Onyx Path Book of the Wyrm is entering its final hours.  I’ve gone on record hating most everything that Onyx Path stands for, and I doubt that this product will suddenly change my thinking.  As usual, the stretch goals go towards products that aren’t part of the physical book the Kickstarter is promoting.  This time, it’s helping their lucrative t-shirt business (this comes up every single time) and going toward the production of a PDF that they may later produce a physical copy of.  Which I would then have to pay for separately.  I guess I should be glad that they’re not operating on stretch goals that include ‘if we get this much money, we get more money’ or shit like that, but still…

And in a vague attempt to tie both both NetFlix and RPG’s together, I would offer up the ‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’ series as a solid source for a fairly narrow genre, namely Jazz Era Australia.  It would be a great series to watch for background on Call of Cthulhu in general, and Down Under games of that era in specific.  It may not be to your specific taste, but it gives a good feel for the sorts of time specific plots and ideas.  Communists, trade unionists and Great War veterans all offer local color as the libertine Miss Phryne Fisher solves crimes and mysteries.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment.  Here’s hoping for a good day tomorrow, and with any luck things will proceed apace with everything house-related, so I can get back to slightly more normal worries, rather than the ones I’ve been laboring under lately.

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An Update Post on the Subject of Hiatus

In the past, I’ve tried to maintain a blog.  It hasn’t gone well.  I’ve had people from all quarters encourage me, but it never really took.  Then for whatever reason, the planets aligned, and this blog finally took flight.  I set very specific goals, put a lot of thought and pre-planning into the idea, and hardened myself to carve out enough time each day to actually write.

And it’s gone well, more or less.

I managed to keep up a solid goal of daily posting (with one momentary lapse which I later corrected), and I’ve kept to my personal goal of a word count.  I haven’t done much to promote the blog, but that’s keeping with my own personal outlook on things, rather than anything else.  I’ve largely kept this blog anonymous, simply because it would be problematic if I were connected with some of the commentary I have made.  While I think games like Savage Worlds are an egregious waste of ink and a step backward in gaming evolution, I like hanging out and talking to people like Shane Hensley at conventions.  It’s easier if I am not bound by having to watch what I say, even if I rarely go off about bad decisions in game design.  (Onyx Path, notwithstanding.)

I’ve come to realize some things about this blog in the process of writing it.  For one thing, a daily blog is only really applicable when there are multiple authors and it’s part of a larger news organization.  As a one man show, it’s a little clunky and can lead to some serious dry spells.  I can point to the entries where I’d run out of inspiration and had to fall back on my own skill at writing, rather than the rush of words from a wellspring if ideas.  (Hint:  When I start into reviews of modules, that usually means that I ran out of gaming philosophy to discuss.  It’s the sad truth.)

Also, the goal of 1,000 words that I set for myself is a nice round number, but the end result is a little weird.  I went back and tallied up the word count of my blog entries, not including the titles.  Over the course of 94 entries, I’ve manage to rack up a weirdly high amount of text.  Translated into novel pages, this would be over 300 pages of solid text.  Read aloud, it would take nearly 16 hours to wade through everything I’ve written thus far.

Impressive, no?

Well, so long as you don’t want to grind your way through the archives.  When it’s gone to that point, there’s virtually no chance that a person will delve into the attic to find a gem.  There’s simply too much to deal with.  I mean, I like reading more than the next guy, but I’m not entirely certain that I would want to wade through that much text when I’ve got other things to do with my day.  And I have the feeling that this has managed to discourage some members of my small audience, if they weren’t already casually familiar with the blog.  It’s one thing to read this stuff on a daily basis, but if you were tasked with catching up on material that you’d missed, it might not be worth the time and trouble to do so.

The other thing to keep in mind is how generally taxing it is to keep up on, in terms of both time and general creative impetus.  When I was making a point of keeping up on a daily posting, there wasn’t a lot of other writing that was being done in my life, which was an interesting note to make.  I have a lot of other writing projects that I’m involved in, but many of them fell to the side when I was meticulously updating on a daily basis.  Putting the blog on hiatus has had the effect of allowing those projects to come back to the fore.  While there hasn’t been a lot of daily forward progress on such things, there’s been more than there would have been.

So, what is the Librarian going to be doing, now that his blog posts are no longer going to be a daily occurrence?  Quite a lot, actually, which is why I made the decision to go on hiatus when I did.  I didn’t want the quality to suffer any more than it already had started to.  (Warped and incoherent as they might be, these are the standards I try to hold myself to.)

First off, I’m looking at packing up and moving.  I’ve been in the same place for over eight years, and it’s simply time to move onward.  An opportunity has opened up, with others that may follow, and I’m bound elsewhere.  As such, I need a fair amount of time to pack, given that my library is merely one section of things.

Secondly, I need to refinish the house that I’m moving to.  Part of the aforementioned opportunity has to do with being able to find a properly sized house in my particular price range, with the understanding that I have to do a fair amount of work simply to make it habitable.  This will include everything from hanging drywall all the way through the finish carpentry and plumbing, so I know there’s a lot of work ahead of me.  I’ll have help, but there’s still a month or so that I need to devote solely to swinging a hammer and wielding a paintbrush.

While doing the physical labor, I’m looking at spending a lot of time working through the systems and intricacies of the game that I’ve been trying to finish.  Big surprise there, I guess, that someone with as much to say about the back catalogue and history of gaming would want to make his own impression upon the industry.  Most of the system is in place and I’ve run some playtests, but there’s still a lot that needs to be built out in terms of the worldset and certain picky elements of the dice.  There’s another gaming project that’s unrelated to this that I have been devoting time to, but at present, that particular idea is in another writer’s hands.  When it’s done, I’ll be looking to publish that as well.

Here’s to hoping, at least.

Finally, there’s the novel I’ve been writing.  If there’s any time left over, after packing and hauling are out of the way and the house is being made vaguely habitable, I’ll be putting time into finishing the book.  It’s about halfway done, hitting about 50K words, and the hope is to have that further on by the time summer is done with.  Most of the rest of the plot is planned out, so it’s mostly a matter of putting the time into it.  Sadly, that time recently has been going to the blog, so it just amounts to figuring which creative outlet is being robbed for which purpose.

That’s what I want to do for my summer vacation.  We’ll see where it ends up.  And if I get any decent inspiration along the way, as it pertains to the subject of gaming in general, I’ll post something up.  With luck, I’ll be able to keep to a single post a week, but I’m not promising anything.  Hells, we nearly hit the end of this week without anything, so there’s no real way to tell.

The Inevitable Kilroy Post

The most unpleasant thing about starting a blog from scratch, rather than importing content from previous iterations is trying to figure out where to start with things.  When you start, there’s no audience.  There’s no one eagerly awaiting the first post, frantically refreshing the page to see what genius you’ve come up with for this solitary post.  It is, in a lot of ways, just an exercise in getting your fingers working, collating your thoughts, and bringing your typing speed back up to where it should necessarily be for writing future entries.  It is the act of howling into the wilderness, wondering if anyone will actually hear.

A lot of people force themselves into exercises to generate initial content, whether it comes in the form of making a list to then fill out or creating a theme to stick to.  Subjects like “My Top Ten Favorite Things” or “Songs That Give Me Ideas” and similar.  This is a fine idea, but for the time being, I’m thinking more along the lines of outlining the basic subjects I want to cover on a semi-regular basis.  This is not to say that I won’t indulge myself in working on lists when they occur to me, but for the time being, I want to hammer out a sort of schedule that I can stick to, insofar as the broad subjects are concerned.

1.)  Older Games.This one is probably going to get the most mileage.  As the so-called, self-titled Games Librarian, the main thrust of this blog is to talk about games that I already own.  My gaming collection stretches back decades, and it would be a shame if I neglected talking about the evolution of the hobby as I personally see it.  While I like a lot of the current crop of games that are hitting the market these days, I still love to dust off the older wares and look through them from time to time.  These are where I cut my teeth, after all, and there are plenty of things to talk about with these damned things.  And depending on my thoughts at a given moment, there might be something that can be related to more contemporary offerings.

2.)  Current Games.
And yeah, I want to talk about new releases.  I buy games on a fairly regular basis, when time, interest and money allow me to.  There’s a reason I’ve built a damned library, after all.  Necessarily, these may be ‘current’ only by comparison, as I have other obligations that prevent me from spending all day, every day reading RPG manuals, but who knows…  maybe I’ll manage to crank out a review that’s pertinent to whatever audience I manage to attract.

3.)  Kickstarters.
On the other hand, I’m always available to talk about whatever interesting offerings are coming up on Kickstarter.  Since there’s no actual product in hand, I can report on whatever sunshine and lollipops are being offered up in exchange for money on the gaming Kickstarters.  (Be warned, however, I am a tad bitter with the way Kickstarters are being handled, as far as the RPG publishers are concerned.  There have been a lot of fascinating missteps along the road to the new business model, and I’ve seen a lot of my money tied up for a very long time without anything to show for it.)

4.)  Adventures, Modules, and Adventure Paths.
For better or worse, the idea of the Adventure Module has largely been lost to the winds of time for most current products, which I feel is a shame.  These were mainstays back in the days of AD&D (both 1st and 2nd edition), but D&D 3.0/3.5 sort of neglected them, and most modern companies don’t bother with them.  Except Paizo, of course.  And Fantasy Flight, from the look of it.  So, since it’s not something that most companies bother with, I’ll devote a little time to the companies who do.  And who did, I suppose, since there’s plenty to work with.  (The previous was a rambling justification of why I’ll be talking about Paizo products nearly exclusively for these posts.)

5.)  Discarded Campaign Ideas.
So, here’s the thing.  I have a lot of ideas.  What I don’t have is the time to run a dozen different games in order to actually use these ideas.  These days, I’m lucky to get a couple of games in during a week, and even then I don’t want to be planning or running all of them.  As a result, I’ll be posting these ideas here and there, either for feedback or for people to quietly steal and use for themselves.  There’s no guarantee that any of these ideas are any good, so keep that in mind.  I’ll try to keep the truly inane word salad to myself, though.

6.)  Gaming Philosophy/Critiques.On occasion, my friends link me to these sorts of self-help nonsense that show up on forums, purporting to offer advice on how to be a better GM.  For the most part, these ideas are either complete nonsense or ways for the guy posting such things to draw attention to himself.  Over the years, I’ve come up with a fairly solid methodology on how to game, and it works pretty well.  (And despite my general antipathy towards sports, I’ll borrow from Messrs. Dean and Bryant:  “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.”)  So every now and again, I’ll deconstruct one of these sorts of ‘how-to’ lists to see what I do and don’t agree with.  And who knows, maybe I’ll even offer apologies to the original authors if I go too far.

7.)  Systems Discussion.
This is sort of a catch-all category for a number of different things.  I’ve played a wide variety of games over the years, and there are aspects of each that I like, as well as things that annoy the living crap out of me.  Where the Older and Newer Games categories of posts will deal with overall issues and impressions, this category of Systems Discussion will focus on why I think something or another deserves closer inspection and whether or not it can be pulled free to work somewhere else.  Also, it will allow me to consider the ever-popular Hacks that can be done to a given system to alter or improve it.  (This is also where things like House Rules will show up, since there are a lot of them that we’ve come up with for D&D/Pathfinder over the years.)

Huh.  Inadvertently, I’ve given myself a subject for every day of the week.  Somehow, I doubt I’ll manage to be that vigilant in my postings, but it gives me something to shoot for, I suppose.  For the time being though, I’m letting myself be lazy and start by talking about Kickstarters with the next post.  We’ll see just how ambitious things get once that’s out of the way.