Friday, February 17, 2017

We Are Having The Desired Effect

This came through for Patrick and me via the Satyr Press mailbag...

Hi guys,

I'm of that generation where I could be lifted right out of Stranger Things.  I picked up the red and blue books a few years after they were released, and then specifically remember my joy buying the Greyhawk full color map and actually taping it to our dining room wall.  I'm still surprised my father let the map stay up there all through junior high!

I've gamed ever since then, with only a couple of "dark" years where there was no gaming and did a couple of tours of duty in my 20s in the industry itself (was an editor and writer for Atlas Games and then did a few supplements for the amazingly esoteric Skyrealms of Jorune).  Then I went on to be a business professor and ultimately a consultant.

I'm happily now running a D&D 5e session with a group of mostly newbies ... including one Broadway actor, one improv comedian, a software exec, etc.  Fascinating group.  Probably the best group in terms of diversity I've ever gamed with.

The reason why I want to thank you is that through products like Maze of the Blue Medusa and Deep Carbon Observatory, I've rediscovered what it really means to run a game.  I got lazy over the years.  Grab the fancy, full-color Pathfinder modules, spend a ton of time prepping battles that would take hours, worry about online maps, etc.  I also played narrative game systems ... FATE, Fudge ... but even there I sometimes found myself searching for the easy way out -- fully developed scenarios I could just pop open and run.

The best game-mastering I ever did in my life was running the diceless game Amber back in the 90s.  I had the pleasure of meeting Erick Wujcik and doing a couple of games with him at GenCon, crammed into somebody's hotel room.  It REQUIRED me to make shit up, to listen to the players, to try to always keep things going and stay one step ahead.  

Prepping for some of my recent 5e sessions, culling from your material in various bits here and there but always making it my own, I've got my mojo back.  I'm inventing magic items and crazy curses on the fly, pushing the limit on mixing of genres ... comedy, then horror, then action, rinse/repeat.

So, for helping me get my DM mojo back, MAJOR appreciation.  Good luck with everything.  Wish I had more time to write again, as I'm that inspired.

Sincerely,

Mark Frein
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Man have you seen the TSR UK Series?

 For some reason, people like to wax poetic about old TSR modules like Keep on the Borderlands (What if nearly-identical monsters lived in nearly identical caves?!?) and the Giants series (What if you fought the same kind of giant 15 times then got to another one and fought a different kind of giant 15 times?) despite the fact they all bite. 

With the bar for appreciating TSR modules so low, I am kind of amazed I've never heard anything about the TSR UK series which--you guessed it--featured artists and the writers from the UK, including, I think, early White Dwarf adventures. They're a mixed bag but as a whole feature off-beat art, excellent maps and some intriguing structures (in The Gauntlet, for example, you have to take over a dungeon, then hold it against an assault).

Do you remember anything about UK1-UK7? Don't be shy in the comments.






Friday, February 3, 2017

Vornheim Campaign Index

This is quite fucking useful:

Matt Strom over at the Ice And Ruin blog has created (all by his lonesome without telling me) an index of all the world-material entries for my D&D game that are on this blog--everything from the Maidenmother Crone to the Jade Fang of Tiamat and all that.

With over 1000 entries on this blog, it can be hard to sort through this stuff.

Thanks Matt!