04 November 2005

And Now: The Boredom

As of today, I've got no projects due. I just sent in my latest turn-over, albeit three days late. I'm not generally late, mind you. I make it a point not to be. There were some events these past couple of weeks that were well beyond my control that sort of got in the way of writing. Either I was too emotionally-drained to get the work done, or I was too damn busy with the important things in life. Like family.

I don't want to make excuses, though. That's not what I'm about. I probably could've had the stuff in on time, but then again, I don't think I could've vouched for the quality. Then again, I can rarely vouch for my own quality when I'm not embroiled in extraordinary circumstances.

Just ignore me. My brain is burned.

Okay, folks. Everyone into the way-back machine. I want to talk a little bit about something. In fact, I want to talk about the reason I started this blog in the first place. In a title, the reason was Children of the Horned Rat. It was my intention to keep a web log of the creative progress if my work on that title here, a sort of simultaneous dev journal.

As it is, I got halfway through my first post and decided not to go forward with the journal. The project was very much a secret at the time, and I didn't want anything to slip out into the bit stream that would've been better left in my head or on my hard drive. At the time, I'd just discovered blogging (for myself), and I was exploring the potential of the medium.

Children of the Horned Rat, or CotHR for short, was my first WFRP project. I'd never been a player of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but I had done my share of Blood Bowl. Though the two games are very different from one another, BB does give you some idea of what to expect from the non-Human races in the Warhammer universe. Coincidentally, the Skaven team in Blood Bowl was my favorite one (next to the Undead team). So, in that respect, I'd had some small experience with the Skaven.

When I was offered a piece of CotHR, it was probably the last thing I'd expected. My prior work for Green Ronin had been on the Thieves' World Player's Manual (as well as a few thousand words on Shadowspawn's Guide to Sanctuary). I was excited and nervous about it all at the same time.

The first thing I did was pick up everything that had been released up to that time for WFRP 2nd Edition. Research was the word of the day in the beginning. I have a copy of the original WFRP game (who doesn't?), but I needed to update myself on the mechanics of the system as well as the changes that had been made to the setting. I was profoundly impressed with WFRP, which made me even more eager to work on CotHR.

One thing that really did it for me was The Loathsome Ratmen and All Their Vile Kin. My Aussie co-author on CotHR, Steve Darlington, was snarfing around on the web one day and he discovered that there was a book with that particularly long-winded title. He wrote a quick email with a link and asked something to the effect of, "Should we be aware of what's in this book also?"

Rob Schwalb, the final part of our triumverate, managed to secure a few copies of Loathsome Ratmen for us. When mine finally arrived, I devoured it in a single sitting. It's a really great book, well worth the money (even though I got mine for free). Compared to the other books I'd picked up (Skavenslayer by William King being the first, and the Skaven Army Book for Fantasy Battles), Loathsome Ratmen was meaty, juicy, and did a wonderful job establishing a lot of mood for the project.

Skavenslayer was a horse of a different color. I'd never read any of William King's work before, so I wasn't sure what to expect from Skavenslayer. I can't say that I really liked the style of the writing, though the character development wasn't bad. This isn't a dig on Bill King, it's just the way that I'm wired. I'm not sure that I'd've actually read Skavenslayer on my own if I hadn't been working on CotHR. That said, the novel was still instrumental to a lot of the development I did on CotHR. It served a noble purpose.

I can't really get into the content of CotHR. I'm not entirely sure how much of what I wrote will make the final cut, so it'd be silly for me to make any assumptions on that count. Especially considering that the book won't see release until summer 2006. It feels like it's such a long time from now, too. I know that it will pass in a flash, and I'll be sitting down to ice cream cake on my 33rd birthday only to wonder where in the heck the time went.

One other thing about working on WFRP: English. You have to write in UK English. It's "colour," not "color." "Neighbour," not "neighbor." That sort of thing. It took some getting used to, and even now I find myself correcting these typos in private emails I send to friends. All I can say is, thank god that Word has a spellchecker than can be set to UK English, or I'd be one sorry buffoon.

Working on WFRP has been a lot of fun up to now. I hope it continues. I've had two projects for the line so far, and I'm hoping there will be a third (and a fourth and a fifth). It's an awesome game (and I even ran my group -- the guys you met last post -- though Through the Drakwald, the adventure in the WFRP 2nd Edition core rulebook). If I don't break down and run a Thieves' World or Midnight game, I think I'll probably end up running an original Warhammer game. That is, one that isn't based on a published scenario.

So that's it, for now. I think I got a lot of my chest, without actually saying much. Don't you think?

Oh, and what was that I was saying about being bored..? Well, I'm glad you asked. You see, I've got nothing to write, so I'm liable to be kicking around acting bored and being a nuisance to my wife (bless her heart for tolerating my neurotic self). Then again, it's not a bad thing: I have time to work on my Gen Con TW scenario. Plus, my slate will be clean for Gen Con SoCal in less than two weeks.

Well, Hastur (the Unspeakable Cat) just spilled a full glass of iced tea all over me. And he doesn't even care. I must get dried off.

Why do we have pets, again?

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