30 April 2007

I'll Be There

Gen Con, that is.

Thanks to the kindess of others, I've managed to find a place to sleep while I'm in Indianapolis. I'm looking forward to the convention, because it's one of those rituals that has become necessary for me. It's a way to connect with my industry peers, to hear the latest rumors, and to see the latest goodies.

It doesn't keep me from feeling like some game industry hobo, though. I'll have one hell of a time fitting all my gaming materials into a bindle.

It's been a long day. I've been sick, Amy's been sick, the kids have been...kids.

Some exciting news today. Of course, I can't say squat about it. Forgive me my little secrets, as you have always done, and I shall be all the happier.

So that's it for this brief update. There will be more later, I can assure you.

29 April 2007

Work D&D

It's not so much "Workplace D&D" anymore, given that we play at Jeff's apartment and only two of the remaining players are co-workers. Over the past two sessions, we've had some new developments:

We've lost our rogue: Deana, claiming "short attention span," has decided that the game isn't for her. Though she won't be playing any more, her husband is liking it quite a bit and will continue to play.

Meantime, Roya is threatening to reprise her role as Raven the Sorceress in this week's game session.

In the past two games, I've worked on getting the party to the Valley of Obelisks, which is the primary setting for The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde adventure. Along the way, they encountered a group of goblin bandits waylaying a wagon. After defeating the goblins and rescuing a small boy from their clutches, the characters continued their journey to Jewelford, the site of a local wrestling competition.

The boy, named Leto, is the son of a local cloth merchant. He was traveling north with a small shipment of cloth when the goblins attacked his wagon. With his companions dead, he has no one else to turn to except for the PCs. He has promised them a reward if they will take him back to his family.

So we'll see. I'm not sure what they'll do without a rogue in the group, but it's not all that important at the moment (though I gather it will be, eventually).

On the topic of Gen Con Indy, I'm still homeless. The closest hotels with available room are eight miles away from the convention center. I'm not too proud to consider such an option as a last resort, but I really don't want to be concerned with the logistics of getting to and from the convention on a daily basis. Taxis and hotel shuttles are all fine and dandy, but eight miles is a long way to go...

Tomorrow is Monday, and it marks the next session of JD's Liberty campaign. My character, Sahm, got to third level last game. He'll be going up another level of fighter, and taking Dodge as his third level feat. I'm not overly fond of Dodge, but it's an entry level option for some other feats I'd like Sahm to have.

That's it for now. More writing for me tonight, as well as laundry duty. Man, I hate doing laundry. We need self-cleaning clothes, I think.

22 April 2007

To Indy, or not To Indy

That is the question.

I'd like to go to Gen Con Indy this year, but I'm conflicted. For the past couple of years, I've tended to go to the con in service to a publisher (Green Ronin, to be specific). This tends to save me money and planning time on some aspects of the convention. The trade off is that I help man the booth, run games, or both.

This has never been a problem. I enjoy booth work, even though it means I'm in one spot for most of the convention. The folks from Green Ronin are awesome, and you can imagine that the other industry folks who stop by the booth to say hi to Chris, Nicole, Hal, Robert, Evan, and Steve give me an opportunity to interact with and meet new people. I also get to talk to gamers and fans, which I also enjoy.

Gen Con is in August...only three and a half months away. I've made no travel plans, haven't purchased a badge, and conversely, I have no idea if I'll have a place to stay. In order to reserve a room with one of the hotels in Indy, you first need to buy your badge. At this point, though, I don't know what room availability is like. I'd rather not buy a badge, and then find out that the closest available hotel is ten miles away from the convention center.

That's my first problem, which is (admittedly) due to procrastination on my part. With the new baby, it's been busy; with income tax returns due, I've also been a bit more worried about money than usual. It's a recipe for mediocrity, let me tell you.

The second problem is the new baby I've mentioned. Two years ago, I left my wife home alone with a five month-old baby. Last year, she and that same baby (17 months at the time) stayed home while I flew to Indy again. This year, I'd be leaving her here to care for a two year-old boy and a six-month old girl all by herself.

I'm not sure I can do that to Amy. Even with both of us around, it's still a lot of work to care for both of our children at once. Madeline will probably be less of a trial in three months, but I don't harbor any illusions that my wife will have an easy time of it if I decide to take off to Indianapolis for five days.

There's the personal conflict. I've been going to Indy three years in a row thus far. I enjoy seeing old friends, making new ones, and rubbing elbows with industry folks in an attempt to remain on proverbial radar screens. I'm afraid that by not going to the convention, I'll be missing opportunities to wrangle up writing/design work later in the year. I guess that's just insecurity talking.

I spoke to Stan! about it yesterday, and his take was thus: I'm more or less in with the folks I write for now, so they'll still know me and they'll still continue to ask me to work for them. The down side is that, as feared, I might miss opportunities to meet new people and publishers.

It's a tough choice. Even if I decide to go, I still need to figure out where I'm staying. I suppose I'll do some poking around for the time being and see if I can determine the lay of the land...

19 April 2007

Paizo to Cease Publication of Dungeon, Dragon

Yeah. More info on that development here.

I can't say I'm not disappointed. My first paid publishing credit was in Dungeon, after all. The two magazines have been a staple for D&D players for hundreds of issues apiece, and it will take some time to get used to not seeing them on FLGS shelves and racks.

I've heard complaints from some folks that say these magazines have become less useful as time as worn on. The complaints tend to gravitate more to Dragon than to Dungeon, but then again, Dungeon has a somewhat limited audience since it is geared more towards DMs than players. I've subscribed to both magazines at one time or another. I've always let the subscriptions lapse, for whatever reason.

The magazines are generally a mixed bag, depending on what the reader is looking for. I've never seen any magazine (regardless of title or publisher) with 100% content that I can use. Shadis (when it first started out) was close. On average, I might see one or two articles that catch my attention. Even if I don't use them, I tend to read the articles that my friends (and, dare I say, colleagues) have written.

So, there it is. I'll be interested to see the online format that Wizards is planning to go to, both from the perspective as a gamer as well as that of a writer/designer.

15 April 2007

Complete Champion Update

During all of life's chaos last week, I must've missed this. However, I do see it today: the back cover text for Complete Champion, my first product for Wizards. Not that I wrote the whole thing, mind you. My contribution was quite small. Still, one small step for me, one giant leap for...me. Ahem.

The text, if you please.

"Divine Power at Your Command

"Mastery of divine power is no longer reserved for the cleric or paladin. With devotion and dedication, any hero can become a divine champion and a force to shake the heavens. Your strength comes from the universe itself, and you can use your divine gifts to create, heal, or destroy. Your choices shape the world.

"This D&D supplement gives players and Dungeon Masters an unprecedented resource for using divine power and religion in their game. In addition to new feats, spells, items, and prestige classes, Complete Champion presents exciting adventure locations, affiliation mechanics for different deities and organizations, and a system for designing your own religions based on the cleric domain system. Alternative class features for every core class and more reserve feats provide extended options for players interested in creating or advancing characters along the road to divine power."

Still not sure if my name will grace the cover or not. Here's hoping!

02 April 2007

Brief Update

I'm punching along on one of two projects at the moment. The size of the project isn't precisely huge, but it's for a product line I'm very keen on. So there. More about that later.

As for the home-front, having two children is definitely a sure-fire way to get behind on just about everything you want and/or need to do. God bless 'em.

I updated Sideshow In Barovia last night with detailed descriptions of the game's NPCs. This is mostly for my players' information, but it was fun doing the little character capsules nonetheless. Thanks goes to Wizards for their PC Portraits, which provided the yummy pictures. Now, if only I could draw...

I'm off to JD and Keri's place tonight to play in the Liberty game. I missed the last session, which ended with a fight. As it is, I'm running late tonight, as 3/4ths of the household is asleep. I should be out of here in a few minutes, but they're all so damn cute that I don't want to wake them..!

Workplace D&D should be running this Thursday. We have yet to nail down the venue, but I'm thinking it will be Jeff's new digs. We shall see...