30 August 2007

Mythic D&D

Tonight is the first session of the D&D campaign I'm running at work. This represents the first actual gaming I've done since I left California, almost two months ago. I'm interested to see how the player dynamics fall into place, because there all very diverse in their gaming experience and background. I'll be happy to post profiles later on (no time this morning), as well as the results of the first game.

I don't anticipate any PC casualties, but you never know. The dice can be fickle...

21 August 2007

Meetings and Milestones

For the past three years, I've been one of a privileged number of folks that gets to see what the future holds for RPGs, well ahead of time. Last Friday afternoon, I was sitting in a room filled with other freelance writers, many of their names well-known to you, listening to secrets that I am not at liberty to discuss.

At some point during this seminar (if you can call it that), it occurred to me quite succinctly where I was, who I was with, and what we were talking about. I reflected on how I'd gotten there, as compared to where I'd been four years previous. I'd gone from approaching these people on convention floors with stars in my eyes, to mingling with them like I bloody well belonged.

On Saturday, there was a smaller meeting. It was no less important. Many other things were talked about. Looking at the assembled crew, it was obvious that I was standing on the shoulders of industry giants.

I think that it's important that I occasionally dwell on these things. I need to keep my own role in this funny little business in some kind of perspective. It's not unlike the Great Oz's schtick: there is a man behind the curtain. The vast majority of the Emerald City's residents don't know that he is there. A smaller percentage do as they are told, and they ignore him. The few that remain are either in league with him, or they resist his machinations.

Who am I, exactly? How do I fit in? I'm still not sure, sometimes. I went to Gen Con this year, unsure if I really wanted to keep plugging away or not. I was without current business cards, and I promised myself that I wouldn't try to pimp myself out to publishers. Damn the ENnies, and damn the multitude of good opportunities that came my way, because there's no getting out alive between now and August of 2008.

This is what getting up to feed the baby at 5am gets me. I'm going back to bed for an hour or so, then I'll get up and go to work. Will I sleep? Probably. Probably not.

20 August 2007

Back From Gen Con

Gen Con was fun. Most of my time was spent doing the things I needed to do: discussing work, attending the ENnie Awards, and seeing people that I typically only see once a year.

Speaking of the ENnie Awards: Children of the Horned Rat won two Silver ENnies! One for Best Writing, and another for Product of the Year! How do you like them apples?

The Silver ENnie Awards for Best Writing & Product of the Year

I'm humble enough to admit that I wasn't the only one who worked on Horned Rat. Steve Darlington and Robert J. Schwalb were both instrumental in making that product so damn good.

Prior to last weekend, the closest I'd been to having my name on an ENnie Award-winning product was last year, when Template Troves III garnered an honorable mention for Best Adversary/Monster Product. I was proud then, especially considering that TT3 was the first product I'd written and designed by myself (and which was thereafter developed and published by the good folks at Silverthorne Games).

Saturday, I went to lunch with several good folks: Stan!, Sue Cook (Monte's better half), Owen KC Stephens, Miranda & Sean Horner, Keri Reynolds, and JD Wiker (not pictured).

(L to R) Stan!, Sue Cook, & Owen KC Stephens

I had to rib Sue a little bit, since Monte Cook's Ptolus took the Gold ENnie for Product of the Year from Children of the Horned Rat. I'm even more humbled by the fact that CotHR was placed second to a product as awesome (and awe-inspiring) as Ptolus.

(L to R) Miranda & Sean Horner, & Keri Reynolds

This Gen Con was also a time for another first: I finally got to meet TS Luikart, one of the folks who worked painstakingly on Dark Heresy for nigh on two years. He and I have been in contact with one another since before I made my little contributions to Dark Heresy, as he was the driving force behind the Terror in Talabheim adventure for WFRP.

TS Luikart, Inquisitor Extraordinaire. Confess!!

I didn't get to spend nearly enough time with my friends. There never seem to be enough hours where our schedules coincide with one another's. I also had my eyes peeled for other good friends, like Dave Herber (cyberpunk god), Tom Lommel (of NASCRAG fame), or Aida (from Gnymphs.net, the kilt girl from a couple years ago), but I didn't run into any of them. Perhaps next year.

There were a lot of good costumes this year. I tend to pay more attention to costumes under two distinct circumstances: either they're related to Star Wars in some way, in which case they stand out on my radar, or they're skimpy. I don't often snap shots of the skimpy ones, since it's a good way to get beaten up by Amy, so I try to focus on the Star Wars costumes.

Queen Amidala

This Amidala costume was very well done. I don't generally ask for permission to take pictures of costumed folks, but I made an exception in her case. I also saw no fewer than two Imperial Stormtroopers who were undoubtedly female ("Aren't you a little cute for a stormtrooper?"). I could only tell because they had their helmets off; with the helmets on, they looked like any other TK designation.

I'd like to shout out to my other friends: the crew at Green Ronin, including Nicole Lindroos, Chris "Famous" Pramas, Steve Kenson, Chris McGlothlin, Hal Mangold, and Rob Schwalb; the folks at Wizards of the Coast, including Rodney Thompson and Chris Perkins, amongst so many others; Hyrum "Tallfolk" Savage at Upper Deck; as well as anyone else I've forgotten.

A few faces were conspicuously absent this year: Marc Schmalz of Green Ronin and The Game Mechanics; Sean K. Reynolds; and Rob Vaughn. You guys were missed. Try and make it out next year, dammit.

I brought back a lot of books this year. I actually paid for them, thanks! As much as getting free stuff is nice and easy on the pocket book, I find that it is important to support my friends in the industry.

Well, there is a litterbox that needs scooping somewhere in this apartment. I suppose I better get to it before some disgustingly bad cat has another "accident."

13 August 2007

August Means GenCon

I'm headed to Indianapolis later this week to indulge in Gen Con once more. How many consecutive years have I been going? Since we discovered that Amy was pregnant with Stephen, at least, which was August 2004. So four years in a row. What makes this year different is that I've got a 90 minute direct flight to Indy, as opposed to a seven hour flight (including connections) from San Diego.

Another difference is that I'm not going under the Green Ronin banner this year. I'll be there as myself, without an exhibitor's badge, and with no booth work to do and no games to run. That, in and of itself, should be mildly interesting.

I considered not going at all, but I had to discard that idea. Children of the Horned Rat is up for three ENnies, so I'd like to be there to see if it wins. The pessimist in me seems to think that there's a snowball's chance in hell that the book will get a silver ENnie, much less a gold.

What does it mean to me? Just getting nominated is kind of neat, but I'm not sure where that puts me. The ENnies are a strange animal; they're fan awards, yeah, and I've heard a lot of folks complain about them for one reason or another. My opinion hardly matters, though I've never had a bad ENnies experience. I suppose I'm largely neutral on the topic, as a whole, though I do feel that the Awards go a good ways towards bringing some of the smaller publishers into the limelight. Everyone deserves the limelight, after all.

If CotHR wins, I'll be more than happy to stand on stage next to Rob Schwalb and Chris Pramas (and whoever else is there to accept the award). I am one of the authors, after all. Not that I like being on stage, particularly (my wasted high school drama days are long gone), and I still feel like an unknown in the industry. Then again, we're all unknowns most of the time, except to each other.

No gaming yet, though the Mythic D&D game has characters more or less finished. We look to play the first game on the 30th. Should be a hoot!

The Saga Edition Star Wars game I'm planning will probably go into action after I return from Indy. There's still a lot of work I need to do on that game that I haven't had the time for.

Work at Mythic continues. I can't talk about specifics, so don't ask. Let's just say that it's rewarding, and I don't lay in bed every morning trying to think of a good excuse so that I don't have to go in. The kids make it tough to walk out the door; no matter how good the job, I'd still rather stay home with my babies than go out and earn money. I suppose that's the toughest part.

03 August 2007

Coming Soon: Gaming, the Return!

It's official: I'm getting back into gaming. After over a month with nary a die to be rolled, I'm going to be starting two games: one at home (Star Wars) and one at work (Dungeons & Dragons). This won't be much different than what I was doing back in California, at least schedule-wise. I'll be using a module or two to structure the D&D game, but the SW game will be largely original.

I was initially worried that I'd have trouble finding players for the game at work. Yes, it's a computer game company, but that doesn't mean that people don't have lives outside of the office (though, in the case of some people, I guess it depends on how strictly you interpret the word "life"). Despite my initial concerns, I had six willing players after a day of asking around. Recruiting for D&D was never this easy at Ortho.

By the way, I know some of you Mythic folks are reading this. You're all wonderful people. You're not wacky or insane or anything I might've said in another blog entry. You're all completely psychologically stable, and I know that you're just trying to make me feel comfortable when you come down to my level (humor-wise). Thanks for making the FNG feel like he belongs!

I really should get moving, so I'll cut this post short.