Friday, March 29, 2013

End-of-Week Elmore (3/29/13)

Here's wishing you a peaceful holiday weekend, folks!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The GMing Never Stops

As you probably know by now, I'm taking a hiatus from GMing for an indefinite amount of time this year. I discussed my reasons in detail in my 2013 reflection post, but it boils down to this: I needed to take a break because I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my constant, all-or-nothing, full-speed-ahead approach to GMing. Basically, I'm GMing all the time. It never stops.
What do I mean? Well, when I'm not at the table actually running a session, I'm usually doing something pertaining to GMing in my head. All the time.
This can be great...a real joy to have my imagination churning...the creative spark aflame! Or, it can burn the hell out of your brain, and exhaust you utterly, because (at least for me) it's hard to shut off. And the line between awesome-ness and crispiness is razor-thin most of the time.
If I'm reading a novel or even non-fiction, I'm mining for plot hooks, ideas for NPCs, etc. I've been doing this for decades, even during the very long periods of time I wasn't if my subconscious mind knew that someday I would return to the table-top, even if my conscious mind wasn't even considering a return to roleplaying.
If I'm watching a movie or a TV show, I'm doing the same thing as when I'm reading a book.
Then there's the reading of actual RPG materials, be it game systems, campaign settings, GMing advice, modules, etc. This often conflicts with novel/non-fiction reading time, which can be something of an internal dilemma. I've got a huge library of books that I own (some for years now) but I haven't yet read. But when I go to the library with my kids I can't seem to leave without a book or three, which distracts me from my own personal library. So, I'm way behind on reading, in general.
And don't even get me started about all the blogs I want to read...
But, it seems I'm not alone in my affliction. This here post was really inspired by a post at Gnome Stew the other day called "The Constant GM." I, of course, can relate in spades. Then there's the Rather Gamey post (from another GM on hiatus) about always having GMing on the brain. And then there's the great post on Not the Singularity that is basically an ode to GMing, and a pretty good sort of pep talk for GMs. I needed that.
It's good to not be alone. This is one of the reasons I enjoy being part of the blogosphere: the reminders that there are like-minded souls out there with the same challenges.
So, I'm sure there are others of you out there who are constantly GMing, either at the actual table or in the table of the mind. Please, if you are also so afflicted, share with us!
In the meantime, I'm holding on to this hope: that this hiatus will culminate in a glorious return to the helm, and will result in one of my best campaigns yet!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Let There Be NO Goblins!

Ok, here's a brainstorm I want to get out:
I hereby declare that there will be NO goblins in my future Labyrinth Lord campaign! Nor will there be hobgoblins. And there will be no orcs. There may be trolls, but even if there are, they will not be called trolls. In fact, I will probably be doing a lot of eliminating or "reskinning" of traditional D&D creatures.
Why would I do this to the poor goblins and other D&D staple monsters? Because I'm tired of them. Tired, tired, tired. I'm just bored of them. They're all over the damned place! Plus, I suspect that my players may be bored of them as well. And if they're not bored of them, my players know what to expect when I say "You encounter some goblins." They think "Oh, goblins, no need to worry! These guys are weak!"
Yes, yes, there's the old argument about "player versus character knowledge." But come on. Players can't be robots and shut down their preconceived notions entirely. At the very least, they're probably saying to themselves "Oh boy, here we go again."
And yes, I know that you can tweak the goblin's abilities to create "uber-goblins" with all sorts of insane hit points, powers, whatever. But it's still a friggin' goblin.
So, what will replace those ousted humanoids? I have some ideas. A race of beastmen that resemble sasquatch, or perhaps some neanderthals. Or perhaps both of these, and some other concoctions I'm considering.
But all of this is part of my growing excitement for my next campaign. Yes, getting rid of goblins has made me very very excited. I know, a nerdier statement was never uttered.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Status: Dreaming of the World...

Hello, fellow adventurers! I've been less prolific than usual on my blog, and for that I apologize. I'm currently taking a class in philosophy, a philosophy that focuses on believing in yourself and the power of your will and using that to change your life. Sounds like mumbo jumbo? Well, let me put it this way: I've tried it the other way (i.e. not believing in myself) for most of my life, and much of my life has seemed like a struggle. So, what do I have to lose?
This new focus on positivity and the power of the will has opened my mind to some new opportunities for my life, as it pertains mostly to the future of my career. So I've been giving over much of my free time to some new endeavors to reshape the course of my working life. All of this has given me a new vigor for life that is incredible.
I'm still on hiatus from running RPG sessions at my FLGS, but I haven't been able to attend the sessions run by my group for some weeks now (due to the class I'm taking). I'm missing roleplaying like crazy, I have to tell you. But the class will soon be over and I know I'll return to game night.
In the meantime, as it always has (even over the years when I wasn't roleplaying), my mind is swirling with inspiration regarding gaming. So thus far, the break I'm taking seems to be clearing out the burnt parts of my brain.
As I stated in my 2013 resolutions post, I'm working on my own campaign world, for the first time in well over a decade. I've been intimidated at times, but I really want a campaign world that I feel is worthy of my time investment. And published settings weren't doing it for me anymore. But the act of creation, for me, adds that element of becoming invested in the setting...and serves to feed my need to do something creative (a need which roleplaying itself feeds as well).
Published worlds may have the advantage of providing ready-made setting details, but getting to know said worlds can sometimes become too much like studying a world history text. Who has the time or patience for that?!
So, what advantages of world-building are attractive to me, besides the sheer joy of creation? Well, I can make up setting details on the fly, via my own flashes of inspiration and the decisions that players make in-game, especially with regard to the encounters they...well, encounter. Also, I'm not too proud to admit that I'll be injecting ideas that I get from reading fiction and non-fiction, as well as watching films, documentaries, etc. That's very appealing to me, actually, and is something that's harder to do with a published setting.
Yeah, just knowing that I'll be truly collaborating with players to not only create the events of the game, but also the game world, is really excitement I haven't felt in a long time.
So, I hope to start blogging about the setting details I'm creating before I start running my next campaign. I don't intend to flesh things out too much, because that's just too much work that doesn't need to be done before a campaign starts. That's something that you wonderful folks in the blogosphere have reminded me about again and again, and for that I'm grateful!
Until next time, kindred spirits, I wish you happy gaming!

Friday, March 22, 2013

End-of-Week Elmore (3/22/13)

Hello friends! Another Friday, another Elmore. Above is the "somewhat controversial" Elmore illo featured in the AD&D 2nd Edition PHB (it's been discussed on various blogs in the OSR 'sphere).
Personally, I like the piece. I'm featuring it today because it makes me think "Victory!" And why is victory important to me today? Well, because I was one of the four random winners of Tim Shorts' 1000 Posts - OSR Mega Bundle Giveaway! Woohoo!
Thanks and congrats once again to Tim, and bring on the goodies!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Morning Levity:
Umbra Wynterdarque

Again, I hope to return to substantive posts some fine day. In the meantime, enjoy a very D&D-esque adventure mishap with Umbra Wynterdarque (whoever that is) from (beware, the site is very much NSFW)!

Friday, March 15, 2013

End-of-Week Elmore (3/15/13)

Ugh, I notice that I've got two EoWE posts back-to-back. Sorry, folks. That's really because I had jury duty over the last couple weeks. We came to a verdict this past Wednesday, so my time of service to our justice system has ended. It's crazy how much jury duty can throw your regular life off, but I do feel good for having been able to serve.
At any rate, for your viewing pleasure, I give you "Chicks and Chained Male." Heh heh. No really, that's what the illo above is called. Hey, what guy doesn't like it when women are fighting over him, chains or no chains, right? I bet the blond is the evil one, too.
Well, anyway, I hope to get back to some more substantive posting ASAP. Until then, happy gaming! As for me, tonight I'm heading off for a second session of Pathfinder in my "side group." Whoot!

Friday, March 8, 2013

End-of-Week Elmore (3/8/13)

Just a quickie this week, folks. I'm back at work today after having jury duty the last three days. I'm heading back to court next Tuesday, but hopefully the trial will wrap up next week.
Anyway, it's snowing pretty significantly here in South Jersey today, and I'm staring out at the white coating Mother Nature has laid down. I'm in the office and wishing that I could be outside in the cold quiet. The snow is making things quite attractive out there! Can't wait 'til quittin' time!

In the meantime, the above image depicts a much-less-peaceful place covered in snow!
Have a great weekend, one and all!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Jury Duty...

I'm not talking about just going to jury duty for one day and coming home after not being selected to serve. I'm talking about being selected to serve on a trial. That's what happened to me late last week. So I'm in court three days a week this week and next week most likely (hopefully not longer). Court is only in session three days a week in my county, so I'm in work on Mondays and Fridays. It's all very weird, but I'm very happy to be performing a civic duty. I didn't go into it with the usual "I gotta get outta this!" mentality that I've had in the past. So, I'm finding my first stint as juror to be very interesting.
In the meantime I'm a bit off my game, no pun intended at all, and therefore my posting is going to be more sporadic than usual. Anyway, wish me luck and I'll try to find some time to post soon. I'd really like to get a moment to do a review of Gygax Magazine #1, among other things. Talk to you later, gators!

Friday, March 1, 2013

End-of-Week Elmore (3/1/13)

In honor of today's palindrome date, I say to you: Go Hang a Salami! I'm a Lasagna Hog!
With regard to the illo above, apparently we're shown Gandalf, Conan, Drizzt Do'Urden, Elric...King Arthur and Robin Hood?! Really? Why do I keep hearing a sing-song "two of these things are not like the others" over and over in my head?
I mean, sure, are Arthur and Robin mostly mythical figures? That's the current wisdom. But still, they're believed to be amalgams of numerous historical figures, both known and nameless, from across centuries. I just don't feel like they should be in the same group as the other four. Ah, but Larry does as Larry does, folks.