Sunday, November 25, 2012

Forty Odd Years

Today is the fortieth anniversary of my birth. For two score revolutions around that big ball of fire in the sky, I’ve made my home on this third stone from the Sun. They’ve been a mixed forty years, filled with many pleasures and many sorrows, much like everyone’s life, but the hills usually outnumber the valleys, and it sure beats the alternative.

I have big schemes in mind for the coming year, and if the universe is kind, I’ll see them to fruition and be able to share them with you, the loyal and long-suffering reader who has shared the past five years of my journey here on the Society of Torch, Pole and Rope.

Looking back on the trip, I remain in awe of how different my life is now than it was when I first posted “Saha” back on August 21st, 2008. I’ve gone from a lapsed gamer to an industry professional. The men and women who I idolized in my youth are now my colleagues, and in some cases, my friends. I get to share my words and my creations not with a handful of friends around the gaming table, but with thousands of people around the world. The bizarre ideas that percolate in my head are no longer granted the breath of life by my ill-trained hands, but by an incredible array of talented artists and cartographers. I get to take this little dog-and-pony show of mine on the road, where I meet fellow gamers, sign autographs for fans who seem genuinely pleased to meet me, and greet people who I hitherto only knew from online correspondence, putting names to faces and sharing some laughs around the dealers’ tables. It’s a strange celebrity, a type that my non-gaming friends and family don’t quite understand, but one I cherish immensely. And none of this would have happened if I hadn’t had the support of you, dear reader. To every one of you who ever bought something with my name slapped on the credits page, who took the time to read my words here, who signed up to play in one of my games, or simply offered a hand in friendship, you have my sincere and utter thanks.

I wish I could celebrate my birthday in true hobbit-fashion, giving you all gifts for coming along on the journey so far with me, but alas, there are too many of you now and doing so would strip my smial bare (worse than even the Sackville-Baggins did poor Bilbo’s). Please accept my thanks and the knowledge that I’m very grateful of your ongoing support, instead.

For those who practice non-hobbit birthday traditions and would like to do something nice to celebrate my slow journey away from the hunter’s fire to that of the clan elders, I’d ask this: Help spread the word and keep me employed! Purchase a copy of my work and give it to a friend. Write a review of Emirikol Was Framed! or the new Dungeon Alphabet. Add the new Stonehell Dungeon Google+ page to your circles. Pre-order one of my upcoming adventures from Goodman Games. Even a kind word to a friend about something I’ve penned would mean a lot to me. I’ve gone far in these past forty years, but if I’m blessed, my journey’s far from over and I hope there’s still some life in these seven-league boots of mine. With your on-going support, I intend to keep walking this professional path and sharing my dreams (and nightmares) with others.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reminder: I’m at Anonycon next month (Dec. 7-9, 2012)

I’ll be in Stamford, CT in just a few weeks to run some DCC RPG and OD&D fun. If you’re in the area and looking for an interesting and enjoyable weekend of gaming, please come on down! I’ll be doing the usual "meet my fellow gamers, sign some books, and referee some cool games" over the course of the weekend. Hopefully, I might even get to play a few games, too.

My schedule is:

For more information, registration, hotel details, and more, please visit the convention website. I hope to see some of you old school (and new school) folks there!

Friday, November 9, 2012

I Really Hope the Mayans are Wrong

Otherwise, we'll all be dead or ascended or something before these hit the shelves:

Dungeon Crawl Classics #75: The Sea Queen Escapes!

Evil lurks beneath the ocean! For years it has slumbered, but now it rises once again, threatening to wash over the surface world like a monstrous wave. Only a handful of stalwarts stand between the nefarious schemes of the deep and a world drowned in sorrows, but first they must navigate a wizard’s sanctum, a magical prison, and the most unusual dungeon they’ve ever faced! Can they stem the tide in time or will they lose themselves forever to the Sea Change curse?

Rules Set: DCC RPG
Related Products: Visit the DCC RPG launch page for complete information on every DCC RPG release!

Writer: Michael Curtis
Cover Art and Cartography: Doug Kovacs
GMG5076, 16 pages, $9.99. Pre-order now

Dungeon Crawl Classics #77: The Croaking Fane

For as long as men remember, the Lord of Evil Amphibians carried out unspeakable rites in his squatting temples situated far from civilization. Tales of human sacrifice, squirming servants, and rich but loathsome treasures were whispered of his followers. Now, unexpectedly, his servants have seemingly vanished, leaving behind their fanes to molder in the marshes. A brave band of adventurers gathers to explore one such tabernacle, eager to discover what riches—and terrors—the Lord of Evil Amphibians has left behind…

Rules Set: DCC RPG
Related Products: Visit the DCC RPG launch page for complete information on every DCC RPG release!

Writer: Michael Curtis
Cover Art and Cartography: Doug Kovacs
GMG5078, 16 pages, $9.99. Pre-order now

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Slow Climb Back and Other News

With Hurricane Sandy slowly receding into a bad memory for many (but by no means all) of us on the East Coast of the U.S., it’s time to get back to business of writing adventures and meeting deadlines. That is if the nor’easter that’s now heading our way doesn’t sucker punch us while we’re stilling recovering. Here’s to hoping that power systems don’t catastrophically fail again for a week or two.

But before I start the slow climb back to getting merely swamped with work again rather than drowning in it, a few reports and announcements:

Firstly, the expanded version of The Dungeon Alphabet is now in stores. I received several copies of both the “original” cover and the limited edition gold foil to bring to an in-store appearance (more on that in a moment) and the gold foil cover really impressed me. It’s got a very sinisterly eldritch quality to it. It almost dares you to open the tome and see what mysteries await you within. Foes of the “Good Price” faux-sticker will also be pleased to note that it’s gone from the original cover.

There’s been some grumbling about the expanded version, but both Goodman Games and I anticipated that. Some people feel that the added material “punishes” you fine folks who bought the original 48 pp. version of the book three years ago. And while I understand that argument, what it unfortunately comes down to is that it’s no longer financially feasible to print The Dungeon Alphabet and offer it for the original $9.99 cover price (which was a damned cheap price for a hardcover RPG supplement that features incredible artwork and a high reusable factor, you must admit). And so the decision was made to raise the cost and, to compensate for the increase, to add more material the book. Maybe some of the dissatisfaction comes from it being referred to as a third printing rather than the expanded Dungeon Alphabet. I really don’t know; I just write these damned things and do my best to read the minds of my fellow gamers.

All I can say for certain is that if you enjoyed the original version of the book and want to see what new art and material we’ve included in the third printing, please consider picking up the expanded version. If you think you’re being cheated in some manner because there’s new stuff in this printing, I can’t change your mind with a few sentences in a blog post. See what others are saying about the book in the weeks and months ahead and make a decision once you’ve read the reviews and shop accordingly.
The expanded version is available from Goodman Games’ web store, your finer FLGS, Paizo, FRP Games, and other online stores.

Speaking of the Dungeon Alphabet, this past Sunday saw me on the road to All Things Fun in West Berlin, NJ to help promote the new version and DCC RPG. Despite apocalyptic fuel shortages and mass destruction, the trip down and back was uneventful, and I can’t say enough good things about All Things Fun. The store is clean, bright, spacious, and has a wide variety of products available from a very friendly staff. And their name isn’t hype. You’ll find everything from comic books, board games, miniatures, CCG, RPGs, and t-shirts available in the store. If you’re a gamer in the southern New Jersey/Philadelphia area, I highly recommend a trip to All Things Fun to see what they might have to offer you.

As can be expected in the wake of a natural disaster, the turn-out for my in-store appearance was small, but that didn’t stop those folks who did come down from having a good time. My players got the opportunity to playtest a new adventure I’ve written for DCC RPG, being the first living, breathing players to take a crack at it. Not only did they have fun, but the scenario seems to be working as intended, which is always nice for a designer to see. It means the crazy idea I had has legs outside of my own brain and less rewriting before final submission. A very big and heartfelt thanks to Anthony, Mike, and Rich for venturing out and climbing the Ghost Ice. Those of you interested in hearing their impressions of the day should visit the blogs Circle of Dar Janix, Swords of Legend, and Once More Unto the Breach! where those good gentlemen may have more to say about the game and their experiences.

Lastly, the first round of the Goodman Games’ Mystery Map Adventure Design Competition has ended. There were a lot of great submissions to the contest and one lucky soul is going to walk away with both $1,000 and a contract to turn their creation into an official DCC RPG adventure published by Goodman Games. Now, Joseph Goodman, Harley Stroh, Doug Kovacs, Aldo Ghiozzi, Stefan Poag, Erol Otus, and myself have to pick the crème-de-la-crème from those entries that made it to the final round. It’s not going to be an easy task, but I think between the lot of us, we’ll agree on an entry worthy of joining the DCC RPG canon of adventure modules. Stay tuned for more news as we reach a final decision.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reminder: DCC RPG at All Things Fun in West Berlin, NJ this Sunday

We’re a resilient bunch here in the Tri-State area. A little thing like mass destruction never slows us down for long. And gamers in the Tri-State: fuggedaboutit! We shrug off super-storms like dragon’s breath off a +5 shield of dragon breath shrugging off of.

I’ve been in contact with All Things Fun in West Berlin, NJ and “Game is On!” for this Sunday, November 4th, 2012. As scheduled, I’ll be making the drive through post-apocalyptic New York to run DCC RPG, shake hands, sign books, talk about gaming, and just decompress with my fellow gamers as Sandy becomes an unpleasant memory. I’ve got copies of the new and expanded Dungeon Alphabet (both limited edition and regular covers) and Emirikol Was Framed packed for the trip, along with some neat DCC RPG swag to give away. The fun starts at 12 PM and will run to at least 4 PM.

Assuming you can cut down that massive oak tree blocking your driveway by Sunday, come on down and join the fun!

All Things Fun

185 C Route 73 N.
West Berlin, NJ 08091
(856) 719-1414