Oh Hai?!, You’re Still Here!?!

Well, look at that. Another year around the sun and only a single blog post of note in 12 months. Congratulations, I’m sure I win some sort of prize.

Now, while I know I haven’t posted in forever, I have actually been somewhat busy. For those of you who were here last year, I’m referring to my last post where I was talking about rebuilding my old D&D world and revamping it to 5E.

Well, surprise of all surprises. I actually managed to wrangle the squirrels in my brain long enough to bang out a number of updates and upgrades to my world. I’ve always had an “In the beginning…” document that gave a semi-detailed account of the genesis of the world through till the modern age and several rough framework ideas that I’ve used as a basis for the world. I know the politics and the geography, climate and whatnot and can elaborate in some fashion when asked. The problem is that 90% of it has been in my head and I find it hard to put pen to paper and turn the ephemeral into reality.

Or at least it used to be a problem.

I’ve been tinkering with this world inside my head for almost 30 years now and I’ve always struggled to express what was inside my head effectively. I have all these elaborate maps and exotic locales inside my head that I’ve never had the skill to make effectively (I’ve tried multiple times and never been satisfactorily successful with my progress – but that’s a blog for another day). However, in the modern age we have websites like Inkarnate and Wonderdraft that make mapmaking like child’s play. And sites like World Anvil and the Homebrewery make world building easy. Not to mention DnD Beyond for character creation and the various Virtual Tabletop software that exists now. I swear that back in the day, these are the tools I dreamed of having. We are living in a golden age of creative empowerment.

Anyways, now that I have these tools, I’ve put them to somewhat good use. I’ve dabbled with a few of them while also futzing about with my tarsere.shadowmyth.net subdomain. I haven’t really settled on a theme or an idea yet but I decided to nail down some starting points and go from there. I revamped the history into a more cohesive document and tied down a few loose ephemera in the process. What really surprised me however was when I started digging in developing the races (oops. sorry – species rather </insert grumpy old man eyeroll here>)… When I started working on the species, I found that I was developing just as much lore and backstory for the world as I was while creating statblocks for the races that inhabit it. It was mindblowing how much creative power and freedom I had when I added a “fluff” sidebar that explained why X species did Y thing.

All in all, it took me about 2-3 months to actually finish the species and a few other bits then because, like I said, most of the other stuff is inside my brainbox, and I can futz it if I want. I was eager to get back into playing so once the races were done, I grabbed the guys. forced them to make characters and we’ve been stumbling along ever since.

They’ve only managed to reach level 3 and I’m not certain they’ll make it to 4 at this rate but we’re having fun which is all that matters. Stay tuned. I may even post another blog before the end of this year!

Exiled for the Good of the Realm

Well, I blinked again and it’s been two years since my last post. WTF!?!? Where did the time go. Oh I know. Covid. Stupid bastard plague!

Well, It has taken nearly two years but our defenses finally failed and Omicron invaded our house this past week. My Wife and eldest were both laid low by it and have spent the week alternately sleeping it off or lounging on the couch playing on the playstation.

Thankfully, both myself and the youngest tested negative (or were asymptomatic) and could function like semi-normal humans. However due to an overabundance of caution my work told me to take the week off and isolate so I’ve been catering to the whims of two sick people all week and avoiding all human contact.

Since my loving wife and daughter are hogging the PS5 pretty much 24/7 these days, I’ve been left to my own devices and with nothing much else to do, I have been dreaming dark dreams of creativity.

Since I haven’t seen my friends together in one place in over two years I haven’t had many creative outlets. Our Star Wars game ground to a halt for a number of reasons. (1. We couldn’t satisfactorily get it working online with everyone’s computer setup, 2. Fantasy Flight Games/Asmodee shifted the license to Edge Studios and there hasn’t been any books in 2 years, 3. Campaign/Theme fatigue. We need a change.)

With the government continually teasing that they’ll ease lockdown restrictions we’re ever hopeful that we can finish off the last adventure. None of us want to leave it hanging where we left it but we’re already looking for other ideas and games. Since none of my friends wants to be the GM, I’m stuck with it and after messing around with various options of different campaigns, I think we’ve decided to go back to D&D in the 5e setting.

Rather than just dive into one of the pre-built existing settings in D&D, I have to be unique and to that end I’ve decided to go back to my homebrew fantasy campaign, The Realm of Tarsere, and update it to the 5e system. I’ve revamped this system so many times that one would think that I’m sick of it but quite the opposite. The world building is my favourite part!

With this quarantine, when I haven’t been tending the plague-ridden, I’ve been digging through old files, cringing at bad (or weak) world-building decisions, and revamping what I can. I’m a bit of an ADHD squirrel at times because there is so much that I have already written and stored deep in the recesses of my brain that I almost don’t know where to start (Do I redo the map? Do I rebuild the races first? Ooooh! what about the Gods? etc.) but then I settle on something and my hyperfocus kicks in and blammo! Six hours later I have something tangible.

Now I know this is silly as it’s not even something that isn’t going to come to fruition for months yet but right now, with all the shit that’s going on in the world right now, I need it to stay focused and sane.

If you’re bored and want to see my progress of stuff that I will eventually post. Swing over to http://tarsere.shadowmyth.net/. At some point I’ll update the website properly and tweak the theme.

For now. Stay safe out there fellow humans.

Life Imitates Art…

And in case anyone wants to play along at home with my Nerd Bingo….
I direct you thusly to the Shadowrun Timeline

We may be a few years behind the basic framework but Covid-19 = definitely feels like VITAS-1 in my mind. We’ve already got the Political corruption and megacorps. Now we just need to bring on the Metas and The Great Ghost Dance.

Welcome to the Sixth World Chummer!

In The Beginning…

Growing up I was shy, quiet and very reserved. These days, I’d be labeled an introvert but back when I was growing up I was a considered a nerd and had very few friends. I’d tried Hockey but it wasn’t for me. I’d tried Cubs and it wasn’t for me. I’d tried soccer and I liked it but I wasn’t amazing at it. While I was never picked on or harassed like the extreme end of the nerd spectrum, I wasn’t ever part of the cool kids cliques either. I was a blip on the school radar and that was it. Which made me very happy. I enjoyed the invisibility (though the slew of 80s teen movies had me secretly dreaming to be the hero of my own story). I  survived by telling stories inside my head and hanging with the few friends I did have.

My mind was a far better place than this drab reality that we currently subscribe to. My cousin had turned me on to Tolkien and Lewis and they fueled my early imagination. Narnia and Middle Earth were my homes away from home, along with Treasure Island and a thousand other fantasies. My imagination roamed these worlds created by others and dreamt of something more. Then, in the summer of ’84, I met a kid named Brian Henderson and everything changed. Continue reading “In The Beginning…”

Where Do We Go From Here?

So, you may have noticed that this post constitutes the fifth day in a row where I’ve added content to the site. *boggle*. I don’t think I’ve had a run this long since late 2010 or so. I’m not guaranteeing that I’ll post daily, but I am trying to update more regularly, even if it is only just a meme or something silly that catches my fancy.

As I said a few posts ago. I’m trying to keep the blog focused on writing, rpgs and painting. with the predominance being on roleplaying and painting which will hopefully lead to more creativity in the writing.

In my last post I showed off a recent WIP miniature that I’ve been working on and I expect to show more in time. My focus with miniatures is for fun and show. I always hated painting “bulk” armies. In fact I have a whole chapter of old Ultramarines kicking around my bitz bin that will probably never see a lick of paint by themselves because I just can’t stomach repetition.

Most of my painting lately has been on cool minis that I can use in my Star Wars campaign or just cool show pieces.I also have teams of Blood Bowl and Necromunda that I plan to paint for the new editions of those rules.

I don’t play D&D anymore, but I still love the cool and unique minis. The ones I like best are ones with some sort of dynamism to them. Whether it be a flowing cape or a non-standard pose, as long as it has character I’m usually attracted to it. Usually what gets me into trouble is I see an amazing painter’s work on a particular figure and I have to have it because I want to do the same thing. This can be frustrating as my skills aren’t there yet but I’m always trying to be better. One of these days I will master my airbrush, the wet-blending technique and paint OSL and NMM in my sleep.

My gaming recently has been intentionally limited. If I’m lucky and the stars align, my group gets together once a month for a couple of hours. Usually we’re playing in a Star wars campaign that I’m running using Fantasy Flight Games’ Edge of the Empire narrative rules. Occasionally we’ll play something else. If you’re at all interested, we (I) keep a campaign log over at Obsidian Portal.  It’s usually somewhat up to date.

When I’m not playing Star Wars, I’m more than likely involved in a new board game. While I’m not the most prolific board gamer, I still enjoy most of the ones I’ve played. One of these days, my friends and I will manage to play through every game we have at least once….. one of these days.

Right I think that’s enough babbling for one night. Off to bed.