Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Absence, Lin Carter and my Appendix N.

Not that I have lots of followers, but to those few who do stop by here every now and then, and to those who have never been here until now, I want you to know I'm still here.

Sadly, there has not been much gaming in my life as of late. Summer is always difficult for me. I travel all year long, but summer is my busiest season, with often no rhyme nor reason as to when I will return home. Over the past five years, this has led to often several weeks, and sometimes months without gaming, which in turn often fuels my gamer ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and too frequently leads to the premature death of a campaign before its due time. It is often too hard to return to a game where that initial spark of energy is gone.

I don't think that will happen with my Darkling Ways campaign. The spark is still there for me; however, this summer bleeding too soon into fall (and I don't want to think about the looming Alaskan Winter just around the corner) it is not just my schedule which is hectic. One of my long time gaming buddies has returned to school, and can not make our regularly scheduled night (Tuesdays) for the foreseeable future. Another player is bogged down in school work as well, and working his ass off to graduate sooner versus later.

We've looked at changing the night in the past, but for some reason, Tuesday always pops up as the best night, so I'm not sure if we will investigate that proposal further. I would love to game on a Friday or Saturday night, but those are reserved as date nights for my wife and I (and as much as I love gaming, I love kindling our relationship even more); Sunday afternoons would be keen, but we always seem to have family stuff going on that day, as does everyone else. So Tuesday it will most likely remain. This means Osamu the Cleric of Solomon will be handed into my not-so-tender hands as an NPC (I've had a bad track record with NPCs and/or henchmen in this campaign, not intentionally, I have adopted a strict policy of "let the dice fall where they may"--this has also led to two character deaths). Osamu will, hopefully, be there for when his controlling player can join us again.

I'm still plugging away at world creation, but have not had the time nor inclination to post anything lately. More will come.

I have been busy reading. Initially, I was reading Appendix N from the DMG; however, by pure chance this has led more into an interest in literature "pre-Tolkien" and not necessarily Appendix N (although the two often collide). My sole inspiration for this has been Lin Carter. I picked up a copy of his "Imaginary Worlds" a non-fiction speculation of his written about fantasy and part of the famous "Ballentine Adult Fantasy" series of which he edited (1969 - 1974).

Carter is an author that I had always marginalized as a simple hack; and not unfairly. As an author, he rarely rose above the average author of fan fiction, and as a Robert Howard enthusiast, his name along side L. Sprague de Camp, lives in infamy for me. Carter had another side: he was amazingly well read, and had a love for the genre of fantasy that is inspiring and admirable.

This has led me into a side project. I'm exploring what fantasy was before Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings forever changed it. It is a not a slam against JRRT. I love LOTR and have a particularly soft spot in my heart for The Hobbit. It is undeniable that the genre of fantasy changed after the immense popularity of LOTR took the world by storm, and has degenerated (in my opinion) into the realm of Tolkien impersonation.

In effect, I'm building my own Appendix N. There is more to come on this in future posts.

As to gaming, the gang is getting together Labor Day for a board game. Talisman I believe and I hope to have a session of Darkling Ways as well.

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