Thursday, September 25, 2008

If Not Now, When?

Decades ago, I was a young man who collected booklet sized game supplements for my favorite hobby, and dreamt about joining the amateur publishing trend and producing my own whacky notes for fellow fans. Hobby is certainly not the appropriate term here, obsession is more fitting. Call it lack of know-how, call it procrastination, call it day-dreaming, whatever the case, this notion never got beyond the formative stages. As a young man I often talked about pursuing plenty of now unrealized goals, most I have probably forgotten. Things changed through the years. The D&D supplemental cottage industry dried up, the faddish nature of the hobby came and went, I forgot about that silly notion. Until now, that is. This all occured in that time lost period BC (Before Computers). It wasn't truly before computers, but it was certainly before the information age took hold, and before the internet proliferation that has swept the globe now, over a score of years later.

Thanks to the pipes connected to the back of this desktop, I can see that across the globe there are still small pockets of like me who enjoy reading and using what other fans conceive and commit to writing. Indeed I am answering the dinner bell late, and perhaps simply arriving for the last course, but I can sense that those bygone dreams of producing something of interest to the fan community are beginning to become rekindled now.

First and foremost I'd like to again thank Calithena for the excellent fanzine Fight On!, for encouraging me to submit one of my adventures to not only that superb publication, but also to the contest which I was lucky enough to be a part of. Was SGotCM simply lightning in a bottle? Only time will tell, but I'm convinced now that this old notion is worth exploring further. I still plan to submit future material to Fight On!, but some of the projects I hope to undertake might not fit in that publication.

I envision doing this whole thing as a solo project initially. That means hand drawn maps and writing by yours truly. Some illos or sketches are not out of the question, but given my own time constraints I think the fluff might have to fall by the wayside early on. On the other hand, first impressions mean a lot. Perhaps I should reach out to the gaming community and ask for help to dress things up.

This is certainly not a venture for profit, nay it's the pursuit of a dream from a bygone era. The nagging question is what I am going to throw out to the community here: which project should I undertake initially?

Possible projects are one-off adventures, the Dim Expanse, campaign settings, rules supplements, collections of maps, collections of artifacts and monsters, stand alone games, the list goes on. A few of the ideas are somewhat daunting; the Dim Expanse for one, campaign settings (which would include rules, maps and history), and stand alone games. I'm of the notion that there isn't a need for more published rules supplements, and that artifacts and monsters can find their own place amidst the other possible projects (adventures, megadungeon, campaign). So I've somewhat narrowed my own choices to single adventures, OR a series of large adventures which can stand alone or be connected to form what would eventually be the Dim Expanse.

The question is, are megadungeons something that fans would actually be interested in reading and using? It's nothing more than dungeon maps and room descriptions, really. The Dim Expanse would be a series of the regions of that still unfinished megadungeon; Krawlspace, Lahromil's Demise, The Hundred Pits, The City Below, The Weeping Caves and The Slumbering Vault. Six large adventures of two or three levels each, with intro, tables and lots of text. Modular, but interconnected once completed. Given my work pace, it might take years to finish, though.

I already know what you are thinking; Sham is talking himself into inactivity again already. Just write something and publish it, dammit! OK, OK, I will. But first, another much more immediate project needs my full attention, and I hope to provide a rollicking old school adventure with Ware the Queen of Faerie Twisted for a future issue of Fight On!

Thoughts and input would be greatly appreciated.



Jonathan said...

looking forward to it! I too have had similar thoughts -- my blog and the two side projects I'm working on for publication (if they ever see the printed page) are my outlets.

Game on!

James Maliszewski said...

Welcome to the Dark Side!

I'd love to see The Dim Expanse some day, but maybe that's too much to start with.

Jeff Rients said...

The question is, are megadungeons something that fans would actually be interested in reading and using?


Sham aka Dave said...

Thanks for the comments, J, J and J. Although Ulin-Uthor, the Dim Expanse is certainly large in scope, I think if I break it up into the six predetermined regions, it might be the way to go. I think I have talked myself into taking that as my first project.

I'm just not sure I am up to the task alone. Sure, I could spit out reams of text and accompanying hand drawn maps, but I'm of the notion that even that first modest published adventure should be somewhat polished, else the whole idea of six parts might fall right on its arse.

I think I need to secure a second set of eyes, for some light edit and input. Perhaps someone who can transform my hand drawn maps into a more professional format, and lastly at least a colorful cover illo. Then comes the planning of print, order taking and packing/shipping. Sounds like a lot of effort for about what...two dozen copies if I get the word around town :p

But for now its back to level 5 of TDB for Fight On! (which truth be told might be my best adventure to date).

This is going to happen, and I hope to make a small dent in our collective old school gaming community.

Um...word! and all that.