Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Quiet Month

February has turned out to be a quiet blogging month here at Ye Auld Grog & Blog. Rather than pull up the old blogger excuse list, I simply mention that my recent scant free time staring at the dim glow of the monitor has been spent catching up on posts around the D&D blog circle.

While I haven't been posting articles, I have been working on a follow-up article to Delvers Delve for Fight On!. The first article was penned back in late November and submitted in early December. Delvers Delve is hopefully going to become a series of ongoing suggestions, observations and options focusing on dungeon crawling. It evolved from my Cover to Cover series, and it became of particular note to me as many of the my ideas within the article seem to be independently shared by others. In particular James at Grognardia reached many of the same conclusions in regard to revisiting the Thief based on actually reading what was written about the class in Greyhawk, and by that other James over at LotFP when he was reading the Holmes Basic volume. It suggests that many of us do in fact think in the same manner, albeit often in different styles.

The second article, which I am currently putting together, offers up a collection of options I have dubbed "Extended Crawling". Many I have been using for years, others I just started using, and some are simply clarifications of loose ideas that have been around in my games for decades.

I prefer to not spill the beans ahead of time with articles which may find their way into print in the future, so keep an eye out for that first Delvers Delve in the upcoming issue #4 of Fight On!. Everything indicates that it should be available from Lulu very soon.

It's interesting to see how articles submitted for print differ so much from blog posts. I get immediate responses and comments here, while things printed get virtually nothing. On the other hand, much of what I post online is forgotten very quickly, the exception being the Entourage Approach which was cobbled into a submission after being tossed about at the blog here. Articles which find print are something to be proud of in that they seem to have some measure of longevity.

As long time readers know, one of my high water marks since I started this crazed collection of random thoughts (aside from the Entourage Approach and the One-Page Dungeon) was the level I put together for the ongoing Fight On! project, The Darkness Beneath. Spawning Grounds of the Crab-Men created some buzz before it was printed, but not much since. In retrospect I feel I could have done a better job with that adventure. The level was written with a definite theme in mind, which I feel was conveyed nicely, but I still must put my work under the magnifying glass and offer up a few critiques of my own. Hindsight is always 20/20, as they say. Not enough empty space. Too few traps. Not nearly enough tricks. Virtually no misdirection. The dreaded Big Bad Evil Monster cliche. I'm afraid the whole thing might seem too restrictive and lacking that quality I personally enjoy so much in other adventures, creative elbow room. Let's just say I don't feel that I "let it all hang out" with the offering. I haven't heard any feedback on the adventure, so that alone speaks volumes.

I also submitted a small game option for the first issue of Knockspell way back in mid-November which found its way into print. The Thrall is a low level option for beginning characters. I like to think of it as an Anti-Entourage Approach. Rather than one character slowly gathering a following and amassing a stable of adventurers, the player begins with a few untrained delvers and ends up with a sole surviving character to call his own. I used something very similar in the past in a more wide open version which I stripped down to a rudimentary foundation in order to align itself with the original rules.

All of this leads me back to looking for input here on some of these non-blog offerings. For that reason I will be adding the original unedited submissions I made in PDF form over at my OD&D Orbitfiles page. None of these submissions will be added there until they see print, in all fairness to the editors. I'll wait for Fight On! #4 before I add these, so I can link to Spawning Grounds, The Thrall and Delvers Delve all at once. The Bogbears and The Entourage Approach which worked their way into Fight On! started here at the blog, so there's no need to add a PDF of those.

I'll be sure to remind readers to check out the Orbitfiles page once I've added to it. And yes, the promised new One-Pagers for The Dismal Depths are still in the works, as are my various other ongoing projects. Damn this is starting to feel like a job.

A dream job, nonetheless.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee


JimLotFP said...

>>It's interesting to see how articles submitted for print differ so much from blog posts. I get immediate responses and comments here, while things printed get virtually nothing.

Yeah, that drives me nuts. I didn't submit anything to Fight On #3 because I got zip as far as feedback for my article in #2. No emails, no blog comments, nothing on the boards as far as I saw. I'm not getting paid for it, so that feedback is the only reward. Even if it was to say "That sucked!" so I knew what to differently in the future.

I am trying again with stuff in #4 though. People better acknowledge. :P

Sham aka Dave said...

Commenting online is so much easier than writing a letter to the editor. As I mentioned above, my two articles were written in November. That's ancient history on the internet.

Perhaps FO! needs a dedicated "home" online for ideas and feedback. There is the subforum at ODD74, but I'm not sure if it's presence is made known in the magazine itself.

Maybe I'll stop being such a hypocrite myself and start talking about other authors FO! and KS articles here. Like many I am going to bundle FO 4 and KS 1 from Lulu as soon as they are both ready for print.

Amityville Mike said...

I saw this included amongst Joseph's recap of the Lost 2nd Edition on Greyhawk Grognard a few days back:

At times all writers feel as if they are addressing a void, for seldom does an article bring any response. An occasional letter of praise or of critical (even insulting) nature is often a treasure, for such tokens indicate that someone is actually reading what is written at great effort.

That was written by Gary himself. I couldn't help by sympathize with what he was saying. If Gary wasn't getting a lot of feedback on what he was writing, I suppose it's only going to be natural for folks like us to do a lot of shouting into the void without response.

I've been neglectful of writing letters of praise to the people whose FO! articles have given me a lot of good ideas and enjoyment. I must correct that.

Sham aka Dave said...

Thanks, Mike. I often wonder if I'm flirting with some sort of insecurity issues when I feel like I'm shouting to the void, as it were. I cannot begin to compare myself to Gygax, but it is nice to see that even he often shared some of the same feelings when his work elicited no comments or feedback.

Silly little no prep blog posts often receive immediate response. Instant gratification, and all that. Whereas print items, written in some cases months before, often yield nothing.

Maybe Calithena should consider some Letters to the Editor...then again with the amount of material already pushing the page limits I'm not sure such fluff is warranted in FO! just in order to stroke some egos. :-)

I'll start with FO 4 and KS and sing some praises here at the blog instead. I've never been much of the reviewing type, so it will be a more down to earth sort of thing.

Amityville Mike said...

I often wonder if I'm flirting with some sort of insecurity issues

You're not the only one. I think it's part of the sickness that creates writers of any ilk. I know I suffer from it.

Silly little no prep blog posts often receive immediate response.

If there's one thing that I've learned since I started blogging, you can never tell what's going to get a response and what isn't. A post you slaved away on might drop into the pond without a ripple, while one that was written spur of the moment might generate a ton of feedback. Such is the game, I suppose.

Sham aka Dave said...

Very true, Mike. I've gotten used to the sound of *crickets* in the past year. Speaking of which, my One Year Anniversary is approaching!

Looking forward to *crickets* with party hats this time.

Matthew James Stanham said...

Yes, indeed. The trick, of course, is to only write things that interest you, and for which the reward is the writing itself. Easier said than done, no doubt!

Sham aka Dave said...

A good point to be sure, Matthew. I think for the most part that's what I do. Heck, I'm writing about D&D. How cool is that? I'm not a skilled writer compared to many bloggers out there, but I think I have some good ideas worth sharing.