Wednesday, 5 April 2017

In Praise of the Artists

I spent a lot of time at Gary Con talking to people who either enjoyed my writing, or were polite enough to say that they did. Of course, no adventure is just the writing. There is always the art. 

(In Dungeon Crawl Classics, that art might include the cartography, but that would be a different post.)

I have now worked with a number of publishers in this little community of ours. 

Regardless of who I am working with, one of the real joys of writing adventures is seeing how the artist(s) involved interpret my words. 

Sometimes, to be honest, the words are pale in comparison to the artistic vision of the people who bring these thoughts to visual life.

Seriously, there is satisfaction in finishing a project. There is certainly satisfaction in getting paid for it. But it is when I finally have the chance to see the words mesh with the art that everything falls into place for me.

Other authors may be different. I can't say. Nor do I think that there is a "right" way or a "wrong" way to enjoy this process of creation. I just wanted to post a big "Thank you!" to all of the artists who have helped make my work look good over the years.


Thank you!

I hope that it is clear that the art in this post is representational, but the inclusion (or lack thereof) of any given piece isn't meant to call out specific artists.

I am grateful to anyone who has ever tried to make images out of my words!

Now, here's the contest: Can you name the products that these images come from? There are images from 12 products. 

The first person to name them all, in the comments, will receive a POD coupon for Dispatches Vol IV from me as soon as the print version is available. All you need to do is pay postage!

(Well, and make sure I have your email address linked to Drive Thru!)

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Gary Con, Extended

Gary Con IX was the first large convention that I have been to in many long years - over a decade at least. What a fantastic time! Inevitably, I am going to fail to mention some people or some events, partially because I am still recovering and partially because there is a limit to my abilities as a writer. Here we go, though...a more extended version of Gary Con events.

(On second thought, I lie....Nexus Game Fair in Milwaukee last year was pretty damn big, and I got to meet and hang with Brendan LaSalle there! It just goes to show, though, that I am going to make mistakes in this report.)

Thursday: Arrived at the hotel with my son, Mike. Because we were late to book, I had to use the overflow and get a suite at the Timber Lodge. I had imagined pick-up gaming in the room (it included a table seating 6), but that never came to pass. Too bad, in a way. I had packed more than enough material to run another 3-4 games.

Dropping by the Goodman Games/Black Blade Publishing booth, I met with Jon Hershberger and signed a raffle copy of the DCC core rulebook.

At 2 pm I ran a playtest of Escape from Terror Island, which seemed to go pretty well. Included at the table was none other than Thick Skull's Stephen Newton, who had pictures taken.A good thing, too, as I had failed to take any.

That night, after the game, Mike and I met with Joseph Goodman, Harley Stroh, and Jen Brinkman, and went to dinner at the Pub Next Door....which was excellent and crowded with Con-goers and locals alike.

That evening Mike and I hung out at the bar for a bit, and were witness to Doug Kovacs running a game of Dog Storm. The game was in process when we arrived, so we didn't play, but instead drank Spotted Cow and talked to other gamers.

Friday: I ran two games: a Gnome Jambalaya playtest at 10 am and Stars in the Darkness at 2 pm. Among the people at my tables were David Baity and Clint Bohaty, who are certainly known to the DCC community. David Baity kindly brought be a Dark Trails thermos cup, dice, decal, and cup holder.

Please realize that, although I am only mentioning a few of the people at my tables (and largely because I am name-dropping), I got to game with a hell of a lot of great people not specifically mentioned. The tables were few, the gamers were fun and engaging, and I hope most of us enjoyed ourselves!

Between games, I tried to locate Paul Wolfe, both because we have had a cordial online relationship for a number of years, and because I wanted to get him to sign a copy of Angels, Daemons, & Beings Between which will be a raffle prize at Odyssey Con at the end of April.

We were able to get in on Dog Storm for that night, and Mike ended up winning. When we were on the edges the previous night, it had sounded as though people were having a lot of fun. The reality was even more fun. Almost all of my characters (I think all, but I say "almost" in case I forgot something) were taken out by dog storms or cosmic debris.

Saturday: I woke up late, and so only got into the tag end of What's New With Goodman Games....but not too late to see Doug Kovacs stump the Dark Master with Lankhmar lore. The kickstarter went live.

My only game for Saturday was The Revelation of Mulmo, scheduled for 10 pm to 3 am (we ran over), so I had plenty of time to hang around the convention area before that. I was able to have a longer conversation with Doug Kovacs, as well as see and discuss his original art. I met Erik Tenkar of Tenkar's Taven. I was finally able to catch up with Paul Wolfe, as well as his family. I spoke with Reid San Filippo, Forrest AguirreScott Swift, Adam Muszkiewicz, Bob Brinkman, and others. It was all a bit of a whirl, and I apologize to those I haven't called out specifically. I had a short interaction with Michael Curtis. Somewhere in there I met Jobe Bittman and Jim Wampler.

My game that night included the illustrious James V. West.

I almost forgot to mention that Mike won a backpack full of beer while I was running this game, easily beating the American competition in Beers of the World....heavy drinking being the Canadian national sport even more than hockey is! It should go without saying that being a giant of a man with biceps like my thighs also improved Mike's chances! Canadian honour was upheld!

Sunday: Up by 10 am to breakfast, check out of the hotel, and then run The Tomb of the Squonk for a full table, which included Jeff Goad. No one was turned away. A lot of "20"s were rolled by the players. Side trips to The Weird Worm-Ways of Saturn and The Giggling Deep were made.

After the convention, Mike and I had lunch at the Pub Next Door, where we again met with Doug Kovacs. It was a full convention.

Shout-Outs to the Players Who Signed Up for My Games

If you're not listed, let me know in the comments. If I met with you at the Con, but my overworked brain left you out of the above report, say "Hi" in the comments. Especially for the 0-level funnels, because I would like to make sure that you get the playtest credit you deserve!

Escape From Terror Island: Richard Mundy, Don Porter, Chris Ellis, Ken Austin, Jeff Bernstein, and Joshua O'Conner-Rose.

Gnome Jambalaya: Jon Steelman, Becky Banner, David Baity, Clint Bohaty, Karen Johnson, Charlie Brashear, Todd Brashear, and David Caulkins. (Chris Ellis was on the waiting list, but I can't for the life of me remember if we made room or not....?)

Stars in the Darkness: Richard Mundy, Mike Bolam, Chris Ellis, Joshua O'Connor-Rose, Christopher Turner, Matthew Turner, Justin Bowers, and Dave Crimm.

The Revelation of Mulmo: Dave Bresson, Nathan, Steph, James V. West, Andrew Moss, Jeff Bernstein, Trevor Hartman, and Joshua O'Connor-Rose.

The Tomb of the Squonk: Jon Steelman, Jeff Goad, Becky Banner, Richard Mundy, Tim Deschene, Jeffrey Laluc. The Waiting List included Eric Lopez, Mike Bishop, Chris Ellis, and James Smith. I tried to accommodate all comers.

Recommendation to the Con

On the "Players Wanted/Table Full" stands, include something to indicate what game is being played. Especially if you need players!