Sunday, May 6, 2012

Oh, That’s Right: I Have a Blog

Forgive the dearth of posts here for the last two weeks. As you might imagine, things are very hectic around these parts as I settle into a new life and new job. Despite the distractions, I’m still busy at work on various gaming-related projects and even managed to finish up a short one today. With a few moments to spare before I consider heading off to the Land of Nod (not the blog or fanzine, but the metaphorical place of dreams), I thought I’d bring you all up to speed on things.

I’ve finally managed to unpack and get settled into the new apartment. Unfortunately, without much time between accepting the position and my first day of work, I didn’t have a lot of lead time to find a place to live. The result is that I’m living in a much smaller space than I had hoped. It’s not a studio or what they laughing call an “efficiency apartment” (read: “motel room without the conveniences of an actual motel”), but it is a bit cramped, especially for the archivist and gamer whose library is one of the reasons people usually only help me move once.

The upside is that the place does have its charm. It was originally a large barn built in the 1880s that’s since been renovated and diced up into apartments. I have lots of old exposed wood beams and floors, as well as a pair of stained glass windows that look into the bedroom and what I’m calling the “reading and writing nook.” I can see the Wallkill River and its cataracts from my window and aside from the Mysterious Thing with Heavy Feet that Lives Overhead, my fellow residents are friendly, yet discreet. Being on the second floor, my place also comes delightfully equipped with a Superhero Emergency Escape Hatch, which is a fire exit leading to a shaft containing a ladder running down to the ground floor, located directly off of my bedroom. I’m contemplating starting a life of crime just so I can utilize it when the S.W.A.T. team starts breaking down the front door. When time allows, I’ll post some pictures of my new headquarters and you’re all invited to drop by for a delve into Stonehell the next time you’re in the neighborhood.

Speaking of Stonehell, work continues on the sequel and my determination to finish it and get it out by year’s end remains unabated. My work schedule and the whole process of relocating and unpacking have cut into the time I’d like to be writing the manuscript, but I’ve taken to getting up an hour early to get some design work accomplished before I start my day. I’m currently working on a quadrant on the 7th level called “The Welchers’ Halls” for reasons that will become apparent once you see what lies to the south of this section.

Those of you who contributed to the “Help Mike Relocate to the Wilderness Where He Belongs” Fund will all receive a special mention when the book comes out, as promised. I’m really dumbfounded by the contributions some of you made and am in awe that you were willing to part with your hard-earned cash to help out some guy who writes about monsters, magic, and other dubious pursuits, one many of you have never even met. Those funds were a real life-saver this week when I was hit with some unexpected bills above and beyond the astronomical cost of renting a Penske truck and filling that beast with gas. The alternator went on my car and I got hit with another $100+ bill for another repair. Without that extra money, I’d be scared spitless regarding how I would survive until my first paycheck clears. So although I’ve already thanked you all in email, let me do so again: “Thank you, thank you, thank you very much!”

With such limited space to live in, I had to leave the majority of my gaming collection in storage back on Long Island, but I’m trying to view that as a feature, not a bug. Aside from the B/X books, Stonehell I, and the Labyrinth Lord rulebook, I just have my 1st edition (2nd printing) Call of Cthulhu boxed set and my complete run of Wraith: The Oblivion (which got loaded onto the truck when I wasn’t looking). Call of Cthulhu is really , well “calling” to me right now, and I’m very tempted to make that the next campaign I run once I find my place here and a new gaming group. If I were to do so, I’d take the “Out of the Box” approach, using just the materials provided in the boxed set and pretending nothing else was ever written for the game. That idea really has my head whirling with possibilities.

The other reason that Call of Cthulhu is enticing me is that I’m now living in the real Wildwyck County. The series I’m writing for Fight On! is based on the landscape, history, and my own experiences in Ulster County as an undergraduate. Now that I’m an actual resident of Wildwyck, I’m hoping to tap into the rich history and atmosphere that pervades the country just outside my front door and make that series even better. I’m planning on watching the full moon rise tonight and brainstorm.

I made the initial efforts to locate a gaming group this week, joining a local Meetup group based in the area, but I’m not sure how that’s going to pan out just yet. So again, if you’re one of my readers and want the dubious honor of having me at your table, feel free to contact me at the email listed to the right. Unfortunately, my internet connection is less than efficient, meaning I won’t have the option of participating in FLAILSNAILS games for the foreseeable future, making me even more determined to find a local face-to-face group as understanding and tolerant of my penchant for weirdness as my last one.

Before I go, I want to remind you all once again that even though my postings may be reduced, my participation in the hobby is not. Some of you lucky bastards have already gotten their hands on Goodman Games’ new Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG and you’ll notice my name in that book’s credits. I did some of the spells for it and there’s one I’m most proud off. A No-Prize goes to the first one to guess which spell that is. Goblinoid Games will be releasing another game I designed using the Action Table System to Labyrinth Lord Society members in the near future and I hope you card-carrying members download it, give it a whirl, and let me know what you think. I charted a course into Bat Country when writing it and I hope that comes through in the final product.

In still other design news, I’m one of the contributing authors to The Secret Fire’s next supplement, Fragment I: The Way of Tree, Shadow & Flame. One of my co-designers on that book is an up-and-coming young lad who I think has a lot of potential, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing the name” Eddie Greenwood” again in the future.

Lastly, a reminder that I’ll be down in Texas for NTRPGCon to run a few DCC games (“Emirikol Must Die!,” a convention variant of my forthcoming Emirikol Was Framed! adventure from Goodman Games, as well as a converted (and possibly perverted) version of my first OSR release, “The Fane of St. Toad.” One of those sessions may have a secret special guest, but I’m not telling who or when. There’s also talk of Tim Kask and I doing a workshop on “Gonzo Gaming” with other guests, but that’s still being hashed out as far as I know. After getting to know and play with Tim at Gary Con, doing a seminar with him would be a great pleasure. One that would only be eclipsed if Dan Proctor and I win this year’s Three Castles Award for Realms of Crawling Chaos.

Oh, one more thing: this year’s Goodman Games’ Free RPG Day release features two adventures and another special treat. Those adventures were written by the most excellent Harley Stroh and I. My home group had a blast playtesting my contribution, even if things didn’t turn out so well for one of the PCs.

OK, I’m done. Off to howl at the moon a bit before bed. Thank you all again for the well-wishes, support (both verbal, financial, and professional), and camaraderie you’ve provided me since I first dipped my toe into both the OSR and the industry. I couldn’t have done it without you.


grodog said...

Good to hear from you Michael, and do enjoy the area: your view sounds gorgeous :D Out of curiousity, how close to the Berskshires are you? (Melville lived there, and I've always wanted to visit, but haven't made the trip yet).

Looking forward to seeing you at NTX, and getting to game together :D



Michael Curtis said...

Allan, from me to the Berkshires is about 120 miles (2 hours drive). I'm about 74 miles south of Albany and the Berks are about 45 miles east of there.

See you in Texas (and Castle Greyhawk) in a month!

Rich said...

I live up in the adirondacks in upstate new york. I could show you a couple interesting statues, far back in the woods you might be interested in. They almost look like a temple. Their irregular geometry confuses me, "ia ia Cthulhu!"

Rich said...

Oopps, sorry about that last post. I'm not sure what just happened. I blacked out for a minute.

James Maliszewski said...

Glad to hear you are alive and doing well, Michael. I look forward to seeing your creations when they finally appear, but there's no rush! :)

Michael Curtis said...

That's OK, Rich. It happens to the best of us! Especially when the stars are right...

grodog said...

Well, if I get up that way on one of my regular trips back east, Michael, I'll let you know! :D


Badmike said...

Glad you got situated and we here at NTRPG con are happy your move didn't have any effect on your attendance here...your DCC games filled up fast! As for the Gonzo Gaming seminar, it is on, I don't have a clue what you and Tim will talk about but I know it will be fun. We'll get Matt Finch or Bill Webb (Frog God Games) to also sit in, attention whores the both of them, it should be interesting :)