The April Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Event

Yesterday was the first Tuesday of the month.  I have penciled that in for the monthly Magical History Tour event.  Since March of last year, the system I have been exploring has been Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, the most recent edition of the venerable Tunnels & Trolls game.  The first Monday of the month is out because I am busy on Mondays, handing sundry responsibilities.  And stopping into the local coffeehaus for lunch.  😉

I didn’t do much last night.  It was a combination of feeling tired from a long walk and not feeling like playing.  So, I’m going to do what I have done in the past and extend the event over several days.  That way I can keep playing until I satisfy my need for Tunnels & Trolls gameplay.

When I start the event every month, I check the status of each character’s story.  As a running joke I note that my first Tunnels & Trolls character, Basio, is still dead.  He died in August on the blade of Golden Birgir’s cutlass.  Life is cheap and strange on my version of Trollworld.

So, I am preparing to play the second Tunnels & Trolls character I created, Adasen the Goblin Scoundrel.  He is the folk hero (the background from Fifth Edition D & D) of Goblin Lake.  I was stuck for months on what kind of adventure to create for him.  I feel that Trollworld Goblins resemble kappa from Japanese folklore, so I have been using elements from the tales about them.


On Writing and Responsibility

There was no blog post yesterday because Sunday is traditionally house cleaning day here at Dover Hold.  In addition this past Winter was harder on me than the one before and I have to make an extra push to do Spring Cleaning this year.  So I spent much of the day picking up messes and clutter.  I am a bachelor, so I create messes and clutter just by doing a thing in a room.  😉

Which brings me to a serious point:  Sometimes a creative writer has to do other things before they have the space and time to actually write.  I have found that when my place is cluttered or messy, my mood is poor.  This detracts from my ability to write.  On the opposite tack, when my home is clean and uncluttered, I am more energetic and focused.  Even doing housework for fifteen minutes improves my mood as well.

Current Reading List

I had intended to post this yesterday.  I got distracted and wrote a blog entry on something related to it.  Mind like a steel cat, I say.  😉

The Colour of Magic

Changeling:  The Dreaming

One Piece, Volume 1

Children of the Void

Burglars Can’t Be Choosers

Bethorm:  The Plane of Tekumel

I am re-reading The Colour of Magic because I need a laugh.  This past Winter was difficult.  It is the first book in the Discworld series.  It is a set of four novellas which follow Rincewind the failed wizard and Twoflower, the discworld’s first tourist.

I  began re-reading Changeling:  The Dreaming a year ago.  It aided my mood and the time and gave me stimulating things to think about.  It is a tabletop RPG about Faery and fae creatures.

One Piece Volume 1 is a tankonbon, a Japanese graphic novel.  It is the story of Luffy, a boy who wants to become King of the Pirates.  The name comes from the legendary treasure of the first King of the Pirates, Gold Roger, One Piece.

Children of the Void is a tabletop RPG supplement, the second part of the Pathfinder adventure path Second Darkness.  I am reading it because the current arc in the Pathfinder campaign I host is inspired it.

I am reading Burglars Can’t Be Choosers, the first Bernie Rhodenbarr book for inspiration.  One of my Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls characters, Baroness Mia, is a footpad.

Bethorm:  The Plane of Tekumel is a tabletop RPG.  It is set in the alien world of Tekumel.  It is the next tabletop RPG I would like to host as part of my Magical History Tour, an exploration of old game systems and settings.


Why I Read

I read for more than one motive.  I began reading for pleasure at age six.  I had learned to read when I was five.  The first book I read which was not a picture book was Treasure Island by Robert Lois Stephenson.  I still have a soft spot for pirate stories because of that.  I also read to become informed.  After I got kicked out of college, I realized how much I did not know about the wider world.  As a creative writer, I read to find models for my own work.  I had limited myself to science fiction when I was a boy, and then fantasy when I was a teen.  As I have grown older, I have attempted to read more widely, including out of my comfort zone.  I never know when reading something will spark an improvement in my own writing.



Spinning Back Up

*Blows the dust off blog*

I got blown offline late in 2016 when both my ancient desktop computer and my notebook computer suffered fatal hard drive crashes.  I have been fudging it getting online with a Nook and a smartphone since then.  This month I lost patience with using touch screen devices.  I repaired my notebook computer.  I am prepared to go fully back online and cause caffeine-fueled chaos on the Web sites where I have access.

Update: Creative Content Production

I haven’t been blogging much this month.  I have had my writing energy go in other directions.  I have revved up and continued my “Thelsikar’s Ambition” Pathfinder campaign.  I am continuing to type and write in my private journals.  I have begun cutting and archiving the entries in my computer journal file because Word 2007 can’t handle files over 1000 words long.  Just yesterday I organized, added to and consolidated my fiction files on the hard drive of my current computer.  According to the Properties tab, I have 1.16 Megs of text files in the My Fiction folder.  That’s about half of what I had on my hard drive before the Russian Virus hard drive meltdown of 2006.  Last month I found a cache of old printouts from before the meltdown, so I have begun sorting and filing them into a binder with pockets.  My plan is to manually type them into Word and save them to my current hard drive.

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A Pastiche: The Grayling and Blue Hawk

Sometime in 1980, after I was given an electric typewriter for Christmas, I began not only writing stories longhand, but typing some of them and sharing them with my father.  The first one I was inspired to do was a Fritz Lieber pastiche, based on his Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser characters.  I hadn’t read the first collection in the series, yet, but I had read descriptions of the two characters and their adventures in the first edition of the First Edition AD & D supplement Deities and Demigods.

My creations were called The Grayling and Blue Hawk.  The Grayling was the big barbarian from the far northern lands, of course.  The name has two references.  First of all, he had gray hair, borrowed from the barbarians of The World of Grayhawk, even though he was only in his twenties.  Second, a “grayling” is a rather ordinary salt water fish found in the North Atlantic which has a rainbow stripe of scales on it.  Blue Hawk, was of course named for a color and an animal, like the Mouser.  Blue is one of my favorite colors and I am partial to hawks, when it comes to birds.  I used to watch them when a rare single one would fly over the house.

The actual story wasn’t much of a standout.  It was a typical adventure for two Fafhrd and Mouser type characters, a fetch quest.  They agreed to retrieve a magical artifact for a wizard.  It was held by an evil cult, of course.  They crossed as fantasy continent I had cooked up for the story, nearly killed their horses by riding them so hard and eventually ended up in far southern lands where the cult had their weird, forbidding temple.  You know, the usual stuff for swashbuckling adventurers.  Like Lieber, I added humorous touches to some of the scenes.  The final confrontation was of course epic, dramatic and violent, with several cultists being cut down when they charged the mock heroic pair in attempt to stop the theft of the artifact.

I didn’t write gory details, even then.  That was mostly because I modeled my writing on the pulp fiction I read, starting in the late Seventies.  The pulps from the Twenties onward had to be restrained in what they wrote, or the parents of the kids who read their magazines would wrathfully get them shut down.  For some reason, the neo-pulp writers of the Seventies also follow that convention.

The ending was weak.  The pair get whisked off by a wizard-ex-machina teleport spell to the wizard’s home, back in their home city.  They get their reward for delivering the artifact.  I don’t remember clearly what it was.  I think it was an appropriate reward for swashbuckling heroes as written by someone in their late teens.