Current Reading List

I change my reading list about once every two weeks because my interests and needs for reading material change over time.  My list at the start of May was six books.  I cut it to three because there were three books I wasn’t bothering to read:

Space Opera

The Lord of the Rings

Bethorm:  The Plane of Tekumel

Space Opera is by Catherynne M. Valente, who I follow on Twitter.  The book and its contents kept popping up on my feed during April, so I downloaded a sample from the Nook store.  The blazing wordplay in it is astounding.  So I bought a copy as soon as I could.  Social satire on a galactic scale.

The Lord of the Rings is by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I am reading my third copy.  My father gave me my first copy circa 1979.  He had read it and set it aside.  I still own that copy, yellowed and worn with age.  More recently I bought and read the fiftieth anniversary edition.  I just finished reading that copy last year.  My third copy is the e-book in one volume.  I bought it because I kept losing track of where my second copy was in my personal library.  Also, it was on sale.  I am re-reading it now on the impulse to bookmark the pages with meaning for me.

Bethorm:  The Plane of Tekumel is a tabletop RPG source book.  It describes the science fantasy world of Tekumel.  Generic fantasy settings with happy birds and singing elves have lost their savor for me.  How my taste in settings shifted is a subject for another blog post.  My first step away from generic settings was Trollworld, the established setting for Tunnels & Trolls, which has Teutonic and Celtic elements and is thoroughly lethal to player characters.  Tekumel is another step away from generic fantasy, a savage world set in the far future.  Full disclosure:  I know one of the co-creators of Bethorm via Facebook.  Jeff Dee, artist and tabletop RPG creator.

#amreading #ttrpg



Changes for May

At the end of April, I began reading a book by Catherynne M. Valente called Space Opera.  As I tweeted at the time, it shook some things loose, mentally.  I made two major changes.  I significantly altered my reading list.  And I decided to stop playing Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls.  I have moved on to the next stop on the Magical History Tour, Tekumel.

I first heard of Tekumel c. 1983, when one of contributors to an APA magazine which I wrote fanzine for wrote about Empire of the Petal Throne, a tabletop RPG.  He said something about” playing a barbarian and not wanting to commit a faux pas and get impaled by the Tsolyani”.  While I was intrigued, there was not much I could do about it, as Empire of the Petal Throne was out of print by that time.

Fast forward to 2017:  A small press tabletop publisher named Uni Games did a Kickstarter for something called The Kurt Hills Atlas.  Full disclosure:  I found out about it because I am Facebook friends with Jeff Dee, one of the two members of Uni Games.  In exchanging comments about the Kickstarter, Mr. Dee told me that Uni Games had published a tabletop RPG set on Tekumel.  I made a note of that and put it on my DriveThru RPG wishlist.  And late in 2017, I bought the PDF version of Bethorm:  The Plane of Tekumel.  I began skimming it with an eye toward learning the system and learning about the setting.

#amreading #ttrpg #Tekumel



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.