January 22, 2023: Push

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on Pexels.com

Some days, keeping the daily posts going feels like the above pic, like pushing a huge weighty thing. Not because it’s hard to write a couple hundred words for each post, is the keeping it daily part that gets tricky. Some days I know exactly what to write, other days I even get ahead and have scheduled posts for a few days, but there are days like today, when it’s 2:00 PM, and I’m like, oh crap, I haven’t posted yet!

So here we are, today’s post at mid-afternoon, keeping the streak going.


June 21, 2023: Troubadours

Photo by Fernando Capetillo on Pexels.com

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: bards are my favorite fantasy role-playing character class. I love their versatility, their range of skills, and the historical, mythological, and literary sources that inspire the class. My favorite player character of all time, Hal Whitewyrm, was a bard, and playing him was an experience I’ll never forget. Every time I’m gonna play a fantasy role-playing game, I say that I’m gonna try a different kind of character, but I always end up playing a bard because I simply enjoy it so much.

My friend at Lightspress Media has just released a book made for me and all of us who love bards, The Foragers Guild Guide to Troubadours, a 96-page system-neutral toolkit sourcebook to help enhance playing bards in any campaign. The book gives tons of ideas on how to use bards, troubadours, minstrels, skalds, etc. in many kinds and styles of fantasy games, from naming conventions and culture-based details, to how the class interacts with other typical fantasy game classes/professions, to information about guilds and bands, and ways in which antagonists and enemies can work focusing on the featured strengths of bards (I mean, having Censors be the primary antagonist type listed says a lot). Throughout the book there are lots of one-paragraph character sketches that can be used as players, companions, retinue, patrons, mentors, rivals, or enemies, showcasing the advice and guidelines provided.

I’m biased, yes, but I loved the book and cannot recommend it enough. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the Foragers Guild Guides coming out.

January 20, 2023: Collaboration

Photo by Canva Studio on Pexels.com

As much as I am a solitary artist, I also crave community and collaboration, which is why I’m always looking for the right project to work with other (selected) creators. It isn’t as easy as it may sound, as it requires a lot of conversations about roles, responsibilities, and boundaries, and that’s before you even get to any of the creative material. Many collaborations fizzle out at this stage, probably for the better.

I’ve done a few collaborations in the past, and I learned valuable lessons from each. Now, when I look for a collaborative project, it needs to be something special that could only happen with a specific person, something that can only be created when we combine our particular skills.

This is on my mind because it looks like I might be starting a collaborative project with a friend sometime in the near future. We have a setting we co-created for a game that we would like to develop further, a setting I liked a lot when we first came up with it and which has some neat features that give it its own character. We’re still talking about the general idea at this point, but it’s looking good.

January 19, 2023: Eval

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Today is my yearly evaluation. I always find it weird that I have to wave my own flag and basically justify my work for a whole year in three accomplishments. Nevertheless, I have done so, sent it to my boss, and later today will sit with them to perform my role in this bureaucratic charade required by HR.

January 18, 2023: Leaks

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

January has turned out to be the month of leaks. Not only are we dealing with a leak in our house that needs to be addressed by insurance, with all the headaches that entail, now this morning, as I parked the car at work, I heard the unmistakable sound of air leaking from a tire. Indeed, the front passenger tire was punctured with heavens know what, and it now lies flat on the parking lot until I can deal with it this afternoon before I go home.

Deep breaths, Daniel. Deep breaths.

January 17, 2023: Goodwill

Image by Freepik.

Wizards of the Coast released a statement on the OGL 1.1 that I feel only served to make things worse, and has prompted a lot of close scrutiny of the OGL in general, from the language used in the original to whether it is actually needed at all. The whole debacle has pushed a number of game companies to band together and seek to create a more egalitarian open game license that would be divorced from any one company or game system, be perpetual, and be irrevocable.

The genie is out of the bottle, as the saying goes.

My favorite part is this statement,

…we wanted to ensure that the OGL is for the content creator, the homebrewer, the aspiring designer, our players, and the community—not major corporations to use for their own commercial and promotional purpose.

First of all, those groups for whom the OGL was purportedly for—”the content creator, the homebrewer, the aspiring designer, our players, and the community”—never needed the OGL, period. Fans have been making stuff up for D&D since day one, and no one needed a license to share that material with other players. Second, to say that the OGL was not for “major corporations to use for their own commercial and promotional purpose” is disingenuous and contrary to the original intent of the license, which sought to create a greater community around D&D, give creators some sense of assurance that they wouldn’t get sued by Wizards, and have other companies create material for D&D that ultimately would strengthen the main game/brand. It’s revisionism at its finest.

It’s fascinating and sad to see all the goodwill Wizards of the Coast has built for themselves and their game/brand over the last 20 years of the OGL and open game movement be flushed down the drain so quickly over what, at best (and giving the benefit of the doubt) was a flawed document with flawed communication to the fan base about what the objectives were, at worse a total money-grabbing move.

January 15, 2023: Middle

How is it the middle of January already? The year just started and I already feel like it’s rushing by me. I spent the first week on vacation (which was nice), and the second week going back to work (which was not so nice), and now I’m having a bit of existential dread when I think of the weeks ahead and all the stuff to do.

This steamrolling by time is my least favorite part of getting older.

On the plus side, I got to sleep in today, so I’ll take that one good thing and cherish it.

January 14, 2023: Bigotry

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

bigot (noun)

a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices

especially one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

“Bigot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigot. Accessed 12 Jan. 2023.

A bigot is not one who is intolerant of people who are intolerant of members of a particular racial or ethnic group.

Just no.

Listen, if I have to explain to you that you’re not supposed to tolerate racism and prejudice, that it is not only okay, but essential—critical even—to not tolerate the intolerant, I can’t help you.

I can pray for you to one day open your eyes, but I can’t help you.

January 13, 2023: Capricorn

Capricornus“, plate 25 in Urania’s Mirror by Jehoshaphat Aspin. Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division.

I don’t put any weight on horoscopes, although I’m happy to be a Libra, and in my youth, I always found it fun to look into my friends’ zodiac signs and how we all meshed together (or didn’t!).

This said, to the special Capricorn in my life, I hope you have a happy birthday! When I look at the description of a Capricorn (in Shape magazine, let’s not get carried away here), I see that “Capricorns are overachievers, persistent, practical[,] known for their hardworking habits,” and that’s very much you. I know our personalities have sometimes clashed, but I have always admired those qualities in you, frustrating as they sometimes could be!

Keep being your great self, Capricorn, this year and always.