I have a lot to be thankful for. I’ll focus on game things, here on my game blog.
This year I have tightened my focus dramatically. I’ve stepped away from Masks, and homed in on Old School Hack. In that process, I homed in on Fictive Hack, breaking from the original so I could take what I wanted and leave the rest behind. In that process, I needed to focus on a single setting first for working out the kinks. I chose the World Between (not least because my wife thinks it is cool).
Normally I have a primary game, a secondary game, and a few one-offs here and there. Right now I have tightened down to a single main game, with the expectation of the occasional one off here and there. I’ve been trying to do this for years, and I’ve finally managed it.
I have completed a plateau in my game design work for Fictive Hack. I have released “The World Between for Fictive Hack” with the blessing of Kirin and Jack both. They even wrote a foreword for the book. If I were to vanish right now, that book is a pretty decent capstone to a lifetime of game design. I am very proud of it, and proud to be in a place I can offer my players stability in my rules with no update fatigue. Considering I first became aware of the World Between on April 1 when Jack released his first compendium, releasing my comprehensive rule book at 315 pages about seven months later is amazing, especially since it incorporates content from both his compendiums.
I am grateful I have found a game that my whole group, bar none, can enjoy. My wife can revel in the dark Gothic tones and themes, the players get to feel like their characters are cool, I can run an unapologetic horror theme under everything… I am not feeling the itch to shift games right now, and neither is anyone else (that I know of.) I just got this shiny toy box together, let’s play with it for a while before we move on.
I am grateful that I had a chance to be close friends with Paul for years. He died this month, and I have been involved in dealing with the fallout of logistics that even the tidiest life leaves behind. His parents have been kind and great to work with, but they live in another state. The situation could be a lot worse. I fiercely miss my best friend, but I am fully capable of looking at the good times we had together and being intensely thankful that he was in my life. There is no question I am a better human being for his encouragement and presence, his generosity and kindness. He loved my whole family, and he was part of it. (He was the guy who played Tulip, the dragon-slaying gladiator. I am grateful we finished off the Death of the Widow Dragon before he left my group. Far as I know, his 15th level character is still the highest level of any character in an Old School Hack or derivative system.)
I am grateful for the assistance of my wife Kristy in working on the game projects you see on this blog. She gives me time and space, understanding that it is my escape, my creativity, a life beyond my meatspace. She helped with things I needed help on, and her love of the setting is a gift to me.
I am grateful for my game group. I have worked hard to create a game where we can all have fun together, where the rule changes will now be minimal at best, where the tone is something everyone can enjoy, where there is incentive to work together. I would lose all interest in gaming if my players did not come to the table prepared and expecting to have a good time, and succeed in that goal. I can say without question or hesitation that you can now experience something at my game table that you’ve never experienced before, and it will lead to stories that will come up when you talk gaming with your buddies from now on.
I am thankful for Lulu and the amazing software and options of the internet. I can build an entire book, fill it with public domain art, share it on a blog, and ultimately create a hard copy you can order. I can do all this for almost no money at all. That takes my breath away.
I am thankful that my lack of access to art has spurred be to take up digital art again, after a few years off. I feel I have been very productive with creating images, and I think it adds to who I am when I successfully make art. I feel you all will not take my work very seriously if there are no pictures, so I gotta make the pictures to get people to look at my work. The up side is, I can make pictures, and this has motivated me to sink the time and effort into doing so.
I am grateful for the people who are consistently present in my online life: Matt Jackson, Simon Forster, Jack Shear, and Kirin Robinson. I don’t know if we are friends in the meatspace sense, but I love having some people who I follow who are willing to interact and talk about what projects we are all up to. I also deeply appreciate Telecanter, Dyson Logos (thank goodness he’s back!), E. Wilson, Tim D., Karlen, Tenkar, and shortymonster. When I feel like I’m interacting, this blog stuff is great. When I feel like I’m throwing treasures off a cliff to a restless, senseless sea in the dimness below, I feel stupid. You make the difference.
I am thankful that I have gotten into making Arkham Horror custom stuff again, and with software (see, pictures!) that lends my work credibility.
I could go on and on. I could go into the Santicore project, my thoughts on Strip D&D, on getting involved in G+… But this is as good a place as any to stop.
Thanks everybody. Even when things are dark, we have so much to be thankful for, it is important to reflect on our blessings now and then.