Busy, busy, busy

Please accept my apologies for the relative dearth of posting on the blog as of late. I’ve got so much going on right now it’s hard to squeeze in time to formulate something substantive here. Things I’ve got on some burner, whether back or front, just at the moment…

  • Greyhawk module lore. Going through the early TSR modules to pluck out and systematize Greyhawk-related lore. The geopolitical implications of some of the more subtle aspects of the Temple of Elemental Evil, for example, or how White Plume Mountain might fit into the interactions of the Bandit Kingdoms and the Shield Lands.
  • Castle of the Mad Archmage. Aside from continuing the regular releases, I’m giving thought to how things will progress once the core levels are complete this year. One idea I had was to offer individual side-levels for sale. You get the core for free, but you pay for the gravy. Thoughts?
  • Castle of the Mad Archmage redux. Something else I am giving very serious thought to giving the work a final scrubbing of all the TSR/WotC trademarks and offering the core levels for sale as a hard copy product. It wouldn’t happen until December, and I would still offer the pdf version for free, but for those who want the “mailed out from his living room” magic, it would be there. With large-size poster maps of all the levels, of course; it wouldn’t be cheap. More thoughts?
  • My fantasy heartbreaker. A set of books based on the AD&D rules, but incorporating the changes I outlined not too long ago regarding my reconstruction of what Gary would have wanted his own second edition to look like. With the new classes, the monster changes, etc. etc. etc. But with all the retro-clones, old-school-inspired games, and new stuff out there, would anyone really care about such a thing? Do we *need* another old-school game that’s not a true emulator?
  • Non-gaming stuff. I try to segregate my religious work from my gaming stuff here, but in terms of workload, it’s worth mentioning that I’m in the midst of writing two separate books on Germanic mythology, folklore, and magic. The work comes and goes in spurts, like all the rest, of course. But if I’m working on this, it means I’m not working on the rest.
  • Fiction. I used to be quite the fantasy writer back in my high school and college days. I would dearly love to pick it up again, but time time time time.

Anyway, there it is. If I don’t manage to post before then, I hope you all have a great Memorial Day (except you Canadians, to whom I think a belated Happy Victoria Day is in order, and Happy Ascention Day to you in Finland, and for my multitudes of Argentinian readers, a most joyous National Day/Day of the 1810 Revolution).

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

9 thoughts on “Busy, busy, busy

  1. I’d say do not send too much time on a house rule collection. Thanks for your continued work on the dungeon even in the face of competing interests. 🙂

  2. >>With large-size poster maps of all the levels, of course; it wouldn't be cheap.

    Yeah, this is tough. The expense on one hand of doing it poster-sized, and on the other hand the extreme pain in the butt qualities of dividing those maps (and cross-referencing the connection points) into page-sized portions. Eek!

    But of your two for-sale options, the full thing as print product is what I vote for.

  3. I’d definitely buy Castle of the Mad Archmage and any accoutrements pertaining thereunto. I don’t do retro-clone rulesets.

  4. Joe—

    As much as I've enjoyed The Castle of the Mad Archmage, I'd _love_ to see you publish versions of Gygax's lost PC classes, even before your Castle: there are a few treatments of these classes out there, and I certainly wouldn't consider them "just another retro-clone" at all: the new classes and rules are a completely different beast since they're additions to the existing AD&D rulesets, rather than restatements. These strike me as very distinctive and worthwhile products. What more did you have in mind for these: another PHB, and a MM/DMG hybrid book??

    The GH module lore collation and analysis also sounds like a great project, of course, along with the continuing Castle.

    Before casting my vote on the idea of selling sub-levels, I thought some more info would be useful: what did you have in mind re: selling the sub-levels/side-levels/demiplanes/etc.? Would they be stand-alone adventures that would benefit from association with the core levels you'd published already (so they're loosely-associated and could be just as easily inserted into Undermountain or Rappan Athuk as your Castle), or they'd be deeply-integrated into your Castle structure/environs/NPCs/monsters/etc. (basically exactly what you're doing now, just for-pay vs. for-free)?


  5. Jim: Actually I don’t see the two as being mutually exclusive. I can do a print version of the core levels and still either do or not the side-levels as individual products. Although naturally your vote in favor of a print product is hardly a surprise. 😉

    Allan: They would be specifically designed as self-contained units, fully able to be plugged into any existing mega-dungeon (or regular dungeon) out there, or even run as their own thing. Some would be demiplanes, some would be more conventional dungeons with special themes, etc. All would have a “hook” into the CotMA, but would not need it in order to be played. Anything that was too specifically connected with CotMA (like the Black Reservoir, once I do it) would be included in that product.

  6. Allan: regarding the AD&D UE idea, if I was going to do it at all, I'd want to go the full monty. Three hardcover books plus a small "intro" book. My Jester is a small taste of how I'd approach the classes; leaning on Mythus, but in AD&D terms. What did you think of that, if I may ask?

  7. I don’t know that I would buy the CMA hard-copy, but I would definitely want to buy the poster maps (at least, if/when my group was ready to move on to this dungeon). I suspect that making these available on their own might make them a more popular item, in case that has any effect on how you’d get them printed.

    I’m definitely open to the idea of buying sub-levels, even in (or especially in) pdf form. Some of those sublevels can be pretty wacky and weird, and they’d work well as optional, modular items. I’m particularly interested to see what you’d do with the famous ‘Barsoom’ sublevel.

    One question comes to mind though: if you sold a hardcopy of this dungeon, would you include a new Level 1 and the castle ruins? I realize there’s an ‘official’ version of these out there, but if your product had an alternate version that was included with the rest of the material, I would have to seriously reconsider the question of buying it.

    “Do we *need* another old-school game that’s not a true emulator?”
    Emphatically YES! I think the hobby can only be helped by the creation of more neo-retro games, original games written specifically for the old school playstyle. I'm less certain of the need for reconstructions of hypothetical editions or spin-offs – there are several items that I'd enjoy seeing (such as a B/X Companion, or an Arnesonian alternative to AD&D, or the Immortals rules re-written as a stand-alone rpg), but AD&D UE isn't really on my list.

  8. Do we *need* another old-school game that's not a true emulator?

    We need it more than the true emulators in my not so humble opinion.

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