Friday, January 13, 2017

"A Lot of GMs Get a Bad Rap as Being Frustrated Novelists"

When I was young, I read a lot of fiction. I read all kinds of stuff from hardcore sci-fi from the 50s to the Dragonlance sagas to Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, the Dragonriders of Pern and everything between. This continued into my early undergrad days and then I just didn't read anything but textbooks and technical docs for a long, long time and no, comics don't count. Neither do graphic novels, though I have a fondness for EmpoweredActually, scratch that, I did read one book, an Earthdawn which doesn't get its own link, an anthology of short stories which I recall being OK but not great--such was my love of Earthdawn. Sadly, the other Earthdawn books I bought in my ebay buying craze phaze in the early 00's sit next to it unread--er, anyway...

One of the things that keeps coming up in my renewed studies of GMing, is to consume lots of media. Pretty much everyone's said this now. Adult life has taken its toll on me for sure and these days I don't consume a lot of media aside from games and even that has dwindled in the last couple years. This is evidenced by my award-winningYear In Review(TM) posts. Matt Colville recommended Pawn of Prophecy, and at one of my seemingly semi-weekly Amazon orders, I figured what the heck. I hadn't read anything from Eddings but I'd always heard good things. I took the first book home over the Holidays at the beginning of thislast year not realizing it was a ten twelve(!) book series and was immediately hooked.

There are for sure things I don't like about them, now that I've read the first set, but there's an undeniable humanity and complexity to all of the major characters which makes them relate-able. I was pretty much able to guess at all of the major bits of the plot but finding out how those things came to pass kept me flipping pages until late in the night on too many nights. I finished the Belgariad this evening and looking back, I have to wonder how much more interesting the last twenty years might have been if I'd read more. Old age is funny like that.

The quote in the title is from one Adam Koebel of Dungeon World fame. He said this in his award-winning series "Office Hours" which I watch on the youtubes.  (The goods are here at 3:24 if you want to play along at home.)  I got a good chuckle out of that. Hankerin' and Colville (link above) are both actual novelists and folks whose GM tips I've found invaluable. (The goods are here and here and no, I've read neither yet, and I don't get Amazon referral bonuses, either.)

For years I've wondered if I should be writing. I invariably hear about nanowrimo and think, "yeah, I could do that." The same thing happens with game jams, naturally. Part of the reason I started this ridiculous waste of almost no bandwidth is to get better at it. I wrote a comic last century. I build things in Lego out of that universe. I run a game in a fantasy world I've been creating since the mid 80s. Both of these have been touched by dozens and influenced by a lot of crap that I probably can't even remember. Sadly, the only folks who ever really get to see any of it are my players. Is that how it's supposed to be? Did Koebel hit it on the head, or what?

Right at the moment I am too sober and feel the need to lift a toast to Aunt Pol, Belgarath, and Garion. I rather miss them already.

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