Mar 24, 2017

Late Update

I pushed some files to DriveThruRPG for the print version of Mini Six today. There's a whole process involved. They have to submit the files to the printer to see if they are okay first. If they are, I have to order a sample. If that's okay then I can activate the title on the site as in-print product.

It's softcover just like the original small print runs.

They are having some sort of difficulty communicating new files with their printer currently, so that might add a few days. It's very likely I've made some mistakes, and if I have I might not be able to fix them immediately. If all goes well Mini Six could be in print again in a few weeks, this time permanently.

At the same time, I have lost some faith in the pay what you want model and have started traditional pricing for it. Thank you to the folks who have purchased it at any price (including free) in the past. Anyone who has it in their DTRPG library will keep it, regardless of any change to the price that I make.

The Future Is Still On Hold

The Health Crisis Update:

  1. The thing I thought I had which was causing all the problems. I have that. It wasn't causing all of the problems though. It's probably controllable. If the story ended here then things would return to normal in about a year.
  2. I have another condition which is causing the larger problems, isn't operable, doesn't ever kill you (by itself), but it's largely intractable. The statistical outlook for longevity is good. The outlook for quality of life is bad. Every statistical marker which hurts your chance of improvement is in my column. I start therapy just to deal with this soon and with the depression that usually comes with this diagnosis.
  3. There's a third condition looming which I'm unlikely to have but we have to follow up on. If I "win" that lottery then condition 2 won't matter much anyway because the rest of this story will be more brutal and shorter than expected.

#1 doesn't phase me anymore, I'm currently pretty upset by #2, and I have enough rationality left to know that the odds of #3 coming to pass are slim so I'm not too concerned by it, but I do resent having to go do a bunch more tests in the next month which probably won't matter and I don't feel like being in hospitals, doctor's offices, or neurology clinics anymore.

How This Affects Mini Six:

  • Obviously, my past plans are still on hold. When I'm able to return to them I will have to evaluate them on a case by case basis. This could mean that there are changes because I can't commit my future self to promises I made in the past when I was more lucid.
  • I have difficulty writing. If this post seems clear to you, know that it's taken me almost two hours to write to this point and I've used spellcheck extensively.
  • My memory is bad. If I have any outstanding commitments to anyone don't be afraid to speak up. I don't think that I do but I have to put that out there. Be direct - I don't mind.

How This Affects My Gaming Life:

  • I have a "regular" weekly game I've attended for over a decade. I've been about four times in the past six months. Sometimes I've been in the hospital and other times I just couldn't go. I hope to go this week. I'm hoping to DM a 5th edition D&D game for 1st level characters that it's taken me months to write. Luckily, all of my players are very familiar with the rules, so I won't have to explain those. It will probably be a a short session though. The days of long sessions might be behind me, at least for now.
  • I've been to Gen Con each year since 2010 or so. It's literally my favorite time of the year. Usually I go all four days. Last year I was only there for about two hours before I had to leave. I hope to attend for a single day this year.
  • My daughter, wife, and nephews enjoy beating me regularly at board games. I still win sometimes, but there's definitely been a strong tilt away from the days when I was the legendary unbeatable old crank at the table. I've also had to pass on the torch of being the rules-master at all the games.
I'll know more on the health front in about six weeks. There is no timetable for anything else, but it's conceivable that I have plenty of time to work on the project later.

Jan 6, 2017

Early 2017 Update

Mini Six Revised still lacks a firm commitment. Here's why: I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. The health problems from last year continue to trouble me. It's hard to read and write when recovering from seizures.

Some work is done on it - the "bare bones" of the revised edition is essentially done (that's not saying much since so much is the same as the current edition.) What's still missing are most of the bells and whistles which will make the effort of putting out another book worth it. A "freeform" magic system is underway, and new rules for movement and combat which abstract the action to theater of the mind instead of a battlegrid with minis (with optional miniature rules.)

Also missing is the art (mostly), the new settings (mostly), and of course there's still the layout process to go through when things start shaping up (I'll need a new PC as well.)

All that said - for now progress continues, slowly, and without any firm launch date in mind.

When I reach the art and layout stage, I'll make the decision whether to proceed with a Kickstarter or self-fund.

Preview: I have a little bit of fun stuff to show you. Here's a piece of concept art for a new sample setting I've been working on:

The black rats under the manor aren't officially recognized by the lord. They've been down there for centuries - awakened long before mousekind, but unable to bear the light of day. The manor was built on ruins of a castle which fell into disuse in the 1350's. The lord of that keep had been a man of learning and an accomplished alchemist. Long exposure to the sorcerer's stone kept in his subterranean laboratory awoke them to full consciousness.

Indeed, all of mousekind probably owes the rats a debt, because it was a black rat that intentionally corrupted the experiment of the last human Lord Blythswood using the sorcerer's stone itself - although polite society considers this tale to be a falsehood.

The black rats of the under-manor are said to be immortal, to be completely unable to come into the sunlit outdoors, and to be able to wield magic without the use of elixir. Rumors persist that the ultimate source of all elixir is in their domain, and that at least one group of slavers work exclusively to supply them with the only thing which will sustain them, live mice.

Next Update: Mini Six Revised isn't running on a schedule yet. I will update when there's some progress, I have something to show, or in about a month just so you know that there isn't any progress. Hope to see you soon.

Oct 3, 2016

Clouds are Lifting - Another Personal Post

I've been able to write again. For the last few weeks I've had at least a few hours a day when I can write coherently. I'm not able to follow conversations sometimes, but that's because they happen in real time and it's hard for me to get words out. I know what I'm thinking but there's a delay getting the words out.

My brain is broadband but my mouth is dial-up.

Writing doesn't have that problem. It's asymmetrical. I can look words up. I have to do that a lot. Sometimes I ask my wife about words which has to annoy her. It took me two days to recall the word virtuous last week. My wife used it in conversation and I was finally able to finish a conversation we'd had two days earlier because my point relied on that word.

Mini Six: Work is already underway. There won't be any major announcements before next year. It will be released by the end of 2017. That's as narrow as I can make it right now.

Aug 30, 2016


The status report is that things haven't changed.

I went to Gen Con (on a Saturday) and had to leave after only a few hours and basically missed the entire convention. I've made it to only one of my group's game nights in the past three months, and I can concentrate in bursts, but it's unpredictable.

I can't commit to anything at this point but I do know that considering that September is upon me, I wouldn't time things to have any cash in hand on December 31st even if everything was ready today, because of taxes. Things don't look that rosy anyway.

I still don't have a timeline because stage one is getting my brain working again (literally) then stage two is making up for lost time at my day job. These aren't insurmountable goals. My neurologist is very cheery, reminding me that this situation is not unusual and that there's every reason to expect to get back to my old self at 100% or very near it.

I'm going to try to write up something for you guys soon. I don't know what yet and I'm not feeling creative enough at the moment to imagine what, but that's my mission.

In the meantime, how many of you love Stranger Things on Netflix? It's becoming an obsession for me. I've watched it in full three times now, and I'm still not tired of it.

Aug 6, 2016

Gen Con 2016

I visited Gen Con today. It's my favorite time of the year. In the best years I get to go all four days, but sadly this year was another single day visit year.

I get a charge out of being in a sea of tabletop gamers. My favorite event are the seminars.

The dealer's room hasn't been very heavy in RPG product in any year I've attended, but it seemed really sparse this year. It was more than none, but it was the lightest I've seen before. What I noticed this year was booths selling board games or card games with occasional banners advertising upcoming Kickstarter campaigns for RPG products.

The market has changed entirely - I get that, but I was disappointed that I didn't run across *any* surprises I was interested in this year. A few years ago I came across one of my favorite RPGs of all time, Warbirds, and I hoped to have an experience somewhat like that, but this wasn't the year. Like I said, there were some there, but it was the least I've seen.

Even the consignment area of the auction was skimpy on RPG content.

I'm not saying that this is a portent. I think we're kind of in a revival of tabletop RPGs, it's just that the economics of my favorite con and the modern market have reduced the role of RPG book sales there.

I don't go to buy game books though (it's just a fun bonus to talk to creators and pick up stuff I've never seen), so of course it was still fun.

Then I had a medical situation and had to leave earlier than expected. Attending for only one day, leaving early, and not having the surprise of discovering an unknown RPG made Gen Con 2016 my least favorite. It was still fantastic, just less than I hoped.

Jul 26, 2016

Not much to update. Maybe some musings, personal and otherwise.

Since I wrote last I had about a week where things seemed to be getting better. Of course there was a setback or I wouldn't have open with that.

I'm epileptic, and even though things were okay for decades, my brain is older and not dealing with things so well now that it's had some miles put on it. I had some seizures, I lost my license (until I go a certain period seizure-free), medical restrictions at work which complicate things (not to mention getting to and from work), and it turned out that the medicine I'd been for a long time is now known to cause brain damage.

So I've been trying various new medications. I'm still taking the old one - you can't just quit, but when I find a new one that works I'll go off the original one. This hasn't been so great. Apparently I'm one of the "sensitive" ones who experiences some of the more serious side effects. I'm in what seems like an everlasting try-a-new-drug loop. Conveniently, they all have roughly the same side effects.

So over the past few weeks I've had the interesting experience of not knowing people's names even though I've known them for years, had a lot of trouble finding the right words, had difficulty walking at times, and with coordination, and describing my thinking as "cloudy" seems like an understatement. I've had embarrassing emotional outbursts in public, and just been downright weird. Oh, and I'm exhausted. I don't simply get tired easy, I wake up exhausted most days and it gets worse from there.

I use abuse caffeine by the gallon to get by.

The reason I can write normally to some degree is because it's not in real time and I can edit, edit, edit.

It's not the disease causing all of these issues, it's the drugs. Trial and error is sometimes the only way to do this.

The reason I'm making this public is because if? (when!) I run a Kickstarter campaign, this would be part of that "Risk" category at the bottom of the page. I like transparency in the people I do business with, so there you go.

Of course, it's almost to the point with RPG Kickstarters that they should have some boilerplate down there under Risk which says something like "Warning: the people behind RPG KS campaigns are notoriously flaky. Expect delays to triple or quadruple the schedule for delivery, and multiply that by three for a first campaign."

Today is the start of another drug. With luck it will be an improvement. I'm tentatively hoping to keep my plan to attend Gen Con on Saturday this year, so if there's any cool Mini Six related thing anyone knows of (I expect not), let me know.

A year or two ago I was at Gen Con (actually this was probably a little longer now that I think of it), I found a copy of the first print run of Mini Six for sale in the consignment bin of the auction. That was bittersweet. It was cool to see my name on a book tucked in with other "real" RPGs, but to get there someone had to have bought it from us but decided it wasn't for them. I failed that gamer. I got over it, but still.

I bought it on that Sunday, for $1.00 since it was obviously not going to sell. I still have it somewhere.

Now when I go, I always check the consignment bin. Those 600 copies are rare in the wild, but I still look. I haven't spotted one since.

Finally, Michael H. wrote a flattering review of Mini Six, and the game had an unusual uptick in downloads this week. Related? Thanks Michael!