Sunday, August 28, 2011

[ Kinship ] The Quiet Times Are The Worst.

Jiosh paced back an forth along the ledge of the clock tower and looked down Main Street.  It had been, what... days, weeks since anything had happened?  The boredom was killing him.  He needed action, a zombie attack or something...
I've had a busy couple of weeks.  I needed to complete some community service hours, 36 to be exact, and I needed them done ASAP.  It's NOT because I procrastinated, but because there was a breakdown in communications with the nonprofit agency.  So I had to email a different contact, and made arrangements.

So to make this short story a little longer, I finished the hours over the course of two weeks.  After the first day, I intended to go back the next day, but I couldn't walk.  I had strained my ankle or something, and had to ice it down most of the night.  After a day of rest it didn't hurt anymore so I managed to go back, and managed to finish the week, albeit a little behind schedule.  No worries , still had plenty of time, until I remembered I had jury duty!  So I crammed in the rest of my hours last week, and I have jury duty tomorrow.

Working with the nonprofit agency wasn't that bad, but it was HOT.  I did a lot of grunt work, cleaning, and cooking.  The kitchen was actually cooler than anywhere else!  It is a worthy cause, and I will probably go back to volunteer again, but not for a while.  It's too hot.  I actually worked more hours than I needed to, mainly because I was already there, and they needed the help.

Needless to say, after riding the bus and train to get there and back, and the six to seven hours I put in, I was exhausted when I got home.  So I didn't get any blogging, or any other writing done.  The work on Kinship has come to a stop, but I hope to get started again soon.

I've been called to jury duty three times before, and I've been picked all three times, and all three times it's gone to trial.  So the odds have to be against me getting picked for a fourth time.  Right? Really, where's Spock when you need him?

Monday, August 15, 2011

[ AD&D ] Success On My Book Hunt!

A couple of weeks ago or so, I visited the used book store, and as usual my first stop was the game book section.  I scanned the spines, and just abut jumped when I spotted the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, First Edition!  Then I kept scanning, and there was a Monster Manual.  I was shocked.  Then I spotted the Fiend Folio.

I checked each one out, flipping through the pages, checking for damage, stains, pen and pencil marks.  All of them were in very good shape.  I don't know what printing the books were, but that's not that important to me.  I collect rule sets,  not "collectible" rules.  I was ecstatic.  The DM Guide I bought last year wasn't that great, and here I had a great copy.  Of course it was then I realized that I had no spare money to buy the books.  All three totaled $32.40, but it might as well have been a thousand dollars.  I couldn't afford to get them.  Oh well.

For a short time I thought of hiding them.  Heh.  Yeah right, I gave that thought up fairly quickly, but reluctantly.  So I left.  I had no desire to browse anymore.  I knew the books wouldn't last long.

I checked back a couple of days later, and the books were still there.  I was amazed, but still couldn't justify buying even one of the books.  The DMs Guide and Fiend Folio were ten dollars each.  The Monster Manual was $12.40.  Good prices for the condition they were in.  So I left, knowing full well that everyday that passed increased the chances they would be sold.

A few days later I had extra cash.  So I went back, fully expecting the books to be gone, but I was lucky, and all three books were still there. SCORE!

There was also another copy of the Fiend Folio there, but it was in very sorry shape.  I couldn't believe they priced it the same as the first copy I found.  It was bowed very badly, and had many stains on the inside pages.  I really don't understand the store's pricing.

Once I got the books home, I did a little clean up with a kneaded eraser.  I was lucky there were only a couple of pencil marks.  I need to purchase one of those pillow erasers.  Those really help clean up the pages as well.

So my hunt for AD&D books is going well, all I need now is the Player's Handbook, Deities & Demigods, and I'm sure a couple of others that I can't recall right now.


I'm going to be busy the next couple of weeks, possibly longer. I have jury duty at the end of the month, so who knows what's going to happen.  So I will probably be posting erratically, if at all.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

[ Kinship ] I am not an elf!

Jiosh-lo-hrun sat in his favorite booth in Jelly's Cafe, and lit a clove cigarette.  Staring at Five, he blew smoke in the odd man's direction.  Five didn't react.  This was the first time Jiosh had seen one of the Numbers Clan up close.  They were a reclusive group.  It was called the Numbers Clan because each member had a number tattooed on their foreheads.  Suddenly, the back of his neck tingled, and he shuddered.

"I don't like mind-speak.  Talk."  He set the cigarette in the ashtray, and poked at his salad.  Five shrugged, and held his hands palms up.  "Oh you can't speak?  Well... okay, what is it you want?"

Five pulled out a spiral notebook, and a pen.

"Questions?  you want to ask me questions?"  Five smiled and opened the notebook.  "Fine...whatever..."

Munching a slice of tomato, Jiosh grimaced.  "No, I am not an elf!"  Five winced.  "Oh sorry, I guess I thought too loud. Heh... Well, I am not from your world, oh wait, are you from the world that many here call home?  The Earth? Anyway, I am not what you would call an elf."

Taking a puff from his cig, Jiosh noticed that Five had an Uzi sitting on the seat beside him.  Nice weapon, but not too effective when fighting zombies.  He patted the sword on the table.  "This is what you need for zombies.  I can take the head clean off in one swipe."

Five, writing in his notebook, stopped, and set down his pen.  He reached behind his back and pulled out a big knife.  Jiosh had seen one like it before in the sheriff's office.  It was called a Bowie knife.

"Okay, back to your questions.  Like I said I am not an elf, I am not from Earth, I do not like it here, I don't know how I got here, this whole place seems wrong... what?  Oh, I'm almost seven feet tall.  Yes, I have pointy ears, but that doesn't make me an elf!"

Jiosh saw Five silently laughing.  "Keep it up, and I won't answer any more of your questions.  Got it?"  Five nodded.

"Oh, how did I get here?  I came through the forest.  I was in a huge battle, and things were getting bad.  I had to make a strategic withdrawal, and was pursued by a Xuctar.  What's a Xuctar?  I guess the best way to describe it in your language is... well, it's a freaking huge red magical spider."

Jiosh saw the look on Five's face, and it was his turn to laugh.  "Yes, a giant spider.  I was running fast, and when I realized I had escaped the Xuctar, I also realized I was in a strange forest.  I walked for a while, and soon found myself here... in this... town."

Five nodded, quickly taking notes.  Jiosh couldn't read the writing.  He knew it wasn't English.  In fact Jiosh realized that Five had used his native language when mind-speaking with him.  Maybe the Numbers Clan didn't speak English?  Whatever the case, mind-speaking was giving him a headache.

"Well, I really need to get back to my post.  Wandering zombies won't kill themselves... well not usually."  He finished his salad, and picked up his sword.  "I've got to go, yeah, we can continue this later."

This forest was dangerous... different... delicious... much prey... As soon as the female Xuctar laid the last of her eggs, she would molt one last time, and the hunt for the pale one would continue.  She knew the pale one was close, and there were others... food which her offspring would need, otherwise they would turn on each other.

This was her last hunt, but her offspring would continue her legacy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

[Kinship] Mapping a Strange Place

Creating a map for a campaign is fairly easy, whether it's a city, dungeon, or a continent.  I usually start with a rough sketch, and work from there to a finished map.  Mapping the Town of Kinship is turning out to be a somewhat difficult endeavor.  Not the act of mapping, just deciding what to include. I want to keep the area map fairly simple.  The map of the town will have more detail.  Here's my first rough sketch...

I like the basic layout, but I will probably change a few things, add a few more locations, and add details.  I think I will have both a color and a black and white version.

I haven't decided on a scale yet, probably one inch equals a mile.

Kinship exists outside of the normal world.  It appears to be a small town in the USA, but it doesn't appear on any map of the USA, nor does it's evil sister town of Shadowvale.  Where is it exactly? Well, that's one thing I haven't entirely decided.  Perhaps it's in a small pocket dimension, or something similar.

I've still got many ideas for Kinship I need to capture, but the area map is a major goal for me.  I'll be working on it more tonight, and hopefully decide on a style.

Friday, August 5, 2011

[ NEWS ] The Heat Goes On...

I like ice tea, and due to the heat I've been drinking it non-stop.  However, the other day I got a little sick of it, and switched to Dr. Pepper.  That was a mistake, or rather the mistake wasn't drinking enough water.  So after doing some yard work for my dad, and walking to the bookstore, I became a bit dehydrated, well more than a bit.  I was drinking water, but this energy draining, death dealing heat is BRUTAL.  So I've been down for the count for a couple of days.  Feeling better, but I think I need to drink more water, and not walk for miles when it's 108 degrees outside.

My weekend will hopefully be busy, so probably no blog posts.  I'm hoping I can make to a barbecue and visit with friends I haven't seen in a couple of years.  That would be nice.  There's also a web comic convention in Dallas tomorrow that I may try to attend.

I've been thinking about the map done for the Town of Kinship.  Still trying to wrap my head around what I want it to be like.  I think I only need two or three maps, one of the surrounding area, and the town itself.  I've already decided on a sequel called, The Citizens of Kinship, which will go into much more detail about the people that live there.  I'll probably include stat blocks as well.

Are there any up and coming artists that would like to submit some work for The Town of Kinship?  I don't need that much, and I plan on doing some of my own.  I just feel that some variety would be nice.  I can only promise a copy of the book as compensation ( right now, things can always change ), as well as credit of course.

I can't believe I'm writing this, but I am so looking forward to Winter!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

[ Ideas ] The Trouble With Ideas...

I'm a very creative person.  I live to create.  Whether it's drawing a cartoon, writing, making a sculpture, or even painting a miniature, it's what I most enjoy doing.  Part of creating is coming up with ideas, and that's a problem.  It seems at times I have too many.  For instance, I've been working on Kinship quite a bit, ( well mainly learning how to use Open Office to create the PDF ),  and while writing or brainstorming, an idea will pop into my head that might not work for Kinship, but would work great for something else.
It seems it's either feast or famine, and I really don't want any of my ideas to rot on the vine.  Part of the problem is that it does take time to capture those ideas, and store them safely, back them up etc.  I really like using a computer, but I've had bad luck lately with hard drives.  I also find I'm more productive with my writing if I use the computer.  Handwriting, or using a typewriter, never seemed to work for me.  Anyone remember those, or even still have one?

Now that I think about it, I really want to try that program that types out automatically into the computer word processor whatever you speak into the microphone. I wonder what that would do to my productivity?

I have to be meticulous about back ups, and make back ups of back ups.   I've lost quite a bit of some of my writings in the past year, and yes, I had back ups, but I lost those also due to corrupted files.  It's annoying.  That's why I started making back ups of back ups.  I need a better system I guess.

Another problem is that once I get an idea I want to work on it, try to "flesh it out", whether or not it's a good idea.  This is the problem with having too many ideas, I don't want to get distracted.  I want to finish one thing before starting on another.  However, sometimes it's good to have multiple projects going.  When you hit a wall, taking a break to work on something else helps to "break the wall down".

I think tomorrow I'm going to write a post about a magical Quonset hut, and yes it's in the Town of Kinship.