Friday, October 18, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Clark Ashton Smith -- Penguin Classics edition

One often-discussed mystery of early Dungeons & Dragons is the lack of works by Clark Ashton Smith in Appendix N, the listing of fiction titles that Gary Gygax found inspirational for his own campaigns and spelled out in the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. Gary had said that he hadn't read Smith until after D&D was released, which seems strange as much of the feel of those early games closely resembles imagery found in Smith's prose.

It's a shame, then, about the lack of Smith's work in print. The Night Shade collections of his fantasy stories are going out-of-print, leaving only a mass-market paperback collection of stories as the most widely available text.

That will change March 25th, when a new collection of Smith's prose and poetry is published as part of the prestigious Penguin Classics series, edited and with an introduction and notes by S.T. Joshi.

My knowledge of Smith's writing is deficient, as I've only read a handful of stories. This new collection is terrific not only for me to read more of his work but as an acknowledgement of Smith's talent and place among the great world writers.

The final table of contents was posted to the message board at the Smith scholarship site The Eldritch Dark.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Campaign ideas and gamer ADD

I'm not really set to start up a new face-to-face in-person RPG campaign any time soon, as much as I might like to (I do want to start up a short G+ Hangouts game). In spite of that, like any GM I am always thinking about "that next game", finding inspiration in multiple sources, and having dozens of campaign ideas swirling around in my head, some more nebulous than others.

Here's an attempt at putting these in a list and out of my brain:
  • converting 40K/Dark Heresy/Deathwatch and/or Shadowrun to Fate Accelerated
  • Night's Black Agents -- Jason Bourne vs. the vampire conspiracy
  • Hyborian Age of Conan
  • 1920s/30s Call of Cthulhu in "pulp action" mode
  • Solomon Kane-style globetrotting horror-fantasy in the 1590s/1600s
  • Montgolfier Brothers -- light-hearted picaresque adventures by balloon before the French Revolution
  • Hammer Horror/Ravenloft/Warhammer horror-fantasy mash-up in a cinematic alt-Europe
  • X-COM/STALKER -- War against the alien invaders and the search for littered alien technology
  • Some sort of near-future transhuman sci-fi game set in our Solar System (riffing on Jovian Chronicles, Eclipse Phase, CthulhuTech, with doses of Firefly and Heavy Metal)
  • It might be fun to run a Western campaign...
  • The Day After Ragnarok -- Post-apocalyptic 1948 after the Midgard Serpent is killed with the Trinity Device.

That should be all for the moment, until the next cool thing I see.