Thursday, February 2, 2023

Dragons are a pain

 It makes me nervous to say this, but I appear to be writing again. It's been itching at me for a while (my gf can tell you about the endless stacks of RPG books that pile up by the bedside as I "research" things, but I think things have finally stabilized enough to let me do it. I've been in this apartment for almost 4 years, and since it's family-owned, I have no intent of moving for at least another 10. I've made enough room for a workshop (, so I get to scratch that itch whenever I want (it's directly downstairs!). Spotify provides music. And my gf, bless her, bought me an under-desk foot warmer.

Generally I get consumed with woodworking from about August-December, and writing from December - March/April. This is the first time in a long time I've been able to DO both of those (I didn't get to do much woodworking, but I CAN now), and it's funny how the switch gets thrown. Also, I love winter but working IN the cold sucks.

But after a bit of December and all of January, I've got "monster manual" that's currently at 55 pages of creatures and another 20 of notes, plus a lot more lists and jottings. I need things to LOOK right, so there's a fair amount of goofing around with layout, but it worked out pretty quickly. The system though - that was the big hurdle.

I default to S&W in writing nowadays, but it's a little barebones for my taste. to run anything. And OSE is eating up all the word-of-mouth space, or was, and it's...fine. B/X reformatted. I did a sort of dual-stat block for a while, but while OSE xp calculations are fiddly, they actually don't come out much different than S&W. Then a brief exchange with Dan Proctor on FB and the WotC OGL shenanigans led me to what I felt like. 

I forget what Dan said exactly, but it was basically "do what you want and your audience will come to you". 

So the core is S&W, with extras. I got pissed about treasure and threw together something I actually really like in about 30 minutes. Intelligence is back in as a guideline, as is morale (2d6) despite the fact I never used it - I've formatted it like intelligence, so there's a descriptor word and a (number), so zlatorogs are Cautious (6). No. Appearing and Movement might still get some adjustment, or maybe Movement will just get a conversion chart.

In many senses this has been a work-in-progress since the 1990s. I went through all my old files and threw it all into the pot. The mreen and tarikik from 2e; paija & aev from 3e; etc. The core was a Bestiary of Heraldry Creatures I had intended as an OSR supplement, but that was a LOT of "head of X; body of Y, tail of Z; forelegs of Q". I also have pretty good mythology/folklore references and have a working list of at least several hundred creatures from there. Plus reworking concepts from other sources that I find interesting or fun. (I'm NOT reworking things that are already in common parlance - I'd rather present something new.)

I don't know when or if this will see the light of day. I have a cover, because I commissioned one in 2002 (yes, you read that right) and it's still awesome. 

Today I decided to work on some dragons. Do y'all know how many different "schemes" for dragons there are out there? Oof. Sometimes there's a clear standard for something, and other times...dragons. 

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