A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

30 March 2015

Fuzzy Tentacle Monster Action!

That title sounded a LOT better in my head.

I consider myself the prop-master of our group. I provide most of the minis for the various DMs; sometimes maps and other materials.

Our new DM, starting a new campaign, enlisted me on Wednesday to provide "some kind of sea monster." Well, of course, that's the ONE type of critter I don't have, mostly because we've never been on the water before. He was getting a little desperate, mostly because he hasn't DM'd in years, but also because he hadn't had much time to prep. He had some general ideas for the campaign, and then decided yesterday that we needed to board an ocean-going ship to get to the starting point.

[Aside: This is where I should point out that I'm playing a 3d-level Dwarven Barbarian. Based on recommendations from the DM, I made him a desert/wasteland barbarian. Completely desert-centric. Our first major encounter? Loading our butts onto a ship for a weeks-long trek across the freakin' ocean. End aside.]

Then I had an epiphany. I told him that I'd put together some tentacles. That way, he'd just need to stat the individual tentacles and could leave the real big baddie (or baddies) completely anonymous. He could even just use a stat block for a giant constrictor. He liked that, so my little grey cells started churning. I've scratch-built a bunch of place-holders and minis in the past, including a ping-pong ball beholder eye-beast.

Here's what I came up with after a trip to the craft store and the hardware store:
  • Loctite GO2 Glue
  • Gorilla Brand Super Glue
  • Fender washers, 1/8" x 3/4", 10 each
  • Fender washers, 1/4" x 1-1/4", 10 each
  • Zinc nuts, 3/4", 10 each
  • 3 Packs of 25 each pipe cleaners: black, green, pink 
[Aside 2: Actually, the pipe cleaners were called, per the packaging, "Fuzzy Sticks." No mention of "pipes" or the cleaning thereof to be found anywhere. End aside 2.]

Step One: 
Assemble the ring base using the two sizes of fender washers, a couple dabs of GO2 glue, then clamp for 30 minutes to set. Repeat 10 times.

Step Two:
Take one black and one green "fuzzy stick," insert them into the end of my power drill, hold the free end tightly, and start the drill spinning. (One interesting note: The drill, when drilling in reverse (counter-clockwise) gear actually made a shorter resulting spun combo fuzzy stick than when moving in forward (clockwise) gear.)
 You can see in the background there a stack of already-spun combo fuzzy sticks, the drying ring bases, and my GO2 glue (not to mention my disgustingly stained painting tray of 15 years). Also in the background is my first attempt, gluing a green, black, and pink fuzzy stick together, straight. This turned out to be messy and incredibly awkward. Hence the power drill and spun combo fuzzy stick idea. Now to attach the pink fuzzy stick as the suckered underside of the tentacle.

Step Three:
So here's where I had to start experimenting. Seeing how awkward and messy it was to try and glue the entire length, I tried to spot-glue and then tie (or wrap) the points together with black embroidery thread. After doing several this way, I resorted to wrapping the pink ends tightly to each end of the spun black/green tentacle, then simply tying together the longer tentacles with thread at different points, and relying on the wrap, pressure, and tension to hold the pink to the spun tentacle.

Step Four: 
The now-three strand tentacles were bent at different points to form a misshaped "U", with the point threaded through the hole in a ring base. Then I'd snip another length of tentacle and worked it down in through the hole and the "U" tentacle. This was the hardest part: you're essentially cramming six layers of "fuzzy stick" through a hole barely big enough for three or four. Then spread the ends out on the underside to keep the tentacles attached to the base.

Step Five:
After realizing how messy, awkward, and time-consuming the GO2 glue was to work with, I switched to good ol' Gorilla brand super glue. Four dots on the cardinal points of each nut, working the bent underside ends into the center of the nut, and holding the ring base against the nut until the glue set. (This was a much faster process than the GO2 glue, further "cementing" my love of Gorilla glue--and super glue as a whole.)

Step Six: 
Pose each tentacle into a sufficiently threatening pose.

Here's what the final product looked like: 



And here are some in-game glamour shots. My dwarf is the little tyke down here on the right hand side, right at the bow of the ship. Somewhere between these two pictures my dwarf was grappled, lifted to the sky, and then sliced himself free, dropping dramatically to the deck, rolling as he landed to minimize any falling damage.


All in all, the guys were impressed with the tentacles. I am too, speaking from the utmost of humility. 
They worked pretty well and looked good at this level, allowing (as you can see) for grappling and positioning of victims. We only lost one crewman from this attack. Fortunately, the DM didn't use the full box of 10 bases (2 or 3 tentacles each) that I'd prepared.




26 March 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine] eine Auswertung aus Deutschland

+SophiaBrandt over at die heart was kind enough to review Issue #1 of The Stronghold. I believe that this is the first review of The Stronghold to come from overseas, certainly aus Deutshcland.

Overall it was a positive review. I appreciate her candidness and honesty about what worked for her and what didn't, and the quirks that may have taken away from the experience for her.
For me, the content of the zine varies in usefulness but overall it’s a nice read. Kudos for using a d30 table. While there is nothing that blew me away there are some things I can see myself using. I’m a bit on the fence about this zine. I would say it compares mostly to Tim Short’s The Manor and I somehow find The Manor more inspiring. However, this is The Stronghold’s first issue so it might lose its rough edges in the future.
As things are now, it’s a solid no-nonsense fantasy zine. While I enjoy those weird and gonzo fanzines much, I’m glad to see that the ordinary fantasy still gets some love.
I'm certainly honored to be compared to +Tim Shorts and The Manor. I'm also working on those rough edges for Issue #2. Yes, work on #2 is already underway. Hopefully it will be a another nice mix for all my readers; heck, even back in the heyday of Dragon and Dungeon Magazine I never found everything therein useful at the moment. Most of all, layout and post-production are getting a second look. I'm trying to figure out if there's a better way--or more consistent way--to trim pages than what I'm currently doing. Wish me luck.

Now, back to work on #2.

17 March 2015

Reorganization and Reassembly

Just a quick thought for this morning. I know last night I said I was all keyed up and couldn't sleep. Then I promptly found something that helped relax me.

Something semi-mindless, routine, and mechanical. Something time-consuming.

After all, re-sorting a horde of used minis back into their appropriate (and cataloged) places after a multi-month gaming campaign takes a while.

This was about 1/4 of the complete ... MASS ... that we used at one time or another, and that I couldn't re-sort as we went along because, well, we might need them next session too. So, truly, the picture doesn't do the full pile full justice.

The best part was seeing my kids as they walked by the open door to my study (from the POV of the camera). Each one of them gasped, groaned, and said, "That's not for our game, is it?!?"

And that wasn't even when I had the GIANTS out either.

[cue evil laugh]

Or the dragons.

Once I was done, I was well and truly relaxed. Dropped right off. I think it was even better than my tranquilizers.

16 March 2015

[From the Mailbag] A Monstrous Postcard!

On a personal note, I spent all night at the Emergency Room and hospital as my mom was rushed there late Sunday afternoon and eventually admitted. She suffered one of the classic "I've fallen and I can't get up!" scenarios. Unlike the commercials, she actually had an alert pendant available to her. Unfortunately, it was trapped underneath her when she fell, tangled in her heavy walker, and she couldn't reach it to activate it, and was trapped there for several hours.

She's recovering, however, and under observation for the time being. We're being told that she should fully recover.

So, I had a lot of time to sit and do some thinking, as well as some additional cursory work on The Stronghold Issue #2. It also means that I had very little sleep and have had, consequently, a pretty grumpy day. Until I got home.

You see, I had this waiting for me in my mailbox: A special treat from Sweden. Of course, ANYTHING I can get from Sweden is a special treat--[Aside: In all honesty, just about ANYTHING from Sweden is a treat. My father spent three years in Sweden as a young man serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints back in the day, and was still capable of speaking it some 60+ years later when he passed away. He didn't tell a lot of stories, but enough to give me a soft spot for the country. Getting something from there makes him feel a little closer for a while. End aside.]--getting something from Sweden AND from +Jim Magnusson? Extra special.

What we have here is the latest in Jim's Patreon postcard series: Pages from "The Lost Monster Manual." Specifically, a representative of the Coot People. The reverse side is filled with fluff and crunch--background and stats about the critters. Unfortunately, I had a rage-fit about the United States Postal Service when I got it, because they gave it "a personality mark." A nice purple spot nearly dead center, with a streak all the way up to the top of the card. Not enough to really detract, but enough that it annoys my anal-retentive nature. [Aside 2: I've got it; I have it figured out. I was just about to hit "Publish" when I realized...it's nearly the color of lingonberry, which my father loved. So, I figure a postal worker on one or the other side of the Pond, was intrigued by the artwork while he was eating his lunch and dropped a glop of lingonberry onto the card, then tried to wipe it off. That works. End aside 2.] But I'm going to curl up with a bit, let it spark the creative grey cells, and then tuck it safely with its brothers in a place of honor. [Aside 3: I'd like nothing more than to collapse; I really want to, but I've reached that over-tired point. My brain is racing, but not productively. End aside 3.]

11 March 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine} The Frugal DM Reviews Issue #1

Many thanks to Christopher over at The Frugal GM for his tremendous review of Issue #1. I'm really humbled and thrilled that he would give me such a great review. I apologize to him that it's taken me nearly a week to recognize his generous words; getting mom home from the hospital and dealing with sick kids for a week have been a little distracting. Please forgive me.

I had a long blog post all prepared explaining my anal-retentiveness and the justification for the quirks and flaws in the 'zine, but mercifully Blogger seems to have eaten it. Suffice it to say the following:
  1. I'm extremely anal-retentive and have high production standards. Just ask +Tim Shorts, +Dylan Hartwell, or the guys over at Pathways Magazine. In short, anyone for whom I've ever proofread/edited.
  2. To some extent, the quirks and flaws were intentional; they were an homage to old-school, Eighties-style 'zines painstakingly crafted on a Selectrix in mom's basement and mimeographed. It took some self-control to overlook these quirks adn let them pass in the name of "homage." There are a stack of "seconds" whose flaws were just too much to overlook; these will never see the light of day.
  3. Some of the flaws were NOT intentional, however. The odd "photocopy" mark on the artwork frustrates me; it was not in the original and whatever error I caused in my software may detract from the awesomely gruesome piece donated to the 'zine. I really regret this error and am doing everything possible to figure out where it happened and make sure it doesn't happen in future issues. It's a lot like the missing apostrophe that jumped out at me as soon as I sent out the first batch of orders.
  4. The article that Christopher called a "WTF Article": I knew this article would give some people pause. It was a re-print of a random generator that I first posted on this blog, a celebration of the purchase of my first "official" d2 determiner. This would be the "Nose Picking Tables" article. I realized when I included this that it wasn't going to be everybody's cup of tea. It wasn't intended to be that. It's simply a little bit of humor that may, somehow, find some usefulness at a table. Consider this to be the printed version of the ubiquitous Monty Python joke or Princess Bride reference at the gaming table. I know those aren't for everybody either, but they're almost inevitable and I, for one, welcome a bit of levity in my games. Wait until you see the next humorous generator/table. THAT one is all Tim Shorts' fault.
"The Stronghold is a bit of an ugly duckling . . . but you know what? I fricken loved it!" "The Stronghold had just enough rough-edges to remind me of those Zines [from back in the day] and clean & modern enough that I'll actually read it." "The contents of #1 vary a bit in usefulness, to me, but I really did enjoy reading it. I've been paring back on my physical collection of RPG 'stuff', preferring the digital, but I have just the spot for this Zine."
High praise indeed. Thank you, Christopher, from the bottom of my heart.

Let me reverse the recommendation: Christopher has some awesome stuff on his blog, not just links to inexpensive gaming stuff, but also his own great maps and gaming material. (My personal favorites are his underground river maps, taken from real-life rivers and transformed into useable gaming resources. These are truly brilliant!)

07 March 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine] Issue #1: A Review by Tim Shorts

The infamous Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor was kind enough to review Issue #1 of the Stronghold this past Friday. Click here to read his words.

Or you can click here to pick up your own copy. Or two.

On a side note, a stack of Issue #1 is currently winging its way to San Diego, CA for sale at CondorCon this coming weekend, March 13-14th. If you're there, you can drop by and pick one up at the table.

06 March 2015

[Found Items Friday] PC Inspiration

I'm just gonna leave this here for now. Story to follow.

Comments welcome.

26 February 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine] The International Stronghold

We're closing in on the end of the first week of sales of The Stronghold, Issue #1. Sales have been great! In fact, I've had a difficult time keeping up with the orders at times. Y'know, I've said it before, but I'm humbled that so many of you want to see what I've produced. Work has already started on Issue #2; I'm really excited about some of the content I've already put together.

There are still some copies left from the first print run. Get 'em while they're hot...and while they're still around. You can click on the link below and go straight to PayPal for your own copy.

**Thanks to some astute and concerned readers, I've added a link to a preview of the contents here.**


Rates:






Plus, I was a little curious looking at my customer list; I wanted to see for myself just how widespread Issue #1's readership is so far. Then I thought I'd share it with all of you, just in case any of you are the curious type.

20 February 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine] Day One is In The Books--Sales Report

Well, my friends, "Day One" is done and, I must say, I'm both amazed and humbled. Amazed at the feeling of watching my product go out into the world and humbled that so many of you thought enough to grab a copy of The Stronghold 'Zine, Issue #1, on Day One. I have to give a shout-out to those who forwarded the news of the release out into the world; specifically +Tim Shorts and +Jim Magnusson for their efforts to get the word out.

All told, fourteen of you pulled the trigger on Issue #1 yesterday, from all across the US, to Canada, and the UK and Australia as well. Those of you in the US, your copies are in the mail. International customers? Well, yours will be in the mail this afternoon, once I clear up a couple things around the office.

A reminder: this IS a "print only" run. The good news is that I still have some copies left after yesterday's madness.

(I say "madness" only because every time I looked at the computer it seems there was yet another sale notification. And there's another one now.)

Grab 'em while they're hot, my friends. Purchase info is below.

**You can see a preview of the contents here or click on the link below to go ahead and buy.**



Rates:


19 February 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine] Get the Cigars, Boys! The Stork's Arrived!

What you see is the cover image for Issue #1 of The Stronghold. That's right, boys and girls, we have a new baby. And I'm a proud, proud papa. Like I've said before, I think there's some good, fun, and useful stuff between these pages.

Plus, I'm humbled to have been graced with a magnificent cover image by none other than the great Jay Penn and two wonderful illustrations within by the extremely talented (and quick-penned) Jim Magnusson.

The first copies have already hit the US Mail system, hot off the press. I can't wait to see what y'all think. The link to buy your own copy is below; sorry, for the time being, it's a "Print Only" 'zine, in the old-school-style tradition. Also, unfortunately rates to places outside the US are a bit higher, due to postage costs. Hopefully that won't dissuade you from picking up a copy. Or two.

**You can see a preview of the contents here or click on the link below to go ahead and buy.**

When you do pick up a copy, please drop me a line, especially if you use anything from Issue #1 in your game.



Rates:



17 February 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine] Issue One: To The Proofreaders!

Well, that's it. Issue #1 has been sent to my proofreaders. I just have to finalize the cover a bit and once I get any typos and problems red-penciled and fixed, we should be ready to let this baby out into the world.

Hope you're excited. I know I am. I think it's some good work.

Sorry for the short entry; as I write this, it's late and I've got an early morning tomorrow. However, I've got to finish up my report from this year's LTUE symposium and a couple other things are percolating...so there should be some more entries coming this week.

13 February 2015

Life, the Universe...You Know the Rest....

I'm here attending the 2015 edition of the Utah-based writing conference "Life, The Universe, and Everything." It's been a good experience, as it is every year. This year, there've been some special highlights, though. They've even had a couple of panel discussions that are RPG-related, although there were some more technically-oriented discussions at the same time that took precedence. Everything I've heard, though, has been applicable to all forms of writing, whether it be sci-fi, fantasy, romance, general fiction, or RPG writing. If you're ever in the area around Valentine's Day, I'd recommend it, and do so highly.

Plus, if you let me know, I'd love to sit down and have a bite to eat with you too.

Honestly? As fun as my experiences have been at the Salt Lake Comic-Cons and the local FantasyCon, I'd take LTUE any day. Honestly. Granted, it's a different type of event, with a different focus, but the inspiration and education I get here every year is amazing.

Some of the highlights:
  • Michaelbrent Collings espousing "Because the dog!" as a motive for villainy. (Let me 'splain: the hero is standing with his friend with the villain of the piece walks up, punches the hero's friend in the face, and yells, "Because the dog!" before fleeing. (In response to the hero's friend harming/killing the villain's pet.)
  • perhaps the greatest summary of the War in Heaven and the casting out of Heaven of Lucifer and his angels. Not everyone in the room appreciated it due to a severe case of "stick-up-the-rear-itis"...but then, those who have ears to hear....
  • Listening to a PhD in economics discuss the economics of Super-Villainy, including various types of "rewards" and the motivations behind collecting said awards.
  • Hearing Howard Tayler, Michaelbrent Collings, and L.E. Modessit debate Sanderson's First Law.
    Some additional highlights of this discussion: the idea that magic systems should be AWESOME/interesting/wonderful. (They don't need to be AWESOME, says Modessit, because subtle is sometimes more effective. It was then clarified that AWESOME in this context meant interesting, or even more exact: interesting. Also: that it should always exact something from the user/caster.
  • A frank presentation by Sandra Tayler, Howard's wife, on how to "Break through Blockages," whether that be your Inner Critic, your Voice of Perfection, your kids/work/church/social obligations, or your fear of failure. She also discussed how to experiment with your writing process, to learn what worked best for you. Most importantly, perhaps, was her observation that you need to learn who, in your life, feeds the "voices" and who in your life is your ally against the "voices." Oh yeah, also that most "time complaints" are simply masks for a deeper blockate: in 10 years, what memory is going to satisfy you more--playing "Plants vs. Zombies"? or writing something/being creative?

    But the greatest highlights so far? In ascending order:
  • The official debut of the horror anthology Old Scratch and Owl Hoots containing my real-life alter-ego's first official published work. If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy, Umm.... Why not? I'm serious.... My contributions aside, there are some chilling works here, including some of the best in Utah horror. I'm honored to have been included in the volume.
  • My first request to sign a book. To young Melissa, wherever you are, thank you for that experience. I hope you enjoy the stories.
  • Having an established author-friend, one whom I respect greatly, ask me for my autograph in his copy, followed by the assertion that mine "was the only signature he wanted to deface his copy." He then told me that the book would be going into his library, in the corner reserved for authors he knew...and that I'd be right there beside Brandon Sanderson, Larry Correia, and a host of other men whose written work I admire.
  • Being able to spend this time with my family, all of whom are aspiring writers and artists in their own right.
The only real downside so far? My friend, Dr. Michael Collings, who is a FIXTURE at LTUE (he's only missed a couple of sessions in the 30+ year history of the conference) apparently failed to even get a formal invitation from this year's organizers. Not only is he a fixture here, he is a true scholar of speculative fiction and a great writer in his own right. (If you don't believe me, or haven't heard of him, click the link there on his name and take a gander.) Plus, it's one of the only times each year I get to sit with him and chat. It's been a real loss. SHAME ON YOU, LTUE. Granted, the loss was mitigated by being able to talk with his wife, the lovely and gracious Judi Collings, and of course his son, Michaelbrent.

Anyway, the conference runs through Saturday, February 14th. Once that's over, I can get back to layout work on Issue #1 of The Stronghold.

I promise.

09 February 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine] Issue One: Layout Complete!

I was hit with some food allergies today. Something I ate last night was...contaminated with something I shouldn't eat. By noon today, I was filling up with gas like a hot air balloon. Then the queasiness, the dizziness, and the diarrhea started. And kept going. And kept going.

If someone holds a copyright to this image, please let me know.

So I was up late tonight, or rather, early this morning. In between trips to the Porcelain Throne Room, I decided to start setting up the layout for Issue #1 of The Stronghold. I've got more than enough material; I needed to see what, if anything, I needed to weed out and keep for next issues. I'm not shooting for the War and Peace of OSR 'Zines, after all.

Then I had to try and figure out how to make the actual copies come out. I recently purchased a new home printer; it's a small one, just meant for odd jobs and what-not. Certainly not as fancy as the family printer. But, it's the one that was sitting on my desk and plugged into my computer. That meant I'd see what I could make it do and if it worked the way I wanted.

So far, I think, so good. I've got one more test to run with the printer, because I really don't want to have to use a photocopier to double-side the pages. I'd rather do the rotate and reverse print with the printer and save a generation of deterioration on the copier. As far as I'm concerned, the old adage holds true, even with fancy digital copiers and printers: the more times something is copied, the more degradation occurs.

So...my late night/early morning bore good fruit, I think. I just need to get my artists to e-mail me the art files and I should be set. Google+ hasn't been cooperating with my download attempts with the artwork, so I have to resort to the "old fashioned" e-mail method.

I'm really excited about this first issue. I think it has some good material in it; while some of the stats are 3.x related, I think they're easily converted to other editions. Happily for my OSR friends, there's a substantial amount of setting-free materials. And the contributed artwork is killer. Absolutely magnificent--both the cover and the interior art; I almost feel embarrassed to think I used some clip-art and a hand-drawn map. My stuff certainly doesn't hold up to the contributed artwork. But I'm still excited for you all to see it.

More to come.

03 February 2015

[From the Mailbag] Mythoard January 2015

So.... Bad day yesterday, all day. As you may know if you read yesterday's post, it was a bad day made much better by the arrival of the Storyteller's Thesaurus.

Then I get home, and by 11 p.m. Google+ feed has blown up with people raving about the receipt of their January Mythoard package.

Wait a second, I think. I'm a subscriber...where's MY package?!? So I turn to my son (who was the first one home yesterday) and I ask, calmly: "BOY!" (for often I call him "Boy") "Boy!" I say, "Was there any kind of a package in today's mail for me?"

"Oh, yeah. There was one."

(silence for a moment or two)

"Um...son.... Where is it?"

"Oh, I left it on the table by the front door."

(facepalm)

(second facepalm as my boy has not yet moved to retrieve said package)

"Um.... Could I have it please?!?"

For those of you who may still not know about Mythoard, Mythoard is the first Tabletop RPG Subscription box! From the website: "From modules, minis and maps to rules supplements, accessories and dice, you'll be sure to find some great RPG treasure in every single box! Sign up today for your own hoard!"
Quest for the Mythoard, No.1  Randy Musseau 2015
And oh, baby...did it make my day even brighter. I didn't have my camera with me, so I don't have pics, but let's look at a quick roster of what was inside:

  • First was a pair of polyhedral dice in orange and black vortex: a d4 and a d8--these match the orange and black d6 from last month's Mythoard offering. Sweet, especially considering my motto. [Aside: for any new readers, I am firmly convinced that there is no such thing as "too many dice" because, well.... Hey! Dice! Ahem. Period. Your argument is invalid. End aside.] . Courtesy of Chessex Games.
  • A button featuring Thopas, the gnome. Courtesy of Lesser Gnome.
  • An unpainted metal miniature version of Thopas. Also courtesy of Lesser Gnome.
  • Two Mythoard two-pocket folders with front cover art by Randy Musseau (see above), back cover art/maps/text by Monkeyblood Design and Chubby Monster Games. I found it kind of humorous that the map was for "Tenkar's Tomb." I can only imagine this refers to the infamous Tenkar, and that he went out in a spectacular fashion.
  • Inside one of the folders were two cardstock sheets: one a preview of Old West firearm rules for the DCC game: Black Powder, Black Magic and the other a copy of "The Brimstone Epitaph," an Old West newspaper. Both courtesy of Stormlord Publishing.
  • Next out was an encounter card deck of 54 system-neutral "monster inspiration" cards rather than stat cards. Clever idea; they'll be useful for at-table random encounter generation. My deck was the Fey, Constructs, and Wildlife deck. I understand that there were two other decks and inclusion in each package was random. The artwork is fantastic; I'm definitely going to try and pick up more of these. Courtesy of Inkwell Ideas. A pair of solid-cover card sleeves were included as well, for use with these encounter cards.
  • Last out was a Pits & Peril supplement, "The Powers That Be." There's always room for another couple deities in a pantheon. I need to devote a bit more time to this one, but there's likely something good there for mining, at the least.
So. All in all, Groundhog Day came up good for me. I feel content today, and can't wait until the next Mythoard. The first two have been really great, full of good stuff. Well worth the price, in my opinion. As of this writing, there's 180 spots left of 250 for the February package...swing over and sign yourself up!

02 February 2015

[From the Mailbag] Kickstarter FULFILLED! Storyteller's Anthology

Today is one of those sadly all-too rare of days: the day when a Kickstarter promise is FULFILLED.

There have been many unfulfilled Kickstarters that have made me wary and choosy about the projects to which I pledge. Several of those actually have my money. Sigh.

But this one.... This one made it to the finish line, and then some.

The Storyteller's Thesaurus is one that I've been eagerly awaiting ever since the initial announcement and KS launch. Chalk that up to my being an (1) English Major, (2) Word Geek, (3) aspiring writer, (4) recreational Dungeon Master, (5) Bibliophile/bibliophage, (6) Dictionary collector.

The tome was supposed to be released in October 2014. To be fair, the PDF was released on-time and I've used it numerous times. However, I note the time-delay issue only for the record. Not only were the publishers more than candid and forthcoming with their frequent updates, I'm more than pleased with the final result; the additional time was certainly worth the wait, considering the product they put out. Here's what I saw when I opened the box:

Imagine my surprise...when I pledged, I pledged for the leather cover AND a softcover. After all, I need one for the home and one for the office, right? Well, somewhere in the intervening months I apparently missed a vote to make the softcover a hardcover. That made me smile in and of itself. Then to see that they added a dust cover for the leather version as well (seen at the upper left, removed)? Magnificent. Of course, the leather cover is itself magnificent; the cloth-bound hardcover is nothing to complain about either. The content? 550 pages of synonyms, from medieval/fantasy weapons to modern military vehicles and firearms. Transportation of all kinds. Animals, real and imagined. Plants, symbols, and descriptive terms usable in ANY genre of storytelling. And it comes with a truly MASSIVE index, helping you find your way through the pages and words.

Truthfully, I'm not sure that I could have (reasonably) asked for anything more. After all, the gilded pages, silken page finders, and the hand-illuminated pages were kinda pipe dreams anyhow. [Tongue currently planted firmly in-cheek.]

Also included were physical copies of a novel by the great James M. Ward, entitled The King's Commission and The Storyteller's Anthology. There's nothing wrong with a little extra reading material, right?

All in all, a nice surprise on an otherwise grey, depressing day. What made it better? It came to the office, rather than my home address...so I could enjoy it earlier!
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