I design and write; mostly sardonic, mostly games, mostly geek counterculture.

The blog’s purpose is to orient, structure and inspire my creative work. The current aspiration is to keep up with a weekly newsletter, and to crank out the occasional essay on more significant topics.

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I accept economical incentive; please consider pledging your support. It helps retain my illusion of self-worth.

Latest Newsletters
NoD #125 — Belletrism of our lives - Featuring my recent encounter with belles-lettres.
NoD #124 — War Stories - Featuring the adventure gaming habit of telling stories about old exploits.
NoD #123 — Back from Hiatus - Featuring the fact that I'm writing the newsletter again, of course.
New on Desk #122 — Muster Nutshell - Featuring a 4-page summary of my old school D&D primer.
New on Desk #121 — Ornamental Art - Featuring a quick look at ornamental art in book design.

Newsletter Archive

Recent Essays
The Sacrament of Death - Some RPG theory about the way simmy games with high character lethality adapt to grief.
Treatment for Muster, the old school D&D primer - A detailed writing plan for an introductory book about old school D&D.
C2020 Redux: Character Creation - I'm revisioning the classic rpg Cyberpunk 2020 in a series of articles. This one's about character creation.
Observations on GNS Simulationism - "Simulationism" is one of three creative agenda modes posited by GNS theory. It is generally considered the least understood of the three. Let's see what we know about it.
C2020 Redux: Core Mechanics Pt. II - A follow-up about C2020 Redux, my attempt at revisioning a classic roleplaying game. This article has more core game mechanics required before moving on to more specific topics.

Essay Archive

Latest Comments
  1. I, for one, think that the “war stories” in Muster play their intended role nicely.

Project Board

This is what I’m trying to do right now, creatively speaking. I update the project board when I actually finish something off it, so hopefully more once a season than once a year.

Priority Projects

Write Musterdone!
Pull together the Coup Workbooksdone!

I went on a blogging hiatus for what, like half a year, while finishing Muster. I’ll seek to write the newsletter at double-pace to “catch up” on the lost months for a while.

After I’ve re-established the routine for that, I’m hoping to do some discretionary light writing. Specifically:

More Coup Workbook Partials — I think CWPs are great fun, and there is still a lot of great content that I haven’t touched for those. Another series of ten would be excellent, alongside some revision for the last batch.

Refresh the Essay Pipeline — Around the time I established the Muster project I very cleverly also started a Patreon program for mixed writing. Time to get more active with that and see whether it has real legs as an activity.

Essay Pipeline

Various essays I’ve promised to write. I’ll get to these as soon as discretionary writing time appears.

Many Faces of Ars Magica
Play my turn at Writin’ with Games
Historiography of D&D
Outlining an old school D&D DMG

Current Poll

The writing polls are there to discover which of my varied interests interest you as well; please vote to help me decide what is worth our attention.

[September 2020] What should I write about in more depth?

  • [theory] A Big Model overview (65%, 22 Votes)
  • [theory] old school D&D campaign structure (18%, 6 Votes)
  • [development] Overview of the Coup Basic D&D chassis (9%, 3 Votes)
  • [theory] the numinous genius of GMing (3%, 1 Votes)
  • [development] Many Faces of Amber (3%, 1 Votes)
  • [design] more C2020 Redux (3%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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New Here?

The blog’s essentially a varietee show starring me, so the topics do wander a bit. It’s probably about tabletop roleplaying for the most part. Here are some greatest hits you might want to look at to figure out whether this is for you:

We played a tactical shootout rpg where everybody played James Bond. I thoughts it showed some promise, and the premise of having Sean Connery shooting at Timothy Dalton was amusing.

I’ve been remaking Cyberpunk 2020 in celebration of the year of cyberpunk. It’s basically an article series about seeing how I’d write an ’80s style traditional roleplaying game.

I can apparently convince myself that the SM horror franchise Hellraiser is inherently compatible with magical girl anime. The vision is crystal clear, I just need to write a novel that showcases it for other people to appreciate.

And, a few oldies from the ’00s that people seem to like:
Challenge-based Adventuring
What GNS theory claims
The pitfalls of narrative technique in rpg play