Sunday, March 14, 2010

I hereby promise to not publish any more "generic" fantasy crap on this blog.

In the comments to my last post (a continuation of my ongoing Orcish Lowlands series), Timeshadows called me out for throwing some gargoyles into the petrified forest without providing a real sense of what they were doing there, why they were doing it and how they might get  'er done.  I responded with some equivocating bullshit excuse about how I have been removing some of the stranger elements from my homebrew setting to keep the Orcish Lowlands more usable, to make it "plug and play" to steal the parlance of USB connectivity.

The gargoyles, in all actuality, are not gargoyles.  They are first generation offspring of tree-devils and petrified trees.  I suppose you might call them Stone Devils, or Stone Tree Devils.  As such, they are quite powerful and have access to a kind of magic that is all but forgotten in the day and age described in my Orcish Lowland posts.    That is really neither here nor there, but the point is this: after allowing Timeshadows' comment to marinate today while I tramped around a natural foods conference (I emerged with giant bags of loot and a new respect for dungeon crawlers that haul out bags of gold; my bags of food and supplement samples, teeshirts and product literature weighed a TON and were quite unwieldy), I have decided that she was completely right.

"While I can understand your concern about the setting v. generic issue, I'd much rather see your setting than another generic product.
--My opinion on this has been stated all over Bloglandia.

Regarding the specifics you have shared, that is exactly the sort of stuff I'd rather read than something I could generate on my own with a hexploration table and dice."

Thanks, Timeshadows, that is exactly what I needed to hear.

It is really easy to strip away strange weird details from a setting to leave something bland and vanilla to insert into boring Forgotten Realms campaign X (not to pick on the realms, but... I'm picking on the realms).  Perhaps I take for granted my ability to come up with the strange, the outlandish details, the downright bizarre.   I am reminded regularly when reading other people's posts that not everyone can just come up with crazy shit off the top of their heads.

So I hereby pledge to not censor myself, to not remove the strange details, to not present a generic fantasy product.  That means you are going to read some BATSHIT CRAZY stuff.  Brace yourself.


  1. Oh - I should mention that it will also mean that any lines that might be drawn between "fantasy" and "sci-fi" will be summarily ignored in all future posts. Because those lines don't exist in my games.

  2. Awesome. :D
    --I'm glad my friendly encouragement was found to be liberating.

    If you feel I'm getting off-track, please feel free to return the favour, Carl.
    --I dig your stuff. :)


  3. lol, Anonymous. You are joking, aren't you?
    --If not I can see why you're hiding. ;)

  4. Ah, such are the perils of allowing anonymous comment posting. Which practice may be a little trusting in this day and age, but I am willing to live with the risk of anonymous flamers, spambots or trolls if it means that someone who might not have done so otherwise posts a legitimate comment. I reserve the right to use my vorpal sword to excise any comment that truly crosses the line.

  5. No, am serious. Why does the author have to have some elaborate backstory if he wants to slip in flights of gargoyles in his petrified MAGICAL forest. WHOCARES? Certainly, not the players. They'll be more interested in clubbing the little buggers skulls in. Likewise, the DM could rule that the forest is sending up magnetic resonance that has opened a wormhole to the elemental plane of earth and include xorn, earth elementals, stone giants, etc., etc. that are have located themselves there because of it's attaction. Again, WHOCARES? Carl already did the hard part which is producing a set-piece for which play can occur in. The play is the thing, not Timeshadows obsessive need for boring, trivial background fluff. Shame on you, timeshadows.


  6. While I appreciate the general sentiment (it was more or less my original line of thought), I trully appreciated Timeshadows comment. She rightly recognized that, unlike the other posts in my Orcish Lowlands series, the gargoyles were kind of half-assed thrown in to the post. That is because they weren't gargoyles at all in my campaign, and I made the decision to censor myself, to avoid explaining a strange aspect of my world, in the interest of keeping the lowlands "generic" enough to be easily used as presented on this blog. I will not do so in the future, ans making that decision feels very liberating.

  7. Anonymous, I think you are a lovely, wonderful person, and I pray that all of the blessing you have wished upon me are returned tenfold upon you.

    Keep it real, Anonymous.


  8. When I think something I've come up with is askew and people call me out on it I say, "I had a dream and Gary Gygax was in it and told me that this would an interesting and creative idea for my campaign."

    If they say, "That doesn't make sense," I fold and agree with them.

    If they stare in wonder at me because I have contacted the great Gygax through spiritual means, I roll with it!

  9. Carl, you had me at "BATSHIT CRAZY".

  10. I would like to point out that "new monsters" were not alien to low level modules (I'm think of the Basic and Expert Set modules -- not too sure of the AD&D ones).

  11. @Ka-Blog!: That's an excellent point. Isle of Dread with its Phanatons and Rakastas are the first that pop into my mind. :D

  12. You forgot the kopru...


  13. Oh, and lest i gives u ammo... the uber-kewl Aranea.

  14. @Carl, do you have an idea of the events in between the 50k-ago and the present, or is it more of a 'Dream-time' with a vague duration?

    @Cameron & Rob.L: Right on. :)

  15. @ timeshadows - I have a detailed timeline stretching back WAY farther than 50,000 years. The present civilizations have only vague myths regarding events that happened more than 8 - 10k years ago, but those events were instrumental in shaping the world of today

  16. Carl: Very cool, man.
    --How much of this do you have written?

  17. I have a few handwritten pages which constitute a broad timeline, then a bunch of stuff detailing individual events and time periods. I have literally hundreds of pages of material for this setting.

  18. I am very excited at the prospect of reading it in print. :)


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