Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lung Cancer, Revisited.

I used to want to be a rock star. Now all I want is health insurance.

Starting to smoke was the biggest mistake I have ever made. Today, at age 36, I calculate I must have smoked some 131,400 cigarettes. Sure, there are some old, old folks out there who have been smoking their whole lives without so much as a polyp. But I don't like my odds.

The problem is, I am compelled to smoke almost constantly. During my recent attempt to quit, I found that nicotine gum took the edge off. But I screwed up, thought I could smoke the occasional Black & Mild, and before I knew it I was no longer an ex-smoker, but a smoker again.

Earlier this week I got a bad chest cold. And I'm sure it's just a chest cold. I hope it's just a chest cold, anyway. I don't know what the signs of lung cancer are. Let me google that real quick. Well, I have two of the signs - chest pain and a pain that shoots down my shoulder (that's what happens if the cancer has spread into the nerves). But both of those are also symptoms of heart disease.

Bottom line: I've gotta quit. It's probably already too late. But I can't imagine laying in that hospice bed, dying, knowing that if only I had not smoked, I would be - well, not dying. So that's it. This pack is my last pack. I've got to beg, borrow or steal enough for some nicotine gum. Even then it won't be easy - even though it took the edge off for me last time, I still wanted to smoke constantly.

I am miserable when I'm not smoking. One would think I'd get over that in time. But right now, it seems my choices are lung cancer or being constantly miserable from wanting to smoke. I guess I'd rather have the latter.

Wish me luck.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Too Many Projects, Too Little Time

OK, here's what I'm working on lately.

Gonen's World: The Roleplaying Game. A full-fledged, original RPG that I've already discussed here ad infinitum. This is my magnum opus. I can't really move forward on any other projects until this one is complete. The writing is done, the final edit is done, but I have a LOT of illustration to do and I'm out of practice (I'm fairly decent at line art, but when it comes to color and shading I have a lot to learn).

After that, I'm going to dabble in some pre-existing game systems that I enjoy.

Howard Hughes' Doom Platoon. This is a mini-campaign (three connected adventures) for Savage Worlds. I am going to put it on my forthcoming Savage Worlds fan site, http://www.savageunderground.com/ (there's nothing there, but I've got the name). In this alternate 1950s, set against the backdrop of the Cold War, Howard Hughes has secretly funded a team of elite international adventurers to track down mysterious ancient artifacts (the Urim & Thummim is the first). What does he want them for? Well, I'm not going to spoil the ending. This game was inspired by, believe it or not, an old 1958 World Atlas that has international flight schedules and stuff in it, and really succinct descriptions of cool places.

Swords Against Satan. This is designed as a lengthy campaign for Savage Worlds. I have always enjoyed the grim nature of the Warhammer World. But the real Europe of the 1500s and 1600s was far grimmer than any fiction. In this campaign, the heroes must collect five sacred artifacts to assemble a super-weapon that will destroy the Son of Satan (who just happens to be the Pope). By doing so, they can bring an end to the Hundred Years War and usher in the modern age. The heroes will have to collect artifacts from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and the Far East. This is a "mish-mash" campaign, meaning it's been weaved together from several sources (mostly GURPS Illuminati, the Savage World of Solomon Kane, and my stack of European history books), so I'll probably not put it up on http://www.savageunderground.com/, which I'll save for more original material.

Untitled Project (working title: "BC"). A mini-RPG of archaic Greece - that is, the pre-Classical Age, prior to the Greek Dark Age, using the VSM system (open licence). Historically, this is about the time of the Trojan War, the height of Minoan civilization (and, further south, the events depicted in the Biblical Exodus). But this isn't a historically accurate game: this is an archaic Greece designed for adventure, patched together from Edith Hamilton's Greek myths, Herodutus' Histories, and movies like "Clash of the Titans" and other great claymation epics. Rules-lite in the extreme, this game is intended as a one- or two-session diversion for experienced gamers. Mostly, it's just a chance for me to use a bunch of cool public domain Victorian-era engravings of Greek stuff. :)

There are more projects to discuss - Moons of Uranus, Space Station Zulu, Apocalypse Later, Owtland, and others. But I'm at work now, and real life has intervened, so I will save those for a later post.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gonen's World keeps draggin' on...

Yikes. I'm in neck-deep!

Gonen's World: The Roleplaying Game has been finished (the final draft, anyway) for a few weeks now. But I've been indecisive about how to package it, and that's led to delays.

I had originally intended to do a full 11x17 book (folded over, that's "normal size," or 8.5x11), complete with artwork and short-story sidebars by me, Colin Campbell and Ryan Ashmore. Then, in a fit of nostalgia for the "little black books" of first edition Traveler, I decided to divide the material into two books - the Rules of Play, which featured character creation and all of the "rules," with very little background, and then another book, the World Guide, which had all the background, the bestiary, and stuff aimed more at the game master. I axed the short stories.

So, I laid out the entire first book in InDesign, then changed my mind. :)

So now it's back to square one, layout-wise. For those of you who've been waiting for it, keep waiting. This game has been a decade in the making so I guess another few weeks won't hurt.