Wednesday, September 16, 2020

I'm Editing Like a Madman, and My Hatred is My Fuel

I've finally finished editing the chapter on the Fae. I've striven to respond to good feedback and criticism wherever it's been given, and in this case my editing has focused on two main areas. The first is reorganizing the Fae creatures in Engines & Empires around my revised cosmology and alignment rules, which is basically a minor set of tweaks, just cleaning things up and making everything clearer and more understandable, while also making alignment even less of a deal than it was in the previous edition. (Because, seriously, fuck alignment and the Chaotic horse it rode in on.) 

The second is in response to Ynas Midgard's hugely appreciated review of the E&E Core Rules, which has been in large part the only source of constructive criticism I've received. But I've taken the opportunity to whittle away at the full page of linguistics, etymology, and terminology concerning faes and faeries that I had originally placed at the beginning of this chapter, turning it into a much more accessible glossary in a sidebar. All of the same information is still there; it's just off to the side and more digestible now.

But I've noticed something else in the past few days, as I've worked to batter Engines & Empires into the shape that I want it to hold forevermore—to forge it into the gaming equivalent of tempered Damascus steel. 

I've noticed that I'm being driven by my hatred.

It's not all-consuming hatred. It's just a quiet simmer of constant annoyance. Perpetual background ire, if you will. I've been catching up on and reconnecting with the old-school gaming scene again, and I find that it still bugs me. It's the usual suspects: the artpunk stuff, the so-called games and settings and adventures that are really just collections of pithy tables with some avant-garde illustrations making the whole book a dubiously-useful eyesore; the so-called hacks and mini-games that claim to distill the old-school experience down to ten pages or less; the more complete games that nevertheless aren't even vaguely compatible with OD&D or AD&D; and above all, the execrable historical revisionism that continues to this day to define the "OSR play-style." That stuff all still bugs the crap out of me, and for whatever reason, it's driving me to actually work on getting my game back out there and being the change I want to see in the world. It's petty and irrational, but it's constructive.

Hey, sometimes you've just got to take some
good advice from a creepy dude named Sheev.

On the bright side of all things old-school, Grognardia is back! Which is great—although for the life of me, I'm still not sure whether the word "grognard" should properly be pronounced like French or corrupted fully into English. On the one hand, I like corrupting my old-timey foreign words into English. I like to say "HAR-kuwh-bus" and "KWEE-ras" for harquebus and cuirass. I like to say (as English readers at the time did) "Don JOO-an" and "Don KWIX-it." But on the other hand… "nards." If you don't pronounce grognard like a grumbling Frenchman (roughly, "gw√£-NYAR"), you can't talk about grognards without constantly saying "nards." It's a pickle, and I'm not sure I have a good solution.

EDIT: Update on the E&E revisions, now humanoids are finally done. Goodness, but that took a long time. That just leaves three categories of monsters—planars, plants/oozes, and undead—and only undead need a major overhaul, with planars just getting tweaked to match the revisions to the cosmology and alignment, and plants/oozes being pretty much fine as they are (they're just getting an ordinary proofing and editing pass). After that, I can finally tackle the last major hurdle: magical items. So close now that I can taste it.
EDIT2: Nothing left of the monster chapter but undead now, which I'll save for tomorrow. Undead are the BIG one—whole new mechanics to add on here (in place of energy drain, which is just a pain in the butt to keep track of no matter what form it takes).
EDIT3: Monsters are finally fricking done. And now I have to stop and not work on magic items because society demands that I go be social and interact with people. UGH.
EDIT4: Half-way through magic items now. Finished potions, scrolls, armors, orbs, rings, and tomes. Have rods/staffs/wands, weapons, and miscellaneous magic still to go. Then there's nothing left but the book's back matter and covers to deal with! I might finish this tomorrow!!!
EDIT 5: That's rods and weapons done; just the miscellany left!
EDIT 6: The MAGIC ITEMS ARE DONE!  Working on the back matter now. Then it's just the index (*gag*) and the cover art…
EDIT 7: OMG now it's just the index and the cover left… so close I can fucking TASTE being done!
EDIT 8: …GROAN. THE GENERAL INDEX IS DONE. And the magic/tech and monster indices are so fucked-up page-number wise that it might actually be faster to simply recreate those fuckers from scratch. Don't wanna. Don't wanna do it. But it must be done, and I'm so close to finished with this madness.
EDIT 9: HOLY CRAP IT'S DONE, and a few minutes before midnight even. I did it; madman that I am, I actually finished revising Engines & Empires. Nothing left to do now but make some PDFs and redo the cover art. Expect a download (and a fresh new blog post) tomorrow!


  1. I live by the creedo that one should always create maximum opportunity for testicle jokes. Nards.

  2. I'm glad my review was of help!

    What I would especially like to see is some adventure support for E&E when it comes out. An airship crashes in the mountains - characters can be either survivors or rescuers. Or perhaps "Steam Castle in the Borderlands"? :P

    1. Someday. :) I've certainly got a vast stock of steampunkish adventures that I've run in the past to draw from. And I'll probably have an easier time getting the dungeons of Shade Isle published before I can get around to writing Shining Armour.

  3. That was a feverish and exciting series of edits lol. Never seen anything like it. Congrats man, looking forward to the finished product!

    1. LOL, yeah, looking back, it does form its own little narrative arc, doesn't it?