One of the reasons I started blogging was that I was surprised at the dearth of content-rich blogs out there. After all, there are political ranters to beat the band in the blogosphere (I am partial to The Daily Howler, TPM, and Andrew Sullivan, myself), and an overabundance of the diary-style posters with nothing much to say except what music they are currently playing. Surely among the hundreds of thousands of blogs on the Web, a dozen or so would be filled with chunky game-related goodness. But no.
That's an exaggeration, of course, and among a certain number of seldom-updated or diary-style blogs out there by game designers, I have stumbled on a few meaty game-oriented blogs, such as Monte Cook's and Mike Mearls'.
But recently, I am very pleased to report, I've discovered two blogs of note. One is the brand-spanking new Cranky Gamer, written by none other than my online friend, Mr. Nexx (the avid reader -- yes, all one of you -- of my blog will remember his comments as the foundation of several of my own screeds). The other is writer Jason Lomeli's blog, which, so far as I can figure, has this puzzling name: /server purpureus.mnemosys.net.
At his Cranky Gamer blog, Nexx offers up the things he does not like in role-play games, and is witty and convincing as he does so. But The Cranky Gamer is not just a grumpus with an ax to grind. Not only is this blog entertaining, but it is also constructive. Nexx puts a lot of thought into making flawed rules better. For example, his rant on gnomes (underpowered and coerced into constrained paths) is right on the mark, but then he goes on to suggest new rules to fix the problems he sees (add flexible skill options, and more).
So far the Cranky Gamer has also tackled half-orcs and certain rules mechanics for applying penalties. He's off to a great start, but I thought this would be a great time to offer some of my own pet peeves as possible inspiration:
- Splat Books: Why oh why are so many of them broken beyond repair? Well, I know why -- they are created without enough playtesting or consideration of possible abuses, with an eye on shipping product rather than producing quality rules.
- Challenge Ratings: Now, I'm a game geek's game geek, but I still think challenge ratings are confusing sometimes. Then add in the new emphasis on level equivalents for running monsters as NPCs, and it gets maddening.
- Iconic Characters: Okay, they served a good purpose at first, but I can't be the only one who finds Lidda very annoying! She's the Jar Jar Binks of Dungeons and Dragons.
- Dragon Disciples: A totally unbalanced prestige class that somehow made it into the 3.5 edition of the Dungeon Masters Guide.
Nexx's blog is gamier than Jason's, but Jason has a trump card to play -- a love of wemics! He is posting regular stories on his blog, and one of the first is a story from the point of view of a liontaur. That story, "Guilt," is the tale of a wemic driven from his home by tragedy. Jason has written about wemics before, so I am glad to encourage him. Did I also mention that he's an exceptional writer with an engaging sense of scene and plot?
In the next day or two I'll be updating the links I list on the left-hand side of my home page. These two blogs will be featured prominently.
Update [30 May 05] I got some clarifications from Jason in response to this screed. He kindly allowed me to post them here.
The story title is "Pride of Place," while "Guilt" is just one of the chapters (and if you want to get REALLY picky, the chapter you're referencing is actually "Wemic," which links off "Guilt"). (That, and it's hardly one of the first; in fact it's the most recently written. ;-)
And because you sounded intrigued about it: The name of my blog is in IRC command syntax -- entering "/server purpureus.mnemosys.net" would connect you to the fictitious IRC server purpureus.mnemosys.net, whereupon you could then join any chat channel you wanted (for example, #evanescence -- my blog -- or #translucence -- my friends').
(In case you're now wondering how I came up with the server name: purpureus because my favorite color is purple. [No! Really?!] mnemosys is a contraction of Mnemosyne Systems -- I'm sure I don't need to explain who Mnemosyne is -- a fictitious ISP employing my White Wolf LARP character, a Virtual Adept mage, in his mundane identity.* .net because I sure as heck ain't making money off this blog! ;-D )
* This blog actually exists because I created it as a prop way back when I was in regular LARP sessions as this character. After about a year I had to drop out of the game and chucked the entries -- all six of them -- but I kept the blog and converted it for my own use -- but I kept the names, because I think they're nifty.