Updates On Stuff

After basically being unemployed apart from some sporadic freelance work throughout 2009, I now have a full-time job. I’m not going to discuss the details publicly unless I get explicit permission, but it’s in the video game industry, if an odd niche of such. Trying to keep up creative stuff while working 40 hours a week and having a considerable commute to contend with has been a challenge so far, especially since my social life has gotten busier too (I’ve had regular stuff going on four days a week, though that’s calming down a little too), but I’m starting to get a handle on it.

I don’t want to get into the details here, but I’ve decided I need to scale back my internet use a bit, or at least my use of certain parts of it. At work it’s hard to find much else to do during breaks other that surf the web, and after a month I just feel the toxicity of it too much. This won’t affect this blog except insofar as some of those sites give me ideas for stuff to post or podcast about, but you probably won’t see me posting on RPGnet or Story Games as much (not that I was ever a prolific forum poster anyway). I’ve also stopped using my main Twitter account for the time being in favor of a new one (@bunnymuse) where I tweet nothing but random bits of stories and other prose ideas. I don’t know how long I’ll keep this up, but so far every time I’ve gone back on this decision I’ve wound up regretting it.

Slime Story
Slime Story has reached a point where I basically have the core rules where I want them for this revision, but I have to deal with a bunch of interdependent crunchy bits to get it ready to playtest. Writing up monsters is particularly challenging, since I really need to have the right variety of them and ensure that they provide the right kinds of stuff for providing adversity and interesting monster parts to make “alchemical” items with. “Monsters” in general are not an aspect of RPGs I’ve ever dealt with very much, and I think that inexperience is part of what’s making things difficult. It’s also still damn hard to come up with Talents to go with cliques, especially since I severely reduced the importance of social conflicts, which were the most combat-like part of non-combat stuff. Still, Slime Story is easily the creative project that most excites me of late, and it’s gotten more of my limited time for doing that kind of stuff than any other.

All of that means I’m getting pretty close to being ready to playtest Slime Story again, maybe even as early as next week. Slime Quest is much further off, since it will require both changes to the rules and even more assorted crunchy bits (a wider variety of “monsters,” classes and races with talents, equipment including magic items, etc.). I wanted to mention that I also have other ideas for “Slime Engine” games, most notably a new version of Thrash (I think the battlefield map system is exactly what it needs) and a thing about teenagers with special powers in the vein of A Certain Scientific Railgun, Kampfer, s-CRY-ed, etc. (so a mixture of superpower battles and boarding school life). But if those ever amount to anything they’ll be a long way off.

A-Kon is coming up really fast, and I’ve got some preparation and such to tackle still, even with the convention handling a lot of the more basic logistics for me. I’m going to be involved in something like six different panels, a lot of which are in the evening (9 p.m. or so), and a couple of which will require some considerable preparation on my part. The one on Japanese RPGs especially will take a lot of prep, since I want to put together a PowerPoint thing to show stuff off rather than lugging a ton of books to Texas. OTOH I think I could do the one on Anime and RPGs more or less off the cuff, considering how long I’ve been blogging and podcasting about the topic.

2 thoughts on “Updates On Stuff

  1. Hey Ewen,

    Shel Drzka here, fellow Japanese translator and guest at the upcoming A-Kon. So you’re scheduled for 6 panels? Pretty busy. I’ve got 4 that I know of and found my way here, actually, to invite you to join me for one, called “Lust in Translation”, a freewheeling panel about translating sex scenes, nudity, cheesecake stuff, censorship, along those lines. I invited Jake Tarbox, too, but he may be interpreting for a band during the time the panel is scheduled, which is Saturday night, 10:30-11:30. So if you’re interested, please get back to me; otherwise, I’ll feel pretty self-conscious about expounding on the subject alone (I thought of the panel from the name first, then went backwards to what the panel would be about; just hope I don’t kick myself for it later). Anyway, either way, I hope to be able to run into you at the con and maybe get some advice about surviving for a year (this year so far!) with little to no work, since CMX, the manga division I’ve worked for (freelance but full-time from 2006-2009) until recently, is totally shutting down. Best, Shel Drzka

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