Tag Archives: Gary Gygax

Conventions, Forwards, and Jetlag.

So right now I’m in LA. I’m in the eye of the storm, schedule-wise. I was at Worldcon last weekend, and I’ll be at GenCon in a couple of days. Right now I’m helping out a little bit with the Writers of the Future workshop.

And when I say, “a bit” I mean just that. The workshop is run by Tim Powers, who (whom?) I’ve mentioned before on the blog, albeit briefly. He’s one of my favorite authors. And not only does he have an amazing grip on the craft of writing, but he’s a great teacher to boot. That means, for the most part, I feel my best contribution to the workshop is to nod and occasionally chime in with an emphatic “hell yes.”

Worldcon was cool. I sat on some panels talked about writing, and generally avoided making too much of an ass of myself. That’s about as much as I can hope for, overally.

I got about 30 people for my reading, which was nice. I read some poetry, a couple humor columns, including one of my old favorites about guinea pigs, and a tiny piece of book two. Not even hardly a taste, just a tease.

I also had my first experience of randomly seeing someone reading my book in public. Unfortunately, it was at a convention, so it only counts for half points, but it was still pretty cool.

I think I freaked out the woman who was reading it though. I walked up to her and said, “That’s my book!” She looked up at me with mingled surprise and horror. Understandable really, that’s how I’d feel if I looked up and saw some freakish hobo-muppet crossbreed grinning down at me.

Next weekend I’ll be at Gencon, doing all manner of panels, readings, and signings. I’ll also be making appearance at the local library, accompanied by the awesome costumers who won the photo contest. A good time will be had by all.

And in related news, I’ve written my first-ever introduction. It’s for the new Order of the Stick collection.

Gech. Stupid hotel computer. I can’t make it display the cover of the book. You’ll just have to follow the link, I guess.

If the comic sounds familiar, it should. Rich Burlew was the cartoonist who did the lovely tribute to Gary Gygax that I linked to a while back.

It was fun writing the forward for the book, as I really love the comic. Plus Rich drew a comic version of me which is pretty dead on. If you’re interested, the book will be available for sale at Gencon, and can be ordered off Rich’s website.

That’s all for now folks,

Pat

Posted in conventions, hodgelany, recommendations, side projects | By Pat34 Responses

The end of an era….

So today someone came up to me and said, “Have you heard the news?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Yeah,” he sighed, “the end of an era.”

“To tell you the truth,” I said. “I can’t quite believe it. I’m a little shook up.”

My friend looked at me, surprised. “I didn’t know you were that into football. You never struck me as the the type.”

“What does football have to do with this?”

“Brett Farve announced his retirement today.”

“Fuck Brett Farve,” I said. “Gary Gygax is dead.”

“Who’s that?” they said.

For those of you who don’t know your roots, Gary Gygax created D&D. That means he pretty much created roll playing. It’s fair to say that Gygax’s work has had as much impact on the fantasy genre as anyone. He wasn’t just a cornerstone, he was a keystone.

I found out about D&D back in the fifth grade. D&D has always been the refuge of the geeky and unpopular kids. But I was below even that low social strata. I was the kid that wasn’t cool enough for the D&D kids to play with.

I checked out a copy of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons from the library and read it all the way through. That was back when AD&D was… well… Advanced.

Monsters and treasure and dungeons. Goblins. These days it all seems cliche, but back then…. it was all wondrous and strange. It wasn’t just that someone had given you an world to play in, regular books do that. No, with D&D someone had given me the tools to make my own world, and I realized I liked doing that. I liked it a lot…

Eventually I found people to play D&D with. Some of my best memories from high school are playing D&D with my friends, Steven and Ryan. After all these years, they’re the only two high school friends I really keep in contact with.

I remember getting the Master D&D rules for Christmas one year. I was maybe 10 or 12. Remember the black box? I read them at my Grampa’s house the next day when we went there for breakfast on Christmas day.

“This game requires no gameboard because the action takes place in your imagination.”

I learned what a ballista was, and a mangonel. I used to make maps on grid paper. I designed a huge walled city with elaborate fortifications. I made plans for trying to defeat a Tarasque. Instead of a high school graduation party, I asked my parents if I could go up to our cabin for a week with Steve and Ryan. For that week, pretty much all we did was play D&D.

What was my character’s name that weekend? His name was Kvothe.

That early Kvothe really didn’t have much in common with the modern version. Except, perhaps, that his wisdom was rather low. I started him at first level, too. You nerdcore folks out there know what I’m talking about. The rest of you can’t know what that’s like, playing a first level wild mage with three hit points and only two spells a day: both of them Nahal’s Reckless Dwoemer. He spent a lot of time unconscious.

When I roll play these days, I use a different system. I know I can’t go back. If I tried to play basic D&D again, it wouldn’t work out. It would be like trying to hook up with my old high-school crush. But the truth is, you love best what you love first. And I loved D&D before I was cynical, before I knew what a cliche was, and before I understood about death. I can’t go back. It wouldn’t work.

But still, I wish I could.

One of my favorite comics, Order of the Stick, did a tribute strip to Mr Gygax, you can CHECK IT OUT HERE. It states the case pretty well. Thanks Mr. Gygax. I wouldn’t be a writer if not for you… And even if I were, I wouldn’t have written this book.

Rather than a moment of silence, why don’t those of us who used to play the game share a little D&D story in the comments below.

Later all,

pat

Posted in recommendations | By Pat58 Responses
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