Raging Swan Rocks

raging-swanGamers, have you ever looked over the products from Raging Swan? I should probably highlight them over at Black Gate to draw even more attention to them. I can’t speak to the adventures they publish — I haven’t read any yet — but the game master material is top notch.

I get notified by RPGNow about their “daily deal” (one of the few marketing lists I’m deliberately on) and some months back learned that a little book called “Wilderness Encounters” was on sale for less than half price. What the heck, sez I, and bought a copy. What turned up was a whole host of lists with interesting, creative, evocative possibilities. Different bandit encounters, different minor events that could happen on the road, different weather events, and on and on. Ideas just flowed out of that book. I was immediately taken with it, and am slowly acquiring other holdings from Raging Swan’s stable.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though. If you want to see the quality and variety, click here for NUMEROUS free samples. Even if you’re not a gamer and are a world builder, I think it’s easy to find inspiration here.

Incidentally, they bill themselves as a Pathfinder producer, and while they started that way, a lot of the stuff is either system neutral or available that way, and from what I gather a lot of their catalog also is available for 5th edition D&D.




New Story

hulk computerIn 2016 one of my short stories appeared in the Dungeon Crawl Classics 2016 Gen Con Program Guide. Joseph Goodman, sage of Goodman Games, enjoyed The Desert of Souls and contacted me to ask if I would be interested in crafting an Appendix N style tale. My answer was: “you bet!”

For a brief time, the 2016 Gen Con Program Guide — along with a whole bunch of great Dungeon Crawl Classics stuff — is on sale for 40 % off! That means you can go grab a copy, cheap, and in addition to all the cool Dungeon Crawl Classics stuff, enjoy the first-in-a-sequence tale of Hanuvar Cabera, my fantasy take on my favorite historical character, Hannibal of Carthage. It’s the first of two completed stories featuring him and hopefully the first of many more. He’s probably my personal favorite of all the serial characters I’ve created, even above Asim, and I have big plans for him, providing I have the time. I hope you’ll check out the story!




A Short History

bryson-everythingI have a big stack of to-read books, some by friends. But because I’m in the midst of heavy revisions, I’m reluctant to read novels that might catch my attention and steal time I don’t have to spare.

So at night I’m reading some non-fiction. Specifically, Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. I already knew I liked the book, as I’d read at least a third of it some years ago when I was working on my master’s degree. I got too busy with course work to finish, but I always meant to, and I thought highly enough of it that I loaned it out to friends.

Read More




Castles & Crusades

adv-backpackA couple of weeks ago I drafted an essay extolling the virtues of the Castles & Crusades role-playing game over at Black Gate, specifically related to the game’s new expansion, the Adventurer’s Backpack. You see, a Kickstarter has recently launched. The product is a go, but I still have fingers crossed that some of those stretch goals will be met. Honestly, I’m sort of confused that only a little over 300 people have signed on.

C&C bring that old school D&D goodness without all the rules exceptions. It’s streamlined and easy to hack so you can add on whatever you want, and feels pretty much like the old game you used to play, minus annoying bits to keep track of. This new expansion’s going to deliver some new character classes (i.e. archetypes), some streamlined hand-to-hand combat rules, additional spells and magic items, and other stuff besides. If fantasy RPGs are your thing, I hope you’ll at least investigate!




Pounds Hollow


Turkey Run State Park

At some point in junior high our school bussed us over to Turkey Run State Park. I wish I could remember the exact year or the teachers, or much else apart from me learning never to jump to a wet rock in the middle of a creek (feet went right out from under me, as I probably should have learned BEFORE that). My chief takeaway was that the park was quite pretty, particularly trail 3, which winds up a limestone river gorge.

Now, approximately forty years on, I’m better equipped to understand that many of the trails in Turkey Run State Park, near Marshall, IN, are among the prettiest American places you can see that don’t involve mountain vistas or trips west. And probably they’re comparable to even those, in a small scale way. My kids, who are considerably better travelled than I was at their age, name it one of their favorite places on Earth, primarily because of trails 3 and 10. Read More


Writing Star Trek Pastiche

Monday, July 29, 2013

It’s not as though I have a whole lot of free time. And it’s not as though I don’t already have enough projects. For instance, I’m working on…

Weekend Trek

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It was a busy weekend. The family drove to St. Louis Friday night so I could wake up Saturday morning and fly to Minnesota to hear my son’s…

Of Blackhearts, Laptops, and Turkeys

Thursday, July 11, 2013

First, a link I thought a lot of my visitors might find of interest. My friend Nathan Long, vastly underappreciated master of sword-and-sorcery adventure, penned a really neat…

The Beast is Off

Monday, June 17, 2013

To the races? Nay, Stalking the Beast is lumbering back to editor James Sutter at Paizo. Whew. I’m starting to feel pleased, although I’m also a bit dazed…

Writing of Ruins

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This week I should be finished with my editorial changes on my second Paizo Pathfinder novel,  Stalking the Beast, which I’ve been working on steadily. Ideally I’ll have…