Yesterday, I told some friends of mine who are writers that I feel this need to write, and I certainly want to write, but my brains aren't cooperating with me at all. I asked them for advice, and was relieved to learn that I'm not the only writer (who doesn't feel like a writer at the moment) who experiences these weird and annoying patches of malaise.
I applied everyone's advice, so I've gotten to play some GTA IV to recharge, read some comics and genre fiction to reinspire, taken some walks to clear my head, and now I'm writing something totally unrelated to my work, so I can hopefully kick stuff loose in my head and hopefully get back to my assignments.
I think I had this sudden lock-up in the brain-u-lo-tronic region of my skull because I'm kind of overwhelmed by both life and work. I think I may have taken on too many creatively-demanding writing projects, so yesterday I thought I'd make a list of my writing commitments, including their various deadlines, so I could get a better picture of what I need to do. The idea was to put everything onto paper, tape it up next to my desk, and feel a little bit better knowing what my responsibilities were.
Um. Yeah. Didn't quite work out that way. Seeing how much I have to do has really freaked me out; I have an August 1 deadline for this project that is unlike anything I've ever done before, and though I'm looking at 51 days until I turn it in, I don't feel like that's enough time. Yikes. Fear is a good motivator, though, and I work well when I'm terrified, so I'm hopeful that once I get past a couple more milestones, I'll be able to enjoy this thing, instead of . . . uh, whatever it is right now. Which is mostly paralyzing fear.
I also made a list of things I want to write but probably shouldn't until I get my paying gigs handled. On that list is the last entry in our trip to New York, and a review and commentary about D&D4E. Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I've been enjoying the fourth edition core books so far, and that I like a lot more than I don't like. Because of all these commitments I have, though, I don't know if I'll have time to play or run a campaign -- or even a one-shot -- before summer is over. I don't think it's particularly responsible to write much about fourth edition until I get a chance to play it, you know? (If you've played or run a fourth edition adventure, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave 'em here.)
Anyway. On to the cryptic title of this post: John Kovalic, creator of Dork Tower, illustrator of Just a Geek, big bossman of Out of the Box games and all-around insanely awesome dude, has also been reading fourth edition. Today, he writes:
The designers of Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition must be having a real roller-coaster time, at the moment. On the one hand, this epic labor of love is finally in readers' hands, to much acclaim. On the other hand, it will be slowly nibbled to death by gerbils as every gamer under the sun points out the one or two nitpicky things they dislike in the nearly-thousand-page Opus of Awesomejuice they released.
(I, for one, don't understand why The "Customizing Scores" method of character generation starts with 8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10. Would it have been that much to throw a couple extra points players' ways - creating 10's across the board - and thereby making the subsequent table of point additions that much more elegant? Nitpicky, nitpicky, NITPICKY!)
I will say, however, that the Monster Manual gives me greatest pause. Not due to any mechanic. Simply because of the sheer number of monsters that now go by MODIFIER-title MONSTER NAME (or MONSTER NAME modifier-TITLE). Yes, I realize this is due to the seemingly endless subdivision and stratification of monsters and monster types necessitated by new monster Roles: artillery, brute, controller, soldier, fishmonger (or something like that).
Anyway, it's pretty obvious that D&D 4th edition has a specific way they'd like you to differentiate monsters. Now, anybody can be a critic. But it takes a better man to offer constructive advice - to put forward something POSITIVE. And so, in that spirit, I humbly offer KOVALIC'S SCROLL OF SWARMING FOURTH EDITION NOMENCLATURE, for those who want to create monsters or name new Player Characters the right way...the Fourth Edition way. Roll some dice and try it out!
What follows is an awesome and hilarious table intended to allow DMs to randomly generate silly names that fit into the unique fourth edition nomenclature. If you're wondering, I used my very own dice to determine the type of ogre referenced in the title of this post.
If you roll up a monster name -- I mean really roll it up, not just pick two funny entries and put them together -- feel free to share your creation in the comments. I, for example, have also just created . . . a Bitchyhulk Oni, who I'm just certain is a level 9 controller.
You know, I can't imagine not being a geek.
. . . and I'm very grateful for that.
To make an already geeky post that much more geeky: WWdN reader kendiara shared some thoughts on 4E that were interesting to me. (Is there a good signal to noise 4E discussion online anywhere?) Maybe they'll be interesting to other geeks. There's also some really funny monsters that were rolled up, including the Kobold Dreadlard, who I think must be a really tubby Kobold with a Dex of 5, and the fearsome Ogre Meatspike, who could be rather NSFW, depending on how demented you are. Eww!