What I wrote yesterday

So, I was quite enthusiastic about my very-first-ever-in-my-whole-life blog post. And thusly, somewhat irked when I contrived to delete it. What was it about?

Nonsense, really. I enthused about the dice I ordered. I had carefully curated a set of plastic polyhedral random number generators at a nice webstore I found, and waxed lyrical about the game-playing opportunities they represented. I went on, at some length, about two fantasy RPGs of Swedish origin that I am looking forward to reading.

One, Symbaroum, is drenched in fashionable nordic gloom and boasts astonishing production values: or at least I assume it does, because although the rulebook was delivered a few days ago I am so taken with its imaginary excellence that I haven’t even opened the package yet. I have no idea whether the game is any good. I’m running on internet pictures and hope, and that brown cardboard wrapping is protecting me against disappointment. (I am, at least, fairly certain I will have any and all appropriate dice.)

The other game thriving in my imagination is Whitehack, ordered some time ago and finally sent in my direction by Lulu yesterday. This monument to minimalism boasts no art, only lovingly set black Celestia Antiqua font. So classy. The infamously lost first post went on for while about this font, but you can look it up for yourself. I do like typefaces which retain a little of the flourish of the pen: some sense of calligraphic care. Book design in not the only uncompromising choice made by Whitehack’s author. Wonderfully – incredibly – he sells only print copies, through print on demand, and even offers one version where the rules are bound into a hefty hardcover notebook. Specifically no electronic version is available, which is both business suicide and simply beautiful.

Whitehack’s wonderfulness (not yet debunked by physical proximity or, you know, actually reading the book) inspired my painstaking choice of dice. I opted, in the main, for the classical opaque ivory body and black numbering. Minimalist aesthetics wedded to minimalist expense, very much my kind of deal. I did crack and order a goblin’s handful of snazzy vortex orange dice for those special rolls, which thanks to the strange prices involved also brought me the satisying opportunity to fiddle around until my order, including shipping and tax, came to exactly $30.

Looking at it now, that suddenly seems like a stupid amount to spend on dice.

What else? I mentioned pens and mechanical pencils, which were last summer’s dice. Cartooning, for which purpose those pens and pencils were less dispensible than actual practice. That cannot be bought, yet has a hefty price. I went on to introduce my plan to write a small D&D campaign. Some tentative details were offered regarding structure, a ‘funnel‘ to develop starting characters from a level 0 mob, then short adventure to get them to level 3, and a longer adventure whereby they could progress to level 6 or 7. Or die trying.

The mood of the piece will be dark, not to Warhammer‘s extent, but with a certain hint of corruption and moral ambivalence. This is en vogue in RPGs lately, but naturally my take on it will somehow avoid the influence of (say) Symbaroum. I also made some noises about recommending variant rules from the 5e core set to help sustain a gritty kind of game. The kicker, my little tribute to Whitehack’s mocking laughter in the face of compromise, is that I propose to get some use out of last year’s pencils, pens and inadequate practice by scribing the whole thing by hand in ink on illustration board. I will then scan these in and distribute electronic copies!

I was also briefly enthusiastic about Scandic stuff generally, even Ikea (provided I can avoid visiting the store, in comparison to which the dankest vaults of hades are like fruited glades bathed in everlasting sunshine). Vikings got a mention. What d’you expect? This is, or I am, Krakenshadow.

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