Daily Archives: February 20, 2011

Book #4 & Short Story #4

Book #4: Descent into the Depths of the Earth by Paul Kidd

From the back of the book:

The ranger and the faerie are back!Fresh from their encounter at White Plume Mountain, the Justicar and Escalla are on the way to Hommlet. But life around a pixie is never exactly . . . stable. Escalla is drawn into the intrigues of the faerie court. Before he knows it, to save her life the Justicar is on his way into the depts of the earth to fight hobgoblins, drow, and the queen of the demonweb pits.

For an adventurer, it’s all in a day’s work.

To me, Paul Kidd’s Greyhawk novels and short stories personify the sheer fun of tabletop RPGs. Using classic modules as a backdrop, Kidd presents us with a fun, slightly munchkin, party. At its core, there’s the Justicar, a dour ranger; Cinders, his sentient hell hound pelt; Escalla, a slightly naughty faerie; and Polk the plain-old human teamster. The characters are eccentric and, occasionally, Kidd’s jokes go on just a little too long, but that’s how it sometimes goes in gaming.

I haven’t been a big fan of novels based on fantasy RPGs. Usually, they boil down to being fantasy novels and not much else. Kidd’s tales read a little more like a campaign journal. That’s both good and bad. On the one hand, if you’re familiar with the game, you can see how the game mechanics get translated into narrative. That sort of wink-and-nudge is a nice touch. On the other hand, sometimes that battles are too blow-by-blow and get a dry.

My favorite bits though are when Kidd describes parts of the world. Despite the zany antics of the ranger and the faerie, Kidd treats war-torn Keoland with respect and poetry.

This is part of the Read Me, Baby, One More Time challenge. I decided to re-read it because we’re playing the module, and I needed some levity.

Short Story #4: “By the Job” by Paul Kidd

“Keoland Blues” (Dragon Magazine, December 2000 – Issue #278) prompted me to buy Kidd’s Greyhawk novels, but I hadn’t realized that that was his second story for Dragon. “By the Job” (Dragon Magazine, May 2000 – Issue #271) is the first and the origin story of Jus and Cinders.

RoW80 – February 20th Check In

Been doing rewrites, so my word counts are fairly irrelevant. Wrote about 2000 words since Wednesday, but only added about 700 to the manuscript. I’ll talk to Eric later today about whether these changes have been good or good enough. We made several decisions to connect a few characters and I like these changes. The plan is to finish up this pass of rewrites on Monday and then start over with per scene detailing of priority events.

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Felt terrible the last couple days. My elbows and knees, hands and feet have been very achy and I’m tired.

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If I had a blogging platform, it would likely be based on really bad analogies and what lessons I keep learning over and over again. Ultimate frisbee continues to point out interesting behavioral things. For example: more chances for success translates to more likelihood of failure. I’ve been playing ulti for ten years now. My in-game throws are passable enough (no pun intended) that, in league, I get called as a handler. This isn’t a position that I’m comfortable with, but there it is. This means that I will touch the disc often and have more opportunities to cause a turnover. Sure, I have more opportunities for success too, but I remember the crappy shanked backhand, not the…uh…well, I’m sure I did something good. I guess the point is, you can’t get away with only ever being successful. The only way I could avoid screwing up on the ultimate field is to not play ultimate any more. The only way to avoid screwing  up as a writer is to not write. The only way to avoid failure is to not do anything. Which is a bigger, uglier failure because there’s no chance at success either.