Posts Tagged ‘gaming’

A Medley of Arts

I have a confession. I hang with the infamous Ian on a fairly regular basis, usually every other Wednesday, and a lot of times we will brainstorm blog post ideas, which is why Wednesday posts tend to be a little odd or why, if you read both our blogs, we seem to be oddly in sync at times. (Ceiling turtles. Just saying.)

Today we were waxing poetic on our thespian days (well, I related a story about Macbeth’s blood and how the theater then caught fire, and he told me about secret passages and trap doors) and I realized that a lot of the writers I talk to also have a strong interest in another creative venue. It may be acting, like Ian and me, or it might be drawing, knitting, painting, dancing, music – you get the point. It seems like creative people just tend to gravitate towards creative activities, and a lot of time, will try out a variety and possibly cycle between multiple arts.

I’ve also found that they tend to be doing at least one at any point in time, even if it’s not the main ones. Most writers, even if they’re not writing at that particular point in time, will be doing something creative, whether it’s trying their hand at drawing a comic book, planning their wedding, painting their nursery or crocheting cephalopods.

And they always seem willing to try something new as well. Usually the response to someone starting a new project or challenge is “Oh, that’s interesting, I will try it as well!”

Which leads us to having too many projects going at once, but you know what? I think we thrive on it.

What do you think, Squiders? Any new things caught your fancy lately?

Why TPKs Suck

It’s Friday night D&D again, and we’re well on our way to all having our butts handed to us hardcore by some treants, which are essentially the D&D version of the Ents from LOTR. Our DM, a few sessions ago, decided he was annoyed at us always surviving the encounters, and has since tried his hardest to destroy us.

TPK stands for Total Party Kill. It is where the DM manages to kill each and every one of you. He just rolled two natural 2os. At the same time.


Anyway, I don’t have to tell you how frustrating it is to continuously fail in everything you try when going up against a powerful enemy. When you pull out your most powerful attacks, the ones that you can only do every once and awhile, and it just bounces off their hide while they laugh.

As much as it sucks in gaming, it sucks just as much in fiction. While conflict is essential to keeping a story moving, at some point it can become too much. While you want your interest kept, conflict after conflict after conflict without break can cause anxiety, and most people don’t read to feel anxious.

There’s another crit from the DM. Holy Batman.

Additionally, if the main characters come up against their big bad, if they give it their all, and it does nothing – that pisses readers off. Especially at the end of the story.

I mean, occasionally you can get away with an unhappy or ambiguous ending. But when you’ve walked with a character, sat with them through their hardships, cheered as they pulled themselves up – only to have them fail at the last minute – that hurts.

It hurts bad. Bad enough that, a lot of the time, readers will just give up. And sometimes there may be throwing of books across the room. (At least in their minds – most book lovers I know will not physically damage a book, no matter how upset they are at it.)

Anyway, we really are doomed. I think I shall name my new character exactly the same as the last and stick a number on the end, just like the cat in the Simpsons.


Disconnect between Fantasy Books and Gaming?

To go along with Wednesday’s post, there seems to be a bit of disconnect between modern fantasy novels and stories and modern games.

As we speak, I happen to be gathered around the dining room table playing a session of D&D. Nerdy, I know, but I have a spirit panther and he’s nigh invincible and the DM hates him a lot. But compared to modern fantasy novels, it seems interesting that something like D&D continues to be much the same as it has been for the last twenty years, at least in terms of content.

And then I got to thinking – video games are the same. While fantasy fiction seems to be trending towards real-world, small cast, gritty realism, games continue with the wide secondary worlds, epic quests, elves and dwarves and all that jazz. Legend of Zelda. Skyrim. World of Warcraft.

Is it that there’s different audiences between readers and gamers? Is fantasy fantasy fantasy?

Is it a progression? For example, I read a lot of older epic fantasy when I was younger, and I don’t read it as much anymore. Perhaps gamers tend to do the same thing, and games give them a different medium to experience the same things that fascinated them as a child. Perhaps it’s the visual aspect, or the interactive element.

Any insights, Squiders? What, if any, mediums do you prefer to get your epic fantasy in?