Thursday, August 28, 2008

Book Signing at PAX

I'll be at PAX, the Penny Arcane Expo, in Bellevue, WA this Saturday from 3-4 PM in the Wizards Booth (#1132). I'll be signing copies of Stardeep (#3 in the Dungeons quadrilogy). Of course, if you bring some other novel or D&D product, I'll sign that too. I'm there to sign, and by God I mean to sign something! ;-)

With me in the booth will be fellow authors Erik Scott De Bie (Depths of Madness, Dungeons #1) and Rosemary Jones (Crypt of the Moaning Diamond, Dungeons #4). We're missing only Howling Delve (Dungeons #2) author Jaleigh Johnson.

Come by and say hello if you're in the area!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Obama Hero Worship

I think our species' instinctual desire to put others upon pedestals is a flaw we'll have to overcome. It is one of the reasons we had to suffer through a second term for George Bush despite all his demonstrated failures to lead the free world in a positive direction. Too many people were unwilling to give up their earlier formed idealized version of Bush.

Though I'm behind Obama, I don't want to fall into the trap of becoming a blind supporter. I don't want to engage in hero worship or fall sway to celebrity. That said, I will offer respect where due.

Anyhow, I just watched this video. It's quite cool, but I urge you to watch it while keeping in mind just how celebrity and hero worship come naturally, perhaps genetically, to us. (Thanks T Heck for passing this video on.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wish Upon A Star

My latest Dragon magazine article, Wish Upon A Star, is available here online. For at least the rest of this month and possibly most or all of next, Dragon (and Dungeon) magazine content remains free (after that, $4.95 a month for both mags bundled with a subset of other online tools). 

2020 Edit: Yeah, the link above is looooong dead. But the article, featuring the Star Packt for 4E D&D warlocks, is available here: 

 If you play a warlock in your Dungeons & Dragons game, I think you'll want to check this out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why I'm Not in An Irish Bar in Burien

Tonight's the primary. I was looking forward to meeting local Dems at an Irish bar in Burien (including at least one of the candidates for state representative). However, fate conspired against me, in the form of our two foster kittens and their fun new developments.

Not only do the kittens have a penchant for chewing through power cords, they also apparently have a lingering upper respiratory issue that came to light today. While certainly not life-threatening, the combination of discovering the wire-chewing (well, that could have ended one of them right there) and the recurrence of the upper respiratory this afternoon requires the kittens be moved once more to a safer room. Poor little guys.

And, no meeting of the local candidates as I'd been looking forward to. Ah well, c'est la vie.

How am I getting online? Well, turns out not all my neighbors have secured their wireless connections. But, it's touch and go... a little more go than can actually be depended on, I'm afraid.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Realms at Indy

So, I guess by now it's become fairly clear I had the Realms on the brain for this Gen Con. I was gratified on one hand to see that the new FRCG sold out of our booth... but in the first hour of a 4 day event? Well, we ordered more... which sold out. And a third time, which we split up to sell some on Saturday and the rest on Sunday. Sold out both of these final lots, too. Awesome from one point of view, but that means a lot of people at Gen Con who wanted to buy a copy there weren't able to do so. Drat!

Anyhow, on Sunday, GamerZero interviewed me about how my seminar went, and about the Forgotten Realms in General. Take a look:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ecosystem Under Assault

What damage can the failed administration do in its last months in office?

Well, among other things, it can attempt to water down the Endangered Species Act.

The ecosystem totters under the assault of too many people reaching for middle class using last-century energy sources. This has put the environment and the components that make it up (living species) under continued and accelerating stress. Please ponder the fact that scientists who make the ecosystem their specialty field of study warn the next great extinction is happening now. Consider further the web-like connections you and I, and every person you know, share with the ecosystem. The planet, it's atmosphere, the creatures, plants, and insects that live their entangled lives upon it are like a woven piece of cloth. Only so many threads can be cut before the whole thing unravels.

Now is not the time to undercut the protections of the Endangered Species Act.

If you believe as I do, write Dirk Kempthorne, secretary of the Interior, to tell him please reconsider. (Click the link to find a the Center for Biological Diversity's easy method of contacting the secretary.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gen Con So Far

Tomorrow I'll be running a D&D game at Gen Con from 8 am to 1 pm. I'll be using an adventure that takes place in the giant shared world of Forgotten Realms, and is held under the auspices of the RPGA's Living Forgotten Realms program. Speaking of Forgotten Realms, the 4th Edition campaign setting I helped write went on sale here. It was selling at a blistering pace. So quickly, in fact, we sold out what we brought to the Con in just hours. So, more cases were ordered, and should arrive tomorrow (fingers crossed).

Thus, I just finished my second read-through of the adventure, after a short lie-down in my hotel room.  Earlier today I ran two hours of general dungeon bashing fun, hung out for an hour signing autographs in the Sagamore Ballroom, and walked about a third of the convention floor hall.

Last night I arrived in Indianapolis, ate with a couple of my co-workers at Ruth Chris's Steak House (a minor feat for a vegetarian like myself), and attended the Diana Jones awards, where my friend and fellow Alliterate Wolfgang Baur shared the award for his Open Design work.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bruce At Gen Con

I'll be at Gen Con this year. Come by and say Hi if you like!

My schedule:

12:00-2 PM RPGA Delve @ Sagamore
2-3 PM signing autographs I guess @ Sagamore

8 AM-1 PM Running a Living Forgotten Realms adventure @ Sagamore
2-4 PM Adventure Workshop Seminar

10 AM-Noon Secrets of the Realms Seminar
12-2PM RPGA Delve @ Sagamore
4-6 PM 4E Q&A

10 am-11 Hanging out somewhere @ Sagamore doing something....
12-2PM RPGA Delve @ Sagamore
2-3 PM Hanging in the booth

Monday, August 11, 2008

Forgotten Realms, Returned Abeir, Gontal

When we wrote the 4th Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide (releasing this month), we generated so much material that not all of it fit between the covers.

The most significant such area is a region of Returned Abeir called Gontal. In the FRCG, Gontal is described as so: "The western land of Gontal hunkers behind its mountainous border and reveals little of itself to outsiders. A land of mystery to many Abeirans, Gontal’s citizens know it as a place of raging intrigues."

Interesting, yes. But a hook that waits for a follow-up.

So here's the follow-up, and a prime example of how DDi will enhance and extend D&D. Even as the FRCG is published in hard copy, you can download a digital copy of the 2 page Gontal spread here. Actually, I think most of you can download the Gontal region even before you'll have a chance to buy the FRCG (not to mention the copious previews the DDi team has assembled for the FRCG; seems like there's a new extract from FRCG going up online every day).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Elect Tina Orwall in the 33rd Legislative District

At my precinct's caucus in February this year, I learned I was in the Washington 33rd legislative district. Having come from recently not even knowing how caucuses worked, I was delighted and surprised to find myself a delegate for Barack Obama.

When I attended the next gathering of delegates, I found there were many, many people like me who were energized and excited to be part of the process. When I got up to make the case why I should be passed on as a delegate to the national convention, I was one among nearly 200 people with the same idea, all hoping to fill about twenty seats. As you've probably just guessed, I didn't wow anyone with my effort.

Anyhow, during this meeting, I was introduced to several people, including the chair of the 33rd legislative district, Tina Orwall. Ms Orwall conducted the gathering of hundreds with aplomb and grace. She also indicated she would be seeking the State House of Representatives seat being vacated by incumbent Representative Shay Schual-Berke, and what's more, she had Schual-Berke's endorsement.

Since then, Ms. Orwall has gained the endorsement of several other groups, among them the Washington Conservation Voters, who gave Orwall their sole endorsement. That means a lot to me, as conservation of ecosystem is one of my top issues. In the end, as my Voter's Guide pamphlet reveals, Tina Orwall gained the party nod (in our wacky new "Top Two" system) for the primary.

I'm not certain how many of you who read this are in the 33rd legislative district (I guess very few), or heck, even in Washington. Your choice for state legislator is likely to be someone different than Orwall. Regardless--please remember to vote on August 19th (or sooner, if you vote by mail as I do). It's all very well and good to get some fresh blood into the White House (go Barack!), but it means nothing if we don't pay attention to our local political scene, too.

If you're feeling especially motivated, you can do as I have done and donate to your legislative candidate noted in the Voter's Guide. These folks aren't the recipient of vast sums of cash, so every little bit helps, especially if several people donate (Quick Link: Donate to Orwall's campaign here.)

And... go Tina!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Coils Below

Coils Below, my latest Dragon article is posted here. It is another in the Role vs. Roll series that Chris Sims and I have worked together on. Unfortunately this time around, Chris was too wrapped up in working on the GSL, so I had to go this one alone.

From the article:
Snaketongue cultists are humans suborned by the doctrine of Zehir, the evil god of darkness, poison, and assassins. The cultists have fallen prey to the core tenants of the Coiled One, and as such they delight in the use of poison, adore snakes of every scale hue and size (especially yuan-ti), and kill in their god’s name, offering each death as a sacrifice in long rituals or quick murders. Snake¬tongue cultists are so fevered in their worship that Zehir and allied yuan-ti reward them with ritual transformations, bestowing upon the cultists minor reptilian traits, which only increases their fanaticism and zeal to die in service to their god.