Sunday, March 4, 2012

Idle Musings and a Black City Update

Blah blah blah navel gazing and idle musing follows

Every once in a while, it's good to pop in and talk about how the Black City project is going.  It's still progressing.  I look back at last year, and there were a bunch of things that got in the way of project work - we adopted a child from Ethiopia, and severely underestimated the kind of changes a third kid has on your family.  Once you're outnumbered by the kids, you and the wife can't play man-to-man defense, you've got to switch to running zone defense.  It probably took until October for things to settle in, and for our other kids to get used to having a brother from Ethiopia.  There was much drama.

The other big change for me was work related, moving up, but also getting a crushing workload.  I think I've finally figured out the work-family-gaming balance, and I've been doing most of my writing at like 5-5:30am - waking up an hour or so before work to get in some early writing.  I can report good progress is being made on the Black City again.

I went ahead and created text files for each bit I'm putting into the city.  I don't know if it was a great idea or not; I write the text in a basic text file, figuring that it's best just to get the words on paper and worry about layout and formatting when it's time for layout and formatting.  Psychologically, I keep two folders, an in-progress folder and a done folder, so it feels good to finish pieces and move them into the done folder.  It gives me a rough table of contents, too (although I'll likely put all the background in an appendix, eventually).

Of the 120 little files, nearly 60 are done, but that doesn't count all the map work for the levels below 2 (which are just scrawlings in my brainstorming notebook).  We'll probably start some playtests with the local group after Tharizdun and/or Tsojcanth; I'll be working in some Cthulhu games here and there too.

I'm never sure what to put on the blog - once I made the decision this was something that could be worth publishing, I got a bit weird about putting rules and stats and keyed areas on the blog, but we'll see how I feel during playtesting.  I know there are some readers that liked the Black City posts, so I'll see what I can do to get more excerpts up and maybe update the project page (which is quite a bit out of date).

Here's that crazy file list:

1.1 introduction.txt
1.1.1 what is the black city.txt
1.1.2 rules and setting.txt
1.1.3 what is a sandbox.txt
1.1.4 tips for managing a sandbox.txt
1.2 overview of the campaign.txt
1.3 the northmen.txt
1.3.1 about the northmen.txt
1.3.1a ships.txt
1.3.1c culture notes.txt
1.3.2 northman names.txt
1.3.3 names of ships.txt
1.3.4 adventuring companies.txt
1.3.5 female names.txt
1.3.6 dwarves and elves.txt
1.3.7 human encounters.txt
1.4 races and classes.txt
1.4.2 sample ship.txt generate your own.txt
2 welcome to trade town.txt
2.1 overview of trade town.txt
2.1a life in trade town.txt
2.2 law in trade town.txt
2.5 details of trade town.txt
3 the black city.txt
3.1 overview of the ruins.txt
3.1.2 history of the city.txt
3.1.3 grey technology and cultural artifacts.txt
3.1.4 watchers.txt
3.2 wandering monsters in the city.txt
3.3 hex contents in the city.txt
3.3.1 table of artifacts.txt
3.4 climbing in the ruins.txt
3.5 surface areas within the city.txt
3.5.1 area a the well of woe.txt
3.5.10 area j the blue obelisk.txt
3.5.11 area k the hippodrome.txt
3.5.12 area l the tower of pain.txt
3.5.13 area m the face in the ground.txt
3.5.14 area n the palladium.txt
3.5.15 area o institute of the arcane.txt
3.5.16 area p the main plaza.txt
3.5.17 area q the spire of thaumaturgy.txt
3.5.2 area b tower of astronomy.txt
3.5.3 area c sunken vaults.txt
3.5.4 area d the maze.txt
3.5.5 area e the misty hollow.txt
3.5.6 area f central command.txt
3.5.7 area g the great ramp.txt
3.5.8 area h the great glacier.txt
3.5.9 area i watcher plaza.txt
4 beneath the black city.txt
4.1 overview of the dungeons.txt
4.1.1 cross-section of the dungeons.txt
4.2 level 1 transit tunnels.txt
4.2.1 a well of woe.txt
4.2.2 b the loading docks.txt
4.2.3 c the healthy inner glow.txt
4.2.4 d electric company.txt
4.2.5 e the dragons den.txt
4.3 level 2 warrens of decay.txt
4.3.1 the eternal flame.txt
4.3.2 kingdom of the cave men.txt
4.3.3 the morlock caves.txt
4.3.4 chasm of the crawlies.txt
4.3.5 backstage apparatus.txt
4.4 level 3 the fabricators.txt
4.4.1 3a halls of praetoria.txt
4.4.2 3b the machine.txt
4.4.3 3c the android maker.txt
4.5 level 4 halls of machinery.txt
4.5.1 4a water world.txt
4.5.2 4b vapors of green death.txt
4.5.3 4c the dreaming prison.txt
4.6 level 5 lesser chambers of science.txt
4.6.1 5a hyperborean dream gods.txt
4.6.2 5b the bio builder.txt
4.6.3 5c alien autopsy chambers.txt
4.7 level 6 greater halls of science.txt
4.7.1 6a ghost in the box.txt
4.7.2 6b the negative zone.txt
4.7.3 6c mars attacks.txt
4.8 level 7 cloning chambers.txt
4.8.1 7a caverns of the enigma.txt
4.8.2 7b cold storage.txt
4.8.3 7c pools of malefic birth.txt
4.9 level 8 vaults of esoteric knowledge.txt
4.9.1 8a tablets of zeta prime.txt
4.9.2 8b chambers of the crystal skulls.txt
4.9.3 8c the hall of deeper slumber.txt
5 the thule archipelago.txt
5.1 overview of the islands.txt
5.2 weather  for the islands.txt
5.3 sea encounter tables.txt
5.4 thule island encounters.txt
6 appendixes.txt
6.1 black city bestiary.txt
6.1.1 bestiary list.txt
6.1.2 automatons and workers.txt
6.1.3 ape men of the black city.txt
6.1.4 berserkers and worm madness.txt
6.1.5 watchers.txt
6.1.6 the creators.txt
6.2 new magic.txt
6.2.1 new spells.txt
6.2.2 viral spells.txt
6.2.3 new magic items.txt
6.3 the ongoing campaign.txt
6.3.1 campaign events.txt
6.3.2 list of events.txt
6.3.3 Navigating to the City.txt
6.3a the viking calendar.txt
6.4 guide to the northlands.txt
6.4.1 20 campaign questions.txt
6.5 maps.txt
6.5.1 thule.txt
6.5.2 trade town.txt
6.5.3 black city.txt
6.5.3.a black city regional map.txt
6.5.4 northlands.txt
6.5.5 building geomorphs.txt
6.5.6 transit tunnel geomorphs.txt
6.6 a note on cosmology.txt
7 New class option - Skald.txt
z2.3 rumors in trade town.txt


  1. Now that's a great teaser - a lot of those names get my interest.

  2. Nice method. Thanks for exposing part of your creative technique. It looks like that would fit nicely with how I write also.

  3. Being a relatively new reader, I have no idea what this is... but it looks impressive!