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Bryan Smart

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September 13th, 2010


05:43 pm - Game, family, job, guitar
Life is going well. Overall I have very little to complain about. The OSRIC sandbox game is still going strong and is very fun. I'm trying to put in some more plot hooks to lure the players in to more story. Time will tell whether they bite.

Family is well. Wish I had managed to get a promotion/higher salaried job this year, but alas it was not to be. Still, I have a good solid teaching job this year, and that's something to be thankful for.

I bought a new guitar amplifier and have been playing a lot. I play a mean rhythm guitar, but I've never managed to be a great lead player - I am to change that. I'm looking at various guitar lessons right now that don't involve live teachers and big bucks. Hopefully I'll find a good low cost option.

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August 1st, 2010


08:24 pm - Computer Games
We had a brief conversation in our game group last Friday about video games, and I thought I would share the ones I am currently playing/interested in as demos are available for most and there's some interesting games out there.

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Current Mood: contentcontent

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July 15th, 2010


05:34 pm - Me = William Gibson?
It's something to aspire to. Apparently my fantasy is like Gibson, and my action is like Vonnegut. Go figure.



I write like
William Gibson

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!



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July 4th, 2010


11:20 am - A few updates
It has been a while. I'm debating on whether I should start a blogger account and do more of the hobby-centered writing.

I must admit that facebook has taken up more of my time, doing updates and the like for people who I know. In any case currently I am:
On summer vacation!
Waiting to hear on whether or not I get a job that could transition me into an administrative role at my school (interview was good).
Doing the dad thing. 4th of July at home this year, first time ever since being married. Bought fireworks for the first time too (usually these have been provided by my parents/hosts).
Putting our Savage Worlds Post-Apoc Victorian London Rippers RPG game on partial hiatus - with a promise that we'll switch back to it next and continue the narrative.
Kicking  off an OSRIC/AD&D/1e campaign on Friday, wherein every player has a 3 PC stable, I have created massive overland hex maps (Hexographer is awesome), I have hand drawn several single and multi-level dungeons which can be traveled to on the overland map, and I have a great starting sandbox for the game. Really looking forward to it. Doing it as close to the rules as written as possible - I don't think I've ever played any D&D prior to 3rd edition by the real rules. I am now a major devotee of the so-called OSR (Old School Revolution). i lurk on sites like knights and knaves (megadungeon forum especially), dragonsfoot, and various OSR blogs of late.
Haven't gamed in three weeks. Wanted everyone to be together for the new game kickoff. 7 players can be hard to get together.
Wishing I had time to continue fiction writing, but haven't done it (thanks Hexographer!).

I guess that's it. It's been a great vacation so far. The beach was great. Looking forward to burgers, pineapple upside down cake, and lemon squares tonight.
Current Mood: happyhappy

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March 20th, 2010


09:10 am - Spring Break!
Woo! I love spring break!

I'll play a game or three, including board games and OSRIC with the kids (played Settlers with them yesterday). I'll probably end up doing some form of yard work, wrestling with my Himmelvale Streets project from Worldworks Games, and perhaps paint a few minis.

It would be nice to get back to writing too. Hmm... it seems like a lot of free time, but I know better. It'll be gone in a blink.
Current Mood: happyhappy

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January 31st, 2010


09:19 am - Campaign Kick-Off and Sherlock Holmes
My wife and I went to see Sherlock Holmes recently, and though Robert Downey, Jr. is no Basil Rathbone, I thought it was fantastic. The mood, the scenes, the antagonists, all were well done. I can't wait until the next one - it was one of the most enjoyable movie experiences I had had for a long time.

I then decided to check out a short story collection of Sherlock Holmes from the school library at which I work, as I probably hadn't read Holmes since middle or even elementary school. I like them - but they're definitely more Basil Rathbone than Robert Downey, Jr. Still, I can see the foundations that one could take to create the movie - but it's a stretch. In my current pulp/RPG mindset, though, the Robert Downey, Jr. Holmes is the one I'm more in the mood for.

Our new campaign kicked off last Friday. I had had the idea for a Victorian supernatural game a long time ago, long before the Holmes movie - really it was when I first encountered Savage Worlds and then got the Rippers Handbook on .pdf. I essentially decided I wanted to do a Victorian London meets Ptolus meets Rippers kind of a game. The interesting thing about Rippers itself is the player choices, especially the choice to gain power at the possible expense of sanity (Rippertech is kind of the monster movie mad scientist version of Chaositech). I'd also like to make magic very similar in the setting. I set up factions and the like for a sort of post-apoc Victorian London - I'm hoping for the same sandbox feel and intrigues and plots that we saw in Ptolus, the campaign that our group seems to look on as the pinnacle of our gaming so far. Our seven characters are an elderly Anglican minister/professor with occult knowledge, a young naive Anglican minister, a bored noble/big game hunter, a gypsy fortune teller, an Irish highwayman, a middle-class investigator/gossip, and a British Lord with extensive contacts who is bankrolling the group. They are trying to reestablish the fabled "Rippers" group of monster hunters, which apparently failed to stop the monster apocalypse that they are now living in, gain more power/monster-fighting abilities (they start only with mundane skills and abilities - the priests would like some miracles/fist of god type abilities later in the game), and correct whatever the problem is that brought about the evil apocalypse in the first place.

The first session started a little blandly - in some ways we're still trying to grok the Savage Worlds system. I think things will speed up as we get more into it. Short combats (in real time) are a good thing. I was tired of the 4e 3 hour combats 20 minutes to an hour for the same narrative result is really refreshing. It's been a good time so far. I hope my enthusiasm for the campaign and the system continues.

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January 1st, 2010


10:22 am - Happy New Year!
Happy new year everybody!

I'm still thinking about resolutions, but I've got at least one goal in mind so far: have more fun within the limited gaming time I have.

In other news, I received two books for  Christmas that I'm really looking forward to reading, in the hopes that they further my writing skills so I can get something done and published this year: Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, and The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall. I haven't touched Characters and Viewpoint yet, but I'm four chapters in on The Marshall Plan and the advice seems pretty solid so far. Having skimmed a bit ahead, I'm looking forward to reading about Evan Marshall's take on weaving plot in a novel, the plot sheet planning tool that he uses, etc. I've always felt I was a good writer but needed to get more organized. Hopefully this will help.

I'm trying to get our current 4e campaign to come to a close. I've got an idea for a sandbox campaign set in an alternative Victorian London, and I'd like to run it using a conglomeration of Savage Worlds Rippers/Core/Realms of Cthulu rules. The hardest part in the planning of this so far is London itself. It's awful hard to get good information on places and locations in Victorian London. Building a fantasy city whole cloth is so much easier. I've been feeling lately that I have to go a linear/sandbox hybrid route, so that there are specific places in the city detailed, specific plots detailed - sort of a narrowed linearity with a bit of the sandbox thrown in (several choices for the players). Anyhow, hope all are having a great year so far!

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October 4th, 2009


05:19 pm - Reading about writing
I checked out a few books from the library on writing and the writing biz. The one I like the most so far is The Portable Writers' Conference: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Published. It was published in 1997, so I'm sure some of the advice is out of date, but there are a few real gems here, some great motivation, and a solid idea of the processes of such things as finding an agent, writing queries, what an agent does, what a publisher does once the papers are signed (the process of getting a book from manuscript to bookstores) etc. Also some solid writing advice about characterization, dialogue, plotting, conflict, etc. It may not be the latest and greatest in the field, but I'm glad I found it at the library.

Now to find something a bit more recent in the same vein.

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September 26th, 2009


11:49 pm
Let's begin at the beginning. It's time to go to bed, and yet I find I have little desire to do so. Am I tired? Yes. But I'm also perplexed as to why I'm still up.
Game night falls flat and publishing musings...Collapse )

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August 26th, 2009


07:55 am - On Writing and Trepidation
I think I'm pretty anxious about school starting again. New students, new challenges, and I find I've got a sizable amount of trepidation about how this year is going to turn out. I have to keep telling myself that it will be easier than last year, especially because I have no additional study time on the side that I have to do in addition to the regular job. Yet student placement is luck of the draw, and often the difference between a problem class and a good class is one or two students with an attitude.

I want to write. I've wanted to write a novel for a very long time now, perhaps several novels. I'm always jotting ideas down, and I think my prose is engaging. My plotting needs some work. I've entered contests, but not written enough where I felt comfortable submitting to an agent. It would really help to have a finished manuscript of some kind. I've read many books on writing, own several on various topics in that vein. I've felt for a long time that it's something I could really accomplish. Only a few obstacles right now, and I think I know the answers to them, but I guess I need to write them out so I can tackle them. #1 Lack of time. This problem is never going to go away, especially for a guy with 4 kids, a life, and a day job. The answer is to do some writing every day (evening) - to carve out at least an hour or so every day where I have "writing time" without distractions, and more hours on days off if I'm really going to commit to this. #2 Lack of Access to a writing tool (computer). Rather than relying on the family computer (which my wife or kids often use or need to use) I need to get one of my own. I'm not going to write in longhand - I've tried and it takes too long to get my ideas / dialogue / etc. written out. So I need a working laptop or netbook or something that is designated as my writing tool that I have complete and unfettered access to. The wife seems behind this idea, as long as it's for my writing which could lead to additional income (however far down the road that may be). So I need to get something and resolve this asap. #3 My penchant for beginning something and not finishing it - i.e. the abortive writing attempts. There are many reasons for these, but what is the solution? I need to push on through and write a full manuscript, not 30+ pages and then give up. Part of this is plotting and writing for the whole story. Part of this is pure gumption. If I want to get somewhere, I need to just do it. Not quite sure about the complete answer to this one. I guess that's it. Bryan Smart the writer - I'm confident that I can get there. Now I need to do it.

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