Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

The Patronage Of Paranormal Friction

You may or may not know, but I have launched a Patreon page. The reason for it is to help with funding the development of my paranormal fiction inspired and Fate-based role-playing game called Paranormal Friction.

If you have followed the blog for a while you'll know that this is something that I've worked at for a while now. I recorded a couple of YouTube videos for a couple of the very earliest playtest sessions. Honestly, I always figure that this would be something that I would write mostly for my own personal use and probably print off copies to use at conventions or home games.

The cover at left is a dummy image that I made up a couple of years ago out of some free clip art. I like the colorfulness of it.

It was probably close to twenty years ago now that I first encountered the genre of paranormal romance. I was at a Half Price Books, when I still lived in Cleveland, and as I was wandering and randomly glancing at shelves, I saw a book with the title Bitten, by Kelley Armstrong. You may have heard of Bitten from the Canadian-based television series that aired on SYFY in the United States (at the time of this writing it is available on US Netflix and I recommend it strongly). Since that book I have traveled through the worlds of Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Gail Carriger, Devon Monk and others.

The books were filled with witches, magicians, werewolves, vampires, Fae and other things that go bump in the night (sometimes with a little grinding as well). What drew me into the fiction was things like the well-defined characters who were more than hard-bitten and grizzled anti-social loners. These were people who loved. People who had friends. People who were members of a community, who cared about the people around them and the places that they lived. I mean, yes, sometimes these characters wanted to be left alone so that they could drink their coffee in peace, but when bad things happened to people close to them, they got a to-go cup.

What I wanted, for a long time, was a role-playing game that would let me play games like the stories that I was enjoying. Some of them were close, on the surface they had supernatural creatures and people with weird powers, but the games fell out of step with fiction quickly. They aren't bad games, but they aren't what I was looking for, either.

I wanted a game that was simple. A game that could allow characters to have connections to each other, and to the world, in ways that were not only fictionally meaningful during play, but also could have some mechanical bite to them as well. I wanted the much-ballyhooed mechanics that "get out of the way" during play.

I have been a fan of the Fate rules since before Spirit of the Century ever came out. Those early free PDFs were so close to the game that I wanted, and unfortunately the variants of Spirit of the Century had an annoying habit of getting more complicated than they needed to be. And then came new versions of the rules: Fate Core and Fate Accelerated. I found the system that I needed to use in Fate Accelerated. The idea of approaches is a brilliant one, while being simple enough that I am surprised that no one hit the idea sooner in RPGs.

If you haven't played, the idea is a simple one. To streamline mechanics they came up with the idea of "What if, instead of coming up with a list of skills that outline what a character can or can't do, we instead come of with a list of ways in which a character approaches a situation? What happens when they do something forcefully or cleverly instead of having skills for all of the sciences, and the different ways that they can hit something?" It was pretty radical. And, it also opened up ways to achieve success in a situation without necessarily resorting to violence as well.

Don't get me wrong, there can be plenty of fighting and violence in paranormal romance fiction. It is just nice to be able to also have ways in an RPG where players can think outside of the box of combat when deciding their characters' actions. All of this meshed together for me, and I started combining material from the various Fate SRDs into a document and compiling it with the explanations that I have come up with for players who have never played the game previously, as well as codifying some of the things that I do when I run games for people.

I try to run my games as cooperative venture as I can. The story creation rules for Fate Core are nice because they give everyone in the group some level of input into the creation of the game's world.

So, all of this went into a pot, and over time as it cooked Paranormal Friction came out of it. I hope that you check out my Patreon page and, if my blog has given you any interesting content over the years, support me as I work to get the final yards of development done for it. There is also a Discord server for talking about the game linked through the Patreon page, and I hope to develop a community around the game.

Right now, as soon as you support the Patreon you get the current copy of my WIP document for Paranormal Friction in a text format PDF. There are still things that I am working to add to the game, and a few rough spots to smooth out yet. Hopefully you will become a part of the journey to get Paranormal Friction to the end, so we can all have a finalized game of it.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Face Front, True Believers!

As I am sure you all know, Gen Con is coming, and it will be the 50th anniversary of the convention. I'll be there, covering things for EN World and posting here at the blog, too. My appointment schedule has filled up, but there are still a couple of ways to find me at the convention. When I'm not in meetings, I'll be wandering the exhibitor's hall plus I am going to be on a couple of panels this year.

Thursday at 5pm local time I'll be part of a panel talking about being a tabletop freelancer. Kiel, the original panel moderator, had to cancel at the last minute, so I am stepping in with Beth Rimmels and Jacqueline Bryk to talk about getting a start as a freelancer in gaming. I'm pretty much just going to be there for the ride.

Friday at noon local time I'll be co-paneling with Beth Rimmels and we'll talk about marketing and publicity as a gaming professional. It will be fun. You'll laugh. You'll cry. Hopefully after wards you'll know more about marketing, because knowing is half the battle.

These are both ConTessa panels, and they're doing a whole bunch of awesome stuff at the con.

And finally, Sunday at 1pm local time there is going to be a panel talking about Battlefield Press, and what we've got that is new and upcoming. I'm sure you'll want to check that out.

Hopefully I will see you at Gen Con in a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Let's Go To Gen Con GoFundMe Campaign

As we all know, going to Gen Con isn't cheap. Even writing for EN World doesn't help to offset all of the costs of going and covering the convention for you, the readers. I started a GoFundMe campaign to help with some of the costs. In addition to just straight donations, I have a couple of fun pledge levels for it, working around the idea that not everyone can go to Gen Con, but they still want to have some of the experiences of the show.

  • For $5 I will track down a person, place or thing at the convention (1. it has to be gaming related and 2. it has to be safe for work) and take a picture of it. I will then post the picture to an online gallery here and to social media. If you have a Twitter account, I will also tag you in the post.
  • For $10 I will track down a designer or publisher of your request, ask them a couple of questions and post a video of the questions to my YouTube channel. Sorry, but I determine the questions. If the person will not consent to being recorded, unfortunately there aren't any refunds. I will try my best to convince them to let me record them for posterity.
There may be other pledge levels coming, but those are the main ones. They are a good way to augment my coverage of the convention. If you have any questions about the campaign, or would like to know if you can donate in other ways, contact me via the contact box to the left of this post.

I hope to see you at Gen Con this year!

Friday, December 09, 2016

Dorkland Rumblings

I've decided to give the world of online newsletters a shot. Starting sometime during or after the holidays, I will start up Dorkland Rumblings, which will be more or less random things that I want to get out, but don't want to do a full blog post, or put them out onto social media.

Don't expect a lot of inbox clutter from this list, we will probably all be "lucky" if I remember to use it once a month. It will, however, contain adult content (most likely adult language), so if that sort of thing bothers you you might not want to join it. The newsletter will likely also be more plug heavy than other sources, as it will be the place that I will more actively talk about what I'm reading, listening to, etc.

There will also be a box on the sidebar that will allow people to join at any time. I hope that some of you will give it a try.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Lucky 13: The Thirteenth Anniversary Of The Dorkland! Blog

Typically I just let the anniversaries of the blog come and go. For the 10th Anniversary I launched the short-lived Geeky Voices Carry vidcast/podcast. It was short-lived because of scheduling, and because doing that sort of thing was a lot of work.

I just thought that I would commemorate things with a quick post for the 13th Anniversary of the blog.

I started the Dorkland! Blog in September of 2003 because there was a lot going on in my life at the time and the blog gave me a place to talk about things that were unrelated to all of that, and give me a little bit of mental breathing space that I might not have had otherwise. The blog has always had a general "geeky" focus to it because I felt that would give me the most space to talk about whatever it is that I want to talk about. I drift around between comics, gaming and music mostly, because these are the topics that most interest me.

I've never really been a constant poster. My idea has always been to post when something grabs my attention, and I want to talk about it, rather than because I think that I have to have X number of posts in a day, or a week. Honestly, I think that is a big factor as to why I have kept the blog going for so long.

A long time ago, around 2002, I found a book at the library by an author named Rebecca Blood. It had the weird title of The Weblog Manual, and it talked about something that I had never heard of before: blogging. The book is still in print (even available for the Kindle these days). Even though most of the information is rooted in those early days of blogging, it can still provide a valuable insight into where blogging came from, and what people thought that it would become.

When I started the Dorkland! Blog I was still living in Cleveland, trying to work out the path of a new "adventure" that I had started upon. Most of what I do here is opinion writing, my reviews and talk about trends and happening in geeky things, but that is because when I was studying journalism in high school and college, opinion writing was always my preferred style of writing. It could be more personal, and a better reflection not just of ourselves, but of the world that we wanted to see outside of our windows.

I still feel that way. Guest writers and semi-regular posters have come and gone throughout the last thirteen years, but each of them were picked because they fit into what I thought was the point of view of this blog.I think that is important, having a point of view, when doing something like a blog. Some use blogging to grab attention for themselves. Some use blogging because they are angry about something. For me, blogging and the Dorkland! Blog has always been about a desire to share the things that I love, and to talk about why I love them. However, just because I love something, it doesn't mean that I am blind to its faults or shortcomings. A lot of the problems that I have with geeky communities, online and off, come from the fact that I love these things and think that we can all do so much better than we are doing. Because I love these things, and I want to share them with as many people as possible, I don't want hate in our shared spaces: hate of race, hate of gender, hate of sexuality. Like Walt Whitman said in the epic American poem of Song of Myself: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."

The geeky communities contain multitudes, a teeming mass of people defined not as much by the similarities but by their differences. It is these contradictions that give the communities their richness, because there is so much that we would not see or experience without those contradictions.

There is still a lot of work to be done within many aspects of these communities. I think that the first step is to realize that we aren't all the same, outside maybe of the "geeky" things that we like to consume. Even those things aren't all the same, nor are they consumed in the same way. We need to better see the contradictions within ourselves, and each other, so that we can find the commonalities that can shape communities, rather than doing it the other way around.

One of the things that has changed the most in the years that I have been a blogger has been blogging itself. You can see this by looking at the earliest posts on this blog. Then called a "weblog," the idea was mostly to keep a log of websites that you regularly visited so that others who shared the same interests as you could find sites and articles of interest to you. Search engines existed, but they were no where near as refined or ubiquitous as they are today, so often that meant that you relied on discovering others with your interests to guide your way through the internet.

Slowly, but surely, blogging developed into something akin to journalism, when in the right hands, and that was alright with me because of my background in journalism. But it shows that blogging isn't something static, and how you approach it should change with time. Let's see what happens in the next thirteen years.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Last Few Days Of ENnies Voting

Voting for the ENnies Awards runs until July 30th. Please consider voting for Dorkland! in the Best Blog category. You don't even have to vote in every category in order to vote. Each vote for Dorkland! is greatly appreciated.

Some of our favorite posts, if you would like to see why we think you should vote for us:
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Nose around and check out the blog. We have also provided some (we think) cool free content for games that we like, like Fate Accelerated and Swords & Wizardry as well.
We hope you enjoy the tour and consider voting for us for the ENnies Awards in the Best Blog category.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bleeding Gen Con In Less Than A Month

So, it is less than a month until Gen Con now. I will be attending as media, both for the blog here, and for the Bleeding Cool website. Coverage will be split between here and there. Also attending will be Helen, another of the bloggers here, and Josh will be manning the Dorkland! offices and handling anything that doesn't require being at the convention. If you have a Kickstarter going on before or during the convention, send us a note via the contact form and I will put you in touch with Josh.

Expect a lot of pictures uploaded each day.

Updates to the blog, and pieces for Bleeding Cool, will be uploaded during lulls in the day and in the evenings, after we are back at the hotel. My Twitter and Google+ feeds will also be good places to find my most up to date pictures and postings. Following me on Twitter will get your best information on coverage of the convention and will point you towards articles as they are published.

With the roll out of the new edition of D&D happening leading up to Gen Con, this is going to be an exciting convention, and I already have started lining up people to talk with during the convention. If you can't be at Gen Con yourself, this blog is going to be a hub of information about the convention that you won't want to miss out on.

Also, if you haven't voted for your ENnies Awards choices, please head over to the site and give the Dorkland! blog your consideration. I feel that we provide a unique "service" here at the blog that others don't give you. Our mix of news, reviews, interviews and free gaming content is, in our opinion, some of the best that you're going to find among gaming blogs.

There's also a Fundrazr page to help offset some of the costs of our coverage of the convention. It isn't cheap going to a big convention, and every little bit helps.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dorkland Scores An ENnie Nomination

The nominees for the ENnies came out this morning, and I was shocked and surprised to see that the Dorkland! blog was on the list of nominees for Best Blog.

I'm not going to lie, there are some great blogs on that list. However, I think that Dorkland! definitely belongs on that list of contenders. I also think that we deserve to win. Which, I'm sure everyone on that list thinks as well.

I never believed in pigeon-holing things for this blog, since I made my first post back in September 2013. The thing that has kept this blog live and active for more than ten years now is the fact that I talk about a lot of different things from gaming to comics to music to movies and more. Gaming doesn't occur in some vacuum. As gamers we are the sum of our inspirations, and that, if anything, is the mission statement of this blog: talk about the things that inspire and influence us...even if they don't come from out of a gaming book.

There have been some great interviews on this blog, from +Helen Yanolatos talking with Max Brooks about his comics, to my interviews with Pat Mills and Erin Evans, to the many, many interviews that +Josh Thompson has conducted with creators about their Kickstarters. This tradition goes back to my Dorkland Roundtable interviews on YouTube and further back. Putting a face and a voice to so many creators has been a goal of the blog for a while now.

And, yes, we don't shy away from opinions here at the Dorkland! blog either. It is important to have informed opinions and be able to defend them. Whether it is as simple as the review of a game or talking about inclusiveness in gaming, being able to state and defend opinions are important.

It was also my work on this blog that lead to my writing for the Bleeding Cool site, which is allowing me to bring gaming to a new, and much larger, audience as well.

Thank you all for reading all of these years, and I hope that when the voting goes live on the 20th of July that you will consider voting for the blog. We're rough around the edges, but we like it that way. Also, if you would consider making a donation to our crowdfunding page to help with the expenses of this year's Gen Con coverage, that would be great too.

I will be at the ENnies this year, win or lose. Hopefully I will see some of you there.

I would also like to thank all of the people coming here for the first time because of the links from the ENnies site and over at EN World. I hope that you like what you see and stick around a little while.

Thank you for reading the blog.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Crowdfunding - Help A Blogger Get To GenCon

If you look to the top right side of this blog you'll see a link to a Fundrazr campaign page. The idea for this is to help fund my going to Gen Con this year (along with other incidental expenses of the blog, like our podcast hosting). Air fare isn't cheap, travelling from the South to the Midwest, particularly when there's a convention going on.

For over 10 years now, the Dorkland! blog has provided news, information and free gaming content without ads or any sort of monetization of the blog. I have also been unemployed for a while now, making these things even more difficult. I know, some will say that being unemployed is a good reason to not go to GenCon, but it makes for a great opportunity for blogging and for freelancing. In addition, as a writer for Bleeding Cool now, I can bring a much wider audience to the new games, news and happenings at GenCon. However, that takes money.

If you have enjoyed any of the free gaming content that I have put up over the years, or if you have received useful information or news over the years, please consider putting some money into the Fundrazor campaign jar. The sooner that the money is raised, the sooner I can stop talking about it here and around the internet.

There are some perks to the campaign, for gamers and publishers who wish to donate a little more money. If you're a publisher, you can get sponsorship of a blog post here at the blog or you can sponsor an episode of the Geeky Voices Carry podcast. What does this mean, exactly? Well, with the podcast it means that we mention your company and/or product at the beginning and end of an episode of our podcast. We will also mention weblinks. It would be something to the effect of "This episode of Geeky Voices Carry is brought to you by..." Sort of like the old soap operas. Sponsorship of a blog post would mean a footer to the post with a reasonably sized image and a link to your site, or perhaps your OneBookShelf pages. Both of these are open for negotiation. Sponsorship mentions will also be included on the YouTube page for the live recording and in the podcast's description. Further details can be worked out, if you want to contact me via the blog.

For gamers, getting one of the perks means that I will run a game for you at GenCon using one of the systems that I have blogged about (either Fate Accelerated or Swords & Wizardry) for you and up to four of your friends.  For the Fate Accelerated game, you can pick one of the mini-settings that I have written about on the blog, while the Swords & Wizardry game will be up to me. It could be a classic adventure reworked for Swords & Wizardry, or it could be something new just for this game. In either case there will also be pictures taken and a blog post made about the game.

I know that gamers like to help out, it isn't something that I am as good about asking for, but I would appreciate any help that I can get. If you can, also please consider spreading this request around the internet. I can use all the help that I can get.

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Secrets Behind The Naming Of The Fantasy Trip RPG

One of the cool things about being a blogger is that you get to take part in interesting conversations, and when you ask odd questions of people they take you seriously. Yesterday, over at Google+ James Maliszewski asked if anyone knew how the early Steve Jackson game The Fantasy Trip got named (I would link to the discussion, but it was a private one, so you'll have to settle for this). The conversation ensued, and no one really knew, but there was a lot of speculation about it having to do with drugs. I figured the easy thing to do was ask the man himself. A few emails and hours later, and a response from Steve Jackson was in my email inbox.
You know how hard it is to come up with an interesting and original fantasy game name now? It was hard even back then.
I don't know whose idea that name was; all I remember of the discussion was that everyone agreed that it would not be two alliterative words separated by "and."  I'm sure it was not intended as a drug reference.
[W]hile I have always been good with the name, I'm pretty sure it was not my own idea - it just doesn't "sound" like me.
So there we have it. The complete answer is unfortunately lost, but enough is still remembered to be useful. Will that stop some from still asserting that the title was a drug reference? Probably not.

Friday, April 04, 2014

The ENnies: It Is An Honor Just To Be Nominated...

For the first time ever, I submitted the Dorkland! blog for consideration for the ENnies. Do I expect to be nominated, or even win for that mater? Nah, not really. I've been doing this blog for just over 10 years now, and I've been plugging away at it without really caring who likes or who doesn't like what I want to talk about over here. I staked this out as my little corner of the internet, to let the dice fall where they may (so to speak). Why the sudden need for affirmation? To be honest, the whole thing is more of a PR thing for me than anything else. Additional eyes on the blog never hurt, and having links on the ENnies site will help drive some traffic, perhaps to people who have never seen the blog before. A contradiction, I know.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Things That You Hear: Licenses And RPGs [UPDATED With Link]

When you're a blogger, or you have contacts within the tabletop gaming industry, you hear a lot of things that never make it out to the general public. Who isn't paying their bills and their freelancers tends to be the thing that you hear about the most. Which publisher lost a licensing deal over non-payment, that sort of thing. DMs on Twitter and private chats on Facebook and G+ give up some of the details on what is going on behind the scenes. Sometimes you pick up things around the gaming table. If you want this information to keep coming you learn to be discrete about things. You want your information to keep coming, after all. This is when a blogger should behave like a journalist and protect their sources.

For example, a piece of information that I have been sitting on for a while now is that one of the well known publishers, known mostly for their science fiction games but also with some fantasy showings, is planning on dipping its toe into the realms of super-hero games by landing a fairly major (to our smaller niche of gaming) comic book license. Will this get past the negotiation stages? I have heard that it has, but as we all well know that doesn't assure that a final product will make the game shop shelves. We will know it when we see it, however. I hope that the game does make it. The license will hold a certain amount of nostalgia for those gamers who are comic book fans, I think, and it will definitely make for an interesting game.

UPDATE: It appears that, while no announcements have been made, there is a holding page for the game on the company's website ( If you want to keep secrets quiet, you shouldn't go live with your web pages. Actually, I looked for this a couple of days ago and couldn't find it. Hat tip to an astute reader for finding the link.

SECOND UPDATE: I've added some screen shots of the page. Just in case.

I am always leery of licensed games because, whether gamers like it or not, they are going to go away sooner or later. At some point the license will stop being profitable for someone in the equation and the game will go away. Yes, there is always the idea that licensed games will, by their nature, bring non-gamers into the fold, but I don't know if this is a prevalent as it would have been 10 or 20 years ago. Sure, there will be some crossover interest from people with the inclination who had never before gamed but I don't know that it is a big of a market as it once was.

Regardless, let's watch and see if there are any big announcements about a new license at the GAMA Trade Show, Origins or Gen Con this year. If this game is going to go through, that is when I would assume that it would start to be talked about.

UPDATE THREE: Expect to hear more soon.

Do you have a tip one something big coming up? Let me know about it privately and I will keep all of my sources confidential.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Old Order Changeth!!

For some comic geeks, the phrase that I used for the title of this post may seem familiar. It used to be used in The Avengers comics to signal that a change was coming to the team, that new members would be joining or other familiar favorites would be leaving. The source is from one of Tennyson's poems about Arthur, The Passing of Arthur (if you haven't read it, you really should):
And slowly answer’d Arthur from the barge: "The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfils himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me? I have liv’d my life, and that which I have done May He within himself make pure! but thou, If thou shouldst never see my face again, Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice Rise like a fountain for me night and day. For what are men better than sheep or goats That nourish a blind life within the brain, If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend? For so the whole round earth is every way Bound by gold chains about the feet of God. But now farewell. I am going a long way With these thou se√ęst—if indeed I go
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)— To the island-valley of Avilion; Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies Deep-meadow’d, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crown’d with summer sea, Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."
For us, here at the Dorkland! blog and related endeavors like the Geeky Voices Carry video blog/podcst, change is a good thing. Fresh blood brings fresh perspectives and diversity, and as we well know diversity is something that the geeky ways of life can't get enough of. And, yes, I just made you read a poem in order to get to the news portion of this post.

If you're familiar with our Geeky Voice Carry podcast, you'll know that every two weeks we record a new episode. We being myself, +Stacy Dellorfano+David Rollins and +Josh Thompson. We each have strong, and particular viewpoints, and we aren't afraid to disagree with each other either. Geeky Voices Carry grew out of off the air discussions that we would have before our weekly Hangout on the Air game. Stacy one day suggested "We should do a podcast around our talks. It would be fun." That makes all of this her fault, in a good way.

I'm +Christopher Helton, the founder, lead blogger and editor of the Dorkland! blog and host of the Geeky Voices Carry video blog/podcast. That is my look of disdain for a lot of things on the internet (plus I just don't like getting my picture taken).

Honestly, when I started the blog back in 2003 and never thought that I would have a team of people as part of this blog or be doing a podcast. Heck, back then we didn't even have podcasts.

I started gaming at the age of 11 in 1979, when my family moved to a small town outside of Muncie, Indiana. You can say that it changed my life. Now I am the co-publisher of Battlefield Press, Inc., which has published the ENnie Award winning game setting City of Clocks, as well as the Victorian-era game Gaslight (which I will apparently be converting to Fate at some point this year). I designed the Open Core System and co-designed the d20 game Pulp Fantasy. I also have a few projects that should be dropping this year, including my Demon Codex and Paranormal Friction games and a new edition of the HeartQuest role-playing game.

I am the GM of our weekly Hangout on the Air games, and I like it that way. Considering what gets said on a weekly basis in our games, if you're afraid to play broadcast games because of what you say...I fear for what people are doing in their games that is so embarrassing. I am proud to be a geek, and gamer and to be associated with all of the people who write for the blog are a part of Geeky Voices Carry. My gaming, and my life in general has been enriched by all of you.

+David Rollins is a long time gamer and geek from Canada, in addition to being a professional photographer in what he quaintly styles his "real life." He also owes me a review. David has been a solid foundation in our weekly game. He has played a tough as nails Cleric in our Swords & Wizardry game, and he helped to playtest my strange, funky Magic-User variant for my Demon Codex game. He is a great player to have in a game, and he is good at looking at games from different angles. This skill has come in very handy on a number of playtests that we have run as a group. His perspective and insight have been invaluable to the podcast.

He is also playing a Ley Line Walker in our new Rifts game, despite the fact the the default language in game is American.

If you get a chance to have David in your hangout group for a one shot, or a few should jump at the opportunity to game with this guy. I'm glad that I've been able to do so.

+Stacy Dellorfano is another awesome gaming dynamo that I am glad that I have had the chance to meet and game with. Hopefully, this summer that will extend to finally getting to meet her in person at Gen Con. In addition to being a great addition to our gaming group, Stacy is responsible for the creation of two incredible things the +ConTessa online gaming convention and the Randomocity gaming zine. With both of these, Stacy brings diversity and unique perspectives to the greater gaming community.

Stacy has been a lot of fun to game with because she brings a no-nonsense "Can I Kill It Yet?" perspective to the group. Not that the players really need any encouragement on that part. She has also proven, as part of the Geeky Voices Carry crew that she has opinions and she isn't afraid to use them in public.

Also, keep any eye open for Stacy's first game as a designer, Precious Dark, which is a fresh and interesting look at post-apocalyptic gaming. I'm really looking forward to seeing this come to full fruition.

Stacy plays "Shootit," a Catseye Hatchling Dragon, in our Rifts game.

+Josh Thompson, when not doing traffic reports during the morning drive time on Classic Rock radio station somewhere in the American South, is our resident mix/maxer and character optimizer. I think, for the first time ever in over 30 years of gaming, that this skill has proven itself valuable to our gaming. It has certainly helped when we've played in Competitive Dungeon Crawls, and in making characters for our Rifts game.

In addition to being part of the Geeky Voices Carry team, he has become the unofficial official Kickstarter correspondent for the Dorkland! blog. His interviews with Kickstarter project managers and analysis of Kickstarter projects will continue with the new year. Hopefully, I can convince him to pick up his Analog Pixels column, where he talks about the intersection of computer games and tabletop RPGs, and how you can inform one with the other.

Josh plays an Invincible Guardsman in our Rifts game.

Now, for the newest member of the team, I would like to announce that +Helen Yanolatos will be writing for the Dorkland! blog. She will be our first ever "regional correspondent," writing about geeky goings on in her home of New York City, and eventually writing reviews of things for the blog.

Helen is an avid fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek and comics (among other things, as well). She has also created her first game design, a mini-setting for the Fate Accelerated rules called Luxuria that will appear in the second issue of Stacy's Randomocity. Having seen it, it was mind-blowing and I can't wait to see how it is received by others.

Helen also plays in the bi-weekly playtest group of my Fate Accelerated-powered game Paranormal Friction. She throws herself into her characters with a passion that I am sometimes envious of. For someone who has been involved in gaming for a short time, it certainly does not show in her play.

So, this is the Dorkland! blog/Geeky Voices Carry team. A motley band, to say the least, but it is a group of people that I am proud to write and broadcast alongside of. I honestly don't think that there are many teams as strong as this one. I may be biased in this, but I don't really care.

If you have anything that you would like to see talked about by any of the bloggers, or on our podcast, please contact me at christopher <dot> helton <at> gmail and we can talk about it. Whether we ultimately would play the games that you play, or take the approaches that you may take, we all still feel that diversity and more choices among gaming are better than the alternative. We have opinions here, and we are not afraid to use them. The key is, that well-informed opinions that are backed with facts and honesty are better than rants or "opinions" that are meant only to harm others.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Dyvers Blog Great Blog Roll

+Charles Akins over at the Dyvers blog has put together an immense roll of gaming-related blogs, and Dorkland! was one of the blogs.

Variety is something that I have always striven for with the blog (it is what has kept me going for 10 years now), so I am glad to see that the variety is appreciated. Check out the link and nose around for some other cool blogs.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Dear RPG Publisher On Kickstarter

Dear RPG Publisher on Kickstarter,

You've sent me a direct message on Twitter, or Google+ or an email, and you want me to talk about your project. Many people might not think of it this way, but you treat gaming bloggers like you would the media: you give them the tools that they need to talk about your project. Otherwise, we are going to assume that you don't know what you are talking about, or worse that you won't be able to manage your project.

You want buzz for your project, and that is great, but being prepared is the way to go about it. If you send me a link to your KS page, or to your website, and ask me to talk about your game, you aren't giving me the tools with which to do your project justice. Yes, a blog post with a link and "content" that consists of "Wow, this is cool...go spend your money!" may be what you want, but it isn't really helpful. See, we've worked hard to get the traffic that you want to be pointed at you, and we want that work to be respected. Enthusiasm is great, but it takes a lot more than just enthusiasm to get a Kickstarter funded and get your game finished and out to market. There are long time professionals who can't seem to get their games finished after a successful Kickstarter, so it isn't as easy as it looks.

We want to talk about the cool new stuff, and we want to be excited about what you have to show us what makes you so excited. I strongly suggest having a press kit ready (preferably before your Kickstarter starts) with some images (or concept art is you are using the Kickstarter to fund art) and either a preview of the game or a beta version of your game's rules. Even just a PDF of your Word file is good enough for this. This way, it gives us as bloggers something meaty to talk about, and the more excited that we are about your project the more likely we are to blog about it and spread it around on our social networks. Also, make yourself available for interviews. Interviews are good because they show 1) your enthusiasm and 2) your plan for getting things done.

I am not trying to berate anyone with this post, I am just trying to share some successful methods from others that will help to get you the publicity that you want (and the traffic that we all want as well).

Yes, I know that I don't put an email address here on the blog. There are reasons for that. :) However, I am on Twitter as @dorkland and on Google+ as +Christopher Helton. It isn't hard to find me if you want to talk, and if you want one of the Dorkland! bloggers to talk about your project, or just offer help or suggestions about getting publicity those are your first ports of call.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Voices Carry: Dorkland Sidles Into Vblogging/Podcasting

One of my favorite songs back in the 80s was 'Til Tuesday's poignant (at least to the teen me) song Voices Carry. Really, the video is here only because I like the song.

When I added the new bloggers to the blog a few months ago, one of the reasons for that was because we had talked about doing some form of podcast. After appearing recently on +Ben Gerber's Indie Talks podcast, I thought that recording via a G+ Hangout on the Air was a good (and cheap) method for making a podcast. Things are progressing behind the scenes and sometime soonish there we should start on out podcast. Joining me on it will be +Stacy Dellorfano, +Josh Thompson and +David Rollins. Much like the posts that you see here on the Dorkland! blog it will be a mix of news, opinion, reviews and nonsense, as we talk about geeky things that come to our attention. I don't know yet about the frequency of the podcast, maybe bi-weekly, but we will work all that out as we go. We don't even have a name yet.

This is all a part of the growth of the blog as it celebrates its 10th anniversary later this month.

Just as an update, here is the "logo" for the podcast, complete with name.

September 24th will be the recording of the vlog, and then shortly after I will upload it to my Soundcloud page (complete with RSS feed for those of you who use those to follow podcasts).

Friday, September 06, 2013

"My" Hobby Isn't Mine: It Belongs To Everyone Who Wants It

It seems to come up every few months or so: another round of people on social media proclaiming what is wrong with their hobby and how, by God, they're going to do something about it. The problem with that is that none of us own the tabletop RPG hobby outside of the play that happens at our tables, or the games that those of us who are publishers or designers create and publish. No one gets to impose their worldview or morality upon others. I don't want people thinking and gaming like I do, and I certainly don't plan on thinking or gaming like others do at this point in my life (or, really, any other point for that matter).

Friday, June 28, 2013

Some of the New Voices

In case you haven't seen any of these panels from the +ConTessa online convention, watch them. I think these will be a good demonstration of why I asked +Stacy Dellorfano and +David Rollins to join me here on Dorkland!

WTF is the OSR:

and the I Hit It With My Axe Reunion panel:
If you haven't seen either of these, they're some great stuff. If you have seen them, watch them again.

And of course +Josh Thompson helped our team go on to victory in the Lamentations of the Flame Princess competitive game:

And of course you can catch me on the panel about online gaming from ConTessa as well:

The New Faces of the Dorkland! Blog

Face Front True Believers!

Today starts a new era for the Dorkland! blog, as it gets closer to its 10th anniversary this September. As I mentioned the other day, three new bloggers are going to join me here on the blog. That should make us three or four times dorkier than previously (math isn't a strong suit around these parts, so we'll take what we get).

This means that Dorkland! is going to be able to expand into new areas of dorkiness beyond my regular interests and cover things that had previously been beyond the scope of just a single writer. There's already been a swell of writers, designers and publishers wanting us to talk about their stuff, and if you want to be in on this just send me an email at christopher <dot> helton at the Gmail and I will connect you with one of our fine bloggers.

Let's meet the new faces of Dorkland!

First off, +Stacy Dellorfano, the creator and organizer of +ConTessa, the online gaming convention lead by women and for everybody. She's a fan of comics and Doctor Who and (this might be the strike against her) the World of Darkness. We try to not hold that last part against her. Stacy is the most experienced in blogging of the new people (despite having done it wrong for so long, according to some), so I am hoping that she brings a unique perspective to the blog because of her being from California.

+Josh Thompson is our blogging wild card. Also hailing from the American South, he likes playing characters that allow him to stay in the hallway while everyone else is embroiled in the fighting. He's a fan of both old and new schools of gaming, and will lead the charge on coverage of the Savage Worlds game for the blog. When not writing for the Dorkland! blog he cosplays as a morning drive disc jockey.

Underneath that smiling exterior, +David Rollins apparently is plotting the downfall of the OSR. At least that's what the YouTube comments say from his panel appearance during the ConTessa convention. David is Canadian and likes maple syrup and real beers. He is a fan of D&D B/X and the Talislanta game. He is here mostly because we can now claim to be an international coalition of bloggers, which is like an Axis of Evil for some.

So, these are the new faces of the Dorkland! blog. They will be joining me in this den of iniquity and pushing their own brands of biased opinions. Over the next couple of weeks you will see their voices joining mine around here as we talk about the geeky, dorky things that get us excited (or piss us off).

Thursday, June 27, 2013


 With the 10th anniversary of the Dorkland! blog just around the corner, there are some changes coming. I will make a formal announcement tomorrow, but the first (and probably BIGGEST) change coming is that I will be adding more bloggers to Dorkland. Starting next week a stalwart brand of three new faces will grace this blog.

The reasons for this are many. After 10 years, I get a lot of requests for interviews, reviews and other considerations by designers, writers and publishers here on the blog, more in fact than one person can handle on their own (even if that person is me). Having more bloggers talking about things here means that more of these things can get addressed. Also having more bloggers means that the scope of the blog can be widened, and things that I might not have normally addressed can get some coverage here on the blog. I am excited and nervous about the change. Since the fall of 2003, Dorkland has been my baby, and has reflected my singular and unique viewpoint of the varied worlds of geekery out there. Now, I am expanding that to include other viewpoints, ones that may not always agree with me. That is a little bit scary. However, I've known these new bloggers for a while, and I think that they are going to bring some excitement and energy along with their perspectives.

Things may be a bit clumsy over the next few weeks, as we get used to each other and working together on things. Regardless, I will work to keep my same standards for the blog. Blogging may not be journalism in my opinion, but I can attempt to try to keep some journalistic standards. While Dorkland may have biases, we will always try to be impartial and talk about things that excite us, and talk to the people who are doing cool stuff and share that stuff with all of you.

We are also in the figuring out stages of stepping into podcasting, in conjunction with the blog. That is probably going to take a little longer, as none of us have ever done podcasting before. I have come close with with the Dorkland! Roundtables (which will continue on an infrequent basis) video blogging, but that still isn't exactly the same thing. There will likely be more video blogging as we all explore the new tools that YouTube is almost constantly unveiling.

Expect a lot of changes and excitement around the blog over the next few months.