May 8, 2005: 4:36 pm: Game systems, Miscellaneous

Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue, the guys behind Evil Hat, best known for FATE and the upcoming Dresden Files RPG, get interviewed over at RPG Blog. They have plenty to say about the future of FATE, about how things are looking for the Dresden Files game, and about how one of the games that has infuenced them the most is the Amber Diceless RPG….

May 6, 2005: 10:11 pm: Game systems, Miscellaneous

This year’s Iron Game Chef (now called simply Game Chef) competition has been moved off of The Forge, in hopes of getting more games from people other than the Forgites who usually comprise the majority of the entrants.

Design a tabletop roleplaying game, complete or as close to complete as possible, within just over one week. Make good use of the “Ingredients” provided, which will usually be a few concept words, a sentence, a genre, a theme, or a combination of all of the above (these will be provided on the first day of the contest, listed above). Work alone. At the same time, people will be posting about their game ideas on the Game Chef forums. Feel free to use those forums to post and refine your own ideas, while at the same time looking at other peoples’ ideas and providing feedback for them. Peer review and critique is a big part of the fun and challenge of this project.

The results will be completely read, reviewed and judged within six weeks of the close of the contest. The games will be judged solely on the text (not by layout, pictures, etc). The winner and runners-up receive a big round of kudos from their peers. This contest is fun, it’s challenging, and it’s filled with opportunities to give and receive warm feedback about your ideas, polishing them up as the week progresses.

The contest will run from May 21st-May29th, with the theme “ingredients” getting posted on the evening of May 20th.

: 7:33 pm: Miscellaneous

A new issue of Daedalus, edited by Matt Snyder, is up. This time the focus is superhero games, and it’s got a preview of Jared Sorenson’s Darkpages, an interview with Michael Miller about With Great Power…, a preview of Chad Underkoffler‘s Truth & Justice, and an essay by Michael Miller on running My Life With Master.

April 19, 2005: 10:26 pm: Miscellaneous

I’ve realized that the locations of the RSS feeds for this blog have also changed during the MT -> WP switch. Doh. If you’ve been reading this site via RSS, please change the address to:


There’s also a straight RSS feed for those RSS readers that can’t handle Feedburner feeds:


I’d prefer that people use the Feedburner feed when possible though.

The flaming_monkey feed on LJ is also currently down because of the change, and I’ll post when I get that working again. How long it will take depends on how quickly LJ support gets around to changing the feed URL.

Update: The flaming_monkey LJ feed is working again.

: 10:05 pm: Miscellaneous

As you can see, I’ve made some changes to Flaming Monkey, the most important of which is that I’ve switched from Moveable Type 2.661 to WordPress 1.5.

Unfortunately, the way MT saved posts among the multiple MT-hosted blogs here means that the links to individual posts on Flaming Monkey are no longer the same as they were before. I apologize if that breaks any links.

The appearance of this page is likely to continue to change as I play around with the theme, but I hope that will cause a minimal amount of disruption to the actual content.

March 7, 2005: 9:23 pm: Miscellaneous

Let’s see, what RPG stuff have I got going….

I’m working on the scenario that Jenn and I are planning on running at ACUS in a few weeks (think Victorian-era police procedural), plus tweaking the re-run of Nine Losers in Akron.

I’m trying to give a close read to Clinton R. Nixon’s The Shadow of Yesterday, which seemed pretty darned cool at first skim.

I’m glancing now and then at my recently arrived copy of Ron Edwards’ The Sorcerer’s Soul, though I’m trying to hold off on really getting into it ’til I’ve finished reading TSOY.

I’m hoping to soon (though maybe not ’til after ACUS) make a big push on getting the one-player Buffy the Vampire Slayer game I’ve been talking about for a while now to a point where I can actually start it. I’ve been tempted to run it with a system other than BtVS, but it’s a temptation I may well resist. We’ll see.

I need to remember to work on scenario ideas for TBR too.

I’m still playing in one system-less PBEM and a monthly D&D 3.5 game, and still wanting to get into more games (hopefully ftf and cool system) in the future.

Oh, and I should really post here more often….

December 26, 2004: 8:35 pm: Miscellaneous

Lunchtime Poll #6: The Great American Novel

I had lunch with Narrative Guy (whom some of you may remember from a previous Lunchtime Poll) a few days ago, and he posed the question “Why are people who are role-playing for the creativity of it not writing novels instead?” Good question, I thought.

There are two major reasons, I think.

First, gaming is an inherently social activity, while writing a novel is usually a solitary one. Yes, a writer can be in a crit group or collaborate with another writer, but most of the time it’s just one person sitting at a keyboard typing.

Second, writing a novel is hard work. Really hard. My best friend for the past several years is a literary agent, and thanks to her I’ve learned a lot about writing (and publishing) and met plenty of writers. This has given me more insight into the whole process, and a heck of a lot of respect for those people who can sit down and write an entire book (and one that isn’t a piece of crap). It’s a demanding calling that requires a whole host of different skills to do right, and those writers who are actually good have dedicated countless hours to honing their craft. In my opinion, asking someone who likes RPGs for the creativity involved why they aren’t just writing novels is akin to asking someone who enjoys riding their bike down to the corner store why they don’t just join the Tour de France.

December 5, 2004: 9:23 pm: Miscellaneous

Matt Snyder recently posted an interesting piece he calls How the sausage is made, in which he takes a look at his game design process.

This is the sexy life of a game designer, folks. Within that increasingly bent and beaten little notebook are my raving chicken scratches. This is how I design. I carry on a bizarre dialog with myself, writing myself questions which I answer in writing. Or, I’ll sketch numbers and ideas vertically along short passages. Snippets here, circular questions and answers there.

Eventually a game emerges from this mess. I have similar volumes for Dust Devils. Nine Worlds spanned several, and it was a messy affair. It’s a bit of personal archaeology to go back through those notebooks. On some pages I can remember just where I was when disjointed inspiration hit. For Dust Devils it was on a jetliner somewhere over Tennessee after a business trip.

Worth a read, especially if you’re a fan of Matt’s games. I’m definitely looking forward to the release of his new game, Dreamspire.

November 25, 2004: 10:35 pm: Miscellaneous

I already posted this to my Livejournal the other day, and only later realized that this would be an appropriate place to post it too.

A gaming meme via Matt “Chimera Creative” Snyder’s LJ:

1. What is the first RPG you ever played?

For some reason I want to say it was an old edition of Runequest, but that may just have been the first RPG I actually bought. The first one I played was probably D&D (the edition in the box with the dragon on the front).

2. What RPG do you currently play most often?

That’d be AD&D 3.5.

3. What is the best system you’ve played?

Actually played? Hmmm….Feng Shui maybe.

4. What is the best system you’ve run?

I don’t GM very often, so I’m just going to go with Kill Puppies for Satan.

5. Would you consider yourself an: Elitist/ Min-Maxer/ Rules Lawyer?

None of the above, though The Forge may be turning me into an elitist game snob.

6. If you could recommend a new RPG which would you recommend? Why?

D. Vincent Baker’s Dogs in the Vineyard. No contest. Why? Because Vincent has managed to come up with an excellent mechanic that covers conflicts from talking to brawling to shooting, and then he’s put it to use in an amazing setting that, from what I’ve seen posted to the Actual Play forum of The Forge, often leads to some really great RP.

7. How often do you play?

Currently, once a month, plus Ambercons. And yes, I’d like to play more often.

8. What sort of characters do you play? Leader? Follower? Comic Relief? Roll-Player/ Role-Player?

I think follower and comic-relief cover a lot of them, though I try not to just play the same stereotype in every game. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t.

9. What is your favorite Genre for RPGs?

I don’t know that I have one, but I prefer my games dark (at least to some degree), no matter what the background setting.

10. What Genres have you played in?

Fantasy, horror, cyberpunk, and wuxia occur to me off the top of my head, but there are probably a couple that I’m forgetting, and there are always those games that don’t want to fit into a genre.

11. Do you prefer to play or GM? Do you do both?

I’ll say play, but that may in large part be because I haven’t GMed all that much.

12. Do you like religion in your games?

I don’t think I really have a preference one way or the other.

13. Do you have taboo subjects in your games or is everything “fair game”?

Did I mention that I ran a Kill Puppies for Satan game? I’m sure there are boundries, but I think they’re far enough out there that I’m unlikely to have to deal with them.

14. Have you developed your own RPG before?


15. Have you ever been published in the Gaming Industry? If so…what?


October 2, 2004: 9:46 am: Miscellaneous

While I’m working on my post about this year’s ACN, here are a couple of items worth taking a look at.

First, there’s the September 30th edition of Ken Hite’s Out of the Box column, which has comments on some of his indie game acquisitions from this year’s GenCon, including Vincent Baker’s Dogs in the Vineyard, Matt Snyder’s Nine Worlds, and Jared Sorensen’s very weird Lacuna. I’ve already got a copy of Nine Worlds, though I need to give it a closer read than I have so far, and I’ve also got an early version of Lacuna, but Ken has given me yet another reason to order myself a copy of Dogs.

Then over on Greg Costikyan’s weblog, there’s a review of The Nopress RPG Anthology, which contains eight original games created by the some of the fine people over at the Forge. My copy of this is on it’s way to me even as I write this, and Greg’s fairly detailed review definitely confirms my decision to buy it.

Hopefully I’ll be posting my own comments on some of these games in the not too distant future.

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