Reps. Stay thirsty. Visualize the self you crave to be, clarify your purpose, transmute obstacles into opportunities, put in the work. Sweat harder, bleed more, laugh big, love with reckless passion, be a kick-ass friend, stand up for your own voice, ignore the nay-sayers, be compassionate with the challenges of others. Now. Today. Attack.
Don't worry, loyal reader, this isn't a self-help blog post. As CROWN and SKULL blasts through its pre-sale phase (go get yours!), some folks, examining an all-too-bruised wallet, might ask "Do we really need another RPG? Why is this here? WHY IS GAMORA?" You've already guessed that my answer is forthcoming. I can't speak for 'we,' but I can happily, mightily speak for me. I need another RPG, and here's why...
Did we really need another muscle-bound DPS character in the group?
Yes, we did, and we didn't even know it.
When well-trodden paths are revisited with authentic moxy, everyone smiles like Drax.
Like our good buddy Drax, I like to jump into life with both feet. Ok, I only have one foot... well technically two but one is titanium... where was I? Oh yeah! Leaping! In my case, that leaping has always included a super-active creative habit. Since I was 6 years old, I was assembling stories, terrible drawings of fish, and ridiculous handwriting into little bound books. I was editor of the high school newspaper, and always found myself, through college and beyond, assembling words and text... searching for that style, that quality, that project to satisfy my creative urge. I've got over 40 years in this, and no plan to slow down.
Then came Runehammer. Yeah, doing great here, but I was still chasing a concept. My work was cool, my sales rock-solid, but the itch to find that 'thing' was ever-present. I was still thirsty, even with a successful business, a happy family, and weird-looking dog.
Enter Roman Polanski's cryptic masterpiece: The Ninth Gate (based on the brilliant The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte). This film had a huge impact on me in 1999, and I continued rewatching it annually... studying every detail... lost in the labyrinth of the Tofer, the Kessler, the hidden glyphs, the creepy deaths. Some part of me was fascinated with the feel of this story, not necessarily the story itself.
Dean Corso works to verify a copy of 'The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows' for his
creepy-awesome boss, Boris Balkan. Every single detail in this film, even this image,
calls to me and my creative journey... my daily grind... how could I capture such an enigma?
As ICRPG continued its relentless march into the hobby, it dawned on me that, despite its meteoric success, my quest for 'that thing' was far from satisfied. I began toying with some new ideas. This was the winter of 2019. The project grew, changed form, was thrown out, born again, changed from RPG to novel and back again, had more stumps than a clear-cut in the Cascades. Over and over I tried to capture the enigma, and, like the solution to The Ninth Gate, it eluded me.
Funny thing about me, though, I don't quit. Reps. Give me some Marcus Aurelius and a cup of coffee and I can reboot the whole thing every morning. So time just slid by.
Then, our OSE game happened. This sweeping saga was sad, dark, poetic, romantic, cryptic, sinister. Something was clicking. As the campaign stretched beyond two solid years of gaming, I was researching ancient book-craft in the margins of life's busy rhythm. I was starting to see details, magnifying-glass stuff. What seemed like separate roads were converging. I've been pretty outspoken about disliking the child-like visual aesthetic of the RPG hobby in recent years, but for the first time I was seeing an alternative in actionable detail: a book for the mature, erudite reader that embraced long-proven traditions of book-making. A relic. A thing to make one lost... to challenge the mind and stir the passions... something sad and misty and cloaked in a sincere trust of the reader to see beyond... a book with creamy, archival pages and centuries-earned type as crisp as dawn.
I was finally visualizing what became CROWN and SKULL.
Sure, CROWN and SKULL has great covers, but the wood-free, natural tone, heavyweight PAPER
is the stuff of legend. The print is so flawless, so crisp, even Dean Corso would take a second look.
I'm not saying this to shill, but as a seeker... this was what I had been looking for... this feel.
CROWN and SKULL is, of course, one of many RPGs out there for you to consider. One of a great many, in fact. In my mind, for my journey, it was never about anything outside myself. I had to make this book, I had to feel this paper, I had to write these haunting stories, I had to will it into reality... because, put simply... that's just who I am.
So now you know the real reason why I pivoted, why I changed form, why all the hype and hysteria. CROWN and SKULL is a great system (I hope you agree) with a ton of table potential, but more than that, it's just the next thing as I fulfill my purpose.
Reps. Stay thirsty. Visualize the self you crave to be, clarify your purpose, transmute obstacles into opportunities, put in the work. Sweat harder, bleed more, laugh big, love with reckless passion, be a kick-ass friend, stand up for your own voice, ignore the nay-sayers, be compassionate with the challenges of others.