Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I swear I'm not dead.

Most of my time has been spent on preparing a presentation for the Council of Education annual conference on Friday (I'm leaving for San Antonio tomorrow morning), reading more Bourdieu for my dissertation literature review, and spending time with my wife. Less of it has been spent on Athanor, but I have done some stuff. The blog has been left to gather moss and cobwebs. Sorry, regular readers.

One of the Athanor related bits of work was reorganizing my house rules and setting information into three little brown books. Ill post those eventually. The other was retooling skills again to use Akrasia's skill system for Swords and Wizardry. Though eloquent words have been spoken by people like Jeff Rients on the reasons some folks dislike skill systems, I have found skill systems useful since I first discovered Runequest back in 1983.

On the other hand, using skills in a system like D&D or a simulacrum of it is always an odd fit, since some of the elements of a skill system are already inherent in the game itself in the form of classes, saves, and to hit roll progressions. Heck, even the skill system for thieves in Supplement I and beyond has seemed out of place. That's why I am avoiding either inherent penalties for characters trying to do things their characters aren't skilled at doing on paper and why I'm trying short lists of very broad skills.

Oddly, Athanor has slowly morphed into something resembling a version of Tunnels and Trolls using D&D mechanics. I have rearranged the classes in a way that mimics T&T's three main classes, have rethought the saving throw mechanic in ways similar to T&T's, but not adopted a magic point system or the combat system. I'm happy with it so far. Some day I need to post the updated PDFs.

Finding time to run a game is a bigger challenge. School starts up again soon, and for me that means work ramps up as at the same time as I return to classes. It also means that I need to push hard to get through some more literature so I can start working on a new and largely rewritten-from-scratch-after-all-my-work-last-year version of my literature review. On top of that, I am actually playing in one continuing 4e game and am going to play in a game that will be another friend's first time DMing (and he has only been playing D&D for a few months, so this may be interesting....) So time. Yeah, that'll be a challenge.

Once I get a sense of the pace of this quarter, things may get better. If not, it will be clearer, so I can make more clear commitments of my time, and cut some jetsam loose to streamline the ship.