Well, poop.

Hey Mad Minions,

You might be wondering, “HEY! Where is the Mad Overlord Garycon 11 report?! I shaved my head and joined a cult in the basement of the worlds last Blockbusters waiting in anticipation!”

Well, I had my Mad Computer (like a Bat Computer, but only… madder) stolen.  So all the things I was planning on doing on my evil trip went into the sanitary landfill.  Writing. New video. All kaput.

THEN!

On top of that, while I was running around doing Mad Overlord things (buying components for my genetic experiments, taking measurements for a doomsday device, playing D&D) I had a heck of a time trying to get Amazon to send me a new one.

Do not get me wrong, Amazon is great for books and small things, but I had nothing but trouble with this computer.  They kept saying the bank would not allow the transaction. Which is complete garbage since they funded my operations when the amateurs at the organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E. mysteriously disappeared and I absorbed them into my own institution.

But I digress.

Calling my bank, they said they would gladly okay the transaction if it showed, but it wasn’t showing… so the problem was definitely on Amazon’s end.  Back I go calling them again… and they told me the same thing… bank’s fault. Rinse and repeat a few times. Now we are at the time of Garycon XI and I am scheduled to fly back as soon as the Con is over and STILL no computer!

At this time my normally calm and happy Mad Overlord nature (no matter what my minions say) reached its end. I told them that if they do not like money I will take my business elsewhere… they kept stating that it was the banks problem… not theirs.

Driving back from GaryCon, I stopped at BestBuy and ordered the exact same computer… paid the SAME PRICE as Amazon… and LO AND BEHOLD!!!! The bank accepted it. I guess that proves who was right doesn’t it Amazon?

I am using my new laptop to write this, so I guess the only thing I have left to say is,

“And you don’t stop, sure shot
Goin’ out to the parking lot
And you get in your car and you drive real far
And you drive all night and then you see a light
And it comes right down and lands on the ground
And out comes a man from Mars
And you try to run but he’s got a gun
And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
And then you’re in the man from Mars
You go out at night, eatin’ cars
You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too
Mercury’s and Subaru’s
And you don’t stop, you keep on eatin’ cars.
Then, when there’s no more cars
You go out at night and eat up bars where the people meet
Face to face, dance cheek to cheek
One to one, man to man
Dance toe too toe
Don’t move to slow, ’cause the man from Mars
Is through with cars, he’s eatin’ bars
Yeah, wall to wall, door to door, hall to hall
He’s gonna eat ’em all.
Rapture, be pure
Take a tour, through the sewer
Don’t strain your brain, paint a train
You’ll be singin’ in the rain
I said don’t stop, to punk rock
Well now you see what you wanna be
Just have your party on TV.
‘Cause the man from Mars won’t eat up bars when the TV’s on
And now he’s gone back up to space
Where he won’t have a hassle with the human race
And you hip-hop, and you don’t stop
Just blast off, sure shot
‘Cause the man from Mars stopped eatin’ cars and eatin’ bars
And now he only eats guitars! YOW!”
Pics and more important details of the trip are coming soon.
Stay Mad.
Be Good.

In 48 hours I will be making my annual trip back home to stock up on Mad Overlord supplies (death rays, dangerously experimental chemicals, shoes) but I will also be attending Gary Con once again!

While attending, it is prudent to remind everyone of the difference between old school gaming and dumba$$ gaming (yeah, I said it.) In factt, I wont even tell you, like any good Mad Overlord, I get others to do the heavy lifting while I concoct my evil plans.

The folks at, “wmusswtwbf” https://wmusswtwbf.wordpress.com/ put together something  that says it perfectly… so I am just going to share it here….

 

First – YOU MUST BE SELF MOTIVATING.  In October of 1972, Rob Kuntz introduced me to what would become OD&D by saying “Gary’s got this neat new game called Greyhawk.  You’re a bunch of guys exploring an old abandoned wizard’s castle full of monsters and treasure and stuff.”

That’s it.  No quests to rescue the princess, no magical doohickey to throw into the Zazu Pitts of Fordor, no mysterious strangers meeting you in an inn.  We were in a game to explore, and we did.  We explored a lot of the dungeon.  Then we wondered “What’s over on the other side of those hills,” and we started doing outdoor adventures.

Our characters were entirely self-directing.  Yours will need to be as well.

Second – YOU ARE A TEAM.  The game is not all about how wonderful your character is.  You are part of a team and fulfill your role in that team.  These roles, in this world and in these rules, are derived from the traditional composition of medieval armies; heavy troops hold the line, light troops flank, and missile troops fire from a safe vantage because if they get meleed they’re dead.  The magic users have heavy firepower and can easily dispose of a threat much faster than the fighters can; but if the fighters don’t protect the magic users, the magic users are going to be useless.  Similarly, the magic users represent too valuable a resource to allow to go to waste for the fighters.

It’s not all about you, singular; it’s about you, plural.

Third – GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!  This game is run in a very simulation-heavy way.  For instance, if the players get into an argument and start shouting, it means that the player characters are standing deep in some monster-filled dungeon screaming at the top of their lungs, drawing wandering monsters by the dozen.  Have a leader.  FOLLOW that leader.  If you’re the leader, LEAD.  Make decisions.  When the players discuss things, do so quietly in short, high content sentences.  The game is a game of exploration to find treasure; to explore, you have to MOVE.

We have only a few hours to play; make the most of it.

Fourth – COMBAT IS DANGEROUS.  You’ll have to fight, but like any army, make the conditions as favorable as you can.  If your attitude to combat is “We’re the player characters!  CHARGE!” you’d better bring plenty of paper, because you’ll be rolling up a lot of new characters.  In real life, flanking wins battles, it’s not just a “nice little sweetie.”  OD&D doesn’t have explicit flanking rules, so I made my own.  I’m not going to go into great detail, but I am going to say that, just like real life, flanking wins battles.  And flanking does not have to be the modern lame-ass “two figures opposite each other” bullshit.  If you hit an enemy in the flank, it’s flanked.  And hitting them in the back is far more powerful than flanking.

Of course, the same applies to you.  Do be careful, won’t you?

Likewise, close order is your friend.  Three humans fill up a ten foot corridor.  Fewer than that, and the monsters can get past you to the soft, chewy, unarmored magic users behind you.  Also, spears can strike from the second rank.  Isn’t that lovely?

Fifth – THIS IS MY WORLD.  I am the absolute unquestioned demiurge of this imaginary world.  It works exactly and precisely the way I say it does, and nobody else has any say in this at all.  This is important because my vision of my world forms the basis for all rulings I make.  And there will be far, far more rulings than rules in this game.  I can be reasoned with on the basis of logic, historical precedent, or common sense, but “appeal to the rules” will get you nowhere.

Sixth – DESCRIPTION, NOT DICE ROLLS.  You don’t roll “observation” to look around, you tell me what you’re doing and how.  This subject is covered very well in Matt Finch’s “Quick Primer for Old School Gaming.”  You should definitely read this, and you can find it for free at https://froggodgames.com/frogs/product/a-quick-primer-for-old-school-gaming-pdf/

Read it.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

There is not much I can add to that article besides:

Stay Mad.

Be Good.

More Wisdom from Jim Ward.

Jim Ward posted some wisdom about writing, and I had to share it.  Jim, if you ever see this, I hope you do not mind that I post all this…but its so good I need to share it far and wide.

Without further ado…

 

Keep Writing No Matter What
In 1974 when I started game designing and I was a terrible speller and it was a time before spell correction programs. All of my editors gave me tons of heat and most suggested I really didn’t have a career in game design. That didn’t stop me. Like Gary Gygax I could always tell a good story which in my mind is 80% of the work of game design.

So I took the editorial hits and kept on trying to improve my craft. One time the author of a Conan pick-a-path book vanished without a trace. I was the only one available to write the book. Pick-a-path books are tough to write because of the many paths in the story. I did it quickly and if I do say so myself the story was right on in the Conan style. The editor came to me after I was done and told me I had done a terrible job and really shouldn’t write any more TSR projects. I was unusually angry at her words. I asked her, “are the characters true to the Conan universe?” She didn’t know because she had never read a Conan novel. “Did I get any of the complex pathing wrong? No she said. “Was the general plots, and there were several, interesting?” Yes you did that okay. “Then what was so bad about the book you asked me to complete in three weeks when every one else took months and months?” She told me I spelled too many words wrong to be an author. Lucky for me I was her boss. I told her to quit belly aching and do her job. I worked much harder on my spelling in future projects.

I’m happy to report that as I worked with many full time game designers I discover that 100% of them were poor spellers.

 

Thanks again Mr. Ward.

Stay Mad.

Be Good.

Chinese New Year Approaches… Good News and Bad news.

Good News……. aaaaaand Bad News.

Quick Update Mad Minions.
So I got a new editor and they are working like crazy on the D&D Module I wrote, the bad news… it is highly unlikely it will be ready by Gary Con.

Its my fault, I trusted my old editor would actually would pull through.. but alas, they did not.

Learning Experience I guess.

Ah well, its a slight weapons malfunction. But, uh, everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?

Stay Mad.

Be Good.

Jim Ward Part III or is it IV?

More great words of wisdom from one of my biggest writing influences…. Mr Jim Ward.

Getting the Work
I do the same things all the time as I work on projects. Maybe some of this information will be useful to others.
1 — try hard to bring projects ahead of the deadline. Troy Denning used to say that a deadline was something where you were dead if you crossed that line. I know I have gotten work in the past because I try very hard not to be late on things.
2 — Outline
I’m a great one for being focused. I outline every project I work on. I always change that outline as I work, but I always have one.
3 – Spell check, spell check, spell check
As I begun my writing career I was a terrible speller and there wasn’t a spell check program. I can remember Anne Brown saying she cried as she worked on my files because I spelled so bad. I’ve worked hard on that. Turning over projects with even a few spelling errors is a terrible idea.
4 — Know the companies you work for. I study the products of the companies I work for. I study their websites. I make suggestions on products unique to them.
5 — Know your competition. When I worked for TSR years ago I read all of the competition’s materials. Even now, I read what other companies produce and I try to beat it with my work.
6 — Try new things. I try to put unique concepts into all of my projects. When I wrote, with Anne Brown, the Storyteller’s Thesaurus we wrote that book with an entirely new way to work a thesaurus.
7 — Read a lot
I read short stories and novels every day. It gives me great new ideas.
8 — Write every day. Saturdays and Sundays are just normal work days to me. Holidays just mean I don’t write when I’m pulled away to fun family gatherings.
9 — Facebook
I try to write something on facebook or share something on facebook every day. I find it an inspiration to me on a daily basis.

I hope some of that helps. God Bless America

Hope your learned something. I sure did.

Stay Mad.

Be Good.

The editor is gone. The editor is gone away. The editor is gone baby. The editor is gone away. You know the editor done me wrong baby. And they’ll be sorry someday. (Apologies to the late BB King).

Well, one of my editors is fantastic. Everything I send her she gets back to me with a reasonable turnaround time. She is amazing. The other editor… well, since I started talking with them back in October, they kept giving me reasons they will delay working on my stuff. I bet they thought I would forget by now. But Mad Overlords are insane and never forget those who make promises (so they can exploit them for favors when the Day of Reckoning comes).

I understand that things happen. I pushed back the release of my first book no less than three times.  So, I do understand.  That said, I am now looking for a new editor with a race to see if I can get it done by Garycon 11.

Luckily, my first editor is awesome. I just need someone to look and see all the pieces are there. All the backstory works. Does everything make sense?  Does ANYTHING I write ever make sense? Specially when I am raving about how I will take over the world by making sure all toothpick containers have an odd number of picks inside.

The race is on.

If anyone knows of a good page layout artist, please let me know.

More cool stuff is coming.

Stay Mad.

Be Good.

 

2019 wishes.

Happy New Year Mad Minions…
 
I hope this 2019 you are not attacked by…
Giant Bees
Giant Snakes
Giant Ants
Giant Shrews
Giant Scorpions with a hangnail
Giant Locusts
Giant Crocodiles
Giant Ticks
Giant Octopuseses
Giant Birds
Giant Spiders
Giant Rabbits
Giant Lizards
Giant Scorpions withOUT a hangnail
Giant Pigs
Giant Leeches
Giant Sharks
Giant Aliens
Giant Monkeys
Giant Giants
 

Or Steve. You always need to keep your eye on Steve.

Stay Mad

Be Good

Meeeeery (Mad) Christmas! 2018 edition.

Merry Christmas Mad Minions!
As some of you might remember,  I have come to China to begin my plans for Global Domination. Each year that I have been here, I have helped out with an organization called ‘Alenah’s Hope (www.childrenshope.net) introduced to me by a great friend named Jacken, who take care of children who have been abandoned because they have some kind of disability. That said, please do no share any of these pictures, showing pictures of kids with disabilities is frowned upon in China and i am not even supposed to be sharing these without Photoshopping the eyes… but I don’t think anyone in China actually searches my evil Mad Webpage… so I am going to chance it.

Most of these kids have never been held and most certainly have never had a Christmas present. You are supposed to come and just play with the kids, but I made it my mad mission to make sure these kids know the joy of opening a Christmas present at least once (Once they are filled with joy they wont mind as much when my robot army stomps across the earth, bending all to my mad will).

Because Mad Overlords are not that great at wrapping presents (we are exception at wrapping the bodies of our enemies and sinking them in the marsh to hide them from pesky authorities), I ask some of the great volunteers to help me wrap things.

Once wrapped, we cart them to Alenah’s where we play with the kids and hand out presents.  This year there was a little girl in blue who as soon as I showed she screamed, “Santa!” and came over to dance with me.

Like any good evil Mad Overlord, I rewarded her by tossing her around like a sack of potatoes. You can almost hear her spine crack from here. Does my heart good.

smartcapture

After torturing this small child, I started hanging out the presents. Sadly, I mixed up the packages and none of them contained knives, grenades or flame throwers. Instead all they contained were crayons and cuddly toys.

How sad.

 

Before you think this holiday is all about your favorite Mad Overlord, lots of other people came to help out and this is just a small fraction of all the wonderful people who helped. Its a shame my robot army will have to crush them all because they are really good people.. but ah well.

 

And there you go. December was a hectic month with the move and the building catching on fire and all… But I am glad 2018 is going  out where I got to harass some children. Makes me smile.. and maybe not just because I am mad as a hatter.

Stay Mad.

Be Good.

 

We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning since… OH MY GOD THE BUILDING IS ON FIRE!!!

Hey hey hey fun folks. This is a late post since things have been super hectic here.. I just moved into a new place and EVERYTHING that could possible go wrong with this move, has.

I still do not even have internet at my place. The guy came to hook it up… couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working and then just left. They still charged me though…

*sigh*

Anyway, within 24 hours of Google saying they are going to delay.. even pause the Dragonfly browser deal… there was a fire on the roof of our building. We are on the 9th floor. Google is on the 5th.

Here are some pics. Thank goodness it wasn’t too cold out that day… about 34 degrees F.

No one was hurt. But it does make me wonder.

More stuff coming soon.

Stay Mad.

Be Good.

There is magic.

More words from Jim Ward.

Magic is real
Never doubt there is magic in the world. A simple shoe repair dude puts together an entire new game and 40+ years later millions of people are playing it and having great fun. That same man makes a truly challenging adventure and 40 years later Tomb of Horrors is still a famous world class adventure. A dude (me) is a terrible speller and has no writing experience and is challenged to make a science fiction role-playing game before such a game was even thought of. Now 40+ years later that game is still played and sold. Gary Gygax spun magic my facebook friends. I’m proud to say I’ve spun that same magic. Long after I’m dead and gone people will be playing my games. That makes me extremely happy. Chris Clark and I are about to publish through Troll Lord games a detailed map of the starship Warden. It’s over 500 pages long with terrific maps and illustrations. I have no doubt it will be played in some form on the first colonization starship man sends to the stars. Wouldn’t it be cool if they named that ship the Warden. Happy holidays.

 

Couldn’t have said it better Mr. Ward.

Happy Holidays.

Stay Mad.