10 years of madness!

Even though Mad Overlord Studios has been around since my college days, it wasn’t until 2010 that I created this website. There have been long periods of time where I have not updated it (like 2019), but always come back to my little corner of the internet where crazy humor and weirdness reign.

That said, I have fun plans coming up for the future of the site and my fledgling YouTube channel.

I will post a longer update later since I just made it back to China after Christmas in the states (Oh no! I never even posted photos of Christmas gifts this year! Okay, that will be my next post), and I am jetlagged beyond jetlagged.

Plus I came back to China to find I have no hot water or heat. So time to run around and deal with that.

Here is to another 10 years of madness!

Your friend and mine,
Mad Overlord.

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.