I am devastated by the loss of Steve Russell. He was too kind, too smart, and too important for me to accept he is gone, but he is. I still don’t know how I’ll process that, and I can’t imagine what his close friends and family are going through. My heart goes out to them all.
It’s easy to say “Steve Russell was my friend, and I’ll miss him.” Well, maybe not *easy* — my voice catches if I try to say it because of the weight of WHY I am saying it – but it’s simple. It’s telling, not showing.
It’s too little for what he meant to me.
Steve and I got to know each other online, as we struggled with freelance careers and later launching publishing companies. Early on we realized that we had few peers we knew, and that we both missed having a “water cooler” to stand around and debate the issues of our industry.
Also, we were often both awake at 3am, and online.
At one point we’d talked a few times a week so often, he suggested we just record our conversations and invite guests. That is how the Demiplane of Gaming was born, and I am proud of the work we did with that. He thought it would increase both our visibility within the industry, and I am sure he’s right. When I moved to Seattle a combination of factors prevented us from being able to maintain it. I always though we’d pick it up again someday, but now I know someday won’t come.
Those talks became the basis for an amazing relationship, unlike any other I have had. Steve was a colleague and confidant, and because we mostly communicated online he was always “around.” I have only been in the same room with Steve a handful of times in my life. I am eternally thankful that those times included having him play a game with us at our house, as he travelled through a few years ago, and staying with us for a night. Somehow knowing I was able to share true hospitality with him makes me glad, even if it’s a terribly bittersweet feeling right now.
Steve celebrated my every success, commiserated by every trial and loss, and yet was still honest with me about my every mistake. He helped me through difficult times as my wife and I cared for my mother-in-law, nursed me through terrible disappointments of missed career opportunities and failed goals, and encouraged me when I was ready to give up.
If you have enjoyed any game product I have done since 2007, Steve is in part to thank.
He also trusted me with many of his troubles and anguishes, and I was honored that he did so. He joked that I talked him off a ledge a few times when he wanted to vent publically, but decided having me listen to how dumb other people were was good enough. And when I needed to rant, he always had a ready ear.
Steve became a dependable constant in my life. Someone who advised without judging, helped without belittling, and made me a better person. I can’t imagine what my life would be if he hadn’t been in it.
Steve Russell was my friend, and I’ll miss him.
No one fears the Nostril of Sauron
(“Can you Smell what the Dark Lord is Cooking?”)
The Runeblade WeatherChanger doesn’t inspire fear
(“Cloudy with a 50% Chance of Losing Your Soul”)
It’s hard to get worked up about the prophecy of The Boy Whose Parents Died Saving Him And That Worked Because His Main Foe Never Spent Much Time Actually Studying in Wizard School.
(“The Death-Hazing-Club is on double secret probation.”)
No one listens to Tales of High Adventure about Conan the Unaware of Table Etiquette
(“When eating a bowl of gruel, use the small spoon, not your entire head.”)
The Pulse shootings are horrific, and I’m actually having trouble processing them in any reasonable way.
Here’s what I do know.
It was wrong and evil.
Nothing the victims did justify it — especially not living, loving, or being who they are.
I am sad, and angry, and suddenly even more afraid for many people I know and love than I was yesterday… and even yesterday I know they lived in a more dangerous world than I do.
I love you all. I’m sorry. Be safe.
PaizoCon is coming!
So every year after the con several people IM me and say “we never saw u!! Where were u??”
So if you want to find me this year (perhaps to have me sign things, or buy me a drink, or just chat!), here is the schedule of when to find me, where, and what role I’ll be taking.
Friday, May 27
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Delve! (sadistic GM ready to kill you!)
01:00 PM – 02:00 PM: Writing for RPGs: Getting Your Start (panelist) (Olympic 3)
03:00 PM – 04:00 PM: Game Mastering on the Fly (panelist, with PaizoCon guest Nicolas Logue!) (Olympic 3)
04:00 PM – 05:00 PM: Delve! (sadistic GM ready to kill you!)
05:00 PM – undetermined: Mysteriously Unavailable (host)
Saturday, May 28
01:00 PM – 05:00 PM: Third Annual “Into the Emerald Spire” (Part 5!) (reasonable and creative GM) (Cascade 8)
05:00 PM – 06:00 PM: Delve! (sadistic GM ready to kill you!)
07:00 PM – 11:00 PM: PaizoCon 2016 Preview Banquet (eater) (Grand Ballroom)
Sunday, May 29
09:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Delve! (sadistic GM ready to kill you!)
11:00 AM – 01:00 PM: Pathfinder Compatible Publishers Workshop (panelist) (Olympic 3)
02:00 PM – 03:00 PM: Mysteriously Unavailable (redacted)
05:00 PM – 06:00 PM: Distant Worlds: Pathfinder in Space (panelist) (Olympic 3)
Monday, May 30
09:00 AM – 01:00 PM: Third Annual “Into the Emerald Spire” (Part 6!) (kindly but tired GM) (Olympic 3)
WarQuest Campaign Setting Rules
I still owe people who hit “like” on the Rogue Genius Games Facebook page a microsetting of at least 1,100 words. That Microsetting is going to be the WarQuest World, a setting where players of a MMORPG get sucked into the online game-world, and must learn to survive and thrive there. Rather than wait until it’s all done, I’m putting some of it out in pieces.
The WarQuest World the players are stuck in has MMORPG-style rules that control equipment and crafting materials.
Level Requirements: You can’t use an item that costs more than 1/3 your Wealth By Level total, and you can’t equip more gear at once than the value of your total Wealth By Level. The rules of WarQuest World simply prevent such items from functioning.
Equipment Slots: You can have two held item, one item in each body item magic slot, and carry up to sixteen other pieces of equipment (regardless of weight or size, including vehicles and animals but not buildings) without being encumbered. Multiples of nonmagic things bought in sets of more than one (such as arrows) as well as food, count as a single object.
If you carry 17-20 items, you are in medium encumbrance. If you carry 21-24, you are in heavy encumbrance. Magic items designed to allow you to carry more items or weight add 4 slots to these totals (or, if they are ranked, 4 slots per rank – so a type 4 bag of holding adds 16 slots).
You can keep up to 64 more things in your bank, which you can access from any settlement.
You can carry an unlimited amount of money, though money you keep in your bank cannot be stolen.
Each PC gains one crafting ability. These can be defined however the player wishes (smithing, carving, leatherworking, tailoring, scribing, basket weaving – whatever). This allows you to make one kind of magic item (magic weapon, magic armor, rod, staff, wand, scroll, ring, or miscellaneous item). The item can be hand held or take one magic item body slot, and you define the item in a way that makes sense for your craft and the body slot. For example, if you are a scribe and you can make staves, they are most likely actually books of spells or pages of permanently empowered runes.
You can only make magic items with a cost no greater than 1/3 your wealth by level. To make a magic item, you inform your GM you are working on it. When you have earned treasure while adventuring equal to the item’s cost, you have crafted the item (you don’t actually spend any cost, you are assumed to gather the needed materials adventuring). A GM may inform you in advance that an adventure will be worth double value toward this, or half.
A GM can also allow you to create more powerful items than normal by completing specific quests, to gain are materials.
If you actually put skill ranks into your related craft, you can create one more type of magic item for every 2 ranks you invest. These are still themed to be appropriate to your craft skill.
You can craft mundane items this way, as well. No other method for crafting functions. If you would receive a bonus Craft feat as a class feature, you may pick one additional form of item to craft, as if you has 2 more ranks in your selected Craft skill.