Before you do anything else, go and buy this piece of art HERE.
Postmortem artist, cartoonist and friend Zel Harris – known to you as Darkzel – was killed in 2013 robbing the comic, anthro, adult and RPG world of a very talented young artist whom I was proud to call my friend.
In his memory I insistuted the Darkzel Scholarship Scheme for young artists with an interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Each year all profits from the sale of Zel’s art – and any scholarship winners or donated pieces – will be collected together and given to the best new, young artist (high school/college/university) that we can find to help them pay their way through their studies.
This year’s winner is Vera Nattler and this is her piece.
Much fun has been had at the expense of some people choosing not to support Contessa, which is allegedly having problems filling its games, panels and so on this year (though the organiser has said this is not the case).
Online conventions face a lot of problems. People view the commitment to any kind of online gaming scenario with less seriousness than they do a physical meet up.
Technical issues, despite ubiquitous internet, webcam and microphone access, can throw everything off in an instant.
People drop in and out constantly.
Everything runs more slowly.
Contessa has some additional problems over and above other online cons in addition to this.
Games are played and recorded over hangouts and posted to Youtube.
The organisational and game-running parts of the event are explicitly exclusionary. Men are not permitted.
The video thing tweaks a lot of people’s sense of security and safety, inhibits RP (much as playing at cons can, but tenfold) and makes people very self conscious, especially of their appearance. I find it likely that SomethingAwful, YourDungeonIsSuck and others will succumb to the temptation of ‘video mining’ as they have forum mining, in an attempt to bully and ridicule people.
The second part here is what has put me off and has meant I won’t support the con. When the event was conceived this was my objection and it remains my objection. I would not tolerate or support an event where women, people of colour, LGBT or others were specifically excluded and so just as I cannot tolerate prejudice against those groups – in any form – nor can I tolerate prejudice against men.
You’re free to disagree, but my conscience and principles will not allow me to do so. I will not try to stop you attending, I will not try to ban or silence the event. I think Stacey (the organiser) is a great person and not your typical Social Justice Warrior type and I don’t think she did this with any malice. It’s just not something I will support. There’s no reason men’s expertise and opinions should be absent from a con about women in gaming any more than women’s voices should be absent in any other con. There’s no reason men can’t offer their perspectives on women’s contributions and no reason men can’t run games by women or for women.
If you want to attend, go right ahead, I won’t be.
That’s it! Quite why it’s such a horrible position to hold or so hard to grasp, I don’t know.
This year was (is) to be the first year of the DarkZel Scholarship for young artists interested in the field of science fiction and fantasy.
The idea is to create a self-sustaining, yearly scholarship with which I can help out young artists in high school, college and university with money, expose their talent to the RPG community and maybe help them get started on a career.
My ability to publicise is limited, but despite publicity on social media and on some websites – such as BleedingCool – the response has been disappointing in the extreme. I have had one query and no entries.
Two weeks remain, the money pot is up to – close to – $300 now. A single piece of work is all that’s needed.
Please pass on this information, tell your friends, tell your kids if they’re artistically inclined.
I need your help to make this happen.
I really want to commemorate my friend and continue paying forward into the future and helping – and spotting – young talent.
Lords of Brass and Vassal Knights provides full details for 130 noble families including a one or two paragraph description, a motto, a heraldic device and details of strengths and weaknesses common to that family. These descriptions are for the families of the Pendragon realm in the Camelot Cosmos RPG but are generic enough to be useable with minor adaptation in any fantasy gaming setting.
There goes 2013, that was an odd one, like being stuck between dimensions.
I started working for Chronicle City around the end of the first quarter (though it was announced earlier) but have spent a big chunk of the last year wrapping up Postmortem Studios stuff (some of which remains still to do!) and doing work for Chronicle City, much of which hasn’t come to fruition yet. That’s made for a very strange time in limbo between one thing and another.
Things can take a long time to get moving when you shift jobs but hopefully some of the bits and bobs I’ve been working on will get to the front of the queue in relatively short order.
A large part of the year has been taken up with preparing the ground, advising third parties and taking preparatory notes from a huge series of books for a game based upon them. That’s almost done which means I’ll be able to leap feet-first into new, bigger projects relatively soon.
This blog then, aside from the very occasional release, I can use to do the various side things, musing and fan projects that keep me (relatively) sane.
This year I’ll also be at GenCon in the US, which is frankly terrifying as I don’t like travel and the Americas are where the haters live.
We’ll see how it goes though…
Don’t forget the Darkzel Scholarship is open until the end of this month, so let art students anywhere and everywhere know about it.
Want me to blog about something or write something particular for one of our games? Leave a comment with as many suggestions as you want.
Earthing McDonnell has created a rather wonderful resource for Machinations of the Space Princess players, an editable database for monsters, ships, equipment, traits. Anything and everything you might want or need for your MotSP game.
Now all you need to do is fill it with cool stuff for others to use, stuff from your games!
You can now buy the Machinations of the Space Princess tarot in hardcopy. You can get it HERE.
The cards are pretty damn good, come in a nice blue tuck box and with a little booklet telling you what things mean and so forth. You’re meant to use them to make up spacey card games, to inspire adventures and to provide a much needed poke to your inspiration glands when you need to come up with an NPC, a situation or some local colour on the spot.
Shipping is HIDEOUS for people outside the US, so I’d suggest clubbing together to get a few sets shipped wherever you are and then send them on. I would also encourage you to ask Gamecrafter to find a better international shipping solution.