How in the hell do they name these places?

After having quite a bit to drink on Friday night, and then piling two oddly-timed power outages on top of that, this weekend has been something of a haze. And yet, still work has been done.

This card game is starting to look mostly like a way to enable my Wikipedia addiction. To compound things, I've always enjoyed following the citation as much as actually perusing the articles, which is probably the closest thing we have to Alice's rabbit hole that isn't a psychotropic drug. Over the past several days I've racked up a web history ranging from the Greek city states to medieval methods of torture and execution, to what names were innovated by Shakespeare [an odd gap for me, since I actually studied those plays pretty extensively in college].

Oh, names. I'm been compiling kingdoms for this game, and there's one aspect of fantasy literature I just cannot wrap my head around - how in the hell they name these places. I once again like I screwed myself for not taking Latin or German or something at some point, so I could actually come up with something that was sort of... fun, airy, but evocative. Magic comes up with "Lorwyn" or "Innistrad" and Tolkien comes up with "Mirkwood" and "Gondor" and I... sit on great little gems like "Edgewood," "Riverport," and "Hilltop." None of which really fit what I'm doing now. And typically, when I think I've finally come up with something sort of interesting, I remember, no, wait, I've stolen it from an SNES RPG.

So if anyone has any nifty tips and tricks for coming up with names for fantasy kingdoms, I'd appreciate it.

For the game mechanics themselves, I'm still sticking pretty close to "Keep It Simple, Stupid" as I develop, though I've thrown a couple of extra things in just since Friday that sort of excite me, and that I can't goldfish out myself to see if they work or not. They feel like things that, if they don't work, they can be easily removed, but if they do have the interactions I expect... they'll become the most important part of my game. A off-handed suggestion by Justin kind of cracked things open for me, so I think the thanks have to go to him for any work I did this weekend.

Cameos, or loose approximations of.

Though I was fairly busy with review work all this weekend, several of my better opportunities to procrastinate went to tooling on the card game. Since this is my first foray into making any kind of tabletop game, I've tried to stick to the pat yet useful principle of "Keep it Simple, Stupid" - I figure the more complicated I make this thing, the longer it will take, the more mistakes which will be made. I mean, what I might wind up with is something downright unplayable or too easy, or... something, and as much as I tend to think if you're going to fail, then fail big, I'd like to wind up in the end with a game that, if not good, is at least complete.

Since I picked a fantasy theme [a lot of my escapism lately has been fantasy stuff - Red Sonja comics, SNES/PS1 RPGs, genre novels], I found an interesting way to use some of my favorite archetypes from the genre in admittedly generic [because I don't want to get sued], but I think kind of fun, ways. So far I've managed to compile a neat little list of semi-recognizable analogs, based on various characters I've listed below, with my own little twists.

1. Queen Jocasta
2. The Assassin Lightborn
3. Othello's Roderigo
4. Mary Firth
5. Jack the Ripper
6. Lady Macbeth
7. Henvy IV's Hotspur
8. Suikoden II's Ayda
9. Don Quixote
10. The Beastmaster
11. Conan the Barbarian
12. Red Sonja
13. The 300 Spartans
14. Thor
15. Santa Claus
16. The Oracles of Delphi
17. King Hamlet
18. Dolores Haze
19. Final Fantasy IV's Edward Chris von Muir
20. As You Like It's Touchstone
21. Grima Wormtongue
22. Eowyn
23. John Wiswell's Automatons
24. The Necronomicon
25. St. George the Dragon Slayer

These are mostly favorites of mine - pulled from all over, but still mostly in that fantasy vein. And while I know it seems like a lot, trust me when I say I still could use a few more, and if there's anything or anyone from those sorts of worlds that it looks like I might have missed, or you think I might want to consider, just let me know in the comments, or @ me on Twitter, or even email me at I appreciate the help in the meantime.

Heirs, apparently.

Time to get back to this, right?

In 2013, I made a whopping six posts. There are a lot of reasons... a lot of family stuff, some depression stuff, perhaps even just the inevitable conclusion to my slow falling off with this blog. I toyed with starting again near the end of last year, but was annoyed and frustrated with my attempts to change the layout, and just generally make the site look a bit better, and more importantly, simpler than it does. Even toyed with the idea of transferring the whole thing to Wordpress instead.

Still might. Still could. 

The past couple of weeks I've been doing some tabletop gaming. Barring "Magic the Gathering," and some "Cards Against Humanity," I wouldn't call myself a fan of board games, necessarily. I've actually always sort of hated them, partly because they always felt a bit like a punishment, or something that went along with other things I don't care to do, or have happen - Sequence with a girl about to dump me, my mom and I playing Uno on the way home after my college graduation, blackjack while camping. I mean, I guess Life was kind of cool, and if someone introduced me to something like North Korean High-Stakes Connect Four, maybe I could get on board [heh], but honestly, never been my scene.

But you know, good company always puts me in a good mood, and trying new things is always important, and I've found a few things about table top games I enjoy now. A friend's gift of "Timeline" was a very pleasant surprise, Sushi Go! was surprisingly fun, etc., etc., etc. I guess what really surprised me is how all the games are just mechanics that are the means to tell a story, even if that story isn't entirely linear or even much of a story. And that's kind of charmed me.

So it stands to reason that with little experience and no idea how to proceed, I've spent the past couple of days staying up until well into the wee hours of the morning developing a card game based off of this post - "With apologies to Regina Spektor, and Aaron the Moor" - just dropping about 10 heirs for what I have planning. This really is one of those times when I'm playing in a sandbox I've no real business being in, but thanks to having seen so little success with my own work, no one can really be all that critical about how I spent my free time and sleepless nights.

I'm also back to work on a comic project that came to me over a year ago, but because of aforementioned family problems, I found myself back-burning for... well, everything. And I've found a rather delightful collaborator in Glynis Mitchell, so with all this coming together, I thought getting back to the old work blog was a good idea.