I wasn't sure if I'd be posting this week, Mum's funeral was last Friday and I wasn't sure if I'd be up to writing, but as with all things, I find writing keeps my mind occupied - distracted from any harsh realities.
Distracting myself did have a small advantage last week - I was back in mum's house, clearing the last of my stuff and I was trying to sleep. The house was empty, and my room was just about cleared - it had that horrible echo that empty houses have when they have been stripped of any clutter or personality. Sleep was not coming to me. I lay there in the bed that was too short for me, my feet hanging into the space where the old bookcase used to be, and I resolved that I should do something productive with my mind - solve a problem that had been bothering me for a few months - in order to keep the brain cells busy so that I didn't really think about the enormity of what was actually happening in real life.
The problem I'd been having was character creation for WILD. The game delves so deeply into the character's psyche and personality, where your hidden hopes and fears may bubble to the surface of your dreams, that the character creation needed more than just "I'll roll some dice". I needed a "Life Path" system to create the character, but I wanted to tie it into the rest of the game and how it works...
Then it suddenly came to me - WILD was going to use cards. Not traditional gaming cards, or playing cards. They weren't going to come into play often, just in those strange cases when the dreamers lost control of the dream and things started spiraling out of control. When logic went out of the proverbial window and the characters would find themselves in one of the many repeated dreams that everyone experiences - flying, being chased, finding yourself naked in public, at an exam you haven't prepared for, fighting giant spiders, driving a vehicle that's out of control.
These cards could be used to create the character. I won't go into great detail, and you'll probably think it sucks, but when you hear the full scope behind it, how the cards work, and how character generation works, I think you'll like it. The player is very in control of things, and should form the character how they'd like, but it also adds a small interpretive random element to spice things up, to ensure that every character doesn't end up the same.
Anyway, the funeral went well. As well as funerals can. It was tough, but my family was there, my wife was by my side, and some of the Eight turned up. In fact, there were many tough and upsetting bits to the day, but I really filled up at the sight of some of my old gaming buddies turning up to help me and the wife through this. I hadn't seen some of them in many years, and some had travelled many miles to attend, and just the thought of the effort they'd put in to come and pay their respects to mum, and to look after Debs while my sisters and I went off to the crematorium for the second smaller service... well, it just proves what true friends are. Thank you guys.
On the subject of the Eight, Pete pointed out that I missed an element to my previous post - about writing the Ghostbusters adventures. Spooky Science, the first adventure I'd written, I initially passed to Pete when it was finished, and he re-typed the whole thing, correcting my horrible grammar and fixing the typos before we sent it off to New York.
Pete was the DM for my first D&D, and ran Runequest, later writing his own gaming system called Odyssey (which produced some of the most satisfying games I've ever been in a player in). He also wrote a number of the comics I ended up drawing, including Ninja Secretaries from Beyond Dimension X, and the sequel to my original solo comic "Drowning in Darkness". So Pete was the first person I turned to when I thought about submitting my writing to a games company.
Pete must have gone off for his degree when I started on Back to Transylvania and the subsequent efforts, but I'm sorry I forgot about your involvement in the first one, Pete! It was over 25 years ago! I'm going to blame my age and leave it at that...
That's it for this post. I'd just like to thank everyone for their kind words of support over the last few weeks.