A Random Book Name Generator

I wrapped up my organization task. In doing so I figured I’d post a random book title generator based on some of the books in my personal library; pluralize the nouns as necessary. And as with so many random tables, when you roll a result, cross it off and add a new one.

Roll d20 d20
1 Fables and Reflections
2 The God Delusion
3 Fellowship of the Ring
4 Demonhaunted World
5 Heretics of Dune
6 Snow Crash
7 The Complete Strategyst
8 A Mighty Fortress
9 Age of Bronze
10 Lamentations of the Flame Princess
11 Master of Shadows
12 A Storm of Swords
13 The Blossoms are Falling
14 Serpent’s Tooth
15 Spears of the Dawn
16 The Elegant Universe
17 Chronicles of the Black Company
18 Fragile Things
19 A Red and Pleasant Land
20 The Fires of Heaven
A wall of books

The books are organized again.

End of Year Organizing

A Year in Review.

A Year in Review.

Spread out on our dining room table are, what I believe to be, all of the books that I had scattered throughout our house. On a cursory glance I have read to completion 40 or so of the books.

The surprise of the year has been “Shakespeare’s Restless World” by Neil MacGregor. Twenty chapters each with an artifact as the focal point of the chapter: food, plague, espionage, national pride, religion, etc.

This is not all of the books that I’ve read or worked on during the year. I also read:

  • The first 5 books of Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber
  • “The Search for Wandla” by Di’Terlizzi
  • Autobiography of Mark Twain (started)
  • Several short stories of Borges (thank you Zak S for those recommendations)
  • and re-read parts of Beowulf as translated by JRR Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien

This coming year, I plan to spend more time reading and creating. This past year has felt as though much of my time has been spent idling away on social media, checking for new content.

As you can see, I have in front of me the raw materials for most any kind of euro-centric medieval-ish role-playing game I’d ever want; And plenty of fodder to make things unique.

For those keeping score at home, from bottom right corner, reading “up” the photo, then starting in the next column from at the bottom:

  • “Master of Shadows: The Secret Diplomatic Career of the Painter Peter Paul Rubens” by Mark Lamster
  • “Scourge of the Demon Wolf” by Robert S Conley
  • Dungeon Master’s Guide 5E
  • “Advanced Edition Companion” by Goblinoid Games
  • “Epyllion: A Dragon Epic” by Marissa Kelly
  • “Labyrinth Lord” by Goblinoid Games
  • “The One Ring Roleplaying Game” by Francesco Neptello
  • “Grim World” by Deanna Nygren and Trenton Kennedy
  • “Cortex Hacker’s Guide”
  • “Mind Jammer” by Sara Newton
  • “Ars Magica 5E” by Atlas Games
  • “Dwimmermount” by James Maliszewski, Alexander Macris, Tavis Allison
  • “The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun” by JRR Tolkien
  • “Demonspore: The Secret of the Shrooms” by Matthew J Finch
  • “No Salvation for Witches” by Rafael Chandler
  • “A Red and Pleasant Land” by Zak S
  • “Tower of the Stargazer” by James Edward Raggi IV
  • “Geek Sublime” by Vikram Chandra
  • “The Greatest Knight” by Thomas Asbridge
  • “Castles” by CharlesStephenson
  • “Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser” by Howard Chaykin, Mike Mignola, and Al Williamson
  • “The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights” by John Steinbeck
  • “Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Grindhouse Edition” by James Edward Raggi IV
  • Torchbearer Gamemaster Screen
  • Dwimmermount Map
  • “A Mighty Fortress: A History of the German People” by Steve Ozment
  • “The Clay that Woke” by Paul Czege
  • “The Dungeon Dozen” by Jason Sholtis
  • “Narcosa” by everyone
  • “Diaspora” by B. Murray, O.W. Marshall, T. Dyke, and B. Kerr
  • “The Broken Sword” by Poul Anderson
  • “Shakespeare’s Restless World: A Portrait of an Era” by Neil MacGregor
  • “The Majestic Wilderlands” by Robert S. Conley
  • “The Burning Wheel Gold” by Luke Crane
  • “Kagematsu” by Danielle Lewon
  • “Reign Enchiridion” by Greg Stolze
  • “Sword and Wizardry: Complete Rulebook” by Matthew J Finch
  • “Apocalypse World” by D. Vincent Baker
  • “The Dead of Winter” by Oliver Kapp and Frank Bohnsack
  • “Call of Catthulhu Deluxe: Book I the Nekonomikon” by Joel Sparks
  • “Dread” by Epidiah Ravachol
  • “Better than Any Man” by James Edward Raggi IV
  • “The Idea from Space” by Simon Carryer
  • “Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Player Core Book” by James Edward Raggi IV
  • “Torchbearer” by Thor Olavsrud and Luke Crane
  • “Fate of the Norns” by Andrew Valkauskas
  • “A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe” by Expeditious Retreat Press
  • “The Metamorphica” by Johnstone Metzger
  • “The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions” by D. Vincent Baker
  • “Kingdom” by Ben Robbins
  • “Chronica Feudalis” by Jeremy Keller
  • “Neoclassical Geek Revival” by Zzarchov Kowolski
  • “The Fall of Arthur” by JRR Tolkien
  • “Sagas of the Icelanders” by Gregor Vuga
  • “Collapse” by Jared Diamond
  • “Inverse World” by Brandon Schmelz and Jacob Randolf
  • “Deep Carbon Observatory” by Patrick Stuart
  • “Iron Empires: Void” by Christopher Moeller
  • “Magical Theorems and Dark Pacts” by Dyson Logos
  • “In Search of Unknown” by Mike Carr
  • “Castle Amber” by Tom Moldvay

Working and Creating within Constraints

I’ve been listening to Sting’s “Soul Cages” for the past week – its an album well suited for the steel gray skies of a northern Indiana winter. Evocative imagery, ripe for incorporating into a role-playing session. At the end of this post there are a few quotes from the album.

This year, I participated in Secret Santa. My assignment had clear constraints, but ample room to navigate. I dove into the project, rolling the constraints around in my brain for a few days. Playing word association, digging out old ideas I had once had.

Song lyrics are another source that would be a great constraint.

Have you ran an adventure or crafted encounters that were inspired by song lyrics? If so what? I’d like to know about them.

Take your father’s cross gently from the wall
The shadow still remaining
See the churches fall, in mighty arcs of sound
And all that they’re containing
Yet all the ragged souls of all the ragged men
Looking for their lost homes
Shuffle to the ruins from the levelled plain
To search among the tombstones
When the angels fall
Shadows on the wall
In the thunder’s call
Something haunts us all
When the angels fall

“When the Angels Fall” by Sting

Two priests came round
Our house tonight
One young, one old,
To offer prayers for the dying,
To serve the final rite
One to learn, one to teach
Which way the cold wind blows
Fussing and flapping in priestly black
Like a murder of crows


“All this Time” by Sting

Divorce – A Personal Experience

Six and a half years ago, I began the divorce proceedings and process. I didn’t initiate it, but it wasn’t unexpected nor unwelcome.

The legal proceedings were painless. The process, however, was not.

Early in the process, my father, also a divorcee, told me that for him every day after his divorce was like a funeral. So each day I bury some part of my past, present, and worst of all my imagined future.

In the early days of the process I was wracked with tremendous pain and loss. These days, the funerals are bearable; routine in fact.

Now, it is as though a frail and venerable aunt has passed. Yes, its over, but the time had come. There is a sadness in the finality, but a joy in the release from frail and confining constraints.

The one aspect of divorce that I still mourn is not having my children at my home each and every day. They have been a part of my life since I was 20. I’ve been playing the role of parent since my junior year in college.

As I help my son take his steps towards becoming a freshman in college, I’m curious. What will his path be? In three years will he be a father?

And what of my daughters? They are now in junior high, but if I close my eyes for a moment, they too will be off to college.

Time moves ever faster. Anyone getting older realizes this. Compound this with the cruel institution of divorce and I get half of that time.

I see my children every other week. There is a pressure to cram two weeks of living into each week. But I am well aware that if I want to do something right, I must slow down and do it.

I am fortunate. I am remarried to a wonderful woman. She is a creative whirlwind, and wants nothing more than to be a mother.

To this day, when my children are with me for the week, we manage to have 6 out of seven evening meals together. This is in spite of complex schedules, driving arrangements, professional career, and opening a business.

These meals sometimes remind me of the funeral reception for aged relatives that have passed. Families gathered together, one more time. Brought together by the memory of someone once (and still) important to them.

There is always laughter at these meals. And life goes on, not in spite of the loss, but because of the impact of the deceased.

I continue to dig through the mental shoe box of pictures that my future self was planning on taking. Those photos are fading, yet it still fills me with sadness.

However, today I don’t know what those future pictures will be. I’m excited to find out, but I’m going to slow down and let them develop.