First post: On blogging, RPGs and rock & roll; an introduction by induction

I've been wanting to start a blog for a while now, but could never decide what to write about. Bloggers always seem so...knowledgeable. What could I have to talk about that would interest anybody enough to read my blog?
But of course, the answer was right there all along. It's just like with every kind of art: if you're going to create a masterpiece (or even an OK-piece), you can't fake it. You have to be honest and create something real. Create what you know.
Of course great bloggers are knowledgeable. They're writing about what they know. And hey, I know stuff. I can do that too.
So here's a little introduction to moi, and a bit about the things I know best (and by proxy, what you'll be reading about here at Epic Crit):
My name is Dean Baker. I've been playing, GMing, rules hacking and designing tabletop role-playing games for many, many years, and have been an avid music-lover for nearly all my life. I'm keenly interested in literary theory (although I'm not too widely read), am a proficient (albeit very lazy) artist and have been an amateur guitarist for over 20 years. I live in Seoul, Korea, which is basically like being a character in a cyberpunk novel. I'm also the father of a mischievous young girl.
I would say, however, if there is one common defining element that could apply to pretty much all of my aforementioned interests, it'd probably be my desire for them all to be as epic and badass as possible. (Note that this doesn't actually apply to myself. I'm not overly badass. I'm a gamer geek.) But when it comes to music, I'm mostly all about hard rock and heavy metal, or funky nasty bass-lines. I love reading gothic horror, epic fantasy and cyberpunk novels. I've been an expat for half my life (which is always more interesting than life back home, no matter what). I started teaching my daughter to play RPGs before she was out of diapers.
And when it comes to roleplaying games, I strive to make my campaigns as massive and epic as possible — not in terms of length, but in terms of ambition. To illustrate: five of the grandest campaigns I ever played in or ran featured the complete and utter destruction of the entire campaign setting. The first campaign I ever ran began with the fallout of similar destruction. This is never planned, but it just keeps happening in my games. It's what I strive for. I love my storytelling to be as engaging and awesome as possible.
Er... yeah. Anyway, that's what I want to think about myself. Self-perception is, like, so, soooo subjective, and almost always completely wrong. Everybody else probably thinks I'm just a regular dude — this theme song is playing in my head alone (seriously, I once had the Indiana Jones theme song as an earworm for 6 months straight). But I wanted to kind of explain about what makes me tick, because although it may sound completely self-indulgent, I guess you have to be a bit self-indulgent to be a writer, and my interests will ultimately determine the general style of this little blog.
That said, the one thing I don't want to do is come across as some kind of Edgelord. There are a lot of people out there nowadays, acting and writing all 'metal as fuck' and trying to just generally be super edgy. I'm not interested in that. I will try to be as authentic as possible (and the authentic me is heavily influenced by rock 'n roll, so there will be some element of that in there, but I don't intend it to be my whole "schtick.")
Art of all kinds is a huge inspiration for me, and I believe tabletop RPGs are best when they're heavily influenced by other forms of art. Rock and metal jive so well with Dungeons & Dragons, for instance: you can see it in the game art, in the dungeons and monsters, and just the entire game design in general. And when you move away from the standard RPGs, you can find some truly amazing gems in the indie game scene, games that draw on inspiration from literature and mythology and -punk genres, each and every one massive and epic in ambition in its own way.
All artistic forms bring with them profound symbolic associations, and symbolism is the language of the subconscious. This is something I've always strived for in my games-mastering: to bring these symbolic patterns into my games, and thereby resonate with the other players on a deeper level. I want my stories to mean something, to actually be important, not just a silly game. To be literary, profound, memorable, thought-provoking.
To be EPIC.
So there you have it, my gaming philosophy in a nutshell. Hope I haven't scared you off. ;)


Popular posts from this blog

Itineraria and Peripli: Looking at RPG Maps in a New Way

Ultraviolet Grasslands: Go psychedelic, OSR-style

The Koryo Hall of Adventures: Reputable one-shots