Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Home Again

Well, I'm back.
I'm waiting on several adventure modules to arrive. I won a copy of Far Harad: the Scorched Land last month, from a seller in Britain, but they were out of office until 7 January and the book did not ship until the 8th. I have not received it yet, and am becoming anxious.
I won a copy of Dol Guldur last week, much to my delight, for only $31. (It would have gone for much more, if the seller had not misspelled the title as "Dol Goldur" in the listing. He/she also forgot to tag it "MERP." Fool.) It is supposed to be one of the best of the "Citadels" series. I cannot wait to plumb its depths. Now all I need to complete my books on Mirkwood and Wilderland are the Citadel module Halls of the Elven-king (moderately expensive) and the adventure modules The Necromancer's Lieutenant and Denizens of the Dark Wood. Then Geliad and Galamael can travel the length and breadth of Wilderland, from Gundabad to the Gladden and the neighboring areas.
Yesterday I won a copy of Teeth of Mordor, which will nearly round out my Mordor-centric group of modules. All I will need next to finish that area are the Campaign module Gorgoroth, and the adventure module Gates of Mordor. (I also need a map to go with my Minas Ithil module, but I may have to actually buy another copy of that book to get the map.) Gorgoroth will prove to be a tough acquisition, but it will be worth it; even more so considering I once owned it, years ago. It is a good book, a fun read, even if the possibilities for adventure in the environs of Mount Doom are limited. I would not mind having a smaller campaign/adventure setting for that area, using player characters of Gondorian descent.
Of course, considering the fact that (for all my gaming resources) I cannot get anyone together for a single gaming session, planning a campaign around the Mountains of Shadow may be an exercise in futility. But it is fun to think about, if nothing else.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Death Comes for Us All

My grandmother is dead. She died yesterday morning. This, after trying to kill herself last week via a bullet to the head.

I am numb, detached. I think about it but feel little emotion, except maybe anger about what she did last week.

There has been too much death this past year. Too many folks are getting old and dying, and not enough new ones are around. The rest of us stumble on through the seasons, through the years, "numbly rehearsing the ancient ways in a blur of forgetfulness..."

Children really are the color in a grey world. I can't imagine life without my daughter, Belle. She is amazing. Kid can work a DVD player on her own... at three years old. Damn! I was fumbling with my Atari at age 10.

Anyway, we are off to miserable Texas the day after tomorrow. I am to be a pallbearer; the others are my dad, my brother, my stepbrother, my uncle, and one of Granny's neighbors. She'll be laid to rest beside my Pappaw, who died almost three years ago: 2005, the year of Katrina.

Too much loss these past few years. I am ready for growth, for endless Springtimes.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Gentle Ways of Natural Wizards

I did a little writing last week, though not on The Novel. I was in the bathtub, and my mother-in-law was staying with us, so I was taking even longer than my usual inordinate amount of time in the bath, when an idea for a children's story materialized in my mind. This may have happened because of the children's stories I've been reading to Belle from time to time; but at any rate, the whole story played itself out as I sat there, and so I got out and got to typing as quickly as I could. I was able to set nearly the whole thing down in less than an hour, with only two or three pages left to finish at this time. It is called "Rosie and the Ruby-Red Dragon of Yalobusha," and it is very silly, and probably no one will get it but Belle and Adrienne and those who know us well. It needs illustrations, too, to work to its fullest potential. But I had great fun with it, and it is comforting to know that, even at this slow stage of my writing life, I can still become inspired and can still get something significant done in my artistic field.

Beyond that, I have been considering setting up a separate blog for all things related to Middle-earth role-playing, but so far it is only an idea. I have also been wondering about the possibility of the formation of a permanent role-playing guild, if you will, for those in my close circle of role-playing friends. (You know who you are.) It has been an idea I've toyed with for years, but nothing formal ever materialized; but as Life pulls us off in different directions, such a group may actually become a valuable tool for keeping us in touch, and keeping our collective dreams of Middle-earth viable. I think a good name for such a group would be The Guild of Venturers, after the seafaring Numenorean explorers' group founded by Veantur, and made most famous by Tar-Aldarion. If any of my role-playing friends -- and again, you know who you are -- are interested in this, please let me know your thoughts on how to make such a group functional, or if you think it is even feasible.

As an aside, if you haven't yet visited the Other Minds online magazine for Middle-earth role-playing, you really should. The first issue is available for download, and issue #2 is coming by February, I believe. There is also some information regarding the content of issues #3 and 4, and #3 is going to be focused primarily on Dwarves. That should be of especial interest to my gemologist and educator friends...

Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"