Blog Archives

Breakout at the Beholder Ranch!

I had the opportunity to talk with James McCann of the Richmond Public Library about Dungeons and Dragons and the creative process, and it was probably the most fun I’ve had during the pandemic. D&D has always been a big part of my life and probably one of the reasons I became a writer — if you can handle creating a D&D campaign, you can probably write a novel or at least a short story! Check out the video interview where we talk about the magic of writing, world building, and why I secretly want to be a necromancer. Also, we come up with the idea for a Beholder Ranch adventure! It’s all fun and games until something kills you with a magic eye….

Keep calm and send the barbarian in first

My pal George Murray has written an essay for The Walrus about rediscovering Dungeons and Dragons in middle age and oh my God we have led basically the same life.

Things changed a couple of years ago, when I turned forty-three. I was well past cool by any stretch of the imagination. My wife and I had a ridiculous spread of four children between us, ranging in age from six to sixteen. Try finding a Friday night movie everyone can agree on. So I said, “What about a game?”

And suddenly, I was back. I unboxed my archives of maps and notes, all of it carefully annotated in a fourteen-year-old’s attempt at calligraphic hand. Drawings, stories, rules, maps; it was all there, waiting. And to my surprise, everyone loved it. Even my wife. The former track star was now an elven assassin. In fairness, she played mostly out of love for everyone at the table, but she played and had a great time. We all did.

Odd fact I just realized: when I play paper-and-pen RPGs I almost always play warriors, but when I play video games like World of Warcraft I almost always play mages or other ranged classes. I don’t really have an explanation for this other than maybe I’m antisocial and like to keep people at a distance?