A Loss of Inspiration

Yet Young Grasshopper is Set Upon His Path

As I write this, last Tuesday, E. Gary Gygax, co-creator with Dave Arneson (and probably a few others) of Dungeons & Dragons, passed away at sixty-nine. I certainly cannot let this pass without remark, because he was a remarkable man.

Mr. Gygax defined role-playing for millions, and inspired millions more. Perhaps his legacy lies more in the field of computer gaming and entertainment in general than in the pen & paper game he offered. He will be missed, and the world is a little poorer for his absence.

This last weekend give or take, Ken visited me in person at my very own home for three nights and two full days. Unfortunately, his second full day was seriously interrupted by the fact that I had to wander off and get chemotherapy, but the rest of the time was fruitful, and not just for the hour or so of sightseeing we got done. In case you did not know BC, where I live, is one of the most beautiful, unspoiled places on this planet. I like to think of it as one of only three places where Peter Jackson could have filmed LotR ;)

Ken came to learn how to make the new style Atlas/Regional maps and got to work on part of Hèpekéria… While he will need to practice quite a bit, there are now two of us who can make these rather special maps.

It is sometimes a bit too easy to forget how important great maps are to a great environment. Maps give us the lay of the land and the land usage in settled areas; they tell us about vegetation and topography that must inevitably be significant to anyone living nearby. They explain the course of rivers and the run of roads. They make sense of why someone built that bridge or town here instead of there, and why no one really wants to live in that particular part of the world. They might even tell us the order in which lands were settled and why any given region might be heavily contested by two or more nations. They can suggest the extents of tribes or nations, and the limits of military campaigns. Maps can even tell us quite a lot about the folk who live on the land. This is why I have always believed that before you can properly understand the culture, you must understand the geography; the map may not be the ‘territory’, but it must always come first. The best way to learn about a place is to draw a map. This is why I have always enjoyed mapping so much.

It is through mapping that I learn the myriad details of history and politics that make up the world.

I feel pretty good these days. I get surprisingly tired going up the stairs, but apart from that I’m really happy at the absence of false and tricksy nausea. Here today, here tomorrow… the rest is wossname…

I won’t know if my ‘folorn hope’ chemotherapy is working until the end of April. I may not know then. I know people who won’t go to the doctor because they are terrified that they might be told something unpleasant. I understand this now. It fits in nicely with the ‘stick your fingers in your ears, hum and think of puppies’ strategy which I am assured is a ‘valid way to fight cancer’… or was it ‘don’t think of puppies’?

To be honest, this idea of ‘fighting cancer’ has always puzzled me; it’s a bit like saying the battlefield is fighting the battle. My experience is that we just lie back and hope the battle is over soon.

That seems a bit of a downer on which to end. So let’s remember that we have all the pieces in place to keep producing high quality HârnWorld publications for many years to come. Keléstia Productions feels an obligation to the work that goes beyond what would be considered common practice for a publisher (beyond what would normally be considered sane really). All we ask in return is a little respect for our rights and whatnot… Oh… and huge wads of cash would be excellent too… :)