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January 15th, 2009

With FC coming up, I figure I'll get this question a lot, so I'm going to post my thoughts here now to get it out of the way.

Where are the updates? What's going on with the strips? Are they coming back?

Artists are a weird lot; many of us are flaky, more are moody, and all of us are at least a bit unconventional. Even a rock-solid master like Charles Schulz had his issues. So please bear with me. :)

Right now, I'm just not in a productive mode. I could probably force myself to write or draw, but it would be a lot of stress and the end result would probably not be very good work. It's not like I've gotten bored with the strips and I'm putting them out to pasture; the truth of the matter is that right now I'm somewhat burnt out and don't feel like I have anything worth saying. It's not just the comics; if you follow my Fictionlets, you've probably noticed that there haven't been many of them lately either.

I get these phases. Sometimes they last days, sometimes months, very rarely years. I'm confident that the creative fire will come back, it always does. But I don't have it right now and I can't accurately predict what will make it return. At some point, something I wasn't expecting will hit me upside the head and I'll be all excited to produce again; until then, I'm in "consumer mode" instead, trying to add new material to the surreal landscape that is my mindspace.

It's like farming: every few years, you have to let a field lay fallow, or it'll get overworked and crops won't grow there any more. My creative energies are in the same state. They need to recharge.

So, short answer: yes, the strips are coming back. No, I don't know when. Sorry I can't give a more definite answer!

-The Gneech

So Why'd You Get It, If You Don't Like It?

So I've bought some 4E stuff this week. Specifically, I bought Keep on the Shadowfell (the "quick start" adventure) and the Martial Power Handbook (i.e., "the 4E fighter splat"). Given my railing against 4E, you might wonder why I've done such a rash thing. The answer boils down to experimentation, combined with the old "buying stuff for gaming is sorta like actually gaming" syndrome. I am seriously jonesing to be a player just now, and when I get into that state I find myself thinking about all the neat things I could do with this build, all the neat things I could do with that build, etc.

To that end, I've been looking at the 4E warlord class, which is seriously mis-named but fills a role that people have been trying to shoe-horn into the game for some time. In some ways it's a second pass at the 3E marshal, a class that was rather shafted by A) being lackluster, and B) being put into the Miniatures Handbook instead of a book that people might actually buy. Essentially, it's a buffer, like the bard or cleric, but without the "singing minstrel" or "religious zealot" baggage of either of those classes. Frankly, "marshal" was a better name for the class, although "captain" or even just the straightforward "leader" would have worked better. "Warlord" implies a bloodthirsty horde rather than a heroic archetype.

I'm looking at the warlord for two basic reasons, first being that sirfox has made the occasional rumbling noise about doing something with 4E, and second being that I might like to build a 3.5 retrofitted warlord-equivalent instead of a marshal in case any more 3.5 gets run. S&S Saga already has an equivalent class in the noble, although I'm probably going to rename that to "captain" for the next iteration myself. If the warlord has any particularly nifty bits, I might steal them as well.

-The Gneech

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