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April 5th, 2010

Writer's Block: But enough about you

If it were possible to clone a same-age version of yourself, do you think the two of you would be friends? Do you think you'd enjoy each other's company or find the similar point of view boring?


Man, I don't even like the sound of my own voice. A whole other me to contend with? God forbid! It's enough to make one shudder.

-The Gneech

'nuff Said



-The Gneech

Gettin’ Serious

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

I’ve mentioned (here and elsewhere) that with the wrapping up of Suburban Jungle, one of the things I intended to take on was “getting serious” about my writing … and indeed, the recent revamp of gneech.com was part of that. But among other things, getting serious is also going to need to include a pretty drastic inversion of the way I even think about my writing.

For the most part, over the course of my life, I’ve written what I felt like writing and then looked for people I thought would be interested in it. This works to a certain extent and is perfectly suitable for writing-as-hobby. Certainly it worked for Suburban Jungle, which I always looked at as a labor of love and assumed would never “make it big.” Very valuable as a learning experience, but something of a 10-year-detour from a professional point of view.

But to start getting somewhere as an actual, y’know, paid writer, I’m going to have to flip that model around: I need to find things that people want written and are willing to pay for it, that also match (or at least closely overlap) my skillset. I mean, I could probably pull down six figures a year writing proposals for government contractors, but I would hate my life.

This is going to be a whole new set of skills for me to learn, watching markets and keeping an eye peeled for opportunities. But hopefully, it’ll also open up a lot of nifty new experiences. For instance, in response to my recent bemoaning the lack of pulps, Phil Brucato recommended Steampunk Tales, which until then I had never even heard of. That led to: “Steampunk? Me? Hmm … I might just be able to come up with something there…” I probably would never have thought of trying to write steampunk if I was just noodling around with story ideas — but upon being told “here are people looking for steampunk stories,” my brain started coming up with interesting notions and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if I toss something at Steampunk Tales in the next couple of months.

At lunch today, I bought myself a new dry-erase board to mount in the studio, next to my computer. On it I intend to write lists of things like target markets (ranging from ‘zines to guest blog spots to The New Yorker), project due dates, topics to research … anything that I want to keep Up Front and Visible in order to stay focused on it. I have until now been scribbling such things into notebooks or word processing files, which leads to them being out of sight and out of mind. Woody Allen once said that 80% of success was just showing up — and as a corollary to that I’d add that in order to show up, you have to remember that you’ve got someplace to be!

-The Gneech

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-The Gneech

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“Page 42″ for Pathfinder (Revisited)

(Note: This is an update of material originally posted to my LiveJournal.)

If you’re familiar with D&D 4E, then you’re probably familiar with the famous “page 42″ of the DMG, which contains your “go to” table for quickly figuring skill DCs, improvised hazard damage, and whatnot. This is a GM’s second best friend (after +2/-2), and I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t something similar for Pathfinder. So I put this together using the “Monster Stats by CR” as my starting point.

Traps/Hazards/Skill Challenges by CR
Desired
CR
Trap/Hazard Attacks
Low Saving
Throw DC
High Saving
Throw DC
Low Attack
Bonus
High Attack
Bonus
Low
Damage
Medium Damage High
Damage
1 9 12 +1 +2 1d6+2 1d6+2 2d6
2 9 13 +3 +4 2d6+1 2d6+2 3d6
3 10 14 +4 +6 3d6 3d6 3d6+2
4 10 15 +6 +8 3d6+2 4d6 4d6+2
5 11 15 +7 +10 4d6+1 5d6 5d6+2
6 11 16 +9 +12 5d6+2 6d6 7d6
7 12 17 +9 +13 6d6+2 7d6+2 8d6+2
8 12 18 +11 +15 7d6+2 8d6+2 10d6
9 13 18 +12 +17 8d6+2 9d6+2 11d6+2
10 13 19 +13 +18 9d6+2 11d6 13d6
11 14 20 +14 +19 11d6 12d6+1 14d6+1
12 15 21 +15 +21 11d6+2 13d6+2 15d6+2
13 15 21 +16 +22 13d6 14d6+2 17d6
14 16 22 +17 +23 14d6 15d6+2 18d6+2
15 16 23 +18 +24 15d6 17d6 20d6
16 17 24 +19 +26 17d6 19d6+2 23d6
17 18 24 +20 +27 19d6+2 22d6 25d6+2
18 18 25 +21 +28 21d6+2 24d6+1 28d6+2
19 19 26 +21 +29 23d6+2 27d6 31d6+2
20 20 27 +22 +30 25d6+2 29d6 34d6+1


</html>

Skill Challenge DCs
Desired CR Ability Check/
Very Easy
Easy Medium Moderate Hard Heroic
1 10 12 16 16 20 30
2 11 13 16 17 21 31
3 11 13 17 18 22 32
4 11 13 17 19 23 33
5 11 14 18 20 24 34
6 12 14 18 21 25 35
7 12 14 19 22 26 36
8 12 15 19 23 27 37
9 12 15 20 24 28 38
10 13 15 20 25 29 39
11 13 16 21 26 30 40
12 13 16 21 27 31 41
13 13 16 22 28 32 42
14 14 17 22 29 33 43
15 14 17 23 30 34 44
16 14 17 23 31 35 45
17 14 18 24 32 36 46
18 15 18 24 33 37 47
19 15 18 25 34 38 48
20 15 19 25 35 39 49

(larger, printable version –>)

The skill check values are based on the following assumptions:

Very Easy: No skill ranks, low or no ability score bonus, etc.
Easy: Minimal skill ranks, +2 in buffs/aid another help.
Medium: 1/2 level skill ranks (or high ability scores, buffs, aid another, etc.).
Moderate: 1/2 level skill ranks, +5 in training/buffs/aid another help.
Hard: Full skill ranks, +9 in training/buffs/aid another help.
Heroic: Full skill ranks, +14 in training/buffs/aid another help, roll 15+.

The attack rolls, damage, etc., are all taken from the monster stats by CR. Generally speaking, you should stick to a CR 2-3 points lower than your average party level.

Thoughts?

-The Gneech

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

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