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What’s so special about today?  That my daughter Becca was up much of the night with a stomach flu?  The my wonderful wife Christine was not-so-wonderfully sick as well and aching all over?  That I played a tremendously entertaining game of Crusader Kings II with my friends Layla and Nick?  That I watched a marathon of Season 2 My Little Pony, as directed by the camped-out -on-the-couch Becca?

Nope, none of those, though they did all happen today.  What’s special about today is that I received the first copy, the proof copy, of Ellis: Kingdom of Turmoil.

What is Ellis?  It’s a fantasy roleplaying game I’ve been writing for a while.  A long while.  I just went back and looked at some of my old files.  The earliest file I have is dated February 5th, 2003.  So, it’s been 9 years.  Nine years.  This from a guy who has a hard time focusing on one project for a long time.  Or who did.

But it’s 604 pages.  Written by me (with some fiction written by Chris).  280,000 words.  Laid out by me.  Art chosen by me.  Mapped by me and then the map re-drawn by a friend.

But it’s done, and I can’t help but look back and remember various steps along the way.  Working out all of the world building and astronomy while being driven through the jungles of Central America.  The early playtest session when I forgot to mention that the opponents were all wearing full plate armor, and no one could figure out why they couldn’t damage them.  The infamous playtest session where we spent two hours of game time running, just running to the fight.  The week during year-end inventory at work where I decided to completely scrap the game rules and re-write them to better mesh with the setting.

I made some very good friends through Ellis, and have had a lot of fun playing it with strangers as well as regulars. I cherish those friendships very much.  It’s come between me and those I love and has distracted me from those who are most important to me.  I regret that very much and am devoted to making amends for it.

If I had known how much work doing everything would be, I would never have done it.  It’s a trap, really.  Some many different little tasks and each one within my skill-set to do (except for the custom art).  And since I was able to do it myself, why not do it myself and save money.  But that’s where the trap is: there are so many of those tasks, it’s actually quite overwhelming.  But I did it.

It’s been such a large part of my life for the past nine years that I’m sure that life will seem strange without it.  But at the same time, I have to say that I am eager to be away from it.  I have other projects I want to work, other things to give my imagination and energy.  And the same tenacity that has kept me focused on finishing Ellis has forced me to ignore other things that I haven’t wanted to ignore.  So here’s to opening a door onto a new room of my life.

But at the same time, I’m not actually done.  I have some follow-up stuff to do -- write and adventure, design a website, make and buy ads, sell the darn books....

So that’s where things are.  Though, whatever else I might be feeling or thinking, I feel so accomplished, so proud.
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November 2013

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