Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I'm smiling, because one of my online players, Maximillian, is worried about my level of ennui:

"I get the feeling, possibly without reason, that your ennui level as a DM has gotten a bit high, and it begs a question that I have been meaning to ask you for quite some time: Why do you DM? I know that you couldn't possibly not, but what is the kernel of enjoyment that excites you?"

No doubt, you write a post about ennui, someone is going to ask if you're feeling it.  Well, gentle reader, let me try to explain a little about my life these days.

Just recently, I've cracked this whole issue of hex generation in a way that, at least, defines how it can be done, in that its possible to break down an existing map of anywhere (say, Greyhawk, or even the Outdoor Survival board) in a completely random fashion and get good and interesting results.  I have a book on the market that is doing well, has FIVE STARS on the site where I published it and I'm hearing back from people every day that they love the thing.  I'd love to get more people writing stuff like this review here, but so far, a spectacular return, while sales are nicely in 3-figure country.  The video on the weekend was massively fun to make and I can hardly restrain myself from making others about my combat system and other mapmaking and how the trade  system works, etcetera.  I'm so damn busy with things to build and draw and make I can't even begin to start hammering them into the wiki I started a few months ago, because I'm too excited right now about what's NEW to wiki about what's old.  I have two offline campaigns that take up every week, full of excited, thrilled people who would rather have me pun for them rather than do anything else.  I'm trying to find the time to write another book that I laughably think will be ready in August (who the hell knows) that I laughably fantasize will redefine D&D in our time (what the hell, you've got to dream), and about three other books on the hopper I can't imagine getting to until this last one is done - including a sketchy idea of a sequel to Pete's Garage.  The blog numbers here are going right through the roof and every week I get someone writing a comment (sometimes on a post that's three or four years old) about how my blog has changed their complete conception of the game.  I even have my very own clique of hating motherfuckers who prove with every post that however unimportant I am, they can't stop talking about me.

How am I?  I'm grand, thank you very much.  How are you?

About the only thing I find frustrating, the only thing that contributes to my ennui, as it were, is that I have to sacrifice 47 hours a week in order to pay for it all.  What I really need is an internet crowdsourcing proposal that states, "I need $1,248,533 and 69 cents - exactly - to ensure I never need work at anything but my world and writing for the rest of my life ..."   I'll call it 'Project Alexis.'  Sounds as believable, realistic and productive as 95% of the ridiculous crowd-sourcing proposals that are all the rage now.

Let me see, what the hell is it that excites me?  Why do I do this?

"... How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty; in form and moving, how express and admirable; in action, how like an angel ... in apprehension, how like a god?"

I lack Hamlet's self-destructive, down-in-the-mind tendencies these days; Hamlet's just an infant, just eighteen, and like any 18-year-old confused and concerned with death and meaning and such an amount of crap that, come 30 years later, one ceases to worry over.  I began writing, I embraced D&D, and all that, because I loved more than any other single feature the possibility of moving my hand over my creation and casting into it LIFE.  I have had apprehensions, no different I think than any other DM, but as time has gone on and wisdom has been collected upon wisdom in my mind and in my heart, I have woken upon many mornings to invest my computer with the very breath of the thing I have sought to make live.  And there are those who come to this blog, who express their opinions, who have hated me for it, who have despised me for believing it, and who have anxiously asked how to have the same thing happen for them.

It it not merely that I could possibly 'not' play and design this game ... it is that playing and designing this game has been breath and blood for me.  It is atman.  It is the food upon which I dine, which excels and nourishes this brain that will never stop thinking nor shouting on what is possible, what must be tried and what can be achieved.

Ennui is when you feel you should be doing something other than what you are doing right now.  I'm not lost; I'm enraptured.  I am happy.


YagamiFire said...

Preach it.

I was asked the other day how I "find the time to do work so much on D&D stuff"...

Hah! 'Work' is what I do 40 hours a week at Sprint...'work' doesn't enter the equation when it comes to D&D...especially nowadays when I've come to embrace the best parts of the game.

jbeltman said...


you say that you have two offline campaigns. I was wondering if they are both adventuring on the same world? i.e. Can the actions of one group affect the other group, and vice versa?



Alexis Smolensk said...

They are in the same world, and yes they can.

One has land in Transylvania, and is participating in a quest of their own making in the Tatra Mountains between Galicia and Slovakia.

The other is exploring the wilderness west of Korca, in Albania.

Technically, the third party I have, the online party that is in hiatus, is ALSO in the same world, on the island of Zakynthos in Western Greece.

joe said...

I have finished and reviewed your book.

I am golf-clapping.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The straightforward, honest opinion was enjoyed and appreciated by me.

I'll link it here for others.

All that matters to me is that you "burned" through the pages.

joe said...

I made a point of listening to records while I read, and thus I would know how long I had been reading by how many times I had to flip the wax.

I did enjoy it, and look forward to your next endeavor.