For those of you who are RPG players or DMs, here’s a book for you. Back in April, I got the chance to line edit/copyedit X-treme Dungeon Mastery, a new book by bestselling fantasy author Tracy Hickman and his son, who is a magician in his own right, Curtis Hickman, and illustrated by Howard Tayler. It’s now available for pre-orders through the Tayler Corp. If you are familiar with Howard Tayler’s excellent webcomic Schlock Mercenary (and the books they publish from that content), you’ll already know about it. For those of you who don’t know the Taylers, well, you should.
The book is a hilarious and enlightening look at how to make your game nights more entertaining and fun for both the dungeon master and your players–including how to wow your players and bring the magic in your game to life with step-by-step instructions on a number of magic tricks. Howard’s excellent illustrations enliven the already-fun text. Here’s a taste of what you’ll learn, from the marketing copy:
Throw off your chains! Too long have your role-playing games been held in the bonds of substandard gamemasters, bound in needlessly complicated rule sets, and enslaved by players who will avoid doing anything unless it counts toward leveling up! It is time to take a stand!
Learn from the masters the ancient secrets of how to:
- Become a certified XDM and impress dates (Do-it-yourself secret initiation rites included.)
- Design epic adventures that tell stories.
- Perform magical feats to amaze your players, and even make them disappear!
- Employ actual combustion (yes, “fire,” and yes, it’s dangerous) to enhance your games!
- Hijack any game as a player, and deal with any player revolution as an XDM!
God does not play dice with the universe. We do.
Also, for those of you who are writers, you’ll be interested to know that editor Cheryl Klein–she of the Arthur Levine imprint at Scholastic, who keeps an informative blog and whose writing advice is excellent–has announced that she’s going to collect her many helpful speeches into a book. She’s decided to self-publish this book (remember how we talked about how some projects lend themselves well to self-publishing?) and is raising the money for the initial print run through Kickstart.com to make sure she has enough interest to pay for the project. I’m sure there are enough people in this world who would love to have a copy of her wisdom in a collected form (especially talks that have not been shared on her website), so if you’re interested in getting a copy of the book or just want to support the project, wander on over to Cheryl’s post explaining the details, and she’ll link you to her project page.
I’m forgetting someone. There was someone else’s book I wanted to plug here, but it’ll have to wait for another post when I remember. Instead, I will just tell you that I’m in the middle of (finally) reading The Hunger Games, and BOY is it good. I bought the book way back in February or March, but was so busy I hadn’t had a chance to read it yet. Then I took it to the seminar I taught in March to use as an example of a great opening line (I had gotten that far), and then when the seminar was over, I brought my big tote bag of books home but never got around to putting the books back on the shelves. I spent most of May and June wondering if I’d dreamed buying the book! Thankfully–because I was in the bookstore mulling over whether to buy it a week before–I’d put the book down to wait for the King’s English’s sale a few days later and then never made it back up to Salt Lake to buy it, because in preparing for my seminar last week I finally found the book at the bottom of that tote bag from March.
Whew! So now I’m reading it, and though I’ll save a real review until after I’ve actually finished it, I just have to say–she already had me tearing up in the first three chapters! It’s that good.