Samurai Swan Song: A “Seven Samurai”-Inspired “Fiasco”


This playset is meant to create a Fiasco inspired by, or at least paying homage to, the classic story of the Seven Samurai. The players depict Samurai protecting a village from a bandit attack, though they may be little better than thieves themselves. A few more supernatural options have been included towards the ‘6’ roles, though they can easily be avoided if the playgroup decides they want to eschew such influences.

A Novel Plan


I have a number of completed novels, but right now one of them stands out to me and my helpful coterie of alpha readers as the most polished and ready for publication. In this article, I discuss my goals, doubts, and options for what to do with my finished novel, Roland’s Legion.

Epic Changes: Converting from “Pathfinder” to “Marvel Heroic Roleplaying”

As our Pathfinder game progressed through 18 months, 75+ adventures, and nearly 20 levels of play it was increasingly apparent that we had captured lightning in a bottle. Despite the pressures of adulthood, careers, significant others and children in some ways our play group of nearly two decades had just started to hit its stride. Thanks to our DM, the world was teeming with possibility, fantastically developed, and linked together with a metaplot that we had been organically and naturally unraveling since day one. Meanwhile, each player had reached a synthesis of Pathfinder-style combat potency and crafting believable personalities for well-rounded three dimensional play. There was only one problem: Pathfinder itself.

Pain of Publication: Ninja Testing

Having successfully been a Guest GM before and having been inspired by excellent posts on using Marvel to power a fantasy-based system, I decided to try something odd. I sensed my normally tireless DM was getting burned out in Pathfinder, so I offered to take over for a few adventures. The group was pretty positive about a change of pace, but there was a lot of surprise when I said I was going to run the same characters, the same world, in campaign continuity with a different system.

Pain of Publication: Writing to Revise

Even though revisions are a pain in the ass, there’s a feeling of wizardry when you combine two throwaway characters into one quirky minor character or change a few proper nouns around to create foreshadowing. It almost feels like cheating. Knowing that revisions will be made should inform how you write a draft. I have learned to prioritize certain aspects of writing in my first draft and give other considerations lower priority.

Review: “Alloy of Law”

With the same magic system firmly in place, Sanderson moves out of medieval stasis into a Wild West/ Industrial Revolution era in a novel that smartly extrapolates a world’s progression even if it fails to capture the grand scope of the original.

Pain of Publication: Book Review of “Low Town”

Low Town is a rollicking mash up of two great genres: noir and fantasy. The author skillfully weaves a first person narrative in a way that vibrantly develops the setting into a living, breathing, festering, and foul supporting character unto itself.

The Pain of Publication III: Making the Most of your Work Sessions

The reality for most aspiring authors is that their writing has to give way to the realities of a full life outside of it. Most of the time, that means squeezing in time in between your job that pays you and other life activities. However, sometimes you can get lucky and have the opportunity to spend a large dedicated chunk of time writing without work getting in the way.

The Pain of Publication: Revising and Cutting

My first installment detailed my past attempt to get published. This article is going to detail the last steps I am taking prior to preparing another deluge of query letters.

The Pain of Publication: How I Got to Where I Am

The Pain of Publication is a journey through the process of novel publication. I emphasize, again, that this is a process. I can offer no advice on what works, because nothing has for me, but what I can do, is discuss my regular activity related to this subject. This column’s focus will range from the obvious (getting an agent), to related (how do I make my novel worth publishing), and all the way through tangential subject matters (I have not yet fathomed what those might be).

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