Enough with the Letter Blog!

Further discussion can go here. Yes, I'm still accepting a couple more players.

Postscripts and Commentary

I'm putting down thoughts offline on the letter game, trying to allow space for comments and other intro's. More to come...

written in the margins by: arref
at March 18, 2002 07:08 PM

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This, like most things I do, is an experiment. I never really thought of myself as being that much into non-commitment, but I'm finding myself strangely reluctant to choosing any certain path. There's a certain side of me that wants the opportunity to choose what's most fun at the time. I suppose this is fairly normal. I'm not so much into stability as I'm into keeping my possibilities open (and that means having a fairly stable background so the chaos doesn't infect it and ruin your opportunity.) What this really has to do with is that I'm trying to change my template. Let's see if it works.

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

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Follow-Up to Letter Blog

I have enough interest that I will start definitely designing something. Watch this space for more details after the weekend... thanks, guys!

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

I vote for something ooky and humorous.

waittaminute...I don't have nearly the time for this.




written in the margins by: arref
at March 10, 2002 03:24 PM

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In Other News...

I'm terribly jealous and want to do a letter-game style blog. Anyone up for it?

(I've got plots. I've got settings. I've got time...for now.)

PS: Jvstin, I've got lots of interesting powers correspondence between us that says it's true. [grinning]

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

my gosh, how could you do yet another game?

oh, right... letter game style.

mmmmmm (eyes itSoG)

written in the margins by: arref
at March 8, 2002 09:06 PM

Can I handle another writing project?

Mmmmm, yes. Dammit.

written in the margins by: Ginger
at March 8, 2002 09:17 PM


written in the margins by: Jvstin
at March 9, 2002 07:36 AM

Okay, I'm very interested, myself... but couldn't start until after April 6th.

written in the margins by: Liz T
at March 11, 2002 05:06 PM

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It's That Time Again...

Time for getting down to business and writing this year's entry for the Courts of Chaos Con Fiction Booklet.

In the meantime, I'd like to highlight Arref's Amber Musing on Metamingling.

Flat out, this has got to be one of my favourite essays of all time in regards to Amber. It's not (just) the subject: it's the conclusion. I'm linking to it as an essential resource the next time I update my links (should be sooner rather than later, really) and keeping a copy for myself.

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

Why, thank you, Meera.
And I like your title better than mine.

written in the margins by: Arref Mak
at April 16, 2002 12:12 PM

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Journal Writing

OK, so imagine you're an obsessive Amber freak who wants to get a ton of points for your diary, right?

You might try The Journaling Script for it.

If I were playing in any campaigns, I'd consider it. Hey, want to run a fabulous PBeM I can join?

BTW: Had fun with the D&D Stats Generator today. Amusing, but I don't like how "Intelligence" was weighted. [sigh]

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

Damn it. Here I was trying to talk myself OUT of doing an adventure journal for the D&D game I'm in, and you go and post this. :)

written in the margins by: Julie
at January 11, 2002 10:13 AM

The only thing it doesn't seem to have that I really want is the ability to do "imaginary dates" ... but, it doesn't look like it'd be particularly hard to patch in... or just ignore dates entirely and set it up for numbered entries.

Otherwise, I'm feeling squeezed by all the "anti-obscenity" rules on services that end up being "self-censorship" when they don't need to be...

written in the margins by: MT Fierce
at January 11, 2002 12:16 PM

Oh no, I don't think you have any obsessive Amber freaks reading these pages. No way.

written in the margins by: jenn
at January 11, 2002 03:15 PM

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Letter Blog Options

As most people know, I am open to both children and adult level gaming, with no knowledge of the steps in-between... I have assumed, for the beginning, that we'll be doing something with aspects of Amber.

Julia wrote a missive on what the general idea of Letter Games are, including a good link to further information.

I, myself, encourage the following:

1) I will host the blog. Heck, I'm already responsible for nine or ten of the things... each player will be given username and password access to connect to the blog. It just makes it easier (IMO) to have everything available on one site. (Details would also include the character name as category, and I'd do site design based on thematic details, with players' commentary available.)

2) I will take on moderation responsibilities, including starting the scenario, but otherwise will relinquish any real authority outside any necessary details in regards to the blog or definition questions and/or being available for inspiration.

3) Thematics: Level One:

These would be the questions I'd ask:
1) Do you want to do a children's level or an adult level game?

Differences will be what I expect and provide in the way of letters on my own... as well as the thematic aspect.

2) Would you prefer a(n):
With the note that these could be used in either a children's-perspective or an adult-perspective game...

exploratory game?

The theme would regard each character as an "explorer" of some type, possibly dealing with different cultures, different environmental aspects, with potential for plot in conflict with these items.

My current thought for this theme is the idea of a post-apocalyptic Amber, wherein 'protected children' of the court(s) are thrust into discovering what their world is now like... including who is in power, and where.

political game?

The theme would regard mostly interaction between people of a singular political nature, in conflict with those who do not share it... can certainly include themes where one's faith in their politics is questioned.

My current idea here is actually to have each of the players be spies for an 'underground' movement, of which the other players are part of their very close-knit 'cell.' Probably with aspects of religious fervor between Unicorn and Serpent.

personal horror?

This suggests a lot more work on the players' parts to describe how the events portrayed begin to work their subtle (or not so) havoc on the characters. It is not incompatible with other themes, but if someone chose this first, I would put a lot more emphasis on the horror and potentially "supernatural" aspects of the game.

I have about a dozen ideas for this, but the one that's "winning out" is kind of a backwards-scenario where the players explain how they got into a "trapped" situation... maybe a debriefing if they were successful, maybe a talk in Tir-Na with their ghosts, if they were not.

combination of any?


something completely different that you're going to suggest?

4) Thematics: Level Two

Do you want characters to be created on a point-basis?

This would suggest that we'd choose a point value (somewhere between 100 and 300 depending on the scenario) and build characters (potentially hosted on the site again) so that we're aware of everyone's potential... Or not: we can develop and discover powers within the game but on a more holistic basis.


Do you want characters to be reviewed on a group-consensus basis?

Characters to be submitted to the group as a whole, and accepted on the whole so that we build group-confidence in who we're writing to, and what our relationships are with them. In that case, I'd probably develop a small mailing list to go along with it, and we'd accept new players only after this observation.


This is in part a call for players. Due to the stylistic nature of the game, one need not respond "every day," although my preference would be two letters a month (in real time.) If you're at all interested, please let me know what your preferences would be and we'll take timing and degree-of-interest considerations into account.

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

1) Do you want to do a children's level or an adult level game?

Think adult

Would prefer a exploration of personal trial/horror?

except that I don't know how the 'letter' element would work then...I'll think on it. I see little sparks being sent back and forth, dancing patterns on a wall or piece of parchment.

characters to be created on a point-basis, but I admire the idea of group think-tank also. in fact, the blog could have a 'start-up' category for brainstorming.

written in the margins by: Arref
at March 11, 2002 02:20 PM

This would be fairly new territory for me, and I have no preconceptions. Whatever format/parameters you come up with I can work into. Julia's post went a long way to explaining the 'letter game' concept. I am thinking I want to drag Liz into this, perhaps as a sibling or fellow traveler who would be in the same space as my character (with GM approval, of course...) Then I would have an excuse to talk to Liz more often (grin)...

I am going to reread my Griffon and Sabine books now - I have to pick up the 4th book, anyway...

Certainly 2 to 4 posts a month sounds eminently do-able..

(What do you think, Liz? Wanna play? I am thinking I would run my Aoife character... or something similar...)

written in the margins by: jenn
at March 11, 2002 08:03 PM

Oh, I would certainly approve of character "teams." The LintKing and I wanted to join Astrid's as such a team... but as the phrase has been circulating around, we had a bad case of "butt glue."

written in the margins by: MT Fierce
at March 11, 2002 09:00 PM

Liz would be happy to do the team thing, and can be counted on to follow through.

written in the margins by: Liz T
at March 12, 2002 07:22 PM

I actually had considered and thought about joining one of the more venerable letter games, Cave of Sleepers, some time ago...but the game seems to have frozen in time again, or worse. So I could just have this inhabit the ecological niche I was carving for Astrid's game. :grin:

written in the margins by: Jvstin
at March 12, 2002 08:35 PM

You'd be more than welcome... so post some opinions! [grin]

written in the margins by: MT Fierce
at March 12, 2002 08:43 PM

adult game,
personal horror, religious,
character creation open (no points)
with group dialogue....

that's my opinion.

written in the margins by: a.e. naughtie
at March 13, 2002 01:17 AM

I was attacked by a PC wanting out of my head yesterday while waiting for Blogger to get its head back on straight.

I'm ready to group discuss my ideas.

written in the margins by: Arref
at March 13, 2002 06:43 AM

To answer the questions...

1. Adult. I do better with such than with young protagonists.

Exploratory with a bit of a horror element thrown in would work for me--that postapocalyptic amber for example. I'm sure that other genres will blend in.

I'm agnostic on points. Considering the format, medium and the interested parties thus far, I don't see it a big deal either way. I do think we should get a feel for each other's PCs though...it would give an extra bit of cohesion to the mix.

As far as your comment, Arref, on letters and personal horror, I do think it can work. I don't have a copy, but there is an epistolary game that just came out called De Profundis, which is basically a Lovecraftian horror game where the players literally mail their turns to each other, in a feel very much like some of the stories.

written in the margins by: Jvstin
at March 13, 2002 12:44 PM

I think I've got something developed everyone will like. I'll have more information later...very busy right now!

written in the margins by: MT Fierce
at March 13, 2002 03:08 PM

If the invitation is open, I would like to join.

written in the margins by: James
at March 13, 2002 05:58 PM

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Mirror, Mirror...

By the way, yes, I've heard the "Meera, Meera, on the wall..." jokes. In fact, I've come up with a variety of sarcastic and sweet responses. [grinning]

You know, when my folks were naming me (after my deceased grandfather), my dad was sure he had come up with a name with which no one could pun. Of course, he had fairly good diction, so he pronounced "Mirror," without any slurring. His relatives, however, caught on fairly quickly.

Thanks to Arref, I was reminded to check back on Chimera's stuff today.

GM's Reflections for Mirror, Mirror is now available. I'm enthusiastically looking forward to what happens next!

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

Your Grandad was named Meera?

written in the margins by: jenn
at March 2, 2002 06:05 PM

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Just a plug for Doyce's "Writing in the Dark"
novel-writing support blog. I included a link to it, as I'm involved.
{Thanks, Doyce!}

If you're still considering href="http://www.nanowrimo.com/">"it", your time is running out.
If you think you want to, join. There's no prizes for 'winning'
(writing all 50,000 words) and no shame in 'losing' (writing 49,999 or

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

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New Category

I am adding two new categories to this weblog:

ENEMIES, which will refer to anything from my "To My Enemy's Enemies" campaign in design (and then someday in progress)


GAME DESIGN, which will be kind of a sub-category of "brilliant ideas" in that it will include thoughts on Amber game design.

Since I'm mentioning them, I might as well let you know what the other categories are...

FLUFF, PURE FLUFF is exactly that. Strangeness, and totally off-the-wall things go here. Read for a laugh.

BRILLIANT IDEAS is a bunch of stuff that's pure "idea fodder" for Amber, or things I need to do that would otherwise be brilliant. No false modesty here!

MEANDERINGS AND MUTTERINGS is kind of like Fluff, except that they're a little more developed, and a little more kind of a commentary catch-all.

FtF GAMES is everything I've developed for face-to-face games, and if I join any, stuff relevant to that will go there.

ADVERTISEMENTS, LINKS, UPDATES for when I update my link list, or need to point people to a new PBeM, or just a catchall for web-page related stuff.

CONVENTIONS AND CON GAMES should be fairly obvious. A lot of my stuff for ACNW 2001 is in there, including up-to-the-con nervousness and the post-con review.

PBeM GAMES again, for PBeM games I'm involved in, either running or playing.

CHARACTERS for insights into Elders, characters I've played or GM'd, things like that.

So now you know.

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

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One other thing!

Rey is looking to start a new href="http://www.gozerian.com/games/">Amber PBeM. Go look at it.
Rey is one of those GMs that starts out by sounding fairly easy,
because he's only measured you for the vise. It's the later sessions
that he starts turning the screws. [By then, you love it.]

Anyway, from a personal standpoint, I really appreciated Rey because
he has a style that is really easy to "get in to," in the sense that
many Amber GMs (myself included) have so much wrapped up in their
worlds that it's like learning a foreign language to create a
character. He's also been the GM of my latest favourite character
(Damascus) and he's got a wicked sense of humour. So go tell him to
run it, and go offer to play!

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

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Other Gaming Stuff

So, I run my current PBeM on The Phoenyx and they have a funky little thing called a TWiki... I am already updating a whole bunch of blogs, but since I was mentioned a number of times over there, I figured it was worth putting together a more "generic" RPG page over there. It's an interesting technology, but it's hard to wrap my head around after the relatively straightforward stuff I'm using here...

Anyway, if you're interested, here's the link:


...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

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While running across some of Doyce's logs, I decided it was ample time to come back to this. Part of it is because while I'm at my dad's system I have to navigate the firewalls... something about getting past the Third Veil of cookies.

I did eventually write my Flora/Llewella story as a snippet for SWtE. Sometime soon I plan on revising my Amber page completely again and will put up some of my fiction. That requires organization, and that muse of mine is considering converting to Discordianism.

the Glitter and the Glamour

So I'm going to start with a blog over at the PBeM site for my GM's notes and the like. I'm writing a lot of stuff off-line so that I can decide what's spoiler and what's not. I expect a lot of it would be spoiler only if you knew how I thought, like if I mention a certain book, I'm definitely including something from that book (an idea, a passing phrase) that works in my twisted mind.

Of course, there was the game where I insisted it was obvious who the NPC was and he wasn't to be trusted because his name was "Brae Mouche." From Skara-Brae... Scaramouche. He was the Queen's fool sent to lead them astray. But no, the players didn't see through it. So maybe I don't have any problem there.

I have some fabulous players already that are injecting the fun back into the game. Frankly I think the major problem is that I'm already starting to look at some of the messages and saying, "I don't want to respond to that right now." I need to focus. It could be any one or a combination of the things happening recently, from fighting off my dad's cold, or the emotional teetertotter I've been on, or just a matter of an erratic sleep schedule. I'm trying to get back to them so that it isn't overwhelming, but the truth is, I don't need to be brilliant in my response. I need to tell the players they're doing a great job, but I'm looking for players who don't need a GM all the time. So I'll stay out of my overachiever GM mode and not burn out.

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

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RFC - request for comments?

So, while I'm playing around with the base pages for "Enemies," I sent out to a handful of people a request for comments on one of my endeavours... an "Amber Quick Start" guide.

Right now I'm 85% happy with it. The folks who have responded have been fairly happy with it, too. It builds off the LintKing's Amber Rules write-up, and from there I do a lot of "covering the basics." It might need more vocabulary, definitely different art placement, and less self-referential commentary.

If you're interested in making comments on it, this is the current document in .PDF format. Any suggestions would be appreciated: I'd like to get a little feedback on it before I publish it to my main Amber pages.

It is necessarily an unofficial release, and probably violates something, but the point of it is to make it easy for people to run Amber games at gaming conventions, to get people involved quickly and make the terminology fairly non-threatening. I want new blood in Amber. So to speak.

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

Awesome first impression. I'm liking the fanciful, yet threatening uni-mer-eagle on the 'cover'.


More comments coming on my shadowthriller page.

written in the margins by: Arref
at January 12, 2002 08:06 PM

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The Link List

A Look Behind-The-Scenes

Each time I go and update my Amber Campaign Links it is a learning experience. I've been maintaining the list for many years now. Some of the sites are like old friends, people who may not have
updated their Amber campaign page for years and years, but who I'd kind of miss if they were gone. ("Sins of the Fathers" from primechoice.com, for example.)

Sometimes there are more new campaigns than ones I mark with the "DEFUNCT" label and kind of file away...that hasn't been true, lately. I'm not adding many tonight compared to those I cut and paste into the "old" file where I leave all the old links for posterity. Enough to keep me from any real worry that the hobby is dying; we have our slow times, and this is one of them. At the same time, I know of at least three games starting soon, some face-to-face, some PBeM...and it's not
like I'm planning on stopping all of a sudden.

I can tell "trends" from scanning the pages, from finding new campaigns, sometimes more than even reading the main Amber list. I mentally take notes as I look through them. "This page was inspired by so-and-so's campaign. Interesting." "This person has a lot of ideas, let's keep checking up on them." I search for new powers, I sometimes look at trump art, sometimes I just want to read good campaign logs and get immersed.

It's a lot of work maintaining the pages, as one might suspect from the long spans of time I take between doing it. While I have access to programs that can tell me if the links are good, I don't have access to anything that can take a look at a page and tell me, "Is this campaign really dead?" or "What things are special about this campaign?"

There are a couple dozen (out of over 250) campaigns I really want to stick a "sucky page warning" sticker on it. I hate to say it, but for every House of Cards there's a dozen (at least) "So and so did such and such to so and so...and it was good at the time, but the reading of it is dull." There's a lot of campaigns I just want to say, "Don't waste your time on this," but you can't as a resource. As true as it may be, you're insulting the people
involved. I can at least point to my favourites (and I'll be updating that tonight as well.)

The number one and two things people have asked me to add to the site are 1) a search engine, and 2) "new" updates to the Campaign List. The first might happen someday. The second, well, I hate to say, "New" a month later when I haven't found time to update everything, so it seems fairly misleading against the purpose of it to me. Time being of the essence and all, the answer is "not yet."

I've had a couple of people offer to be my assistants in keeping the pages updated. They haven't worked out. There are a few people (ArrefMak notably) who have just been fabulous in sending me updates out of the blue. Wendi and I had a good thing going with her keeping track of Amber character pages, but it wasn't something that I could keep up with to my standards. At one point I also had an "Amber-related Personal Pages" section, where I stuck links to people who played Amber even if they didn't have any other redeeming Amber value on their site. I gave that up, too.

I have a mirror site that I can't update from this computer, which really is frustrating. I'll try again tonight.

There's still stuff I would like to do with the pages. I'd like to do more with the Powers page, more with the campaign links other than just listing them by name...but it's going to take time and coding and energy that other projects need. I know there is more for the future.

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

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Thinking of Changing the Pages

What do you think?

a banner for this page, artistic bits by Alisia Silliman

The artsy bit is by Alisia Silliman. Anything ugly is mine. [grin]

She developed this unicorn for us based on the principles of the three Patterns... neat, huh?

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

And Alisia's work makes an appearance on this facet of your almost dodecahedronic set of blogs...

I really like the graphic although I think it could stand to be a little larger (trying to keep in mind slow connections, though...its just so darned pretty.

written in the margins by: Jvstin
at February 27, 2002 08:37 AM

yeah. neat. I'm jealous!

written in the margins by: jenn
at February 27, 2002 09:41 AM

Awesome! Makes me wish I had some artistic talent other than pissing off GM's in new and creative ways...

written in the margins by: Kris
at February 27, 2002 11:24 AM

My dad says I should call it MaBarry's "Ambergris."

written in the margins by: MT Fierce
at February 27, 2002 09:14 PM

naw. not 'ambergris'

but I love the graphic, the charm of the linework and the colors are hot!

Also like the font choices you made to complement the line work of the drawing. glad you made it a bit larger for the header.

written in the margins by: Arref
at February 28, 2002 06:49 AM

Actually, I resized it to fit into the frame over here in retrospect. I really need to work on my style sheets so that everything ends up sized right.

Thanks, guys! I'm passing on all the nifty art comments to my sweetheart.

written in the margins by: MT Fierce
at February 28, 2002 08:41 AM

I see my secret artwork for "Amber on the Rocks" is getting published before it's time to be born is here, but...

Thank you everyone, I enjoy hearing from all of you and your very kind. I'm also doing freelance artwork so if anyone is looking, I trust my Foxes people...and I give all my artwork the fullest attention.

written in the margins by: Angelcake
at February 28, 2002 03:38 PM

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Today's News

Check out Chimera's Amber site redesign for All Roads Lead to Amber... also her Mirror, Mirror campaign (in development).

Look at this lady's stuff. Read some of her archive-sites for past games because what she's got is GOOD. In-depth, well-organized, and neat, besides.

Related, because some of her commentary has lead me to it, I'm making a minor debut (but not a grand opening) of my "To My Enemy's Enemies" site. It's really under development, but it's beginning to take shape... ideas appreciated.

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

Cool stuff, all.

written in the margins by: jenn
at January 23, 2002 06:37 PM

*blush* Thanks for the kind words, Meera.

And the "Enemies" site looks great so far. I really like the set-up.

written in the margins by: Julie
at January 24, 2002 12:16 PM

'All Roads Lead..'

one of the greats.


written in the margins by: arref
at January 25, 2002 06:58 PM

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Tooting the Self-Horn

I didn't want to redesign all that much, but if you scroll down my growing list of other "Amber Folk With Blogs" you might see a new section: the 'Best of MaBarry's Amber'. That's both for new folks to see some of what I've developed, and also so I remember to link to resources I've created off of my link list when I next update that... (Fairly soon: I've been working on it.)

Nominate anything you'd like if I happen to be brilliant again. [grinning]

...by the scribe Meera...
Postscripts and Commentary

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unless otherwise attributed, expect that all the material on this website is unique to Meera Barry. questions regarding further detail should be sent to her at: mtfierce at alkime dot org ...