NaNoWriMo

November is coming, as it does, and that means National Novel Writing Month again. I really like NaNoWriMo for what it is: a measurable, attainable, structured kick in the pants for people who want to be writers but can’t seem to write. I’ve let it kick me several times over the last decade, and I’ve actually met my goal three of the last four years. This year I’m eying it again.

I like knowing what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo by the beginning of October so I can spend the month, planning, developing characters, building the world, researching, and largely doing anything but writing. The goal is to work myself into a frenzy, wishing desperately that I could put pen to paper, so when 1 November finally arrives I can hit the ground running.

I also spend October doing whatever session planning I think I’ll need so gaming consumes as little of my precious time as reasonable. This has had mixed results.

Until recently my plan this year was to use NaNoWriMo to start a novelization of The Eight Arms and the Shadow Invasion. It wouldn’t be a play-by-play retelling of the campaign, but it would follow the same beats with mostly the same characters. I’ve been talking about this for a long time, and I got the approval of just about everybody involved in the campaign to butcher their characters appropriately.

But then we started the vigilante campaign and a opportunity arose. Now I intend to use the month to write a small rulebook for the theme mechanic discussed in that post. It’s not a novel, but it fits the “a kick in the pants to get something written” theme. I’ve also been thinking about doing something like this for years (I mean, who hasn’t?), and finally I’ve come across a topic where I see enough of a need for additional rules to be relevant. Pathfinder has an OGL like D&D has lacked for close to ten years, so I can even do it without worrying about being cease-and-desisted, and it’s a concept I’ve been missing from all D&D-like systems since it was removed between the 5E playtest and the 5e release.

By the time November rolls around I should be done with the vigilante campaign (We expect the last session to fall on Halloween, and it will be set during the equivalent of Halloween on the campaign calendar. Coincidence?!) and itching for something to do besides the Zelda campaign. There’s no word count target I would consider a “success” right now. I’m going more for the most complete thing I can have in the time frame rather than a thing of a given length, and for that I need to come up with specific goals.

This means November at DMing with Charisma will pretty much be about this rulebook, as I discuss the process, post snippets of what I’ve done, and repeatedly question what I’ve named everything. Sometime soon I’ll post a better explanation of what the specific mechanic is, and I’ll poll people to ask what themes would be interesting enough to make it in, so if you’ve ever felt Pathfinder did a poor job of letting you advance as a noble without some sort of nobility-based archetype or prestige class, watch this space.

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