The Words of Whipstache
(or “A Man Sans A Plan Began A Stanza Bonanza”)
I know what you’re thinking. “Do we really need another RPG blog? Aren’t there enough people on the internet talking about digital design? What could this blog possibly offer that I can’t find elsewhere?”
I’m glad you asked, intrepid internet explorer. (Not that Internet Explorer.)
The short answer is… me.
I’m not conceited enough to think that anyone needs my input or insights. I honestly have no idea if anyone even wants to read what I might write in this space. But, here’s what I’m certain of: everyone has a story to tell. This just happens to be the space where I’m going to tell mine.
What you can expect from me if you read this blog
- RPG Content: I will write about tabletop roleplaying games. One of my primary reasons for creating this space is to serve as a depository for my thoughts on being a game master, worldbuilder, cartographer, and game designer. I’ll offer advice, tell about my experiences, and try to analyze what does and doesn’t work, both in theory and in practice. Oh, and there will be lots of maps.
- Digital Art & Design Content: I will write about creating graphics, illustrations, websites, and books. Much of my freelance design work relates to roleplaying games… or is at least RPG-adjacent. Some of it isn’t. I’ve had a number of people ask me about my process for various design projects I’ve done, so you’ll get some of that. I’ve also been doing more analog illustration work just for fun (and by “more” I mean “more than the zero I was previously doing”). Did I mention maps?
- Storytelling Content: A wise man (or was it “wise guy”?) once said in an introductory blog post, “everyone has a story to tell.” I want to help people tell their stories. I want to help you tell your story. I promise that if you read this blog for any length of time you will find something that will make you a better storyteller, money-back guarantee. Seriously, though, if you are looking to be a better storyteller (that is: writer, public speaker, salesman, designer, artist, communicator, etc.) and you can’t find something useful on this blog, email me. Maybe I can help you with something more specific, or maybe I need to change my approach, or (most likely) you have something to teach me.
- Giveaways: I really love giving things away. Hang out with me and you’ll have a chance to win all sorts of cool stuff, especially books and dice. And probably maps.
What I expect from you if you read this blog
- Conversation: I don’t expect you to converse with me, necessarily, though I absolutely welcome it. However, if you read something in this space that strikes a chord or sparks an idea or challenges a long-held notion or just generally makes you think, I expect you to talk about it with someone.
- Respectfulness: Again, I’m not strictly referring to myself here. If you choose to interact with anyone on this site, I expect you to be respectful. I expect you to be kind and generous and to give others the benefit of the doubt. If that seems unfair or demanding, let’s chat privately.
Just to reiterate, the underlying premise of everything I put on this site is that (say it with me) everyone has a story to tell. One of my favorite authors, philosopher Richard Kearney writes in his book On Stories,
“Storytelling invites us to become not just agents of our own lives, but narrators and readers as well. It shows us that the untold life is not worth living. There will always be someone there to say, ‘tell me a story’, and someone there to respond. Were this not so, we would no longer be fully human… While food makes us live, stories are what make our lives worth living.”
Kearney writes about how exchanging stories gives us access to something he calls “narrative sympathy”:
“If we possess narrative sympathy—enabling us to see the world from other’s point of view—we cannot kill. If we do not, we cannot love.”
I desperately believe that the world’s problems can be solved over a brewed beverage: coffee/tea or beer. (Feel free to expand that to include distilled beverages as well.) If we sat and listened to each other’s stories, we would begin to see that we’re not all as different as we often feel.
Whether you’re here because you like RPGs or digital design or maps, I invite you to walk with me for a while. Let’s see if, along the way, we don’t find ways to tell better stories.