It may be well over a year since my last Six Of The Best interview feature, but I've just caught up with Australian artist Chris Tamm of Elfmaids & Octopi, the long-running gaming blog, to discuss his take on blogging.
(1) How long have been blogging, and how’d you get into it in the first place?
Since September 6, 2012. I started when bedridden, and I got back into gaming. I have had other blogs, Flickr used to be conversational, and Myspace died. I get more hits from this than anything else I ever did and enjoy the practice of writing and brainstorming. My other major field of online content is my art which overlaps graffiti, DIY publishing and photography.
(2) What do you blog about, and how frequently do you post?
Mostly old school versions of Dungeons & Dragons (zero editions as I call them now), Basic Roleplaying (BRP), and TSR's Marvel Super Heroes. I’m not into new systems for the sake of it. Mostly I do d100 tables to make gaming in my sandbox run smoother when players run off the rails. I try to post daily depending on work and other commitment. When I get more hits and comments I tend to get encouraged to do more.
I mostly run my Exile Island setting but create lots of genre pieces and micro settings based on tables, like my Australian army vs Gygax dungeons, Hell, my Dungeon Zones, Cthulhu Metropolis, historical settings, my Roadwar BRP game, and my SF setting which spans 30 thousand years and the same players can live through it all. Xor and Planet Psychon are two of my bigger projects which seem to have fans.
I do some maps and graphics occasionally too.
I have been getting into 1/72 scale minis, and game theory and issues a bit. I hope to start presenting some of my older creations from the '80s as my new house means I can access my stuff better.
(3) How does your blog stand out from all the rest?
I like to think I am imaginative and can write encounters and details in list form. I have been a film set dresser and used to design backgrounds for artists for comic books (yeah, I chose Batman’s furniture in a comic once).
My stuff is slightly nasty and adult. As people complain I have made it more obvious. Most of this nastiness comes from history, so my Shadelport setting is much informed by history of vice in London since Roman times. I can do family friendly, and work occupationally with kids and intro-players so I’m happy to tone it down on occasion. Lots of my players use games to vent from their polite work lives so they like horrible settings.
(4) What’s the best (and worst) thing about blogging?
I am saddened by the seeming decline of blogosphere sometimes as I am often inspired by other blogs. I guess seasonal shifts occur, it seems busy when it's winter in northern hemisphere. Sometimes a comment I make turns into a whole blog. Some of my projects are research-based and require homework which is harder than stuff that flows out of me like a like large hot vindaloo.
Most bloggers are great and inspire me but I have been trolled by moralist and people who think racism and sexism to women are not real things. I have had a few fights with my peers. As for people who make vicious personal attacks they just close the door for me forever. I guess meeting gamers in real life can be similar. Seems mostly not needed.
Despite all this blogging has been a great way to keep my imagination going, especially when my mobility is poor from my arthritis, bone deformities, and other problems.
I’m always up for collaborations and happy to make content for other people. I love suggestions and love when other bloggers use my stuff or write extra content that works with it.
(5) Do you have any self-imposed rules (or guidelines) for your blog?
I live by the cyberpunk maxim "How Fast? How Dense?". I would rather go for quantity over quality. It is more important to get ideas out than fuss over minutiae.
I would like to edit up some professional products but I’m a terrible editor of my own work.
I can source art and do layouts but the time commitment is very different to just blogging. My blogs are pretty much first drafts and I make a few mistakes. Producing work at professional standard takes ten times longer. I'm more about creative than utility. I welcome correction in Australian English (and I get mixed up with USA and UK English) but it comes off better when suggested as help rather than trolling me.
(6) Name one blog everyone should be reading (other than your own).
Aeons & Augauries. Very nice guy, his stuff works very well with my own content (so read it).
|A "five minute map" of Puffin Island, by Chris|