My Favorite Blogs: Dice Monkey
I’ve decided that while my gaming is on a current downturn, I’ll occasionally talk about certain blogs on my blogroll. By no means, do I intend to suggest that other blogs are better than the rest. Rather, these posts are about blogs that I follow for reasons I can clearly articulate to myself. Simply put: They’re being written about because I know how to say what I like about them.
Today I’m going to talk about Dice Monkey, by Mark and Bridget Meredith. Their game range is pretty broad – stretching from Mouse Guard to Star Wars D6 – but despite Mark’s long history with these kinds of games, is that he seems to maintain a youthful vitality that prevents his writing from becoming too obscure or inaccessible. His style is always punchy and never long-winded. He doesn’t ramble, as many grognards are wont to do, and if I recall correctly he attributes the cleanliness of his prose to his wife Bridget, who seems to be the editor of the posts.
Bridget declares that she has less history with roleplaying than Mark, but my observation that her infrequent posts always have a fresh look at things, such as how the natural features of the outside world can inspire GM descriptions. She also writes the “Recipes of the Forgotten Realms”. I’m the resident cook in my household – a kitchen dilettante, if you will – and with dishes like Carrion Crawler Chili Colorado, they make great choices for those who believe that serving Jell-O as “Gelatinous Cube” at a D&D potluck stopped being clever in the 80s.
The most recent posts seem to indicate an awareness of player/GM relationships, such as in My Players Just Don’t Care, which discusses how a DM can get more invested in the salient aspects – as manifest in recaps, and in-world exposition – of the campaign than the players. Another post, A Conversation with a New Gamer: Player/GM Trust, highlights how player/GM trust is the component which distinguishes paper RPGs from their MMO descendants, which use hard-coded mechanics to replace trust. Posts like these make me wonder if Mark has a psychology background like I do.
While Dice Monkey isn’t the only blog out there to make you stop and think about how you run and play in a game, Mark and Bridget are observant fellows who keep looking at games with alert eyes, regardless of whether they draw inspiration from night clubs or are evaluating the role of swear words in fantastical settings.