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Mortal Engines (December 22, 2018)

Sunday, 28 January 2018

SIX OF THE BEST: City Of Iron / Necrotic Gnome Productions

The Weird That Befell Drigbolton - by Gavin Norman and Greg Gorgonmilk,
with art by Andrew Walter, and cartography by Kelvin Green -
is an adventure for Necrotic Gnome Press's campaign setting Dolmenwood

I first encountered Gavin Norman through his old school gaming blog, City Of Iron, but at the end of last year he migrated his blogging to Necrotic Gnome Productions. This new blog focuses on his publishing of material specialising in "specialising in flesh-warping, dank fungi, neural manipulation, mossy forests, forbidden rituals, fairy kingdoms, crystal resonance, and lost pathways".

While both blog still remain online, Gavin now only updates Necrotic Gnome Productions.


(1) How long have been blogging, and how’d you get into it in the first place?

My first ever blog post was in May 2010, so getting on for eight years. Wow, how time has flown! 

Dredging back through the mists of memory, I recall my first adventures in writing online were in the form of a wiki. At the time, I was running a campaign with the True 20 rules and attempting to do a comprehensive rewrite of the game's magic system, which I felt was lacking.

This was a huge effort and was never completed, but updating my wiki with new and modified content gave me a taste for writing and publishing online.

I think what appealed to me about it was the combination of having an impetus to write things up properly for other people to read (i.e. not just as rough notes on scrap paper) and the possibility of getting feedback from other RPG nerds.

My True 20 campaign and the house rules wiki died out, but I soon after got the idea of moving over to a blog for my next campaign. That campaign also died out pretty quickly, but the blog had a life of its own by then and lived on.

(2) What do you blog about, and how frequently do you post?

I love writing gaming material (adventures, rule books, supplements, settings, etc), so my blog focuses on that.

My passion is old-school D&D, especially B/X, and I have penchants for fairy tales, weird fantasy, musty old forests, bio-horror, and anything relating to magic-users (especially new spells... I love new spells!).

My posts take two forms. Firstly, posts of actual gameable content - new spells, house rules, monsters, and so on. Secondly, posts about the process of writing and publishing - updates on how different projects are progressing, ideas I have for new projects, previews of artwork or layout, etc.

I find the latter type of post helps me to keep up the pace with the different projects that I have on the go and is a really useful way to get feedback from other people.

As to my frequency of posting: on average, I guess I seem to make about a post a week. I'm not a super prolific blogger, but have kept going pretty consistently over the years. Looking back, I don't see a single month in my blog's history where I didn't make at least one post.

(3) How does your blog stand out from all the rest?

One thing I can say for certain is that it contains the greatest number of vivimancer (bio-sorcerer) spells of any known blog! Other than that, I dunno... I don't harbour any illusions of world-shattering originality!

The Complete Vivimancer is just one of the many products available
from Necrotic Gnome Publications on RPGNow.com

(4) What’s the best (and worst) thing about blogging?

The best thing has got to be the feeling of community and the opportunity to get feedback on one's ideas. It used to be about discussion, as well, but I find that's moved more to G+, in recent years.

The worst thing about blogging...? I honestly can't think of anything. Blogging has always been purely a hobby for me - an activity that I do when I have free time and feel like it. No pressure whatsoever.

(5) Do you have any self-imposed rules (or guidelines) for your blog?

I stick strictly on topic - RPGs and (science) fantasy. (That goes for my G+ posts as well.) Lots of people seem to have an interest in discussing political, social, or "OSR scene" issues mixed in with their gaming, but I keep the two arenas firmly separated. There have certainly been times, in the past, where I've been tempted to comment on something or other, but I've always thought twice about it and decided not to.

(I'm not trying to sound holier-than-thou here, by the way, this is mainly about my own mental health -- I find fantasy and devoting time to hobbies very healthy and getting involved in online drama very unhealthy.)

Other than that, I don't have any kind of posting schedule or rules that I stick to. I simply post when I have something to share.

(6) Name one blog everyone should be reading (other than your own).

Bryce Lynch's ten foot pole. An amazing resource for old-school adventure recommendations. I find Bryce's reviews super insightful. As a budding writer/publisher of adventures, his comments on design philosophy are extremely useful. He's reviewed a few of my own publications, in the past, and his constructive criticism was always on-point and has very much inspired me to do better in the future.

Gavin's Dolmenwood campaign setting even has its own 'zine, Wormskin.

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