Monday, August 12, 2019

Dreams and Fevers Turns One!

Piece of Cake by Joy Argento

Last year on August 12, I uploaded my first post to this blog. 'Hello All!'

The passing of the year has got me feeling reflective. I'd like to take some time to consider what I've been aiming to do with this blog. I'd also like to celebrate a little and express some gratitude because this is an anniversary, but it's a delicate balance to strike between thanks and false humility, careful pride and self congratulation. Let's see how I do.

"Blogs shouldn’t be conversations. They should be writing."

As G+ was going down, I shared this blog post by Chris Warley there. It's a post about the consequences of speed, how email and texting and twitter shape the kind of discourse which occur through them. It's about how complex topics demand that we slow down to understand them. It's about the value of reading, of paying attention, of taking one's time. It's about how going too quickly, having too much data to sort through, destroys our ability to understand what we're looking at. It's also about Italian food, but I digress.

I happen to agree with Chris, but he's an English professor. He's trying to understand Adorno and Donne. I'm trying to get prepped for my game this weekend. But I think often about Chris' post and about what I'm trying to do here. Though rpgs may be less complicated than literature and critical theory, that is not to say they are simple. Thinking about them, about system and aesthetics and rulings, in a way which is useful to playing the game also requires a speed which is not as slow as academia or as fast as an exchange over twitter.

Up to this day, I think Straits of Anián is the best D&D blog out there. It hasn't updated since 2014 but I keep coming back to it. Each post, especially We are Eaten Forever, feels complete, rich, and dense. It starts with one idea, devouring spirits, and expands to rules for soul loss, rules for possessions, a warrior society, a whole bestiary of cannibal monsters. I feel like Straits' posts are worth the close attention of reading and rereading, they are slow blog posts.

I probably won't ever run something pulled straight from Straits (except those possession rules, they're great), but I won't forget it either. I find that I don't read blogs to rip things directly from them into my games but to be constantly inspired by them. I probably won't have one of Zedeck Siew's Priests of Want at my table, but I want my Devouring Priests to capture the same sort of terror.

When I write here, on Dreams and Fevers, it is Chris' slow ethos that I follow and Straits' standard of richness that I try to achieve. I want to write things which are worth rereading as much as they are worth using at the table. When I place that dedication at the end of each post I want it to be well earned. I don't think I've always lived up to that standard. I've hit 'publish' on drafts that were a bit too rough, refused to cut for concision too often, but I've gotten better too.

 At the same time, I've been stretching myself into areas where the same standards aren't as applicable. I've written a review and a one page setting, essays and a manifesto. So Dreams and Fevers has changed a little, but I try to keep the same goals as mind even as what I write changes. Richness, completeness, rereadability, slowness. I doubt that these goals will always be fit to the task at hand, but having them close to heart has never hurt.

As I go forward, I want to write more dense, Straits-esque posts while still trying new things. Again, another tricky balance to strike. Maybe I'll try going a tad faster this year, maybe even slower, the future is never easy to describe. All I know is that I'm looking forward to what comes next, be it continuity or change or something else.

Hornsgaten by Night by Eugene Jansson

So that's it, that's me. A lot has changed this year. I'm happy to have made it this far. Thank you all for coming along with me. Special thanks to those of you who have never commented or made yourselves known but just read, I know you're around somewhere and I'm grateful for your silent attention. Thank you to everyone who has put me on their blog list or linked to one of my posts, I appreciate that vote of confidence.

Finally, thank you to everyone who's been inspired by what I do here enough to start their own blog or undertake their own project. Thank you Kai Poh for writing Pipe Dream (which I'll get around to reviewing eventually). Thank you Gundobad for all the excellent posts about history and rpgs. Thank you Paperweight for Akavan. Thank you Lexi for starting A Blasted, Cratered Land, which constantly impresses me. And, finally, finally, thanks to Joe Fatula and Boris Stremlin, who have made a great impression on me.

This is a lot of thanks for just one year on just one small D&D blog, but this is how I feel. I look forward to the next year of Dreams and Fevers, I hope that you do too.

This post is dedicated to Thomas Ligotti


  1. Congratulations! Your blog was one of the first I found when I started venturing into the D&D blogosphere, and it's still one of my favorites.

    1. Thanks again! I look forward to seeing where you go with Akavan in future.

  2. Congratulations!
    I am thankful that your blog exist so I can read your articles.

    1. Thank you! I'm happy to know that you're still reading my posts.

    2. I do (although often a few days late).