Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord for sale HERE

The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord is up and available for sale through the Square Marketplace here:

That site will be active until we get set up with the fulfillment folks.  Order soon and you can still get it in time for Christmas!  We also have the crazy Everything is Dolphins, the amazing Suffecool Deck of Many Things and benefit t-shirts.

Buy our books to help the archive do cool stuff.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Greatest Unreality

This is Nick.  I've played games with the guy, ate sandwiches with him, 

and presented alongside him at a conference.  He's a good dude.  
Anthropologist Nick Mizer, who you might remember from his guest post about The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord, is kickstarting a research project on D&D that might interest readers here. As he explains on the Kickstarter page, “Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most influential cultural developments in the last fifty years, and understanding that story can provide vital insights about the role of narrative and play in the modern world. By supporting this Kickstarter you will be a part of one of the most ambitious research projects into tabletop role-playing games yet completed.”

Supporting this type of academic research into gaming is one of the reasons we do what we do here at PlaGMaDA, and this looks to be an exciting project. That’s why we’ve decided to contribute to the Kickstarter with copies of Habitition as an add-on reward. You can learn more about Nick’s research at the Kickstarter page and check out some of his articles at and in this great interview here.  


A selection from The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord:
"Aeropagus the Cloaked and Japheth of the Mighty Staff" by Michael M. Hughes 

And don't forget that you can pre-order The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord until October 26thish and get some pretty sweet add-on discounts on other stuff.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord Cover Release and PRE-ORDERS Now Live!

Pre-orders will be accepted at the link below until at least Nov 5th.


From now until the estimated ship date in late October we are accepting pre-orders for The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord and Other Adventures from Our Shared Youth.  Hurrah!  

The book includes the following adventures:

The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord by Gaius Stern aka G.J. Caesar

Stone Death by Richard C. Benson

The Crack at Garn's Canyon by Matt Morrison

The Ring of Gaax by Wayne Lacroix

The Golden Scepter of the Trollfens and The Maze of Death by Mike Walters

The Tomb of Areopagus the Cloaked by Michael M. Hughes

and The Lair of Turgon by Todd Nilson

8.5" x 11", full color, 112 pages, and with an essay by Jon Peterson.  How great is that?  

a selection from The Suffecool Deck

For post-November orders please look at the PlaGMaDA shop!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Griim Cole, character sheet extraordinaire

Friends, this is Griim Cole.  I do not know him as anything more than a character sheet but, man, what a character sheet.  A single index card folded into four quadrants, the paper is as soft as well worked leather.  As you can see card is fiendishly worked over, the creator went through an art supply store worth of different pens and pencils in his ongoing working and reworking of the sheet.  


Griim was the single donation to PlaGMaDA from Adam Blechman, who wrote:

" Griim lived and fought during lunch breaks, after school and weekends 
while I attended Forest Hill Collegiate Institute in Toronto Canada 
in the early 1980s."  

There is so much time and play in this sheet.  Griim aged a year over play, from 19 to 20.  His stats went up and down and the modifiers painfully changed each time.  He lost equipment which he'd written down in pen, never a good thing to have happen.  And rations, those probably shouldn't be in pen either - though I know I spent a young life buying iron rations and then never looking at them again.

Griim is wonderful.  He's atypical, too.  

Normally a traditional D&D sheet this worked over would be on a printed standard form, a photocopy of a TSR sheet for instance.  To see this much love and investment in a character written on an index card is unusual.  

Also take a look at the stat listings, I can't ever remember seeing someone abbreviate the stats to a single letter when possible.  It makes so much sense, why did I never do this?

I can't actually figure out what level Griim is, either.  But we know he's patriotic.

And I love game math.  Love it.  I want to do a compilation of just gamer math.  More than math, though, the back of the sheet offers other mysteries.  What's that "Ultima 5 cleric" box in the bottom right?  What does "no food or handle" mean?  Why does Griim have so many metallic eggs written down?

This is a fantastic, wonderful character sheet with the sort of love and dedication that marks it out as a real work of art.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NerdNYC Recess Material Drive June 29th! Prizes!

Donate your old game papers at Recess this Saturday in NYC and get a chance to win a $50 credit and other goodies courtesy of Modern Myths in Mamaroneck, New York!

The Play Generated Map and Document Archive will be holding a materials donation drive at NerdNYC's Recess this Saturday, June 29th with every donor getting a chance at the $50 prize.  The archive collects and preserves documents related to game play, this means there's a home waiting for your old game notes, character sheets, sketches, scribbles and anything else you made for or during game play.  All donated materials become part of the PlaGMaDA collection at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY.  That's right, your D&D game notes from high school can go live in a museum for forever.

So:  Donate your old gaming papers at the Modern Myths table at Recess.  The more you donate the better your chances of winning the prize!  

A winner will be chosen randomly at the end of Recess on July 29th, and will walk out with $50 worth of Modern Myths merchandise and other random prizes!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Everything is Dolphins featured on the Kickstarter blog

The Kickstarter blog has a feature on the 100 million that Kickstarter has raised for games since it's inception.  In the "10 Kickstarter-funded Tabletop Games you can play right now" section we find Everything is Dolphins!  Hurrah!  Know that we received less than 10% of that hundred million during our own Kickstarter, so go buy a copy before we sell out.

Notice that friend-of-PlaGMaDA Tim Rodriguez's Ghost Ships made the list too!

Oh look, I accidentally highlighted something during my screen grab.  
All professional all the time here at PlaGMaDA HQ.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

PlaGMaDA/Game Center presentation this Sunday

I will be giving a free, public presentation on PlaGMaDA and it's doings at the Bruce High Quality Foundation University.  Here's some of the info:

34 Avenue A, 3rd Fl. 
New York, NY 10009
Please join us THIS SUNDAY at 4pm for a Game Arts themed BHQFU Visting Lecture Series Lecture. We are bringing together the NYU Game Center and the Play Generated Map and Document Archive (PlaGMaDA). Our guests will consider educational, curatorial, aesthetic and archival issues related to Game Art in presentations and a lively discussion.

The NYU Game Center (represented by Charles J Pratt) is dedicated to the exploration of games as a cultural form and game design as creative practice. Their approach to the study of games is based on a simple idea: games matter. Just like other cultural forms – music, film, literature, painting, dance, theater – games are valuable for their own sake. Games are worth studying, not merely as artifacts of advanced digital technology, or for their potential to educate, or as products within a thriving global industry, but in and of themselves, as experiences that entertain us, move us, explore complex topics, communicate profound ideas, and illuminate elusive truths about ourselves, the world around us, and each other.

The PlaGMaDA (represented by director Tim Hutchings) preserves, presents, and interprets play generated cultural artifacts, namely manuscripts and drawings created to communicate a shared imaginative space. The Archive solicits, collects, describes, and publicly displays these documents so as to demonstrate their relevance, presenting them as both a historical record of a revolutionary period of experimental play and as aesthetic objects in their own right. By fostering discussion and educating the public, it is hoped that the folkways which generate these documents can be encouraged and preserved for future generations.

Charles J Pratt is an instructor at the NYU Game Center. He has been a freelance game designer since he graduated from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in 2007. He’s worked on projects for companies as varied as Adult Swim, Footlocker, and the British government. He’s also been involved with a number of independent games such as the early web-based social game Casablanca, the street game Search Brigade, and most recently a tower defense game for the iPhone called Critter Defense.

In his spare time he teaches Game Studies, he blogs at GameDesignAdvance, and he hosts the podcast Another Castle, a series of long form interviews with people working and thinking about games in the New York metropolitan area.

Tim Hutchings is the founding director of The Play Generated Map and Document Archive (, a quasi-scholarly project that collects and preserves the ephemeral products of games and game play. The archive is a partner of The Strong Museum in Rochester, NY.

Exhibitions have been mounted from the museum holdings at FACT in Liverpool, the Nikolaj Kunsthalle in Copenhagen, Netherlands Instituut voor Mediakunst, and Cranbrook among others. The archive has also begun a publishing project, examining the space for play between game studies and fine art.

Hutchings is also a fine artist most recently represented by the I-20 Gallery here in NYC. He's had solo projects at the Kunsthalle Wien, the Long Beach Museum of Art and elsewhere. Upcoming game/art crossover projects will be featured at the SFMOMA and PS1.


The BHQFU Visiting Lecture Series seeks to connect artists, critics, and curators engaged with the contemporary uses of art including its relationship to other scholarly disciplines such as education, literature, architecture, design, philosophy, and the sciences. Because lectures are open to the public and because many of the above disciplines are represented by other courses offered at BHQFU, the Visiting Lecture Series is conceived of both as:
1. a platform for introducing the university to outsiders (a “gateway drug,” if you will) and
2. as an opportunity to mix seasoned and less-experienced figures from a diverse array of discursive communities.

Each meeting of this bi-weekly series, appropriate representatives from BHQFU classes will be tapped to nominally moderate the event and briefly present the goings on of their classes before lecturers speak on a chosen topic. The Lecture Series also intends to host conversations between two or more luminaries and half-an-hour following the presentation will be set aside for a Q & A period.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Captain Kicked? Check.

Some new postings in the archive, all part of the same anonymous acquisition from January of this year.  They are the first postings to come out of the new Scansnap ix500, a great purchase for the archive...  But more on that later.

 This is a map of a room with couches and tables and all the usual things you might expect.  It took me a while to suss this out, at first I thought it some sort of torture chamber in the abstract.  That shape to the left is a throne, the hacksaw shape in the middle right is a couch. 

This is pretty neat:  The author drew out all the different views of the room.  This is the view towards the "north" of the map above.  You can see the curtain and the dartboard in both images.  What looks like a suit of armor with a sword here is the strange clamp shape in the map - it's actually a clockwork man with a key in his back.  

 Everything in the room is a trick or a trap.  Here are the entries for the wind-up man and the dartboard.  Don't touch the dartboard.  


Here's a sideways view of the bookcase, door and throne.  

And best of all, here's another map of the space.  I'm thinking that this is the GM's map and the first map is a player's handout.  Notice the hidden chessboard under the carpet among many other wonders.

Here's the rather minimal notes on the chessboard.  
I include it here because of the arithmetic, I love game math.  

Who knows what this was going to be, but it's a nice drawing on its own.  

If you're going to bother Nivel, think big.

Every dungeon needs a sub-basement.

I hope that grid somehow represents the box of small jewels.  

Sailors scared?  Check. 
More sailors dis'd?  Check
Captain kicked?  Check.
Thief branded?  Check.
Bandits killed?  Check.

I want to take a moment and revel in this Adventure Journal and the story it tells.  Of all the encounters only one was resolved through murder. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Watery Danger, David McLouth's D6L1

This is one of the many, many maps created by David McLouth in the 1980s.  Some of my all time favorite holdings of the archive, the McLouth maps are different enough from any published mapping style to deserve remark.  The closest relative might be the TSR Dungeon Geomorphs, their influence is much clearer in other examples - there's even a keyed geomorph in the collection which proves that McLouth was looking and using such tools.

Flipping through the archive looking for a map for an academic project I came across this particular example, DM186DungeonSixL1_A, and I felt like I saw it for the first time.  The river is pretty amazing in that the curly-Q of river in the upper right actually circles back underneath itself, I think, which makes for a pretty exciting piece of dungeon dressing.  Whoever gets in that little red boat just to the left of the curve is in for an exciting ride. 

Unfortunately the river doesn't show up in the lower levels of the dungeon, the back of this page had an incomplete map and Level 2 on a separate sheet of paper doesn't pick up the swooping, dropping river.  It's possible that the arrow in the curly-Q is actually the start of the river, that it drops down from above and then exits the paper left.  This is support by the passageway leading into the triangular 77 room being shown as under the water.  

Whether the river goes up or down it's certainly going to be a rushing torrent, and this immediately made me fear for the long term life of this dungeon.  The usual conceit of a dungeon setting is that it's many centuries old, and when you start talking about long periods of time and rushing water we have to think about erosion and flooding.  There's no reason to think that there isn't sufficient drainage to avoid a flood where passageways open into the river (though Dwarf Fortress might indicate that such is always a possibility), but given enough time the river will bite its way through the rock and flood whatever in the complex is below water level - this is especially unfortunate news for everything below level one.

What a fantastic way to clear a dungeon, flooding it with water.  It might take weeks, but most everything that needed air would be done away with or severely inconvenienced and all the durable goods like gold and magical items that adventurers crave should be fine.