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How My Projects Relate


Like many who have the time and means to put their computers to productive use, I have a lot of projects I’m working on. A lot of them are related to each other: some in obvious ways, others in ways that are a little more hard-to-see.

One of the primary interests behind my projects is my interest in telling funny fantasy stories - I’ve always enjoyed them as a way of looking at our own world. Another is my interest in communication - I know that’s kind of broad, so I’ll say I think my specific interests are in how the words and tools we use to conduct communication affect our thinking.

I’d like to develop all of these interests in some way, across my projects, while still feeling like I’m working on something productive, useful, or at the least, entertaining.


I think the right project to look at, to serve as the basic point-of-reference, is Teraum, my fantasy setting and its implementation as a collection of resources for playing tabletop role-playing games. Obviously working on Teraum meets me “tell funny fantasy stories” desire, but why do I want to focus on implementing it as a collection of resources for tabletop role-playing? (Instead of, say, a novel.)

Well, personally, I like tabletop role-playing games, and when I play them, I tend to set them on Teraum. But more pragmatically, I think I’ll have better luck feeling productive by implementing them this way instead of as a novel: tabletop RPGs are popular enough that there’s a market for materials for them, and it’s easier to make a 12-page adventure sheet and self-publish that, than write and publish a full novel.

The important thing here is that it makes me feel productive, even if, objectively, (financially,) the novel would be a more productive use of time. There is, of course, the matter that adventure materials are lower-risk, simply because I can release 10 of them, instead of 1 novel.

Why not short stories, then? Well, as I said, I have an interest in tabletop role-playing myself, so they’re of more use to me than short stories, which is one thing. But also, I think that writing materials for role-playing games will let me better explore my interests in communication. After all, from an abstract perspective, tabletop RPG adventures are “Here’s a constructed problem, solve it as a group,” and as the person running the session or a player, that’s a fun communication exercise.

Oh - I’ve been talking just about adventures (the actual guidelines for a session of play,) but I also plan on developing lots of associated resource books, that provide extra details about towns, people, creatures, and so on. Those wouldn’t be so fast to write as the adventures, but they’d fill it out and make the project more commercial, and I enjoy that sort of writing, anyway. But - to be clear - the primary focus with Teraum is writing adventures:

Teraum is my primary project.

Brave Old World

I mentioned that Teraum is resources for tabletop role-playing, but I never specified what game ruleset I’d want to use.

Brave Old World is my own custom ruleset based on the Dungeon World, but made to let the gameplay language blend in with normal English - the intention being so that natural-sounding sentences like “Climbing the wall surrounding the Culthbert Ciderworks grounds after hours risks being caught by one of their guards,” can translate to in-game mechanics, like “If a player climbs the walls at night, they have to roll two six-sided die and, if they get a result of six or less, they get caught by a guard.” (This is simplified, but hopefully conveys the point.)

Brave Old World, as a project, supports Teraum - it helps inform the language I’ll need to use in the adventures and reference books. So, as I develop Teraum adventures, I’ll need to develop parts of Brave Old World to go with it: refine the core rules, add supplements, and so on.

So, put another way, Teraum will be dependent on Brave Old World.

Tales from Teraum

Sometimes I have specific stories in the Teraum setting I want to tell. Tales from Teraum are those stories, implemented as, well, normal short stories.

So, Tales from Teraum supplements Teraum.

Past the Garden Green

Past the Garden Green is another specific story set in the Teraum setting, but I’d like to implement it as a radioplay (podcast) for kids.

Past the Garden Green supplements Teraum.

The Delvers

The Delvers is another specific story set in the Teraum setting, written as a novel or novella.

The Delvers supplements Teraum.


Handling all this writing means I benefit from having a pretty explicit writing process, which I plan to record in my Writing Manual.

That manual will have the mechanical methods I use to accomplish writing, implemented through the Emacs software. I also have another manual, a Style Manual, which covers the tone and content of the writing.

In order to share this writing, I’ll need to be able to get it into well-formatted documents, which is what my Publishing Manual is for.

So, Teraum and its supplements are dependent on the Writing Manual, Style Manual, and Publishing Manual.

Emacs Stuff

To be able to implement those manuals, I’ll need to have a mechanical process for writing and publishing documents - something I accomplish, for now, with the software Emacs. Emacs Stuff is my collection of configurations and resources for that software, which enable me to use it as I want.

The Manuals are dependent on Emacs Stuff.


I have some other projects that might have started related to Teraum, but have since grown apart - the most notable being qtMUD, my attempt at implementing a multi-user dimension engine: a game engine specifically built for running text-based role-playing games. (Prior to wanting to implement Teraum as a collection of tabletop roleplaying game resources, I wanted to implement it as a MUD.)

Because it is implemented using the literate programming paradigm, qtMUD is dependent on the Writing, Style, and Publishing Manuals.


Fyreside is a library written for the qtMUD engine, to help demonstrate its features. It’s a card game where the cards are things from the Teraum setting.

Fyreside is dependent on qtMUD and supplements Teraum and qtMUD.

The Okaga

The Okaga is another library written for qtMUD, this time a scifi role-playing game; a more traditional MUD.

The Okaga is dependent on and supplements qtMUD.

Assorted Projects

Thinking of it, those are all my projects with any sort of real dependency on each other, but isn’t the limit of what I’ll find myself working on. For example, I’ll want to design CSS and PDF styles to go with the various types of document.


Writing Teraum is my primary project. Tales from Teraum, The Delvers, and Past the Garden Green supplements that.

Teraum is dependent on Brave Old World.

Writing qtMUD is a secondary project.

Fyreside is dependent on qtMUD and supplements Teraum and qtMUD.

The Okaga is dependent on and supplements qtMUD.

Teraum and its supplements and qtMUD and its supplements are dependent on the Writing Manual, Style Manual, and Publishing Manual.

The Manuals are dependent on Emacs Stuff.

Editorial and License Information

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