This chapter was supposed to be called “Inception.” Damn Batman guy.

Anyway, rather than prune my increasingly-decayed links list, I’ve decided to tell you, my wonderful readers, about cool things you might not know about. First up is Tales of Wyre, which is probably the best D&D-related…thing…I’ve ever read.

I use my frustratingly vague noun advisedly; the Tales of Wyre begin as a Dungeon Master looking for thoughts on his campaign, then talking about it, then describing it, then basically turning it into a story for the amusement of his readers. And it’s dynamite, a weird 100% unpublishable mix of stories, adventures, game terms, ad hoc rulings, and players-behaving-badly, all set in a world that takes the rules of Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons literally and spells out what such a place would be like. It is raw and insane and punk as fuck.

D&D, for those of you who don’t know, has always been punk as fuck. The early editions especially, since the only way you could progress as a gamer was to say “fuck the rules,” because the rules were unfair and terrible, and cobble together your own kludges and fixes like Mad Max with a bell curve.

(I secretly suspect that the Sex Pistols played D&D, realized that the rules were awful crooked bullshit made up by lunatics on drugs, applied those same standards to the rest of society, and raised the black flag.)

Even now, with the rules spitshined and polished by the kinds of people who have favorite typefaces and know what “network externalities” means, you can’t get rid of the messy, dirty, do-it-yourself ethos of tabletop gaming. If you’ve never gamed, you owe it to yourself to buy, borrow, steal, or make a game, grab some friends, and throw the dice around for an evening.

Digression concludes. So anyway, Tales of Wyre has some of the best metaphysics I’ve ever read. If you’re reading The Water Phoenix King for the weird philosophizing, Wyre is one of its main inspiration. Wyre convinced me that fantasy is a story about metaphysical ideas in the same way that science fiction is a story about scientific ideas, and I’ve applied that concept throughout WPK.