Indie4 9

The Habitation of the Stone Giant Lord (2013)

One of my favorite things is buying a book or box set and finding some ephemera inside. An old character sheet, a dungeon map, that sort of thing. Evidence of play. And something more, too — everything about this hobby seems to encourage folks to make their own toys and these sorts of paper surprises are like little manifestations of the DIY ethic. The Habitation of the Stone Giant Lord (2013) is that feeling of a couple sheets of paper extrapolated into one magical book.

It is, like The Oracle, a facsimile of eight amateur Dungeons & Dragons modules. These aren’t small press gems or similar zinester-like projects, intended for any kind of distribution. All of them are the product of a single passionate author, for a likely audience of one (or maybe a group of friends). They’re beautiful and crude, in the way homemade modules of a certain vintage can only be.

They’re with us because of Tim Hutchings’ Play Generated Map and Document Archive (PlaGMaDA), a donation drive repository of material created for and in play. You can find the site online — I am not honestly sure how active the project is anymore, but I can say this much: I’m glad it was, for even a moment. I wanted to do a similar thing at one time, and I cherish the few pieces of this sort of ephemera I own. They’re made of raw passion and they are absolutely wonderful and emblematic of all the best impulses this hobby inspires. And too often these efforts wind up in the trash, a colossal waste of creative energy. I’m thrilled Hutchings preserved what he did. I hope others elsewhere are continuing that work.

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