Thursday, June 3, 2010

Giving a Presentation About LotFP and Old School - Confirmed

I will be giving a two hour presentation (including a fifteen minute break) at Ropecon. The exact scheduling won't be determined until sometime after the 13th of this month, but it will be in the large auditorium in the building, which holds 250 people.

Title: Lamentations of the Flame Princess and the Old School Renaissance

Synopsis: Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing: The creative goals, the process of putting together a box set from concept to finished product, and the business concerns of the small publisher. Or, “How to get the government to pay for drawings of goblins cooking babies."


The Old School Renaissance: What it is, who it is, where it came from, and why it’s great.

I had thought of using the title "The Once and Future King" but I was advised to keep it relevant and descriptive.

I'm working on getting a video camera for the presentation so it can be posted afterwards. (I've experimented with vegan diets and we've been going out playing basketball and tennis lately but it looks like over the next six weeks I really have to bust my ass to lose some weight to look more presentable for this... Health? PHAUGH. Vanity? ACTION MUST BE TAKEN!)

Now I've already gone on a bit about what I might talk about in terms of the OSR here, which will need some revising, but I need to be organized top to bottom.

What items should I cover in the LotFP part of the presentation?

(I am so scared to death now... I've never really talked in front of a large crowd...)


  1. Make sure to lavish ample praise on the guy who makes your logos and supplies you with jokes. Whomever that guy is.

  2. You could have compromised and gone with "The Once and Future RPG".

  3. Will it be recorded so we can see or hear it?

  4. What on Earth made you think veganisn would help you look good? The only thing veganism would do is waste away your muscles, making you a flabby mess. What you want is muscles, and for that you need lots of calories (body builders can eat 10,000 kcal/day), enough protein (1 g/day/kilo of lean body mass is enough) and moderate resistance exercise (2/week, two sets each exercise).

    After your axilary body temp reaches 98.0 F first thing in the morning you can try losing weight with a high protein low calorie diet until you reach 10% body fat. 1 g protein and 0.6 g carbs per kilo LBM is a minimum. Losing weight any other way is a proven path to rebound weight gain.

    Good luck with the talk.

  5. Ropecon lectures often have a jokish title and a clarified subtitle. "The Once and Future King: Old School Renaissance and The Lamentations of the Flame Princess" would not be at all off-color in the usual programming if you'd like - in fact, a certain flair might attract more audience. Then again, naming your business and the OSR in the title is probably a good bet as well.

    Good topics for the LotFP part of your presentation probably include your motivations and goals as a designer; your stance on the art vs. entertainment issue in roleplaying (that is, how you view your own role as a designer); how you view the Finnish rpg scene and cultural atmosphere as a working environment; what kinds of value you're hoping to provide to the playing public with your work; what your future plans are like; how your business plan breaks down into details and how you execute it. Those are pretty typical for Ropecon publication lectures, anyway. The people who've never heard of you want to know what your deal is, while those who are your avid followers will come to hear insights about your work and future plans and such; the rest of the audience probably consists of various serious hobbyists who are considering game publishing themselves and are interested in hearing any lessons you can give on what to do or not to do. If you have any juicy revelations about future products and such, it's always rewarding to save those for the lecture before revealing everything in the Internet.

  6. >>What on Earth made you think veganisn would help you look good?

    Low fat, high fruit and veggie diet.

  7. Side note: As someone with a lot of experience (and skill) talking to large crowds, let me give you the best piece of starting advice:

    "How do you get to carnegie hall? Practice".

    Practicing in front a mirror is nice, practicing in front of a video camera is better. Record yourself and review yourself. Find the obvious stutters, ticks, hand movements (and ensure you use hand movements, just don't point).

    If you prepare a half hour stint of speaking and sent it to me (or a link) I can give you some advice as well.

    But practice, honest and constructive criticism and continual improvement are the key to being good at anything, especially public speaking.

  8. @Cusick: Huh? Don't mean to derail the topic but seriously. There is enough protein in plant foods to maintain and even build muscles. No Charles Atlas myself but if you are getting enough calories and eating a balanced diet, your body can make its own meat. Losing weight & keeping it off is a matter of diet & exercise. Every single person I know who's tried Atkins or other high-protein diets has gained it all back and more. Every. single. one. And I know at least a dozen. Anecdotal, yes, but still. There is no magic bullet. Sorry.

    @James: Speaking in front of groups is, famously, one of mankind's greatest fears, death notwithstanding. But I always found practice to be not so helpful when I was a college teacher. The second (or twentieth?) time I gave a lecture, I'd be leaving out all kinds of details, thinking "I know I already said that..." So practice a little (maybe record yourself). Mainly make sure you are not speaking too fast because of nerves. If you wear corrective lenses take them out before the speech so you don't see all those vacant, hungry eyes trying to swallow your soul. Use an outline, not a script, and by all that is holy and/or unholy, do not use a Powerpoint. Hope that helps.

  9. Woah, don't go about ditching powerpoint. Just make sure you know how to use powerpoint.

    The main problem is people ignore the name POWERPOINT, aka, use it to stress POWERFUL POINTS. Sentences and text are no no's, its a presentation aid.

  10. I'm not going to use Powerpoint for a few reasons. One, I don't have it, have never used it, don't know where to get started and I have other things to do than screw around with that.

    Two, I've been in a lot of classes, meetings, and seminars where it's been used. It's always been DEATH to keeping interest, not to mention the ridiculous amount of time fiddling with it when a frame is out of expected order or the presenter clicks forward or backward when they meant to hit the other button.

    The only thing I'd want to use it for is show some art pieces, just so I could slip in the picture just to fuck with everyone.

    I'm also not recording myself to practice. A couple reasons:

    I hate the sound of my own voice. I did my metal zine for 9 years, doing over a hundred interviews with musicians that I had to transcribe. I've also done some podcast appearances supporting my RPG appearances... I haven't listened to them.

    I've got a face for radio and a voice for mime college.

    The second reason is that I am not going to give a prepared speech. No frickin way. The idea is to engage the audience, not to lecture to them. I have to gauge how the crowd is reacting to me, to know whether to dial the intensity up or down.

    When I think about this, I try to think of ways to keep it informative and to make it an entertaining series of stories. I can tell stories. With body language and everything (half Italian by heritage... lots of hand action going on.. ;)). I don't plan on standing behind a podium. The specs for the auditorium say wireless mics, so I want to be out in front and moving.

    I want to be George Carlin more than Barack Obama, you know?

    And as my players and my wife can attest, I have already practiced many stories about the whole box set saga and the OSR. ;)