What have you been up to, Ryan?



If you are eager to know what I’m up to at any given moment then your best shot is to follow me on Twitter. Thank you for your interest!

Dungeons & Dragons: Roll20 Puzzles

When I act as Dungeon Master for my little D&D group, I’m always searching for puzzles to use in my campaign. I steal ideas shamelessly, as mandated by the DM Code, but my constant googling doesn’t always yield puzzle concepts I can use. I have very high standards. Plus, I play on Roll20.

Roll20 is great, obviously. If you want to play any tabletop RPG online, Roll20 has all you need. It is great. For a while, though, I thought Roll20 had no applications for puzzles whatsoever. After a while I changed my mind; I began to think that the only application it had was for jigsaw puzzles. The longer I used it, the more possibilities I saw. I feel a duty to share what I’ve done so far, so that other DMs can steal my ideas—also, I want to share what I’ve done so far, because I am proud of myself. Continue reading

The Death-Bug 💀

Tinkerbell cracked her knuckles, and the gruesome popping made me wince. Tinkerbell scoffed at me. She rolled her eyes.

“Ya gonna be a baby? Ya gonna be a baby? Ya gonna be a baby? Cripes. I’m goin’ without you.” She didn’t mean it, apparently: As she spoke, she bumped her hip into my knee. A tiny cloud of fairy dust flew from her wings and landed on my leg. I started to float.

“There’s six hunnid billion human beans on the planet Earth, I’m stuck with this one. Cripes. Six hunnid billion, sixty billion beans, I’m stuck with you. I wanna cry.” Tinkerbell dragged her hands down against her face, mimicking falling tears, pulling grotesquely at her eyelids.

She grabbed my hand and pulled me away from the bench, flapping her sugary wings into a haze, glittering gold under the park lamps. Then we were above the lamps—I could see the whole park—the whole city.

We were so high up my teeth were chattering. “That one. That there. See?” She was pointing into the maze of streets; I couldn’t tell where. “You go in there. Walk in. There’s a guy. You tell him. Say that, say, you wanna see the Death-Bug. You gotta be less of a pansy-pamby though. Act like a real man.”

Tinkerbell flew up into my face and slapped me in the eyeball.

“What, ya gonna cry? Ya gonna cry? Ya gonna cry? Cripes. Ya gonna cry? Whatta pansy,” she groaned, as I rubbed my face.

I probably did cry, a little, as Tinkerbell dragged me down from the sky and onto Westing Street. I was still massaging my eye when she stopped leading me by the hand and flew up to whisper in my ear.

“That’s the guy. Shut up! He don’t see us yet. Shut up! Just tell him, just say, you wanna see the Death-Bug. Be cool about it, kay? Try to be—just—don’t let him—”

Giving up on that sentence, she flew down to my back pocket, and I cringed as she squirmed her way in. Then I felt her elbow me in the buttock, which I assumed was my signal to get a move on.

I approached the figure Tink had indicated, a dark man in a dark suit, standing outside a windowless building. The three nearest streetlights were all dead—I doubted this was a coincidence. I moved in close before I spoke, and hoped that my theatrical glances up and down the street indicated that I valued secrecy as much as he did.

“Hey. I’m here to see the…”

How long should I pause? Am I pausing for too long?

“…The Death-Bug.”

The man’s eyes glittered, and I knew that even in this light he could see my whole face, my falseness, my anxiety, and the tiny red handprint on my right eye.

He snorted. “Tell ‘er Vick said nice try,” he muttered, and then he punched me in the stomach. There was enough fairy dust left on me that I flew all the way across the street, in slow motion, like a crash test dummy.

“Cripes, whatta idiot, cripes, cripes. Cripes, cripes, cripes…” Tinkerbell’s shrieking filled my ears and then faded away as she pulled herself out of my pocket, flew into the air, and disappeared among the stars. Then my head hit the curb; then I blacked out.


Westerado: Double Barreled: Additional Title

I was lucky enough to get in on an advance version of Westerado: Double Barreled, a remake by Ostrich Banditos of their Adult Swim browser game Westerado. I wrote all about Westerado a while back, and I have plenty to say about the differences between the remake and the original—and what the differences mean to me as a game designer, and what they mean to me in terms of game genre theory—but let’s get the most superficial facts out of the way and work from there.

Continue reading

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks lyrics, chords, for you

Tonight I took it upon myself to archive some Dan Hicks lyrics and chords compiled by Steve Ramirez, which were previously available only at the Wayback Machine’s archive of his website. They were hard to find. I have uploaded a copy of Steve’s index and all of his files, in the hopes that other fans of Dan will be able to locate them and benefit from Steve’s work a little more easily.

(This is being posted on April 1st, but there’s nothing mischievous or insincere about it, I assure you.)

If you aren’t familiar with Dan Hicks, his Hot Licks, or their work, you are lucky to be suffering from one of those problems that are very easily fixed.

Clashin’ and Typin’ with Emily Short

Only recently have I gotten around to editing and uploading a few episodes of CLASH of the TYPE-INS that Jenni and I recorded with Emily Short way back in September or something. Now they are all up, though. The episode where we play Bronze was crazy good, in my opinion: Some IF design-theoretical issues got brought up and Emily expounded on them with a cogency that Jenni’s and my antics often lack. If you listen to only one episode of our dumb podcast this year, make it Episode 10.

But you should listen to all of them! Why not?

Someone Keeps Moving My Chair


I have a new game! It’s a prequel to The Statue Got Me High. My intent was to make a little sub-game that would briefly explore one of the characters from Statue, but this game is actually about 153% the size of that one.

I think you can play them in either order, but whatever or however you play, I hope you have a  good time, and if you have anything to say about them I hope you’ll let me know!