Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Editing Patrick Stuart

I was the editor on Veins of the Earth. Here are a few excerpts from the first round of edits, from like 2014 or whatever.

Patrick's text is in italics.



"...Hit Dice 5, 23hp, in situ…"

I think you want "immobile" there or something, not "in situ"

"…a chance to fight and die for all mankind. (Save vs Spells)."

Or what?

"…A cloud of algal backs…"

What's an algal back?

"…If Gargas takes you inside the rock…"

Is this the result of a successful grapple? Grapple--now you're in the rock?

Zax Two Cents

I think the visions meaning nothing is kinda cheap, given how much cryptic stuff that does mean something (maybe? kinda?) is down here in the Veins. It punishes thinking about the clues--which is kinda mean.


Insta death maybe=500xp? Come on.


Zax Two Cents

Ok, so the spore child translations are unreliable. This is only dangerous if people think the translations ARE reliable. But why would they? It's a translation by a creepy dead husk hosting a bulbous parasitic freak. Can you give some examples of how this would actually affect something.


These two sentences seem to conflict:

"Radiolaria will adapt to any blow, spell or tactic, no matter what it is, the moment after it is used"

"The radiolarian gets a save against each kind of attack after the first example. This save starts at 11 on a d20 ad gets one better each time the attack is used, down to a minimum of 2."

A save of 11 isn't THAT good, nor is 8 or 9 or 10. If this is what you mean by "adapt" a party could use the same tactic 4 or 5 times in a row, beat the thing, and never notice it was getting better at resisting.





These names are cool but (unlike the monster names) seem doomed to be forgotten or mispronounced or not pronounced at the table due to their length, exoticism and unclear plurals (if this were a novel, the reader would get used to it, but at the tabletop, only the GM has read the book so ends up going "the Janin oerden…it's like a genie" and the players go "Ok, so the genie…"). Here are some optional alternates if you're not attached. Maybe you are attached, in which case disregard:

Drow= Ælf-Adal

Adriælf --from the latin adria meaning dark, Oscælf, Adrælf, Dælf, Drælf, Drælven

Dao= Janin Eorðen

Janeen, Janoerden, Erdgen, Eoridjinn, Eorðjen


Deepgar, Untergar, the original norse is 'Dvargir', Subgnomen


Gignome, Blaugir, Gignomen, Nonmen, Gnonnmen

Also, a short physical description is in order for interested parties who don't know (for instance) what a "dao" or ""duergar" is to begin with.  You can't assume total Monster Manuall 2 fluency. Or we need pictures in this section.


Reading linearly here, in order, page by page, here at "Death Hope Mural" is where I first thought "Oh it would be fun to run the veins, I should do it soon"--and I HATE. HATE. HATE caves. Shapeless, organic, rounded hippy things devoid of rigor or civlization.

Here is why I think I finally thought that:

There is a simple vision at the core of the Veins: actual spelunking as mysterious and exciting.

And there is a simple tool of expressing that vision at the core of the author: Writing compelling prose descriptions.

These cave descriptions are the first time in the text that vision and that tool have both been simply apparent, alone. Up til now its been monsters, details and mechanics. Finally we have The Caves and Why You Like Caves. I think finding a way to get this (or prose like it) closer to the front is a good idea. 


Zak Sabbath said...


sorry no anonymous comments allowed

Matrox Lusch said...

I had no idea you edited "Veins of the Earth" and there you are listed TWICE on the copyright page. I also forget when I list out your RPG works you co-wrote the newer edition of "Death Frost Doom."

RasheedKnox said...

I would love to play veins! Really liked the different types of for the hobby y'all my opinion

Zak Sabbath said...


Then go to his blog and leave a comment and tell him to apologize to the community for lying about me. Easy.

People like Patrick lie until the truth is the path of least resistance.

MicktheDik said...

Why are you posting these? Boredome?

MicktheDik said...

Also, how do you feel about the chompy grombler? is it a decent satire of Patrick's style in veins?

Zak Sabbath said...


The same reason i post most things—in case it helps someone make something good that i can use in my game.

Zak Sabbath said...


never heard of it.

Zak Sabbath said...


ok, i got the “chompy grombler” description.
it seems like typical 4chan/something awful fodder—someone angry at their own inexcusable ignorance trying to weaponize that to punch up against an author they see as (careerwise or esteemwise) “above” them.