Steven S. Long is a writer, game designer, and all 'round great guy. According to the secret files of the KGB, he once singlehandedly defeated the Kremlin's plot to attack America with laser-powered Godzillas.



Wherein I Pontificate Regarding Matters Of Interest To Me... And Hopefully To You


Game With Me And Pat Rothfuss At StellarCon 36!

The supremely talented Patrick Rothfuss (author of the superb Kingkiller Chronicles) and I are teaming up for a charity event at StellarCon 36 (March 2-4, High Point, NC)!

Pat's going to run a HERO System game set in the Kingkiller world at the con, and I will be one of the players. The rest of the seats at the table are being auctioned off to support Pat's excellent Worldbuilders charity; you can find 'em on eBay.

So if you're attending StellarCon, or want to attend StellarCon, or just want to play in a really awesome game, get to biddin'!

You can find out more here (scroll down the page a bit to the cartoon of Pat committing a TPK).


Radial Categories And Swords And Sorcery

Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — I came across, or was pointed in the direction of, Eric S. Raymond’s superb essay A Political History Of SF. Besides simply being fascinating reading, it introduced me to linguist George Lakoff’s concept of radial categories. More specifically, it introduced me to the idea of using radial categories as a tool of genre analysis.

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What's In A Name?

One of the things that contributes to (or detracts from) my enjoyment of a Fantasy story (and to some extent, any story) is the names. Good names in a Fantasy story are cool-sounding, evocative, and draw me into the author’s world. (I’m sure this is one reason Tolkien’s and Vance’s work both resonate so well with me.) Bad names make me grimace and question the author’s creative sensibilities.

So when I write Fantasy, I work hard to try to come up with names for characters, places, and things that I think are “good.”

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Romance And The 13th Warrior

I broke up with a girl once because she didn’t like the movie The 13th Warrior.

OK, that’s an exaggeration. We didn’t break up because of that. But as soon as she revealed this horrific fact to me, I began to suspect that this wasn’t gonna be Eternal Love.

And that’s because from my perspective, The 13th Warrior (hereafter “13W”) is utterly superb.

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The Beauty Of The Failed Roll

Lately, as time and other responsibilities have permitted (which hasn’t been much...), I’ve been working on an adventure proposal for Pelgrane Press’s excellent Pulp-era RPG Trail Of Cthulhu. “ToC” uses the Gumshoe system, a mystery/investigation-oriented set of rules created by Robin Laws. Like pretty much everything Robin creates, Gumshoe is well-written, well-designed, and fun.

Among other things, Gumshoe is designed to make planning and running investigation-based adventures easier and more fun. Robin’s observation is that standard RPG rules, which make the finding of clues depending on successful “skill rolls” or similar mechanics, often short-circuit mystery scenarios. A failed roll means the characters overlook a vital clue — something that would never happen in a mystery novel or film.

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Some Kickstarters I'm Supporting

Kickstarter seems to be all the rage these days, and for good reason -- it's a great way to "crowdfund" creative projects. My company Hero Games recently succeeded with its Kickstarter for The Book Of The Empress, for example (see widget sidebar for more information, or to pledge support). I figured as long as I was on the subject I might as well mention a few others that I'm currently backing, in the hopes you'll like 'em and back 'em too:

A Road Paved In Iron:  I'm a sucker for "weird West" stories that mix magic with traditional Western tropes like gunslingers and drunken schoolmarms, so this seems like it'd be right up my alley.

Crossover Miniatures Superhero Minis:  Just the thing for your Champions games!

Recreating the DDG's Norse Art:  Another of artist Jeff Dee's projects to re-create the art he did for TSR's Deities And Demigods years ago. I've always loved the DDG's art.

As I find more projects of interest, I'll post information about them here for your consideration. Stay tuned!


On The BAMF! Podcast

Hey folx! For those of you who are interested in learning more about the Book Of The Empress Kickstarter I'm currently helping Hero Games with (to which you can find a link widget in the right-hand menu bar), check out the BAMF! podcast that interviewed me earlier this week:

BAMF! Podcast


The Lady Or The Tiger (Part 3)

Time to take a look at the other door — the tiger of self-publishing. Like traditional publishing it has its good sides and bad sides. (But at least that gives me some blog fodder — not much to write about if there’s one clear good choice, eh?)

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The Lady Or The Tiger (Part 2)

Picking up where I left off in Part 1....

The first door in my particular arena leads to traditional publishing. That term usually means the big publishing houses of New York City and related businesses, but for my purposes it by and large also encompasses smaller “independent” presses and any other entity whose primary job is to buy fiction from authors and turn it into printed, published books.

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The Lady Or The Tiger (Part 1)

You’ve all heard the phrase “the lady or the tiger,” meaning a problem with two equally unpalatable solutions. It’s a great example of something most authors aspire to — writing a story or phrase so popular and well-received that it passes into English as a saying or byword.

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Thinking About MYTHIC HERO

One of the big projects that’s been on my mind as I transition from full-time employment at Hero Games to being a self-published/freelance writer-game designer again is Mythic Hero. This was the last book I was working on at Hero, and I’ve acquired the rights from the company to use the title and what little I’d already written.

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An Introduction Of Sorts

Since I’ve never really blogged before, I figured it couldn’t hurt to start out with a brief introduction. True, some people have described my weekly news updates at the Hero Games website every Friday for the past ten years as a blog, but it’s never really seemed that way to me — it was just a way of getting the news out to the fans. Perhaps I can just chalk it up to “practice.”

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