Sagiro's Story Hour: Now That It's Over

carborundum

Adventurer
Wow. It took me a while to get into it (had to change my mental pictures of the characters, and the magic system) but once I'd got over it, round about Mrs. Horn's big moment, boom! I was actually late for work due to reading it!

Which I just put in my review :)
 

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Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
Wow. It took me a while to get into it (had to change my mental pictures of the characters, and the magic system) but once I'd got over it, round about Mrs. Horn's big moment, boom! I was actually late for work due to reading it!

Which I just put in my review :)

Thank you, carborundum, and SolitonMan as well. It is difficult for indie authors to get reviews, so I appreciate every one... especially when you liked the book!

For anyone else reading this who has read/is reading/will read The Ventifact Colossus: I would be very grateful if you leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, even if it's not enthusiastic about the book. It takes a critical mass of reviews to ping various publicity radars, so more is better, even if not every review is 5-stars. (And reviews don't have to be long. If you only want to leave 2-3 sentences that sum up your feelings and opinions, that would be great!

Which is not to say that 5 isn't the best number of stars. It totally is. :)
 

StevenAC

First Post
Well, I've now finished the Kindle version, and I'm looking forward to reading the story again when the paperback finally makes its way to Melbourne...

You've done an excellent job, Sagiro. At first the extent of the changes from the Story Hour version was quite startling, but you've clearly put a lot of thought and effort into producing a real novel that works on its own terms. Rather than the string of discrete mini-quests and separate combat encounters characteristic of a tabletop campaign (especially the early levels), the plot proceeds logically from point to point. Having our heroes learn about the threat of Naradawk right at the start (instead of only after 57 sessions) gives the story a lot more focus, providing a strong anchor for each new complication.

Even better than the plotting, though, is the characterisation of the Company. You set yourself a real challenge by moving away from the standard D&D mixture of races and going with an all-human group of protagonists (apart from Dranko's touch of goblin ancestry). But all of the characters work very well, and come alive on the page as we get to see into their thoughts in a way not really possible in a campaign write-up. My two favorites are at opposite ends of the spectrum: Dranko, whose personality stays closest of all of them to the original version, and Aravia, who is a totally new and well-drawn character. Tor's habit of speaking (and thinking) in run-on sentences makes for some good moments of humor, too. Since both he and Mrs Horn never got beyond the tersely summarised early part of the Story Hour, it's nice to see both of them in greater depth.

Being intimately familiar with the whole story, it's impossible for me not to see all the seeds being planted for later events and understand their meaning (even where they differ from the original version), so I can only speculate what a reader coming to it fresh would think of the collection of mysteries and foreshadowings introduced in this first volume. But I think there's enough questions answered by the end to make for a satisfying conclusion to the book (combined with the growth of the characters and their coming together as a Company), even though these events are (as we well know) just the beginning of something much bigger.

I'll certainly be picking up The Crosser's Maze as soon as it's available, knowing that the story just keeps getting better from here... :)
 





Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
Also: For the next few days, the e-book version of The Ventifact Colossus is on sale for only 99 cents! You can barely buy a cookie for that these days! :) If for some strange reason you haven't picked it up yet, now would be a great time!

Thanks!
 

Markn

First Post
What a story!

Sagiro,

Hi! So... I just recently started reading your story hour. I've been on EnWorld for some time but don't tend to read Story Hours. Noticing that the story was finished, I decided to give it a try due to the heavy praise it has received. It wasn't long before I was hooked on your riveting story. I am absolutely astounded at its creativity and depth and to be honest still have much more to read - I've only just finished the Crosser's Maze.

In thanks of your work, and the joy I have received from it, I wanted to mention that I have ordered your book from Amazon and will purchase each subsequent book released in the series. I believe it ranks among the best stories I have ever read. So thank you! I will also provide a review once I have read the book!

Since I am new to the saga, have you posted any maps of Spira anywhere? Is there a collected thread of game related additional material at all?

Edit - I should point out that I have been reading the collected PDFs provided by StephenAC (thanks for your hard work too!) so if the main threads had this info just let me know ;)
 
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Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
Sagiro,

Hi! So... I just recently started reading your story hour. I've been on EnWorld for some time but don't tend to read Story Hours. Noticing that the story was finished, I decided to give it a try due to the heavy praise it has received. It wasn't long before I was hooked on your riveting story. I am absolutely astounded at its creativity and depth and to be honest still have much more to read - I've only just finished the Crosser's Maze.

In thanks of your work, and the joy I have received from it, I wanted to mention that I have ordered your book from Amazon and will purchase each subsequent book released in the series. I believe it ranks among the best stories I have ever read. So thank you! I will also provide a review once I have read the book!

Since I am new to the saga, have you posted any maps of Spira anywhere? Is there a collected thread of game related additional material at all?

Edit - I should point out that I have been reading the collected PDFs provided by StephenAC (thanks for your hard work too!) so if the main threads had this info just let me know ;)

Hi Markn,

I'm glad to hear you've discovered (and are enjoying) the Story Hour! You will find that the books, while heavily based upon the campaign, are different in many ways -- most notably in pacing and in many of the characterizations. I hope you enjoy them as much as you are my campaign journals, and greatly appreciate that you ordered yourself a copy of Book 1.

Alas, I discovered after we did some refurbishing of my study that I can no longer find most of the campaign maps. I think I have a scanned version of one or two maps, and I should get off my duff and post them to my website. I'll let you know when I've done that. There is no companion thread with the "crunchy" game materials, though here and there dotted around the Story Hour are character sheets my players posted, and some asides I wrote about my DM-ing style generally.

StevenAC's PDFs really are wonderful, aren't they? Given how scattered my notes have become, I don't know what I'd do without his excellent compilations.

Thanks again!

-Sagiro
 

Markn

First Post
Sagiro,

Thanks for the quick response!

I'm aware that the book has some noticeable differences and fully understand the reasons for the change. Assuming those changes were made by you, I'm sure the novelization will be just as entertaining! ;)

I really would love to see whatever maps you have. The party has done an immense amount of travelling that I would like to put Spira into perspective. I look forward to seeing the surviving material!

Edit - Also, didn't know you have your own site. What would the address be?

Edit 2 - Are you currently running any d&d campaigns?
 
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Quartz

Hero
And now for something completely different... :)

I was looking into the origin of the Advantage / Disadvantage mechanic and remembered that one of the trinkets you handed out was Laramon's Clover, which allows the player to roll multiple d20s and take the best. I'm wondering if this is the origin of the Advantage mechanic in 5E?
 


Markn

First Post
A few more questions Sagiro.

Did you guys use minis or was it theatre of the mind?

At times, there were an awful lot of NPCs - both good and bad - in some encounters. Were the good NPCs played by you or did the players control them during combat? Basically how did you keep combat moving at a brisk pace without the players always waiting for you?
 

Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
Sagiro,

Thanks for the quick response!

I'm aware that the book has some noticeable differences and fully understand the reasons for the change. Assuming those changes were made by you, I'm sure the novelization will be just as entertaining! ;)

I really would love to see whatever maps you have. The party has done an immense amount of travelling that I would like to put Spira into perspective. I look forward to seeing the surviving material!

Edit - Also, didn't know you have your own site. What would the address be?

Edit 2 - Are you currently running any d&d campaigns?

Here is a link to an old map of the Kingdom of Charagan, updated with a couple of relevant labels. I drew it when I was only 15 years old, but used it more-or-less as is for the campaign. My only map of Kivia is on a large piece of partially-torn paper currently taped to a closet door. It's too large to scan, and the pencil is too faded to show up in a picture. At some point I'll try hand-drawing it on a smaller scale in darker lines, at which point I'll be able to post it on line.

My website is dorianhart.com. It contains my blog, a page for the Heroes of Spira, and a place to sign up for updates on how the books are coming long. I encourage you, and anyone else reading this who hasn't done so already, to sign up!

I am not currently running a D&D game, though I continue to play in the game of Piratecat, my long-time friend and mentor. Maybe when the books are done, and I have the time and extra creative energy, I'll return to a seat behind the DM's screen. :)
 

Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
And now for something completely different... :)

I was looking into the origin of the Advantage / Disadvantage mechanic and remembered that one of the trinkets you handed out was Laramon's Clover, which allows the player to roll multiple d20s and take the best. I'm wondering if this is the origin of the Advantage mechanic in 5E?
I was using the "roll multiple d20's, take the best" mechanism long before 5E, but I strongly doubt the designers at WotC were cribbing the idea from my campaign notes. It was certainly a case of design parallel evolution.
 


Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
A few more questions Sagiro.

Did you guys use minis or was it theatre of the mind?

At times, there were an awful lot of NPCs - both good and bad - in some encounters. Were the good NPCs played by you or did the players control them during combat? Basically how did you keep combat moving at a brisk pace without the players always waiting for you?

I'm a big fan of understanding the relative positions of things, and having a visual aid to make sure everyone is envisioning a scene the way I imagine it in my head. As such, we used minis for a vast majority of combats and other dangerous situations.

I usually played the NPC's, though often I would use the long-running friendly ones -- Flicker, One Certain Step and Makel -- as stand-in PC's whenever we had a guest player at the table. And quite often -- particularly for Flicker -- I'd allow my players as a collective to decide what actions they'd like him to take in combat. (It also helped that I kept my NPC character sheets pretty simple, so usually when their combat turns came around, it was quick and obvious what's they'd do.)
 

Markn

First Post
Thanks again for the replies!

For some reason I never pictured that much water, but cool map!

I'm off to sign up on your site.
 

Everett

First Post
Thank you for taking the time to both read the book and leave a review. Obviously I'm sorry you didn't care for it, but I'm glad you found enough redeeming qualities to eke out that 4th star. :) And all reviews, positive or negative, are good for authors!

Who said I didn't like it? All I meant is that I felt the story's gaming roots are showing, so I said so without saying so.

Honestly, I felt about it the same way I felt about the Dragon Tattoo books. Once I picked them up I couldn't put them down, but once I was done, I was just... done.

I hope my comments help as you continue working on the series.
 

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