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Lee Hammock

DAY 10 - #AprilTTRPGMaker Favorite game to relax with.

Currently D&D 5E as it's what I'm running. It's changed over time, and in the past has been FATE core, Star Wars D6, Song of Ice and Fire, and if you go back far enough Rifts.
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8. Describe your process.

1. Brainstorm to myself (with some basic notes) to get my ideas in order.
2. Refine brainstorm while creating an outline to a decent level of detail with a few notes on each point of the outline
3. Hit each section in order (or in other order if it makes more sense, but I generally prefer to go in order).
4. Edit as I go for consistency of tone and content.
5. Rearrange or add to outline as needed.

This is my macro level process for projects. On a more micro, single writing session level I tend to:

1. Sit down and get email and such out of the way.
2. Find music to listen to.
3. Write for about an hour or 1.5 thousand words.
4. Take break.
5. Repeat every 1.5 thousand words until I hit 5K. I have learned I cannot write more than 5K words in a day without a substantial drop in quality, so I avoid doing so where possible.

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7. Describe your workspace.

I don't really have one. I'm in the middle of moving and my computer is all packed, but even when it isn't I do most of my writing on my laptop on the couch or out at a restaurant. I don't go to coffee places; I go to dinners and pizza places. When I lived in NYC my favorite place to go write was the Toys R Us on Times Square because it had a snack bar on the third floor that no one ever used from which you had a great view of the store (including huge robot tyrannosaurus rex, GI Joe dressed mannequins parachuting out of the ceiling occasionally, etc). Shockingly a wrote a game about toys defending their owner from the Boogey Man (sort of a Call of Cthulhu/Toy Story mashup) during that time.
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#AprilTTRPGMaker 6: Favorite Game Mechanic

Probably the House mechanics from Song of Ice and Fire where the players build a noble house together including its history, lands, influence, holdings, etc. I love mechanics that bring together the players right off the bat and give everyone shared stats to work with. Every time I've used it, instant team work. Plus its a great way to get ideas when you're stuck for story, or for the players to come up with their own goals (my first Song of Ice and Fire group literally said at one point "We have a really low Law score, let's go hunt bandits and see if we can fix that," leading to a massive storyline that ended up with one of the players marrying the local bandit queen/runaway lady of a rival noble house). I've co-opted that for a number of games that I've run, such as making a ship (Shadows of Azathoth) or a giant robot (Last Knights of Camelot) a shared character.
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Yep, still behind.

Day 5: Favorite Thing You've Worked On

That's tough. Dawning Star is probably the published work that is my favorite as it is the thing I had the most control over. It's still not a totally Lee work - there are no monkeys in it - but its pretty close. It netted a lot of award nominations and such, so I was happy with how it turned out. The Night Watch sourcebook for Song of Ice and Fire is second, as it actually won awards and I was really happy with how I worked the House system to work for Wildling tribes.

In my unpublished work, probably Shadow of Azathoth, a Cthulhu inspired game about space marines stuck fighting back the encroaching mythos in deep space with no way to return to earth (basically what if the Colonial Space Marines on the Sulaco in Aliens fought deep ones and got routed to another problem planet after each mission, continually running out of supplies, manpower, etc). It was the first time I made a game that really tied into an emotional state I was in, and I think it came through.

In video games, while it's not the best game, Fallen Earth is my favorite because it was the closest a game has been to being mine.

In larps, probably Shattered Isles as I think it was the best game I was involved with running in any substantive capacity.
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#AprilTTRPGMaker 3: How did you start creating TTRPGs?

Yeah, day behind, life is busy.

I got started making table top games by hacking together a Transformers game using Star Frontiers when I was around 10 years old. I could have used something else, but I knew Star Frontiers the best out of the 4-5 games I was familiar with at the time. I don't know if I ever played it, but I put what felt like a ton of work into it; transformation rules, huge lists of vehicles and their stats, deriving your Star Frontiers stats from the info cards on backs of the Transformer packages. I wish I still had it but it was in a writing format now long dead. I also wrote a Thundercats hack using Star Frontiers, but put less work in to that one.

I would occasionally work on similar things throughout middle and high school, the biggest being an original (and way too mathy) d100 system I worked on for a sci-fi game that was a weird mishmash of space opera/Terminator/Aliens/Predator/80s and 90s action movies. It was the sort of game where the Yamato from Starblazers could get in a battle with a Predator hunter ship while fighting off Terminator robot boarding crews. It was nuts. I also made an Image Comics rpg using the same system back when Image was first launched. It was not good. Not enough pouch rules.

The first real table top game I think I made was Iron Knights of Camelot, a post apocalyptic telling of the King Arthur mythology with giant robots instead of magic swords. I still tinker with that idea from time to time. That was early college; I also made a larp, Haven, around that time, that ran for about a year.

My first paying work was for Holistic Design's Fading Suns game, specifically writing spaceships for the Forbidden Tech sourcebook. Several of the ships were based on PCs from the local NERO chapter, particularly a friend whose character died and I wanted to cheer her up.
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#AprilTTRPGMaker: 4. Describe Your Work

Over the top? The stuff I write tends to be sort of ridiculous in an awesome way. I got hired to work on the Widling section of the Night Watch supplement for Song of Ice and Fire and added a patriarchal Wildling tribe that ride polar bears into battle... because awesome. My own games tend to be things like King Arthur + Giant Robots, and my home D&D game is a mythic feeling Polynesian Game where players transform into gods and fight with sharktooth swords.

It is interesting seeing how my games come out of my emotional state at the time. King Arthur w/Giant Robots was a product of college age exuberance, while when I got laid off for the first time and nearly went bankrupt I wrote a game about lost space marines trying to save colony after colony from slowly increasing cthulhu-esque madness while being unable to find their way home.

My work also tends to interlink. Plots always get woven, dense conspiracies form, backstories are connected. They tend to be worlds that once players get into, they have a lot of "Aha!" moments because things that did not seem to fit together do.
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Getting a CT scan to make sure the cancer is well and truly gone. Maybe the radioactive dye will combine with my pig valve and give me superpowers?
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2. Where ya at?

Snellville, Georgia just to the NE of Atlanta, though I am in process of moving to Woodstock Georgia which is more N/NW and closer to my job. I'm from Marietta, GA originally, which is right next to Woodstock, but have lived in Athens, GA, NYC, Raleigh/Cary, NC, Baltimore, and Seattle. The video game industry is a harsh mistress.
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Day late to get started, but I think I can catch up.

1. Who are you?

I'm Lee Hammock/Thommock. When my wife and I got married we took her last name (Thompson) and my last name (Hammock) and combined them into Thommock. It seemed the fairest thing to do in the combining names department. All my published work up to that point had been under Hammock, so keeping that for my public facing life seemed the best idea, but in all walls personal and legal I am Thommock.

I first played D&D when I was around 5 with the kids across the street. It was nothing like D&D was supposed to work, but it was fun. We actually had to search around the rooms we were in to find secret doors; much more play acting than a game. But when I hit 7 my brother +Michael Hammock (check out his actual play podcast Tales from a Glass Guarded World at It's great!) got a copy of Star Frontiers and it took off from there. We played the crap out of that game with my yarzarian Earl Glameed running through every published Alpha Dawn adventure and I think a bit of Knight Hawks. From there we picked up Middle Earth Role Playing Game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Battletech, etc. We didn't get around to actually playing D&D until I was 11 or 12, and that was through my brother playing with his friends in high school and me tagging along. For most of my early gaming years my games took two forms: me and my friends gaming (usually TMNT, Rifts, Shadowrun, Star Wars, or D&D), or me tagging along with my brother and his friends. Luckily they were very welcoming. The ten to fifteen person Rifts games we used to play in my parent's basement (with two GMs) were ridiculous, but so much fun.

In high school I got into larping through NERO and other local games like Dark Comet, eventually getting involved with helping run games (first the local NERO chapter, and then Shattered Isles, with some basic creative input on games like King's Gate and Dust to Dust in later years). Through larping I met a lot of the first generation White Wolf crew, and through them got my first freelance table top writing gig (in 1997 I think) working for Holistic Design on Fading Sun's Forbidden Technology book. I did a few other projects for them and worked on AEG's Farscape book, but college took up a lot of time so freelancing fell by the wayside after a few years. And then I moved to NYC. In NYC I got into writing for the d20 boom, working on lots of books for people like AEG and Bastion Press, and eventually ended up at DC Comics in the Creative Services department. There I learned a ton about IP management, project management, and how to be awesome.

After three years in NYC I moved to North Carolina and worked as a freelance writer for a year, writing trading card quotes for DC, writing the main story for the 2006 Halo graphic novel, and doing table top rpg projects like Dawning Star. My full time freelance career ended when I got hired on at Icarus Studios to be a game designer for the MMO Fallen Earth. I spent the next five years on that project and the seven after that bouncing around the video game industry from a failed licensed MMO project to Elder Scrolls Online to Pathfinder Online. Now I'm the Senior Game Designer at Tripwire Interactive, working on the Killing Floor franchise among other things. I still do freelance table top work on the side, most recently for The Song of Ice and Fire RPG for Green Ronin, but most of my table top design work these days is for my own campaigns (which you can read about here

Aside from all that I am a father of five year old twins, Anna and Oliver, who are the bestest things ever and I am hoping to run their first rpg sometime soon. They already tell great stories and love video games. I have a pig valve in my heart due to surgery to correct a congenital heart defect, I am a cancer survivor, I am a former competitive/nationally ranked archer and certified archery instructor, I love pizza, I miss my hair, and I like ewoks.

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