Ask @TheActualZakSmith:

Zachary Smith
Latest answers

What sort of Porn do you watch? Given that you know how the sausage is made, has this changed your viewing habits and what you appreciate when you watch it?

I never really watched much porn.

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Your paintings are wonderful! But, I've always wondered: how do you get the people to look like it was a photograph? Do you paint over a projected image or something? What's your process? Regardless, keep making cool things!

Nope, I draw things completely freehand. I just use acrylic paint on a really slick surface--the paint doesn't sink into the paper, it floats until dry like a pool of antifreeze, so brushstrokes aren't usually visible. I also lay down the black paint so that the particles float in water across the surface before they dry, creating an effect similar to photo grain:

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"Nobody knows how to paint. Everyone good makes it up from square one" Does this apply to drawing as well?

Not quite as much--there is a body of information about perspective, anatomy, how light moves across a body etc that most art schools will try to give you in your first year.

The thing is they usually take that plus a little color theory and go "Ok, now paint".

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Any Chaykin you like?

Yeah some. Time2 is pretty good, as is The Shadow miniseries. Monark Starstalker too, and his work w/mignola on Ironwolf is great.

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Checked out Torchbearer?

Yeah. The 2-3 pages of city downtime tables are alright but the rest is like BW.

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Is there anything you actually like about Burning Wheel?

I said it was the best comedy game ever, then posted about how much fun we had playing it and said that we played it a bunch of times. So I like all that.

I *used* to be surprised that, when I did that, Burning Wheel fans thought I _didn't_ like it but I long ago realized most vocal Burning Wheel fans online aren't intelligent.

Part of the problem is they subscribe (accidentally or consciously) to the long-discredited Forge/Focused Design ethos that games should only be fun in the way they were MEANT to be fun or else they've somehow "failed". Like Burning Wheel sucks ass for anyone I've ever met who was any fun as a serious game about challenging beliefs, but that's just the intent. Things can be way better than they were intended to be, especially in RPGs. Like Bernini made the Ecstasy of St Teresa to get young people interested in God.

The reason they cling to this belief is it allows them to talk smack on D&D, because it is not a focused design at all, so when they say "I got killed by a rat, this isn't Tolkien!!" that's somehow supposed to be bad thing and an Objective Criticism of the Game Design rather than just they suck or were unlucky. "The Effect Didn't Line Up WIth What I Was Led To Believe By The Marketing" is supposed to be some sick burn in their world.

So, yeah, it's a good comedy game and that's great. Also it has better art than other story-games (except 3:16) but that's a pretty low bar.

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What themes do you think are most important to Maze of the Blue Medusa?

Well it's not meant to communicate anything--it's a toybox. It's for you to play with and whatever comes out when you're playing comes out.
But for me personally:
I did the original painting I was supposed to be doing this painting of Charlotte Stokely, but Mandy was real sick and was trying to get a diagnosis and we were stuck in Canada for a long winter like half a year and it was snowing and everything sucked and painting this blonde in her sunny backyard in LA was not gonna happen. The Medusa painting is actually based on Charlotte Stokely, the rest evolved from there. So for me it is, more than anything, about isolation. And the corridors in your head you go to when isolated--but then all dungeons are about that.
And then Patrick, of course, didn't exactly sprinkle sugar on top: .

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The D&D blog entry page keeps linking back to itself on my laptop. Just saying. Not entirely if this is a problem with the site or on my end.

try restarting yr browser, i've seen the same problem

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How would you describe yourself politically?

Is there a way to run games like NWoD in the old school style? And if so would you have any tips on how to do this? I'm running a LotFP game that I'm really enjoying, but my every other week game is NWoD and I want to figure out how to make it as exciting.

How do you resist god?

Seek pleasure, and to overthrow his many works and the dominion of his vassals

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No question, just actual testimony from one of my players, Maze of the Blue Medusa play-by-post: "This is by far the best game I have ever taken part in, online or IRL. Thank you so much." I wanted to give a quick thanks to you and Patrick. This thing is awesome and we're still barely into it.

Thank you !

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Do you think of tabletop as an artistic pursuit? Both personally or if you thought it could be pursued as a an artistic practice? Like less so the writing & more so the actual play

If a party is art then playing a tabletop game is. If a party isn't then a game isn't.

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Whats the best game to play on your phone when you've got some time to kill?

We Eat Blood And All Our Friends Are Dead

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Any idea how upcoming the upcoming Black Metal Amazons of the Devoured Land is?

Never ask the author, the author is not in charge of that

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Just ways of making travel more accessible. I constantly struggle trying to make the point between places feel more like a journey rather than just filler.

There's a lot of pieces about hexcrawling and what not on there, usually under the "design" tag--though the upcoming Black Metal Amazons of the Devoured Land will have some stuff on it as well.

If you have more specific questions you can send a list and I can try to address them all in one entry.

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Your latest post about the subway maps was very relevant to my interests. Could you talk more on that in another article?

What else do you need to know?

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Since I'm the alternate version of you, and therefore technically a Zak Smith, do you have any questions for your self?

Which side is the dragon on?

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I'm the version of you that got a sandwich with cookies in the middle.

I don't know which of us is the Cooper and which antiCooper but I know you got goat-cheese and beef-slime all over your fingers

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Aren't you that guy who got the cookie sandwich?

Yeah--who are you?

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So we're all fucked and doomed right? The world is just gonna get more right wing until the Nazis come back in some form

The future is not yet written.

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who are the best conceptual artists? living or dead


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what's most important to keep in mind when describing a work of art and why? and what's most interesting about descriptions of art?

most important thing is to remember you're not describing it you're describing your personal relationship to it

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About Zachary Smith:

Zak Smith is a painter.
Zak Sabbath is in porn.