About

About the Site

The Troll Mystic site is dedicated to creativity and imagination, especially in the areas of fiction, old-school role playing, digital art and idea generation. You may find the occasional post about software engineering or contra dance or whatever else fires up my brain cells.

The domains eposic.org, eposic.com and eposic.net all resolve to the trollmystic.com domain. If you were looking for any of those domains, you’re in the right place.

About Me

Hi, I’m Michael K. Eidson and I’m responsible for the craziness here. I grew up and went to a 12-year public school in Macks Creek, Missouri. During that time I won dozens of scholastic achievement awards and eventually graduated as valedictorian of my high school senior class. I went to college in Missouri and earned a  comprehensive BS in Mathematics, followed by a MS in Applied Mathematics.

After college, my career started with the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland. After almost 20 years there, first as a civilian and then as a contractor, my wife and I moved to Florida to be near her aging mother. We’re still in Florida, about a 20-minute drive from each of the theme parks: SeaWorld, Universal and Walt Disney World.

Over the past 30+ years, I’ve written code for the US Intelligence community and military, the Veterans Administration, the CDC, Disney and others. I love what I do for a living, but I need other outlets for my creativity. I can’t only do what other people want me to do all the time. And I’m not happy only doing software.

I’ve enjoyed writing ever since I learned how. I sold my first piece of writing, a paragraph published in Argosy magazine for which I received $5.00, when I was about twelve. I’ve written non-fiction and fiction, including works in the genres of action/adventure, western, mystery, science fiction, fantasy and other speculative fiction subgenres. My early works were all hand-written, before I ever knew what a computer was, and sit in boxes in my closet. I have reams and reams of notes and ideas and outlines, some handwritten and some typed. Some of my notes are for stories, some for role playing game adventures or supplements, some for standalone games or puzzles. Some of these notes have found their way into larger works, most of which I’ve never felt were good enough to publish.

Along the way, I have managed to publish a few works and even receive money for a few of them. In 2008 I was considering a stint as an indie publisher and started Eposic Diversions LLC. As my first effort with the LLC, I edited and published a speculative fiction anthology entitled The Book of Exodi. It’s now out of print; sorry. (I do have a few copies at home, if you’re really interested.) The anthology included stories from some names you might recognize, including Harry Turtledove and Ken St Andre. It was a real pleasure and honor working with them and all of the other authors and artists who contributed to that anthology. But I discovered quickly that my mind was not one for business, so I dissolved the LLC. Since then I’ve registered the name Eposic as a DBA for myself, but I have no plans to publish more anthologies of works by other authors.

In 2012, I decided to write my debut novel. I’ve focused on that, working to make it publishable. Whenever I need a break from the novel, I don’t work on other writing projects, aside from the occasional blog post, but dabble with digital art instead, so that I won’t get derailed from the novel. I’m undecided at this point as to whether I will self-publish or try to go the traditional publishing route. There are pros and cons to either approach.

My Major Influences

Authors: Michael Moorcock, Roger Zelazny, Isaac Asimov, Fritz Leiber, Piers Anthony, Jack Vance, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Silverberg, Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, Aldous Huxley, Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London, Louisa May Alcott, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harry Turtledove, Ken St. Andre, Michael Stackpole, Gary Gygax, Steve Jackson (both of them), James Schannep, Coyote Kishpaugh, Lauren Scharhag, Christina Lea, Kelley Armstrong, T. A. Pratt, Kyra Dune, Rebecca Hamilton, Kim Vandervort, Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs

Movies/Series: Terminator (and most other Arnold movies); Resident Evil; James Bond/007; Underworld; Star Wars; Star Trek; Alien; Predator; Final Destination; The Matrix; Tomb Raider; Transporter; A Nightmare on Elm Street; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Life of Brian; Blazing Saddles; Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Monkeybone;  Sucker Punch; Aeon Flux; Ultraviolet; Earthsea; The Forgotten; Run Lola Run; Point of No Return; The Craft; The Lost Boys; Mean Girls; I Know Who Killed Me; Memento; The Grudge; House of 1000 Corpses; Angel Heart; The Cell; and pretty much any movie that stars Johnny Depp, Jessica Alba, Christina Ricci or Winona Ryder

TV Shows: Dark Angel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Avengers, Dr. Who, Red Dwarf, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Mr. Bean, Black Adder, One Foot in the Grave, Doc Martin, Men Behaving Badly, My Family, Danger Mouse, The Pink Panther, Bugs Bunny, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Charlie’s Angels, Anne of Green Gables, Dallas, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Incredible Hulk, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Quantum Leap, The X-Files, Firefly, Threshold, Fringe, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Survivor, American Idol, CSI:, Medium, Ghost Whisperer, Under the Dome, Big Bang Theory, Downton Abbey, Brain Dead, MADtv, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Blue Bloods.

Musical Acts: Heart, Grimes, Pillowfight, Fefe Dobson, Rihanna, Lana Del Rey, Marina and the Diamonds, Meg Myers, ZZ Ward, Demi Lovato, The Pretty Reckless, The Ting Tings, machineheart, Mya, Mandy Moore, The Donnas, Janet Jackson, Jewel, Fiona Apple, No Doubt, Garbage, Halestorm, Dragonette, Nancy Sinatra, Tanya Tucker, Kid Sister, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alexx Calise, Mazzy Star, Fleetwood Mac, Alannah Myles, Alanis Morissette, Kerli, Sia, Taylor Swift, The Pierces, Tegan and Sara, Judy and Mary, Yuki, Hitomi, Goldfrapp, Boomkat, Otep, In This Moment, Type O Negative, Rob Zombie, Guns N’ Roses, War, Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, Stealers Wheel, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, The Isley Brothers, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, ELO, Styx, Van Halen (original lineup), ZZ Top, The B-52’s, Soundgarden, Bee Gees, Santana, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Elton John, David Bowie, The Beatles (the group and also their solo acts following their breakup), Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, Dr. John, Ohio Players.

Role Playing Games: Tunnels and Trolls; Dungeons and Dragons (and derivatives, including Peryton); GURPS; Fudge; The Fantasy Trip; RuneQuest; Amber; Traveller; Champions; Everway; Paranoia; Stormbringer; Call of Cthulu; Dark Conspiracy; Star Wars; Shadowrun; TORG; Big Eyes, Small Mouth; TAG (now called Red Bat)

Other Games: Magic the Gathering, Spades, Cosmic Encounters, Talisman, Risk, Diplomacy, Monopoly, The Game of Life, Chess, Checkers, Chinese Checkers

11 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi there! I was trying to reach Michael K. Eidson to see if I could get permission to use his animated dice roller for a game I’m building. Any idea how to get ahold of him? Thanks! 🙂
    Kellian

    1. I have an open source version of the animated dice roller that used to be posted on my site. I’ll try to get it back online soon. So many things that I had on the site before just haven’t made it back online since I moved to the new server. Check back in a week or so, okay?

    1. Hey, Miguel, thanks for the comment. It’s always nice to hear from people who appreciate my efforts. I hope the dice roller works well for you. Feel free to post a comment here with a link to your game.

  2. Hello Michael,
    I’m a coder like you, (though rather older I think). I have written a gamebook conversion system which at the minute I am amending to handle T&T solos, (So far I have used it for FF, Golden Dragon and Proteus gamebooks), and I notice that no-one so far seems to have done a T&T game implementation on the web or as an app. You clearly are capable of such. I wonder, do you have any insights as to why this is so?
    Ben Houghton

    1. HI, Ben, and thanks for your comment. Your game book conversion system sounds cool.

      As for T&T apps, I have a T&T character generator online. You can find it here: http://eposic.org/rpg/tnt/monsterframe.html

      I also at one time had a T&T online game that allowed you to run a character against a stream of monsters that continually came at you until you were defeated. I kept stats on various aspects of game play and maintained high score tables. But it had a few problems and wasn’t easy to maintain. So it went away. People enjoyed it while it was there.

      There’s another T&T character generator online as well. Check it out here: http://www.ardenstoneadventures.com/pages/editChar.php

      If you want to get the current scoop on T&T, become a member of the elite at the Trollhalla site at http://www.trollhalla.com. The site is run by none other than Ken St. Andre, the creator of Tunnels and Trolls, who maintains a good relationship with Flying Buffalo Inc., the publisher of T&T. In fact, they and their friends are working on the upcoming reinvention of T&T, referred to as Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls (dT&T). This really has the T&T community excited right now.

      The T&T community may not be huge, but it is still active and welcoming of those who have an interest in the game. If you create something T&T-related, you’ll find a quick audience if you announce your work on Trollhalla. But please, before you get carried away with creating T&T-related products and apps, coordinate with Ken St. Andre and Flying Buffalo. There have been some who took too many liberties with intellectual property rights who are now not so welcome by the T&T community at large. Don’t be that person.

      Good luck with your projects!

  3. Thanks for replying Michael, am already a Trollhalla Elite, Ugh!
    Can I include your animated dice roller in my game?
    Current stumbling block is my desire for players to be able to keep a character from adventure to adventure, but then that seems to mean having a database & using php and all that serverside stuff, rather than a simple HTML page, (albeit with oodles of JS driving it).

    1. Hey, Ben. What’s your Trollhalla name? Maybe I will recognize it?

      I’ve posted an open source animated dice roller that anyone may use as they wish. So if that’s the one you’re asking about, the answer is yes. You can go to http://eposic.org/samples/dice/part1.php to download the dice roller code and images. Have fun with it!

      As for saving a character from adventure to adventure, you might consider using cookies, HTML5 local storage, or IndexedDB, depending on how much data you have to store and how complex it is. You can find out plenty about these technologies by doing a Google search. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

      1. Thanks for the suggestions Michael. My developer skills are about a decade out of date, (HTML3, VBA, VB6 etc.), so HTML5 local storage and IndexedDB are untrodden ground, (at least by these hairy feet).

        My trollish alter ego is Bhenn Scharlless.

  4. Hi Michael,
    I’ve been using your D6 code to try to set up a simulation to help a student with probability.
    Specifically I’d like to simulate a die (or m dice) being rolled n times. I can do this, sort of, by using D6.dice(n,callBackFunction,etc…) but it’s costly. I’d prefer to loop over D6.dice(1, ….) or over D6.roll() n times but I get the same result returned n times. Any suggestions? Here is the current version of my simulation:
    http://www.datanova.ltd.uk/dev/dice.aspx
    Thanks for releasing your code. It’s really cool.
    Alex.

    1. Hey, Alex. Thanks for the feedback. Wow, I’ve never seen anyone else set up a page to animate 1000 dice at a time. 🙂

      Calling the D6.dice method in a loop certainly won’t work. It is designed to only be called once in the web page, to set up everything. The D6.roll method being called in a loop doesn’t work because your loop runs to completion before the dice have finished being animated. The results of the earlier calls are overwritten by the last call, and when your callback method is invoked for all of those calls to D6.roll, they all get the last result.

      If you want to use a loop and not worry about overwritten results in callbacks, I’d recommend you give up on showing and animating the dice so that you don’t have to worry about callbacks at all. You can call D6.quickRandom(6) to generate values in a loop without the need for a callback. You wouldn’t call the D6.dice or D6.roll methods at all. You could put your own button on the page and have it call your own function, which would call D6.quickRandom(6) however many times in a loop you wanted it to be called. The D6.quickRandom method returns a new value immediately, so you can act on the return value and then call the method again immediately to get another value, no callback involved.

      If you want the dice to animate and still get the effect of looping to roll m dice n times, you could take a look at the D6AnimGroup class. You would create n animators of m dice each, create an array of those n animators and pass the array into the constructor for D6AnimGroup. You’d have one callback called after all n animators finished rolling their dice and that callback could then access the results array to see all the different results. It’s set up so that you can get multiple results at one time, where none of the results overwrite the others. The documentation for the D6AnimGroup class is at http://eposic.org/samples/dice/docs/d6animgroup.php. You’ll need to use the D6Animator class to set up the n animators. The docs for the D6Animator class is at http://eposic.org/samples/dice/docs/d6animator.php.

      Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Any thoughts?