Saturday, October 27, 2012

We Learned Many Things That Night.

We learned Narla was a compulsive gift-giver when drunk. We also learned not to take those gifts. And also to track down anyone who had them, steal them back, lock them in lead boxes, wrap them in chains, and throw them into the Miskatonic River.

Monday, June 11, 2012


I have this serious love/hate thing with Spelljammer. Spelljammer's cover is all like "hey guess what all of Kepler's first ideas were correct and phlogiston theory is real fuck yes get ready for 15th Century voyages on the high seas only in space and prep your buckles for swashing only there are DWAAAVES" And then you open it up and read it and what you get is an elf in a Guyver suit trying to buy a pair of bongos off a penguin riding a flying pig down at the beholder bar. Which is okay, I guess. Had the cover said "get ready for wacky Baron Munchausen in space adventures," it'd be easier to swallow. Also hate tinker gnomes for whom every gadget fails. How the hell did they get into space in the first place?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Magic vs SCIENCE

Dear Urban Fantasy: Science is not a force. It is a process by which we test and decipher the laws of the universe. If magic existed, the process of science would have uncovered and named it by now. Magic and science cannot be opposed anymore than you can "oppose" the idea of the assembly line with a rock. I buy that magic might futz with technology the same way you can use that rock to smash a factory, but if that were the case, that if there were some universal force that fucked with everything that had more than three moving parts in it on a regular basis, we'd damn well know where the problems were coming from by now (this is conveniently ignoring the fact that we would have already been calling it something else entirely by now and have incorporated it into systems and, since any system or tool designed to solve problems is "technology," we'd be calling it "technology." Not "manatech" or "magitech" or anything like that. Just "technology." A spell is a type of technology just the same as a hammer or a battery is. Deal with it.). I know, you're trying to present us with a good old "man vs nature" conflict by having magic represent nature and science and technology represent man, but, seriously, there are better and more sensible metaphors you can choose. Like sticking a man in the woods. Actually, that might be fun. Stick a wizard in the woods without his magic and see what the fuck happens to him. I guarantee you it will be the same thing that happens if you put just about anyone else in the woods and take their pocketknife. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dreams Last Night

1. A girl tries to go further underground with her family. Unfortunately, the pus-arms that come from the walls are following them. Also, there are many squeezers and abandoned brownstones where time-eating worms reside.

2. A movie about a girl with radiation based super powers comes out. She fights atomic mutants. Actually not that bad, and gave me some ideas for writing.

3. Two goofy guys move into an apartment complex dangerously close to a river. The man who owns that part of the river tries to go fishing there and wonders if he can plant corn in the part he owns. Goofy shenanigans ensue as they try to help the man, but some of the fish are endangered and also have faces like baboons. Also the neighbors are murderers.

4. This rocket has the tail of a crocodile and that's how it flies. I don't remember much else, other than what was happening on the rocket involved a lot of grinding noises and it woke me up. Went right back to sleep.

5. Someone kept turning everything that wasn't related to me off when I left the room. Everything, like particle spin and neural activity and ugh. Eventually everything was gone, and it was just a black, cold universe where only I existed and there was blundering around in the dark until I froze to death. This is when I woke up and got the day started.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Last night, I was having a dream where there were these cat-things that could turn inside out and were covered in bleached white bone, layered like kevlar and thick like teratomas on their bodies, and they were moving into towns and turning people into zombies (or something; they were more like a grotesque, bone-covered fey). This went on for some time. I was both watching and participating, as dreams are wont to do. There was a subplot involving a fire, about the size and shape of the fire from a welding torch, being passed around among the race of seven-eyed people. Anyway.

I woke up and had some sleep paralysis, because like a fuckhead I went to sleep on my back, so I couldn't move or breathe and still having the dream, watching it play while aware that I was unable to escape from these bone-things that were just outside my door, and I could hear this horrible scraping noise just beyond my head, and I couldn't figure out what it was.

Then the big cat jumped up back on the bed from going to the bathroom and tried to cuddle with my neck just as the sleep paralysis wore off, but I was still having the last vestiges of sensations from the dream.

So I grabbed her by the neck and rolled forward. Got all the way out of the covers and wrapped in the sheet with my hand still around her neck before I realized what I was doing.

She's safe, don't worry. Just that it was a little freaky.

At any rate, I now know that I'm safe from facehuggers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FATE and Aspects

I've recently gotten into FATE and I think my favorite part about the whole system is Aspects and how easy they are to pretty much port over to any system that uses any kind of character resource. In D&D? They govern action points. New World of Darkness? Willpower or supernatural power sources. Mutants & Masterminds? This is a great use of Hero Points! It also struck me that scenes can have Aspects, and in Strands of Fate these can be either “always on,” such as a room that's always dark, or the slippery surface of an icy slope. There is, however, another use that slipped into my head while reading the books: settings having their own aspects. Allowing players to tag or compel setting aspects adds another layer of control and direction while still allowing the GM to retain some control over the direction of the plot. I think the next time I run a game in my novel setting, I'll use some measure of this. A player can compel the setting to react a certain way based upon presumptions given by the setting's aspects, or perhaps even tag them to get Fate points when participating in the genre.

For example, the setting I will be running will have the following aspects to start:

Raygun Gothic, Indigenous Mythology, Mythic West, Everything's Better With Dinosaurs, Lovecraft Country, Functional Magic, Suffering Equals Power, Powered by a Forsaken Child, Anthropomorphic Personification, Abracapocalypse

That's ten aspects, each one taggable to some degree by characters and to perhaps even be compelled. There's still a lot more work to be done regarding how it might be done, but it's a start. I'll talk about invoking or compelling these aspects in a later post, since it's just musing for now.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Coming to Town

Each teenager comes to the city of Agowatiha differently. Each sees it differently for the first time. Here is Matt's.


The road to the city was laid out like a carpet and the shuddering waves of maize were spectators desperate to take their photographs of the onrushing hulk of coiled rust and war stains splashed across its flanks like scattered hand prints. Escaping crows carrying along beside it like thundering soldiers of old, steel axes fresh in their hands, mounts like an avalanche beneath their hands, and the whorls of crawling time stood proudly resplendent on their bellies, to mark this day as the first charge of a long and trying conflict. The city was the enemy, a looming man with broad and thick shoulders that rubbed up against the sky. They had his back to the sea, though, and his defeat was certain to come, if not from the land, from the great storms Thunder would draw up from the waters Agowatiha could not watch.

The front line was already broken; the maize was winning, striking death blows through old and cracked concrete and marching through twisted metal skeletons, searching for holdout troops and covering them with leaves and stem until were stomped into dirt and ash, ground up to feed the new generation. The hungry generation. Matt spied a few of the more adventurous stalks already working their way into a nearby home, but the moment passed as quickly as they passed the front line. Among the trenches, soldiers had erected concrete barrier walls and paved the roads, removing dirt carefully so that the maize could find no purchase here, no matter how much it skulked right up to them. Farmers waited here in hovels constructed of scrap metal and old storefronts before the troops would send them out to mingle with and hopefully calm the attackers, to bring some diplomacy to those lawless killing fields.

Their car, unlike the car before them, went unmolested through the dilapidated district, past the shanty town and up further into the roads that could turn off onto the highways and bridges that rose into the core of the city, that tall and monolithic sentinel that gently touched the heavens and rested his elbows on clouds.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Signed & Sealed, pt 1

Some Nuwep symbols used in Sky Crossing. The traditional way to write these is with a shaved quill made from the tail feather from a bear/rootscraper (protip: I used pencil, like a fr00b). The interior of the feather uses a reservoir and the end is frayed, so the result is something resembling a stiff brush that you have to replace a lot.

While it's not spoken anymore, the letters and icons still remain, part of an ever-expanding symbolic lexicon adopted by the first thirteen tribes of the Confederacy during unification as a method of sending messages that the conquering Tourmek were unable to interpret.

Because of this, Nuwep encourages personal signs using a set of iconography stemming from the five virtues or five rivers. This is why Erika's seal, “the experimenting man,” bears a resemblance to the sign for inventiveness, “the crouched man at a cooking fire;” they both use the iconography for a working man. The sickle shape stands for a person's head. The sign for humor, for example, “the amused man,” is supposed to resemble a laughing person, while the stoic man is a person with broad shoulders touching their chin.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sky Crossing: The Dreaming Land

Current chapters: 26
Current draft word count: 91,000

Fuck yes.

Chapters to go? Not sure.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fire is the Monster's Enemy

Lucy Alraune Greeble, Ten-Ghost
Finishes the Test Satisfactorily
Breaks the Rules by Obeying

I said she looks weird in the novel... kinda. There are parts of her anatomy that just aren't relevant or that she pays attention to, and since the whole thing is third-limited, they don't come up.

She doesn't have nipples or primary sexual characteristics. Her bones are all wrong. If she puts clothes on it all looks normal. If she bleeds, it stops being blood once it hits the air away from her body, turning into dirt/rocks/sticks/acorns/junk you find if you dig in the dirt under a hangin' tree. She's covered in stitches from both herself and others. She has an autopsy Y scar. Her left arm is noticeably a little bigger than her right.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Write on Sleeping Pills Sometimes

I am on sleep aids. Sometimes I will take them while still doing some writing, then go to sleep when they kick in. Sometimes I just keep writing, then come back the next day, knowing full well what I thought I was writing.

I am usually wrong. Here is an example.

What I wrote:

“Your haven't scene this creed for my pokes, bow!” it spite, and look for the lair to try around the dray basic, snooping up morbid for the alligators. “I am your drought ton, again? You have cowed me, so do not complain about bringing your mighty fate!”

What I meant:

“You haven't seen the speed of my strikes, boy!” it spat, and took to the air to fly around the dry basin, scooping up mouthfuls of alligators. “I am your dragon, then! You have called me, so do not complain about what you think you might face!”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sky People Like Fritos

The race of Air who is said to have evolved solely from spirits, the Sky People resemble grayish white humanoid figures, having ankles but no feet, thick forearms with seemingly unfinished fingers, and a series of muscular folds for a neck. Their head is a round ball, dotted with symbols, with a single hole, inside which a blue light can be seen. They have a single eye, which is either human or reptilian; the muscular folds of their neck allow them to roll their head to angle the eye in any direction.

They have no mouth, and whisper through the blue light inside their hollow heads. They also feed through this "orifice," pressing food items into the light, where it's consumed as if by great heat. Much of the jewelry they wear appears to hang about them rather than on them. They are said to be Thunder's people, and live in his kingdom in the sky, which can be accessed through clouds; they can also pull metal from the clouds and shape it into tools and materials through processes that seem like human smelting.

Various ethnicities exist. They vary in height, weight, build, and over all color, from grey to white or soft blue. It's said that sky people can disguise themselves as human beings, and when they do, their voices buzz like speakers or bug lights. Three together can form a "foo fighter," a swiftly flying ball of light that allows them to quickly escape or travel from the ground to the sky.