Sunday, 8 March 2015

You Can Buy This Book Now

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Fire On The Velvet Horizon softcover is live on lulu now

and to fill up the rest of the post is me interviewing Patrick

What was the most fun bit of this? The least fun? Which piece of
writing are you like AWYEAH?

I think the most fun was having a good idea for the silly ones like the Thug Bug and the SailSnail, sometimes when you (I) have a funny idea I smile to myself and am very pleased with the ridiculousness of it. Writing the Paladins Of The Fall was good because it felt automatic, like something else was coming out through me and I was pleased with how it turned out. The Umbra-Technical elemental I was happy with because I looked up and realised I had been writing for two hours and usually its hard for me to write for one.

The least favourite, probably the monsters that just wouldn't turn out right like the first few of the Umbra-Technical, or the ones where I din't really listen to you to begin with, or just the times I didn't listen to you.

HAHaha You must always listen me because I am wise and kind and sting-riddled
Was there any art that never got a monster that you wish it did? Also favourite name?

Towards the end you did a bunch of really good ones that we didn't have room for. 135 140 143 144 145 are all good.

Horolognomon took a lot of fiddling to get and I am quite proud of it.

Are you jealous that I came up with Boa Constructor?

Of course, its an excellent name and I should have thought of it.

Would you consider expanding this into a whole gazetteer?
Like a thing for the world? Not now certainly. I quite like it the way it is as it provokes use and mystery and makes people build it in their heads. I would only do a larger thing if we could do something original with it.

A decent gazetterer though with maps, costumes, ecosystems , useable and graspable city info could be quite original though. Maybe it could be a split writing project? <Might redact this question>

I would be happy to split the writing with you, thought that would be a little unfair since you would still be doing the art. Also we would need to work out a method and structure so we don't tear each others skin off.

We should do stats for it sometime. What system is it most likely to
be the most useful for you? I might do 52 page rule book or Feng Shui
or Old School Hack. Yeah. But what would you use? Like personally how
much mechanics is needed for you to use this in a game? How much do
you wing it mechanically?

Basic LOTFP stat line, some simple mechanics and some cool treasure is all I need.

Favourite source of cool treasure material?

Hmm, I like the silks of the Picceous Puccoon, but probably one we haven't done yet, like what is in the @orn Owl nests? Or the strange chests of the Boa Constructor?

Which of these monster drawings are you getting tattooed on you? Would
you trust me to do it? What about if I sourced and made the ink and
needle from all natural ingredients?

Probably none of them, I pussied out of getting my latest tattoo. Maybe the Fuse Meister and no you are not sticking needles in me, that will be done in a secure environment by a professional. I do things by the book.

I will give you a deadline to get a tattoo and if you don't make it then I will do it. I'm getting a perceptive dog or a bedlam bird or something else dunno

I am very afraid that you might actually do that

So the art. Which of these monster would you be keen as to see drawn
in a more developed style by me? I doubt I'll do it but just asking.
Which monster would you most wanna see drawn by an artist that you
know from the DIYWURLD? Which monster would you most wanna see drawn by any artist ever, except maybe not future artists because google can't reach forward in time yet. (Note to do google corp. Never do
this. Also stop work on facial recognition searches. It's only going
to help cops and stalkers.)

By you I think the Xaxavraznazak, he was so pleasingly mental I want to see what you would do with him.

diywurld: I would like to see Zak take on a Boa Constructor in its palace, he would like that because its all built things and no organic forms except the snake. (No hot girls though...)

all artists: Either Leonora Fini doing a scene of the Umbra Technical Elemental in human form interacting with someone like this

Or Joseph Wright of Derby doing the Eclipse Lich

I agree with all of that. There could be a hot girl getting armour fitted by the Boa Constructor though?

Sure, its a bunch of metal amazon's naked in the mouth of a giga-snake, getting felt up and armoured while the snake looks pensive.

What is the next TRANSCENDENTAL MONOLITH you are planning to ERECT on
the psyspace of DIY RPGDOM now that this here for all to weep and
praise? (Like I personally know, but for the gibbering hordes at

Well, I have this quartet of adventures planned. DCO was the first, the second would be Broken Fire Regieme, the next something about storms and piracy and the last about the sea and dreams. One for each element. But as you know, I am having trouble creating at the moment so we will have to see.

I'm sure you be struck by inspiration or wrench it out of thy self with force and merit.
How could would a hardcover set of all 4 be? In a slip case or something

It would be very could would if I or we ever get it done.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Teaser page for Fire on the Velvet Horizon

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF So it's pretty much done. Just some final fuckery now with cover font sizes and shifting a thing to the left or right a bit.
"Wait what is done?"

Fire on The Velvet Horizon

It's a book of monsters, 100ish to be exact. The original seed for it was me asking Patrick if he would like to write monsters based on pictures , as a whimsical little experiment in reversing what had been happening for the Pariahs of Creation.
At some point he decided 100 was a good achievable number and it kinda balloon into a bit more of thing than was previous envisioned. Anyway the process involved a screaming horde of half developed drawings, sketchs, doodles, scrawls and marginalia being set at him and him them gestating whatever took residence in his head. I was often surprised at what grabbed him and where it took him.

So the book. The layout was done more or less by hand, the drawings are violent and out of my responsibility , it looks like nothing else around right now . It looks like this:

If you think that is something that exites you so much , then great.
If you have developed several twitches at it, then like, go peruse everything else in the world

It will be able for sale in about 3-4 days on lulu. So right now I'm just kinda fucking with you. Or making sure you are all Informed Customers.

Monday, 23 February 2015


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 first a statement :

Zak said that. I agree with him. That guy is a dick.  I am trans and its extremely unlikely I would be in this hobby if it wasn't for his blog. I am in his personal circles and have never seen a harassment campaign , transphobia or whatever else he is being accused of. If anyone who thinks they are a supporter of Zak has maliciously contacted someone he has spoken about, they have done against his express statement not to. Also they are a fucking dick and I would love to know their name so I can exclude them from civil interactions.

I decided to test out this adventure generator I may of had a hand in making (along with Ian Johnston and Joey Lindsey)
Like try and make words around its words

A bee princess who is seeking redemption in the heedy booze of secret war and is sick of playing second string in a time that land forgot.

Back Story
okay so the bee princess is a member of these people that start looking human but can become more and more bee like as they get old and also depending on what weird pollen vomit they eating. They have secret underground hives where some of them remain human and go about on bee people business (normally trading all the narcotic, mummifying and medicinal honeys they make) while some are feed the necessary concoctions to become big terrifying bee warrior ladys , while others are neglected to keep as lower workers. The queen is huge and terrifying etc. The bee people who I will call Attendants of Flower or the Attendants try to keep all the weird body horror and disturbing side effects of drug honey hidden because they are heavily reliant on nearby cities use and unuse of lands for flowers.

Any Azurely Pickling is a Attendant princess but she was flighty and wild and neglected her royal duties  (diplomacy, being possibly next in line for the queen , making good with other nobles) and off loaded a defective load of honey on a small town to make some money on the sly when her soiree budget was curtailed. It caused horrible mutations and suffering and the Pickling hive promptly burned the place town and made it look like a neighbouring kingdom did a raid. Which has made a near war happen. 

So Azurely is now in the big city, while being officially exiled and marked for death , unofficially is moving new, more experimental, honey drugs into the city and doing hits on rival Attendants and generally real politik on behalf of her hive.

Wait "time that land forgot" . Ummmmm ....That's the nickname of the City she is in, aka Roaming. It's a big anachronism stew and has roving feral and canny pipe beings in the sewer that have Sand flowing through them which is magic and timey and can be made into disintegration powder , unrust dust , youth potion etc

The Happening 
Azurely has decided to get real ambitious and is going to get a Timepipe addicted to drughoney and then control time. She has worked out the drughoney, tested it, and is now going to follow a crude map to ambush and capture one.

You Are Heres:
The new drughoney she has made has been tested on things normally not affected by it ; so gargoyles , golems and constructs. There are now packs of drughoney crazed gargoyles that have a bounty on them attacking people for their suspected drughoney. If given or offered drughoney they will give information readily , describing a well dressed hairy human (actually a gorilla) who gave them the original supply.

Some wizards have lost their golems and automatons and want them back. Azurely has them hooked on the sweet sweet thickjuice.

Also the town she fucked up has some refugees that have recognized her from the street. They are bugparted beggar people so nobody listens to them but they have staked her out and will try and point the party at her if they don't think the party is buglovers

Azurely might enlist the party themselves catching the Timepipe. She is ambitious , but not crazy, and ruthless, but not malicious so. So better than most people you could work for. She is especially happy to hire people that are heavy drughoney users.

If the party are seeking a Timepipe and researching methods  themselves they might get wind of her scheme or run into her or an agent of hers researching it.

The party could run into her in the sewers with her crew as a random encounter

The Potentials
She and her goons and golem addicts eventually track a Timepipe in the sewer and snare it.
If she gets it back to her base she will get it addicted and semiloyal in 2 weeks. IF it gets loose (she has been pretty reckless lately and it wouldn't take much more information to get a rival Attendant drug cabal or the Civic authoritys to find her and raid the place. IF this happens the Timepipe will get loose. Adventurers helping her fight off a raid or recapture the Timepipe will have an ally for life. Unless she finds out they set the thing up..) IF the Timepipe gets loose and stays loose for 1d12 days it will get all the Timepipes addicted and crazyed and the entire city of Roaming will have a complete chrono meltdown and turn into one big time damaged reality warping ruin and destabilize the entire area. So that is fun.
IF she has control of the Timepipe she will , over the next month, take control of the entire city and start a new super hive of chrono bee people and will become a vast power if her recklessness and impulsiveness don't get her so much enemy that they form an alliance to take her down.

Locations That Might Have a Fight in Them:

A drughoney den

A clandestine library

The dinosaur and Cambrian Fauna and space bacteria plagued Sewers

Her hideout  , a former church. Lookouts are on the steeple, the stained glass windows have been boarded up.

Self Actualizing Shenanigan Units
Azurely Pickling:
A brash black haired brawler. Makes decisions quickly. Dressed in leathers with a discrete bustle. 

picture from here

Capable of violently prolapsing her womb into a 3 foot long venomous stinger (the stinger on bees + rest of hymenptera is a modified ovipositor, hence why only the females sting.)  Unlikely to use this, as it's awkward as hell and destroys various expensive garments and it can take some time to relapse it, all the while walking around like an exaggerated cowboy. She is strong enough to rip it intact from a body though (despite the barbs and unlike most honey bees)

Otherwise a mid level fighter with poison and drug resistances and can see ultra violent.

She will have 1d6+1 weak golems and/or constructions and/or automations at her hide out or with her in the sewer.

Azurely's Goons:
80/20 female to male. Wear layers of dirty petticoats and have a tiara shaped scar on forehead. Name of gang is Dethroner Moxy 

Loyal, mostly competent crims with bee parts.
Treat as 1-2 level fighters and thieves
Bee Parts:
1. Eyepatch conceals compound eye. Eye (when uncovered) gives Advantage to see through illusions and detect hidden stuff
2.Can vomit up half digested honey , causes minor acid damage and save or confusion
3. Natural chitin armour , hidden under rags. Counts as chain
4. Long thick erect black hairs. Advantage at sensing movement
5. Arm conceal in sling is a mangle of bone , barb , and chitin. Like someone broke their arm and tried to fix it with random pieces of bee leg and didn't really know what a human arm or a bee leg looked like. Advantage on first attack because of its surprising speed and reach. Does damage as an axe and has Advantage at disarming weapons
6. Does not feel pain. Will not drop until negative their max hitpoint total
7.Can release from weird pulsating bee mouths on neck. Phermones making everyone else with bee parts more angry. Affect will have advantage against morale checks and any attempt to make them afraid or not angry
8. Knee spurs , poisonous . Needs to be in a grapple to use. Concealed under petticoats 

Use harpoons, poison hooked lines, nets, glue bombs, and claw hammers

Squa is burned out show girl who inherited a bar after the Azurely killed the owner. She is loyal but will turn if she can see away of having a more secure future. She has a blunderbuss stuffed with poisonous fishhooks under the bar and will not hesitate to draw on anyone looking intimidating. She has a nervous laugh , a habit of looking off into the distance like she is looking for something she knows isn't coming . While Squa does not directly deal drughoney , Azurely will drops it  off here herself , once or twice a week. It will be hidden in a false bottom in empty barrels and an intelligent well dressed gorilla (James) will pick it up under the guise of delivering new booze. The Dethroner Moxy will not be seen near this tavern, but will follow up threats or attacks to it.

James is a well dressed intelligent gorilla (gorillas and humans look the same to gargoyles). He has refinement , expensive tastes , and moderate ambitions with little way of securing them, so is currently working as a delivery gorilla for a brewery and sells honeydrugs through the staff. The owner of the brewery is unaware of this


Also called Chronoeels, Whoopy Snakes.
Look like that thing in Donnie Darko that came out of his chest. Fast, flightly. 
Can teleport every half hour.
Verdigris copper will hold in their flesh (Azurely knows this and if her crew is in the sewer their harpoons and hooks will be this. As well  the golems will be studded with barbed verdigris hooks) , nothing else can hold them (free action)
If wounded; shining sand will spill out of them inflicting a random effect in a 3 metre area around them (save allowed) Durations as the relevant spell of whatever edition you are using. If caster level needed use hitdice of the Timepipe

1. Haste as the spell but you age a year a round. Long lived creatures age 100 per round.
2. Slow as the spell
3.One random item is effected by the disintegrate spell
4. Ethereal on alternate rounds (duration) 2d12 rounds. If you become unetheral in an object you will die and then your corpse will continue to phase in and out for the rest of the duration.  The Timepipe can hit ethereal creatures
5. Held, as the spell
6. Maze, as the spell but half duration.

Otherwise treat as a half strength purple worm. Swallowed opponents will age as per the haste attack. It can spit out a swallowed opponent at speed. Treat as a reverse gravity spell in the direction of the spit for damage for struck walls or other people. Upon impact a cloud of sand will effect a 2 metre area around the spat out person. After leaving its stomach you the g.m has to answer one question of your choice as you got to look at the world outside time as the sand grinds you to your base components. (Disintegration damage)

They can hold people in their belly without inflicting damage if they want to.

  Azurely plans: She has a crude and vague map to a location where a Timepipe is sure to teleport to. She will ambush it, subdue it , and then inject it with drughoney to establish a telepathic connection and get it all loved up. Then when its teleport has recharged , teleport back to her hideout and proceed to get it domesticated. 
The ambush will have the golems grapple the worm with her goons leading help as is safe (staying out of range of the sand).
Other names for drughoney:
thick juice
black tickler

Legal drughoneys will have the following effects depending on vintage and dose:
Empathy, very minor telepathy, euphoria, drowiness, dreaming in new colours, Synthesia  , heighten tactile and olfactory senses

Illegal drughoney will have the following effects depending on vintage and dose, will little to no regulation

Increased energy and sleepiness, mood swings, mutations, inability to digest non-pollen foods, pain resistance and aggression, obedience, pica (object eating), and extreme versions of all the ones listed under legal  

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Thursday, 8 January 2015

A Green World of Lacerations

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hello I am a small tree covered in syringes 

I was replying to a post amount plants and started writing too much and now it is a blog post

PLANTS : one of the most distinctive things about plants is they don't move and if you make them monsters they generally have to move.

And if moves and it's a plant and you stab it , it doesn't have blood and organs to festoon everywhere and then it just doesn't feel like holiday season.

So that's a thing.

I like plants. They have a huge range of weird chemistrys and evolution tricks to them. Name a industrial chemical and there is prob a plant that makes it somewhere (gutta percha , camphor, turpentine , cyanide..) .

But I don't use them much in games, poss because if you have them just like monsters it just feels like a vegetation option.

(There was a whole thread on this on Zak's g+ and I didn't get around to reading it and possibly am going to be redundant here)

So what are distinctive things about plants that can be d&dable?

Joey already mentions the they are everywhere and maybe some of them will try and kill you but which ones??? problem. Which is a ongoing problem that you can't visually describe everything all the time so you will have to be describing the plants alot previously or it's just a blind ambush situation and if you do it too much the players will do the shuffle shuffle poke poke exploration which is tedious for everyone involved (possibly)

SO having tree and weird plants regular showing up as possible sources of magic, curses, healings and strangements will make it possible to mention a weird plant with out the players immediately setting fire to it.

I plan to do this in the on coming Island campaign with "natural" resources being the stand in for puzzley resourcey trappy things.
Let's do the rest of the ideas with bullet points

o> The disgusting pile of garbage that eats you:

Shambling mounds. If you can really sell this and bring up a visceral memory of disgusting compost or putrid fridge vegetables this will work.

Everyone prob has an experience with something rotten and disgusting that was edible and it's not too much of a jump to imagine it trying to kill you. Also will be too wet to burn , lack internal structure to stab and be immune to a lot other things so using it like the classic Minotaur or a shoggoth is best.

Like lots of foreboding, chances to get away and have it find you again etc

o>Worse living through chemistry:

A tree is poisoning everything around with fine seed, hooked airbourne hairs, or will cause horrible rashes or melt skin with its latex.

An okay stand it for a trap , and is auto maintaining unlike a mechanic trap, "pushing through this area causes sap to be sprayed on the party etc"

Might be more interesting if it's delayed or the plant itself starts growing from the infected area. Like most traps it needs careful information management.

Deliver mechanisms could include sap, fumes, thorns, stinging hairs, contact poison, airborne hairs or seed , sticky or hooked seeds, explosive seed pods, pollen

Effects could include (possibly delayed) welts, rashes , lacerations , flesh melting, paralysis, confusion or delirium , apathy , hallucinations, itchiness to the points of self mutilation , swellings, blindness, become a host to the plant, behaviour modification, nausea ; also vomiting , shitting possibly with blood from organ damage, cancer and choking or suffocation

The plant could benefit from this through protection, deterrence, area denial , fertilization of the soil via copses or dripped blood or pus, or transport of seed or pollen

Ways of using a plant or tree that infects an area and having it less of gotcha could be having everyone know about it and there is bodies with treasure there, (either because they were ignorant or they were deliberately sacrificed after ritual bejewelment) or some of the plants parts are medicine/magic/curse relievers

A range of shitty plants encounters than cause minor discomforts , wounds and ailments is a good way of making a wilderness area notorious

Example of something :

This looks like a mild generic green bush with pinnate compound leaves (kinda like a fern but with the tip most leaflets not reducing). Underneath each leaf is the seed pods which when brushed against spoik out in flesh and screw themselves in. Their corkscrew shape means they will work their way into the muscle with movement and if pulled will break off leaving the tip inside. 
While initially in the muscle it numbs the area only hours later later do they cause pain and discomfort and sleeplessness.
They can be dug out but it requires time and care to remove all of it. Field operations often leave the tip , which will be noticed much later when the anesthetic wears off and it starts causing pain, discomfort and agitation 
Because of this it is most often removed at night near a campfire or fire source. Because the seed pod is a fuckhead it will often be thrown in the fire. Unfortunately exposure to heat allows the seedpod to open and germinate faster than it would left alone. The bushes are thus often found around former campsites.
As well as using fire for germination they will germinate in reaction to lower amounts of salty fluid, ie blood , so the seedpods that have been ripped out of a leg and discarded will sprout and grow into a new Screw-Seed-Bushes too. So you also find them along trails.

Medicinally it can harvested and used to make contact anesthetics and stimulants that cause wakefulness 

  o> Killing It With Fire

It's a common thing in rpgs that plant or wood enemies take more damage from fire than they would if they were meat. Which has also bugged me because you hold a lighter underneath a green tree branch and hold one under your arm and see which one gets fucked up quicker. Your arm is delicate layer of skin over a flammable substance (fat) that will needed a decent amount of heat to get going will burn. A tree , even dried , is no more vulnerable to fire than you are. Anyway the main reasons trees get fucked up by fire is they can't run away. Which is a problem with plant encounters. The party , if aware, will try and burn them.

Ways to increase the mayhem of this is a)making it difficult because green plants don't burn easily

b)smoke sucks. Poisonous plants burning often sucks much much worse and can be a delivery agent for the chemical effects cough 420 cough

c)If you start a fire big and hot enough to burn green material it maybe hot enough to keep burning and now you have a forest fire. Which involved disorinating and choking smoke, fire , weird localized weather, stampeding animals and intense heat. So good luck with that

d)If there was something you wanted on that plant you just burned it.

e)Some plants and trees bet on fire to germinate their seeds and will rapidly recover , often spreading further their original disputation. If a plant has evolved to fuck with people , it's evolved to incorporate their retaliation as well.

So if the players cleared a forest to get rid of patch of thorn slinging hate flowers they might find when they next pass through the area the patch now covers the entire former forest.

Conceivably their might be plants that deliberately fuck with people to get them to start fire.

Gum trees in Australia are known to produce large amount of dry branches and shed bark and if it's hot enough might ignite from the volatile materials in the sap. Gum tree seed germinates after fire and all the other trees have burnt leaving clear bush freshly fertilized with ash.
o> Friendship is ants
Ant shenanigans here

Some plants can have symbiotic relationships with other things that hate you. The classic is some acacia trees having special ant homes so messing with the tree means thorns and ants leaping at you.

Another example is a tree having little murder holes for ants to pop out grab limbs and pull things apart.

Image from Bogleech writing about ant

A wasp or bees nest makes a ranged attacker for a plant monster.

Human symbiotic relationships could include the use of the plant as a ritual poison, a barrier defense (Onga Onga pictured at the start was grown in trenches behind fort walls ), or a initiating toxin that leaves all members with a distinctive appearance and possibly increased fearlessness or pain resistance. Destroying the plant maybe the key to defeating a bastard group of bastards.

Other symbiotic relationships that want to murder you might be elephants growing trees from their skulls. The trees grow horrible acid fruit that the elephants will throw at people. In some seasons the tree makes the elephants more aggressive and belligerent to encourage more fruit to be thrown.

-Goats that binge eat a delicious flower. Later in the season this makes some of them swell up and violently explode if stabbed. This deters people from eating the goats so that's fair right?

-Corpse Lobsters feed on bones and transfer pollen from the bone flower that grows upon bodies. The Bone flower releases a toxin that makes people paranoid and violence prone in a invisible vapour over a wide area.

o> Reefer Madness

A plant (especially a newly introduced one) could be responsible for the new behaviour of monster , people or animals. Either because they are eating it and going nuts, or it releases chemical that make them nuts. Why do the cows attack here? Because plants. The plants might be benefiting or causing horrible transformations or it might just be a fucked up side effect.

The party might be subject to a complete false or altered environment because of a common plant that has been drugging them. Either have hallucinations run like real monsters until they suspect gnomes or do that thing where you describe normal things in too much detail or mention hearing detail so the players themselves act paranoid

Okay I meant to live the house hours ago and I haven't shower and I'm in my underwear because it is summer right now fuck you northern hemisphere

IN conclusion the fuck you ness of plants in 4 points:

Vast range of chemical arsenals

Getting other things to do the work for them / Using other creatures behaviour to their benefit include hostile actions

Can keep regrowing or taking up more and more space

Happy to stay in one place being a dick forever

Invulnerability to bunch of stuff that normally makes livings dies

Here are some further readings on bastard plants

Plant used for Ordeal justice

Plant that burns and causes blindness

Look here is the wiki link on poisonous plants

Friday, 2 January 2015

I think I am going to talk about Video games right now in this post

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Because I played these games and I liked them and people talk about video games alot and there is over lap with rpgs.

And some of them were interesting like a book or an art can be interesting. Like uneasy emotional response that is good but disquieting.

But mainly I think it's a good chance to talk about mediums , pacing, frustration, delayed gratification , and imprinting

Anyway this will prob go in some other direction and I might make reference to that scene in Watership Down where the fucked up rabbits who have internalized the fact that they are actually farm animals and because they can't confront this fact they make bullshit mosaics in their burrows about nothing, which is the most apt metaphor for modern life I know.

I know I could certainly make bullshit mosaics because of my inability to contemplate the truth of eventual annihilation and complicity with life under captialism.
Or possible because I just like it.
It is a mystery

Anyway click the titles to go the relevant website. Most games are free or cheap because I have a piece of shit computer and am cheap so most of the games I play are weird little indie games or shit house flash games and the overlap between
Not from Anodyne from here


which means "not likely to cause offence or disagreement and somewhat dull" and "a painkilling drug or medicine."

Relevant? Prob not

I forget the name of it like all the time. And then mashing various combinations of syllables trying to find it .
Anyway it's basically Zelda. But sad and weird and possibly might need that crucial amount of imprinting on video games limited palette landscapes and the evocation of them despite or even because of there limitedness .

The medium is telling you that your emotion is for a place that doesn't exist. You are a Kākāpō
fucking the back of someones head
What does that have do with Anodyne? You play young who is an old man. A sage gives him the standard save the world script , cynically and routinely , and soon you find the broom that is to be your weapon and tool and you begin exploring a familiar landscape but one that seems empty and sad. Stones give unhelpful messages, there is a section of a highway that incongruously sits among the green fields and rivers and you fight the classic bats and blobs. Eventually you upgrade your broom to move dust around to make a raft and get rid of barriers and exploring looking for the dungeon entrances. SO it's that pokemon, zelda thing that shows up in my dreams still to this day. Trekking back and forth over a landscape looking at it carefully trying to open new path ways.

The games exploration gets to places that seem to be more in Young's head or someone else head anyway. A fleshy blood realm. A place haunted by dead acrobats. Other Dimensions of crystals. A memory of a fire. You are exploring someones something. Is it Youngs past? Is it a purgatory ? Some clump of psychospace Young has formed onto? It doesn't seem all about him anyway. Again the feeling like the medium is stating its fakeness. This time to itself. You never really understand what is happening

It surprises. It unsettles.

The two moments that most stick out for me are spoiler territory so highlight to read
You go to this black and white world with horrible static. There is people here. You've only seen one before, and she was nice. You go up to one and press the interact button. You stab them and they die bleeding.
Because they are coded as enemy pressing the attack button doesn't open a dialogue box. It attacks them with a knife which has replaced your broom. Though this area is implied to be more memory (glitched haunted and diseased) than others , it never reveals it all to be a dream or psychotic vision. It threats to but never settles there. There is not consequence or explanation. You just killed someone.

The other bit is after you have defeated the final boss and got the new game plus power. A ability to swap any 2 squares allowing you to dismantle the landscape and step beyond the borders of the levels. It feels like nonclip mode or using a level editor to explore what you couldn't before. Then you find new areas and more content and there was shock for me , that the game hadn't ended. Like watching a play, applauding, the curtains fall, and you walk back stage to compliment the performers and there is another play happening. 

It doesn't go as far with this as I would of liked but it still impressed me.

Other moments less striking are getting to climb a wind turbine or meeting someone you can talk to but seems tangential to the actual plot but more significant somehow because of this.

Gameplay wise it is solid. Like Zelda for Snes but less formalatic with the dungeon new weapon next dungeon thing. It moves well , the world holds surprises, the sound track is perfect. This one of my favourite games and I will play it again soon (if this computer lets me) and to a follow through review.

Relevance to RPG wise? The joy of exploration and a place unfolding slowly and in surprising ways. I want to run the next game on a single island or otherwise have it limited geographically but not in scope. Like an Island can have a mountain. The Mountian can have a cave. The cave can have a shaft that links up to a glass ceiling tomb at the bottom of the ocean. The ocean can lead back to coral reefs running the island and the sunken temples of the shallows. The west beach can be all broken statues and the east beach the dangerous mating ground of titanic King Crabs. The North is a cliff with ruins build in the side and graves added later. The south is peaceful and has remnants of a wharf built to trade with people who don't come anymore.

By having everything close it interconnects , it coshares a history , even when parts ignore or over write each other.


Let's talk difficulty. I've played games that had a bit that was hard and at a certain point nothing that game will do past that point is worth me trying that bit some more. Other people get more of kick from beating a challenge than I do. I don't want a cake walk but I will flat out make a cost benefit analysis and walk away from a game.
Sometimes when I hear people talk about how good a challenge is because of how good it feels to beat it I think of a joke: A man is smashing his head against a brick wall. Someone comes up to him and asks him why he is doing that. He replies "oh because it feels so great when I stop"

But suffering is not enjoyable  because its immediate absence is noticeably pleasing. But in video game it is an antiflavour , a term that I used as an umbrella for any combination of boredom, frustration, and fear. You want to do a thing and you fail and so must keep doing the thing you don't want to do. Even though that thing may of been initially  fun . Like being forced to play a level again. Or try a jump again.
It's an antiflavour because its more about when it's not there or how it works with other flavours (immersion, story, skill mastery,progression and novelty off the top of my head but that's not a rigorous list.)

My taste for it is possibly why I hate level drain as a player , other just any mechanic fiddlyness.
It clashs with my sense of progress ( a flavour which I think I need to be prominent) , that what I have done previously has mattered.  It breaks some unspoken sense of fairness of mechanics. I can lose arms , eyes, all my stuff , but atleast I will keep my advancement mechanically.

Though body swapping, transmogrification or curses might render this progression irrelevant some how that is still mine.

 Even though I enjoyed being 1st level or whatever being made to play it again somehow is a bad taste of antiflavour.

Though I think it could be more down to the sense undead are just not cool enough for me to break the rules in such a way. I could deal with it more if it was built into the fabric of the setting like Anthonys Picaro's soul eating  or some setting in which you could lose levels if a rival people dug up and ate your ancestors.
There would be sense it is some cosmic transgression. A wight is an angry dead guy in world of medusas, astral travel , dragons, dimensional invaders , and fuck knows what else.
Zak has said that makes undead scary and scary is good. The trouble is fear only happens when you have internalized the worlds reality . Otherwise scary is annoying. IF you started playing a game and got told one player would decide if you had to stop playing , you would think that was bullshit and would not fear the possibility , more chafe under it.
Though d&d , while a litttle more complicated than that,  works that way. There is some consistency that is accepted that makes it when you character burns up in the lava, it's okay, because that is what happens because lava.

I digress and I'm losing my point.

Probability Zero is hard. It is a descending rogue-like platformer.
Rogue-like in the sense it is procedural generating, it has some form of exp , and it all goes back to square one when you die. And you will die. The game riffs of the "on a long enough time scale all survival rates have a probability of zero" or something similar. In-fact your health bar is a constantly changing message on your chance of returning home/seeing your children again/ etc , and lists a fluctuating X in XXXXX chances.

The number of tens serves as a rough guide. The numbers change but the size of the second one in decimals is basically  the amount of hits you can take. When it gets down to a 1 in 1 kinda thing your eyes will be red and you will take one more hit and then it's game over.
The game scrolls downward endlessly forcing you to quickly navigate its lose maze, getting caught off the screen (above or below) is instant death. A variety of enemies are present and killing them gives you stars. Get enough stars and a line will appear soon below and progress past it gives you a level up and a little bit of health. Each level up pauses the action and gives you a choose of powers , all are extremely useful and the game seems to enjoy the difficult of your choices. A projectile attack or the ability to not get hurt falling? Block breaking or being able to hurt enemies by landing on them? Spike immunity or one kill punchs?
Powers are on tiers that become available on progressive levels (note it's still continuing the same endless scrolling shaft) , one tier needing you to waste a level up to unlock it. Which I feel was a complete mistake.
Others are accessible only if the previous version of it is unlocked.

As you descend you need more stars from enemies to unlock level ups. The enemies are joined by tougher kinds with more complicated behaviour. Bosses occasionally show up , tearing up the place and fucking with you. The blockscape features more spikes and greater drops. There is a constant feeling that you just on the cusp of getting into a comfortable flow, with just one more level up so you can stop taking spike damage or get that one kill punch etc. But you fail and you die inevitable.
And though there is a lot to like here the antiflavour has just a sprinkle too much fuck you in it for me. I want their to be an easy mode (there is normal which shit on me, and hard which did it from a greater height) and another mode which is bascially bullshit as well from the amount of enemies it throws at you.
It's so very carefully calculated to never quite give you the break you need and I reached a point where I just could not be fucked. You should play it though. It's fast , it's great, I think there is more hidden content than I found (look for star block placed further in the walls than they should. I didn't test it but just noticed it in peoples lets play videos) .
The enemies behaviour is good , each bastard having distinctive movements and often additonally things you won't notice at first. Like monsters that eat your power ups or other monsters giving them a range attack, or parasites that cause an inflicted monsters to burst out more parasites or projectiles that destroy things that you wish they wouldn't .

There were some more games I was going to go on about but I'm done now.
Might do another post covering them as well.

But yeah play both these games.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Blazing World, The first planar document release

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Gosh I sure do like writing game material

Okay so a few years ago I thought I should make a formal release for legacy and cash purposes.

And the thing I thought would be easiest and most toothsome to people was the semi-coherent notes about the use of the planescape setting

So for the last 2 years (possibly more??)  I have been thumping away at something. But I hate it.

To get it finished as acceptable product for sale will just take so much longer because it is chore and I have no real passion for it. More of "hey this would be cool I guess" feeling.

Working around the planar alignment setting and something so broad is horrible as a first project.
There is stuff I am way more interested in making into a presentable book than this.
Stuff that I would use myself at the earliest opportunity and is not titanic in scope.

I think that is the main thing, I don't have any urge to run a planar campaign anytime soon. I definitely have a urge to run Wide-on-for-destruction or Islands or VeryBigSpaceShip and creating material for that is creating material for myself, and it is easy to feel it is successful when, at the very least, you did a through prep job for once.

But I have a lot of stuff already wrote for it, which I don't want to "waste", and I don't want to sit on it indefinitely and I don't want to start other stuff with it unfinished.

So I am planning to polish up what is there, fill in the blanks and then release as free documents to you all because I am bounteous and so are many others .

The black things running from the Vale are called threads. They bridges of blackness in blackness and souls follow them and try not to get eaten by angler fish.

This is the first part, Blazing World:
download it, use it , don't make money off it without my permission, as I am still formerly declaring my rights as the author  and a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution license, or CC-BY-NC.

There are a couple of references to tables that will be in future documents. Vermin road Caravan and Flesh rift beasts.  For the first if you can't wait until that one is out, just do a random merchant caravan but weird it up. For a Flesh rift beast use a random animal intelligence evil beast . either an existing monster (hell hound, howler, eyewing etc) or use an animal with fire legs or something.

Give me feed back on it and it will help the finishing off of the future documents. They will be realise every couple of months depending how much polishing I can be arsed with.

Since I original thought I would be dodging intellectual property laws there are a few name changes , which I guess are not so necessary now.

I will give the lexicon and main changes and additions here, a lot of these will be elaborated into the document that talks about the basics of the thing Which would of been the obvious one to release first but hey.

Working Assumptions , adhered to partially

  • all places should have something to do there that is fun

  • I'm not dealing with real world mythology because it's already been covered. can easily put gods everywhere if they want

  • The current alignment is not and has not been a constant feature. Bits and pieces of other arrangements are still there . The Planes/realms do not have to be consistent in tone for this reason. There are border realms and locations which are nearly realms in themselves as they are soley merging or emerging from another realm. 

  • No way am I doing the neutral good plane and the neutral neutral good plane. The torus is roughly a 9 point axis. can easily use bits of each places to flesh out whatever planes system they are using anyhow

  • I used off the cuff working titles for things and then I used them too long and that became the name. I guess that is how etymology works though.

  • Each Realm would see its self as morally correct. None of them would define themselves by their opposition to another. None of them would exist to punish people. The hell is a hell because everyone there believes this is the best way to behave to become strong and free and right. Reflected that in the naming and how it all works

  • The list of how spells get changed is gone. I was really tempted in some places but it opens up a can of worms with why would the realms let anything happen at all they don't want? Still half convinced that a giving each place a couple of effects that don't work , might write an appendix for it. Also makes everything about wizards. Like "how do we get the feeling of this place Oh let's change how magic works because Magic spells are the most important thing ever" Which I have mixed feelings about

  • People are going to want something they can use the very first time they read it. Like people will get their players teleported somewhere and they will go "oh shit , what is there? I need a table"
  • The Realms themselves are the power. The gods (if any) , demons, angry bears squat or pay rent there. It's about have a metaphysical congealment baser than religion or morality.
  • The Realms do not clearly map to each other. Some will have formal occupants and manifestations. Others will have a dirty tent with a Free Beer sign, spelt wrong, hanging up upside down.


Realms: Planes. Though they are less discrete than the original planes blending into each other and having bits that are nearly a plane by themselves.

The (Terminal )Torus: basically the great road /outer planes. The change is that the planes / realms are connected physically so they can be traversed without the use of portals.It's just more satisfying to me to draw and imagine. Some  of the realms act as a light source or sky for others.

Vale of Tears: The prime material plane, the "real world"

Glooming: Astral plane. Kinda. The black thing souls travel through to get to the realms.

Twilight: Ethereal plane. Kinda. Immediately overlaps the Vale of Tears and it's were you are when you leave your body. Go up from here and you reach the Glooming

Souls: The thing you have inside your meat. Will have a certain amount of Salt on it, which it will exchange to become an Imago when it reaches a realm. Souls aren't forced to go anywhere. Generally. A soul with a lot of Salt will be escorted or be spruiked to by representatives. Weak willed or indecisive or less valuable souls run a risk of being eaten on the way or press ganged or conned into somewhere. Souls do not have shadows and cannot gain levels.

Salt: the amount a soul has sweated, strived, suffered and cried in their life. It's what keeps the realms solid. A Realm lacking salt will break up and be absorbed by other Realms. It can actually be dug out of some Realms or stolen from in transit souls and since it is useful as a drug, a empowery for Denizens , and an additive to make food actually have nutritional value for people who are not dead but living here, it's the currency, and an entire black market called Vermin Road exists because of it.
A Denizen (like a demon or deva) that has been exiled or excommunicated will need regular Salt or they will be at greatly reduced strength

Vermin Road: not quite a specific place in the same way the "Underground" or  the "Black Market" is not a place though it has places and locations associated with it. Both a trading route, a network of trading posts and the economy that exists between the cracks of the Realms and gods agents and  representatives. It is made up of  exiles, refugees, traitors, squatters, remnants from past mythos, low and high level denizens trying to run something on the side, and of course fucking adventures. The currency is in Salt, but a great deal of other things are traded too , with some of seemingly opposed Realms having more economic ties they the would like to admit.

Denizens: So souls that exchange over their salt to a realm become an imago. An imago can then become (eventually) a Denizen. Denizens are big noise like demons and angels and they like. IF they are killed off Realm they reform in the Realm, with varying amount of time and loss of status and power.  If killed in the Realm , they are dis-incorporated ie destroyed

Imago: A soul that has become aligned to a Realm.. From there they might become a denizen or merge with the realm. Will reform if killed in the Realm but be destroyed off Realm. Will need constant Salt if they attempt to stay off Realm. Which can happen when an Imago decides one day that the Realm that seemed the coolest is Bullshit and it's taking too long to become a Denizen and also they might of pissed someone off powerful.

Dweller: Someone/thing that has lived (generally generationally though some being might be long lived enough)  long enough on a Realm to be changed by it and more importantly can survive there without needing Salt. Some Dwellers have  been on a Realm so long everyone assumes they must be Denizens or Congelates, the Slaadi being the most obvious. The Slaadi however just moved in a long time ago and act like they own the place. A Dweller will not be able survive without Salt on the Vale of Tears. A child born in a Realm is automatically a Dweller. Can be killed on or off realm. If killed on the Realm they have been aligned with , their soul will be absorbed immediately by the Realm without becoming an Imago. Dweller souls have no Salt.

Congelate: A some what coherent being directly made by the Realm itself. Will be permanently destroyed if destroyed off realm. but eventually regenerate if destroyed on Realm . Extremely rare to go  off Realm, will need Salt to survive off Realm

Incarnate: Like Congelate but is an abstract force of the Realm. The classic unseen possessing demon of horror movies or the burning wheel 6 winged angel is an example of Incarnate. Personifies the Realm to instinct that means they are extremely unpredictable, unfathomable, and dangerous.
Pinnacle of Virtue , The rifts of All Flesh, Heart of it All  and the Plains of Relevation are all known to have Incarnates. The other Realms are presumably y capable , but undocumented at this time. It's possible that out breaks of madness, weird arcane blights or unnatural fads have been Incarnates unrecognized

Tourist: anyone in torus that is not "from there" . Presumably a bad pun,  "torus-ist"  , made long ago. Sometimes used as insult by Dwellers to people that are also Dwellers but haven't been part of the place for an arbitrary amount of time or generations

Food:   Some Realms generate food that can sustain Tourists as well as Dwellers, Solitary for one (but its bland and gross) and Blazing World is another (but there is no regularity about anything here ever).
If a tiny amount of Salt is added to Realm food it will subsist a Tourist. Dwellers living in the Vale have the same problem, unable to draw substance from the food without Salt.

Realm Equivalents :

Limbo ,  -> Seether

Arborea, . BeastLands -> Blazing World

Elysium-> Starry Night/Desert of Leavings

Mount Celestia-> Pinnacle of Virtue

Mechanius-> Encyclopedia of All Machines

Acheron-> Grind

Baator-> The Heart Of It All

Grey Wastes-> Plains of Revelation

The Abyss, Gehenna-> The Flesh Rifts aka Canyons of All Flesh

Pandemonium -> (Mt)  Solitary 

No real equivalent but usable material for could be found in

Ysgard-> Seether, Blazing World

Carceri-> Solitary, The plains of Revelation

Bytopia-> Blazing World, Desert of Leavings, Pinnacle of Virtue, Infinite Library

Arcadia-> Pinnacle of Virtue, Heart of it All, Infinite Library, Encyclopedia of All Machines

Astral, Ethereal -> Starry Night, Seether, Glooming, The Blood Clouds