Monday, 18 January 2021

The Danger-Snake! (and others)


THE DANGER-SNAKE


The Danger-Snake the Danger-Snake,
The terrible cake-striped Danger-Snake.
Its form doth flow and its eyes doth glow,
With a regular pulsing, long and low.
With high-visibility Battenburg stripes,
And eyes that flash like ambulance lights,
Hope it don't see you, hope it ain't there,
Over your head or under your chair,
For if you DO see it, if you see it at all..
There's harm and catastrophe soon to befall!
Crashing and bashing and splintering bones,
Burning and breaking and falling-down homes,
Sneezing and piercing and pins in your eye,
Stumbling and fumbling and glass in the pie!
Be it the herald or be it the cause,
The snake is orthogonal, separate to laws.
Singular, secret, yet vibrant and wild,
The snake is the seed of catastrophes’ child,
For if you DO see it, if you SEE IT AT ALL..
Deaths at the doorstep and doom is on-call.
So hope you don't and say you won't and pray its just a hose,
That curls out in the garden in the shadow of wet clothes,
And not the snake, the Danger-Snake,
The terrible cake-striped danger snake,
For its form doth flow and its eyes doth glow,
With a regular pulsing, long and low.


The high visibility snake signals danger, but also seems to summon or create danger. Striped like an ambulance or a police car, with eyes that flash like ambulance lights, but an ambulance that arrives somehow ahead of time.





GOB MOBLINS


Creatures who are not goblins, but who form gangs which act like goblins, or try to.

They claim to be the 'mob goblins' and will offer 'protection' to extort shopkeepers and homeowners, but in fact they are mere Moblins, a smaller, smoother, pinker and less dangerous form of goblin.

Yes they are like small pink cowardly people with dull brown eyes that weep when they are upset, which is OFTEN because they are nervous and angst-ridden beings!

They lack cunning and invention except for the scheme of feigning goblins, which gives them confidence. They paint themselves green and add finger extenders and pointy false ears and dentures to give them small sharp teeth, and they practice capering from books;

"ah hee hee hoo hoo ha!"

"AH HEE HEE HOO HOO HA!"

"(I say Chives, let us try that again, one more time)"

"(Ahem)... AH. HEE. HEE. HOO. HOO. HA!

"Very good Chesterfield, very good Chives. Very Goblinish indeed."

They speak in 1950s received pronunciation and are anxious about their schemes. They write these down on scraps of paper (the schemes are all veery carefully and exhaustively planned), and when not observed, they pull out the scraps and peer closely at them to make sure they haven't got anything wrong. But the false spiky fingers they wear get in the way, so they have to pull the fingertops off with their teeth. Then they get sweat on the instructions and smear the details.

Oh no, now their green facepaint is sweating off.

And their false pointy teeth cannot hold their long fingers. Both are falling out...

Oh no oh dear, oh dearie-me no.

The Gob Moblins are not that much of a threat to be honest. Their schemes almost always fall apart in desperate fashion, plus you can usually spot them by their shoes, they are excellent cobblers and hate wearing unshined footwear, plus they are bullied by every type of actual goblin, who they look up to as celebrities but also fear, and do not understand at all.

Their greatest threat may be to your emotions, as it can be anguishing to watch them try so hard and fail so pathetically, and then breakdown crying, their tears leaving green smears everywhere.





CHEESE GOBLINS


They are fermented goblin milk, solidified in warm conditions over time. 
Where from? 

The goblin milkers - by the Good Goose-God don't ask how or why they do it or who they are. It is one of the worst things that ever was. The horror of the Cheese Goblins.

If goblin parts get into milk, it ferments; they emerge. The milk curdling and turning greenish-white. 

They are full of holes, but they can be soft too, and riddled with a bluish mould, they can have a sheeny rind which peels off to reveal the milky Cheese Goblin beneath, they can be like mozzarella, or like brie.

They are of no especial quality or skill compared to other goblins, and to be honest, quite a bit less robust. But... think about their cheesy fingers reaching out for you, or cheesy eyes turning in their cheesy heads, transmitting cheesy thoughts to cheesy brains. Curdling and churning and thickening things. Churning themselves up, spreading themselves on crackers and posting each other through the letterbox.

Nothing is enough for the Cheese Goblins. What wild thoughts might they not think, and what cheese dreams might they not dream? For the Cheese Goblins have cheese dreams each night, dreams of the wildest invention, and darkest consequence.

They fear cheese graters, cheese knives, cheese cutters and cheese boards, and seek revenge upon all cheese-eaters.




LONG GOBLINS


They are especially long and wiggly, like ropes or hosepipes, with smirking little round faces like the ends of sticks of rock. Their length is not reassuringly noodly, like a snakes or worms, (both of which they HATE), they are clearly still a person shape, just stretched horribly, with the pointed vertebrae poking out of their flexible backs

Their very longness is their weakness and their strength because that is how they get into places, but there is no way they could pass as a person. Instead they gather together in long places, like drainpipes and have long conversations. They take a long time to decide what to do, which is fortunate for us, but once they do decide they will stick at it for an equally long time.

There is nothing about the long goblins which is not long, their attention spans, their vision, their stories and their names. 

All long.

Their dinner engagements are exhausting. Never ask one to give a speech, even their pauses are long, and their horrible long fingers as they creep out of a pipe. 

What do they wear? Long johns of course, and they are ruled by the Longest Goblin, who is as thick as a python and twice as squeezy.

They prefer long food, like spaghetti, noodles, hot dogs, eels and string-beans. Offering them such items, or cooking them a feast of such, might persuade them to leave.
 



The List So Far


Amber Golems
Bomblenowl
Creature from the Unknown
Conspicuous Squirrels
Copy-Monsters
Crime Bird
Dracula
Dragon
Gelly Cube
Ghost (standard)
Ghost, of a Sinister Pig
Ghost Queen
Goblins, Cheese
Goblins, Corn
Goblins, Egg
Goblins, Gas
Goblins, Ghost
Goblins, Glass
Goblins, Gloom
Goblins, Grain
Goblins, Grass
Goblins, Gourd
Goblins, Long
Goblins, Mole
Goblins, Trash
Gob Moblins
Ingot Beast
King Slime
Loan Troll
Men-of-Bones
Mirror-Gibbons
Moon Mage
Ogre
Pumpkin-Headed Böggelmen
Ratmaster
Rude Orcs
Secret-Eaters
Sinister Pig
Sky Witch
Snail Knight
The Danger-Snake
The Master-Thief
The Worlds Most Evil Dog
Thieflings
Trap Dogs
Xanthic Men


That's 46 in total. I want 50 for the book. I know what one more is; The Monks of Dooom. But what should the remaining three Dangerous Strangers be?

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Song of the Ash-Sea Pirates

Many say the Great Ash Sea which spreads westwards from the furthest shore is impassable and empty, barren as a frozen heart, yet consider this song sung by the Pirates of that Sea, raiders of Blackwaters coast who ply the endless ash-ocean in sledge-ships with tattered sails, memoryless and waste-mad;


 
Its farewell to night and farewell to day,
Goodbye to Blackwater, into the Grey!
Its over the edge and into the ash,
Where the ghost-gulls wheel and the wyrm-winds lash.
Out beyond Sintel and Scaedwealds black storm,
Where the wind steals the memory and monsters are born,
It's there we'll go roving, long for to search,
For the rocks and the ruins where the ash-birds perch.
Aye its there we'll go searching, long for to rove,
'Neath burning black coal-trees in petrified groves,
Through Courts of Pale Princes who live without flesh,
It's there we'll go seeking to search for old Esh.
The old land is calling, the old land is there,
Where the sky becomes stone and the ash becomes air.
Yes the old land is looking, the old land is ours,
She holds still the memories of mankinds lost hours.
For this be our treasure, these be the gold,
The truth and the wisdom that man had of old.
So its farewell to night and farewell to day,
Goodbye to Blackwater, into the Grey!"


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Have I done any other songs on here I've forgotten about?

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Update and Monsters

UPDATE


The STORE is now open again with all the postage costs updated. E.U. postage has had customs charges added on my side.


Now for some GooseWorld monsters, or as I have taken to calling them; Dangerous Strangers



XANTHIC MEN


Xanthic Men are a seasonal danger, appearing in Spring and remaining until around Autumn.

They grow near hedgerows, up in distant copses, on the borders of things, always hidden away. If a farmer sees Xanthic Men growing they will tear them up by the root of course, not that it does much permanent good, they just re-grow next year. The Xanthic men grow in comforting spots, sheltered places where one might rest or hide away.

They come it two sorts, the Herbaceous Man and the Ambling Man.

The first sort are Herbacious and thankfully they rarely walk, and if they do, they do not get far, having no bones and little remaining memory of the act.

Imagine them as huge woven-together piles of Dandelions, growing and crawling around each other like vines till they form the shape of a man, with flowers at his fingers and roots at his toes. There the Herbaceous Xanthic men murmur quietly to each other, slowly releasing seeds and pollen into the wind, beckoning to anyone who passes by.

The pollen of the Herbacious men is soporific, it makes one woozy and sleepy. As well as this, the Xanthic men gesture and murmur half-words and reassuring noises. 

Here lies the greatest danger, that a lonely or desperate traveller, or one ignorant of their ways, accepts their gestures and beds down with the Xanthic men, lying in their comfortable bower, surrounded by their nodding heads. When this happens, in the night the seeds of the Xanthic men drift down down down into the sleeping mouth and open nose.

Thence is born and Ambling Xanthic Man. 

Such a person starts out largely normal. Their veins are replaced by dandelion stems and they grow flowers at their fingertips and roots at their toes, but otherwise they can get about well enough. They also no longer need to eat, drinking sustenance from the earth.

The first horror of the Ambling Xanthic Man is not in what they do, but in what they will not do, which is; anything.

A Xanthic man will slowly but steadily seek to do nothing at all. They will just hang around, maybe on street corners, or at the bottom of the garden, or behind a wall. Sleepy, slow, deeply resentful of anyone the find doing more than them, which is everyone, and eager for recruits.

All Ambling Xanthic Men think everyone would be better off if they just become Xanthic Men, its more natural or whatever, and why work and torture yourself, and the earth, if you can just become a peaceful, enlightened Xanthic Man? 

If anyone foolish or weak-minded agrees with them, they can convert them to their cause by feeding them seeds, creating another Ambling Xanthic man who will hang around doing nothing, staring at people passing by and reluctantly, slowly, moving on if someone throws sticks at them.

They don't directly harm people, or force them to do anything, they just lie around staining the grass and resenting everyone. They talk to each other, but as they come to share a kind of loose hive mind, all they are doing is passing back and forth the same repetitive thoughts they had yesterday, repeating old arguments or dull stories. Xanthic men can't really come up with anything new, or think any new thoughts, though they believe that they are pretty wise and deep beings.

They just want you to relax, but if you do, you won't be able to stop relaxing, ever.

They do sometimes cause accidents, getting jammed in large machines or going under the wheels of carriages, their caustic sappy interiors crushed like wet dandelions, spraying trickly alkali-tasting sap everywhere. 

The Ambling Xanthic men seem to take this in their stride, not really accepting responsibility for anything, but not really being angry, or even shocked if one of them dies. Even deeply wounded ones will simply say that  "this sucks" and stagger off with the rest. They can't really feel deep hate, or desire, or anything to any strong degree. It is like they are half-asleep, but still wandering around.

When the end of summer comes and the winds of Autumn touch the air, all the Xanthic men begin to moan and clutch their heads. By this point their skulls are just as slender as leaves which open out revealing dandelion-seed brains while their toe-roots stick them to the earth.

As the wind comes the mind of the moaning Xanthic man is blown away on the breeze, whirling away to a thousand different places. The body left behind turns dry, collapses and rots into the ground like mulch. 

You would hardly know it had been there.

A few seeds will reach the safe and sleepy places where the Xanthic men prefer to grow, and next spring a new crop of Herbaceous Men will grow forth, muttering to each other in half-familiar voices of half-forgotten memories of the men they used to be, waving their flower-tipped fingers and releasing soporific pollen on the wind.





CONSPICIOUS SQUIRRALS

(Thanks to K Yani who invented this phrase in the comments)

Squirrel-People about three-feet high, Conspicuous Squirrels always look as if they are up to something.

They are.

Not many people know this but the favourite food of the Conspicuous Squirrel is human babies, they steal them in the night, carry them off to the tops of large trees and eat them alive.

They are always carrying out EXTREMELY SUSPICIOUS actions, like leaping out upon you from behind a bush, Carrying expensive goods out of a shop in the night while wearing striped shirts, digging holes near the bank

eyeing you through the window, climbing walls. Their hands are always moving and their black eyes always shifting and darting, through you never really know where they are looking. Their bushy tails, almost the size of their bodies, twitching and shifting in a fractured mirror to their movement.

If you complain about these things the Conspicuous Squirrels always reveal that they had a PERFECTLY INNOCENT reason for going into the bank with a mask, a sack and a gun, or meeting that unmarked truck in the middle of the night or whatever it was and they are shocked, SHOCKED that you would think there was anything SUSPICIOUS about it! Such prejudice we deal with!

Then they go back to their plans to steal and eat babies.

Furtive, creeping, juddering leaping creatures, dashing for the door then coming back, neither doing one thing or the other, but back and forth always, in and out, up and down. Glancing side-on (though to be fair with them they look at everything side on), eating secretly things held cupped in their hands... hiding what it is.






TRASH GOBLINS


Invaders from the Trash Dimension, the Trash Goblins are the disembodied spirits of mischief, banished from the GooseWorld by the GooseGod for their rubbish schemes. But, if the signs be right, they can emerge, formless, into our reality and take form from Trash, if enough trash is left available.

They come forth from out of the bin, bodies made of cans and newspaper with eggshells for eyes, dripping bin juice everywhere. Yes, they are held together by mould and dirty napkins, their guts are uneaten leftovers, their main enemy is hungry dogs. They cough dust, some are made of old rug with tongues of congealed porridge and string-bean toes "bleeghhhh". Birds may live in them, are twigs trash? sure, why not?. They have deep rasping voices and try to cook breakfast in the night. They get into the hard liqor and soak themselves in it, becoming drunk and aggressive, stinking of booze, stumbling into lanterns and fires, screaming and dying, racing around, "I'M BURNING! I'M BUUUUUURRRRRNNNNINNGGG AAAAAAAA", setting everything they touch on fire. This does kill, or banish them though, so that's a plus.

The first thing Trash Goblins will do is make more trash so more Goblins can come through from the Trash dimension, so YOU BETTER NOT HAVE LEFT A LOT OF TRASH LYING ABOUT. The more of a mess there is, the more goblins you will get.

What do the Trash Goblins really want?

To open a portal to the Bin Dimension, and make everything trash, emptying the GooseWorld into a universe of crap. 

The seas will be of plastic bags, the mountains of out of date ready meals, the rivers will be of broken bottles. For when all is trash, nothing shall be!!!

Monday, 4 January 2021

Weebery Two - Into the Maelstrom of Thighs

 My descent into Weebery continues and I am here to tell all of you about anime series that most of you have either seen already or will never see.

(I know many of you gave good recommendations on the last weeb post but unless something is readily available on Amazon Prime, the one steaming service I will submit to using, I am probably not going to see it in the foreseeable future. Even if its Made in Abyss which, yes, does look exactly to my tastes).

Nevertheless!




GANKUTSUO: The Count of Monte Cristo 





I found this through a Gigguk video

It’s the future, the moon is a skull and France rules the Galaxy.

I weep two tears, one of sorrow, one of wrath.


Opulence


This is going to wrap its aesthetic around your neck and choke you out. You can like back and enjoy it, or fight, but you are going down either way. It feels like a Klimt painting as an anime, an opera in huge swathes of light, shade and colour and especially patterns. Each characters clothes and aesthetic are a cut-out into their own still realm of pattern and these flow and interact across the screen together becoming hyper-opulent pools of pattern moving against patterned settings with wild hyper-tech art project stuff happening in the background.

Its what looks like a post-scarcity future so the core of Paris is a carefully maintained (or re-built?) version of 19th century Paris but with an insane art project/performance interlaced over it. The place is  walled and outside are arcologies of what looks like mega-city one, were I imagine a Neal Stephenson situation with the illiterate poor being blasted by holographic super-media and kept quiescent by shitty cybernetic soma systems while the rich live inside a huge clean art project, ride to their space ships in horse drawn carriages and read messages written with ink on real paper.

It has the strange graininess of late 90's cgi, which I like both on its own but also when integrated with the other visual elements. The backgrounds and buildings are made up of this built opulence created by what looks like matte image files packed with 19thc century hyper-decorations. I imagine this as a diegetic real-world element, a Paris re-created from image files has an interesting tenor to it.




The sci-fi setting is used to massively expand some of the spaces and places to create these mad sub-realms of deranged aesthetic, in particular, the Counts crazed golden underground kingdom/room where he has a private ocean and tarot-style orrerys moving against an imaginary sky over a golden sea is pretty wild.

The moon is a skull and I'm not sure why, it shows up as a skull face enough times that I feel like its part of the diegetic universe and not just a symbolism thing?  Is it a reference to the book that I've forgotten? One of those things blindingly obvious to Japanese people???? 




Revenge


It’s really a very good adaptation of the core of the story. Instead of becoming a Neitzshean superman through the power of an accessible horde of gold and ULTIMATE VENGANCE, the Count is sent to an isolated space prison where he merges with a weird crystal symbiotic space alien drawn to him via the power of ULTIMATE VENGANCE, the alien also has lots of cash. Despite sounding dodgy as fuck the literalisation of the metaphor works very well.

We see this story through the eyes of a slightly boring, pure hearted young man who everyone seems to be in love with despite the fact that he never does and exceptional thing. He meets the Count 'by chance' and bonds with him as a creepy father-figure. From there we are drawn slowly into a plan of SUPER VENGANCE which 90% of the audience will know is coming, but which most of the characters on screen do not. So there is a dual-view thing going on there with the audience noting lots of little details in an otherwise slowish first few episodes as we know that what’s actually happening is the slow assembly of a machine of ULTIMATE VENGANCE.






ONIHEI





What if Sherlock Holmes was a Samurai?

Uninteresting, he's already weird and repressed with his own code of honour, and he already has a sword. Instead, what if _Jim Rockford_ was a Samurai?

This is an episodic crime show set in Edo Period japan centred on the figure of Onhei, the leader of the cities seemingly-badass 'Arson Theft Control' group. A former libertine who reformed into being the best copper ever while also being the most sympathetic man ever.

More than anything this show is about sympathy and ethics.

It seems like you are never just going to mug someone in Edo Japan. Instead you would be part of a clan of muggers working by ancient mugging rules and with a population that largely expects to be mugged in a particular way. But instead maybe you get into a fight with your mugging senpai because you are secretly their natural son but the more competent adoptee got promoted above you, so you decide you are going to mug in this hot new way which ignores the rules, but it al goes horribly wrong and Onhei comes and skullfucks you. Less because you are a mugger (though that would be enough), but because you were a mugger wrong.

The cops and robbers are mutually exclusive culture tribes with their own code of ethics.

The real division in the series is a clashing of codes, or more a grand clashing of those who have and follow codes with those who do not. If anyone is really 'evil' in Onhei its less the criminals, even the super-violent ones, (who usually go down in a blaze of glory fighting multiple arson cops as running away is for bitches), and more those of whatever station who 'cheat', not the law, but their moral and societal obligations.

'Corruption', or at least governmental corruption as we would understand it, doesn't exist, except for one episode, where it is dealt with and banished in 20 minutes.

The social dynamics of cop & crime gangs and the whole legal situation in Edo period japan seems fascinating. Everything seems so tightly ritualised that its hard to even think of 'crime' in the way its conceptualised by us. Everything is part of its own organisation and hierarchy, with its own rituals and anything that happens inside the family or the clan isn't really 'crime' until someone drops a body.

It did remind me a little of a 50s British film called 'The Blue Lamp' which had some scenes with what looked like the last post-war relics of a 19th century thieving culture, where there were thieving rules and thieving organisations and "ways we've always done things".





Its not really about that though, its about motivations, family, desire, belonging. 

Onhei himself is one of those WIS 18 character who occasionally show up. A man with a deep sympathy and almost preternatural awareness of the souls and motivations of others, no matter where they might lie across the criminal/copper divide. he has a deep love of, and interest in, humanity, and despite being the best copper ever, also often manages to let some criminals get away, partially, with some things, some of the time. (Which still technically never breaking the law, a feat only really possible in fiction).

Because Onhei himself is the closest thing we have to a PoV character, and as all the situations orbit around and interact with him and systems in which he is the lynchpin, it illuminates the world through his moral schema and moral and emotional awareness, if not precisely through his eyes. What matters is what drives people, what they feel, and how that motivates them, especially as refracted through the complex hierarchies and repression/expression systems of the society around them.

Almost a prototypical restoration-of-order show, largely about interpersonal relationships, value systems and personal honour and cravenness in unlikely places.





OUTLAW STAR 




Really ridiculously fun and joyous, so archetypal that it seems almost like a parody of an anime; hotshot space bounty hunter with a tragic past and a boy-genius best friend team up with a femme cyborg, samurai girl bounty hunter and catgirl to fight evil daoist space pirates?

Making a list of the ridiculous or "extra" stuff in the show, while fun, evades the invisible core of the thing, which could easily be ignored or camouflaged by a simple description or listing of nerd-friendly semi-ironic ephemera; (spaceships with arms that wrestle and shoot super-revolvers), that would collapse the sense of motion and life into a decaying series of symbols
.
Like "its fun because it's silly" is a half-truth. Though it is silly, and it is fun. Then we get the crushingly inevitable counter-statement; "no this thing you thought was silly is AKSHUALLY deep!". Again, half-true; it has some depth, in the characters, the assembly of the world, the harmony and beauty of its aesthetic, but that’s not the kind of pseudo-literary high statues depth such statements typically seem to aspire to.

So what is it, this invisible thing? What is the spiderweb which has caught our silent glasslike fly? Here are a few strands;


/╲/\( •̀ ω •́ )/\╱\ --- Invention.

Playful, toyetic but bounding itself within a particular pseudosense so it doesn't decay into writers room invention or genre-dumb invention. There is Daoist magic, but there is *only* Daoist magic (that we see in action and effecting the imagined world), not Daoism plus alchemy plus dragons plus necromancy etc etc.


/╲/\╭(ఠఠ益ఠఠ)╮/\╱\ -----  Youth and possibility. 

The core cast members largely feel like young people on the verge of doing something new and exceptional, several of the more memorable encounters between Gene (the main character) and others are between him and an older/wiser mentor figure. These people all have a meaningful possible future in front of them. They are affected more by what they might do than by what they have done.


/╲/\╭(ರರ⌓ರರ)╮/\╱\ -----  Freedom.

And opportunity. start with a closed horizon, open it with danger, then present a remarkable possibility of escape



/╲/\╭༼ ººل͟ºº ༽╮/\╱\ -----  A really cool, fast, red, strong and fighty space ship. 


The simple material design of it.



/╲/\╭( ͡°͡° ͜ʖ ͡°͡°)╮/\╱\ -----  Colour.

And a particular use of, engagement with and expression of vivid and powerful colour arrangements. Colour as communication? Colour as soul?

This video does a better job than I about it;





/╲/\╭[ ᴼᴼ ౪ ᴼᴼ]╮/\╱\ -----  Beauty.

The matte or background paintings, whatever they are, are exceptional and encompass the beauty and strangeness of a void which is more like a dream. Visual poetry. They give space this deep, rich texture reminiscent of stuff like flash gordon or 50's paperback flaming spheres interstellar space, glorious speckled rampages of light and form.

Not only space but the cityscapes also have this deep richness and almost ellagic quality. When people are going 'out' wherever that is, they are not just going out into this blank emptiness of possibility which is also a void, but into a rich, textured tapestry of beauty.


I really want a coffee table book of those background paintings.

I should also mention the vivid, distinct and lively character designs, as well as movement, stance, fighting and behaviour styles. Perhaps its nothing super amazing exceptional but considering how many things fuck this up its still worth mentioning.



/╲/\╭[☉﹏☉]╮/\╱\ ---- A counterpoint of sadness. 




While Cowboy Beebop had a FUCKING FUCKTONNE of sadness and alienation, Outlaw Star has some. Valued people die. Some people are left alone. Some people are alienated some of the time. But this is not a dominant theme.


┬┴┬┴┤ ͡°)/\╱\ ----- Work? 

This is an odd one but the whole middle of the series is basically an in-space workplace comedy with interruptions. The crew is living away from home in the big city and they have their super-ship but they are increasingly in debt and working small jobs to stay afloat. Its basically 'Friends'? That's odd. Beginning and end = sci-fi epic. Middle-bit = 'Friends in Space'? Opportunity plus resource poverty is a very OSR element.



!!!(╯°□°)╯ミ /╲/( ͜。 ͜。 ͡ʖ ͜。 ͜。)/\╱\ ------ Catgirls.


Overwhelmingly what stays with me from this is the outward going dangerous but hopeful emotional tone. There is plenty of darkness in this world, but fundamentally a sense that the adventure is worth having.




FULL METAL PANIC! 




Super-robot sci-fi 90's techno thriller with secret-orgs duelling plus whacky high school romantic comedy? Super-serious robot riding borderline-Asperger’s honourable badass is assigned to covertly guard peppy extra high-achieving highschooler - hilarity ensues! 

An impossible mixture? Amazingly, no.

This feels like a really 90's series. There is some kind of overplot with bizarre hypertech being introduced to human culture "ahead of time" via psychic children who develop superknowledge, and there are psychic engines in this which can turn the mechanics of the action from near-future sci fi to super energy sphere hour.

The geoplitics is straight from a 90's action film. There are vague criminal/commercial conspiracies and 'rogue states' plus ungoverned areas policed and overwatched by the clashing sphwres of influence of nation states and their alliances, plus various NGO's, and of course the equally-vague non-state Mithril, basically a corporation/cult/mercenary outfit which can run hypertech and gets to float around the seas with giant submarines and have secret bases all over the world. A bond villains organisation if they were actually nice, like the Thunderbirds, or many of the secret orgs for justice of 80s cartoons.




None of this is really important compared to the unusual aspect of the show, which is high-school comedy + international espionage mecha drama which really really really absolutely should not work.

This might be another thing where the deep weebs educate me and are like ASHULLLYYYYY IN 1571 OZAMA TEZUKAS GREAT GREANDFATHER DID A SERIES OF PRINTS ENCAPULATING EXACTLY THIS DYNAMIC WHICH FORMED THE BASIS FOR.."

Ok I get that teenagers and robots is not a new mix.

But I still thought this was two things that shouldn’t work together, each individually unusually well done and through some strange alchemy brought into harness so that neither annihilates the other but instead they support each other.

It also has some fucking cool robot fights, especially in the last episode where two guys go at it in the hanger of a huge nuclear submarine which is also trying to evade torpedos - like an elevator fight but with robots.

Apparently this has more than one series and apparently the later ones aren't as good, Amazon only has series one

Sunday, 3 January 2021

24 Hours till Custom Charges Go Up!

 Hello everyone. Just a last reminder that if you want to order something from the BigCartel Store, then you only have 24 hours (and a bit) before I shut it down for a few days in order to calculate post-brexit customs charges.


Ok peace out!


Thursday, 31 December 2020

Pumpkin-Headed Böggelmen

 [Brief False Machine intermission: Brexit means VAT will start being added to my European orders. On the 4th of January I will export all my current orders to my distribution people, then shut down the store while I try to work out exactly what that means for me. That means when I re-open after the 4th postage will probably be going up.

So if you live outside the UK and want to order *before* that likely postage increase, then do it before the end of the 4th of January.

Ok, thanks for your time.]


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The Böggelmen are tall and hairy with rank green fur and red paralysing hands.

Don't let them touch you!

The Böggelmen have squirming bones which bend like branches and round hairless heads exactly the shape of a pumpkin with lidless eyes like mad sharks and pink meaty flesh, like an uncooked sausage. Their head-meat is as wet and soft as raw sausages and they smile with wide lipless mouths full of uneven needle teeth.

The skulls of Böggelmen bend like a babies so they can squeeze them heads into anything, like an octopus in a jar. Same with those long bones, they can come in through a catflap like  cartoon character. Looping and waving is their stride as they walk beneath an autumn moon.




PARALYSING HANDS AND CAREFUL FEET

The Böggelmen have paralysing armpit glands. If they shove the sharp claws of their red hands up there and scratch around, then scratch somebody - they can paralyse them, a little like sleep paralysis. Like being locked in a dark dream, half-aware but unable to move. When the paralysis wears off it makes you sleepy, woozy and incoherent, as if you were drunk. If you start talking about Böggelmen in the night, they may not believe you. Maybe you are the only one who knows there is still one hiding in the cupboard.

The Böggelmen like to do these to people who are alone - or people sleeping in a group, they wake one person up and paralyse them, then move about silently and do things in the room with everyone asleep




THE PUMPKINS


The Böggelmen love Autumn because the Pumpkins ripen. The pumpkin is exactly the shape of their flexible head and is often carved with faces - which the böggelmen take to be a form of proprietary worship. If a böggelman without a Pumpkin finds a field of them, they will almost certainly carve out one and squeeze their head inside, looking out through two holes. f anyone sees them they may freeze and pretend to be a scarecrow.

(Offerings of carved Pumpkins are one of the few ways to persuade böggelmen to go elsewhere, but more on that later.)

Böggelmen prefer Pumpkins above all things, but if Pumpkins are not available, they will try to wear almost anything that fits around their soft heads - buckets, pots and pans, flowerpots, lampshades.


Reaper Miniatures



CULTURE OF TERROR

Böggelmen are big and string and sneaky enough to simply take what they want most of the time. They have very few needs and little hierarchy, böggelmen are ranked unofficially by the scares they can create, but this is more of a shifting reputational artistic and sporting system than a form of government.

So it is that the Böggelmen have no real need to terrorise people, they just really enjoy it.

Frightening people, especially children, or other vulnerable people like old people living alone or simple people with no protectors, frightening them to hysteria, madness and then death, is the chief source of pleasure in the culture of the böggelmen. In the böggelmens opinion someone being really vulnerable makes them exactly the best person to be scared.

Not quite a religion, but much more than an entertainment - it is the primary source of meaning in their lives and when they are not doing anything else they sit around talking about past scares they have had, future scares they wish to have and news about scares generally.

They also kill people - they can rip your head right off, but that isn't really the point.

Really expert böggelmen will do more than hide around the house and pop up, they will carefully drive someone totally and utterly insane over a period of time. they know their heads are scary and like to leave the big reveal till last.

Böggelmen don't just scare villagers, (though they prefer them best of all), they will scare goblins and ogres and vampires if they can, anyone really. They are not well liked by other creatures but they don't care at all.




TACTICS

Something Böggelmen enjoy is to fold up their bones inside a big coat, acting almost like a normal person, passing in disguise on the street at night, before revealing themselves.

Even more, they like to drive someone mad with fear and then hide, removing all trace of their presence, so that when their victim tells people they are being stalked by böggelmen, no-one will believe them - everyone thinks them mad or strange and this makes them even more lonely and afraid. Then they are trapped in the house, alone with the Böggelmen, who scratch the walls and tap the pipes.

The Böggelmen love all of this. What a scare!

They don't have any magical hiding powers, apart from being very bendy, very strong and quite clever, (they really like hiding in cupboards, wardrobes and under beds), and stealing clothes, making a mess of things, stealing money and precious secret items. They don't actually care about these things, they just love the trouble, suspicion and anger caused when they inexplicably go missing.

A few böggelmen in the endgame like to tear or cut off someones head and leave it somewhere amazing to be found by their victim (they think of the target of their fear as the victim, in most cases the person who got their head torn off was just convenient for that purpose) - this should hopefully send them totally gibberingly insane, at which point the Böggelmen will come out of hiding and dance around them madly and then possibly eat them if they are hungry, leave them there insane, or thrown them down a well or some similar place.

Yes they have no aim but fear itself, what else can be said about them?




WHERE ARE THE BOGGLEMEN?


How do they live, and where?

In any deep, dark place, somewhere surrounded by rats and dripping with dank. They do not really care about where they live. Up in a roof, in a shed, hiding in a pipe, hanging beneath the axle of a cart, in a bale of hay, underneath a pile of cabbages.



CULTURAL PRESENCE


Since Böggelmen will happily scare outsiders as much as villagers, (they do not really care about the differences), they are one of few problems which strangers and villagers share and can be an odd point of co-operation between them.

A Dracula, for instance, might not wish to admit to being scared to those 'in the know' and could, in a roundabout way, ask the PCs for help with a Bugbear problem.

They are truly an enemy to all.

Gaining böggelmens respect; 

- Scares, if you can scare them back, they will be impressed, bow, and leave.
- Free pumpkins.
- Unscarability, if you are impossible to scare they will become frustrated and leave as you are a "dead loss!"

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Wild Doors To Autumn Evenings

In her Parlour of Doors Mab rests surrounded by portals which flock like birds.
 
At times, either through mischance, the forgetfulness of the Queen, as product of some scheme or trick, or simply through the tearing and altering of causality around the parlour of Doors, portals run wild like escaped pets, scurrying away, creeping along walls pretending to be paintings or mirrors or simple doorways to other rooms.
 
Cybermice with special wands and nets chase these doors eternally, trying to contain them and bring them back to the Queen.
 
Though in theory Mab could open doors to any place or time, her nature (Asperger’s-level obsessiveness), means she will only open gateways to times and places were it is *Evening* and *Autumn*.
 
The sky will be neither light nor fully dark, some stars may be visible, but not all. Half -occluded alien moons will often hang in the sky. it will never be summer or bright.
 
The autumn in question could be an  alien autumn, but it has to be a biosphere, or a culture area, where there are seasons, and where the gate-point is currently in between the turning from the bright life-giving season to the dark dead season. The relics of dying life, of whatever kind, falling leaves (though they may be silica substrate, frost and snow (not always of water), may be present, but the place not yet quite lifeless, cold, dark or scoured clean.







Ok so I have a design question for the community

I have a thing for stuff like infinite gateways or doors to wherever. I did a version of this in Silent Titans and somewhat got away with it.

However...

In Queen Mab, at least two of the major NPCs/Monsters/Queens, have this ability in some way. Queen Mab herself rests in a Parlour of Doors and wild doors sometimes escape and drift about, hiding, and another Queen, the Pythian, is a bit like Brunan in Silent Titans, an AI with access to layered virtual worlds.

I like writing this stuff in but it distorts the hell out of an adventure to actually make it workable, or useable. Either I have to create a mini parallel world within the adventure which, even if its good, is not the fucking point of the adventure, or I have to put in video-game invisible walls to say "yes this exists and no you can't use it".

So does anyone have any experience with this problem or has anyone apprehended anything which deals with it *as a problem of design*?