Sunday, 19 October 2014

The plot holes to The Maze Runner are themelves a Maze

At first you think the film is just bad, but then, the more you think about it, the network of failed logic expands inside you, like a maze, a maze inside your mind.  It is a web of anti-knowledge driven by your own thought.

Click to get a bigger version.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6McpfI_lhIZOXlGWTFseVM2dTQ/view?usp=sharing

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Paladins Of The Fall, Their City In Winter



1. The ghosts of bells ringing in the dark.

2. Gloom on the snow, winter shadows.

3. The sound of a leaf falling, but there are no leaves.

4. An ash leaf frozen in ice, one span extended upwards like a sail , gently skeletonised to black in the still air, the frozen remainder gold.

5. A dark reflection in the ice.

6. Your breath forms mazes in the air, you are not meant to be here.

7. The music of falling icicles tracks your steps.

8. The earth black and without scent.

9. Air pressing cold fingers against your face, still clean and old, holding the scents it carried when it died.

10. The walls dark but clean as bone.

11. Flurries of old un-melted snow laid out in waves upon the floor.

12. Snow-carpeted rooms far under the earth where no snow should ever fall.

13. So silent that the unexpected hitches in your breath seem like footfalls in another room.

14. The insect shells arranged in circles round a silent bell.

15. A spider climbing tiny chains of ice.

16. The reflection of your lantern in the hanging ice dies slowly, persisting after you leave the room, reluctant to go. Your path is tracked by that repeated gleam echoing pale lamplight in the places you have been.

17. Life here breeds frost with its touch and its tears.

18. The horns of the empty paladins are hung with bronze, bells shaped like branches and falling leaves. They are still in the frost-pregnant air. Then after you have long passed on you hear the ringing of their movement as they stand and march.

19. The curved soil of the walls has the texture and darkness of teak.

20. A woman, dead, whose tears are frozen on her face in mazes running down her cheeks.


Sunday, 12 October 2014

Velvet Horizons Encounters

1. In a place near a bend of the river of Or, each night when the sun sets, the mothers walk out of the houses and into the river and drown. They say a song is heard those nights.

2. Swamp Drunks of the Melanic moors are spouting off wild rumours of a mirror world upside down beneath the swamp where light is dark and dark is light and an army gathers invisiblly with brittle green blades.

3. A man discusses dinners with a Bug.

4. An ash-blind hobo stumbles out of the dark and offers you a dungeon map inside a Lizards tail, he says you have to eat it now as yellow ones are on their way.

5. A rogue begs for aid, as reward he offers to tatoo you with the tonge of an invisible beast he keeps in what looks like an epty cage, "very useful" he says.

6. A Mazarine Mage treks across the Haematic Sands, gaing into the night sky, following a constellation he is certain moves against the rest.

7. Monks of St Cephalos run towards you screaming "Duck!"

8. The folk of Burnet villiage say they met an ancient naked king when a beast saw a lightning bolt and vomited him up.

9. You hear a deep voice talking to owls somewhere in the desert scrub.

10. A man with feathered arms offers you an object that you need inside a dream.

11. A stone head billowing flame demands your name, and that of your house.

12. A scholar of Badious hill is offering extraordinary sums for fresh electrical eels.

13. The folk of Argent Town have suffered grevious wounds, the place is wrecked but they all deny anything is wrong at all, a nacreous cloud flees.

14. A cow ridden by red bugs and wearing pirate flags approaches, they threaten to board you.

15. The (2nd) Chancellor of Jukai has raised a famous bounty on the retrieval of a tiny spider 'with a piping voice', stolen by some pigeons in the night. The price is doubled if the birds are killed.

16. The (1st) Chancellor of Jukai is offering a kings ransom for the pelt of an Imperator Ape . The Ritual Cloak of the city government is several hundred years old and needs replacing. Everyone you speak to says the offer is too low.

17. A hero stalks towards you bearing a strange black spear, they carry a lit lamp and peer about as if it were dark. They say they have serious business with a monster that will be born from the earth at a particular time, but they are late and it is far.

18. A woman weeps by the body of a hanging man, she says a deamon bit him and took his manhood.

19. A trader rumbles past with a cartfull of young girls, he says the girls are sick and he is taking them to be cured, but he will say no more. All of their hair is dark.

20. You reach into your pocket and find a rank bestail hand, it closes around yours.

21. A minstrel sang to you about "a pale salamandrine thing", since then you have dreamt of it every night, and your dreams are cold.

22. A cloud of women fall out of the cool night sky and offer to serve.

23. Someone went climbing where the lights shine through the high falls at night, they were gone for a long time and when they came back it wasnt them.

24. A team of rival adventurers, hunting each other to death, they tell you that a song has changed their fate and only one can be fulfilled.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

I hope you like eels.

"Gamaliel Ratsey, a highwayman condemmed to hang at Bedford, is at the very moment of death with a rope around his neck when he indicateds that he has something important to say to the sherrif. In front of the crowd he is let down from the gallows and allowed to speak to the official, who pataiently waits while Gamaliel says his piece, which is lengthy. It begins to rain, in fact, it starts to pour. After a few minutes Gamaliel admits he has nothing to say: he just noticed a storm cloud coming and wanted to see the sherrif and the crowd get thoroughly drenched.

Wit on the gallows is noted in several other cases. As George brooke listens to his executioner and the sheriff argue over who should have his damask gown, he asks them when he should lay his head on the block, adding that he does not know becasue he has never been beheaded before."



All this is from this book:


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Travellers-Guide-Elizabethan-England/dp/1847921140



"A brighter red, used to dye the broadcloth called scarlet, comes from kermes: a parasitic insect that lives on evergreen oaks in the Mediterranian and which, when pregnant, is killed with vinegar, dried in the sun and opened to extract its wormlike larvae. When rolled into little balls called 'grains' and soaked in water, these produce a bright-red dye called 'grain' - hence the words 'ingrained' and, in connection with the worms, 'vermillion'."






 FEASTS

The following migh be useful if anyone wants to run a feast. He's handily put it in random-table format already.

"Sir Francis Willoughby strictly observes Fridays and Saturdays as non-meat days; therefor if you happen to visit on one of these, expect four or five of the following dishes to appear, one after another in the following order, along with a dish of butter. Remember not to eat too much: this is just the first course.

1. A sallat (salad) with boiled eggs.
2. A pottage of sand eels and lampreys.
3. Red (smoked) herring covered with sugar.
4. white (pickled) herring, ling or whiting in mustard sauce.
5. Minced salt salmon in a sauce of mustard, vinegar and sugar.
6. Pickled conger eel, shad or mackerel.
7. Plaice or thornback ray with vinegar, or wine and salt, or mustard.
8. Cod, bass, mullet or perch.
9. Eels, trout or roach upon sops (bread soaked in the liquor in which the fish was cooked)
10. Pike in pike sauce.
11. Tench in jelly.
12. A custard tart.

There will be an interlude before the second course. When the carvers reappear, bearing their silver platters, expect another four or five dishes selected from th following list, served in this order:

1. Flouders in pike sauce.
2. Salmon, conger eel, brill, turbot or halibut in a vinegar sauce.
3. Bream or carp upon sops.
4. Fried sole.
5. Roast lampreys or porpoise in galantine sauce.
6. Sturgeon, crayfish, crab or shrimps in a vinegar sauce.
7. Baked lamprey.
8. Cheese tart.
9. Figs, apples, raisins and pears.
10. Blanced almonds.

Most people would rather call on Sir Francis on a meat day, especially on a Sunday, which in most great houses, is a day for luxuriating in the food available. This is the likely palette of first courses served on a Sunday, from which four or five will be prepared for you (Turn up after 1 November if you want to eat the swan.)

1. Brawn in mustard.
2. Capons stewed in white broth.
3. A leg of venison in beef broth.
4. A chine of beef and a breast of mutton boiled.
5. Mutton pies.
6. Three green (geese) in a dish of sorrel sauce.
7. A stubble goose (a goose left to feed itself on stubble in the fields) with mustard and vinegar.
8. A swan in sauce chauldron
9. A pig roast.
10. A double rib of roast beef, with pepper and vinegar sauce.
11. A lion or breast of veal with orange sauce.
12. Half a lamb or kid.
13. Two capons roasted, either in wine or salt sauce or a sauce of ale and salt (but not the latter if it be served wit thhe sops)
14. Two pasties of fallow deer in a dish.
15. A custard tart.

And for the second course, expect four or five dishes from the following list.

1. Jelly.
2. Peacock in wine and salt.
3. two coneys or half a dozen rabbits in a mustard and sugar sauce.
4. Six chickens upon sorrel sops.
5. Six pigeons.
6. Mallard, teal, gulls, stork or heronsew (young heron) in a mustard and vinegar sauce.
7. Crane, curlew, bittern or bustard in a galantine sauce.
8. Pheasant, or six rails (corn crakes), cooked in salt water with sliced onions.
9. Six woodcocks cooked in mustard or sugar.
10. Six partridges.
11. A dozen quail.
12. A dish of larks.
13. A pasty of red deer.
14. Tart, gingerbread fritters.




... Elizabeth decides to call on Lord North at Kirtling; she stays from suppertime on sunday 1 September to after dinner on Tuesday 3rd, and this is the food that Lord North has to provide for the two day visit.

Bread: 1,200 manchet loaves, 3,600 loaevs of cheat bread and 276 extra loaves.

Meat: 11 and half cows, 17 and a half veal calves, 67 sheep, 7 lambs, 16 bucks made into 128 pasties and 8 gammons of bacon.

Birds: 32 geese, 363 capons, 6 turkeys, 32 swans, 273 ducks, 1 crane, 38 heronsews, 110 bitterns, 12 shovellers, 1,194 chickens, 2,604 pigeons, 106 pewits, 68 godwits, 18 gulls, 99 dotterels, 8 snipe, 29 knots, 28 plovers, 5 stints, 18 redshanks, 2 yerwhelps, 22 partridges, 1 pheasant, 344 quail and 2 curlews.

Fish: 3 kegs of sturgeon, 96 crayfish, 8 turbot, a cartload and 2 horse loads of oysters, 1 barrel of anchovies, 2 pike, 2 carp, 4 tench, 12 perch and 300 red (smoked) herring.

Other: 2,201 cow's tongues, feet and udders, 18lbs lard, 430lbs butter, 2,522 eggs, 6 Dutch cheeses, 10 marchpanes (marzipans) £16 4s-worth of sugar and 329 1s-worth of salad, roots and herbs.

The whole visit, during which he entertains more than 2,000 people, costs him 3642 4s 2d (not including a present of a jewel worth £120 for the queen). For these two days his house becomes a town about the same size as Stratford.
abeth decides to call on Lord North at Kirtling; she stays from suppertime on sunday 1 September to after dinner on Tuesday 3rd, and this is the food that Lord North has to provide for the two day visit.

Bread: 1,200 manchet loaves, 3,600 loaevs of cheat bread and 276 extra loaves.

Meat: 11 and half cows, 17 and a half veal calves, 67 sheep, 7 lambs, 16 bucks made into 128 pasties and 8 gammons of bacon.

Birds: 32 geese, 363 capons, 6 turkeys, 32 swans, 273 ducks, 1 crane, 38 heronsews, 110 bitterns, 12 shovellers, 1,194 chickens, 2,604 pigeons, 106 pewits, 68 godwits, 18 gulls, 99 dotterels, 8 snipe, 29 knots, 28 plovers, 5 stints, 18 redshanks, 2 yerwhelps, 22 partridges, 1 pheasant, 344 quail and 2 curlews.

Fish: 3 kegs of sturgeon, 96 crayfish, 8 turbot, a cartload and 2 horse loads of oysters, 1 barrel of anchovies, 2 pike, 2 carp, 4 tench, 12 perch and 300 red (smoked) herring.

Other: 2,201 cow's tongues, feet and udders, 18lbs lard, 430lbs butter, 2,522 eggs, 6 Dutch cheeses, 10 marchpanes (marzipans) £16 4s-worth of sugar and 329 1s-worth of salad, roots and herbs.

The whole visit, during which he entertains more than 2,000 people, costs him 3642 4s 2d (not including a present of a jewel worth £120 for the queen). For these two days his house becomes a town about the same size as Stratford."

Friday, 3 October 2014

HOARD OF THE THINGS

So, treasure in SAVAGES isn't treasure. None of the PC's (except Thieves and Human-Obsessed weirdos) really care about it in the same way Adventurers would. Treasure for Savages is food and days spent alive and maybe status and burning a village of elves or a sword that doesn't break.

But they have treasure, because the work in a dungeon. And their boss has treasure. So why do they care?

I wanted players to start the game with great heaps and piles of gold and then have to fight to keep it. What could be more pleasurable than having a hoard? What more satisfying than simply keeping it? Playing Midas, going into the cave and running your fingers through the piles of silver and jade and looking at all the statues and artifacts and scrolls and mysteries and knowing that all of this is yours. Yours forever.

And I wanted them to generate the hoards they guard as part of their character, like generating dungeons and the landscape around them. The hoards should be good and special in some way. Which lead me to ask, what is the poetry of a hoard?

It is the story that it tells, or hints at. Treasure is just history worth preserving. so the question we should ask of a mighty hoard should be 'how does it pierce through time?'

The weight of the gold pressing against time itself, so when you guard gold you are guarding slow time, preventing it from being employed, preventing entropy and change, preserving the world, time holds itself still around a great treasure.

You should get a heavy rep if you manage to stop anyone taking your treasure. Well, not a reputation, but an anti-reputation. You become the blank spot on the map. The part where it says 'here be monsters' that's you. The Place From Which No Man Returns.

And the more treasure you can accumulate and not spend, the more fully you can slow down the world, so the whole thing becomes about stasis, slowing down, preserving the long slow cycles of the world against the rage for order and organisation.

So another way treasure must be assessed is the danger of losing it, the extent to which it will accelerate human development and expansion. And visa versa, this is why you take treasure off humans. Not to own gold, but to cripple economies and cultures. The more you can steal from humans the more their economy slows down, the more cultural capital you can destroy, the harder it is for them to manage their disparate minds and the more fractured they become, obviously, the more magical items you can take off them, the less they can use against you.

So I jammed together these very awkward experimental tables to help generate hoards from the Monsters perspectives. These would be used in a game of SAVAGES where the PCs occupy the centre of a map and on the edges are numerous human cultures, all gradually pressing in, ejecting thieves and adventurers like spores.

Currently its really more of a sketch idea than a workable system. The tables should interrelate and feed off each other and there should be more options and more 'chunky' options for specific artifacts ways it relates to the overall system.

Ways to define a hoard.

1. How does it pierce through time?
2. How much time does it guard?
3. How will its loss accelerate human development and expansion?
    a. Financially.
    b. Culturally.
    c. Magically (reality altering)


1. How does it pierce through time?

1. Days.
2. Months.
3. Years.                                                            (Someones probably really pissed off that you have this.)
4. Decades.                                                      (Knights might still come after this)
5. Centuries.                                                     (Henry VIII's crown)
6. Origin of Current Culture.                               (Excalibur.)
7. Height of Ancestor Culture.                            (Roman, Greek)
8. Origin of current ethnicity/nation/racial group. (Probably Indo-European/Babylon for us.)
9. Forgotten Ancient Culture.                            (Example might be the briefly-imagined feminist Iron Age before horse-riding-swordsmen-ruined-it)
10. Age of Heroes/Origins of Gods                    (Zeus/Hercules/Typhon origins if-they-were-real)
11. Outer/Other/Aberrant/Should-Not-Exist        (Brainmelting Lovecraft stuff)   
12. Primordial or Elemental Origin                      (ie langauge of Fire, First Ice, Laws of Stone)


2. How much time does it guard?

This is the strangest one, I am not sure yet how this will actually work, or if it can actually work. I will keep chipping away at it.

Maybe nothing new is created around it or nothing is lost around it. Maybe it keeps the consequences of that distant time away and stop them compiling with the present. Or that the more Treasure you keep, the slower your turns go and the more time you have to react to stuff

1. Dreamlike Passing Of Days.
2. The Forests Refuse To Yield.
3. An Age Without Discovery
4. Wars But An Echo.
5. Slows Death To A Crawl.
6. Keeps Back A God.



3. How will its loss accelerate human development and expansion?


A. Financial

1. Live Fast, Die Young. Adventurers get rich, famous, more will come.
2. The Company. New Adventuring company set up. All further Adventurers better resourced, equipped and trained.
3. Thieves Ennobled. Adventurers promoted to nobility/elite. Each now heads small armed force based on speciality. Add new armies to the map.
4. National Rebirth. Base culture can renew all armies and settlements for free for a certain number of years.
5. To Big To Fail. banking system renewed, credit everywhere, all human factions get a boost.
6. A New Empire is Born. Introduce a new human faction with low population but full coffers. Base its culture on the Adventurers that survived.

B. Cultural Boost

(A load of the cultural change from the retrieval of ancient treasures will be broadly invisible to the SAVAGES players, the only way it effects them directly is how it changes the actions of the enemy, not their internal culture. But yeah, if someone brings Excalibur back from a dungeon, that's  a big fucking deal.)

1. Buccaneering Spirit. All base culture forces and settlements gain morale, lose fear of the Other (i.e. you), for limited period.
2. A String of Victories. Base culture inwardly unified, gains belief in manifest destiny of frontier, diverts more resources to settlement.
3. First Among Equals. Rival human factions a bit scared of base culture, will not fuck with it unless attacked.
4. The New Cesar. Rival human factions very scared of base culture, will seek alliance/appeasement.
5. Touch of the Divine. All human populations convinced some serious shit is going down with base culture. Other settlements start spontaneously converting.
6. The Power Of Gods. Base culture now wields unquestioned divine sanction. All other human cultures must test morale. If failed they become vassal states to the base culture, now operate as its limbs.

C. Reality Altering

1. By This Axe! Introduce single supercool magic weapon into setting in enemy hands.
2. The Affairs of Wizards. Base culture now has shitloads of Wizards everywhere.
3. The World Beyond. Base culture now aware of/has access to other realities/plains. Intelligence and mobility improved but resources diminished by the same extent as they gain ambitions in the Other Spheres.
4. Moving Mountains. Base culture can now forgo other actions to move lakes/mountains around on its turn.
5. Time and Space. Can rewind time/move capital/send agents to past.
6. Gone Melinbone Way. base culture effectively neutralises self as expansionist force as brainfractured/decadent/invading mars.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Isogyre


(It's more fiction.)

Someone smashes in the back of my skull, I see my brains hit the water before I do. Sink into it. Dark for a while. Fish eat my eyes, then nips of skin. Once they’re inside it goes quickly. Six months or so till the last rags of flesh are gone and then I sit up.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Dungeon Poker for SAVAGES



So I titted around for ages trying to build a method by which the players could build a dungeon home for SAVAGES. But I couldn’t even remember how Microscope worked and so I fell back on the old ‘dungeon poker’ method.

Let’s see if I can fit the rules onto a sheet of A4.

Get paper, (A3 would be good so people can get sloppy) and something to draw with (coloured markers would be good, or pencils as you can rub them off). Gather all the SAVAGES players round in a circle with the map in the middle.

Tell them a dungeon needs two things, at least one way in or out, and a place hardest to reach. Everything else is up to them.

Deal out cards as if for poker (the five-cards each kind).

Everyone plays a hand of poker. The highest hand goes first. They get the map. The cards they play decide what they can draw.

Kings are magic. Magic areas, weapons, any kind of magic you want.
Queens are treasure. This can be any treasure you want.
Jacks are traps.
Aces are secret rooms and secret doors.
Jokers are whatever the holder wants them to be.
Each Number Card is either a room, a corridor linking that many rooms or that many HD of monsters.

HD from different suites of cards cannot be combined in the same monster or the same type of monster. Monsters from cards with different colours are always potentially-opposed factions.

The player with the best hand draws their stuff on. Then the second best, and so on.

Cards are set aside when a hand is played. When everyone has played a hand, deal again and play again. Do this until the pack runs out or the dungeon is done. If the pack runs out but everyone agrees the dungeon is not done, shuffle the pack and keep going.

You can add to peoples stuff, if someone leaves a room empty then you ca put something in it. If they have a door and you have a Jack, you can make it secret, but you can’t reverse or override anything anyone else has done.


Optional rules:

Play as characters.

Before you start the players can decide they are going to be ‘characters’. These are generally not literal embodied individuals, they are the forces which would shape a dungeon.

Here is a slightly crappy d12 list.

1. Will of the Dwarf Lords
2. Emissions of the Black Mire
3. Scrapings of the Dragon Grizule
4. Memories of the Awful Dead
5. Faith of the Deep Elves
6. Wrath of the Barrow Lords
7. Workings of the Goblin King
8. Tombs of the Cyclopean Things
9. Worship of the Outer Ones
10. Architects of the Sunken City
11. Fear of the Bandit Lord
12. Dreams of the Tectonic Elementals

So while they are drawing rooms and deciding what to put in, each player tries to think about what their particular ‘part’ would have done. What kind of treasures they would have accumulated, how they would have created corridors and rooms, what traps they would have built and what monsters would remain.

So the Will of the Dwarf Lords would have left behind straight, planned corridors and rooms. Simple refined gold and worked gems as treasure, the traps would be big stone blocks that fall and the monsters would be Dwarven ghosts and skeletons and golems.

That way the whole thing kind of makes sense, or at least the Same themes repeat.




Players can bet

This adds extra complexity, and I am not sure what they would bet on.  Plus the player with the biggest hand already kind-of wins. Probably you could fit in some kind of nega-win power-exchange story game stuff in here if you want to.