Average run-of-the-mill OSR blog post. I can't be bothered writing properly. Actually am out of ideas for ever. Had last idea a week ago whilst jogging, can't remember it now.
fenghuang trilobite space elevator cave salamader lightning strikes sand carcosa
What if the sky was like the ocean of another world and all teh monsters you expect at the bottom of an ocean in fact lived up in the sky floating about and they could swim out of the sky at any time and consume you?
So the only settlements were fortresses with strong roofs and the ony way between them was transit by dungeon and cave?
Boring conservative ideas are like the carbon atom.
a bit shit on their own but Without them it would be a nightmare making anything.You can use them to connect other ideas in interesing configurations.
What game is to OD&D as Od&D is to 4th ED?
a good game is one that gives you the maximum amount of enjoyable work that you can possibly do.
Rules tend to cover non-enjoyable work.
There were probably many people behind the fables. Some bear the mark of a deep intelligence and awareness, some are glib and reductive. Many have probably been made more stupid than they have to be over successive translation by mildly stupid people who thought that because something was unclear that is was unwise. I am talking about the good ones. The ones that seem to bear the impress of the same mind.
The sun and the wind argue over who was strongest.
They agree that whoever can make a traveller take off his coat is the winner.
The wind blows and blows, the man holds tighter to his coat.
The sun warms the man. He takes the coat off.
Every single moral ever added to a Aesop story (and I am convinced they were added later) made it less than it was. They are not questions or equations. The moral of that story says that “sunshine of a kind and gentle manner will sooner open a man’s heart than all the threats and force of blustering authority.”
Now that is a fucking stupid thing to say. It is not about being nice. Or about who has authority. It might be about thinking your way around problems. Or how indirect force can be more powerful than direct force. Or about the re-purposing of qualities to produce unexpected things.
The best Aesop stories are when you are not sure who has won, or what they have won.
And old man who had travelled a long way with a huge bundle of sticks became so weary that he threw his bundle down on the ground and called upon death to deliver him from his most miserable existence. Death came straight to his side and asked him what he wanted
“Please good sir, do me a favour and help me lift my burden again.”
Who is winning in this story? Did the man make a stupid mistake and Death call his bluff? Did the man trick Death into turning up and then ask him to do menial work? The last line suggests at least an unusually intelligent man. Certainly it’s true that Death helping to carry the bundle would also match the terms of the original request.
It might be that the man has transformed despair and self-destructive rage into an unexpected asset. You may think you are the man in this story and that the storyteller is telling you how to behave. Either ‘don’t beg for death’ or ‘if you do beg for death have a trick up your sleeve in case he turns up’ or ‘trick death into dealing with your shit’. But maybe you are Death, eager to take advantage and getting surprised by someone apparently weak.
The story is about a million times more interesting when you don’t know who you are in it, or exactly what it means. You have to hold all the possible and implied relationships in your head and turn the story over in your mind, imagining yourself as each character. This forces you to imagine a complex series of interrelating possibilities. A moral turns this story into a pointless linear calculation. Chew through the information, get to the end, get the moral. Answer done. The story, in that case, is just a delivery system for a tidy little aphorism that only seems to teach. Hearing a complex story makes you do meaningful intellectual work inside your mind, working out a moral does not. It is processing.
Some cranes settled down in a farmers field and made it their feeding grounds. For some time the farmer frightened them away by threatening them with an empty sling. But when the cranes discovered that he was only slinging air they were no longer afraid of him and would not fly away. Consequently, the farmer slung stones and killed a good number of birds. In response the rest of the cranes took off and cried out to each other “It’s time to be off. This man isn’t just threatening us any longer. He’s really serious about getting rid of us.”
Birds or man? Who is stupid here? If you are the birds are you stupid for ignoring the empty sling when you had the chance? Or clever for risking a little more feeding from the field when you knew the threat was fake? If you are the man, are you weak for not resorting to the maximum necessary violence straight away? Or are you wise for giving the birds a chance before you killed them?
If you just see this story from one point of view then you would see violence as simply a matter of advantage and disadvantage, to be avoided or exploited. When you see it from every point of view you sense the inner logic of conflict and force, how it feeds upon itself, its inevitability.
I need to find a way to avoid becoming a horrible person.
every time you introduce stress into a system you are placing abet on the ability of the user to resolve that stress.
the greater the stress they are able to resolve, the greater the sense of ownership and the greater the personal growth.
Broken systems force you to grow more that cohesive systems
Evil old men, servants to an evil king. Top level adventurers with max XP. The king is destroyed and they must fight to escape or take revenge. Instead of losing hit points they lose XP.
They are getting old and every battle takes it's toll. They must guard their energy in order to achieve their goal.
pointless wepon benefits
halberd head screws off, can become pole & cleaver
weird polearm shape casts shadow the shape of an orcs head when held at right angle
Knife has screwdrive in the other end
What is death anyway.
Baudilare has some stuff to say about death. He considers it a release.
“You who are fond of skeletons
And emblems most of us detest
To spice your pleasures, every one
(even a humble omelette!)
Old pharaoh M, Monselet
I saw this sign and thought of you
While on the road the other day
‘Tavern, cemetery view’.”
Why do we live why do we die. I have no answer for you. I have died so many times.
why is improvisation interesting? why does it make you feel alive
why is everything dungeons
rpg weapon dice with combat moves on them?
can this relate to improvisation
you can describe where you are and your initial actions and go second or i can describe where you are when shit goes down and you can go first
So they come for me on the climb down like I knew would be. Three. And I move on them and I take two cause’ they forget again I taste them now. And the third one gives me trouble cause’ he has his ways. But he wore the wrong clothes and I don’t so I catch him. And he’s up the wall. And we’re hanging. Him rock-touched cause’ they have that way and I never did. Me holding on his clothes as they wind and rip in my hand-spikes. And I’m dropping and he’s getting naked. They don’t like that cause’ there’s nothing under there. But his clothes is what they call them. His clothes winding out and me on the end and climbing up and climbing up gonna get at him and rip him good. But he’s laughing. I don’t know. He speaks though. I see why. Don’t know one word in five from them but I get it. I kill him. Rock touch goes from him. We both go down. I’m big so falls hurt. So kill him we drop. Long way. Fall from his clothes and I drop. Either way fucked. His touch is set so that will stick on him till its way his done. He will hang on there.
Fuck it. I go up there. I know climbs. I know that being down here so long. I climb the winding clothes. I put my spikes in his gut and he looks at me. Yeah fuck. You think we dumb. I know you got ropes inside you. Long ropes right in there where everyone keeps. Seen enough cut up in fights to know that. And it takes long time to die from that. So I take him open and I take the guts in there and I just gently eeeeeeasssse down as they come out of him. And he’s screaming and talking and talking and talking like they do. Guts don’t get me to the floor. But close enough. Two bodies from. So I drop and I’m there on the rock and I look up and there he is way up still hangin’. He won’t drop the touch cause he’ll fall and he can’t move cause his gut are hangin’ out long. So I wait. And time comes he dies and his skills finish and bam. Down he drops. Fruit. Fruit is another word they have that I know. We don’t eat it. No life in it. But they will eat anything and live on anything. Even each other. They don’t talk on that but I’ve seen them in the snows and found them.
But this isn’t the fight I’m speaking of. That comes. Wait.
So I’m eating this guy and he’s good. And the long bone in the leg is just about to go. You know there’s stuff in there. Its good. No shares here, three for me. So I feel good. And I was hungry. They’ve said; ‘your kind always hungry’ but no. I don’t see it. Just we eat fast when we have it and we make a mess maybe but why not.
And Som is there. Now this is a dead woman I know from a while back. She is one of them but she is gone and has been a long time so I make it alright to speak. My folk don’t like it? Don’t like my speaking. Don’t like words that I know and how I break words and make my way. Well fuck them. Where are they? Dead. And me alone. And far. And dark lit. So I speak how I want and I will. To who.
Now Som is cold always and nothing can eat her and she goes through things and the living shrink in parts around her. No taste. And I’m eating. So I get slow and she’s there before I know it. Cold. Slow. And she speaks to me.
“Biter boy. biterbiterbiterboooy”
Biter is a name she has for me . A name is a kind of pale speech they have to know you. They don’t taste nothing even alive so it is all pale speech with them and the talking talking talking.
“greensplinterfracture on the leg-bones there,
Handyforyourgnawingjaws I do de-clare,
searchingalltheways I’ve been to find-you-here,
Somscalling fortunesgnawing work is rare
ButnowI’vegotajobforyou the terms are fair”
A job is a kind of hunt they have. But you do the hunt and bring it back and get meat then. But you get more meat. And you know how much and when. So job is good. The folk never got that. It’s the waiting. We are not good with waiting. But I learnt. And now I live. And I take jobs.
So I say what is it. And she tells me.
“Oooohh youknow, there, that old one, livingintherock”
And that is every fuck that gives jobs down here and we all live in rock and what else is there so I say which one.
“Looorred of the living and the dead and all times motions and respects and all things lost his eyes are stars burnt cinder-black who once was king of a city fallen since and rotting and spiralling in the earth like a splinter in flesh. The dead city. The dark city shaped like candle wax that rots the rock, the silent world, he of blind commands, that one, you know. That guy. The guy with the skull. The guy made of bones. The fucking dead guy made of bones in the black city. He smells of ash you said”
That one. That is a big one to get jobs from I tell her.
“Yeeeesss. Big jobs. Big pay. Meat for the living and wonders for the dead.”
What Som gets paid in I don’t know. No eating when you’re dead. But he has something she wants and wants bad. Whatever. Dead talk. I don’t care. So I say when. And she says.
“There iiis a liitle bit of an interviewprocesssss”
And I look at her. (I am still eating here during this I am not stupid) and she waits and she says
“A test. A thing to do. Do the thing. Get the job. Do the job. Get meat.”
So that’s two things in a row. I know that working of things. It’s with them sometimes two, three, four things in a row before you get the thing. I know they have their chains of doing. It is a strength in them. Sometimes. But I let Som think me dumb. I say a thing to do.
“Before the tower of the lord of the silent commands lie two great leagues of fighters locked in endless war. Came they long journeys past to siege him in memory of wrongs long done and failtheydiiiiiid. Fucked they are. By his dreaming thought cursed to war without end at his gate. As punishment for testing the depth of his hate. Whomever shall traverse the field and reach the gates of the Lord of silence shall hear the wordless Law”
And I look at her. And I’m still eating this guy. And I look at her.
“There is a big fight. By his house. Get through the fight. Get to the house. Get the job.”
And I say don’t fight the fight. Get through the fight.
“ClevercleverBiterboy. I knew you were smart.”
So I am big but I can be quick. And I say big fight just lots of small fight in a string, go now.
“I sseek and know to always find you waiting like a strung and tensioned bow. You are an arrow just before it bites the air Biter-boy.”
And I say now. And she says yes. And we go.
They that came on me had blades and I take one and had rope and I take that and one those small metal trap-bows that go wrong but no-one expects them. And no-one expects one from me and it’s small and you never know so I take that too and we go.
Long way. And down. Down through white waters that fall in black halls. Past the sea where skinless men wait. Under that sea. Past Shifts, the city that feeds on its seeping. Like when wounds go bad and stuff drips out and then there are living things all feeding on the dripping stuff. Shifts is a city of those. They have no shape. That dark ocean is their wound. And then past the fire-windings which are the skies of earth. Like blue is your sky these red jags under all are theirs and they come up there sometimes. And the red people from there are another thing you can’t eat. And a long way through the slow silent ones. Don’t touch them. And another city I don’t know full of ones like Som and that takes a long time cause’ she is always stopping and chatting chatting chatting like ‘oh hellooooo’ and never leaves. And nothing for me to eat cause’ everything dead like her.
So its five or six big eats to go that far and I should’ve had more but we moved fast. And I am in a crack. It goes down a way. It’s body-size so I got one leg one side one the other with nothing between but deep dark air. I take it slow cause’ you learn after time to wait and not fall even if it means going slow. Som is there. Above. Around. She hums and her head waves like its broke its neck. Maybe it did once. This is waiting for her. She can go anywhere and need not climb. And can’t fall. Can’t catch me if I do.
I’m tired now. Like it is when you in the rock. Right in it. Like an axe is big and the holder of the axe but the edge is sharp and only in one place. When you climb long you are edge of yourself. All the back behind gone and just the rock. The hold. Waiting and the weight. You move. I am breathing hard I know cause my tongue is there.
So the air moves and I hear it. Once. Before she does. And I know that sound. Just gentle yet. Like something I’m remembering. Fighting. Big. When fighters are so many they sound like water or a storm. They give up their blood and their taste and their sound. Make one bigger thing. Not them. A new thing. Alive. Maybe what God is. I heard it said god is the biggest fight of all but always and forever. And I must have made my real voice without knowing cause’ Som hears it. It’s bad to ever make a noise without you meant to cause that will kill you. But, Religion. Am I right?
“Hunters for my touch do you smell siiilllver biterbooy?”
Silver can hurt her so maybe she thinks of it more than I might. I tell her fighting. I don’t speak about god. Who likes that? She is wrongways to me now anyway cause she don’t attend that way. I have seen other dead ones like her and they keep feet down and heads right up on top but with Som it’s like talking to a falling leaf. I asked. She said why care. But she is facing down now and she races away. Coin in dark water.
And I’m still on the rock. Levering legs. Not falling. So I go down and I hear it more and it’s a dead sound. It’s not right. I don’t know why it’s wrong so I stop and I know then. I hear blades and no breath. I hear death but no screams. I hear men go down but no wrath no rage no blood. Like you’re hunting and you hear it but don’t see. You hear the steps, one foot then foot, then foot. One two, Tap tap tap. Then stops and you just hear one foot coming down. Not hopping. Walks with one foot. Then you know it’s a trick and its one of them. You are not hunting. They hunt you. Bad.
So I come down and we are IN THE FUCKING ROOF SOM HOW DO I GET DOWN FROM HERE but I don’t say that. She won’t think of things sometimes cause she’s dead. And we right over the fight. Long way down. And it’s big. Like a pool of flat water in the sun. And then hail from empty sky. And its hits the water. But the suns still on it. And the flat glass pool just come apart under it.
The fight was that big. Pale flags and bright shields. Even under dark. Worm-piles of men. Squares and rows some places. Made of grit like ash-drawn lines. Then you see the grit is men. They must have pissed that guy off bad.
I’ve seen big fights and some time they go spirals. Like something stirred. Usual, one army-half backs up under press, other half gets on and goes in. So whole thing turns. Maybe you kept it long enough whole battle turn around on the field back to front. But men get tired and die so that won’t be. But here, under where I’m hanging from this hole, this fight has whirled. Stirred up and mixed. Long time. And I say Som. And I say SOM.
“Ooohh they make weather of our dying dreaamms brothers of sleeeepp they make stormclouds and dark hailcores and the frostropes tangle and what?”
And she turns round like she does, random angled. And she sees me. And she sees me. And she says
“Ooaaahhhh biterbiterboy howeverareyou now.
And I say you don’t know. And she looks at me and I say alright. And I am back where I was when the speaking started. Hanging from a high place and no skilled one there who’s guts to ride. And a battle under like a sea. So there is the blade I took. And rope. So I can take the blade and jam it good in the crack I’m in. And put the rope on the blade.
Now. You are thinking. Biter blade cuts rope. It’s what they do. But I will jam it in blade down and rope will press blunt side and yes I will still die but don’t say I didn’t think.
It’s maybe eight bodies down and the rope is maybe five and some. That’s three bodies falling. But maybe I land on a dead man. So..
Do it or don’t. I jam the blade and kick it in how I can. Rope is on there by the hilt. There is a wrap you can put round you when you go down with rope. Up around through legs. It still burns but all of you not just hands. I hang from my hand spikes. I let go slow as can. Rope takes men. Sword shifts. Still here. Down. Slow. Sword is moving there I see gleam mving in stone. Look low. Dead men killing. Bones fighting sleepyslow and right now under me
Patrick types and the words arrive on the screen.
While you are awake, the bricks decay. Empty bags roll in the street outside. Grey light stains the window. Crooked legged men tread their dangling laces into the pavement with each step. When the sun comes it comes white and clear. The shadowed leaves do not dapple the ground, each outline lies precise. You can look past the clouds directly into the clear, cold white sun for a minute or more. Nothing happens. You do not go blind. The image does not swim in your eye as you turn away. You do not weep. Every day is like this. For everyone.
When you sleep every ambition is fulfilled. The unspoken make-worlds that hid in your throat as a child. Images and ideas you lacked the courage to describe to your parents and friends. That you lacked the skill to repeat to your toys and could not fully express, even in the silence behind your eyes at night. All these things come true. The world burns and throbs with peacock-frenzied splendour. Every moment and choice lies heavy with deep meaning. Words drop like dribbles of molten lead from your mouth. Yet when you must speak, it is never hard, you are a poet, the lines incandesce and burst away like butterflies, you are Shakespeare. Every thing is a challenge and everything can be accomplished. You are a hero. Everything has meaning and everything is good. You live in legend.
You are asleep.
When you are awake the world is ruled by cold powers. Everyone knows this. Nobody acts. They all have what you have. A perfect world whenever they sleep. It is the same for everyone in your house. Everyone in your street. Everyone in your city. Everyone in your country. Everyone. They are imprisoned in paradise.
In a world controlled and owned through it’s dreams, the only people who can fight for freedom are those who cannot sleep.
Five such people are about to rebel. Together they will war against the dreams of a whole world. Five against madness.
Now I write some cool stuff that happens and I also work out some people to be in the book. And I think of some cool action stuff to happen because literature is boring. Cool stuff is important because it makes things more interesting to write.
1. Insomnia. This is like being banned from the paradise everyone else enjoys. The war against the dreams takes on the aspect of cruelty, to take from others what you cannot have yourself
2. Philosophical German perversity, Werner Herzog, Nitche. This represents simply thinking yourself out of the dream state. Relentlessly questioning the reality of sleep until it breaks down. This character could be a scientist/philosopher combination.
3. Schizophrenia. A breakdown of identity that means the dream visions can find no purchase as the identity is too fractured for any ideal state to match. Some part of the personality will always revolt against the visions of the others.
4. Inability to come to terms with your own dreams. A divided mind. Wanting to be something other than you are. Unwilling to accept your desires as part of you. (sexual/religious?) In every other kind of modern fiction the point of the story would be for the person to accept themselves by the end. For the person to re-integrate themselves as a whole personality. In this story the division in the character is what makes them a hero. If they follow the normal path of self acceptance, they lose that quality and become a slave.
5. Something relating to childhood? Someone who believes that the dream is real and reality is the dream? Possibly the bravest of the group. A madcap adventurer who does not recognise that their actions have consequences. Possibly a person who has been in a coma since childhood, who has grown to maturity in dreams and who’s understanding of reality has broken down. They would be regarded in a special way by the population. As a saint-like figure? Simply as a figure of envy?
In most story’s of this type the authorities are ruthlessly efficient. This increases their threat to the protagonists. Imagine the standard conspiracy drama with hyper-acute agents and black uniformed killers hunting the main character. This story is different. The protagonists represent a much deeper threat to the society of the world. Everyone in this world moves as if in a sleepwalk. They have all their faculties and are carrying out their jobs but no-one has any drive or ambition. No-one is focused. Individuals drift through their waking lives. All they want is to go to sleep. There is no ambition and almost no competition. There is also almost no conflict. People of opposing cultures fulfil their aggressive drives in their dreams and they always win. The middle east is silent. There are no riots. There are no terrorists. The army’s face no challenges. There are still people in uniform but they have very little to do and do not want to do very much.
Terror organisations and criminals still exist but they are drained of energy. Their attacks and provocations are more like theatre than reality. They drag themselves through the ritualistic plots and schemes and the security services do likewise but it is like a pantomime. They prostrate themselves before dying ideals they no longer understand.
The result of this is that our protagonists are more focused and more driven than any of the people trying to stop them. They face an entire world but they are like a knife cutting into butter.
Imagine an acute, sharp and driven schizophrenic in an interview with a doctor. The doctor is intelligent but he is tired, woolly, listless and has little interest in his job. The schizophrenic is crazy but he is more connected to reality, more present in the room, than his adversary. Who will dominate the interview?
Or a police officer or soldier trying to catch a potential terrorist. The terrorist cannot sleep, they are edgy, paranoid, they may be suffering hallucinations or other symptoms of insomnia. The officer is capable but lazy, un-ambitious and inexperienced. What happens?
Heroism. The complex nature of the protagonists and their comparative ability and competence compared to everyone around them provides the immediate dramatic kernel for the story. Because they are broken, weird people they have greater abilities, more drive and more focused cognitive capacity than most of the people they face. This provides the heroic self-identification for the reader. But this only occurs because they face some deep internal challenge. If they are cured, or complete the standard hero’s journey and become ‘fixed’ then they no longer have these special abilities. They become ‘normal’.
It was the silence and the sound that first lead me to believe that I lived in two worlds simultaneously. One world was formed in the gaps of the other. There are gaps in your experience. If you listen for them you will hear them. Then you will be unable to stop hearing them. The repetitive tapping of a grate against a wall. The wind swings it back and forth. The distant drumming of rain. Piping voices in another room at night. Gaps in sound, gaps in sight. Blurring figures in the edge of vision. Lamppost men in far fields. Women made from the tapping of crisp packets on deserted streets and the shadows of hung clothing in the bright moon. The shifting direction of wind. Invisible glances in crowds. The wolrd inside the world. The static invisible world, misspelled. Un-translated from its native chaos into the government of the senses.
So I saw things. And I heard things that could not be there. It was not madness. I knew what was real and what was not. Most of the time. I knew it was not real but I heard it.
Creatures lived there I think. Night-stalking things. Impossible predators on unreal prey. Life subsists everywhere does it not? Bullying its way. Shouldering aside entropy through its agonising brutal evolutions. Tortured on the rack of time, writhing, but persisting. Why not here? They walked through the walls of our world on their own strange business. I considered speaking with these unreal things. How? No meaning I could form would reach them.
Strange gloved with kirby-dots. Ditko you thief,
Awake, ‘Please’ but dream-threatened ‘go away’.
Five exclamation marks! But three questions?
Whisper his name shadowed cigarette man
Doctor Strange is always expecting you
pimp-gold and grey eyes he cuts like a knife!
‘It’s my dreams every night.’ Strange considers…
Enough! Strange scoffs at your chain-haunted dream,
the hand of command, the answer he’ll find,
he’ll enter your dreams exclamation bitch!
High on his mind-fumes, Strange seeks his Master.
Ditko, your soul-ghost Strange is pencil lines.
He’s out through the wall and into New York
conquering time and space in his silent flight.
Strange is a dot now, so far from home here.
You know Strange Yoda-man, do some push ups?
‘Chill with your bling Strange. Use a phone next time.’
Strange meets his client. ‘Sleep with me watching you.
Your thought bubbles blank, enter my ghost self!’
Now Strange your image see, negative-ink
this chain-wrapped dude is fucking his head-space.
What’s your game weirdo? You say it’s his fault?
Oh fuck Strange, the dreamer is a bastard,
there’s dude in here, your ink-shadowed arch-foe,
you messed up Strange, Nightmare’s gonna nail you.
The pricks awake! Fuckers got a piece yo!
Could you live with dead Doctor Strange inside
your mind-weave fool? Will he rot there? Nightmare
is wasting time gloating. Strange calls for help!
Yoda-man can hear you Strange, keep it chilled.
His moustache sends a message, the mind-line
world-spanning black arrows point at the eye
of Agomotto! The eye! The eye! Wakes!
Frozen now dream-bastard in your night-shirt.
Strange eludes you Nightmare, dismount your horse.
Pencil-sketch ghost-form back in the real-world,
slip on your body like a peado’s glove.
‘Thanks for the gun cunt. Strange commands, spill it!’
Turns out he deserved it. A waste of time?
More coming next week, tune in true believer!
This story is essentially one about a man who needs his psychic boss to tell him how to turn on his magic jewellery and another man who thinks if you shoot someone currently present in ghost-form in your dreaming mind, there will be no ill effects.
have to write d8 unlikely heroes to make the world right again