Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Oh the Humanity - a Review of Inquisitor

One of the best art books GW has ever put out.

Also the rules to a game are in here.

I think this inspired the creation of Eisenhorn, (more specifically the editor at Black library faxed Dan Abnett a bunch of the art for this and then he spontaneously wrote Eisehorn). Eisenhorn was good, but also made money, and so opened up the whole of the back room of the 40k universe. Welcome backstage everyone!


THE RULES

These aren't to my taste or preferred rules aesthetic or design whatever so I will be quick.

These rules, and the whole of this book, seem to have inspired to the Fantasy Flight 40k RPG. That game shares Inquisitors propensity for great art and dense background and I'm pretty sure a huge number of artefacts were directly ported over between the two, in particular a THRILLINGLY GRANULAR d100 mechanic.

Someone wiser and better read than me can tell you where all this stands in respect to RPG development.

This is meant to represent a very small number of models in detail, but even in an RPG where I would only be playing one person I would still hate this level of granularity, and this particular *axis* of granularity.

They model EVERYTHING, in detail, along the same essential scale. So you get the irritation of having to account for every tiny little element and aspect of the already somewhat labyrinthine ruleset, and having to do that so you can add or subtract a tiny bit from a d100 die roll. This is mainly about remembering a huuuge list of situational modifiers, finding reasons for them in the environment, arguing with your opponent about them, persuading the DM, and all any of that does is move one dial back and forth a few percentage points.

This is the opposite of what I personally would want from a ruleset.

It does provoke things that I like in that it makes the creators come up with a lot of STUFF. Guns, items, special powers, weird personality and body stuff, and I like reading about that a lot. That is essentially why I read the FF 40k books, for lists of things, backgrounds, the kind of imaginary build and imaginary fun you call 'lonely play' I think.

I never actually played that game, I don't think I ever really wanted to play it much.

The best gunfights I've ever personally seen modelled in an RPG are still in Cyberpunk 2020.

But gunfights are paradoxically a bitch to model fluidly and I've written about that before so, onwards;








Actually these little images of what it means to be in cover or crouching behind a wall are very cool.





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THE META

Its really interesting how GW keeps coming back to this concept, its the birthplace I guess; this oppositional small model count skirmish game/also an RPG. They started there, its essentially what rogue trader was. That grew into 40k. Necromunda has looked at it twice. Kill Team tilts more towards the game but has rules for depth and expansion into a  squad-based quasi-rpg. Shadespire and Nightvault or whatever, haven't played them, seem more boardgamy, not RPG's, but still these little quite detailed skirmish games, albeit with different logic.

Its like GW has all its 'editions' of this meta-game operating in one way or another at the same time in some cases.

Primal 1st Edition - Rogue Trader
2e- Necromunda
Complex Granular 3E - Inquisitor
Abstract mathy 4E - Shadespire
Likeable Omnigame 5E - Kill Team

Ok its a poor comparison in many ways. But it is somewhat suggestive of the limits and similarities of the kinds of branching paths games can go through as they change and how the internal space inside the games possibility can be colonised a bunch of different ways.

You can do the hyper detailed one where every option is specified and has numbers and there are lots of splatbooks and pdfs, the very abstracted one with the highly balanced maths but it kinda feels a bit mechanical, the weird original one that arguably barely works and has the potential for almost anything but is mainly taken up by people who are in some sense game engineers themselves
e.t.c.

That's enough rules, I haven't even played this myself so Ill shut up about them.

Gotta talk about something much more important.

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THA ART!!!!!!



MOTHERFUCKER WE GOT JOHN BLANCHE, ALEX BOYD, PAUL DAINTON, DAVID GALLAGHER, NEIL HODGSON, NUALA KENNEDY, KARL KOPINSKI, STEFAN KOPINSKI, ADRIAN SMITH AND KEV WALKER

On Minis we got Goodwin, Mark Bedford, Mark Harrison, Gary Morley, Brian Nelson, Alan Perry and Michael Perry

As random passers by we got Andy Chambers Jervis Johnson Alan Merritt and Rick Priestly

And Gav Thorpe writing

Holy fuck that’s a shitload of talent in one book. It’s a motherfucking supergroup. Except a supergroup where all the people in it seem to actually like being in it and they all seem deeply enthused by the ideas and the concepts. (Weep a crystal tear as I don’t think we ever got these people back together for anything again. (Then weep another one specifically for Alan Meritt)).

As a reader I'm so glad they made this.

If I was a GW manager at the time I would be weeping as I don't think it made much or any money for the company so you just had a host of the companies best minds working on a white elephant for ages.

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ART - CHARACTER

There is so much character and feeling in every single image, some are less interesting but I can't think of any bad ones.

It's humanity. The humanity which was masked, compressed, clenched down on and hidden in the mass wargame. The whole book is like a book of portraits in a way, in its emotional valency. Like a school of painters have only been doing mass battle scenes, and they were pretty great, and then whoever is in charge has gone;

"no, just make me a portrait of that soldier, that one right there. Show me everything about them in an image, and take as much time as you like."



Not always directly, like the art is not always portraits, but emotionally. And I think that is where part of the energy release comes from.



I mean its highly, highly literal in the character example pages as here we get a rare treat.

The Blanche concept image as a background, a more detailed front image by, I think it varies, and eye-knowledge not good enough to be sure each time so sorry.

Then a textual description, then stats and items. So same person described four different ways each time, stats, text and two images by different artists but reflecting each other.

This is from one of those portrait sections.


Almost everything that isn't models or minis is B&W and its deeeep, just this deep textual and visual density, and while there is a lot of supermurder there are a fair few very still images.

You didn't want to make a female Inquisitor model? Really?


I remember Ruskin, or was it someone else? Saying that the Gothic cathedral was like a palace made of shadows, made specifically *for* shadows. This very white material in this very gloomy place (Northern Europe, lots of polarised light, slow dawns, lots of cloud), and these complex layered structures or elements so that you get this layering and massing of shadow, and shadow within shadow as the paleness and curve of the stone lets you see the fading and shade of the shadow - showing you the objects mass by its working.



Well this book, as much as, and maybe more than, any other 40k book, is a hive of shadows. These very white people with these deeply incised faces that look as though they were carved with sharp tools, and just layers and layers and layers of shadows from alien suns, burning braziers, candles, flamethrowers, sacrificial pits. People like cathedrals, with all the great florescence of objects and signs and coded symbols they are bestrewn with, all this layered history and meaning sculpted around them.

Even the little space filling side images are exceptional.


And also they are fighting loads and blowing stuff up.

I would love to understand why this didn’t quite work out. Was it the 54mm scale? Ahead of its time conceptually but lagging materially? The difficulty of conversion? Just a small market for a narrative game where you have to put a meaningful amount of work in, but its also an oppositional game?



Its this idea space, the one that birthed the company, it seems to be something that never quite works with the same success as its derivatives, yet it seems pregnant with possibility. Competition, and co-operation.


Monday, 20 May 2019

Sooo, you want to play an *outsider* eeehhh?


Here is my attempt to make Tieflings actually-slightly-upsettingly outsiders. But somehow still accessible and playable? And also visually pretty much the same thing. But also fundamentally different.

An impossible mission? Probably. You judge.

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NATHLINGS


Part way through the long slow fall of the borderless Diadem of Realms that ultimately collapsed into Uud, there came from out of the thickening grey a race of people unlike any seen before.

Sharp toothed, slim-tongued, with horns of glass and pale, thick blood, they were alien in their manner and all who met them were disturbed, sometimes to the point of disgust.

These creatures called themselves, or were called, "Nathlings".

They came with a warning.

They said that the slow stasis and malaise of that Meta-Relam was the result, not of natural change, but conspiracy. That a vast and incomprehensible force hated the Diadem of Worlds and plotted against it. They said a Cosmic Entity, something beyond comprehension or mortal reach, had focused its attention on this string of realities and that it would feed on, and destroy, them all. They said Her plan was already in motion, that the vacancy, vacuity, ennui and hysteria of society were the effects of Her attention.

They said they knew this because She made them, or warped them from some other race, to be her creatures. That they were born to lack identity, deep memory, selfhood or names and were created to be Her servants and the agents of Her thought, but they had tricked Her, broken free, and come to warn everyone, to warn them that Yggsrathaal was coming, and that time was running out.

Few listened. Not enough to save reality.

But some did. And those few, (radicals and fanatic doom-sayers at the time,) began the process which ultimately lead to the founding of the Grey Cities and the preservation of what life and culture still remains on Uud.

So stands the story of the Nathlings (as they would tell it). They still live on Blackwater. A race of Cassandras and half-monsters. Their warning helped to preserve the world, but could not save it. They are creatures of Yggsrathaal, but her mortal enemies. They are born alien, strange and palpably "other", and as they become more human, they slowly die, such is the tragedy of their victory.

Their existence in Blackwater borders on the edge of toleration, just as it always has.




IDENTITY

The Nathlings were created, or corrupted, by Yggsrathall to be her creatures. Made to have no names, no long-term memory, no empathy, no dreams and no self, like grey angels of entropy.

But the Nathlings tricked their creator and escaped her clutches. One by one they improvised or invented ways to escape the prison of their natures.

Instead of names, Nathlings use 'kennings', small micro-riddles or quixotic phrases, often referring to emptiness, tears, absence, void, blankness or colourlessness.

Since this is no name, but a symbol to nothing, it escapes the curse.

They were made to have no strong long-term interpersonal memory. To learn skills and facts easily and quickly, but to carry no recollection of the lives they have touched or which have touched theirs.

Each Nathling learns many languages, some are only known to that race, some are entirely personal tongues known only to that one being. If a Nathling wants to remember, for instance, an emotion, or an act of friendship, a lover or an object of loyalty, they describe it to themselves verbally inside their minds, and while doing so, they translate that description, sometimes into one language, sometimes into many.

While they cannot easily recall the fact of friendship once it has settled into one image or tongue, they can recall the act of translation itself. This is not a stable memory, but a process of transformation which the curse cannot affect.

So those who were made to care for nothing can build themselves structures of selfhood, friendship, family and tribe.

Made to feel no empathy, the Nathlings can learn empathy, starting with its basic structures, first treating it as a series of rules, observing, processing and analysing. Then simulating and copying others. They learn it from the outside in.

So those who were made to feel nothing, can learn to inspire feeling in others, and since that feeling is real, it can eventually seed a kind of mirror-intuition in the Nathlings mind, giving them an image of the heart they were born to lack.

Born to dream of nothing, young or ageless Nathings do indeed dream of nothing more than a pale grey Waste, much like the one beyond the borders of Blackwater. The find it peaceful.

But over time, as they encounter more people in more depth, as they live deeper and richer lives and experience a greater range of life, slowly, imperceptibly, life springs in the unconscious mind.

This happens first as a pattern of vague lines of forms, only suggestive of life. Over time, night after night, these collect together into odd knotworks of shape and vigour, like storms of lines. Sometimes a whisper is heard in the mind like something from another room.

Then, often after a moment of crisis or intensity something living springs, in full colour and sound, into being inside the Nathlings dream. Often this is a particular person known to the Nathling, someone they may be close with, or in conflict with, or even someone completely random and inconsequential.

The first time this happens the shock is often enough to make the Nathling spring awake, heart hammering. The process is known to them, and they are aware it can happen, but nothing can prepare them for the vividness, animation or strangeness of this living sub-reality. They are often confused, not quite processing that the person in their dream is different to the living example. They suspect magic, extra-real powers or some other trickery.

From this point on, the Nathling must make a choice, to continue down this path and become more and more "human", more and more real, or to turn away and return to what they were.

Whatever they choose the consequences are significant.




PHYSICALITY

Nathings, unless they alter their appearance, look a little like grey humanoid demons.

It's perhaps fortunate that most of the Demons are sleeping or dead, along with the Gods, but it likely doesn't help the Nathings much as they look like something much worse than any Devil of the Diadem of Worlds, they look like Yggsrathaal.

They are bipeds with weight and mass roughly equivalent to Somon, but they have a "third limb" a gracile tail running from their spine, so their limbs and body seem more slender. Bones are a little thinner and more flexible than Somon, giving them a similar proportionate tensile strength overall.

The tail and hip arrangement alters their walk, their movement is slightly more efficient than Somon when accelerating or maintaining a high speed, but less so over long distances, and much less so when carrying a load. They are quick and quiet.

Nathling skin is grey (though many dye it) and textured. Each texture is different. Nathlings can be patterned like frost, like rippling waves, cracks in glass, radial spiderwebs, brush-strokes or sine waves, like waving long-stemmed grass in wind.

Nathings have horns and nail-claws of glass, translucent or opalescent, more tough and flexible than any manufactured glass. These horns grow throughout the Nathlings life, in some cases becoming remarkable antler-like displays.

The Nathling eye is equally strange. Instead of an iris, the pupil is surrounded by a kind of liquid pool, like a stain of black fluid. This liquid shifts like a trailing flag inside the eye, tied to the movement of the pupil, but a moment or two behind or ahead of it. It looks like irregular pools of iridescent black flowing across the eye like ink in water.

Even when the gaze is fixed, the edges of this pool flex and shift a little.

This lends the Nathling gaze a curious indeterminacy. You can never quite be certain where they are looking, your eye is drawn to theirs, almost compulsively, but cannot intuit the meaning it needs. It’s hard to look away and take the speech, tone, head movement and body position of the Nathling as indicative of their focus (as you would with someone wearing dark glasses or a blindfold for instance).

And they can sleep with these eyes open, their breathing soundless and pulse indistinguishable, smelling of nothing (they easily creep up on dogs).

They are primarily carnivores (which keeps the population low), but have grinding teeth at the back of the jaw and can subsist as omnivores with some loss of health and vigour. They can survive on very little water, find it hard to learn how to swim  - instinctually adopting a sinuous lizard motion, dislike rain, always have an umbrella and tend to skip quickly across river-bridges in a rapid mincing gait.

They have three directly magical, otherworldly or reality-shifted aspects; The Nathlings Kiss, The Size Insanity and their Entropic Touch.



THE NATHLINGS KISS

Not truly a kiss, that name comes from story and rumour. The pale, thick blood of a young Nathling, if ingested by a mortal, can strip them of memory in the same way as the cursed Memory Eaters of Yggsrathall.

The phrase 'The Nathlings Kiss' comes from fable and accusatory tales in which the innocent young Somon or Aeth is tricked into falling in love with the heartless Nathling, who kisses them, biting their slender tongue with their sharp teeth and invisibly feeding their blood to the poor victim, stripping them of identity and self.

It’s a popular motif in fiction.



THE SIZE INSANITY

Like many of the Children of Yggsrathaal, Nathings can become both very large and very small. This is thought to be a combination of actual direct physical change and a kind of "re-scaling" ability shared by some Fey, and employed in some magics, in which the relation of the individual to the world is altered.

Like a person in sight becoming small or large the further or closer they are to the eye, the subject is taken further or closer from or to "the eye of the world", causing them to seem to become very big or very small.


Amongst Nathlings, going insane and growing very big or small are considered to be the same thing. Whether only the mad change size or whether changing size leads Nathlings to madness, is unknown. They are incredibly strict about policing the "correct" size and scale amongst each other.

When extremely small they become very fey, hunting ladybugs from the backs of grasshoppers, prancing around on the leaves of roses e.t.c. When very large they become crook-backed, massively horned pale and silent giants, more like Her creatures then than at any other time.


Scale of a crazed gigantified Nathling


THE ENTROPIC TOUCH

Nathings can instinctually wield the Entropic magics typical of Yggsrathall and her children. This is a massively and systemically supressed capacity amongst all "civilised" Nathlings. They hate to use it and the cultural and psychological stress of doing so is so traumatic that it can lead to a complete nervous breakdown or, in times of exceptional stress, even worse changes.






THE CULTURE OF THE NATHLINGS

Almost no "tolerated" group is less easily tolerated than the Nathlings. Not only are they carnivores who are clearly and obviously far too close to Yggsrathaal, they are strange.

Strange, in a world where multiple parallel species of humanity encounter and work alongside each other almost continuously, means more than just form, Natlings act strange, they feel off, and not in a fey or magical way, in a creepy way.

It has been argued by some, and never convincingly argued against, that Nathlings have no instinctual moral core - no primate-scourced morality. For them, good and evil, cruelty and kindness, even love and duty, are simply a matter of decision, not intuition. They have no feeling to do the right thing, they feel no intense shame over doing the wrong thing.

The counter-argument is that, because Nathlings choose good, and choose to be pro-social, loyal and kind, that the fundamental meaning of their actions is the same, or possibly even better because how many mortals can say that, if all things were even, they would coldly choose the right path?

That might make sense intellectually, but it doesn't help much when dealing with them face-to-face.

They are uncanny. Strangely distant, even with each other. Everything they do has a feeling of performance. They have no immediate disgust instinct, no strong fear instinct, no very strong desire instinct.

Their laughter sounds arch, even fake.

They are extremely fair and even-handed, totally unprejudiced to any particular group. They would make really good judges, if anyone fully trusted them and make their decisions based on facts only. Which is really aggravating if you've known them for years and they don't instinctually support you. But there is no instinct of group loyalty, only decision.

Careful observers and brilliant mimics of others, they are disturbingly good actors and exceptional liars and manipulators. Once you see one lie, even if it were to save your life, it’s hard to fully trust them ever again, you feel as if you can't really 'know' them - even after a long time.

If you want to stop one doing something arguably immoral, or to persuade them to do something that seems immoral, though you do it for the right reasons, you must often explain why, sometimes from first principals. "Trust me" isn't always going to cut it, and even if they do trust you now, they will want an explanation later.




THE NATHLING AESTHETIC

It’s very common for them to stain their skin a vibrant colour, to paint their horns, wear bright clothes and bejazzlements, golden bells on the horns or silver spiderwebs strung between them.  A handful radically chop off and grind down the horns, some, after losing a horn to battle or mischance, with cut the other even with it.

They affect necklaces or decorations of flowers, fresh fruit, leaves or vulnerable origami - to make a point. By keeping these very-perishable things in close proximity, and perfect condition, they are definitely NOT using entropic magics that everyone knows they have.

In what began as a statement and evolved into a fashion, their tools and weapons are often of "fragile" materials, either made cunningly or enchanted; swords of glass, ceramic, crystal, paper or the slenderest steel, stalks of grass or whips of thorn. Bags of thin silk, belts of slightest chain. Fine slippers and gossamer scarfs.




IN SOCIETY

Nathlings are adaptable to any social situation, but not accepted in any of them.

They are often itinerant single wanderers. They are unofficially banned from some Cities and Queendoms. legally no such ban can exist, but in practice they know the places it is dangerous for them to step. They rarely gather in large groups in public for fear of mobs, but there are underground networks in most cities. They tend to know each other.

Its rumoured Nathlings often walk about under glamours, seeming to be other than they are. Though this is dangerous and semi-legal in most governed lands.

When integrated into social structures, they are eager and effective members of organisations that will give them visible protection and allow them to move around. They often take on unpopular but useful jobs like tax collector, executioner, ombudsman, investigator, translator, entertainer to semi-legal subcultures, and of course, criminal. They make exceptionally good criminals, except that everyone always suspects the Nathling. Though they rarely seem very religious, they are curious, knowledgeable and of course, tolerant. When they do commit to a faith, they learn it all, chapter and verse, down to the smallest detail.

They raise their children in private, they are rarely seen out in public until they are around ten years old.

Outside settled society, Nathlings often get on quite well with "wild" Aeth out in the forests. They are both gracile, precise and independent aesthetes, and both rather "fey" in manner (literally in the case of the Aeth).

They can survive in the Wastes, possibly better than any other mortal being, though this ability has not improved their reputation. They can find, fight and kill the Children of Yggsrathaal better than anything on Uud.





AGING

Nathlings, as designed by Her, are immortal, or at least, ageless.

Feeling ages them.

The more "real", "alive" and "felt" they become, the older they physically get. Their altered flesh was made to pass through the world of mortal minds like mist, placeless, featureless, untouchable. It cannot tolerate attachment, affection, integration, meaning.

This is why the first vivid dream of a Nathling is so important. It is a Rubicon. There is still time for them to turn back to remain immortal, untouchable. Some Nathlings remain "young" forever. Neither evil nor good, passionless, they drift through the world, barely touching it.

But the deeper and more meaningful their interaction with the world, the more people they trust, and are trusted by, the more feeling they inspire and absorb, the deeper and more vivid their dreams, the stronger and deeper their soul, the harder they age.

And this aging changes the sense of them. The disturbing alienation of their behaviour fades away. The affect of their amnesiac blood disappears. Old, or old-looking Nathlings are often well-liked, with acceptable social position, circles of friends, familiarity, trust, easy banter and a sense of weight and simple vigour. They are also astoundingly ugly and horned, they look like old knotted wood or dried out demons. They laugh and feel and live and exist deeply and intuitively, though from their looks they would seem to be devils.

These "old" Nathlings are looked on with awe, horror and envy by the young. This is what they could be, should they choose.

This is their final victory and their great tragedy. Made to be murderous ghosts of entropy, like leaves blown before an annihilating storm, they trick fate and defy their creator. They are finally, irrevocably, immediately and intuitively Human.

They pay for it with their lives. But don't we all?

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Aaaaan, Kickstarter still be rollin'!


Thursday, 16 May 2019

WrenMen - Making Halflings Interesting?


To me anyway.

This is my addressing Halflings for Eldritch Foundry, essentially by making them a genetically-engineered sub-species created to inhabit Rama-style generation craft and explore deep space.

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HOMON


The Wren, small, brown, unassuming and rather rotund, still sings with a loud and imperious voice, drowning out the calls of other birds. “Little King”; so came the name from hedge-stepping country folk.

So “Wren-Men” is a better phrase for the race. “Homon” is simply a corruption; “Somon” refers to the single names borne by standard humans, but “Homon” doesn’t really mean anything except ‘Half-Men’. WrenMen do not have half a name and they are not a part or reduction of anything.

Some other terms are ”Halflings”, “Hobbits” and the oldest word; “Zeegees”; its origin unknown.

But “Homon” is simple and “Homon” has stuck.

The WrenMen look just like classic Humans, half the height, a little wider by proportion, and for some sub-groups, with broad, thick-soled dexterous feet. Other than that they could easily be mistaken for a Somon child or a sport of nature.  As if they were only half a step from each other.



BIOLOGY


In almost every case other than their size, Wrenmen are a “superior” race.

A brief list of problems they don’t have;

Cancer, dementia, insomnia, schizophrenia, lung infections, damaged tendons, concussion, depression, torn muscles, hysteria, hypnosis, arthritis, dizziness, hallucination, mutation, superstition (except for their Ghost Festivals), Alzheimer’s, poor spines, heart disease and post-traumatic stress.

Bones and muscles retain their strength and flexibility even without use. (They can dance their way out of prison after some time in the clink). They tan in minutes, skin colour shifting to the relative level of light. They can live on very little, infesting marginal environments, in which Somon would starve. They live as long as Somon, but excellent health (“And a good attitude ^_^”) seems to make it count for more. They breed true. A Homon parent always produced Homon young.

And they are fiendishly, frustratingly lucky, surviving disasters or impossible dangers with unnerving glibness, all while remaining friendly and even-tempered to the point of patrician dullness.

In short, for anyone, but ­­especially for standard humans, Wrenmen are some of the most agonizingly frustrating and irritating beings its is possible to encounter.

"It is fortunate indeed for Somon that out greatest competitor is, not only deeply agreeable, but conveniently half the size. If they were of equal mass we would be enslaved within a decade. Or, what might be worse, simply managed." - Vosis Fail, excommunicated Sophont of Yga.




THE HOMON STATE OF MIND.


Homon as a group, hew closely to a mean, with less diversity of thought and action than in Somon culture. They are practical, sensible and agreeable, sometimes to the point of absolute boiling insanity.

It's been remarked that if their house was on fire and the vote was split on whether to leave, a Homon would simply stand in the doorway and let half of their body char to ash. They almost always think the 'middle way' is best, and because their communities are so uniform, the power of the majority can take on a terrifying aspect.

While they are certainly friendly and reasonable, they are hugely intolerant of anyone who doesn't seem to care about, the things they do.

Anyone absorbed in the mind, 'theory' or abstract thought is “a queer fellow”.

Anyone with a point of view outside the mean is “a bit odd”, even if they happen to be right.

Homon, especially in a group, will systemically deny, rationalise and ignore these flaws. All Homon know they are a tolerant and reasonable people. THEY KNOW IT TO BE TRUE.

They grasp detail and process relating to people, (as opposed to Deoth) but they have real difficulty with things that have no immediate or obvious utility. If half a society were in favour of banning slavery, and the other half for it, the Homon would simply vote for some slavery, some of the time, and be entirely morally secure in their choice. Anyone distant, disagreeable or 'other’ will be labelled “haughty” or “high” and quietly and ruthlessly ostracised.

Living with Homon can resemble being crushed slowly to death by a fat man. The enormous intensity, intimacy and uniformity of Homon culture is the prime creator Homon adventurers.  If you cannot fit in, you have to get out out out.

Their strange luck, knack for survival, uniformity and ease of aging means they lack 'depth'. (In the opinion of non-Homon.) They rarely experience or feel tragedy.  They rarely hit bottom.  And so, because they never crash and burn, or fall apart, they rarely have crises or dramatic moments of growth and change.

The Homon mind-state is alleged (by non-Homon) to make them unsuitable for certain kinds of magics, especially those of a dark, dreamlike or entropic aspect. (Though any Homon would claim that those are simply ridiculous and unreliable methods anyway.)

The only way which they could be considered 'fey', is that, for them, large matters are invariably treated lightly, and small matters are of great importance. So that death, love, fire and disaster are looked over as small things, but knives or pistols might be drawn,(and have been), for instance, over the matter of a missing spoon.






HOMON ADVENTURERS


Homon are one of the few prople to become adventurers to learn how not to get along with people. Or at least how to respect the privacy and inwardness of others without frustration or contempt.  To learn that the study and comprehension of abstracts can sometimes be, not only useful, but meaningful, even if it is not used!  And to, eventually, with great difficulty, learn that the middle path is not always the best path That sometimes, occasionally, VERY OCCASIONALLY, the right thing might be a very slightly extreme choice.


HOMON POPULATIONS


Homon LIVE roughly four patterns; the 'Cantons', large settled groups whre they make their own law, the small ghettoes in the Grey Cities, the marginal travelling (and criminal) communities and the strange 'wild' Homon, who live on the borders of the Waste, or even in the Waste itself (if they are even real).


THE CANTONS


Small sub-nations within the spheres of larger cities, or, in the Mountains of Reality, in the more distant valleys of a Gloom Queens rule.

Here, in their own micro-nations, the Homon are at their most Homon-esque. They run agricultural communities with ruthless efficiency and the farm owners, or Squires, spend every single spare copper on enormous hats, clothes, parties, interior design, cooking and siege equipment.

They are insanely socially competitive, obsessed with out-doing their neighbour, and love splendifereous displays; big hats, parties, games, balls, more parties, parliaments, meetings, guilds, markets and simply any or every chance they can get to both interact with, subtly judge and painfully outdo their immediate social group.

This is the society that many Homon adventurers are trying very hard to escape.

The Cantons are well-defended and several send treaty-troops to their larger parent polities. These rarely serve directly along their larger allies but the Homon very adept at logistics and the handing and operation of siege equipment. Their troops have marvellous esprit-de-corps and magnificent hats. Their generals are dumb as muck; part-time enthusiasts bloated on delusion and self-importance, but once they are distracted with a pie, the relatively high quality of Homon troops, training and logistics comes into play.

And of course they have cavalry.

There is nothing a Homon will not ride, or at least try to ride.  Every Canton has a species which they have dedicated to mastering.  Depending on the place you may see Homon riding Goats, Sheep, MegaDogs, Snails, Pigs, Donkeys, Giant Tortoises, Huge Turkeys, Miniphants, Hippos or Weird Lizard Things.




THE GHETTOES


When WrenMen make it to 'the big city' they become politicians, socialites, scribes, sewer-workers, journalists, teachers, thieves, gangsters, assassins, restaurant owners and celebrity chefs.

They love to run major cultural institutions, but it can be very, very bad to have two two news-sheets, theatres, operas etc, and similar prestige, in the same city, both run by Homon.

They will go to war.

On the positive side, this does result in a brief cultural incandescence as each organisation drives the other to ever-greater heights of excellence and hard work.

On the down side are whispering campaigns, threats, violence, murder, whispering campaigns and opportunistic demonic summoning.


THE MARGINS


Guns, goats, bare-knuckle boxing and highway crimes.

Those who cannot get along in the Cantons, and have been banned from the cities, travel the highways and waterways of Blackwater;, a dangerous business at the best of times, considering the wars, monsters, waste incursions, tyrannical rulers and unstable politics of that realm.

They move in groups, ranging from a single family to a trail of thirty, as waggon trains or in long river-boats.

These friendly travelling groups of Homon are popularly assumed to be thieves and charlatans which, to be fair, is true a meaningful percentage of the time, though in most cases they limit themselves to petty theft, confidence scams and the more useful forms of smuggling.

More dangerous are the river pirates, goat-bandits and highwaymen who prey on honest trade. The Mountains of Reality are infested with outlaw tribes of Goat Riding Halfling thuggees who ride near-naked except for vast cloaks of sheepskin and who spend all their ill-gotten gains perfecting the breeding of bigger and bigger goats. Bantito legends say that the greatest of these rievers have, through deep communion, perfected the power to psychically control goats.


THE WILD


Strongly-denied rumour speaks of wild and feral Halflings in the Waste. Groups of “wild” WrenMen living naked in vast warrens.

The addled tales of memory-stripped travellers describe squirming piles in the warm darkness.
Homon sniffing each others musk and running out in starving crowds to pull down prey. Huge balls of flesh, composed of hundreds of Homon piled together a linked arm-to-arm, rolling over the land chasing and collapsing on travellers to devour them.

Though these are almost certainly mere figments of the imagination, drug visions, deceptions, delusions or snares of Yggsrathaal,




THE GHOSTS


Homon are secretly symbionts.

WrenMen themselves call it their ‘ghost', ‘belly ghost’ or ‘stomach spirit’, and, the common people see it as a semi-spiritual thing.

Inside their body, and integrated with their flesh, is a tissue of pale filaments, like torn translucent silk, wadded up sheets of thin wet paper, a crushed pale rose, or an albino octopus held in a fist. It does look a lot like the common conception of a ghost.

This is a psychic, non predatory, largely sessile and ethereal extradimensional creature. A peaceful, vulnerable organism that needs an anchor to survive. If allowed to grow within a host it can feed off their bodily sustenance (one of the reasons Homon like to eat so much).

If allowed to integrate, the ghost gives subtle benefits.

Lightness – Ghost-holders about ten percent lighter than they should be, relative to mass.  This makes Homon surprisingly supple, bouncy and agile, despite their plumpness.  If they die of natural causes, the corpse of a Homon will occasionally float up into the night sky. (The ghost going home).

Memory - The ghost, though somewhat intelligent, has almost no personality of its own. Instead, as a psychic creature, it continually and intimately reads the mind of its host and keeps a nearly-complete para-personality as a kind of living simulation. If the host suffers memory or personality loss, the ghost can 're-load' lost memories and even run the whole body in a dreamlike state.

The ghost and the host sleep at staggered interval, one of them is usually awake at any particular time, making them hard to surprise, even when ‘asleep’.

 They even share and swap dreams. Halflings can have up to three sets of dreams inside them; their own, the ghosts, and a marginal realm in which the two meet.

This makes it very hard for the Children of Yggsrathaal to prey on Homon. Name-Thieves are frustrated, (Homon can sometimes 're-grow' names in a way incredibly rare for other creatures).
Memory-Eaters find the memories replaced and Dream-Stalkers are utterly confused.

Dimensional Awareness – The belly ghost gives Homon a soft para-sense for extradimensional things manifesting as a dull intuition, or a 'queer feeling’. They are rarely totally surprised by the cascading otherness of dimensional incursions and it is hard for them to get lost in non-Euclidian space.

Magical Resistance – The ghost can split the effect of the more deadly spells, confusing the precise coding such murderous thaumaturgy requires by essentially having multiple identities in the same body.


GHOST CULTURE


Most take the WrenMens references to 'my friend', 'my own ghost' or ‘the stomach spirit, and their weird giggling and belly rubs, as just an odd cultural affectation.

Even if the 'ghost' itself is seen, during moments of trauma, or due to strange magics, well, it looks like.. a ghost, exactly the vague kind of ethereal spirit that many cultures believe rests inside mortal flesh.

Ghost Festivals are seen across all Homon cultures. A rare, rather spiritual, and somewhat spooky party-day with a great deal of eating and drinking, parades and dances with ghost puppets and ghost-flags, Homon dressed as ghosts, and then private parties behind closed doors late at night where Homon commune with their own ghosts.

Its possible to pass or swap the ghost between Homon, which allows them to share or exchange memories and personalities with each other.

Its also possibly for an old ghost to inadvertently enter a young body. In theory the new personality should rapidly overwrite the old memories as the child develops. But in practice they can guide the development of the mind to produce particular patterns of thought and knowledge.

These are all things that civilised Homon will avoid at all costs, considering them “savage” or, worse, “very regrettable”.

No such strictures prevent ‘Wild’ Homon (if they are real), or criminals on the margins from using the ghost to gain skills, knowledge and education from each other, or to produce ‘hive minds’ of tightly bound ultra-competent beings.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Don't Penetrate me Bro - Vivimancy for methuser69

(Brendan is doing ANOTHER survey.


..........................................


Anyway...

Remember those request posts frooooom, six months ago now?

You ¬don’t?

Well there was one left!

…………………………………….

"methuser69

Hey I don't know the right place to ask this and it feels weird to make requests, but since you asked I'm gonna do it.

I'm running an Ben Laurence's Submerged Spire of Sarpedon the Shaper, an adventure in which the characters visit the lair of a wizard studying vivimantic arts. He's used this place to conduct biological experiments in creating new life forms. He seems to me like the sort of guy to brave the veins to further his research. I think he would have been keenly interested in atomic bees, particularly the part where their royal jelly can breed new species without divine consent. I'm thinking there is still a living hive in here, as the bees have a long half life.

Would it be crazy to ask what might the players find in his decaying lab notebook, given that he wanted to cultivate and experiment with the jelly? I'm thinking the bees are still alive as they have long half lives. I'd like to think he succeeded in some form or another but he's long dead now. Maybe some more information about the honey would be cool too.

If you think this is lame feel free to ignore it. Looking forward to Silent Titans!"

.................................................


Vivimancy is tricky for me as I already put a huge amount of my limited supply of Bio-Horror into some parts of Silent Titans.

(Available now! Link to the right!)

As well as that, Arnold and Scrap are the true experts at making weird shit out of living stuff. I feel out of my element.

Biological horror is interesting because it’s all stuff that's inside us or in the world, and which powers everything, but it freaks us out when we witness it directly.

So our safety and sanity as biological organisms is based on a kind of duality in which it’s important that we are not fully aware of our existence as biological organisms. We are this magical other thing, and so long as we believe that, we are safe. And a lot of ‘unnatural’ bio-horror is about carefully stripping back this illusion.

Many of these programmed-in aversions make immediate intuitive evolutionary sense;

- Don't want our skin penetrated or for things to lay eggs in us. Pretty simple as any organism that does want to have its skin penetrated and to have other species lay eggs in it is probably not gonna survive very long. So some deep aversion/desire to personal and bodily integrity would seem to go right along with the whole concept of individually-distinct beings.

(Brief aside, I can't begin to express how good it is to be a mammal with hands. I've seen photos of field and forest beasts just infested to fuck with all kinds of nits, mites and burrowing creatures and they disturb the hell out of me. Just being able to reach and scratch any part of my body, and to pull a bug off me if it’s trying to get in, is indescribably wonderful.)

(Would things be different underwater? There's already a much more conductive medium between everything. What would be horrific for an evolved underwater species?)

- Don't want decay or poop on us. Again, this makes perfect sense for a physically coherent entity.

But what if poop wasn’t dangerous. And we already have some bacteria inside us working their stuff, so what if we extended that to say a being could take advantage of its bacteriological environment in a more complete way, say what if its immune system could re-fit bacteria as bacteriophages or make them extra cells that could rove the body doing useful things, so, the more poop and decay the better?


- Don't want body parts to be too independent or alive. No living severed limbs, no squirming organs, intelligent cancers or eyes or mouths opening on our bodies and seeing for themselves.


- Multiplication, mutation, pattern shifting. This is a really interesting horror element because depending on how you look in it, the mutant can be monstrous or divine. A lot of magical, super-good, or at least super-great Gods often have extra stuff, like the hyper-signalling arms of some Hindu sculpture, various different heads and eyes, horns etc.

And transiting between forms also, werewolves and shapechangers, these are numinous powers that can belong to a god or a monster equally, it depends on the cultural music around them.

Still, in modernish times, there is a reasonably strong binary between the 'cool' mutant and the monster, which we can see pretty easily with the X-Men. 'Good' or godlike mutants tend to have idealised human forms and one extra or other-signifying thing. The otherness acts as a kind of counterpoint to their otherwise perfection.

Bad monsters and mutants have too much, the coherency of the human form is distorted beyond a certain point, and that point is certainly somewhat relative culturally.

And the good god team can have one pure counterpoint character, like the X-Men have Beast, and the Bad god team can have one 'pure' (physically) character, like Magneto is very purely human and the highest status character in his group. Lucifer, when seen in a group of demons or dukes of hell, it seems to me is often very pure and near-angelic compared to them. (Though I don't know if this is true in the data, it may be merely a cultural seeming).

- Sex/Pregnancy/Gender, it’s hard to know how much of this is generally mammalian, how much apelike, how much homo-sapiens and how much specific human culture. Certainly taboos around sex, pregnancy and gender always feel ancient, absolute and deeply real and old, like core values. And the enormous strength of those taboos and feelings does strongly suggest deep roots. But they can be pretty damn different in the details.



(What would ant body-horror be like? What would horror be like if you just don't have a strong sense of individual identity, if you feel subsumed in a crowd always so that it is you and you are it?)


I should probably try to bring this back to some kind of point.









What would non-divine-consent species be like?

Assuming that for 'Divine Consent' in this case we simply assume that our deepest intuitions about how things should be and what is right count for 'divine order' and not the alternate, (but interesting to think about) path of just reading the main Abrahamic books and then creating species based on the moral laws and divine assumptions in there, >as read< that is, textually accurate species. Which might be something like a hyper-version of the medieval legendarium where every animal is both a being and a moral lesson and a sermon.

(There are other physical/biological laws where it’s quite hard to find a level of subversion which feels horrific rather than just odd, and pseudo works rather than just self-evidently crashing reality. I guess that's why natural laws are natural laws. And also most monsters and science fiction terrors have heavily colonised and exploited already.)




SUBVERT PREGNANCY - Alien already did this one way by forcibly implanting the egg.

Elves did it the other way by stealing the baby.

Could make even-darker elves that steal the baby from inside the womb and the mother gives birth to something impossible like a flower child.

Got It - An animal where the creature is unintelligent, but the fetus is self-aware, but becomes dumber as it ages.

So the pregnant version is extremely dangerous and smart, because it borrows the intelligence of the fetus. For maximum horrors have it look a little humanoid, like Homo Erectus or something, but be mute and thoughtless, then gradually get smarter and smarter as the fetus grows, so it learns to talk. Then you have a horror-movie moment when the mute beast exhibits thoughts it should not have.



SUBVERT INTERPENETRATION - Like maybe a friendly little Aye-Aye except it has a mosquito face. Just creeps up on you in the night, sits in the curl of your hand and dives its face into the artery of your wrist?

But that doesn't seem impossible or disturbing enough.

Maybe it can draw more blood out of you than you actually have inside you?

I think I got it. It’s a little black Aye-Aye with a mosquito face, mild hypnotic powers and a narcotic injection. But its little proboscis is too slender and fine to get easily through human skin. So it creeps up your body, gently opens its mouth with its little monkey hands, leans in and drives its proboscis into your tongue. Then it draws moisture from your sinuses and brain, maybe its drinking your neural transmitters. Your face dries out and your brain shrinks and dies in your head. Your eyes shrivel to raisins in your face. The little monkey fattens and thickens, becoming more shiny like a fat trick, but still clinging to your face like a beard with its head inside your gawping mouth. Its narcotic sends you into a dreamy slumber and the slow death of your brain is interpreted as euphoria so your face and head bear a stretched goofy grin on their dried out and sunken-in features and that's how they find you. If they shake your head your brain can be heard rattling around inside.

This isn't that great. Honestly anything where you are dealing with penetrating the body ends up reading like a really sketchy Gridr profile;

- You'll get penetrated, and it will be unusually messy.
- You'll get penetrated, but you'll be into it.
- You'll get penetrated, and I'll leave eggs in you, and you will love the eggs.
- You'll get penetrated, and they you will penetrate, and then die.





SUBVERTING SINGULARITY - Disturbing Colony Apes. Like an ape where, if you cut off a piece of it, that part still lives and will seek revenge, and will find other animals and attach itself to them, growing into them and gradually taking over their bodies.

No that's pretty much the Thing.




SUBVERTING INFECTION - A Disease Dog, like a pallid pink caniform with skin and flesh like the goo of a petri dish, made specifically to be easy to penetrate and open to every kind of infection. And it just keeps getting more and more infected with every single thing it comes into contact with, and gradually grows bigger and bigger and bigger until its huge, bear-sized, encrusted with these competing colonies of fungus and disease and they keep cracking open and its disturbing pink flesh still shows underneath, warm and easy to slip your hand into. And everywhere it goes it picks up and spreads diseases.







AUTO-CANNIBALISATION - A species can't just be an auto-cannibal. It can't get more energy out of eating its own kind that it puts into generating its own kind, or it would just feed on itself and become everything.

So a purple monkey breed that, when it eats another purple monkey, gets waaay more calories than you would ever need to grow and raise a batch of new purple monkeys. So the number just keeps growing. They eat everything else but they eat each other too, and when they do that, you get insane numbers of new ones.

So you have to either exterminate them all or make them religious figures that must be appeased, maybe you need to make sure the purple monkeys are fed the most tempting foods and make that a priority, or they will eat each other, hyper-breed and become EVERYTHING.



LAMARKIAN TIGERS - honestly Arnold did a Tiger post a long time ago so maybe just read that one.

But if you did have a species that predated on man and did evolve in a Lamarkian way, every problem it had to solve to get its prey would affect its young, so they would become, what? beautiful half-men? Hot tiger vampire babes who could pick locks? Can they do taxes as well? Run an empire? Or do they stay at animal-level intelligence but have only these specific skills gained from Lamarkian evolution? (He even did a book of tigers)



REASONABLE BIRDS - Something like Ravens or Crows, but they have a higher I.Q. than humans by quite a way, but only bird bodies and bird desires. So they can solve any abstract problem for humans in return for food and shelter. And, they collectively won't let human society evolve into anything that might threaten them of their species/environment. So effectively any kingdom or polity that works with them is effectively spreading a Reasonable Bird-Biome.

Buut, other than that, they don't really care what we do. And their needs and desires don't intersect with or even conflict greatly with ours, so human society goes on. We are technically a subservient client species, but it barely seems to make any negative difference to our lives, since we still go after and get roughly the same things as usual in roughly the same proportions.

This is like an alien encounter story of a kind rarely told, where we meet aliens and we don't instantly supermurder each other, and we don't immediately Federate up and work together, instead, we just don't have much to say to each other.

We know they are intelligent and self-aware, and they know we are intelligent and self-aware. We are not hugely in conflict. Our desire patterns and goals are just so utterly different that they barely even seem ridiculous to each other.

There are so many animal species that live around each other, and seem to recognise each other, but don't really care or interact. Where are the stories about the mute indifference of nature?

Thursday, 9 May 2019

The Eldritch Foundry Kickstarter is Live


Well, these guys I have been building a small reality for are going live with the Kickstarter for the company today.

If you like Minis, 3D Printing, D&D, ooooor just looking at Kickstarters?

A big link to that is HERE
or click the tentacle;




I am a very, very small part of this, you can see the main cast list below;



Hey, they even made a movie;
(which I can't find a way to embed here but HERE is a link)
Or Click the lady below




Future of the company depends a lot on what happens in the first few days of the Kickstarter so you are in the rare position of deciding if a world lives or dies.

And if you have read this far, here is another recently completed small fragment.





Morningspain

From the Blackwater map,
eventually this will be live online and every location will be clickable


High, high up in the centre of the Mountains of Reality, like the hub of a savage wheel, lies the plunging steep-sided valley of Morningspain.

You could pour a nation into it and there would still be room for more.

Morningspain is oriented perfectly to catch the rising and setting sun. The first rays of morning strike a gigantic blue-white glacier which hangs at the valleys upper end like a frozen tsunami. This burns gold-white and the reflected light rolls back into the terraced valley sides. These have been built up over thousands of years of human effort, its great slopes divided into seemingly endless line upon line until it feels as if the place were a figment of the imagination, almost unreal.

From the glacier comes a surging river of clear, cold water, which winds the valleys floor, and forms a lake. From the lake rises a palace of shifting glass, which changes size, form and location every day, so that it is never the same twice. This is the House of Fog, embassy and centre for the Fey Aeth of the Mountains

Against this shifting spire, rising up from the valley floor but far below its teetering sides, is a city-sized plug of black eroded stone. On this stone is the City of Morningspain, seat of the Beodomor, First among Prerogatives, Queen-of-Queens, Mistress of the Mountains of Reality. From here, the Mountains are governed and the future is seen.

Morningspain is old. Its basal architecture is neolithic, made of huge monolothic blocks worked to precise angles and held together purely by gravity. The streets are made up of the bases of ancient temples and the opened crypts of prehistoric monuments. Over this and rising from its compressed age, are the towers of the city itself, the Fairytale 'High Style' of the Queendoms brought to its finest pitch. Flags and pennants flutter in the breeze. It seems like an airy dream grown from bloodstained ancient stone. At the centre is the palace, and at the centre of that is the Beodomor herself.

Morningspain is quiet all of the night, cold and silent with frost. This place is so high up that it takes visitors from the Cities days to acclimatise. Knights moving in the dark must plan in advance, purchasing rare oils so that their armour will not squeal. The city can contain many Queens, and waking even a minor Queen can be a tragic mistake. She may have been in the middle of a vital and important dream. And if anyone should wake the Beodomor by mistake, whose dreams can rule the fate of whole nations...

That would be very, very bad.



THE MORNINGSNIGHT


In Morningspain the day officially and legally begins whenever the Beodomor wakes up. Until then, it is still 'last night'. The time between dawn and the Queens waking is called the 'Morningsnight’, a strange and ethereal time in Morninspain. Everyone must remain silent and still, only quiet business may be transacted and only nightly things be done. It is customary to go about carrying a lantern to indicate that you are aware of, and recognising the Morningsnight.

As soon as the Beodomor wakes, a golden flag (with actual gold thread, it's quite heavy) is raised over her palace. Then, all over the city, more flags of many colours are raised. The city bursts into activity and sound, the Morningsnight has ended and True day begins.

Should the Beodomor die tragically in the night, the Morningsnight lasts until a new Beodomor both sleeps and wakes. And the Morningsnight seems to affect magical qualities. Thaumaturgic effects usually functional only at night will also function in the Morningsnight. (Magical experimentation in this time and place is strongly frowned upon.)

After the waking of the Beodomor comes the Breakfast of Doom, one of the most important state occasions in the whole of the Mountains of Reality. The Beodomor eats breakfast and, as her dreams are still fresh in her mind, consults with her advisors, in particular, the High Druid and the Minister of Dreams. Here she may ask for advice, give information and issue orders intended to counter the terrible things she has seen in her prophetic nightmares.

Anyone can be called to the Breakfast of Doom. Local or foreigner, high or low, whomever the Beodomor calls for must come. If she has seen you in her dreams, she will know you.

Since the lamentable reign of Mad Queen Sisss, the Beodomor is not quite the whole of the State. Before she orders anyone killed, she is expected to at least consult with the Minister of Dreams, who will offer a cool-down period. There are legal courts of dream analysis in the Ministry to which people can appeal and offer a different context or interpretation of the Queens dream.

Traditionalists hate all this - for them the Beodomor is Law, and Law is her. They don't even like Mad Queen Sisss being referred to as mad, instead they call her 'Poor Queen Sisss'. In particular, the Knights of the Pale Feather, who also attend the Beodomor, are utterly fanatical to obedience of her exact words, and will do whatever she says, regardless of the "law", apparent sanity and even poor grammar on her part.
  


POPULATION


All advise politeness on the streets of Morningspain, and this is wise. There are probably more Knights than peasants moving around. Morningspain is a political city, a capital and the centre of a great empire of weeping Queens. Many of the people there are there for political and feudal reasons. Some as part of the Beodomors court, or to petition her or seek her favour.

Here also stands the Ministry of Dreams, a bureaucratic organ of state which exists to assist the Beodmor, and every Gloom-Queen, in the recording, comprehension and actioning of their dreams. Here are the chambers of the High Druid. Fey and other Aeth visit, or reside in the House of Fog. The Lords of the Beothoborg keep a nominal ambassador here, as do the Grey Cities, Declension in particular.

Along with these come the courts of any visiting sub-Queens, from those who rule whole quasi-nations of their own to the smallest Queen, mistress of a handful of Yak herders. The Beodomor may call on any of them, and any of them are permitted to call on her, Queen-to-Queen.

The narrow streets are thick with dignitaries, there is even a special class of footman-ambassador, recruited from only the highest reaches of society, whose whole job is to resolve jams in the streets when high status individuals, and their entourage, encounter each other coming in opposite directions and are unable to negotiate precedence, neither willing to step aside, and therefore both trapped, unable to pass each other. In most cases these unfortunate incidents are resolved within a couple of hours. In others walls have to be removed so groups can pass each other. And in one sad occasion this was not possible and a Bishop of the High Seeker froze to death after several days. His opposing number, an ambassador from Vocht, died soon after, of an ague.





Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Should I do anything with my Patreon?

So I finished my patreon application to get it in before the deadline that would involve a raising of prices, and largely for that reason.

I got half-way through applying for one years ago, with the vague idea of doing something or other with it.

The main question here is capitalisation. And how much of your life you want to capitalise and the weird fluctuation of power and influence around that.

largely, my blog and my reading, I've treated them as an extension of my personal self, not quite as a job thing, so I don't have to make excuses to myself or others about what I am doing,  finish anything on time or not. Its whatever I'm reading, whatever I'm interested in. So no ads e.t.c.

And I'm happy selling actual books, like physical things, or pdfs at least. So the blog is play or personal and the books are capital.

And I'm largely happy with that largely symbolic division, even if it is mainly psychological it seems to me that such boundaries are more important than ever in todays world where one thing , business and social networks and everything else, all flow one into another.

All of this is thrown into rather sharper focus by a lack of money.

Something suggested by various intelligent people is that I do book reviews for patron dollars. I do reviews anyway and have about 50 books to get through.

So its the usual, take something you are doing already and do it slightly better, in a more focused way, and for money. The idea does have its appeal, but again, it feels slightly creepy and somewhat wrong to effectively paywall something I was doing anyway.

It would be nice to do it *better* and money would lend focus to that I suppose. But I am pretty much doing it anyway. Would I paywall reviews? Paywall them temporarily, like put a review up on Patreon for a month before putting it on Goodreads or the blog? Take votes on what to read next? What about really long books that take ages to read and have to be talked about in sections?

Or could I do something completely different?

Currently I'm leaning towards not doing anything with it and just keeping it as a tip jar.

However I'm throwing the issue open to you, if you have a strong opinion or ideas about what you do or don't what, let me know in the comments below, either here or on Facebook.