Tuesday 24 February 2015

Sea of Shadows, Sea of Dreams

A shore in the night. No sun and sun will never rise there. The atmosphere is clear there and the stars are bright and stable. They do not glimmer but they wait.

There is another world in the sky and that world is vast. It is a blue-white world of could and storms and though it is always night here and the sun will never rise, the blue-white gas giant in the sky still shines in its reflected light. It is brighter than moonlight over the land, but not too bright. At all times the sky is black and the stars can be clearly seen. There are black cliffs there, and a beach of cracked black stone.

The sea is dark, but lit by trails and waves of phosperesence when the great leviathan pass.

A forest on the shore where the wind is heard. Quiet. Moving slowly amidst the boughs. A river and a bridge of dark wood over the river. A slender bridge.

White shells moving amidst the trees. Dangerous crabs.

The tower where I live is secure, the sea smashes against it. Solid stone. It is safe in the tower, there are lamps of blue-white flame, like the world in the sky, mirrors hold reflected stars and there are tame lumescent squid.

It is a phantasmal shore.

A warm phosphorescent sea of dreams. Sink holes full of strands of glowing light. Blood-warm water. Or cold and dark.

A labyrinth in the warm unfolding dark. Like veins of time.

The paths of the cephalopods make light under the waves.

White crabs clash mournfully on the silent sand. Huge slow white hermit crabs.

Warm saline water sinks down and forms currents and river under the fresh. The upper water is cold Atlantic-black.

Brave divers risk the freezing water and lee shore to dive through the cold uppers and fish the squid of the warm, light saline deeps. The Day Below, or The Deep Dawn. If they evade the storms and the many dangers, I hear them speaking as they pass back beneath my slender bridge.

So the sea is dark and the storms on that sea are higher than any storm seen on earth. The atmosphere has different layers and the cumulo-nimbus seem not like squat piles, but like slow towers advancing over the dark sea. The storms are towers reaching to the stars. If the storms here and on that blue-white world that takes up half the sky in its rising align, then lightning can reach between the worlds

And under the dark and the cold of the ocean are the strands and mazes of light made by the squid and plankton in the slow warm rivers that run undisturbed under the black storm-wracked sea.

Sometimes there are scrapes and scars where one of the sea-leviathan has dived down into the warm salt water in search of prey and the lights and warm water have scattered. But they heal quickly and return to their proper place.

Thursday 12 February 2015

For the love of Dwarves.

Dwarves are made to make, not love.

Male Dwarves are bound up in their creations and their works, which expand in their minds like a maze so that they rarely feel desire. They must be seduced. The only way they can be distracted from their deep selves is with art. A truly amazing work of art will enthral and enrapture a male Dwarf and allow them to feel the stirrings of physical love.

Therefore every female Dwarf that wants to get laid is usually off on the road learning to become a supreme artist. The journey of the artist involves essentially understanding everything. You never know what knowledge or experience will inform your art. And so female Dwarves can be found in almost any place, doing or learning almost anything. Always with keen intentness and a with the relentless drive common to the Dwarves, yet also with an uncommon awareness and sensitivity to their environment rarely seen in Dwarven men. And always in the middle of mastering some subtle craft, whether a particular style of painting, poetry, sculpture, music or anything that could be used to produce a work of art. Truly mastering a style or form can take at least fifty years, and they have no idea ahead of time which form will be most suitable to produce their masterwork.

And killing things. Lots and lots of things. Ugly terrible things. Which is 'sculpting the world' literally, by cutting bits of it off, and 'painting the world' - usually red.

The art of the Art-Berserk is the wound they create and the scene of the wound, its a kind of performance art, like theatre, but real, whereas the art of the world-sculptor is the absence of the ugly thing they just destroyed.

So the high point of an Art-Berserk career might be a raid on, for instance, a Drow city where every member of the ruling class is chopped to bits in the space of an evening, the drow blood painting the walls.

Whereas the final work of a great sculptor might be the void left behind in hell when a major deamon lord is removed from existence. With an axe.

Its possible the performance on its own might be enough to do the job. If not, they will have to try to put it into words, or into a tune, or shape it in stone or paint.

Then, maybe, finally, they could possibly get laid.

Dwarven Women generally don't have beards. They do have a lot of facial body modifications.

They make masks, half-masks and eye-guards from varieties of precious metal. They create a wide range of tattoos. They use piercings and subdermal implants of multiple kinds. its common for a female Dwarf to combine these in various very beautiful, very radical ways

Since Dwarves see work and artifice before they apprehend anything else, to alter yourself is to become more like yourself. Your skill is more real than what you look like, so replacing your appearance with the products of your skill is becoming 'more real'. And in a sense, more beautiful, though they are not exactly the same thing.

For a Dwarf having a low level of skill is their equivalent to being ugly. Not exactly your fault and something we should try to look past, but not good. Unfortunate.

There are quite a few Dwarven women who, for various reasons, have no more sexual interest in Male Dwarves than Male Dwarves generally have in them. Which is lucky because it makes life a lot easier. And there are various people of different kinds who, for whatever reason, might be sexually interested in Male Dwarves and for them the path is the same. Produce a great work of art or its not going to happen.

Falling in love with a Male Dwarf is a rough gig.


Some roles you might find a female dwarf in:


Earth-Skald : Learning and relating the songs of the earth. (Not the songs *about* the earth, the songs *of* the earth.) these can be very long indeed and you may have to travel to different points on or under the earths surface to learn them.

Historian : mainly correcting the dwarf-related historical inaccuracies of other races. By killing them if necessary.

Thief-Historian : to get back treasures held in the wrong hands ie most treasures, which have probably belonged to dwarves at some point. Even down to a single coin from a hoard.

Historian Of Crimes : Dwarves basically don't forgive anything ever.

Art-Berserk : These can meditate then create wild, action paintings from blood splatters.

Axe-Samurai : To others, quite similar to the Art-Berserk, but don't call them that, they both consider themselves utterly different forms.

Bookbinder : Dwarves write books 'so as not to shame the binding'. The construction of the book comes first, then the contents must be of a quality high enough to match the object, right down to the strike of the ink, and then the ideas communicated, which come last.

To write a book, first build the shelf. Work the gems, make the paper, bind the book, perfect your calligraphy, then turn your mind to a subject in order to add the proper finish to the thing (learning a subject takes about  100 years and may demand specialist knowledge ie an adventure.)

Miner : to get the right gems. To a dwarf, mining is like and adventure or an exploration, its like being in a forest for us, something new and strange each day. In a sense, all Dwarves are Miners. The same way all humans are hunter-gatherers. We might be doing something else right now but that’s our baseline. Its what we return to when things go wrong, its the skillset that informs us. We are generally hunting for something or gathering something.


Dwarves tend to make their own clothes and their own armour, the only difference with female dwarves is that its hard to tell these two apart.

You can herringbone the patterns on ultrafine mail so that it falls like cloth yet, when struck, the patterns mesh and the force is distributed. You can interlace very fine chains through padded silk, you can hinge and layer plate so precisely that it looks like water falling, you can carve and emboss bronze so that, from a distance, it really does look like cloth, you can make the solid seem light, the fluid seem hard, soft things sharp and the sharp things hard to see. Put some fucking feathers on it, why not? In fact, why not titanium feathers so perfect they look like the real thing? why not a dress of them?

Armour and fashion are both considered a kind of liquid sculpture amongst Dwarves, essentially about form, and there is no reason for them not to get calmly and relentlessly good at them the same way they do with everything else. If you are running around beaning things with an Axe for complex sexual reasons then there is no reason not to look good doing it.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Fire On The Velvet Horizon Trailer

(If you are familiar with our sound, you know you might want to keep the volume down.)

(I added a stinger)

Saturday 7 February 2015

Interview with Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou

Firstly, this isn't by me, its from a youtube channel called DP/30; The Oral History Of Hollywood.

I would never usually just re-blog someone else's interview but this one is so interesting and so relevant to anyone interested in colour and form and all the unusual ways they can be expressed in genre movies and it comes from such an unexpected and charming source.

And one that relates everything in a laahndon accent.

Its also a pleasure to listen to someone who takes the world and reality of such an ephemeral and pop-culture form so seriously and uses it to inform their art. There is really surprisingly involved discussion of the nature of alien environments and how that would effect the way their skins and bodies develop.

"They are sort of cheeky chappies aren't they?"

"Dave Bautista started off as a 5 hour makeup, because he had all that keloid scarring. I don't know if you know but that scarring actually tells the story of his life? How he lost his daughter and all the battles he's been through."

I didn't actually.

Only about 608 people have watched this so far and it deserves a lot more views

Thursday 5 February 2015

Some Dwarves

So Dwarves

They won't see race, or barely, but they will see what you make. So if you do something to alter your appearance then they will see that. So the races of the Dwarves (that is, until we get to stuff like Derro or Duergar), are the materials they generally work with.

The Dwarves we are familiar with are big on steel as they have a lot of it but other Dwarves tend to think of that as their specialist ethnic material. (Handy, hard, but how do you stop it rusting?)

Dwarves of Gold and Ivory.

Make elaborate mail of glass beads, which helps to keep them cool in their hot climates. Super curly hair means they tend to think of is as a kind of construction material for the head, forming beards and haircuts into asymmetric wedges, or sometimes three dimensional models of their home city or mountain.

Tend to break down laughing whilst trying to relate a joke they told a week ago, (these Dwarves laugh) its so funny in their memory that they can't get all the way through it without breaking down.

Really want to tell you about their family, in depth, for hours. Family is huge and has collectively done and experienced some of everything so no topic so strange that they do not have a handy homily about it.

Tend to announce that they are going to speak to you before, or as, they speak to you. i.e. sits down and says "I will speak to you now."

Iron is a currency to them and they wear thick torcs of raw iron around their arms and waists.

Most are very black and they smear fine gold dust all over themselves as a kind of makeup or war-paid, the dust catches in the folds of their skin and  makes them seem to glow like bronze. Other dwarves think looking like this is pretty cool and are slightly annoyed they can't really carry it off.

Dwarves of Jade and Wine.

These have wild black bristles that stick straight out. Very distinct mustaches. Tend to wear a lot of jade, including a kind of closely arranged mail of jade pieces that jingles softly as they walk, a distinct sound for each clan.

These Dwarves are named so as they are one of the few kinds of Dwarf that actively enjoys wine more than Beer or Spirits. (All Dwarves will drink wine if available, but these will actively seek it out.)

Brutal calligraphy duels with two-handed calligraphy brushes, if a dwarf dies they can still win the duel if they leave behind the superior poem on the paper floor where it is fought. The loser will always accept the superiority of the poem if it is better, even if they killed their enemy. In fact they will make a point of mentioning it in the future. "I bested Shan Lun in the Poets-cage, but only his flesh is dead, his words will burn through time when I am dead." Then they recite the poem.

These Dwarves are so friendly and luxurious when drunk, and so often drunk, that they are the only Dwarves that sometimes seem lazy. (They aren't really, but can sometimes give that impression.)

They like monkeys, are friends with them and even have a monkey god. (Very unusual.)

Dwarves of Obsidian and Bone

These very fierce Dwarves have even less metal available to them than most. Amazingly, they ritually shave themselves and tattoo elaborate abstract beard designs onto their faces and chests (presumably slowly expanding over the body during their life). They wear a kind of elaborate gorget/mask of obsidian shards which takes the place of a beard and which is fucking terrifying.

Their weapons are obsidian and hardwood, as well as other organic materials such as bone. They are always on the lookout for new kinds of bone and will raise incredible animals over centuries, simply to harvest the bone when they die.

In their homelands they are called 'Cave-Lords' and actually rule as an upper caste from very well-developed terraced farmlands on the shoulders of high mountains. They travel beneath the earth through the caves that are common to that part of the world and generally do not bother low-living peoples much, or at all, unless monsters threaten, in which case they issue forth with great violence

(Our (Western-standard) Dwarves call themselves the 'Dwarves of Stone and Steel', but really everyone likes stone, so when not present they tend to be called the Dwarves of Steel and Beer. Although most Dwarves are pretty fond of beer too.)

I was going to go for an Indian-Standard set but its hard to get a strong material signature for Indian crafts. Is there any material or set of materials that brings that culture strongly to mind? (Obviously dwarves with Bakh Nakh are a must so they have to have those. I was thinking of making them the only dwarves that actively use a wide range of weapons instead of just impact-damage stuff. Sikhs are so close to the cultural dwarf-zone that its hard to not just re-make them shorter.)