But I’m gonna get back to writing! I promise!

I’m gonna start titling my posts with a one-word intro that tell you, the readers, what’s in the post. The Great D&D Rewrite will probably have titles starting with “REWRITE – ” then the post title for that post in particular. I’m also going to start doing other game stuff as ideas strike me and title them “SIDEQUEST – “. I’m not sure what to title fiction with, and I’m open to suggestions. Even if it’s more than one since I don’t just write one kind of fiction.

This summer has been really harsh for me, being as I’m in Riverside, CA and we recently had a nasty heatwave and this is on track to be the hottest year again. Heat saps my energy and saps my focus, which competes first with the writing and the like. I still have to do some kind of chores, I still cook regularly, and I raid in WoW twice a week (since that’s the majority of my social interaction outside of kittens and my spouse). I’ve also started playing Final Fantasy XIV again recently, partially to relax and partially because I love the art and gameplay. It’s been especially important for me to relax ’cause the political situation in the US is…awful. Like, literal Nazis awful. Being a queer disabled guy puts me on their shit list.

So tomorrow I’m going to post something, probably a Sidequest ’cause I’ve got a few ideas on games where the rules aren’t open information. There’ll be new fiction this month for sure as well, and at least one rewrite post. Though we are getting to the more difficult parts of the rewrite that preludes the ability to playtest. Gonna have to start writing actual rules with numbers soon.

Anyway, hope you’re looking forward to all that.


I’m awake, I’m awake…

September 24, 2014

So, it’s been a while. I know.

Writing that book I was working on, conceptually, didn’t work out. Between my PC being down for two weeks and how hard it is for me to focus when it’s hot, I didn’t get any real work done on it. Now the story has mothballed in my mind. However, I do have another story brewing in the back of my mind. Work on that will be at the end of this post, even, if you want insight into what’s going on there.

In other news, my partner got my little laptop fixed so I once again have a simple, long-lasting portable writing machine. It’s super adorable. I’m updating my wardrobe slowly, but surely, and I’m feeling generally better. I’m waiting on the inevitable denial of the California Social Security Administration for my disability so that I can get the appeal started. This past week has been a little hard, though – my glasses broke (again) and the company that made them is unwilling to replace them. I’m going to fight them a bit and see if they’ll do it, since they broke the exact same way in the exact same place as the first pair. I’ve got a couple of (small) partial 2nd degree burns on my gut from meat-juices and molten cheese flying at me from making dinner two days ago. It also looks like the tabletop games I wanted to run won’t be working out, but it’s better to have no game than a bad game anyway.

One thing, above all else, has been really getting me out of bed and thinking, though. I’ve always had a love of Magic the Gathering but I recently started using Magic the Gathering Online (I’m Luarien, by the way, if you want to talk to me or whatever) and I freaking love drafting. It’s the best format ever. A friend bought me a Commander deck, and we’ve done a few games of that, but it’s kind of wacky and I don’t know if it’s really possible to make a consistent Commander deck. The high variability of games (and the disgusting way you can get shut out in Commander) isn’t always the most fun. It’s a fun format generally, though, and I’ve got most of a sliver deck put together as well. For those of you who, like me, came up in Magic during the golden age of slivers. Y’know, right around Ice Age.

I’ve also been playing through Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut. Which has been fun. I’ve considered streaming it but there’s not a lot of clamor for people wanting to watch me play video games. Or listen to me babble to myself about them. However, if suddenly there is interest then I could see myself streaming a lot. I’m considering going through Fallout New Vegas again, since I never finished it, and I’ve still got Baldur’s Gate to finish (and then import my file into Baldur’s Gate 2) now that I’ve got both updated versions. I might even consider streaming Battlefield 4, which I’ve been playing a bit, but I’m both not terribly good at it and my connection can be very, very spotty which makes it difficult to play well.

I had thought for a bit about getting back into HEMA, but the local group here is antagonistic to anyone with a social conscious. I’d say that they’re antagonistic to anyone who isn’t a white, able-bodied guy but there’s women on their meetup so I can’t really say that completely honestly. I’ve been trying to do some light exercising in my room but, well, I can be bad about that. Especially on days where I’m not feeling terrible but I’m also not feeling fantastic. I might have to take up walking again, it forces me to do something.

So, worldbuilding. The story I’m revisiting is the Grey Paladin stuff I was working on before. It’s a fantasy setting that I’m designing to be a kind of pastiche of medieval and ancient Asia the way that most fantasy settings are a pastiche of medieval and ancient Europe. The main character is coming from a large Hindu Kingdoms-style nation and is dedicated to an ancient warrior order called the Daughters of Marisha. Their particular oath, the Precept of Marisha, states –

We fight so that others stay safe.

We march so that others stay at home.

We search so that others are found.

We stand so that others rest safe.

We are powerful.

We are steadfast.

We are persevering.

We are protectors.

Marisha is depicted as an 8-armed warrior goddess, and six of the arms wield weapons – the khanda, a straight sword with a blue gem set in the hilt and three blackened fullers that has been enchanted to deal with the undead as well as stay incredibly sharp; the ursha, a silvered short ‘sword’ that’s designed to pierce armor similar to a main gauche; the madura, an enameled 8-sided metal buckler that’s related to both the pa kua and the idea of ‘rising’ and ‘falling’ or ‘ascendant’ and ‘descendant’ elemental forces; the malappuram kathi, a broad-bladed dagger that’s also used as a utility knife; the vel, a javalin that’s usually carried in sets of three and is enchanted to resist destruction. Her last two hands are empty – one is a fist to represent the Daughter’s training in unarmed combat and the other is an open, upraised hand to represent their training in diplomacy and their standing offer to help any who might need them.

Some of those are real weapons, re-imagined for this world. Some of them are not. The Hindu Kingdoms inspired nations are going to be called the Sister Kingdoms, and there are five of them. Each focuses on a different part of their shared religious heritage and each descends from a single mother, Marisha, and her five daughters. They’re all matriarchal, with local democratic control sending representatives to the kingdom’s capital where the queens rule alongside a democratic legislative body. That legislative body writes laws and elects local law enforcement, with the national congress choosing the highest criminal and civil court. Reviewing the laws, and being the last court of appeal, is a council of elders, one from each of the great guilds in the kingdoms – merchants, military, magicians, doctors, and judges. Each guild elects their representative in their own way. Each of these kingdoms is host to a large community of foreign people, both people who have immigrated into the kingdoms and those people who pass through major kingdoms who trade along the sea and land routes that they control.

If you guys like this, maybe next time I update I’ll tell you about the other nations in this fantasy world I’m mulling over.

Gadje, listen to me. That means you are an outsider, and you are still an outsider, but not as much of one as you might have believed.

Yes, we are German, we are Swedish, we are Finnish, we are Irish, we are Scottish, we’re probably also Dutch and French. It’s hard to say with families like ours. But there is one thing we are that is different from what we thought we were – we’re Rromani. We’re of the traveling people, outcasts from India who were mistaken for Egyptians. Our family, though, is so divorced from this history that no one knows. You only figure out through circumstantial evidence and a penchant for curiosity in following last names. It’s hard, though, to find out when we became Gadje. It’s hard, though, to find out where our name comes from or how we got it.

It’s hard because of the shame and the fear wrapped up in being Rromani and how it’s penetrated the world around us. One thing is certain, though, we are not a gypsy. That is their insulting term for us, and we don’t use it. We’re rrom. We’re better than that.

Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Post

August 3, 2012

So, a few things.

First, Street Fighter is 25. What the hell. Thanks, Wil Wheaton.

I’m out of rant for today about big things and important things other than asking what you, my readers, are doing to make your world a better place. A shout out to Nerdfighteria, who are working diligently to lower world suck every day. Unfortunately I cannot fully call myself a nerdfighter as I hold myself to some pretty ridiculous philosophical and ethical positions and many of those in the Nerdfighter ranks would find me disturbed for it. But that should be obvious as it would be really difficult for me to find anything redeeming about someone who claims to be anti-feminist and I know there’s a couple  nerdfighters out there that to. Mostly thanks to the Men’s Rights Movement.

Speaking of the Men’s Rights Movement, fuck you. I’m personally sick and tired of the bullshit on Reddit, I’m sick and tired of the bullshit around FreeThought Blogs and Skepchick, I’m tired of the bullshit of these people trying to speak for me.

I am a man. I’m a cisman. I’m a cisgendered white man. I am a pansexual, omnisexual, bisexual cisgendered white man. Everyone from DJ Groethe to the director of CFI Canada to A Voice For Men are full of shit and using authority borrowed from their professional station (or from whimsy and fantasy, AVFM) to speak about things they both have no education in and no authority in. They do not represent me. They do not speak for me. They do not even speak rationally. All of the things in this discussion that we’re fighting over, from harassment policies to rape culture to women? A lot of these cultural elements have been proven in sociological studies. If they’d bother to check.

So yeah, Men’s Rights Movement? Fuck your face with a hedge-trimmer.

An update on those things that are important to me, as a philosophical stance. I am an atheist, I am an antitheist, I am a feminist, I am a liberal. All of these stances come from observation, data, and science. I’m willing to discuss any of these positions with anyone so long as you are not a bad actor. So far I haven’t had to even think of a comment policy yet (cue cut to comment section with two comments and a tumbleweed) but you can rest assured that if you come in and start arguing in bad faith, you start trolling, or you start using this as a platform for something then I’m going to delete your comments. I’m unemployed and disabled. I have the time to do this.

Speaking of being unemployed and disabled, I’m also homeless! However, the place I was living in was sapping me of everything involved in the will to live, so I’m happier right now. However, if anyone in Southern California knows of a furnished room on the cheap I can rent for a few months, I’d love to know. I’m trying to get my family to help me with a motel room until I can find a permanent place to live but they’re being…unreliable. I’ve got a friend who might have a place for me in a few months but until then I’m sleeping on a couch and it’s hell on my back. And all my other joints. Plus, privacy? What’s that? So yeah, my crowd of two, please help me find a place to crash for a bit.

Uh, what else. Working on two new short stories right now but it’s hard coming from the place I was in. Currently theorizing a story about a Steampunk China if the Opium Wars had never ended. Enjoy history? China? The Victorian period? Imperialism? Anything related to this? Send me snippets of information, data, what have you and I’ll boil them down into a few story ideas. I’m thinking of watching Ip Man and Ip Man 2 again for some inspiration. And because they’re fantastic martial arts movies.

Now I’m going to go back to missing my partner like a love struck fool, relaxing my back, and trying to come up with ideas.

Happy Esther day.

Stay classy.

All The Kids are Here

January 15, 2012

So I’ve put up all of  my finished first drafts plus one I’m still working on (that’d be the last one). I’ve got two more stories I’m working on right now that’ll be up here as soon as I’ve got them at least in completed first draft form.

The first is Notes From the Abyss – it’s part Battleship Yamato, part Maltese Falcon, part Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. I started with the idea of doing an occult noir space opera and this is where it’s taken me. It’s about a private eye named Mac Callan hunting down a rich family’s heirloom that may end up being the most dangerous weapon since the destruction that consumed the Earth.

The second is currently Matsuda and the Maze, a retelling of Theseus and the king of Minos if Theseus was an old gay samurai rescuing his lover from the clutches of a maniacal daimyo that has a thing for bull imagery. I’ve just started this one and I’m feeling out what I want to do with it still.

These stories, plus a few more I hope, will be in an upcoming collection that’s been in the tags for all of these posts so far – ReWord. While I am giving the stories away, the book’s more so people can get Kindle versions and I can support myself. I’m willing to answer any questions you may have as far as that goes but I mainly wanted to explain that tag. I might start posting chapters from a novel I’m also working on called Out of Thyme. Yeah, it’s cheesey. But I love cheese.

If you’d like to see more Work in Progress posts, or see my personal ranting, I’ve got another blog at http://magusworkshop.tumblr.com where I post things I’m thinking of and working on (and, right now, a small series of posts about swords ’cause I’m an absolute nerd). I’m trying to keep The Writing Engine devoted just to my writing (and possibly others, if I end up working with more authors).

And, on that note, I’m going to get back to writing, working on a shared universe, and relaxing.

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