Drestin rotated the lock on his pipe with one deft hand, setting bowl sideways on the small table near his chair, and pulled a small leather pouch off of his belt. “Do you mind if I imbibe, zev?”

Hashim chuckled, “Yes, and there’s no reason to call me teacher anymore. Though it does warm my heart to know that you remember the Words of the Law still.” Hashim sat himself in another chair, opposite Drestin, and poured a small amount of a glassy, amber liquid for himself.

Passa, mouth still agape, stared at the two in turn. “You still haven’t explained what’s going on here. How is this man with mecka older than I am supposed to help with the Duke?”

Drestin looked up from his task of moving the black, tar-like substance from his pouch to the pipe. “Yes, Hashim. Now would be a good time to tell both of us about my task.” Looking at the mass for a second to appraise it, Drestin decided it was fine, used his hand to seal the pipe back up, and pushed a small artfully hidden button to light the greaseweed. A small, delicate sigh escaped him as he settled into the chair and a dark cloud already forming above them.

Hashim took a long, slow sip of his drink, leaned over his knees and held the glass in both hands. “Yes, Drestin, I suppose now is a good time to tell you about the zesh’desor, the blood-eater, that I asked you to come for.”

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A Long Road

May 26, 2017

Black, oily smoke poured from his nose as he sighed. The view from the end of the pass looked down on the foothills of the Tarthian mountains and seemed to frame the village of Missran perfectly. The steep peaks of the houses, the domed Temple of the Law set into the mountain herself, and the humming of the Machineshrine built on top of their modest Vent. The only reason this town was here.

His pipe hung loosely in his mouth, working around the grimace he carried from the extreme cold of the mountain. The spines of his mecka seemed to twist and grind in the cold lately and the weight bearing on his leg didn’t help. His arm, at least, he could carry in a sling.

He grasped he cart jerked his head a bit to his mecka cart and headed down the winding switchbacks toward Missran, a filmy haze of greasesmoke trailing behind him as if to warn the others out there. The others in the deep pine forests spotted with powerful redwoods that seemed to guard the woods.

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Why Games?

June 8, 2016

I’m sure some of you out there, some of you who are friends and some of you who are not, are looking at the kind of person I am and wondering why games are so important to me. Not just a hobby I’m invested in, not just a cultural zeitgeist I count myself a part of, but something that I think represents and important philosophical and emotional technology to humanity. A very important element of culture that, I think, is currently being treated like no more than a toy. Games, I believe, are the cousin of narrative and storytelling that teach us empathy from the opposite direction. They inform our mechanisms for understanding empathy. Rules allow us to step into another person’s life and understand their motivations because the mechanisms tell us what we can and cannot do – that is, what decisions we would never make and which we would always make if we were the person we’re playing as.

To explain why in detail, come with me while I explore the very idea of what a game can be with you.

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I can’t focus on my writing today, so let’s talk about things.

In fact, I’ve got something we can talk about.

Yesterday, I posted something that said “Let’s take it back” a few times. It was pointed out to me last night that this can be misconstrued as pushing marginalized groups to do things they don’t want to do, to participate in communities and do work they’re not interested in.

That’s not all a message I want to send. To those writers and artists, however, that want to do the work – I want to work with you. I don’t want to shame those that want to opt out, but instead to throw my energy into helping to lead the way toward integrating all of the narratives that exclude you, and us.

I think there is one set of narratives that oppressed groups can’t ignore, though. Those are the political and social narratives that dominate our national and international conversations. The narratives made up of crazy liberals and tax and spend radicals. The narratives that demonize us and marginalize us further by turning us into The Enemy and devaluing our voices. These narratives need to be taken back by everyone. We need to learn to speak their stories so we can fight them.

Now, what can we do about all or any of this?

Is there a genre or a style of storytelling that you wish was integrated but it’s to exhausting to fight for?

Taking Back the Future

June 14, 2012

Humanity was born out of the blood, the mud, and the beer of nature. As it were. We are creatures of the environment we find ourselves in and much of our presumptions about the world, much of nature, is formed of emergent systems. The fact that we’re social animals is an emergent system. However, we’ve risen above our natural organization, our natural programming, and we’ve moved past living purely on instinct and survival. Our primate ancestors figured out tools and society, and our ancestors laid down the foundations of our world. They did this using one very powerful technology that we, the progressive people of the world, need to take back and make our own. It’s a technology that’s been instrumental in all of us becoming part of the progressive, radical, and liberal movements that we come from.

That technology is the power of the story. That technology is narrative.

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Tropes form the backbone of writing conventions in all mediums. We know who the hero is, who the villains are, what the setting is, and what the genre is thanks to tropes. A lot of tropes are good, many are useful, but a lot of tropes are problematic. Things from the Femme Fatale to the animation age ghetto to Men Are Dumb, Women Are Emotional there’s lots of tropes that support negative and false stereotypes that affect how people think of and interact with media of all types.

What are your thoughts on problematic tropes? What are your “favorites”?

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