electricpaladin: (Aleph Hack)
As some of you might know, I've been working - on and off - on a couple of hacks and drifts that should allow me to use the Storyteller System for a couple of other settings and styles, from Blue Rose to a dark sci-fi setting of my own invention. One of my goals has been to simplify the system, bringing it back to the basic permutations on page 134 of the World of Darkness corebook. I'd like there to be more supernatural advantages in my hacks that use these fundamental advantages than "special case" magic powers. This should have a dual benefit: the "special cases" will be rare and exciting, and the system will be significantly streamlined.

Anyway, to recap for you, the advantages are:
  • 9-Again: Reroll 9s for additional chances at   successes.
  • 8-Again: Reroll 8s for additional chances at successes.
  • Extra Success: Add successes (if you roll at least one).
  • Modifies Resistance: Reduce the dice penalty from a victim's Resistance stat (or other dice penalty), or, alternately, add to your own Resistance stat.
  • Rote Action: Reroll all failures for a chance at additional successes
  • Advanced Action: Roll twice, keep the best.
  • Extra Talent: Add a third trait to the Attribute + Skill pool (ie. Attribute A + Attribute B + Skill).

What I'd love from the White Wolfers in the crowd - or even just the mathematicians - is an idea of how mechanically effective these advantages are relative to each other.

I know that some of these advantages are situational, or have characteristic quirks. For example, I know that Extra Success has the quirk of being potentially very powerful, but only if the player can roll that crucial first success. I know that Modifies Resistance is situationally useful.

However, what I want to know is how the "basic" advantages stack up. 8-Again is better than 9-Again, but how do the "X-Again" rules measure up to Rote Action? Or Advanced Action? Are more dice (ie. Extra Talent) better than rerolls (X-Again, Rote, Advanced) or worse?

Thanks in advance for your help. I'm looking forward to interesting discussion.

electricpaladin: (Default)
For Geist: the Sin Eaters.

Can anyone - off the top of your head - name a progressive, crippling, and invariably fatal disease that strikes in childhood and is not cystic fibrosis?
electricpaladin: (Default)
Does anyone know how easy it is to crush a trachea? Is it possible for someone thrashing against restraints (specifically, really, really poorly-applied BDSM restraints) to crush one's own trachea, or is that something that's going to require more force than a human being can generate?

Thanks!
electricpaladin: (Default)
"Erik! Erik!"

Erik laughs, too. Erik Dacosta.

“Hey, Erik," Erik nods. Erik smiles. “Janet"

“Fuck, you, Erik…”

“Erik?” Janet shudders. Erik snorted.

“Yeah,” Erik replied. Erik asked. Erik laughed. Erik shrugged. Erik nodded. Erik sighed. Erik blinked.

Erik nods.

. . .

Incidentally, I have reached 22,583 words. Despite my abominable start, I just might pull this off.
electricpaladin: (Corey Doctorow)
I have a request.

At the top of the page on my writing blog, the Burning Zeppelin Experience, I have an image of the Hindenburg, well, burning. It's an old-fashioned, silvery photograph, and think it's very attractive and fits the style of the blog perfectly (in that it's a picture of a burning zeppelin, not in the sense that it's going down in flames).

However, because of the way Blogger handles images, there's a gap on the right side, where the image comes through as narrower than the material below it (the blog content and the sidebar). It's minor, but it galls me. I feel like fixing it would be one of those little touches of professionalism that could help set the Burning Zeppelin Experience above the rest. The trouble is, the only way I could fix it would be to either make the image shorter (which I think would cause Blogger to display it as wider, to keep it the same relative size) or somehow widen it. I can't cut the image any further without cropping off parts of the photograph that I like, and I don't know how to widen it.

If anyone wants to take a shot at resizing the image, please comment here and I'll email the file you. The options I see are to either stretch the image or add bars of color to either side (a bold black? A neutral silver that fades into the silvery color of the old photograph? I don't know).

To see what it looks like now, go to http://burningzeppelinexperience.blogspot.com.

Thanks in advance.
electricpaladin: (Corey Doctorow)
So, remember that me as a writer blog I tried to start a few months ago?

It's back. As in, updated every weekday, and will be for the foreseeable future.

Some entries will be short - a confession or congratulation, depending on whether or not I've met my wordcount for the day - and others will be longer musings on the art of writing. I'm maintaining a blogroll of other blogs about writing and other bloggy things I find interesting, and I might review books on writing, books that are nifty, cool writerly websites, and so on.

If you're at all interested in following me as a writer, reading my thoughts on writing, and otherwise being involved with the website I'm going to put on my business cards and hand out at GenCon next year (assuming I get to go), check out http://burningzeppelinexperience.blogspot.com/.

As a favor, I could also use links, subscriptions, and mentions to anyone else you know of who might find such a thing interesting...

Questions

Oct. 3rd, 2008 11:11 am
electricpaladin: (Default)
Much steadier today. I slept more, and Palin's sound defeat was bracing.

Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. We had fun. And, now [livejournal.com profile] ladypimpernel the shapeshifter, [livejournal.com profile] researcher and I, teleporters, [livejournal.com profile] kathryn_aka_kat the cyberkinetic, and [livejournal.com profile] dalassa the speedster are a team of super heroes in a dark urban fairytale setting with heavy tarot symbolism.

I'm feeling writerly today.

Question One

What is your writing kink? Or is it even a fetish? What do you like or need to write effectively? I, for example, do my best work by hand and out of my home, especially on the train. This is probably the legacy of my high school and middle school years, writing as I rode the train to and from magnet schools in Manhattan and the Bronx.

Those are my writing kinks, what are yours?

Question Two

What is the most serious injury you have ever sustained from a writing implement?

Ok, that one was kind of lame, but I take what I can get.

Question Three

Summarize the first story you ever wrote. Mine was a science fiction epic, a sort of a knockoff of Enemy Mine, except with more action and aliens who hatched from eggs, rather than parthenogenesis. And by knock-off, I mean that I wrote it before I ever saw Enemy Mine. I swear. It never got further than the first five pages, which - embarrassingly enough - began with onomatopoetic laser sounds.

That's my first story ever. What's yours?
electricpaladin: (Default)
Here is the good news I alluded to on Monday:

You know what's better than getting your first freelance contract?

Getting your second freelance contract.

As of today, I am officially contracted to produce a whole mess of words for Greymalkin Press's Desolation. I just faxed in my Non-Disclosure Agreement (ah, NDAs... you guys are going to hear about that so much more often in the future!), so I can't tell you much about it, except that it's going to be full of awesome nifty.

I think my next Create-a-Character Post (it's been on hold on account of a crappy scanner) had better be about Desolation. Let me see if I can get my scanner going.

So. New job, new contract, new story idea... life is pretty good.

Music

Sep. 24th, 2008 11:34 am
electricpaladin: (Hobbes)
The combination of the whole McCain-Palin ticket's use of Barracuda, the fact that my work computer has it in its iTunes library, and that it's a pretty catchy song has left me with Barracuda stuck in my head.

All day.

Also, Heart's Magic Man.

I feel like a bad Democrat.

. . .

Also, I've started a new novel. If I finish this one, it will be my second, and I'll be a double-unpublished novelist. If I don't finish it, it will be my umpteenth billion unfinished novel, and I'll just slice it into bits, throw it back into the pit, and see what comes out in a few years.

Because that's just how I roll.

I'll reflect on it at length later, but I've figured out one interesting thing:

In my first novel (A Knight of the Land) I wrote my strong side and my happy side as friends, with my dark side as the love interest. By the end of the novel, my happy side is dead (hanging around as a tree-ghost sort of dude, but dead) and my strong side gets the girl, whose darkness is never really addressed. I didn't intend it that way, but there you have it.

In my new one (tentatively titled Rat, but that's not what I'm going to call it in the long run), my darkness - my fear, resentment, and anxiety - is the title character and my strength/happiness are collapsed into one character, who is the love interest (eventually). And the girl gets the boy in the end. I didn't realize this when I started, but it's kind of screamingly true.

I kind of wonder what this means.

. . .

Two more updates:

1. I'm feeling a lot better about my anxiety. Blogging about it was good, talking with my team was good. I'm beginning to feel like I'm on some sort of two-week schedule. I get depressed on Monday, feel better on Tuesday/Wednesday, and stay that way until the following Monday. I wonder what that means, if anything.

The important thing, though, is that I'm feeling better.

2. I have awesome good news, but I can't tell anyone right away. Probably in two days or so, at the latest.
electricpaladin: (Default)
So, since I finally just sent in my first drafts, it's probably time to stop being paranoid that somehow telling everyone about it is going to make this go away. I mean, I got permission to broadcast this ages ago.

I was recently contracted by White Wolf to contribute to one of their upcoming supplements.

I know, I know; a lot of you know this already.

Anyway, it's been a really awesome experience. There are people! Giving me money! For writing! It's beyond belief! And how did it happen? Being in the right place at the right time, with the right girlfriend (who wouldn't let me get away with being too scared to pursue the opportunity - thank you [livejournal.com profile] ladypimpernel), and a writing sample that was liked.

After this, there might be more drafts, but I'm already quite pleased. I'm proud of what I wrote. It isn't perfect, but it's decent - and most importantly, it's on time. I'm getting the feeling that this just might be the start of something awesome.
electricpaladin: (Default)
Update!

One chapter finished.
Two or three more to go!w
electricpaladin: (Default)
Chapters Complete: 0 of 5
Pages Complete: 5 of 10

I am behind schedule.

This may call for drastic measures.
electricpaladin: (Paladin)
So.

This weekend, I hereby declare that I will finish A Knight of the Land or die trying.

I will not sleep. I will not rest. I will achieve my goal of finishing this God-damned novel once and for all. If I write one chapter tonight, one to two chapters on Saturday, and one to two chapters on Sunday, I can do it.

I will do it.

Current progress:

Chapters Complete: 0 of 5
Pages Complete: 2 of 10

Wish me luck.
electricpaladin: (Corey Doctorow)
I invite you all to check out my new fiction blog: Burning Zeppelin Experience.

This isn't replacing Bo[profile] book_of_roads. Book of Roads is a blog, which is fiction: a fictitious blog. Burning Zeppelin Experience is a blog about fiction: a fiction blog.

My secret desire, I admit, is to get published one day. I've heard legends about people getting published thanks to websites and podcasts... and I want to get me some of that. Not that I'm not going to also start sending my stuff to magazines and publishing houses and agents, it's just that starting a fiction blog is something I can do at work, when I should be working. I know, I'm a terrible person.

So check out the Burning Zeppelin Experience. Tell your friends.
electricpaladin: (Default)
Little-known fact: daylight-savings time is not for the farmers. Actually, does anyone really believe that? If the farmers wanted more daylight, couldn't they just adjust their schedules rather than inflicting themselves on the rest of us? Anyway, daylight savings time is an effort, one of many, but the U.S. government to cut down on magic use. You see, many rituals require that certain things be done at a certain time. By creating confusion as to what time it 'really' is, the government reduces the power of these rituals and increases the probability that they will be done incorrectly.

In further news, I am declaring for NaNoWriMo. Not in the usual way - I won't be writing any new 50,000 novels. Instead, I will finish my 100,000 word novel, A Knight of the Land. I'm going to do it. I mean it, this time.
electricpaladin: (Default)
So.

i have begun a new fictitious blog! The url is book_of_roads.livejournal.com. It is the entirely invented journeys of one Peregrine Trent, explorer extraordinaire, and his riding bird, Nathan, written as he wanders the face of his world, righting wrongs, doing daring deeds, meeting strange people (some of whom may eventually become his companions) and generally making a mess of things.

I promise to do my best to update Book of Roads once a week, but especially if people friend it, so I know they're reading it, and possibly even post suggestions for things Peregrine could encounter in the form of comments! Some posts will be long, whole short stories even, and others will be short, just a few notes about some wonder Peregrine encounters in his travels.

Anyway, I think this could be fun. It might even be good. At the very least, the discipline of writing something, anything once a week will be good for me.
electricpaladin: (Default)
The first verifiable opponent of the Great Old Ones is Howard Phillips Lovecraft, born in 1890 on Rhode Island. Before that, it is all conjecture. Some say King Solomon or his father, King David, or any number of the Hebrew prophets did righteous battle for the sake of mankind. Others attribute such heroism to figures as varied as Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Temüjin (better known as Genghis Kahn), Dogen (founder of Japanese Zen Buddhism), Tsui-Hung (Chinese Emperor 1082 to 1135), George Washington and numerous others. The only champion of humanity to leave a definitive record behind him, however, was Lovecraft.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft's interest in the Old Ones began with his father's death by tertiary syphallis - or so the doctors claimed - and ended with his death in 1937. It is believed that Lovecraft died of stomach cancer, though there are those who claim that, like his father, his demise was brought about by the beings he fought for all our sakes. Certainly, he died in agony enough for their tastes.

Lovecraft did not fight the way his apocryphal predecessors did. Unlike George Washington, if the late President's fans are to be believed, he did nothing so overt as prevent British arcanists from unleashing the unspeakable beasts that sleep beneath the United States's eastern seaboard, or influence the planning of a city so that it focuses the psychic strength of a nation on keeping those beasts asleep for all eternity. Nor did he, like Dogen, single-handedly keep the Japanese Archipellago from being overrun by Deep Ones with the power of his ascetic meditation. Instead, Lovecraft created a weapon that will weild itself against the Great Old Ones throughout history, long after even his memory has passed into dust and out of this world.

Lovecraft created us.

Encoded in H.P. Lovecraft's stories is the knowledge we need to survive, to continue fighting the good fight against the Great Old Ones, their minions, their realms and their weaknesses. How many times have I stood in the Dreamlands and succeeded in finding my way to safety and success only because of some detail remembered from the Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath? How many times have I almost dared to open an ancient tome before remembering the doom that Lovecraft foresaw for any who read its cursed words? How many times would I have died, or worse, were it not for H.P. Lovecraft? How many times would you? More times than I can count, certainly. At great cost to himself - Lovecraft was never happy, his marriage failed, and he died in poverty - Lovecraft mapped the darkness.

Lovecraft's immediate followers were, perhaps, more ambitious. Robert E. Howard certainly achieved more in the way of feats of physical heroism. Clark Ashton Smith's tomes on magic are practically required reading for those of us who use the arcane arts to fight the Great Old Ones, and I myself know several spells he created and many more that he merely translated or adapted. August Derleth, in one of humanity's rare acts offensives against our foes, greatly weakened the Great Old Ones by forcing upon them definition according to classical greek elements and Hippocrates's four humours. They are all heroes - all of us are heroes - but none of them surpass H.P. Lovecraft.

In my mind, Howard Phillips Lovecraft will always remain the greatest of them all and our leader in spirit. He led the way down the path we all walk. While we fight, he remains among us; we will fight forever, and so, he will never die.

As is often written by the righteous upon his tomb: "That is not dead which can eternal die, and with strange eons even death may die."

...

If you read all this, thanks for sticking with me. This particular example of rampant dreaming is, in fact, very carefully researched, and except for the obvious, there is nothing here that isn't true. I hope you enjoyed my (very) belated Rabbit Hole Day post.
electricpaladin: (Hobbes)
Today was one of those days at class that reminds me why I'm doing this.

So, with my fourth graders, we've been talking about the Book of Kings (who were mostly sociopathic power-hungry maniacs), the tradition of prophesy and speaking truth to power, and the ways of speaking truth to power available to us in the modern world. Today was the culmination of those lessons. With some guidance from me, the kids made signs, picked a few chants...

And marched around the block, protesting the unfair and unjust policies of King Rehoboam, Solomon's son.

It was awesome. The second class loved it so much, they walked around the block twice. I had to repeatedly stop two kids from chanting "vote democratic!" and "Rehoboam's not as bad as Cheney!" and one kid worried that protesting ancient dead kinds wasn't 'cool' enough for him (as he explained often, he is 'in a band'), but other than that, the lesson went off without a hitch.

Not only was today one of those days when I felt the rush and the thrill, the fire of the moment - it was one of those days that drilled home the point "I am good at this."

I think I really am.

In other news, I've decided to go ahead with the writing blog project. I've taken [livejournal.com profile] homais's advice to use Blogger to start my writer's blog (and I'll be begging his help creating rss feeds and customizing it, and such). The updates will be based on my experiences and development as a writer, and there will be accessible content in the form of some of my stories.

I am soliciting all sorts of advice on blogging. I need a style - a blogging voice that somehow expresses my narrative voice - and most importantly, I need a name. A name that reflects my style without being lame.

A name that isn't dumb. On the internet.
electricpaladin: (Default)
Hey, all you medically knowledgeable-type people out there... )

Anyway, earlier today, Abby had an idea (while we were driving to Gater Games to pick up our shiny new copy of Scion, by the way). She suggested that, to help boost my writing, I begin a more formal, public blog, with links to my writing, to build up a following. So... where do I start?
electricpaladin: (Default)
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Spoilercut! )

In further news, I had a dream last night that might turn into a novel. I won't go into details now, but I would appreciate any resources anyone can recommend to me as to the general character of 1980s science fiction. I know a lot about a lot of sci-fi, but I'm fuzzy on the dates.

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electricpaladin

June 2012

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