Monday, May 28, 2012
Another Fabrica de Herois creation, posted just so I can link to it on RPG.net
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
I need to find something to blog about. Being an internet celebrity would be fun, and way less stressful than being a real celebrity. But to do that, I need legions of adoring fans (or at least Twitter followers)
Five Minute Fiction was fun, but I can only do that really well when I'm not trying to write something major (which I currently am). Maybe I'll try... (gasp) actual blog entries where I talk about stuff that interests me.
That's probably just crazy talk, though.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
I'm kind of ashamed of this one. The writing is fine. It's just... I couldn't think of anything more creative than vampires. Lesbian vampires, even.
At least they don't sparkle.
By David Goodner
moving. Find some people, a crowd. Where is everyone?
“Justine? Where are you?” Her voice is sickly sweet, falsely
friendly. “You’re not scared, are you?”
mall is right up ahead, open late on Friday nights because of the club and the
movie theatre. The automatic doors slide
open for me. The mechanical voice says
“Welcome to Nolan Pines Mall. Please
come inside.” It offers me no
protection. But there are people inside.
down on the end with the arcade and bowling alley. Loud music blares out of the opening,
different than the not quite so loud music blaring from the mall’s
speakers. Should I go in? No.
There’s no way out but the emergency exits. I have to be able to slip away unnoticed, to
get far enough ahead that she can’t follow me, then to get into a house. I’ll go to my brother’s. We don’t get along, but he’ll let me in, and
he’s never invited Katya over.
pause for just a moment, scanning the crowd.
Are any of the others here? They
love to play games. Did they just heard
me this way?
department store at the other end of the mall has three exterior exits. Can I make it? It’s late.
A lot of stores are closing up. Steel
cages roll down from the ceiling, most only pulled half-way down so far. The crowds are thinning out, too.
I shed my jacket
and stuff it into a trashcan. I pull my
hair out of its ponytail. If I can
change my appearance enough, maybe I can throw them off.
(In my heart, I
know it won’t work.)
Just a few more
minutes, just keep walking. My breath
thunders in my ears. I can’t believe
everyone isn’t staring at me. Somehow, I
keep it together, keep walking at a pace faster than normal but not so fast I
Is that Katya up
on the second level? Is she waiving to
me? No, some other redhead, in a
different outfit, even. I’m jumping at
I’d saved my cell
phone from my jacket pocket. I can’t
call the police. They can’t stop
her. No one can. But a cab.
If I can get a cab to meet me at the mall, we can get away. Katya and the others are on foot. They couldn’t keep up with a car, could they?
Transport,” says the bored dispatcher on the other end.
I try to control
my breath. “I need a cab. I’m at Nolan Pines Mall, and I need a ride as
fast as possible.”
“We have a limo in
the area. We can pick you up in five
minutes, but there’s a $50 dollar minimum.”
fine. I’ll pay it. I’ll be at the tire shop entrance. On the south side.”
behind me. I turn, nearly drop the
phone, but there’s nothing.
“Did you hear me,
miss? I need to know how you intend to
I’d left all my
money in my bag at the club. Thank god I
knew my credit card number.
Amex. Is that okay?” If this was one of the places that didn’t
take American Express, I was going to die.
“That’ll be fine.”
I give the guy my
number while trying to keep my eyes on everything at once. As I pass the food court, there are more
people, more smells: grease from the burger joint, meat-smell from the little
Mongolian style grill, sin incarnate from the Cinnabon.
learned what sin incarnate really smelled like tonight, a little musky with the
hint of apples: Katya’s perfume.
They don’t seem to
be following me. Maybe I really had lost
them. The smells from the food court
might slow them down. I duck down an
employee only isle. I’d worked here
once. The tunnel lead back outside, but
only a few yards away from the department store’s tire section. Some guy in a hairnet says “hey…” but doesn’t
try to stop me. I wouldn’t have tried to
stop anyone, either, not for minimum wage and a free burger a night.
I get to the
store. There’s no limo. The night is cold without my jacket, and in
my short skirt. It’s dark. The streetlamps don’t illuminate much beyond
isolated circles of pavement. I stand by the door, locked at this hour, and try
to figure out where else I can run now.
A white limo pulls
up in front of me. The window rolls
down. “You call for a ride, miss?”
I think. “Yes! Yes. I
need to get over to Farmington.”
I reach for the
door, but the driver is already getting out to let me in. It seems to take forever. I sink into the seat, which is the most
comfortable leather upholstery I’ve ever felt.
The limo drives off, headed for the highway and safety.
I’m so glad you could make it. We’re going to have such fun at the club
tonight. Your new sisters are waiting
for you.” Katya smiles, sitting in the
seat across from me, her legs crossed in black satin leggings. Her fangs gleam perfectly white in the dark
compartment of the limo. “I know changes
like this are scary, baby, but once you join the family, I know you’
Three stories made the "that doesn't suck" cut this week. Here's the first one:
By David Goodner
the end came, it wasn’t with a bang, but with a sigh. The Knarv tried conventional warfare, but
humanity has been fighting and scrapping for thousands of years. Even with their better technology, we fought
on. We murdered them by the thousands as
we died by the millions. Then we stole
their technology and murdered by the tens of thousands, the hundreds of
thousands. And we did what we have
always done. We out-bred them. The Vorgull tried orbital bombardment, but by
then we had mastered kinetic shields, stolen from the Knarv.
the Jax destroyed us. They killed us
with the least of things, something more fecund than we were. It was a virus, introduced to the planet on a
rock too small to merit disintegrating.
The plague ripped across mankind, but we stopped it. We came up with a vaccine. It mutated to our livestock, and that was
bad. The myriad strains each required a
different cure. But by then we were
growing yeast cultures for most of our food anyway. Our ships hunted Jax ships, harried them from
the virus mutated again, and again. Then
it mutated some more. By the time we
noticed the final form, it was too late.
Transmitted by air, it silently infected its host organisms for years
before we understood. It rewrote their
DNA. In a way, it made them stronger,
there was one crucial change. Infected
plants… all plants… no longer turned oxygen into carbon dioxide. They started breathing out methane, just like
the Jax breathed. Millions of species,
too many to cure. Day by day, the earth
poisons her children. The plants die,
too. They still need oxygen, and every
hour there’s less to breathe.
could try leaving. We will try. But only a fraction of us will make it. Earth is dead, and with it dies the beating
heart of the human empire.
we’re not going to die alone. Our
scientists learned from the Jax metavirus.
They learned to make a virus that turns methane-breathers into cyanide-producers. There are twelve major worlds in the Jax
cluster. We have twelve ships armed and
ready to go.
will fight to the last breath.
Friday, March 09, 2012
The Secret Name
By David Goodner
way to Ilius, I was forced to stop at a wayhouse by torrential rains. I knew better than to go to Ilius in the
spring, but some errands can’t be put off.
The wayhouse was a large example of its kind. By the lines, it was a defunct barracks, sold
back to the civilian population after the Legions moved their primary base to
stew was good. The bread was fresh. The libations were reasonably priced and
better than I’d expected. Then again,
Ilius is barley country. A minstrel
provided some entertainment for the occasional denarius or mug of beer.
The rest of the
guests were a mixed lot. A group of
pilgrims shared a big round table and seemed to be determined to earn their
money’s worth on the forgiveness available at the Shrine of the Maidens. There were the usual farmers and merchants
who stayed too long at the market and were trapped by the rain, as I was. And there was one man sitting by himself in the corner. He wore a tattered tunic and surcote that
bore markings I didn’t immediately recognize.
Because of my work, I would have said I was familiar with every Legion
and Free Company’s badges.
He sat as if he
was alone in the room, taking no notice of the other travelers, or, indeed,
anything else around him. A bowl of soup
sat in front of him, untouched. A mug of
something sat, unsipped. His eyes held
only a vacant stare into nothing.
When the housemaid
came by to refill my drink, I asked her about the man.
She was busy, and
only replied shortly, “That’s Pallas.
Leave him alone.”
The name jogged my
memory: Gaius Pallas Maximus, leader of the Black Hawk Company. Their badge had been struck from the
registers, which was why I had not immediately recognized it. The Black Hawks were one of the great
scandals of the Free Companies for the sack of the Holy City of Therica. No one knew exactly what had happened or why
they destroyed the city and put out its temple fires.
As a historian, I
had to know. I moved over to his table
and realized that he was mumbling to himself.
His mouth hung slightly open, and his lips barely moved.
I sat down and
introduced myself, but he took notice. I
said his name, but he seemed not to hear.
He just kept muttering, and try as I might, I could make no sense of
what he said. It was not merely that the
words made no sense. I could not
recognize them as words.
As I speak
fourteen languages fluently, and am passable in six more, I found this
surprising. So I leaned closer, hoping
that if I heard better I could understand.
A crash behind me
startled me almost out of my chair. The
housemaid had dropped her pitcher, and not even pausing to see to the mess she
charged across the common room and grabbed me roughly.
“I told you to
leave him alone!” she yelled at me.
Now we were the
focus of all attention in the wayhouse.
I had no idea why, but I apologized profusely.
My hostess calmed
enough that I could ask “Please, madam, tell me how so great a warrior came to this
supper,” she said.
So with quite a
bit of impatience, I waited until everyone had eaten and most had gone off to
their billets. She came to me where I
sat by the fire with a mug of beer.
“You know his
history,” she said.
Of course I did,
up until Therica.
“He is my… great
uncle. I am the only family he has
left. He’d been a bit better lately, so
I let him out into the common room. I’m
sorry for what I did, Sir. But I
couldn’t let you speak to him while he was like that.”
At length, she
told me of the fate of Gaius Pallas Maximus.
The Black Hawks had gone to Therica because Pallas believed that the
Oracle there could answer a question.
His wife and only son had died the previous winter, and Pallas himself
had suffered the blue fever, after which no man will ever sire a child. He blamed God for his misfortunes, and had
determined to challenge the Almighty himself.
And the Oracle of Therica, it was said, knew the true name of God. So Pallas lead his Black Hawks there,
together with various common mercenaries, to hold the city hostage against the
Lord’s true name.
“And the Oracle
would not give it?” I asked. “That
explains the sack of the city. Gaius
Pallas Maximus was not known to bluff.”
laughed. “Oh no. They sacked the city after, for revenge. She DID tell him the name. It broke his mind, and breaks it still. Some days he’s almost lucid, but then
something he sees or hears will remind him of the name. Everything reminds him of the name, because
the name of the Lord is everything.
“And if you listen
to him, he’ll tell it to you, too.”
Be Careful What You Wish For
By David Goodner
picked up the ring at an estate sale. It
was tarnished and gaudy, and went for a song because nobody else realized it
was the real deal. I hadn’t been sure, but it looked a little different than
all the other costume jewelry in the lot I bought. The band was wide, and marked with something
that could be Hebrew of Sanskrit. I
couldn’t really tell the difference. I
knew the ring was real because of the weight.
Real silver is pretty heavy. I
figured it might make a nice prop for something. If ever there’d been a magic ring, this was
naturally, I did what anybody would do.
I tried the ring on. There was an
immediate blinding flash of light. I
blinked away starbursts, and when my vision cleared there was a woman standing
in front of me, wearing a red dress with silver bangles all around her waist.
enough of a history student to know that the traditional harem outfit is
actually a late addition to middle eastern culture. So I didn’t find that all too
surprising. I mean, face it, my threshold
for surprise had already been met and exceeded.
had blue skin and hair, and gold eyes.
Her wrists were bound with slave bracelets that connected to rings on
all her fingers. She had on a kind of
jeweled headdress that terminated in a ruby exactly like the one on my ring.
said something incomprehensible, and bowed to me.
I replied. Not my finest moment of
dialogue. “You’re a genie, aren’t you?”
asked me something. I could tell it was
a question by the tone of voice, but still couldn’t understand.
don’t speak… Urdu or genie or whatever.
This better not cost me a wish, but I need you to speak my language.”
tried another language, I think, then another that sounded a little like
Italian. She was getting increasingly
upset. Finally, she stamped her foot and
reached over to put her palms on either side of my head. Sparks flew through my brain. I kind of fell backwards into my chair.
she said. “That’s better. What year is it?”
I asked. “What the hell did you do to
me? I want my wishes.” Like any good fantasy gamer, I’d planned what
I’d do on this day in excruciating detail.
“I wish for… wait, are you the kind of genie who grants just three
wishes, or the kind that grants any number of minor services?”
am a lesser genie, Master, but…”
so whatever I want, but only conjurations.
You can’t make me immortal or change reality to suit me. Just make stuff.”
is correct, Master, but only…”
first of all, I want a black Lamborghini Diablo out in the driveway, fully
fueled and ready to drive.”
something shifted in the world. It felt
like being electrocuted by an earthquake inside a freezing volcano. And the ring dropped off my finger. “What was that” I asked. Where had that come from? I tried to pick the ring back up, but my hand
passed through it like it wasn’t there.
“What the HELL?!?”
genie looked a little sad. “I was trying
to warn you.” She shrugged, reached down
and picked up the ring, slipping it onto her finger.
I realized her
headdress was gone, and felt something on my own head. As she put the ring on, I felt another shock
go through me. I also noticed she wasn’t
blue anymore. Her hair still was.
“I’ll need some
modern clothes,” she said. “Do it now.”
“Yes, mistress,” I
said instantly. It was as though I had
no control over myself. Power flowed out
of me, and an outfit appeared on the table; a sundress, sandals, and appropriate
underwear. “Mistress?” I asked. Where the hell had that come from? None of my plans included any of this.
“I was trying to
warn you, my service had a limit, an expiration date. I was bound to serve for 1000 years in… you’d
say the year 1009. Counting the years by
the Hijri calendar, my term of service ended in your year 1979. But my last master lost me many years
ago. I was trapped in the ring until
someone freed me. But if someone tried
to command me after my term of service ended, well… they’d be forced to take my
“I did try to warn
you.” She started taking off her clothes
to put on the dress. “But now, I’ve been
stuck in that ring for over 100 years, and nobody ever even wore it. I’ve been bored out of my mind, and based on
what I read from your head, your century looks like a lot of fun.”
was all I could say. I stood there,
She reached up to
pat me on the cheek. “Don’t take it too
hard, kid. You only have to serve me for
1000 years. Of course, since I’m an immortal,
I’m not going to lose you like some of my past masters did. Now, I think I want a black Lamborghini
Diablo, fully fueled and ready to drive, in your driveway.”
I'm getting an early start on the weekend. And I'm going to change my procedures. I'd rather have a separate entry for each story so I can tell at a glance which ones I've already posted.
Prophecies Always Come True
By David Goodner
the Prophet only had one prophecy: that in the two hundredth year of the Dark
Lord’s reign, a child would be born marked by the sign of the Eastern
Star. That child would be the Child of
Light who would bring down the Dark Lord.
the Dark Lord in his tower was afraid.
His Dark Legions traveled the land, looking for the Child of Light, and
crushing his followers wherever they might be found. The Legions were very harsh and very
thorough. They left blood in their wake. Blood and ashes.
ashes, and resentment. Resentment grew
in the far corners of the Dark Empire.
Resentment gave way to rebellion.
Rebellion spilled over into open revolt.
Cult of Light had been scoured from the land, with only a few scattered members
left. But other bastions of good, or
just rebellion, stood firm: the Sisters of the Moon, with their blood magicks;
the survivors of fallen Tyer; the Paladins of Yyin all rose up to avenge
themselves on the Dark Lord who had slain their wives and mothers, brothers and
in the one hundred and ninety ninth year of the Dark Lord’s reign, the tower of
Darkness fell. The Dark Legions were
routed. The Dark Lord himself was slain
before his own evil altar, which was riven asunder, the ground salted, and the
temple put to the flame.
in the end, Bertram the Prophet turned out not to be a prophet at all. He was forever after known as Bertram the guy
who said that thing one time.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Wow, midweek update.
Reaper Miniatures tweeted something cool today: https://www.reapermini.com/#683
Low-cost, high detail, high quality plastic figures. It looks like right now they basically have the same selection as the painted Asylum figures, more or less. That's a good starting selection since it's a bunch of "backbone" creatures for common D&D encounters. (Technically, the purple worm doesn't have a backbone...)
I'm told that Chronoscope Bones will be appearing somewhere down the line. I think that will be awesome. I like to run modern setting games and supers games. A cheap supply of modern/futuristic looking soldiers, dudes in sci-fi armor, and robots. Modern-looking zombies would also be cool, but my Bag-o-zombies handles that adequately. (They're not as pretty as Reaper figs, of course)
Until there's an Asylum line of Chronoscope figures, Bones would be the next best thing. In particular the figures I want could be painted pretty simply, so I'm happy.
Saturday, March 03, 2012
I did several that I'm reasonably happy with this week. Check these puppies out:
"A story about a promise"
By David Goodner
Markos stood on the ramparts on Ashday, watching the fighting below. Fires raged in the city, particularly in the
festering Carthian quarter, where the rebels had the strongest foothold. The King’s Guard were outnumbered by the
rioting peasants, but Markos had no doubt they would prevail. He had trained them, after all.
a bit of regret, he realized they had probably started the fires. Sir Borz, who now lead the Guard, was known
as a pragmatic knight. Markos might say
“callous,” instead. Setting fire to the
wooden shacks near the edge of the outer wall would give the rebels something
else to worry about, and the fire would be unlikely to spread to the
better-constructed portions of the city, and certainly it would not spread to
the castle itself. King Yoland was not
the man his father had been. He seemed
more concerned with his due as monarch than his responsibilities as steward and
The people chafed
under his rule. Where his father had been
kind, Yoland was cruel. Where his father
had made sure his people always had enough to eat, Yoland cared only that their
tributes filled his silos and coffers.
He took all his due and a little more.
It turned Markos’
stomach, but the old Knight had sworn an oath.
He turned away and continued his inspection of the defenses. Yoland had expanded and modernized the castle
since he took the throne. The work was
The fighting had
spread throughout the city. Not all of
the rebels were peasants and townsmen.
Yoland had seized the holdings of several Carthian Lords for
himself. One, Baron Taelaad, had been
Markos’ friend and a fellow member of the Royal Guard. But Yoland did not trust Carthians, even
though some of them had been in the Pyriades since before the Wars of the
Taelaad did not
submit lightly. He’d fled his keep with
a coffer of silver that he used to hire mercenaries and fund the
rebellion. And rumor said the man
himself had been seen in the capital.
The Guard had been searching for him non-stop. Other rumors said Taelaad had found Yistina,
the king’s eldest, the Lost Princess. If
so, Yoland’s entire rule was illegitimate.
heavily down from the battlements to inspect the old wall. The new wall for the expanded inner bailey
was incomplete. A temporary curtain
closed it off, but with the Guard spread so thin, it was less secure than
Markos would like. Still, the old
postern gate would probably keep the riff-raff out. You’d have to know about the old gate to even
know it was worth trying to breach the wall there at all.
before the old gate, really almost a secret door. It was too small to mount any kind of
successful sally. It was only really
designed as an escape hatch. Only the
castle servants and a few key retainers really knew it was there.
The old knight
stood for a long time. He reached under
his tunic, where his fingers closed on a sweat-stained parchment. He read it by torchlight for the thousandth
Ashday, three weeks hence, are all are hopes pinned.
you love this land more than its king, you know what you must do.
Taelaad’s badge of
two lovebirds before a crescent moon decorated the bottom.
Markos held the
parchment to the torch and let it burn.
Then he took an iron key from around his neck and opened the lock.
"A story about something stolen"
The Water and the Wild
By David Goodner
wandered through the wood, wondering.
This, he decided, was a tulgy wood if ever he’d seen one. In his eight years of life, he had seen many
more in his dreams than in real life.
Pale light filtered through the leaves of strange trees. Birds with songs more beautiful than real
life flittered and sang. Their plumage
liked the forest. It was nice here,
clean. If his mother was here, she
wouldn’t cry. She wouldn’t need to
drink. She’d remember supper. And shopping.
little boy turned, frightened. No one
else should be in the wood, not even a bandersnatch.
was a woman. She had huge, green eyes
and long, blond hair. Her skin was
smooth, and glowed in the moonlight. She
was a stranger, but she seemed nice. She
held an apple in slender, graceful fingers.
do you know my name?”
know everyone in my forest, Jeremy.”
not supposed to talk to strangers.”
okay,” she said. “You’re probably not
supposed to take food from them either, but you can have this apple if you
want. I promise it won’t hurt you.”
stomach rumbled. His thoughts were
troubled. “My mama will want me home,”
he said, or perhaps asked.
woman knelt down. “Of course she
will. Mothers should take care of their
sons. But she’s asleep now, isn’t she? And she forgot to make your supper. Why don’t you come home with me? It’s late.
It will be getting colder. I can
make you some supper, and if you want I’ll take you back to your mother when
fingers were warm, maybe even hot, where they gently touched Jeremy’s
face. “You can have the apple either
* * *
sat by her son’s bedside in the hospital, missing a shift at the factory,
craving a drink. But she couldn’t leave
him. She’d never leave him again, if
only he’d wake up. The coma had come out
of nowhere. The doctors still didn’t
know what caused it. And she hadn’t
noticed for a whole day. She’d been so
lost in herself, drunk out of her mind, that her son had slept for a whole day
and she didn’t realize. And he slept
“Baby, come back to me,” she
begged. “Momma is so sorry. Just come back to me.”
"A story about a wish"
I really liked the voice in this one.
By David Goodner
on a lonely hill, stands the old chapel, a shrine left by forgotten priests,
and maintained because no one wishes to offend the gods. Though the ground nearby is fertile, no one
furrows the soil with a plow, because this is a place where the veil between
the world of the living and the world of the dead grows thin. Or so the old women say.
hill, with its little copse of trees, is a cemetery of sorts, for those who die
near the village without kin to claim them.
With no one to say their names, the villagers think, perhaps it’s easier
for their souls to find the way to the afterlife here than back in the
village. And if not, they’d rather the
hill be haunted than their homes.
old women also say that if you come here on a moonless night and make an
offering on the shrine, your wish will be granted. But only a certain kind of wish. Whatever god once lived in this shrine, he’s
long gone. The dead answer prayers here
now, and there’s only one prayer the hungry dead can hear.
here comes Meg Willow, daughter of Bran Willow, who everyone knows as a good
man. Meg’s his good daughter, born
before his son Little Bran. She was
always a bit of a wild one, sneaking out of the house at night to watch the stars
or listen to the night birds. And later,
she came out to see Kemp MacAsher, son of the Laird.
MacAsher was betrothed, just a moon past, to Bella MacRea. Their marriage will make the Laird a little
richer and tie the clans together so the MacRea boys will go east instead of
west to steal sheep. It’s good for
everyone, they say.
has a bundle with her, thrown over her shoulder. Inside are two rabbits, tied with twine. The twine she spun with her own fingers, and
the rabbits she raised in her own pens.
She’s taking nothing from her father that won’t be easily replaced. In the bundle also are two scraps of
aspen-tree bark. Paper is too expensive,
even if Meg crushed her own rags to make it.
Long before rags should be paper, they could be patches for a tunic, or
batting in a quilt.
she has a taper lamp, and a bundle of twigs and dried moss, and a cake of
sheep’s dung. The old women say it’s bad luck to burn the wood from the hill.
reaches the shrine by the feeble light of her lamp. The night is clear and dark. To Meg, it seems that there’s too much space
around her. The familiar hills are
invisible, and the night drinks in all the sounds.
the altar, she starts a fire. She uses
the lamp and kindling, and the dried sheep dung to keep it going. And she pulls from her bundle the two
rabbits, one for each wish. She kills
them and lets their blood decorate the altar, careful not to douse her fire.
the fire change? Does it now burn with
ghost light? Meg doesn’t know. All her life, she’s stayed away from magic
and faeries and anything that stinks of the veil. But now she doesn’t know any other way
So she pulls out
her little scrolls of tree bark. The old
women in the village say that if you make a sacrifice and write the name of a
person and burn it in a fire on the altar of the shrine on the lonely hill, the
keepers of the dead will take the person who’s name you wrote, and they’ll
dwell in the land of the dead forever.
The first scroll
has a name scratched out in charcoal, “Kemp MacAsher.”
The second one
says “Meg Willow.”
Tune in next week for more. Unless they all suck so bad I won't post any.
Welcome to another semi-regular feature. My legions of fans from my days as a podcaster will no doubt remember the "Hey, Look at This" segments from Radio Free Hommlet. I'm not podcasting right now, but I still see cool stuff I want to talk about from time to time.
This is one of those times. Yesterday, I clicked on an RPG.net banner ad for a cool-sounding product. Based on a look at the website, it's an actually cool product.
Basically, a set of map tiles designed so they'll all fit together in any orientation. You can get them on dice to randomly roll up a dungeon, or on cards, or on geomorph tiles, or as a font so you could just type up a dungeon. (Reminds me of Sparks! from S. John Ross, of which I have a few sets)
If I had some money to blow right now, I'd buy the whole set. Unfortunately, I can't quite justify the expense since I'm not running anything where I need large, random dungeons. But still, very cool. If you're a dice fetishist like me, I totally suggest you buy a set. And if you're looking to buy a gift for a former podcaster and occasional blogger...
Sunday, February 26, 2012
This is not the only story I've written since "The Lie," but it's the only good one. I'm aiming to do one every day M-F, but I'm only going to post the ones that don't suck here. I also didn't write this in five minutes. It was closer to twenty. If I get a good start and feel like the story will be worth the effort, I don't mind going over my time limit.
What I'm trying to learn to do is write on demand, and get stuff down quickly without agonizing over it.
A Small Boat on a Dark Night
By David Goodner
Todd pulled his hood lower, again.
Working the oars made his shoulders start rolling it back, again. So the rain dripped in his eyes, again. He tried to think more about the three silver
pennies in his neck pouch and less about warm broth, fresh bread, and roast sea
bass in his cozy, dry, cottage by the dockside.
three silver coins, he’d row further, and with much more cargo than a spindly
old man with a bent back and a crooked staff.
His passenger was so old and wrinkled that his eyes were almost
invisible beneath the lines of his face and the bushy eyebrows. The rest of his hair was wispy, like
something an artist had barely sketched in.
And his nearly toothless mouth lent a mushy sound and a bit of spittle
to every word he said. He wore no cloak
against the chill or the rain, just a tattered robe in a style Billy didn’t
to the right,” the man said. “And
faster. If we’re not there, we’ll miss
Codger. If you want to go faster, take
an oar,” Billy said.
“Bah! Mind your elders. If we get there on time, it’s another penny
for you. Hell, if we get there on time
I’ll not be needing coins at all.”
time for what?”
the conjunction, of course.” The old man
said. “The day and the hour, the place
and the time. Stars, moon, and sea are
perfectly aligned, as they haven’t been for twenty years and won’t be for
another twenty. I missed the last one,
but I won’t miss this one.
pointed with his stick, to something over Billy’s shoulder. Billy half-turned to see, but there was only
dark sky covered by thick clouds through which the moon barely shown as a
slightly lighter smudge.
and stars? There are none. Try not to make me feel like more of a damn
fool than I already am for being out in this mess.” But Billy knew those three silver pennies
would see him in fish and ale for several days.
Hells, he might buy pork or mutton.
can’t see them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there, stupid boy. Just like the faeries, and the Isle of the
Isle of… Satan’s shit! You’ve dragged
me out here to find the Isle of the Young!
It’s just a stupid legend, and anyway it’s supposed to appear on clear
nights once each seven years off the coast of Mahnn.”
went. Legend was wrong.” The old man spat off the side of the
boat. “But the Isle is real. I lived there once. Fell in love with a mortal girl and followed
his passenger was crazy, Billy rolled his eyes.
He had the coins. He could turn
back. “Did you?” he asked. “So you was a fairy? Then why don’t you just fly to the damn
I’m a man as true-born as you.
Stolen from my cradle as a child.
I stayed on the island and aged only a day every year. But out here time took what it’d been robbed
of. And once I left the island, I knew
no way back.
I was smart, wasn’t I? I listened. I learned.
I read books.”
couldn’t even read his own name. But he
could see that the cold and the wet was doing the ancient man no good.
learned to follow the stars and the moon.
I learned about conjunctions, like tonight, when the moon comes near to
the earth and the ways open. I’ll go
back. You’ll take me there. And the faeries will restore my youth, and
never again will I be so stupid as to touch mortal soil. Never aga…”
old man didn’t finish. He keeled
straight over the side of the boat in the space of a word. Billy reached for him, but the dark sea was
hungry, and the light of their one lantern wasn’t even enough to reflect off
* * *
in the end, Billy’d rowed out past the harbor lights for naught but three
pennies. He wasn’t going swimming to
find the rest. But he had a story to
true and sure, as he was rowing back for home and hearth, he saw an island
appear out of the gloom, shining silver and bright. He fancied that he might have seen a few
people on the shore, but he didn’t look too close. There were things a wise man didn’t poke
at. One was ant hills. Another was sleeping bears. A third was anything to do with faeries.
decided he’d spring for a meal of mutton and a bottle of good wine.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I just picked up a book called Fast Fiction
from Half-Price Books. The basic idea is to use the story-seeds it provides to write little five-minute stories.
I've decided to do at least one a day until I get bored or find something else to do. Since anything worth doing is worth doing in public so you can be humiliated if you fail, I've decided to post them here.
The first inspiration on the list is "tell a story about a lie."
By David Goodner
“Come, Jimmy, it’s time to go,” said mother.
“To meet Daddy?” the boy asked. Only just awakened, his eyes were cloudy and his voice still quiet.
"He’s waiting for us at the restaurant,” mother said. “He gets angry when we're late.”
She helped the boy out of his bed, found his shoes from where he’d kicked them before his nap, took up his favorite bear, which had fallen aside while he slept.
He insisted upon tying his own shoes. She tried not to fret, not to interfere. The boy took such pride in these small accomplishments.
“Hurry, now,” she said. “And get your jacket.”
The bear, Mr. Muffles, she stuffed into a knapsack. It barely fit into the top. While Jimmy found his jacket, she put the bag next to another, larger one by the door. Both knapsacks rested against a larger suitcase. She put her own coat on, turned up the collar, felt the large plastic sunglasses in the pocket.
Jimmy had trouble with his jacket sleeves, the jacket being a hand-me-down from a larger cousin.
“Here, let me help you,” his mother said. She sorted out the too-large garment, and couldn’t resist hugging the boy tight.
“I love you, mommy,” he said. “I love daddy, too.”
“... That’s good. Now get your bag. We’ll be late if we don’t hurry.”
“Why do I need my bag?”
“Just in case, baby. You never know what can happen. Now it’s time for us to get gone.”
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