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09 Feb 16:00

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Junk

by admin@smbc-comics.com

Hovertext: We need to stop enabling Saturn, you guys.


New comic!
Today's News:
08 Feb 23:47

#735 Off Center

by treelobsters
09 Feb 08:00

vicissitude: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

vicissitude: a change or variation occurring in the course of something.
05 Feb 09:29

Brostitutional Rights

by jon

2016-02-05-Brostitutional-Rights

When someone attacks political correctness in general, it means they have specific problematic views they don‘t want to discuss because then people will know that they’re bigots. Not always true, but almost always. Political correctness, or, as I like to call it, “being nice to people”, is a safe target for right-wing anger without ever getting into the real reason that anger exists.

bunnies

The post Brostitutional Rights appeared first on Scenes From A Multiverse.

05 Feb 05:00

To Taste

Look, recipe, if I knew how much was gonna taste good, I wouldn't need you.
03 Feb 00:18

Ravens’ fear of unseen snoopers hints they have theory of mind

03 Feb 13:12

Claiming to be a Sexy Devil Costume doesn’t mean it is

by TeraS

Sexy Devil CostumeThere are three words that are used to excess when it comes to costumes. They are “Sexy”, “Devil” and “Costume”. Not necessarily in that order, but they do appear. The thing is, it is a rare costume that actually should use those three words and as such it’s more likely that something very tacky or ugly is attempting to masquerade as being something more than it is.

This is called, surprisingly, the Sexy Devil Costume and it comes with the really amazingly ugly dress and that’s all. No horns or pitchfork or shoes. The rather sickly looking piece of fabric can be found for less than $20 US at many sites on the web.

I think there is a bit of dishonesty in what is being sold here as since all you are buying is the red dress, how is it that this costume can be really called a Devil costume in the first place?

If at least the horns were included I could accept that what they were selling was some half-hearted attempt at a Devil costume. But in this case that simply isn’t true.

This is a prime example of something being left over in a warehouse somewhere and being put on sale with a description that is bait for the search engines to latch onto.

I would hope that whomever would even think about buying this, and it wouldn’t be me I can promise you, that they would read the description which is in very small print and is hidden away underneath a button. If one didn’t then what arrives will be quite the surprise…

Still another zero out of five pitchforks.

Just a sad costume by far…

 

Tera

02 Feb 08:00

WTD 1580

by Aaron
02 Feb 04:47

Holidays & Days of Note for February 2, 2016*   Imbolc *  ...







Holidays & Days of Note for February 2, 2016

*   Imbolc

*   Candlemas (Catholic)

*   Groundhog’s Day (US)

*   Dia De La Candelaria (Mexico)

*   Ladies’ Day

*   Purification Day

*   Cordova Ice Worm Day (Prince William Sound) Festival to celebrate the big ice worm, which is actually an ice centipede. I guess people in Cordova are hard up for entertainment.

02 Feb 04:25

Photo



01 Feb 16:06

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Divine Intervention

by admin@smbc-comics.com

Hovertext: I eagerly await your email about how, actually, the rock must contain radioactive elements.


New comic!
Today's News:
02 Feb 00:25

White-Lipped Goddess

by Zak S

She of the Broken Statues, Queen in the Moon.

When the 12 Medusa sister transformed the primordial demons into the rock from which the world is hewn, a girl accidentally caught their eye. She lives in the sky now, unmoving, gleaming.

Some say she is the eldest goddess, for her idols are the most ancient. Some say that, wait, since like all broken statues are sacred to her and supposed to be her, then maybe those old statues aren't statues of her they're just statues of like random women that broke because they're old and then we found them. Some say Oh fascinating theory wise guy, nice statue of Vorn you got there, would be a real shame if somebody sledgehammered the top of its head off and then hey look at that it's consecrated to the White Lipped Goddess now. Some say Fine, fine, whatever, it's the Queen in the Moon, they're all the Queen in the Moon.

Anyway opinions differ is the point.

The Queen in the Moon, who has a mouth but no face, does not get on well with Vorn. Her children are lycanthropes and sublunary men, she watches, eyelessly, over assassins, orphans and adulterers.

Frozen lakes and shattered fortresses are sacred to her.

Her Path (for 5e clerics) is as follows

1st Level

-Bonus proficiencies w/daggers, hammers & light armor.

-+2 stealth.

2nd Level

-You take half damage/effect from light-based attacks at night and darkness-based attacks at any time.

6th Level

-Silver will not hurt you.

8th Level

-Faerie Fire-like effect a number of times per day=Wisdom mod.

14th Level

-You can intensify any moonlight until it's literally blindingly bright for one hour a day (or until "a long rest" if you're playing straight 5e).

17th Level

-Lycanthropes cannot harm you and, on a failed save, must obey your commands until the sun rises.


01 Feb 08:00

nonce: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

nonce: the present, or immediate, occasion or purpose.
31 Jan 00:42

The Odyssey, Book 1: Invocation to the Muse p2

by blackboardfiction

gmcody12muse


25 Jan 13:56

Always Listening By TeraS

by TeraS

It’s been a while since I have written something. There is a reason, it matters, and someday I’ll manage to say. But there is something I have learned, and it is that there is someone …

 

Always Listening
By TeraS

 

The bell above the door made the sound she had come to expect, all things considered: a tinkle with a slight melancholy, which reflected the place to which it was attached. Just inside the landing, she looked around at the diner: the rows of empty booths where, at the busier times of the day, there would be chattering, laughter and conversation. But, in the here and now, there was only silence greeting her ears.

Her high heeled boots made the slightest of sounds as she walked over the well-worn linoleum towards the serving counter where he stood, wiping the counter as he always seemed to be doing.

He looked up at her out of the corner of his eye and then turned away. She had been coming here so often that what happened next was, in its own way, almost comforting. He busied himself at the coffeemaker, pouring a cup of coffee—two creams, no sugar. As he did so, she settled into the empty seat directly across from him, folding her hands on the counter and waiting for him to serve her.

The cup was chipped at the handle … not that it mattered. The saucer beneath had seen better days as well; he set it in front of her with a nod: “Evening.”

She managed a smile in the same way she had every time she had come into the diner. It wasn’t a forced one; more a wistful, polite smile that told of her manners, but at the same time telling of the turmoil that her thoughts were going through: “Hello.”

This was how things were: he didn’t press her; she didn’t offer. She remained there on her perch, her hands cupped around the cup and saucer, not touching it. He returned to busying himself with cleaning the diner’s countertop before walking out from behind it, leaving her to her thoughts.

There was the sound of a bucket being rolled out from elsewhere, a splash of water and then the sound of the mop being dragged over the floor. He didn’t say a word as he worked. She didn’t watch—that would be impolite, of course. Rather, she looked up at the menu board, reading the meals on offer there for the umpteenth time, having long since memorized them. The spelling errors in the handwritten menus still there, of course. She had meant to ask about them, but just didn’t feel like talking, and starting a conversation by asking if he knew how to spell ‘guacamole’ would be somewhat awkward.

She sighed, quietly, to herself, then looked into the coffee, thinking about things, wondering if it was really true that one could find one’s answers in a cup of coffee. The thing was, there really weren’t any answers to be found in the moment. There were questions, many of which she had asked, but she had yet to hear a single answer. She wanted to talk to someone about them all, to try and find a means to clear her mind, to gather her thoughts, all of those sayings about one’s mental health that seemed the most appropriate at that moment. But she couldn’t do that.

He rolled the bucket away again, then returned to the corner. Noting that she hadn’t touched the coffee, he asked: “Need a refill?”

“Thanks.”

“Always, Tera.”

Eventually she left the diner, hearing the lock click shut as she strode out the door. She bundled herself into her jacket and began walking away. It was about ten minutes later that she realized something.

She had never told him her name. Not once.

Turning on her heel, the Queen of the Realm returned to the diner, finding it still open and pushed through the door. The bell rang as it did before, but that was where things ended.

He wasn’t there.

The young girl at the counter was looking at her quizzically, a small pile of textbooks piled in front of her, covering the countertop.

“Where is he?”

The answer was a shrug, followed by: “Dunno who you mean. I’ve been here all night; you’re the first customer that’s come in here. Can I get you something?”

There was a long silence as she considered before replying: “May I have a coffee, double cream, please?”

It didn’t take long for the request to be filled and the bill paid, with a large tip. At the look the girl gave her, Tera smiled, then she nodded and took a seat in one of the booths next to the window. As she rested there, thinking about what happened, she looked out the window. As the snow blew about, she wondered who he was. So many weeks of doing the same thing, over and over again, and now it was as if he had never existed.

In answer, the winter winds began blowing, the window rattled a bit in its frame …and then she heard his voice: “You aren’t the only one who’s been around the block.”

Looking across the table, she found him sitting there, regarding her. She started to ask who he was, what he wanted, how he knew, but paused when he began to speak.

“I know who you are, Tera. I’ve always known. The thing about you is that you refuse to allow anyone to help you when you need it. You’d rather deal with it all on your own, keep it all inside, and let the chips fall where they will.”

She tilted her head to the left and pointed at her hair where a pair of red horns just peeked out, barely there.

He sighed: “You can’t keep this up. It’s not healthy for even the Succubi Queen to be like this, nor is it a good thing for you to put up a false front for others.”

“I’ll manage.”

“Of course you will; that’s how you are.”

She pushed the coffee towards him, he considering it, then looking at her.

“I don’t care for coffee.”

“Yes, I know. Tea is your thing.”

“So why keep serving it to me all of this time?”

“Company policy.”

“How so?”

“Coffee’s free, tea ain’t. Besides, you needed a place to stop and think. Fair trade for everything you do.”

She allowed the barest of smiles, a real one, for once.

“That’s better. Hang onto that.”

She looked back out the window and nodded: “I’ll try.”

“And Tera? Talk to someone. You need to. That,” she said—when did he become she?—“is what I send you so many people for.”

When she looked back, she who had been he was gone … and yet, she still felt her presence. The world hadn’t changed; the answers still weren’t there. But the idea of lightening herself, even a little bit, was a start.

Fishing her cellphone out of her pocket, she dialled a number. “Hello, my heart. Have you some time to talk?”

“Always listening, Dear One, and I always have time for you. In fact, I have been waiting since Goddess told me you’d need to chat; what would you like to talk about?”

“Oh … things …”

27 Jan 21:09

Why Hasn't Anyone Improved On FASERIP?

by Zak S
Ok, I do love the Marvel Superheroes RPG but, seriously: It's 2016. Marvel Superheroes RPG came out some time before the Roman Conquest. Why isn't there a better superhero RPG yet? W. T. eff?

To establish context, let's start with the game's massive flaws:

-Character Generation Is Basically A Big Shrug
The only way to make a character is just make them up and ask the GM "is this ok?" or else roll powers totally randomly. This is fun d10 times and then you start going "Ok, can my fish man have fish powers instead of Blimp Control?" The little bibs and bobs around the edges--Aliens have a 5% chance of being able to lift 75 tons, Robots have a 2% chance, Mutants never can--seem to be aiming at genre conventions only Jeff Grubb could see. In a niche where it's already very hard to get the players to keep a straight face, Marvel's character gen system does not help.

-Low-Powered Heroes Feel Alike:
Well ok Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu, he'd have....Martial Arts A, B, C, D, and E, surely? I mean, he's not the fucking Bachelor of Kung Fu. And Captain America has...the same. There's no real way to have Cap be unbelievably hardcore and Shang Chi to be also unbelievably hardcore but in a different style.

-Magic is Half-Assed:
Just like in the comics, really. In the basic set it's just like regular powers except called 'magic', with the special magic book it's suddenly immensely complicated to the point of almost being a whole new game. Plus lots of Michael Golden pictures of Dr Strange.

-Without the Ultimate Powers Book You're Screwed. With It, You're Also Screwed:
In the basic set Energy Absorption just allows you to avoid damage from energy but not to like do anything with it. Which is how energy-absorbing powers work in exactly no comic books ever. But then so you get the Ultimate Powers Book and you can have it work like you expect but then like there are tons of wonkily-written accidental hyperpowers like Temperature Control that basically let you kill anyone instantly.

-Leveling Up Isn't Interesting:
Your stats incrementally go up with experience. Today you're Spider-Man, but tomorrow you'll be...stronger Spider-Man.

-It's from 213 AD:
Elektra's dead, Ice Man's in the closet, Iron Man is red and white with triangles holding his arms on. Also Ronald Reagan is president. This is worse than the Wildstorm universe.


Why Is It The Best Anyway?

-Character Gen Will Not Sap Your Will To Be
Character gen in Marvel may be a mess, but unlike in Champions and its descendants Mutants & Masterminds and Wild Talents, it's not trench warfare. These systems want to help you make new superpowers. which is nice because lots of gamers like to invent new superpowers--but unfortunately only a relative wee few want to sit alone and learn what amounts to a proprietary analog programming language just to make a character. Like I said before: a system that makes a new player choose between Enhanced Disarm and Disarming Finesse is not for anyone I know.

-Combat Is Unpredictable And Kinetic
Damage is standardized in FASERIP--a She-Hulk punch pretty much always does 75 health. But this simplification is made to allow space in the standard combat round for a greater complexity--namely, a degrees-of-success system which means the game tells you whether that punch just hurts, stuns the opponent, or knocks them through a wall. Same goes for every other kind of damage. This is FASERIP's main and indispensible feature: the 4-color chart ably and easily makes every category of comic-book attack from kicking to slicing to setting a mother on fire feel and work a different way--especially once you get the hang of the dodge and evasion mechanics for the weaker, quicker characters. You can have a session that's nothing but one long fight and like it--just like a comic. Compared to FASERIP, everything else is just D&D with shinier clothes on. Except Wild Talents which is just roll roll FUCK WHAT HAPPENED THIS TIME I DON'T KNOW HOLD ME I'M SCARED.  And Marvel Heroic which is just playing Artisanal Yahtzee and then claiming those dice represented something Deadpool did.

-Karma means Hippies and Metalheads can play together:
The FASERIP karma system--basically spendable xp--is neat in itself because it warps combat and risk based on how much a PC has managed to spotlight themself. The nice thing about this is you can get karma for defeating foes or role-playing or just acting heroic and responsible--so the guy who spent all morning properly working out Hawkeye's struggle to get his DVD player plugged in and the player who is worried about whether the Widow's Bite can be used to feed-back through the electrical system and short-circuit the mandroid can easily have fun during the same fight because the former's community theatre aspirations add as many karma points to their attack roll as the latter's tactical chops. Shoepixie loves this game. Proving Ron Edwards was wrong for like the 90th time.

-Actual Good Adventures:
Marvel Superheroes holds the record for RPG with the most official published adventures that do not suck: 2. Nightmares of Future Past and Secret Wars.  And not just because they're inoffensive and based on fondly-remembered storylines: they're genuinely avant-garde even today--with Nightmares being designed around a nifty paranoia mechanic overlaid on your hometown and Secret Wars presenting a hex-war with random events slotted in. These were really good ideas for adventures in that neither-full-railroad-nor-fully-location-based netherzone of module formats nobody ever bothers to follow up on, so far as I know. Plus on top of that, the other adventures aren't terrible, owing perhaps to every RPG writer secretly having a slowly-nursed Marvel pitch in their back pocket for years--Cosmos Cubed has Galactus being split into weird entities named Gal, Ac and Tus.

-It's All Free:

-Nobody Else Is Trying
The major game companies seem to be perfectly happy with slide-rule crunchmonsters that keep all but the most dedicated nerds away and the smaller ones are going for light-and-airy approaches where the players and GM make up all the surprises themselves and the game just tells you who wins. Which is weird, because you'd think in this era where there are live DC and Marvel shows all over tv, the Avengers movies are selling faster than flak jackets in Damascus and even a fucking Suicide Squad movie can afford Will Smith and Jared Leto somebody would see the angle in a fast-paced, newbie-friendly superhero RPG with a rich library of powers to play with and a system that keeps throwing monkeywrenches into any attempt to play boring. And the shame of it is all they'd really have to do is set their targets on the few places where FASERIP falls down and build on what Grubb and company already did.

25 Jan 20:55

To Tim Kask And TotalCon,

by Zak S
(Note: I contacted Kask privately before posting this, just saying I wanted to talk. He didn't answer.) 

Dear Tim,

I'm Zak. I've read a lot of your Dragonsfoot threads over the years about the early hobby and, like everybody else, read a lot of Dragon back in the day.

Since one of the biggest genuine problems in RPGs is men speaking for women I want to limit what I say here as much as possible, and simply use this blog (just because it's one a relatively large number of people in RPGs read) to deliver a message to you and to my readers and then step aside, in the hopes that we have dialogue instead of dueling monologues.

There's been a lot of controversy that all started with this blurb for your For Ladies Only game at TotalCon:

This adventure is written specifically for the wives, girlfriends and daughters of gamers, as well as those females wishing to delve into the field without a lifelong commitment. It has been boiled down to the basics of role-playing as it used to be: A sheet of paper, some dice, a pencil and some numbers on that paper accompanied by an open mind and a sense of adventure. Ladies, come see what all the fuss is about

Let me summarize what I'm pretty sure about--

-There are women who are smart and have done cool things for the RPG scene who found this  language condescending.

-There are women who are smart and have done cool things for the RPG scene who have not found this language condescending.

-You didn't mean to be condescending. (Intent isn't everything.)

-Some of the folks on your Facebook page were incredibly douchey to one of the women who raised the issue even after she had wished you well about your event.

-You wrote a post responding to this controversy which ended with the words: "By the way,  I hold a Master's in Education; I am reasonably certain that I know what I am doing."

-Everyone I've talked to about this finds that sentence deeply condescending.

-I find that sentence condescending. I think it was meant to be condescending by any reasonable use of the word. I know because I'm condescending all the time.

----------------------

My bit:

Making people angry online (even accidentally) is something we all do. Who you choose to patch things up with and talk to and who you tell to fuck off reveals which of those people you value.

Everyone in my corner of the DIY RPG community values women who were upset by your handling of this, including, for example, Stacy Dellorfano--the woman who built the best online con in gaming.

They have been through a lot, with a lot of genuinely condescending, genuinely sexist RPG guys telling them what to do.

Whether or not they have judged you for what you wrote in your blurb, or how you handled it, we are now going to judge you on whether you value Stacy and other young women who have been trying to improve life for women in the RPG scene over the years enough to listen and talk this out with them--without pulling rank, without blocking anyone, and without your friends and fans jumping in on the conversation to defend you or plus each other.

If you don't, it will ratify our worst suspicions about what you think of the women who are trying to keep up and spread enthusiasm for the hobby you contributed so much to over the years. You can extend a hand to the next generation of female gamers, or you can slap it aside.

I don't care where you have that conversation, but I think you need to do it. You aren't obliged to care what I think, of course, but that is the point: you are being judged on what part of the RPG community you care about. I do not think you want to or should choose these women as your enemies and if you don't indicate a willingness to continue a dialogue with them, you are doing just that.

Sincerely,
Zak
-
-
-
28 Jan 08:00

insouciant: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

insouciant: free from concern, worry, or anxiety; nonchalant.
26 Jan 00:00

Europa Water Siphon

by xkcd

Europa Water Siphon

What if you built a siphon from the oceans on Europa to Earth? Would it flow once it's set up? (We have an idea for selling bottled Europa water.)

—A group of Google Search SREs

No, but I like where you're going with this.

Siphons are neat—they let you pump water up and over a barrier using just a tube and gravity. You can use siphoning to empty swimming pools, fill awkwardly-shaped containers, or get up to all kinds of trouble.[1]I asked some friends to suggest which thing in their house they'd be most upset to find someone siphoning water into. Answers included: Spice drawer, gumball machine, tea collection, bottle of vitamins, watercolor paint set, bag of rice with a cell phone in it, mint-condition instant oatmeal collection, carefully tuned musical glasses, ice hotel, prizewinning sand castle, sodium action figure collection, gremlin cage, Martian soil sample, dehydrated astronaut ice cream, and rack of those water-sensing self-inflating lifeboats.

It's not necessarily obvious at first glance, but siphoning works because of air pressure. Before we answer the Europa question, it may help to go over how siphons work.

If you take a tube full of water and point the ends down, gravity will try to pull the water down, making it fall out of both sides. If the water did start to fall out, a vacuum would form in the middle, since there's no way for air to get in to fill the gap. Each column of water would then have a vacuum on one side and air on the other, which means it would be pushed back up into the tube.

In reality, this doesn't happen; the air pressure stops the vacuum from opening up in the first place, and the water just sits there in the tube. Or, at least, it would if it were perfectly balanced.

If the water in one end is slightly lower than the other, then the column of water on that side pushes down harder against the air than the column on the other side. This imbalance causes the water to "tip" and run out of the heavier end.

To siphon something, you can just keep feeding more water into the tube on the higher side. As long as the surface of that water is higher up than the place where the water is coming out, the siphon will keep running.

If the column of water is more than about 34 feet[2]10 meters​[3]2 giraffes high, the pressure from the weight of the water becomes too strong for Earth's air pressure to counteract, and the water does fall out from both sides and briefly create a vacuum.[4]Although as the pressure drops, the water boils away to fill it, so you can't actually get too close to a pure vacuum this way. However, if you use something like olive oil (or mercury), you can get much closer. This means that on Earth's surface, you can't siphon water over a barrier that's more than 34 feet high. In Denver, where the air pressure is lower, the limit is 28 feet. In a vacuum—in theory—you can't siphon at all.[5]In practice, it turns out siphons do work in a vacuum, at least a little bit, because the "stickiness" of the water keeps it from pulling apart in the middle.

Europa has barely any atmosphere, so you won't be able to do much siphoning. But you also can't siphon water out of the atmosphere from a planet in general. A column of atmosphere, which is miles high, pushes down only as hard as a column of water 34 feet high. The water column is smaller because water is much denser than air. As long as the stuff on top is less dense than the liquid below it, you can't use the pressure from the stuff on top to siphon the liquid up above the stuff on top.[6]Most of the time, things sort themselves into layers, with the denser ones on the bottom. Occasionally, in the Earth, layers of dense rock will end up above layers of less-dense oil. This is why—when oil wellheads break—oil can sometimes come spurting out without any help from the pumps.

Even if you could generate a lot of pressure, pumping water from Europa's surface would take some work. Europa's gravity is weaker than Earth's, which means lifting something up from the surface of Europa takes less energy, but it's still not easy. The energy required to "climb out of Europa's gravity well" is the same as the energy required to climb up 209 kilometers against Earth's surface gravity. (Earth's gravity well, by comparison, is about 6,379 kilometers "deep"—click on this comic for an illustration.)

Once you've lifted the water out of Europa's gravity well, you then have to lift it the rest of the way out of Jupiter's, which is a lot deeper. Then, you have to do more work to push the water on a trajectory where it intercepts Earth. In terms of energy, the whole task is roughly equivalent to lifting the water about 2,500 kilometers in Earth gravity:

You could send the water to Earth by launching it from the surface of Europa at about 7 km/s. Conveniently, since Europa has no atmosphere, you don't need to use inefficient rockets to climb up to space. You can launch the water directly from the surface using something simpler, like a coilgun.

When the water reaches Earth, it can use atmospheric braking to slow down, and the individual bottles could be steered directly to their targets. Timing the deliveries would be tricky, sure, but it sure would be impressive if you got it right. Plus, you could totally one-up Amazon's drone delivery scheme.

At current electricity prices, the launch would cost a minimum of 50 cents (US) per bottle. Of course, getting electricity on Europa is probably a bit more expensive than getting it on Earth,[7]Or would need an awfully long cord. and setting up the purification plant and bottling operation on Europa wouldn't be cheap, to put it mildly.

All in all, you're going to have to charge an awful lot per bottle to break even on this whole operation. And if it turns out Europa's water has some weird alien pathogen in it, you might accidentally kill all your customers.[8]And, possibly, everyone else.

This may sound like your plan is pretty impractical and unrealistic, especially since there's no point to it all. Water is water. Once you've purified the water on Europa to make it drinkable, it won't be much different from water here on Earth. On the other hand, we ship water around the world from Fiji for no reason, so who knows. Maybe, with the right marketing, this idea could work.

18 Jan 13:53

Someone There By JHB

by TeraS

The words “My Heart” are not simply two words. They cannot express how, so often, my Heart knows, he sees, he understands. It is something I’ve never been able to express well enough. To give some kind of meaning to his words, how they are, more times than I can count, the right thing said in the right way.

This is one of the moments when his words tell a story that means something more…

 

Someone There
By JHB

 

Cassiopeia, friend of Tera’s since childhood, tended to be fun-loving, flirtatious, and very much in-and-of-the moment. She was bright, vivacious, sparkling, and there was no doubt that her favorite part of being a succubi was the ongoing exploration of carnal pleasures. She liked tantalizing, seducing, and enthralling various men, women, and other beings she met. She tingled at their moans, gasps, flushed skin, and every moment of growing arousal. Her pulse quickened and her nipples swelled and stiffened when she was caressed in the right places. And, when she was properly aroused, walls shook, lights flickered for miles around, and the whole Realm shook with her ecstatic cries.

Nobody ever accused Cassie of being subtle.

One of the things that the Succubi Queen always marveled about was her chum’s ability to spread effortless joy wherever she went. She was the first one in their succu-scout troop to earn her group flirt merit badge. At the end of her junior year, the pattern of the ovals on her SAT answer sheet caused the scoring computer to have hot flashes for a week and give everyone in her class a 1600 . . . except Tera somehow managed a 1750. In her first field assignment, she simultaneously converted four Olympic gymnastics teams at the Montreal games. And, when she left the Paris opera house one night while humming a tune from “Rigoletto,” the entire city was engaged in an orgy within the hour.

Yes, Cassie was a bit of a party girl.

The greatest gift of Her Majesty’s BFF seemed to be her ability to get those around her to loosen up and be playful, even at the most somber occasions. Tera’s Eternal, Keith, had lost count of the times and places where the nearly-irresistible silver-tail had surprised him in all her naked glory.

At one year’s annual address to the first families of the Realm, the Queen found that someone had, somehow, secreted a tail massager into her royal robes. As she struggled to maintain a sense of decorum, she could see her friend, delighted, barely containing giggles. Decorum was abandoned afterward, as was their formal attire, as Tera exacted some lustful revenge that included dozens of the other attendees by the time it was done the following Thursday.

And then there was the day when Cassie left a surprise in Lil’s yarn skeins. By the time the two were finished with each other, three construction crews were needed to restore the cracked plaster and plumbing, not to mention setting the knitter’s cottage back on its foundation . . . and, for whatever reason, the silver-tail could not remember large bits of her encounter with the older succubi, whose stamina was impressive, to say the least.

There was not a single resident of any Realm whom Cassiopeia didn’t see as an object for fun and games . . . save one: Miss Browning, who had been hired by her parents to tutor the young succubi in literature. Browning, whom Cassie came to call “Elizabeth,” also taught the budding adult about romance, about the deepest motivations of human and succubish hearts, and about the simple joys of quieter amorous encounters. The silver tail was, in many ways, ushered into adulthood by her tutor, and, with her, was always quiet, contemplative, and attentive.

But, while succubi live for eons, Elizabeth wasn’t from the Realm. One day Cassie received a most distressing note, and bampfed away without even a word to Tera, who was expecting her best friend for lunch. For days, she kept somber vigil in a human hospital, her horns and tail hidden away, her normally sparkling, curly mane tucked into a tight bun, and her clothing conservatively cut in muted pastels. She was even about five inches shorter than usual, the result of wearing simple, flat shoes—nobody who knew her would even believe that she knew shoes came without spiked heels.

In the room, visiting with her mentor, she would smile, read favorite poetry, smuggle in special foods, and help her be as clean and comfortable as possible. Outside of the room—in the moments when she was shooed out by nurses, aides, doctors, and phlebotomists trying to give her care—the succubi sat in corners, crying, feeling utterly bereft. Her best friend had a little human plaything who believed in spiritual things, as humans were wont to do, and Cassie was convinced that Tera’s fondness for the odd fellow had caused her to feign the human habit called “prayer.” But Succubi were more evolved creatures, and she knew better.

Still, in the middle of one night, a couple of weeks in, Cassiopeia found herself alone in a dark hospital waiting room, allowing her silver succubi attributes to become visible as her tail lashed out with her temper. “Gods! What ridiculous claptrap!” the seductress fumed. “If there was some sort of a divine being that was in any small way benevolent, how could she—or probably HE, since males are only good for one thing, and it isn’t running the universe—allow someone as lovely, as sweet, as wise, as precious as Elizabeth waste away like this? What sort of an ass of a deity would you have to be? How in the Realm are you looking out for either of us? Why would anybody believe you answer any prayers?”

“Because she has been answering mine, looking out for you.” Cassie heard the soft, warm, familiar voice behind her as she felt a tail she knew as well as her own twine around hers. She saw a bit of red as she turned to see a familiar smile, a cascade of raven curls, a red sweater, jeans, and ankle boots. Before another word could be said, arms that the silver-tail had known all her life pulled her into a close embrace. For many minutes, there was silence, more than a few tears, and finally just a few soft kisses.

Finally, the red-tail whispered, “It is so interesting, you in flats, shorter than me for once.”

“How did you find me here?”

“I have known, all along. You don’t think I would really leave you truly by yourself, do you? I felt in my heart where you were, and it didn’t take long to find out what was going on.”

“But you’re only here now . . .”

“You needed your space, sweetie. I could feel your presence, as I can with all my sisters and daughters, but I didn’t come until I felt like you really needed me.”

“But, I still don’t understand how . . .”

“I truly do believe there is a Goddess. I know you don’t trust the idea of divinity, but I have come to trust that there are powers greater than us, who look out for us. For me, ‘Goddess’ feels like the right word. Others are different.”

“Then why aren’t prayers being answered? Not just mine, but most of the people in this horrible place.”

Tera kissed Cassie’s tears: “Just what would answered prayers be like? Do you really believe that everybody here would be better off kept alive, in such pain? No matter what we do, no matter what we want, the beings of this realm are not as long-lived or resilient as we. Sometimes it is an answer to prayer to give them a peaceful transition.”

“A transition to nothing? To death?”

“A transition, some believe, to another stage of life. I am sure I have felt the life of my Mother and Father with me. I’d like to believe it is possible. And I know that I feel Goddess giving me peace about things . . . and I think she has been looking out for you.”

There was a small but genuine smile: “You really think so?”

“I do . . . At the very least, there are always . . . possibilities.”

“Well, Elizabeth actually seemed a bit stronger tonight.”

“Then there might just be a chance. There might well be some good days ahead. I suggest that you be thankful for every one of them.”

“I suppose you are right. That might be good advice for any of us, every day.”

There were no words in the response, only a small smile and a deep, tender kiss. Then Cassie was alone again . . . but remembering that she was never alone. “So, Tera says you’re there. I’m not sure I believe, but I trust my friend. So I hope you’ll have my back.”

Elizabeth did have some good days left, many of them at home. She continued to move closer to death . . . and Cassiopeia, who had learned so much from this teacher, learned about this, and walked with her friend every step of the way, cherishing every good day, but never running from the not-so-good.

And, along the way, Cassiopeia had many conversations, perhaps one-sided, with somebody she could never see. She also had a morning when a vibrator was inside her panties, but she suspected that was a certain red-tailed monarch rather than a divine presence.

Even so, even though she was never sure, Cassie had the strongest feeling at quieter, more solemn, more frightening times that she could be at peace. Somehow, somewhere, she was sure of someone there.

21 Jan 06:55

Planet, Planet Night – DORK TOWER 21.01.16

by John Kovalic

Happy Super Planetary Alignment Happy Hour

25 Jan 05:00

In Case of Emergency

I keep first aid kits in those emergency lockers. Sure, it's expensive to have them installed in the wall, but at least for those ones there's no need to pay extra for safety glass.
23 Jan 19:55

obsidian-sphere: Four of the only six issues of Mind Magic:...









obsidian-sphere:

Four of the only six issues of Mind Magic: Psycho-Mystic Stories and Daily Astrological Readings started in 1930 by the same publisher who produced Miracle Science Fiction, Scarlet Adventuresses and a number of other pulps that never made it past six issues.

Did the sub-genre of “Psycho-Mystic” stories disappear or did it just turn into Paranormal Romance?

22 Jan 08:00

sitzmark: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

sitzmark: a sunken area in the snow marking a backward fall of a skier.
22 Jan 08:00

WTD 1573

by Aaron
19 Jan 17:39

It’s pre-vintage.

by Jessica Hagy

card4795

The post It’s pre-vintage. appeared first on Indexed.

18 Jan 08:00

WTD 1569

by Aaron
17 Jan 08:00

ludic: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

ludic: playful in an aimless way.
15 Jan 08:00

reify: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

reify: to convert into or regard as a concrete thing.
13 Jan 22:01

Asymmetry of returns.It’s a funny thing, when you think about...



Asymmetry of returns.

It’s a funny thing, when you think about it, that if you owned a stock in the market and the value went up 50%, and then went down 50%, that it wouldn’t end up at what it started.

Another way to look at it, is if you owned something worth 100 and it lost 50%, it’d be worth 50. To get back to being worth 100 you’d then need a 100% gain. 

Huh.