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22 Aug 12:15

So then this talking snake shows up,

by Jessica Hagy

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18 Aug 12:57

frater440: ‘Raven Stealing The Sun’ - Aaren Purcell. This...



frater440:

‘Raven Stealing The Sun’ - Aaren Purcell.

This photograph holds so much symbolism I could probably waffle on all day, but instead I will just leave it here to admire.

Frater 440.’.
93 93/93

18 Aug 00:30

kibitzer: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

kibitzer: a giver of uninvited or unwanted advice.
17 Aug 13:50

Eclipse Science

I was thinking of observing stars to verify Einstein's theory of relativity again, but I gotta say, that thing is looking pretty solid at this point.
16 Aug 13:03

iconoclastic: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

iconoclastic: attacking or ignoring cherished beliefs and long-held traditions, etc., as being based on error, superstition, or lack of creativity.
13 Aug 12:14

Who You Want In Your House: A Guide To Player Skill And Ability Scores

by Zak Sabbath
Whatever else your players are, they're people in your house.

Who is welcome in my house? While I don't turn away the sickly, the weak, or the clumsy, I don't want anyone over unless they're charming, intelligent, wise, or all three. I don't think I'm remotely alone in this: people like people they find likeable, and, really, who does suffer fools gladly?

Not only that, but in any conversation, I would hope everyone present was trying to be the most charming, intelligent, wise person they could be--whereas if they're holding a refrigerator up or have their legs behind their head that's purely bonus points.

So: if, in D&D, I devised a test that relied not on the character's Constitution, Strength or Dexterity but on the player's Constitution, Strength or Dexterity (catch the ball--kill the goblin,  etc) I'd be privileging athletic players over others. That, as my aunt used to say, is a job for games played outdoors or in the dark.

However, if, in a game, I devise a test that relies on the players' Charisma, Intelligence or Wisdom, I am judging them on precisely the qualities that got them into my house in the first place. And which, basically, all social life is a competition about anyway. The less-clever player may well do worse, but they will (if the test is fair) blame themselves and become thirsty to be better--which is the best kind of competitiveness. I know that's how I felt when I was dumb enough to stand right in front of that door that got opened in the Dark Tower. Then we fucking killed that lich.

So:

Dex, Str, and Con are off the table for Player Skill in D&D at my house. What can we do with the rest if we're determined to test as much player skill as possible?

Charisma

A player, by talking alone, can describe:


  • What a PC says
  • How they say it (depending on acting skill)
  • What logic they use
  • What they offer in exchange
  • etc.


So, being way into Player-Skill-Based-Challenges I'm going to always at the very least give a bonus (or minus) to a roll based on this stuff and possibly even award an autosuccess if the offer is such the NPC could not possibly refuse or an autofail if they say something the NPC is primed to see as an insult.

A player cannot accurately and totally describe:


  • Whether that appeal does or does not match the PC's appearance (some comedians can get away with some jokes because of their appearance that aren't funny coming out of older, younger, fatter, skinnier people etc) since the appearance only "appears" to fictional characters.
  • Whatever a "Charisma save" is supposed to represent in 5e--strength of personality?
  • Whether the NPC are in a mood to listen or have hidden factors that make them less or more inclined to suspicion


So the Charisma stat needs to exist to represent the PC's appearance and how their manner matches it, and the die represents the randomness of these last 3 factors (at the least) but can be modified by the other factors that the player can describe.



Wisdom

Wisdom is well-known to be goofy, encompassing willpower, perception, judgment, how much god likes you, etc.

A player can be reasonably tested on:

  • Noticing things the GM slipped into their description (verbal or in a picture)
  • Noticing their significance
  • Where a PC looks for stuff
  • Resisting temptations that would give the player something they'd like to see in the game (gold, a magic weapon, a plot twist the PC loves)
  • Deciding whether to follow the more shrewd course of action
  • etc.
(In the "perception" area these kinds of layer-skill challenges require a lot of prep from the GM.)


A player could not (without excessive use of special effects) use their owns skill to model:

  • Noticing hidden things that are, nonetheless, technically in plain sight (like if there's an arrow from a culture that doesn't belong lying on the orc vs elf battlefield)
  • Hearing things--or noticing any sensory information the GM cannot bury- or has not taken the time to bury-, in a verbal description
  • Resisting temptations the character feels but not the player (too easy: "I don't fuck the succubus")
  • Resisting magical powers that chip away at the will
  • Successfully sensing things despite some physical difficulty (smoke, distracting sounds, etc)
  • Sensing anomalies in how something moves--or otherwise in how they present physically in a way the GM cannot verbally describe without giving away the game.
  • etc


Intelligence

A player's intelligence could be tested about:

  • Applying real-world physics, chemistry, tactics, etc to analogous situations (like: use missile weapons against the dangerous, slow, melee-only opponent, etc)
  • Remembering lore the GM gave them earlier
  • Drawing inferences and deductions from facts discovered
  • Solving puzzles whose parameters are fully described by the GM
  • Etc

Again (without extensive use of props) player could not use their own skill, and would need to rely on their PC to model:

  • Knowing stuff about the setting an inhabitant would but that hasn't come up in the game
  • Casting spells via remembering and casting magical formulae 
  • Successfully completing tests of knowledge and reasoning that take a lot of in-game time (crafting a magic item, for instance)
  • Research
  • Interacting technically with objects that don't exist in real life (tinkering with golems, for instance) or which, again, would take a long time to verbally walk through ("put the third cog on the right strut" etc)
  • Deciding how quickly the PC picks up a new skill (a language, for instance) the player does not have
  • etc

So...yeah, there's that. PCs, viewed this way, are hybrid beings: they physical stats are theirs alone, but their mental ones are half theirs and half their makers.

I haven't really talked about how players can or can't model other things that define characters on paper: experience, class, skills, maybe we'll get to that later.
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12 Aug 23:23

Computers vs Humans

It's hard to train deep learning algorithms when most of the positive feedback they get is sarcastic.
08 Aug 13:00

Auntie By TeraS

by TeraS

A short little story this week, mainly because all of the other ones I’ve been poking at aren’t … quite done, not quite finished, or something like that; just not … quite. So, let’s call this something that made me smile …

 

Auntie
By TeraS

 

There are moments when Tera needs to be the Queen of the Realm. To be clear, these are moments she’s not exactly thrilled about, either. She’d thought, after so long, that by giving those in the Palace the right to make decisions, that at some point she’d not have so much to do.

Of course, she’d never managed to get the paperwork of the Realm bureaucracy passed off to someone else when it was placed upon her doorstep, or, more accurately, the desk in her office within the Palace proper. Whether it be a post-it note, a scroll, a computer printout, a postcard, or some other means of paper-based communication poking in her direction, there always seemed to be something that needed to be done.

But there were times when Tera wasn’t the Queen. There were times when Tera was just Tera—if it is even possible to conceive of “just Tera”—and those were important moments for her.

The single person in the Realm that made all of that easier was, of course, a certain red tail called the Receptionist. She’d been there from the first moment that Tera had become the Queen … at least that was what most remembered.

Tera, however, knew far better than anyone else could know.

This particular morning found Tera looking out onto the courtyard of the Palace, waiting, sipping some tea, and watching groups of incubi and succubi making their way towards all the shops, labs, offices, fields, gyms, classrooms, and other places where the inner workings of the Realm went on, as happened every morning. She smiled around a sip of her tea as she watched the occasional pair, trio, quartet, or larger grouping looking quite disheveled as they approached. The Realm’s nightlife was rather varied, and she wondered which of the many delights they’d happened upon—some being more obvious than others, of course.

She was in the midst of tapping a finger on her lips, thinking about a particular club that would appeal to her Eternal when a flash of red appeared on the main walkway outside. From far away, some might think it was Tera herself, but it wasn’t, not quite at least.

The figure appeared to be a little bit older than Tera, a little bit more no-nonsense. Oh, she was a raven-haired, red-horned-and-tailed seductress, no question, but her hair was pinned into a bun, her choice of dress very business-like. As Tera continued to watch from afar, a pair of green eyes regarded her through silver rimmed oval glasses, an eyebrow arched inquisitively.

The smile was almost like Tera’s, but not quite. Bemusement was, to be sure, a family trait.

It was somewhat early for the Queen to be present, after all.

Tera watched from above until the older red-tail disappeared below the balcony. She then turned towards her office door, waiting for her trusted companion to arrive. Her attention was drawn to a little bit of fluff that was clinging to her fuzzy sweater, she’d forgone the idea of dressing up this morning, and there was no reason, anyway, to be tied into a corset, or thigh-high boots, or, for that matter, being all made up. Blue jeans and a red fuzzy sweater were more than enough, thank you—especially and most of all in this moment.

The pinch of her tail was a surprise, and it was a good thing that she’d put her tea cup on the table moments before; otherwise, she’d have a mess on her hands.

The Receptionist didn’t like messes. She did like, however, surprising the Queen: “What are you doing here so early, young lady?”

Tera rubbed her tail where she’d been pinched: “I should be asking you the same thing.”

A small travel mug was set on the table beside Tera’s own cup: “I asked first, so spill.”

Tucking a lock of her wild mane into place, the Queen sighed: “I’d … like to talk to you.”

The Receptionist nodded, the moment of humour dissipating, her no-nonsense personality returning as she started for the inner office: “Of course, let me go get my notepad and …”

“No. I want to talk to you … Auntie.”

The word was a surprise. She hadn’t been expecting it, and she clutched the doorframe reflexively. How long had it been? Centuries? She’d set aside that part of herself when her niece had become the Queen. It wasn’t important at that moment that she be Tera’s aunt. The touch of her niece’s fingers on her shoulder was as much of a shock to her as her playful pinch had been to Tera’s tail moments ago. She hid it well, she thought, when she looked over her shoulder: “Who?”

The Queen was quiet, and her eyes were soft. “Uncle told me.”

She sighed: of course he had. Tera had always been close to him, while Auntie was been more in the background, helping her sister, Tera’s mother, and not having time for Tera after … things happened. She’d tried to make up for that as best she could. The workings of the Palace were her domain, after all; no one knew them better than she did. That is how she’d faded away into the machinations of the Realm bureaucracy, setting aside being an aunt for being the gatekeeper to the Queen, organizer of Realm, and protector of Tera herself.

“Auntie … please … just for a little while, be my aunt and not the Receptionist … please?”

The doorframe made for a good brace as she turned. She found herself looking at Tera, but seeing her sister. She was looking at Tera as her niece, but also her Queen. It was, she was sure, a matter of priorities, she’d made her choice knowing full well that it needed to be this way. “Tera … you need me as your receptionist. I’m fine with that.”

“No, that’s where you’re wrong.” Tera turned back to the table, picking up an old leather-bound diary. Auntie recognized it; how could she not? She’d know the handwriting of her only sister anywhere.

I’ve let Simone know what I’m going to do. She’s madder than hell about it. I hope she’ll do as I asked. Tera’s going to need them when I’m gone. If there’s anyone I can trust to protect her, it’s going to be her and William. They’ll look after her.

Tera looked up from reading the passage: “Please, just … be Auntie Simone … please?”

It was hard for the Receptionist to even think about what that was like, to try to remember a time when she’d held Tera in her arms, watched a small red tail wind itself about her finger, to remember laughing as the young girl swung in circles from the swing set, to reach back into a time before things became so serious, so focused, so one-sided. “It’s been a long time, Tera. I don’t know if …”

A long, red tail twined itself with another long, red tail: “You know … I remember this cool aunt …” Simone didn’t pull away as Tera’s fingers tugged her silver, horn-rimmed glasses away: “She had this amazing smile … she loved to play pranks on me” … the pins came out of her hair as easily, and it fell in long, straight, raven waves over her shoulders. Tera smiled: “I got her back a couple of times, you know.”

The smile was a reflection of Tera’s own: “You only think you did. She let you.”

“I’m glad she did. I wish she’d come back.”

The elder red-tail paused, looking into the hopeful eyes of the younger one. She saw the anticipation, the want, the love in Tera’s eyes … and the shift from no-nonsense happened in the blink of an eye. The business dress gave way to faded jeans, even more faded out top and sneakers.

Tera pretended to eye her critically: “Hmm … Looks sort of familiar.”

Simone hugged her: “Where did you think you got your fashion sense from, anyway?”

“I wondered why mom always looked at me funny.”

She tapped Tera’s nose: “Oh … your mom always looked at me funny. I was a bad influence, obviously.”

Tera hugged her aunt tightly: “Sure you were, Auntie. Sure you were.”

From afar, an elderly red tail with the whitest hair the monarch of the Realm had ever seen watched as a long lost Aunt was held by her adoring niece. He tapped his cane upon the cobblestone walk that led to the Palace in thought. It had been far too long that the Queen and the Receptionist had been together, and far too long since his niece and his sister had been together. It was about time that Simone put aside all of that office work. It was about time that his niece got to know her aunt again. He smiled at the thought of calling Tera tonight, knowing full well that he’d not get a word in about hockey.

He could hardly wait.

08 Aug 12:32

The Horror Sandbox

by Zak Sabbath
Shock

Horror obviously involves fear, but many genres involve fear. At the core of the horror genre is to reach an intense level of fear using shock.

Shock is an important part of horror and I don't mean that in a vague way—I mean specifically being surprised about something and that something is bad is an important part of what defines the horror genre versus othergenres. In horror either the audience is shocked or the characters are or both.

If there's a criminal with a knife that's a crime thriller, if the audience knows that when they stab a person with the knife it's going to be gory or just terrifying in a way they can’t anticipate that's horror.

If a character is scared because there’s a werewolf that's fantasy if they’re scared because there's a werewolf and because they didn't know werewolves were a thing that's horror.

So in horror, it’s not just a bad thing is happening, someone is surprised at the bad thing happening.


Horror Vs Thriller and Fantasy and Horror-Fatigue

Crime thrillers and fantasy both posit a world where the raw material of the genre is common—just as a thriller reminds us there’s a knife in every kitchen, in fantasy, the supernatural is everywhere.

In horror, the fact shock (a species of surprise) is part of the genre can actually limit the protagonists. After they’ve seen a certain number of horrors, they are no longer shockable. Walter and Jesse can keep getting into sticky situations with armed gangsters each week on Breaking Bad and it’s a thriller every week, Conan can keep fighting wizards and it’s fantasy every month, but you’ll notice the X-Files or Hellboy stop feeling like horror at a certain point, despite the presence of horror elements. This is one reason American Horror Story changes its set up every season and why series’ about “Vampire hunters” or the like tend to feel more like fantasy or superhero stories than classic horror and why George RR Martin writes 7 books about the same people and Shirley Jackson doesn’t.

There is also the question of mystery: defeating a horror usually involves answering a lot of “Why?” questions—and once these are answered, a mythology develops (“Vampires fear holy water”) and it ceases to be mysterious. you climb more toward simple noir (without the supernatural) or fantasy (with it). 


The Extended Campaign

There are a few ways to deal with shock fatigue and loss of mystery in an extended campaign:

-Go full gore: Make the mortality rate so high that new characters are a near-constant presence, and total party kills are frequent. You have to have a certain kind of player for this.

-Live with it: Hellboy is a fine comic, even if Hellboy isn’t usually scared and neither is anyone else. Allow your characters to adopt the jaded mien of seasoned monsterfinders. 

-Ascending scale of supernaturalness: This requires some planning and discipline on the GM’s part. The first adventure is about a hitman, the second is about a serial killer, the third is about a necromancer, the fourth about a demon, the fifth is about Satan, the sixth is about the Apocalypse. The key is each threat is not only bigger than the last, but, more subtly—breaks the rules of “normal” more fully.

-All the horrors have a common source: Again, this requires planning and discipline. In this scheme, the idea is that the investigators eventually find that all the horrors are part of one larger horror, like the Ascending Scale the horrors get worse, but the idea is the surprise comes from how many new things the larger horror is capable of. Like in the story Call of Cthulhu, the titular monster is responsible for a psychic’s nightmare, for an artifact, for a cult ceremony, and then the creature appears itself. 



The Horror Sandbox

A sandbox is a kind of game defined by two characteristics: first: players can, to some degree, pick their objectives and second: the world responds somewhat like a real one would to their actions, possibly on a very large scale.

The classic sandbox is a fantasy game trope: a great map is spread out, with tantalizing rumors about treasure and dangers in various places and the players decide which sound fun—exploring any one of these options creates a cascade of consequences, changing the world and then the players need to decide again what to do in this changed world. The appeal of the sandbox is it offers a great deal of player choice, and unpredicted player actions have unpredictable consequences.

It’s relatively unusual to have a pure sandbox in a horror game, partially because having multiple objectives at once (a werewolf in Warsaw, a ghoul in Ghana) can lead to horror fatigue or a loss of a sense of mystery, but even moreso because an investigation scenario requires a GM to essentially give the PCs an absolutely existentially essential objective (solve the mystery or we all die) and then do a certain amount of work to make achieving that one objective interesting and full of interesting choices. If objectives are optional, they're not really horror. Horror is "Dracula must die" not "Dracula could die if you felt like it".

However, again, with discipline and planning, it is quite possible to make a horror sandbox if that kind of game interests you and your players. Essentially it just means taking the kind of choice presented in the Investigation as Dungeon and scaling up.

The way that most cleanly respects the horror and investigative genres is this:

1. There’s a conspiracy of some kind

2. Near the beginning of the sandbox campaign (or the sandbox phase of the campaign) the characters discover a more-or-less explicit list of separate conspirators.

3. (Unbeknownst to the investigators but likely suspected by the players) the conspirators each have some connection to a horror of their own. Or they are a horror.

4. The list of conspirators makes clear some interesting and at least slightly juicy fact about each conspirator: their neighborhood or city, their job, crimes they may be suspected of, etc.

5. The list also makes clear they are interconnected—exposing/killing/locating one will cause the others to change in some way or ways. Perhaps it is a cult and they all must sacrifice a creature on a given night—and if one doesn’t it is known that another must recruit a new member to take their place. Or perhaps it’s a smuggling organization, and getting rid of one link in the chain means operations will shift to somewhere else. Give the players as much information about these mechanisms as you can without spoiling a mystery you want them to solve—it will make the decision and planning more interesting for them.

6. Treat the investigation of any given conspirator as basically one adventure to design, but with one important additional emphasis: whatever happens to this conspirator affects the others in some interesting way.

7. Season to taste and serve.
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08 Aug 12:13

For my birthday? A damn, please.

by Jessica Hagy

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The post For my birthday? A damn, please. appeared first on Indexed.

06 Aug 13:06

Path By TeraS

by TeraS

A short story this week on the Tale … Something of a … let’s call this a thought pondered over while … things happened. For each soul there is a way, a direction, a …

 

Path
By TeraS

 

The morning sun hadn’t dawned, the light was still making its way over the hills and valleys, caressing tall sinuous spires and rounded bumps on the landscape where those that called the Realm their home dwelled. It brought the promise of a new day, the expectation of events unfolding, souls meeting, and lives entwining in the dance that was time itself. Some thought about the future and what it would bring; others pondered the past, lessons learned, and expectations. Each had their own concept of what the day brought and what they hoped it would be.

He’d been up early, more so than he usually was: not that he wouldn’t have been more than happy to stay curled with his Eternal, their red tails entwined—for, after all, there really wasn’t anywhere else he’d rather be. But this moment, just before the dawn turned the black hues of night to the mottled blues of the morning, held something special in this day. The sun that warmed the land had moved along its path, the sky moving about its own. He’d always had a fascination with the sky of his home, knowing the constellations which were visible as his imagination traced upon the glittering dots of the night sky in his memory. From time to time, he’d catch a glimpse of other planets, some giant balls of gas, others smaller and more substantial things. Still, there was one sight that always called him back to the place and path he’d walked before.

The names came easily to him, some learned when he was so very young, sitting on a rock ledge, a flashlight illuminating a book he’d taken from the library, noting the star, planet or constellation that he wanted to find above and put to memory. Some didn’t quite understand why he did so; his answer, which seemed to be a rational at first, would come to haunt him from time to time.

The sound of crickets, the last before the dawn, came to him and he remembered that cold winter, when he was barely in his teens, making his way through the woods in the middle of the night: the escarpment on his right, the cliff edge there in the darkness, he alone. No other soul for miles around, no lights to be seen. His goal was somewhere up ahead, in the darkness, waiting for him to arrive. It would be worth it, even if he’d be the only one that really knew why. A glow on the horizon flickered at his consciousness, turning his attention towards the new addition to the sky. Something he’d heard of, but never seen in the lights of home, for the sky there wasn’t dark enough for it to be seen.

The memory left, his attention returned to the small rucksack he’d packed the night before. A smile came as he thought of her, how his simple pleasures were her delight, the bemused smile that graced her lips. Kneeling down, he worked the flap open, drawing out things that had come along the path to here and now from then and there.

The cliff jutted out into space, a shelf which the night surrounded, still hiding the dangers of a misstep, the need for caution. He wasn’t foolish: this wasn’t the first time he’d been here, after all. This was a path he’d walked often over time, some nights in deepest cold or sweltering heat. Driving rain, winds, and snow had been his companions as well more often than he’d have liked to admit, though he never did. When he was far younger, it was so one soul wouldn’t worry. Now, with the passage of time, he’d allowed her to know it wasn’t, exactly, completely safe, but it would be fine.

He could have just appeared in the place he needed to be, but there was something about walking the path, as done for so many years and decades now, that made it feel like a betrayal, a loss of respect for the place he was and what he came to see, to arrive by other means. A mote of light in the sea of the universe should have respect, after all.

The first thing placed on the ground from his gear was a small tripod. Worn, dearly old, a gift he’d received on his eleventh birthday which was still with him. Oh, he had better ones now, without question, but he brought this one to this place on the first night. Next came the camera, the leather of the grips worn smooth, the metal worn down in places from years of being held by slightly rough hands. Some had asked why he did not use the modern things; they didn’t seem to understand the need to follow through on a treasured memory, it seemed.

As he turned the camera over, the back sprung open when he touched the lever. He recalled the reactions when he explained that not everything happened in an instant, sometimes you had to work at things to make them happen. The path from beginning to finish mattered, and being impatient was never acceptable.

The small tube, capped with a grey lid, rested comfortably in his hand—another of those bygone things that the world didn’t have time for on its path forwards. Opening the top, he enjoyed the light smell that came. It was hard to explain to others the attraction of a roll of film, unprocessed, not as yet having captured time or space.

Years of practised motion took the film along its path from waiting to be used to being in place, the camera closed. There was nothing to do the work for him. There was no automatic wind, no autofocus, no perfect exposure. The shutter closed under a finger, the film moved forwards as his thumb moved from left to right. His tradition was three shots made, the camera pointed out into the darkness without form, a void, the rim travelling on its path before mounting the camera onto the tripod that waited for its role. Lastly, the shutter cable was unwound, connected to the release. All was prepared for the moment to be.

The creatures of the night still held sway as he rested on the ledge, looking out towards the horizon, his mind racing to calculate the length of the exposure, the direction, how much aperture needed, the depth of field required. Again his thoughts passed back to the first night: how cold it was, his hands turning blue, risking frostbite to capture that which he’d been driven to see, the wind whipping around him, snow soaking into his clothes and yet not being miserable about it. Far from it: the discomfort was part of the moment, gave memory and meaning to it all. This night wasn’t a trial. Far from it: the night was warm, a midsummer’s night, one that promised the experience would be well worth the effort. Turning the mount a few degrees to the right and raising the angle slightly before locking it, all that remained was to wait for things to travel on their paths.

He felt her long before she made her appearance, there was but one path and there was no hiding from one’s Eternal, after all. Even if that red-tailed, ebon haired seductress probably could have managed it, this was something special to him and she’d not just appear out of thin air: “Is there room for two?”

His answer was a chuckle: “Always. Watch for the slippery rock on the right.”

He heard her steps, she did avoid the rock he’d warned about: “All set?”

She probably could see his smile, even if he was looking towards the horizon: “Yup. All set.”

The cable release rested between his left thumb and forefinger, ready to be triggered, his thumb brushing over the plunger as she settled in beside him. They were quiet for a time. He patiently waited before the love of his life rested her hand on his shoulder: “How many will this be?”

He thought about that: the winters alone, the summer nights with the crickets his only companion, the spring rains that made him shiver, the fall leaves swirling about him. He thought about the long path that he’d been on, where it had taken him, the wonder he saw, not in the sky forming, but the woman beside him. His answer was the truth: “First with you.”

He enjoyed the glow of her eyes as the sky flashed a warning and he pressed the shutter, locking it down. The aurora washed over the sky, the multicoloured hues casting light upon the two small motes of light in the universe that had come to see the spectacle above. The lights above danced their way over the sky, entwining with each other, casting their beauty upon the souls below who laid beneath, curled together, making their own light in their own entwining. In the moment the passions of the universe met the love of two souls captured within their own orbits. The skies seemed a bit brighter, more vibrant, the night sky painting above while the souls below marveled in the ecstasy of light above.

A slim hand, tipped with red nails, reached out to the release, ending one exposure for the sake of another. The skies lightened as the night continued on its path, the dawn arrived on its own. Amongst all, the path of a soul, brought from the past to the present, from isolated joy to shared wonder, continued onwards.

The path stretched into infinity, offering itself to be discovered and remembered, shared and held. A path shared with the universe given hope that the next moment, the next memory, would be what the path promised it to be.

03 Aug 17:19

paladin: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

paladin: any determined advocate or defender of a noble cause.
03 Aug 17:19

dorp: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

dorp: a village; hamlet.
02 Aug 19:10

Verbs of your being.

by Jessica Hagy

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01 Aug 13:44

variegated: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

variegated: varied in appearance or color; marked with patches or spots of different colors.
01 Aug 13:43

One pair smells new. The other pair just smells.

by Jessica Hagy

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30 Jul 14:55

The Gartner Hype cycle.How the expectations of new technologies...



The Gartner Hype cycle.

How the expectations of new technologies often evolves.

More at Gartner’s Hype cycle page.

30 Jul 14:54

ridinhii:We are alive while the world is dying and what we do in...



ridinhii:

We are alive while the world is dying and what we do in our lifetimes might just save her. Do you recognize your honor and responsibility? 🙏🏽✨ (at New York, New York)

30 Jul 14:53

Framed Arms: Sotheron-Estcourt, First Baron Estcourt

by Stephen J F Plowman

eBay vendor diggerlee is offering for sale a splendid framed rendition of the Arms of George Sotheron-Estcourt, the first Baron Estcourt impaled with those of his wife, Monica Stapylton.

Estcourt Arms Impaled detail

 

Arms: Quarterly 1st and 4th Ermine on a chief indented Gules three mullets of six points Or a bordure of the last charged with eight cinquefoils Sable (for Estcourt) 2nd & 3rd Gules on a bend indented between six cross crosslets Argent three eagles displayed Sable a canton ermine for distinction (for Sotheron).

Impaling

Argent a lion rampant a crescent for difference Sable (for Stapylton)

Crests: 1st Issuant from a mural crown per pale Azure and Gules a demi-eagle with wings displayed Or on each wing a mullet of six points also Azure (for Estcourt). 2nd An eagle with two heads displayed per pale Argent and Gules the wings semy of cross crosslets counterchanged murally crowned, beaked and membered Or charged on the breast with a cinquefoil gold for distinction.

Supporters: On either side an eagle reguardant wings expanded and inverted Or gorged with a chain og the last pendant therefrom an escutcheon Or the dexter charged with the Arms of Estcourt the sinister with those of Sotheron.

Motto: Deo Gratias

 

 

 


30 Jul 14:53

Livery Button: Burdett of Burthwaite

by Stephen J F Plowman

eBay vendor dellyboot61 is offering for sale a livery button with a martlet on top of a tower.

Tower-Martlet-Ebay2

A trawl through Fairbairn’s Book of Crests finds Plate 156.9 and a list of possible armigers;

Tower-Martlet-Compiled

Upon reflection, given the wealth & status associated with it, I think that the Burdett’s of Burthwaite are the most likely candidates for this livery button.


30 Jul 14:52

ballon: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

ballon: the lightness and grace of movement that make a dancer appear buoyant.
30 Jul 14:50

Lexicon Devil

by Zak Sabbath
Click to enlarge
Scientists will tell you a ghost is no more than a memory and a memory is no more than a series of linguistic signifiers indicating some absent arrangement of sensations. What they do not know is that the language itself can become malevolent. The lexicon devil is a ghost composed of language, like a computer virus rewriting real life.

These incorporeal, invisible and untouchable ghosts are summoned when a violent soul does violence to language and those forms of language do not die with it—when the shape of the departed’s vocabulary and the particularity of their word choices is still powerfully active in the world: Dictators whose regimes carry on and deluded justifying mass murderers whose diaries are published for mass consumption, self-serving philosophers of injustice whose philosophies still influence the living can give birth to lexicon devils. So long as language is used in such a way as to make, for example, an immigrant “an illegal”, fascist death squads “freedom fighters”, or life-and-death facts into “nitpicks”, a lexicon devil may be loose. They seek to encourage in death the forms of iniquity they invented in life.

The soul of the devil is contained in a text, and that text will be the earliest still-extant text that expresses the violence of their creator’s intentions against the world—a diary, a speech, a private letter, even a note scrawled on a wall. The devil’s first act, once summoned, will be to take whatever steps necessary to hide at least one version of the text away and alter copies (including, if necessary, online and digital versions). The ghost can be exorcised only by finding the text and reading it aloud before witnesses in a room containing the devil. Beginning to read the text paralyzes the devil.

(Demon City Stats)

Calm: 0
Agility: 10
Toughness: n/a
Perception: 10
Appeal: n/a
Cash: 7 (via manipulation of online accounts)
Knowledge: 8

Calm Check: 6


Special Abilities:

Incorporeal and intangible: The lexicon devil has a physical location and moves at normal speed, but it cannot be touched or touch anything.

Sabotage language: Each round, the devil can transform one word per sentence of spoken or written language of any text in its presence, or one sentence alone on a given page of written text. It uses this ability to create false orders, requests and information in order to cause various unknowing pawns to carry out its plans. For instance it might change the address of a DEA raid to target an investigator on its trail, instruct a librarian—via email—to misfile the text containing its soul, or cause friends to offend each other with their choice of words. The ghost may (and will) alter texts in closed books in rooms it occupies but cannot operate a computer on its own—it can only change a text if in the presence of someone who accesses a page or file (the alteration will, however, affect the source code of that page, causing it to forever be altered whenever that page is brought up). Speakers who have had their words changed will not be aware of this.

Garble: Once per round, the devil can renders written or spoken communication impossible for chosen targets. The devil may make a target unable to be understood (including objects, like books, computers or phone) or unable to understand. Lasts one hour.

Weaknesses:

The devil cannot speak or touch anything and cannot speak.

The devil cannot move so long as the text containing its soul is being read aloud within earshot. Reading it fully in front of witnesses exorcizes it.
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23 Jul 14:03

A rather unique Succubus Speedpaint YouTube

by TeraS

There are, obviously, quite a number of YouTubes that show artists creating art of succubi. This time on the Tale, one that I think is rather unique and interesting in many ways…

 

If you cannot see this video here on the Tale, please try this link.

Here is the completed work by this artist as well:

Succubus by Ilustra-on

Succubus by Ilustra-on

The artist also placed the completed artwork on DeviantArt, and you can find that art here.

I think her expression is what makes this art special and unique. There’s sort of a melancholy in her eyes and lips that is really emotional.

There’s also a kind of Faery aspect to her which makes things more interesting as well. I like art that tells a story and she has a story to tell…

 

Tera

22 Jul 14:11

When To Use Dice

by Zak Sabbath
1. If an outcome is not in doubt, don't use dice.

"The door is locked."
"I have the key."
"The door opens."

2. If an outcome is in doubt but failure could not produce any result with interesting consequences, don't use dice.

"The door is locked and, like we said before, you're really drunk."
"I have the key but maybe I dropped it?"
"Sure, but you get in there eventually and get to bed before your phone goes off at 7 am the next morning when you hear your brother's been murdered."

3. If an outcome is in doubt, and success and failure could both result in different interesting consequences, use dice.

"The door is locked, like we said before you're really drunk, and behind the door you hear your brother--'Marty, Marty, I've been shot!"
"I open the door!"
"It's not so easy since you're drunk--roll!"

4. If an outcome is in doubt, and success and failure could both result in the same interesting consequences, use dice but only if you want to ratchet up the tension--and only do this sparingly and to point out something strange is going on.

"The door is locked, like we said before you're really drunk, and behind the door you hear your brother--'Marty, Marty, I've been shot!"
"I open the door!"
"It's not so easy since you're drunk--roll!"
"Success!"
"THE LOCK HAS BEEN CHANGED! You're too late!"
"Why has the lock been changed?
"Why indeed? That's part of the mystery."

5. If an outcome is in doubt and success could not produce any interesting consequences, the GM probably wrote the adventure wrong.

"The door is locked, like we said before you're really drunk, and behind the door you hear your brother--'Marty, Marty, someone's trying to kill me and ps this whole adventure is going to be about figuring out who killed me!'"
"I open the door. Natural 20! Door's open, who's killing my brother?"
"Oh, fuck, umm..."

6. If someone at the table thinks using dice would be more fun than just making a decision normally alotted to them, use dice

"The door is....roll roll....locked"
"I have the key, I open it."
"Behind it is...(rolls on a table)..holy hell it's your brother, he's bleeding out on the floor!"
"I...(rolls on a table)...tell him I never liked him anyway."
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p.s. Yes I know about Vincent Baker's "Say yes or roll dice". It doesn't work for all games.

"The door is locked."
"I have the key."
"Umm, no you don't you don't even know whose house this is?"
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19 Jul 12:35

Have you heard about breast cancer? It’s a thing!

by Jessica Hagy

Share and Enjoy:DiggStumbleUpondel.icio.usFacebookTwitterGoogle Bookmarks

The post Have you heard about breast cancer? It’s a thing! appeared first on Indexed.

17 Jul 13:44

Holidays & Days of Note for July 16th, 2017*   National Ice...





Holidays & Days of Note for July 16th, 2017

*   National Ice Cream Day. (U.S.) Lincoln made Thanksgiving official, Woodrow Wilson did the same for Mother’s Day, in 1984 Ronald Reagan made the 3rd Sunday in July officially Ice Cream Day, or as was said then

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim The 3rd Sunday of each year Ice Cream Day, I call upon all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities." 

I jive you not, so far it hasn’t made the splash the other two have.

So unlike all the other “food holidays” that pop up during the year this one is really, really legal and if it happened on a day other than Sunday government offices would be closed. Take that Corn Fritter Day.

*   National Fresh Spinach Day (U.S.) Always on the 16th, making this pairing kind of awkward I guess.

*   National Corn Fritter Day (U.S.)

*   World Snake Day

*   And it’s the feast day for Saint Elvira (Catholic) as well as 22 other saints, I only bring up St. Elvira because I use to watch her show with the old horror movies when it was on TV.

17 Jul 13:43

alveolate: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

alveolate: deeply pitted, as a honeycomb.
15 Jul 14:41

Quantum

If you draw a diagonal line from lower left to upper right, that's the ICP 'Miracles' axis.
15 Jul 14:31

glocal: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

glocal: of or relating to the interconnection of global and local issues, factors, etc.
15 Jul 14:30

ameliorate: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

ameliorate: to make or become better, more bearable, or more satisfactory.