Monday, September 12, 2011

Put Away the GM's Shield

Put Away the GM's Shield
By Vincent L. Cleaver

I think that I'm done with GMing for a while, and will hang up my shield.
I'd like to play a friendly neighborhood werewolf, and roam far afield,
With 'Billy and The Alphas' I'd patrol the streets of that toddlin' town,
Defending the weak and clueless, stopping bad guys wherever found...

Or be like Mike, Carpenter, that is; God bless him and all of his!
I'd urge Sergeant Murphy to take up the sword, there ain't no Wiz 8-(
But she could not abandon her city so easily, nor go far, far,
And neither, I think, could I  finally run crunchy ol' D-F-R!

Per-maybe-haps I could do captain-y things, on some rusty old death trap.
With plenty of trouble and a cute little mechanic (I'll be taking a pleasant nap 8-),
But I would not break my heart in Serenity Valley, no, not ever again,
And lately the Cortex system has somewhat lost its charm, my friend.

What is that, you say? Meddling kids and a talking dog, too?
Why not, you suggest, be running 'Scooby Doo of Cthulhu'?
It all sounds like a fun little evening for four to six,
But, alas, I seem to have mislaid my case files; nix, nix...

It is a thing, a tired and selfish thing, but there it is, let it suffice.
Somebody else can sit at the head of the table, roll the dice,
And run a game that's not about beating up on the green races.
That lets the players back in the peoples' and the gods' good graces.
One which sets out to save the world, all the worlds, or maybe just Tea!
Something weird, something wonderful, something... y'know, for me?

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I've been reading Bulldogs! on my Nook, and I really like the system. It's FATE, but a much less crunchy version than Spirit of the Century or Dresden Files. I'd love to run a game where I can sit down with a half dozen friends and world-build a fantasy setting, which is one thing I dodn't think we can do with DFRPG, unless we defocus the Urban Fantasy tropes... Gah!

Off the cuff SFnal goodness, here we come!

)Just add players... 8-(

The PCs are the crew of a down-on-it's-luck tramp merchant (sounds familiar! 8-), but working for The Man, TransGalactic, and under the thumb of a tyrranical, loser NPC captain... (sorry Fillian!) But Trans-G doesn't expect much and is more than happy to turn a blind eye on profitable side-ventures, so Trouble- I mean, Adventure Awaits!

Matters Dense, Behavior Uncommon

I am a damn silly fat man,
Of more than two score plus two.
And I write silly fic-fan,
To amuse you, and you, and you!
Sometimes I make a little sense,
Touch on things that lie
Near unto the heart of matters dense
Which answers the 'Why?'
With another question or three-
Why do we fight, why there is pain,
What does it mean to simply be?
And hope for behavior uncommon, humane.

The Dream-Teller

"I see a rose, a red, red rose. It is a perfect flower, arranged with others like it on a pleasant rosebush, verdant, vibrant-"
The woman jerked and the Dream-Teller felt her fingers trembling. He peeked through eyelids barely shut to see her tears, rolling down her gaunt cheeks. "What do you see, now?"
"I see the rosebush torn out of the ground, roots and loose dirt falling... a hand, torn and bleeding on the thorns. Tears and blood are raining on the violated ground."
Powerful imagery, the old man allowed. Mrs. Hendricks was always a welcome customer, and not just for her coin or her small-talk...
"What does this dream mean?"
The Dream-Teller opened his eyes and signalled for the boy, his apprentice, to clear away the tea cups. He shook his white-haired head and his cheeks were wet, too. "This is a thing that I would not tell you..." and he paused dramatically. "There is love turned around, and murder, remorse, suicide!"
"My daughter and her fiancé?"
"Perhaps. It is someone close to you..."
"But if not that nasty, shifty animal, then who?" Gloria Hendricks muttered as she hastily paid his fee and departed.
"That was amazing," the apprentice cried, once the good matron had left. He put the jingling coins safely away and brought out lunch.
"Oh, that?" The Dream-Teller smiled at the flattery, but reflected that the boy was still too new at the game to appreciate the delicacies. It was all about information and intuition, really. "I just told her what she wanted to hear, given the dream which she related..."
"Son, the unconscious is fairly reliable, and a decent way to assess threats, when you follow it up with sweet reason." The old man shrugged. "Maybe she knew something which she didn't know she knew?"

More Rambling

I watched a little Avatar this morning; just missed 'The Cave of The Two Lovers', probably my favorite episode after Lake Laogai. It verges on filler, like the despised 'The Great Divide', but the story of the two lovers, and of *our* two lovers, is worth a lot of silliness.

I need to write today, and do a few other things, but mostly I really should write at least my 500 words... (What to write, Vinnie? 8-P Something weird, something wonderful!)

My big anime find of recent note was 'Summer Wars', a pleasant little romance comedy anime movie in the Miyazaki mode. The boy is shy, but impresses the girl by leading the charge to save the world, and then gets the girl, the stereotypical happy ending (to paraphrase that bit on the lawyer show about gloating, there's nothing wrong with a happy ending, as long as it's done well... 8-). I would dictate gallons of blood, tears and sweat, for my heroes ought to damn well *earn* their happy ending, but I am a bastridge!

'How the States Got Their Shapes', by Mark Stein is something I've wanted to do something with for a rather long time... either a fantasy setting, or more likely a SFnal one, with a provisional territories and such. The US Lunar Territories and the great state of Tranquility? Mars and a space elevator ribbon dropped down to Peacock Mountain?

What if, to protect and save our world, another one, just as terrible and wonderful, had to be destroyed? Who would be the hero and who the villain?

Wilhelmina Cannon, who I worked with for eight years, died last Friday, and I went to her viewing this Friday. Now, I really shouldn't be eating candy anymore, but I get these little fun-size packs of snickers and share with the rest, including Wilhelmina... I made sure she had a pack, and folded an origami heart for her casket. She was annoying at times, but I liked her, if that makes any sense at all. I'm going to write her into the Abducted stories, after a fashion...

Some of the abducted are grandmas and grandpas. The slavers took mostly the young, the aggressive; some might even say the not-too-bright, but not really. And some of the abducted were, if not seasoned citizens, then perhaps a little bit over the hill...
But not Wilma.
Wilma had three children and four grandbabies. The abductees were spared having to stare at pictures, but not the endless stories. I think, now, that this is what kept her focused like a laser beam, not on here and now, and survival, but on the Homeworld. The guards and trainers who tried to make an example of her for her 'malingering' all eventually met with curious and sometimes fatal accidents, the result of a geriatric mafia of sorts and her version of the Baker Street Irregulars.
Hers was a cunning and unconventional strategic mind, who played mind-games with sky-marshalls and starship captains. She wasn't the leader, but she was the kingmaker and schemer. Hers was the plan, perfectly plotted and executed, which won freedom for nearly two thousand janissaries, the crews of Frederick Douglas, Agamemnon, Fearless, Dauntless, Majestyk and Columbia Too... shines the names; brave ships and braver crews!
Well, we ended their damned galactic war and won the next one, when the Ubers rolled into the wider galaxy. But by then there was no going home to Earth anymore...
I think that she felt that she had done her part- y'know, Kipling and his 'little bit'? For as sure as the married man fights for more than one, Grandma fought for all the rest of us.
And then she laid down her burden and was still.