My Games

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A World of Many Elements (More Generated Elements)

Four more elements from the Elements Generator. Intentionally avoiding redundancies with the elements in the first post, otherwise fully randomized. I wrote these and the previous four as if they were all part of the same micro-setting, but they don't depend on each other or the setting.

Element 5: Memoria
Color: Green
State: Vaporizing
Additional Quality 1: Iridescent
Additional Quality 2: Fibrous

An elusive pattern in a pea soup fog, reflecting yesterday's light. Thick enough to be cut with a machete, but beware, snapped fibers don't repair easily. The source of the oracles' visions and the wisdom of elders; the species now believes it to be a dilation of cultural consciousness as it evolves; a magnified moment of complexity between an enthalpic and entropic state of awareness. The first generalized artificial intelligence was trained on a data stream of memoria.

Element 6: Liminalium
Color: Rainbow
State: Gas
Additional Quality 1: Incandescent
Additional Quality 2: Semi-translucent

A common origin myth of the species is that all of space and time has always existed all at once, undifferentiated, until the world sneezed into existence. Globular gaseous particles permeate, hot waves slicing reality into holographic categories of Truth. All things have a spectral signature under liminalium, and many unfortunate deeds have been committed upon those based on their visible liminalium signature. Scientists now know that what liminalium reflects visibly only loosely correlates with the spectroscopy. Nonetheless, it was crucial for the development of the natural sciences, and continues to be a source of scientific and philosophical inquiry today.

Element 7: Heartstar
Color: Magenta
State: Plasma
Additional Quality 1: Metallic
Additional Quality 2: Splash of Pale

A silky, oily magma of a metal never seen in solid state, brilliant, yet marred with pale flecks. Painfully hot to the touch, yet provocative like a blister, or a sexual taboo. The oldest novel of the species and the majority since have been tales of romance and conquest, inspired by or in pursuit of heartstar. The most popular commercial formulation today is sold under the brand name Mineral Love.

Element 8: Paradoxicon
Color: Electromagnetic (X-Ray)
State: Solid
Additional Quality 1: Gelatinous
Additional Quality 2: Splash of Teal

Vessels of impossible shapes like borromean rings and penrose triangles, no two exactly alike, barely visible except for a teal mesh, like an engineering schematic diagram. Something not quite life but life-like, like a macro-virus, a mystery of the universe even today. Each paradoxicon is like a complex puzzle, containing otherwise inconceivable wisdom. Those few in history who have cracked a paradoxicon are remembered as saints who went on to change the world with their well-earned wisdom. A common koan of the species is to ask: did civilization begin with the cracking of a paradoxicon, or with the solution that cracked it?

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Speculative Fantasy

Another old unfinished draft from 2019. Tbh these are a little half-baked and I wanted to have more of them, but it's a kernel of something. I'm sure people could run with this; any suggestions, recommendations, etc. appreciated

Inspired by Speculative Fiction such as Neal Stephenson, Charles Stross, and Adrian Tchaikovsky, and TTRPG works such as Lichjammer, Cryptomancer, and Magical Industrial Revolution. Exploring the implications of magic or other fantastical concepts not so much in a hard scifi sense, but extrapolating as if they were real.

  1. The nobility are ancient and powerful Warrior-Wizards, immortal Liches, who are worshiped by their subjects as God-Kings. They are not necessarily evil, in fact many are quite wise, but they are ruthless and cunning.

  2. The peasant and warrior classes have been largely replaced by undead labor. These workers that have no needs or wants, that can persist in any environment, and that follow orders instantly and without question, have made human labor obsolete. This is how the Dwarven Mines, the Underdark, and the Deep Oceans were conquered. Most humans live simple and easy lives of sheltered ignorance and luxury, at the expense of other peoples and the natural order.

  3. Magic doors and teleportation spells have made traditional geopolitics obsolete. "Kingdoms" no longer exist in a literal sense, but are distributed across the world, by ideals or interests. This affects everything from architecture, transit, art and culture, and commerce. Small or self-sustaining villages far along the abandoned roads may as well be another world from the "kingdoms".

  4. Communication and information storage has been made near-perfect and near-instant across a complex network of message spells and other similar magics. The security of this information is the lynchpin of all social, governmental, and military influence, and so while warrior-mages still exist, most magic-users are effectively cryptoanalysts and cryptosecurity administrators. Basically Cryptomancer bc I never fleshed this idea out further than that...

  5. Uber-powerful magics such as wish spells have been so thoroughly exploited, that reality has exceeded a threshold of acceptable paradox, and has fractured into a non-linear, mega-dimensional multiverse. World-breaking magics have as a result become almost completely devalued, like magical inflation. Instead, various factions use more subtle magics and espionage in synchrony across the multiverse to manipulate reality in their favor. It's a magical multiversal super-spy cold war.

  6. The discovery of divine magic, irrefutable proof of (at least one) Divinity, a True Metaphysic and True Ethic, changed everything.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

GLOG Two-Player Class: Ogre

An old and unfinished draft from 2019. Bad Whiskey Games beat me to the punch and my heart wasn't really in it anyway, but this is technically playable albeit incomplete, not a terrible writeup, so here it is for all.

The fearsome two-headed ogres cometh! For creatures so large and formidable, one may wonder why they aren't more ubiquitous. As it turns out, the two-headed ogre has a proclivity for getting in its own way; the perfect counterfactual to two heads being better than one. It's not that they aren't bright, contrary to popular belief, ogres are naturally quite gifted, and many an ogre head has trained in the finer arts of wizardry. However, the ogre bickers with itself so frequently, so tactlessly, so shamelessly, as to give the impression of being an adolescent dimwit. That said, an ogre whose two heads have learned to work in unison is a threat of both brain and brawn, not to be trifled with.

Unique Mechanics:

  • The Ogre is played by two players! It has two heads but one body, so while they share physical stats, they have separate mental stats.

  • The Ogre is a large creature, so adjust dice accordingly.

  • The two heads may add abilities from the templates below, or take separate classes. If they take separate classes, only the head that took that class gains the benefit (if this would not make sense for some reason, consult your GM and come up with a reasonable solution).

  • The two players choose their actions simultaneously in combat. They should write down roughly what they intend to do and hand it to the GM (or blurt it out simultaneously). The Ogre can attack twice, or attack and cast a spell, or attack and move, but only if moving towards the target. if one head moves away from the target that the other head attempted to attack, treat as a critical fail. Basically, magic resolves first, then movement, then physical attack.

  • Outside of combat, the Ogre is assumed to function normally, unless the players disagree on a course of action. They can argue it out (in character, of course) until the GM gets bored, then the GM can make them roll to Punch it Out.

  • Punch it Out: A coin flip or high-low on a die. The two heads punch, kick, and wrestle each-other / themselves in a cartoon dust-pile fight for a moment, and then take whatever action the winner of the roll decided. 

Starting Gear:


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Weird & Wonderful Wavelengths (Variety Show s1e3)

It has been a while
Welcome back to this weird show
Beware the monsters

Somewhere between the blink of an eye and a dissociative episode, the Weird & Wonderful Wavelength oscillates backwards in time. Transposed along the imaginary plane, playing imaginary, we find ourselves in a peculiar black and green room. The striking contrast, jarring sometimes, the pain compels like poking a blister. A mild irritant, a bulging wallet in the back pocket as the waiter lights the absinthe and the green fire and black-burnt sugar drips into the glass. A pyrite spiral, a heckler aggressively ignored, a mild imperfection steals a degree of freedom from an otherwise perfectly composed show. A mildly amusing non-sequitur. 


A not even quite not-review of Russian Doll Season 2 in all of its amazingness.

Just finished Russian Doll season 2 <Editors Note: This was a while ago! Fortunately we have Spacetime Breaching Technology (TM)>, damn this was incredible. I can't believe more people aren't talking about how good this is. It's kind of uncanny how much it is my jam lol. Like without spoilers, it's got the unfinished corner, metro as metaphor and setting, exploration of self, magical realism, weird high concept scifi. Natasha Lyonne as Nadia is also just like the biggest fucking badass of all time. Like she just does not give a fuck in all the right ways, but also is unafraid to challenge herself. She's just the right amount of deranged, but also no matter how badly she fucks up or delusional she seems, she actually has her shit together and wins at life. And Allan is also this really healthy version of feminine masculinity not played as a joke. He's vulnerable and expressive and even though he's a neurotic wreck he ultimately knows how to take responsibility for himself, however he defines it. I'm not claiming it's as good as Season 1, but it was good in its own right.

Philosophical Soapbox

I was thinking about the nature of "evil", and Boltzmann Brains, and one possibility is that it's kind of like that. There are various evolutionary pressures both ways, and mostly they balance out to a degree of functionality. But given enough complexity i.e. time, improbable events occur and we behave in ways that are not truly rational, even if they maybe work in that myopic moment. That's a way of thinking about the nature of evil that's almost independent of any prescribed ethic.

Psychedelic Pedantry Pastime

P^3 (P-cube): Perpetual Psionic Process: A psionic process is of the mind. Mental processes are multiplicative; the activation of one memory coactivates related memories which reinforce each other; reliving the memory of a psionic process is itself an instantiation of a psionic process, and every other psionic process in memory; a lifetime of psionic processes coactivate as a product across consciousness*spacetime.

More plainly, the idea is that if a psionic process is, by definition, mental in nature, then there is not a meaningful distinction between physical reality and simulated reality- a memory- except that memories can be wrong, can change, and can violate physical assumptions.

When a psionicist reflects on their own thoughts and memories, or times they used their psionic powers, they aren't just remembering those events, they are recreating them, and possibly altering them. It plays into some ideas around quantum animism or consciousness as a set of dimensions alongside the dimensions of space and time.

Psionicists have to be conscious of their thoughts and memories, and how they perceive them. The less structured their mind, the more powerful they become, but it can recurse and multiply beyond their control. Whereas a psionicist with a very structured way of self reflection, and of how they relate their memories and their internal semantics, will not be as powerful, but much more controlled and precise in how they use their abilities.

Last Call

One more cup of coffee for the road, please. There's a kind of ennui, or horror in the mundane, haunting reminiscences, the tension of an unwitting voyeur catching an embarrassing faux pas.