Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Return of Reader Mail

Why are you posting filler, Palette?

Fuck off and die, you elitist asshole.

How was your holiday season?

My Christmas was good. Very good. Shockingly good, in fact, considering that it was the first time in several years both of my siblings were present. Now I can get along with either my brother or my sister, but not both at the same time, for the simple reason that they are much older than I (7 and 10 years, respectively) but there is only a 3 year gap between them. Thus, when they are together, they usually team up against me. I'm pretty sure it's not intentional, but that's just the way it is. And if they're not ganging up on me, they're doing it to my mom (but not my father, aka The Colonel, who Brooks No Shit).

New Years' Eve, however, was a completely different matter. I went to my room at 10 pm to avoid the yelling and fighting, and stayed there until 2008.

What happened to your Khaotica posts? Weren't there some weeks left?

I was planning on extending Khaotica up through New Years' Day, but things got pretty crazy pretty quick in my life (see siblings arrival, above), so I decided to take my own advice and drink a large dose of Chill the Fuck Out.

Now that I've had time to think about it, the notion of giving weekly assignments -- i.e., imposing order -- for a holiday season devoted to enjoying chaos has the stink of Greyface all over it. Of course, I could also be guilty of over-analysis (don't forget, analysis has the word anal in it). So I guess I'll let the concept of Khaotica ferment and bubble in my brain for the next year. Maybe Eris will grant me enlightenment. Maybe she won't give a damn. Goddess likes to fuck with my mind like that.

How's your writing-as-career thing coming?

Slowly, I'm afraid. Far too slowly.

Quantum Mechanix had a good Christmas, I am told (if you bought something from them, THANK YOU!), so hopefully they will have more assignments for me soon.

Project Perseus has undergone a bit of a sea change. The original premise is dead, gone, and buried, due mostly to creative differences I had with my co-author (but we're still good friends.) But I like the name enough that I'm appending it to my newest project, which has less certainty of being published but is filled with far more awesome. No, I'm not ready to divulge details yet.

Heliumpunk is not forgotten, either; it's simply reached a stage where I, as a writer, am not yet skilled enough to pull it off convincingly. I continue to work on it a little each day, either through research or character development or what-have-you, but Project Perseus is getting far more clock cycles devoted to it. Heliumpunk is looking to be my second novel.

How many PCs did you kill in your L5R game last week?

Last week? None. By design. This week, however...

Short version without context for those who care: The PCs are at Winter Court in Crab lands. They are all Emerald Magistrates, so when someone in the castle is brutally murdered by what appears to be Maho, it's their duty to investigate, find the culprit, and punish the guilty. Of course, this being a castle within 100 yards of the Shadowlands, things are never straightforward. In fact, there are many contradictory clues and red herrings. The PCs, of course, insist on following up on every lead and entertaining increasingly ludicrous possibilities. Then, when called before Hida Kisada to report what they find, they make the mistake of waffling, disagreeing amongst themselves, and generally appearing incompetent.

Hint: When the Great Bear asks you a question, you answer. You don't start with "Well, we're really not sure..."

So Kisada has the most likely suspect brought before him, clubs him like a steer, and beheads him in front of the PCs, despite it being pretty obvious that said suspect has been framed. They are then told that if the just-executed man wasn't the guilty party and more maho deaths continue, it's their own damn fault for having let the Shadowlands mislead them. (Moral of the story: Confusion is a weapon of the Shadowlands. Good samurai do not succumb to confusion.)

In situations like this, a typical samurai would request permission for seppuku to atone for such failure. (There's more to the story, of course; they also failed to protect the bride-to-be of a Clan daimyo from the Taint, etc etc.) This being the land of the Crab, of course, ritual suicide is considered wasteful. Thus, they have three options:
  1. Be assigned to the very tip of the sharp end on the Great Kaui Wall, where their deaths might actually slow down an Oni for a few seconds.
  2. Be made Ronin. Fortunately for them, the Crab are having a Twenty Goblin Winter. So all they have to do is go into the Shadowlands poorly armed and armored (remember, with the exception of your daisho, your armor and weapons belong to your daimyo) and kill 20 goblins each for them to be accepted back into the Clan.
  3. Or they can go on a ridiculously difficult quest -- bordering on the suicidal, in fact -- deep into the Shadowlands to retrieve a lost ancestral relic of the Crab that could tip the balance in the Thousand-Year War. This, of course, is the adventure I have prepared for them.
I feel I should note for the record that I'm not deliberately trying to slaughter the party; I do in fact want them to live. But I have a strong anti-stupidity stance, and the moment they cross into Hell On Earth, the dice fall where they may.

Ridiculous question intended to elicit twitters of mirth.

Snarky non sequitur response that enables me to end this post in a sarcastic fashion.

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