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Actual bits of writing

the D-Bug

You know those stories about regular, ordinary people? Probably not. They're just regular, ordinary people. If their lives were interesting enough to tell stories about, they wouldn't be regular, ordinary people. But you throw in anything extraordinary, and they're the latest sensation of the world. This one kid that lived in an abusive family, until they learned they could use magic. This other kid that chanced upon powerful technology out of the trash can. They're still regular people, so you could still relate to them, but the things that happen to them are anything but ordinary.

That actually used to be my favorite kind of book to read. The closet wizards and accidental adventurers of the world were my every day fantasy. I'd prayed every day that something would happen to me that'd put me in their ranks. But every day I'd wake up, eat breakfast, go for a walk, and find that all the interesting events of the day had just missed me. It wasn't a problem with where I lived - my city was well known for its prevalence of Weird Stuff - but maybe I either wasn't looking hard enough, or it's one of those "watched pot" things, and it'll never happen if you expect it to. Such was the life of an unemployed college grad, I supposed.

I rolled out of bed at about 9 in the morning. I was tired of the daily grind, of applying for work and idly maintaining my various journals and micro-blog accounts. Nothing was happening, online or off. As I closed my five year old laptop (hey, it'd gotten me through a four-year degree at least), I swore I saw something flickering out the corner of my eye. Did that wall just turn black for a split second? No. Walls don't flicker. I even said this to myself. "Walls don't flicker," I declared, staring at the painted slab of drywall next to my door. Sure enough, it didn't. Not while I was watching it, anyway.

The call of food beckoned me, so I stepped out the door and headed for the building's dining room. This wasn't really an apartment complex, or at least, it didn't used to be. At one point this was part of a major hotel chain, but it'd gone bankrupt about a decade ago, and the buildings were all sold off either as office space or for redevelopment. This was one of the few that, more or less, remained as it was. It didn't operate as a hotel anymore, though...more like super-economy micro-flats. For those underprivileged losers who can't afford to rent an apartment that has more than two rooms in it. But amazingly, most of the old hotel amenities still operated. Rooms didn't have kitchens or that sort of thing, but the hotel got cable TV, wireless internet, and the "continental breakfast" part now operated as a low-cost diner. Residents only, but you still had to pay for food. Just not as much, because part of it came out of rent. And even then, rent wasn't that hard.

I didn't get much for food. I didn't feel like I needed that much. My stomach was probably going to try to eat itself someday, but my appetite was probably as big as a thimble, so I just grabbed a banana, paid the fifty cents for it, and munched on it as I hiked up the stairs back to my room. As I carded the door open (the new building owners never changed the old hotel key card locks), I could have sworn I saw the thermostat by the door giving off a faint white glow. On closer inspection, it wasn't glowing at all. I rubbed the boogers out of my eyes and started walking towards the bed, but felt something small clip me in the arm. Probably a bee or something, I figured, and made to keep moving, but the buzzing noise that was now hovering behind me was annoying enough that I forced myself to deal with it.

I grabbed wildly at the air, somehow convinced that this was the way to deal with buzzing insect annoyances. I mean, it'd been working for most of my life. I'd only been bitten by a mosquito maybe...once a year? But this wasn't the time of year for mosquitos to be around, and whatever this was felt larger. Something almost the size of a Lego dude. And, if my ears weren't mistaken, it was squeaking. My hand closed around it at last. I still didn't know what I was holding, but I was going to let it outside. If it was that big, it was probably a protected species. I reached the sliding glass door that led to my tiny apartment's balcony (deceptively listed as part of the overall square footage, despite being barely large enough to place a chair and small table), but a pang of guilt stopped me from opening the door and throwing my catch out. I opened my hand slowly, careful not to let my prisoner escape.

Inside was not an insect or action figure, but what looked like a tiny girl. I could only barely make out any detail (I rubbed my eyes again to make sure I wasn't just sleepy), but her clothes looked like nothing I'd ever seen a real woman wearing outside of the local sci-fi convention, and her fairy-like wings made me wonder if I was dreaming about my old teenage anime obsession again. I opened my hand all the way, allowing her to get to her feet. She brushed herself off, then gave me a polite bow. "I apologize for the inconvenience. There has been an error." Her voice was sort of mouse-like...or at least, it sounded like cartoon mice tended to sound.

"An error?" I must have had a really dumb look on my face. What kind of facial expression was I supposed to have? I was pretty sure nobody like me had ever seen this before, so it's not like there was any kind of precedent I was supposed to follow.

"A small, correctable glitch in collision just beneath the thermostat. It is unlikely to be exploited, but I have been dispatched to correct it nonetheless. It should only take a few minutes." She bowed again. "Then I'll be on my way, and you can continue doing what you were doing."

"I'm sorry, but...what? Collision?" It was too early in the morning for this. "Am I still asleep?" I hadn't meant to say it out loud.

"No? Not unless there's a glitch in your consciousness. Would you like me to run a scan?" She flitted out of my hand towards my head, startling me enough to make me walk backwards into the thermostat. "Oh! Oh, my, please don't do that," she continued, now hovering in front of my face. "That's not recommended."

Now more awake than I was, on account of the bump, I needed some damn answers. "What are you?"

"Oh, someone asked! Now I get to do this!" She performed an elaborate mid-air pirouette. "I am an agent of the Holy Algorithm, tasked with the upkeep and maintenance of the underlying code of the universe. I am...a D-Bug!" She held her triumphant pose for a moment, but looked a bit unsure of herself. "Did I do that right? ...Oh. I wasn't supposed to do that at all."

"You're not in trouble, are you?" Why I was asking that, and not "what the hell is the Holy Algorithm?", was beyond me.

"I'm sorry! Please don't report me!"

"I'm not gonna...who would I report you TO?"

"I-I can't tell you!"

"What do you think I'm gonna do? I'm just...some guy! I'm not...hell, I don't even know what you're doing."

"Just don't tell anybody you saw me!"

I frustratedly pinched my cheek, convinced that this was a really annoying dream. Well, it wasn't. But the momentary pain brought me some much-needed focus. "No, I'm not gonna...I'm not sure anybody would believe me if I told them."

"Then, please step back - I'm sorry, step AWAY, not back - and stand by while I apply an update to local collision geometry." I followed her direction, carefully stepping in any direction other than backwards. The D-Bug, taking similar care, slowly hovered over to the bit of wall below the thermostat, extended both arms toward the wall, and began to...I'm not sure, it looked like she was talking to the wall, but so fast that I couldn't understand what the words were, let alone what language it was...if it was even a language that was meant to be spoken. The wall seemed to flicker a bit, disappearing for just a fraction of a second, with the thermostat remaining exactly where it always was. When the flickering stopped, I wasn't convinced anything had changed. But maybe I wasn't meant to. The fairy-like D-Bug returned to the airspace in front of my eyes. "Installation was successful," she said.

"What did you do?"

"I downloaded and installed an update to local collision geometry."

"No, I got that part, but what did it do?"

"Local physics calculations have been generating undefined behavior. If you had tried to stick your hand in there, it would have tried to pull you through."

"Sounds...unpleasant?"

"Between you and me, it's just another day at the office." She looked at me expectantly. "But before I say anything more, I need you to accept an agreement." She whipped out an old-looking paper scroll. To my scale, it looked like a rolled-up strip of masking tape.

"Accept a...I'm sorry, that doesn't sound right to me. A promise, you mean?"

"The legally-binding terms of this non-disclosure agreement provide that under no circumstances is the information divulged to be recorded, repeated, remembered, or..."

"So, don't tell anyone? Yeah. Fine. I agree."

"Huh?" She seemed surprised. "Usually people don't...just accept it right away."

"I've been blindly accepting license agreements for basically everything I do, for most of my life. It's not like I have friends I can go tell."

"You...really don't? That's so sad."

"Look at this place." I gestured around the two rooms that made up the little former hotel room that was my apartment. There was a bed, too short for me; a desk, just a repurposed table out of the dining room; an armoire, with half the hangars missing; and the bathroom, basically a small closet with a toilet and a shower that was never hot enough. "Would a guy who lives in a room like this have friends?"

"I would imagine it's not the home that matters," she suggested.

"Well, the point is, I don't know anybody to tell. And like I said, who would believe me?"

"Maybe I can be your friend. Then you can tell me!"

"But...you already know all of that stuff, because you're the one that told me."

"Oh. Whoops!"

"In any case, though, if you really wanted to be my friend, what's your name?"

"I am D-Bug Agent number zero-three-nine-five-nine-seven-nine-two," she announced excitedly.

"Just a number? Not a name?"

"We don't really use them. The Holy Algorithm dispatches us by memory address."

"Well, let's see...my parents had the bright idea to name me Raphael, but I go by Raf." I suddenly remembered I still had a banana in my hand that I hadn't even unpeeled yet. "Did you just not have a name at all, or something?"

The D-Bug looked embarrassed. "No."

"Well, maybe we can work on that later." I finally pulled the peel on the banana. It wasn't quite ripe enough yet, so it required some effort to get off. "So, uh, what exactly does a D-Bug do?"

"Like I said, our job is to maintain the universe, correct errors and glitches, and perform general upkeep."

"What kind of errors? You said something about me getting pulled through the wall..." Only now did I really grasp that that'd be a bit painful. Even though she fixed the wall, I felt a need to be somewhere away from it, so I sat over at my table and started to munch on the banana.

The D-Bug landed on my laptop and continued explaining things. "Well, there's collision glitches like that, but those are easy to fix. The real ones you want to watch out for are integer overflows, underflows, sensations or emotions being more powerful than they should be..."

"Is that why I cry in the shower sometimes?"

"...No? I don't think so, anyway...I could go backtrace your shower stall and see, though, if you wanted me to."

"No, no, it was a joke." It kind of wasn't.

"Okay, so, you know those times when something gets really popular and nobody knows why?"

"What, like POGs, or fidget spinners, or something?"

"Exactly those," she said. "The reason they get popular isn't because they're in the right place or anything. It's because someone chanced upon a glitch. People feel like they need these things and can't imagine a life without them, because somehow these things have become variables attached to them instead of just being, well, things." I started thinking about all the useless fads I'd ever been a part of. Trading cards, stupid poses for photos, that one video game where you collected all the stuff... "But if you're thinking about what I think you're thinking about, just because you like something doesn't mean you weren't supposed to. It's when these things start getting hold of people who, by all rights, would never be interested in them. Or when some random guy makes millions of dollars off something dumb. Or someone becomes so hated that his reputation rolls over and he becomes venerated as a religious figure."

"So it's the outliers, then, that are your problem."

"I mean, we do have to go through the process of backtracing and figuring out which memory values were being touched that weren't supposed to be..."

"People do this on purpose?"

"I don't think they realize they're doing what they're doing. They might figure out the pattern or something, but it's not like regular people can just peek into the source code and change things."

"And what about me? Am I a threat? Is it a glitch that I'm not getting anywhere? Something you can correct for?"

"You don't have the required permissions for me to tell you that." The D-Bug faced away from me and folded her long-gloved arms.

"Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make demands."

"No, no, I understand where you were coming from, Raf, but I can't tell you anything about yourself or where you reside in memory. That information is for administrators only."

"Okay, this is actually starting to bother me...you're talking about all this as if we're all living in a computer. Is this a simulation? Am I living in...oh, what was that movie?"

"No," she said. "Well, yes. And no. Um...both?" She turned back around. Going by her face, she was as confused as I was, now. "I don't really know how to put it without telling you information that you're not privileged for."

"What's the Holy Algorithm, then?"

"I can't tell you that, either."

"You can't just drop terms on me and not tell me what they mean."

"If you knew too much, you'd be as bad as...THEM." She was restraining herself from naming names, I was pretty sure.

"Alright, alright, fine," I concede through a mouthful of banana. "Well, if you're done here, I can't imagine I'm gonna be much of a problem for you, so you can go on home or whatever."

"No!" she burst. "I can't leave you now!" She took a few steps closer and leaned in as if to whisper. "Because I told you all this stuff, it is now my task to monitor you."

"But...I thought you said I wasn't a threat?"

"I said nothing."

"Well, whatever...I should be going for a walk today, though, so if you're supposed to be keeping tabs on me, as per your...Holy Algorithm, you said?" I saw her nod at me. "You're probably gonna want to come along."

ruby thing pt.1

"Aw, fuck, I did it again. Sorry." She takes her hand off my knee. "This is what happens when I get too comfortable..."

"No, no, it's fine, really. I liked it." I'm not sure she believes me. "What's wrong?"

"I killed the mood again. I got...nostalgic, I guess."

"For Rick?"

"I don't know." She knew. "I just...I want to do well by the people I like. You know?"

"You didn't breach a layer of trust or anything. I was just confused, I guess. Nobody does the hand-on-the-knee thing to me."

"...You serious? God, guy like you, I'd think you'd have no problems at all."

"You know how I operate. It doesn't get chicks."

"You have one of those faces, though, y'know? The kind that'd be handsome if it were just...attached to anybody else."

"Oh. Thanks."

"Look, I'm not good at...words. You know that."

"Don't deny yourself. You work at a newspaper. You wouldn't be an associate editor if you weren't good at words."

"I mean, that's fair, but...I have white-out at work. You can't white-out something you've said."

"Maybe that's what makes talking to you so damn interesting. I get the real, unfiltered you, unedited, unrevised. The first thing to your mind is the thing you say. You don't spend hours revising and changing it first."

"...Y'know, Bass, I don't think you really grasp it."

"Grasp what?"

"I don't...look, this isn't easy. The revising and shit? THat still happens, it just happens in my head, really fast, and I don't get to write it down first. You ever try to do math in your head? It's kinda like that."

"...I guess."

"So don't go...fooling yourself...or whatever."

ruby thing pt.2: the fashioning

Ruby's manner of dress:

1. Tank tops. Always has one on, because she's more comfortable using that for support than a bra, half the time.

2. The white blouse she wears is a men's small long-sleeved shirt. She prefers neutral colors; white works best, light grey works better.

3. The vest is also a men's vest; she doesn't like the snug fit of vests meant for women. The overall effect is that her top looks a little baggy, but not by much. It's not flattering to her form, but she doesn't have a lot of form to begin with.

3. Her slacks are women's slacks; she prefers browns and tans for that. Never pressed, because she wears them all the time anyway.

4. Socks: Ankle socks, generally black. Buys them in bulk and uses them for everything. Has a hell of a time getting the black marks off her feet in the shower.

5. Shoes: Loafers. She can't stand heels, and sneakers aren't professional enough. Loafers work because they work almost eerywhere. Such is the motivation behind most of her outfit, really.

6. Hair: Low-maintenance. She'd cut it short if she thought she could get away with it; she usually has it loosely pony-tailed because a tighter tail hurts her head and she's never been that great at hair tying.

7. Hat: Dark brown argyle cnap-brim hat. Technically a man's hat, but it fits her just fine. It used to be Rick's, but he gave it to her as a keepsake not long before they cut all contact. It's kind of amazing that she keeps it despite not acknowledging that they broke their elationship on good terms, but it's the only hat she really owns, and it's nice for the rainier days (which is 75% of the year in the Pacific Southeast).

?. Overwear: The nicest article of clothing she owns is a grey wool pea coat. It's very slightly tight on her, but it works.

genie thing

"What is it that you desire? Tell me." The visage of the great Genie loomed almost a hundred feet above him. By most rights, she wouldn't have fit. Fortunately, Alvin was standing on the roof of one of the tallest apartment high-rises in the city.

Alvin stammered trying to think of anything to say. "I...uh...come again?"

"Perhaps I misspoke. You have desires, yes? Tell them to me and I shall grant them."

"Well, it's just that...I feel like you're putting me on the spot. I can't just think of a great thing I want and tell you right away, these things need a lot of prior planning and careful wording. To say nothing of what restrictions and terms apply."

The Genie folded her arms, placing one hand to her cheek. "The world today, I swear."

"I'm sorry?"

"The last time I was released from my lamp...I'm terribly sorry, what year is it?"

"Two thousand eighteen," replied Alvin, having had to think about it a moment.

"It would have been fifteen-hundred years ago. People didn't tend to think things through nearly as carefully, and they were more up-front about what they wanted."

"But how many actually got what they wanted?" Alvin didn't intend his question to be so biting, but he couldn't contain the curiosity.

"To tell the truth, not many. But that might be more because they hadn't spoken clearly enough, or perhaps it'd be because my competition had so sullied the profession that nobody was willing to trust me with anything more important."

"Profession? I thought you genies were considered slaves."

"Slaves to the lamp, perhaps. Even I couldn't tell you why. But it does come with benefits. Room and board are all spoken for, primarily, and the costume really does breathe well during the summer months." She playfully brushed a hand down one of the silk sleeves.

rick ruby thing

Rick looked as if he wanted to say something. I guess he was waiting to see what Ruby did first. All I could really do was watch. It was a bit like...introducing two cats to each other, really. On a good day, they'd just sniff and be cautious. If you're not lucky, you get hissing and clawing. I'd hoped it'd be the former.

Ruby was the first to talk. "Rick. I, uh, have things I gotta say to you." I've never known Ruby to be this careful with her words.

"I think I do too, but you prob'ly better go first."

"Was hoping you'd say that. If I know you like I think I used to, you're probably wondering which version to give me, depending on how I make my approach. Right?"

"Yeah."

"Well, this oughta make it easier on you. I'm sorry."

"You're sorry? ...Wait, huh? I didn't plan for that..."

"Or...maybe I just made it way harder for you. Damn it." She takes off the snap-brim hat. "Y'know, I've had a dam long time to mull over the way our relationship turned out. Who was at fault, or even IF anybody was. All I can really figure is that it doesn't matter who did what or even anything at all. I just want to give you a damn apology."

"What are you even apologizing for? I was the asshole back then. It oughta be me."

"And I'm not sayin' it can't be you who says he's sorry. I just...I feel like I was definitely not as innocent as I wanted to feel like, y'know?" Ruby scratches the back of her neck with her free hand. "Whatever you're guilty of, I went right along with it. And whether that's from me being young and gullible or if I just had a void I needed filling...and I know what joke you're wanting to make, so just get it out of your system."

"I kinda don't want to now that you've said that." Rick's eyes are wide open for once. I don't usually see him NOT squinting.

"Dammit, you're the one that was always going on about shooting blanks..."

"I know, Ruby, but I also know now's not the time."

"...I'm sorry. I never seem to remember you have a serious side." She sniffs a bit. "Maybe that's where I fucked up."

"Nah, going by your logic, it was both of us. Remember the time we got caught by that beat cop?"

"Seem to remember it was your idea to park there."

"Yeah, yeah, my idea entirely..." He barely holds in a chuckle. "Y'know, we had some great times. What happened to that?"

"I think that's exactly why I wanted to come apologize to you, Rick. I'm the reason that those times stopped. I got selfish."

"No, the Ruby I know was *always* selfish. This wasn't selfishness. This was you trying to be responsible for yourself."

"I think you might be right. But I do still think I was the one that fucked up."

"No, we both did. But y'know, even after you quit seeing me, that didn't mean I wasn't still rootin' for you."

"How's that?"

"A few well-placed favors here and there, a few elements at play, a bit of careful reconnaissance..."

"You've been spying on me?"

"Nah, not as such. I just know a few people in a few places, just by happenstance. Principal among them of course is this guy right here." Rick points right at me. "On that note, how ya doin', Bass?"

"Bass, you're spying on me?"

"No no no, Ruby, not spying," Rick bounces back. "More like...you know that taxi cab guru thing you said about me?"

"Huh. I always wondered if you kept doing that."

"He's been askin' for advice here and there. It's uh, I don't think he ever mentioned your name. Just talked about you. Kinda vague but I knew it was you."

I felt a bit less on-the-spot now. I had a feeling Rick was a guy I could trust, and even though he did just blow my cover, he somehow did it in a way that...made me look better than I really was?

Ruby, meanwhile, was giving me that confused look. Like she couldn't quite tell if I could be trusted. "Come to think of it, I always wondered if you were really acting on your own whims. Some of the shit you were doing for me at the office was, well, pretty Rick-like."

"I dunno what you're talking about." I pleaded the fifth.

mage detective thing

"Oy, are you done yet? I got a bloody watch to get back to and I ain't as like to let a whelp of a spellbeggar like yourself to keep me from it." The Guardsman never once let his gaze wander from the robed man in the room. There was just no trusting a mage like that, he'd said before, but it was Guard Captain Montag's insistence that kept them here to start with. "There's naught to find, no matter how you search," he added.

"I'll thank you to stay quiet while I'm working," said Randulf. There was a peculiar...vibration, he supposed, coming from the back corner of this improvised hovel. It'd been a storehouse for a nearby tavern, but nothing tavern-related had been stored here for the last year. The room had been filled with everything from withered saplings to slightly pretty rocks (pretty, but not valuable). The victim, not sprawled in typical corpse-like fashion but seemingly already laid out as if in a coffin, was right in front of the only door. Yet, some kind of energy was coming from the opposite end of the building, from the inside of a crate that the victim had been sleeping in. The victim's own life force, perhaps? No, the victim is dead, Randulf told himself. If this is anybody's life force, it's more likely to be someone else's.

"You found something? Or are you making that face 'cause you're coming up with a good story for the Captain?" The Guardsman's eyes were largely hidden behind the visor of his helmet - the only proper armor the city's guards tended to have - but Randulf could tell he must have been rolling them impatiently. "Come on, then, you spent enough time in this rat hole. Let's get you back to the Captain so I can go watch someone who's like to actually do something."

"If that's the way you feel, Guardsman, I expect you won't be likely to listen the next time I tell you I've caught you a murderer." Randulf rolled up the sleeves of his robe, revealing the tattoo-like markings up his forearms. "No, I've found a curious energy here. The victim, there, you've already checked that he's dead, yes?" The Guardsman only nodded in reply. "What I find curious, though...usually the recently departed leave some shred of their life force behind, close by their mortal form. It's how High Priests and Chosen are able to revive fallen comrades."

"That never sat well with me," the Guardsman said.

"Yes, I gathered you weren't a particularly spiritual type." Randulf swept his tattooed arms slowly about the empty crate, as if to feel something that wasn't there. "But no. Whoever murdered the man over there--" Randulf gestured towards the corpse with his head, as his arms were busy-- "either did it long enough ago that his spirit has already departed this plane, or more likely, was so thorough as to kill his spirit as well as his body." Randulf's right arm stopped, as if being pulled to that specific point in space. "Hmph. This is interesting."

"What's interesting? It sure ain't interesting ME!"

"To be fair, Guardsman, you don't seem to be interested in much beyond hitting things with truncheons." He focused as hard as he could on that specific spot. "It's as I thought a moment ago. This is someone ELSE'S spirit. Someone who isn't in this room."

"Eh?"

"I didn't think I'd be so likely to see it used in a murder...body-swapping is difficult magic at best. But our victim - if he even IS a victim - isn't the owner of this spirit. Which means, barring usage of soul-vessels or the like, we've got this spirit's body walking around with the dead body's spirit inside it. Someone's either very confused, or trying to fake their own death."

"Well, tell it to the Captain. You done now?"

"As done as I can be, I fear." Randulf wrested his arm away from its strange pulling sensation and unrolled his sleeves. He scrawled a quick note in his tome and nodded to his accompaniment. "I'd best make my report. If Captain Montag is as receptive as you've been, I doubt that'll take long."

Ideas and general spitballing

A better way to handle synthfire

Okay. So, currently the way zdoom weapons are handled, the animation and the action functions are extremely tightly coupled to each other. This creates a mess and plays hell with things like changing the rate of fire on anything. So here's an alternate proposal:

  • Tuck all the things essential to the FUNCTION of the weapon into their own overlay state. Call that overlay on its own layer. Do not give it any duration. Here's where you'd fire all the pellets, eject the smoke, eject the shell.
  • From THAT overlay, call another overlay SOLELY FOR THE RECOIL ANIMATION. We can do some nice things with math and trig in order to ease it and tween it smoothly over a given duration, I would think. When calling this recoil overlay, call it on a new overlay layer each time so that they add together nicely and will always reset back to the original angle/pitch (if we're careful).
  • The weapon's native states all display TNT1A0. They're blank.
  • The weapon's actual appearance is on its own overlay. We're careful to always ensure that the weapon's overlay is always the same number and is never the topmost one (so muzzle flashes and other nice effects can go over the top of it).
  • When the weapon fires, the weapon graphic overlay is instructed to recoil. This is purely A_WeaponOffset trickery, we can do more nice math and trig to tween it around smoothly. We'll always run the graphic recoil on the same layer, so it'll work additively and make a nice effect on automatics.
  • The weapon's native fire state is never more tics than needed for limiting fire rate. This can then be very easily changed - for upgrades or balance purposes.
  • All this adds together to have an even cooler effect: with the fire and altfire states being only 1 tic long, and just keeping track of the "readiness" status of the weapon very carefully, we could have synthfire (for semi-automatic weapons only) without even needing the ACS script hackery.

A Non-Combat RPG

You are a new Lord of the realm. Your station is not especially high; your influence only affects ordinary citizens, and you still answer to the other Lords, the Senate, and the King, but you have influence nonetheless. The one catch: your legs have never worked. Whether through birth defect, disease, or childhood injury, you cannot go anywhere under your own power. In order to travel places, you need the assistance of your entourage. While this means you are protected everywhere you go, the entourage does not come cheap, and requires enough planning in advance that you can only realistically leave the castle once a day. At night, you may choose a study topic out of your library, increasing the skill of your choice by one point (or more). Skills influence available dialogue choices, a la New Vegas.

The Tangerine Dream Heist

An Ocean's Eleven-style heist operation...where every character and location just happens to be named after a Tangerine Dream album.

  • Atem is the Leading Man, the brains of the operation.
  • Phaedra is his ex-love interest.
  • Le Parc is the eccentric gadgeteer.
  • Melrose is the face-man.
  • White Eagle is the ex-SAS recon/intel man.
  • Tyger is your Leverage-style "hitter."
  • Sorcerer is your computer guy.
  • And Force Majeure is their mysterious benefactor that gives the orders.
  • Their job is to case a trio of casino resorts called Lily On The Beach, Stratosfear, and Green Desert.

"This is why life blows" story

[23:06:10] <wildweasel> an adventurer is about to defeat an evil lord, but towards the end of the battle he's mortally wounded as he kills the lord. the adventurer finds himself alive after blacking out for a while. when he enters town, people fear him, and he consults a priest to find what his problem is - turns out, he did die, and his ghost inhabited the evil lord's body, in the lord's last ditch effort to stay alive himself
[23:06:39] <ContraVania> Hmm... creepy.  
[23:06:40] <wildweasel> the adventurer finds that he is sharing the body with a small scrap of the lord's soul, which implores him on occasion to do nasty things to the people he loves
[23:07:02] <ContraVania> This premise sounds vaguely familiar, but original enough that I'm unable to match it to anything.
[23:07:46] <wildweasel> he finally finds someone who can purge the extra soul from his body, but unbeknownst to the adventurer, the person in question is the wizard who helped the lord attune his body in such a way in the first place
[23:08:32] <wildweasel> the wizard lives up to his promise to "purge the extra soul" - that soul ends up being the adventurer's, and the lord's body survives to build his strength and make a future attempt at world domination
[23:09:03] <wildweasel> i don't know why i called this idea a fairy tale
[23:09:23] <ContraVania> It's a very good "this is why life blows" story.  lol