naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
So I'm teaching The Actual Bear* how to paint custom ponies.  She's wanted to do this for a while, and I randomly woke up the other day with hissing, possum-faced glee at the idea of teaching her, so . . . we started tonight, and it's going well.

I'm doing two at once, alternating when things have to dry, and to keep me busy so I don't micromanage her into the ground.  Because I could.  I SO COULD.

So, Winterstar and Snowdrift are being born, both pink and both obviously winter-themed.  The Bear is doing a storm pony tentatively called Stormrunner.  That's badass.

I don't know how long it will take her to finish, but my two should be done in a week or so.  Expect pictures and a couple of auctions.

I'm taking progress shots for the Patreon thing I still haven't set up because I'm dithering myself into ever-tightening anxiety circles over wording.  But material is being accumulated for when I'm posting.

It's nice to paint.  It's nice to have company.  It's nice to sit and talk about imaginary boys and occasionally make gross badger sounds of glee at how ridiculawful we make their lives.  "Let's throw Jacks into the river in the middle of winter!"  "How can we make Solomon break down crying?  Because I want that.  Hey, isn't it about time he got an awesome scar?  Can we do these things together?"  "Let's get the redhead almost mauled by a werewolf, and then the other werewolf can come save him and they can FIGHT and later kiss maybe."  It's so stupid, like the worst soap opera Laurell K. Hamilton bullshit you can possibly imagine and I love it.  And now ponies.

I'm still ridiculously worried about things, especially what the hell I'm going to do for gifts for everyone when I just . . . well, I'm doing ponies, so now I have guilt about not being able to get my shit together to do other things.

I literally cannot win with this . . . whatever it is.  That causes me to feel like no matter what I'm doing it's the wrong thing.  I don't know if it's part of the whole being mentally ill deal, or if it's something to do with my messed-up upbringing.  Whatever it is, I try not to let it throw me too much.  But it bugs me.

Anyway, the whole teaching how to pony thing made me clear off my work table -- I could fudge if it was just me, cram everything off to the side, but there wasn't room for two people, let alone two very broad people like me and The Bear.  So I have a cleaner workspace.  Things are still messy and chaotic, but they're better than they were.  I'm getting it taken care of slowly.

I figure after the last month of depressing entries, I owe you some happy stuff, so there it is.  Things suck and are crazy, but there's things about Right Now that aren't bad at all, and I am happy for at least two hours every day because Bear.

Thank you all for bearing with me.  (Oh god I'm so sorry.)  I'm never going to give up, even though I really want to sometimes.  Even though I want to really badly sometimes.  There is too much good stuff here.  There is too much adventure to be had.  There are too many nice things I am going to have the chance to do for people.

Also there's ponies.  Who's gonna paint all these fucking ponies?  Me.  That's who.  And The Bear.

* The Actual Bear is a much better name for her than "my girlfriend."  It at least gives you some idea of what she is like.  She is like an actual bear.  Like that whole stereotype of bear-like dudes?  She is the chick version of that, and it's pretty great.
naamah_darling: Really rough-looking long-haired guy with the hilt of a sword sticking up over his shoulder.  Distressingly frank stare. (The Baron)
I don't make resolutions. I don't even really consider it an important occasion, except most everyone else does, so that naturally causes me to stop and reflect on how things have gone for me.

I accomplished woefully little this year. I have nothing but the mental illness and my own lack of resilience to blame. I've just been so . . . flat. I can keep myself on a more or less stable emotional keel, but that eats up any productivity I might otherwise have. I spend more time on obligations than personal projects, but lacking those obligations I might do nothing, so who can say?

Last year was shitty in many ways, really shitty, but it also contained some unexpectedly wonderful stuff, and my life now is most assuredly better than it was in January of last year. I'm still not feeling optimistic, but perhaps that will come in time.

I just want to be able to . . . to do things again. To have the energy, mental and physical, to work at things. I'm bored so much of the time, and, being an introvert, there's only so much that other people can help. And, lately, I've spent a lot of time in low-level pain from minor health problems I really don't want to discuss.

But to focus on the positive, I made three really cool things in 2013: the Barsoomian Chess Set, which was featured on Propnomicon; MLP custom "Serenity"; and the steampunk pirate ponies Phantom and Ember Blacklock

I launched Silver Into Steel, the srs blog. Admittedly seldom-updated, but I'm going to work on that, too.

And, the huge one: I was approved for disability. My government is still shitty and thinks that I should be able to live on what doesn't even cover my house payment, but at least I have health coverage via Medicaid now.

Christmas was lovely. I'll post more about that later.

I've been playing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and having enormous fun pirating everything in sight. It's still not Ezio, and I've just had to resign myself to the fact that none of the other games will match that arc. That storyline started out so perfectly, establishing this woman-chasing fist-fighting ne'er-do-well and his loving family and then ripping all of it to miserable shreds, and that propelled me through three games. After that first part of ACII, you fucking hate the Templars. And you actually got to see the character grow and change. Become more competent. More responsible. And finally, much wiser. He was an excellent character.

Edward from AC IV is all right -- he looks sort of like the bastard pirate lovechild of Charlie Hunnam and Chris Hemsworth, he has tattoos and a smart mouth -- but I'm a quarter of the way in and there's no emotional core to the game so far, and that's hurting it. They're trying to lean on the "FREEDOM" angle -- and I really wish they would do more with Adéwalé, because he is really cool and I love that they write him with this subtle tolerant contempt for white people's shit -- but it's not coming together for me. It's still a gorgeous game, and I like it very much, even if the jaguars are fucking murderous little shits.

In other news, I started playing the Baron again last week, and it's been fantastic having him around again. He still makes obscenely good die rolls, and he now has an apprentice that the dice apparently like just as much as him. She's tiny and cute and he just wants to play hide and sneak with her all day. He finds her utterly delightful, and it's like watching a big old wolf play with a kitten. Apparently he was missing that, and didn't know it. Nearly all the other women in his life are sharp or hard or prickly or just flatly practical and no-bullshit -- or they're horses -- and he loves those things about them . . . those are not flaws. The one girl who isn't like that -- his mistress -- is extremely sweet, and he loves her to pieces, but she has no sharp edges. She's the gentlest creature in his life, and he needs that so very badly, but . . . he also needed someone with a bit of both, I think. Someone with whom he shares the same background of murderstab training. Someone he can feel protective of for legitimate reasons, but who really doesn't need much protecting. Someone crap at hiding her feelings, because he has a terrible time dealing with it when people do that.

Eh. Enough about people you've never met.

In other news, I have found the softest thing in the house and it is the fur at the tenderest part of Etrigan's throat, way back under his chin. It's so soft I can barely feel it, like mole fur or bat fur. He has become an excellent cuddler. Not an in-the-lap cuddler, a pick-up-and-snuggle cuddler, not like Tazendra, but a lying-beside sleepytimes cuddler. He lays where Tazendra used to and lets me curl my arms around him -- he is so much bigger, nearly twice as big -- and lays where he can feel my breath on his face, which means his face is usually adorably close to mine so I can just look at him. I can tell he misses Fish, so sometimes I stick my finger in his ear and rub it around -- she used to groom his ears and he loved that, but I'm not going to lick him anywhere, thanks. He loves it. He doesn't even flick his ear, he just purrs harder and rolls so I can do the other one. Today he snuggled up with me and put the top of his flat, empty little head against my mouth so I could just kiss and kiss him without stopping. Behavior-wise he is barely a cat at all, and is frequently so annoying it boggles the mind. And yet I love him like a very stupid but enthusiastically cheerful little brother.

I love Smooch, too, but he's a tough nut to crack. We have a respectful cat/human relationship based on me fulfilling his every desire and him being very grateful for my services, but mostly ignoring my needs. He's tender, emotionally, rebuffs easily, stews and sulks sometimes. He has moods, like weather. Etrigan's emotional core is rubber or Teflon. Nothing gets him down for long. They are very different. I love them both. Etrigan is turning out to be the really comforting one, for all that he's a fucking asshole most of the time.

I need to go to sleep. I hope the next year is less painful than this one for everybody. I hope you find and do and make and learn fun and interesting new things. I hope things improve. For all of us. I really do.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
On the one hand, I should post more, and I should try to talk more about the good things in my life.

On the other, all "accentuate the positive" has ever really done for me is make me feel like I can't talk about things, and if there's anything in this world I hate more than shutting my fucking mouth, I don't know what it is. (Okay, feeling trapped is worse. But I think the former is closely related to the latter, so they're the same issue.)

Still, there are good things afoot.

I tend not to talk about the tabletop gaming we do because it's of little interest to anyone not in the group, but we have a great time. The regular game Sargon runs for us is going well. Our friend Tony decided to run a short Champions superhero adventure. I braved my personal distaste for numbers-crunchy systems to play, and found the combat a lot more rewarding than I had remembered from my previous forays into the Hero System rules. It's a system that focuses on combat and heavily rewards metagaming, which are things that tend not to appeal to people with my style of gameplay (in-depth storytelling and roleplaying). I have more of an appreciation for it now, evidently. Plus, sometimes it's just fun to beat the snot out of bad guys.

I've considered running a game myself for a long time, but I honestly think that would be a disaster. I could come up with a kickass storyline, but I've never tried to manage a group, and given how difficult it is for me to run something for even one person, I think I might seriously implode under the pressure. I'll stick to writing porn.

In other news, the girl steampony is more or less finished, after giving me fits and hives. I've redone her hair five times, and it still isn't quite where I want it. It's at the point, though, where nobody else is going to even see what I'm unhappy about, and I know when enough's enough. She's gorgeous, full stop, and nobody is going to argue with me about it. (Or I will eat them, but I digress.)

The boy got his face finished today (Sunday), will get his topcoat tomorrow, and will be haired beginning Tuesday. He's fabulous, too, though not as diva-licious as his sister. I'm still waffling on names. Hopefully they'll both be done in a week or so, can get their pictures taken, and can head off to their new homes. I'm ready to work on something new. Barsoomian pony! Sir Ulrich Von Lichtenstein/William Thatcher pony! Absinthe pony! OMG! ALL THE PONIES.

Seriously, though, I have a little file of index cards with pony ideas written on them so I don't forget any. I counted the other day and had 94. Then I added a few, and now I have 124. More ponies than I will ever be able to paint. That idea I tossed out a little while back of doing much simpler ones is sounding pret-ty great right about now. I just need to have simpler ideas, because "full-body repaint, three-color gradient, fairy wings, lace, pearls, and unicorn horn" is not simple.

I have to see the doctor tomorrow, and for entirely unavoidable reasons it's not my usual doctor. I've seen this lady before, but she's still not Dr. C. So, that'll be mildly anxiety-provoking. Then, Tuesday, I have to see the psych to get my psych prescriptions renewed so I can fill them at the cheap place, and I'm really not looking forward to that. Last time, the person who took my vitals basically Bingo-ed me with the whole "but that's a thing you can conquer!" line re: eating disorder stuff. I'm going to refresh my knowledge of mortality rates for eating disorders and for mental illness in general, in case I run into her again and she doesn't remember my gentle verbal slap from last time.

Anyway, tell me about your weekend, and/or anything amusing your pets have done recently. I never get tired of pet stories.

We're teaching Etrigan to wear a harness, so we can eventually put him on a lead and sit with him safely in the yard, where he so desperately wants to go. He thinks the harness is fucking amazing, man, and acts positively stoned out of his gourd every time we put it on him. Purring, rolling, mashy-paws, wiggling and flopping, the whole nine yards. Deliriously happy little dork-face. He is so weird.
naamah_darling: Cartoony picture of a black panther with curved horns and a red ball in his mouth. He wants to play. (Jandar Sad)
Our tabletop group wrapped the last campaign a couple weeks back, and we're moving to a totally different setting with totally different characters tomorrow. I'm really excited about it, and I'm a little sad about losing these characters.

Tony, who undoubtedly pulled off the best roleplaying of this campaign, wrote about it here, and Sargon was too hard on himself here. And I feel like I should probably say the things I want to say before I dive headfirst into the next thing.

Rukh Jandar was a ne'er-do-well pirate scumass who only got away with being mouthy and vain and lecherous because he was A) really good-looking and B) actually a really nice guy. In his language, his name was a pun that basically meant "prince/pimp jaguar", and he adopted it as a raised middle finger to the low expectations people had for his race and for half-breeds. I think it affected his fashion sense. His wardrobe looked like the cowboy from The Village People had a life-altering hallucinogenic experience in a taxidermy shop. Sargon wrote a song about his pants.

When he was very young, young enough to still be Kade, a boy studying to be a lore-singer, his entire clan was wiped out by bandits. He wound up a mercenary/slave, and was eventually sold off to be killed in a miserable pit of a gladiatorial arena. There he faced off with a wild jandar, a panther-like beast with wings and horns. He believed it was a mazikeen, one of the evil devils of the wastes, a spirit sent by the ghosts of his family to punish him for failing. He offered it a deal: his soul to avenge their deaths. He would allow it to possess him and work through him, if it would only guide him. He would become the instrument of vengeance, a living sword.

It kicked the shit out of him but he managed to kill it, knowing even as he did that it had accepted the deal and was leaving the big cat's body behind. He was sealing his fate. He woke up from his ass-beating with some lovely facial scars and the knowledge that it was inside him.

I should point out that this was in no way true from a game standpoint . . . it was a postapocalyptic sort of world, and there was no magic at all. This was just his conviction, something born quite naturally from his upbringing, the beliefs of his people, and his desperate need for hope when he had none. He surprised me with it during the planning phase, and that was when he really took off as a character in my head.

The necklace he made from its claws was important enough to him that he never took it off, and considered it literally a part of himself.

He eventually escaped, stole a pirate ship, and the rest is history.

He didn't come out like I'd intended. I meant him to be more the captain type, the take-charge type, and a real bastard, but he was very easygoing and philosophical and kind. I never expected him to be a nice guy, a deeply playful guy who really just loved being alive.

Fate was a real thing to him, which had interesting effects on his approach to life, and to conflict. If fate was real, then every setback was intended, and every victory preordained. If fate was real, he could not change his destiny, only perform it well. So he performed.

He honestly thought he was living on borrowed time. When he got his vengeance, his soul would either be freed or be consumed by the spirit inside him, leaving his empty husk to be inhabited by a ghost. That gave him a real appreciation for pleasure and pretty things.

I think he laughed hard and played often and lived warmly, without great displays of anger or fear or pointless bravado, because he admired life the way you admire a particularly colorful sunset. Don't spoil the moment. It'll be gone soon enough.

He occasionally wrestled with inner pain and existential crises, but he was very feline in that he never showed it much . . . and even at his lowest he retained a sense of serenity. When he did not know what to do, he simply settled down and waited for a sign. He was the most resilient character I've ever played. He could adapt his worldview to incorporate anything. It was rationalizing. Fanatical delusion on a scale I have seldom seen. He never found anything that contradicted his beliefs, only things he did not understand yet.

I spent a lot of mental time with him. He needed more contact than Gentry, the last group game character. He needed to be played with. He demanded space in a way that most characters don't. He told me things about himself that never came up in game. I wrote 100 little 100-word vignettes for a writing challenge over the summer before last, just as I was starting to play him, and 24 of those were his. I've never known what to do with those, but I love them.

Here's a thing, though.

When he was a kid, he'd bring his mom shiny little rocks he found while out wandering. She kept the good ones in a bowl by the bed, where he'd play with them and recite counting rhymes and family lineages and bits of songs as he lay there sleeping off the heat of the day.

It became a habit, keeping a little dish of stones near his bed. He never learned to read or write, so the stones were his mnemonic device for remembering the names of his people. It never came up onstage, but he sat there every night, sight turned inward, feeling the thing inside him struggling to get out, all its rage and fury and hunger, and calming it by whispering the names and letting the stones fall from his fingers one by one. Never forget. Never forget them, never forget your humanity. Hold on as long as you can. It'll be gone soon enough.

I have a bowl of stones by my bed now, and I do like running my fingers through them, though my thoughts aren't usually that grim.

I have his necklace, too. When a friend put it up on Etsy I felt it like a kick in the gut. I bought it, and I wear it constantly.

I don't know if either of those things will change. He demanded a lot of room, yes, but I can't help imagining him wandering off into the desert to start over yet again, and letting the sand fill in his footprints. He might just go. While it lasted, anyway, both were ways of feeling closer to him. I do this with most of my really good characters; both the ones I write about and the ones I play.

All the good ones look at things in a different way from me, and I learn things from them. It's a leavetaking, so I asked if he had anything to say, and he gave me a list of ways to live like Rukh Jandar . . . which is, of course, the best way to live.

1) Fate is unkind and life is uncaring. Acceptance of the world as it is does not mean defeat or acquiescence, it just means you don't waste energy demanding that it change for you.

2) Life will try to kill you. Fight your best with what you have. Sometimes, that's only your hands. Strangle the motherfuckers.

3) Cultivate grand and moving and magical thoughts. Believe that you have a destiny, a fate, a purpose. Trust that everything happens for a reason or will yield something useful in the end. If you cannot find a purpose or a meaning, make one. True or not, sometimes that belief is all that makes it possible to go on.

4) There is something within you greater and wiser and more powerful than yourself. Let it guide you. There are people around you greater and wiser and more powerful than yourself. Let them help you. You are too stupid to do things alone.

5) You are the hero of a great tale spinning all around you, and you are right to dream of better things. It's important to believe this even when the universe craps on you. Especially then.

6) Pride is something that we take for ourselves, not something we must earn the right to have. Pride is not a reward bestowed on us by others. It comes from inside us.

7) Do not waste time trying not to offend people you do not know and wouldn't listen to if you did. Their opinions mean nothing.

8) Try not to fear anything or anyone unworthy of that respect. If you do feel fear, try not to feed it. It grows.

9) Stick close to the people who love you. They may not always be the people you wish they were, but you aren't the person you wish you were, either. Learn who is Necessary, and keep them near.

10) When your light's out, it's out. Live.

And you can see why I kept him around, despite him being an almost utter disappointment otherwise – his dice hated him so much there is now a song about that, too, and he never could get his ass in gear to lead anyone to do anything, despite his ambitions to become Prince of the Red Star, the pirate clan he planned to gather and with which he would dominate the wild deserts of his youth. But he saw things so painfully clearly sometimes.

Once, in a between-players email, he expressed something to his I-respect-her-too-much-to-call-her-my-girlfriend – and inadvertently, to her player – that I have never been adequately able to express.

It's not the same among your people, I think, but Sagand, we are nothing without our . . . families? Khai-nevade. The word is translated as "family," but it means "necessary people". The people you need because with them you are better and more, and without them you are less. You are one of my people. You have become nevad. Necessary. If you were gone, I would be less.


In his distressingly forthright way, he had summed up something I feel so strongly for the whole group.

If I believe one thing, and learned one thing, and would like to say one thing to everyone who sits at that table with me every week, it is this: that you are Necessary.

Jandar's claw necklace

Wow.

Jun. 4th, 2012 02:33 pm
naamah_darling: Really rough-looking long-haired guy with the hilt of a sword sticking up over his shoulder.  Distressingly frank stare. (The Baron)
My big project over the past few days: sorting through and organizing some 15 years' worth of gaming notes and character sheets. Because I am proud of the feat and inordinately pleased by the presence of all my imaginary people in one place, I am making you look at the magnificent results:

Box 1

BEHOLD THE SPLENDOR.

This is nearly everything I have run or played since we switched gaming systems away from AD&D to our modified Chaosium/Call of Cthulhu rules, packed into a cannibalized old Priority Mail box until I can find them a better home.

I'm still missing some characters. My best guess is around a dozen, all from around the same time period. They have to be together somewhere, and I really hope I can find them because some really important characters are in there.

It's kind of awesome to look at it all bundled up like that. It still fits in one smallish box, but holy crap, ALL THE THINGS. There's around 120 characters in the player character section. Given that, it's not surprising that there are some I do not remember. What is surprising is that I remember most of them pretty darn well.

At first I crammed them into file folders fourteen at a time (that's all the room I had on the index cards), but I quickly realized I had to impose some sort of order on them, so I got some more folders and divided them up into about twenty major categories.

FOR MY AMUSEMENT (AKA I suffered for this, now you have to suffer, too!) I now present that list:

Historical AU
Modern AU
When the Winter Falls Analog
2nd-World Historical Other
2nd-World High/Epic Fantasy
Other/Unknown
Group Game Characters
Nine Seas
Avallon
Land of Fable
Historical
Barsoom/Mars*
Washington State
Arcadia, MO
Thuringia
Magic
Weird/Wild West
Pulp Adventure 1800-1899
Pulp Adventure 1900-Present
Superpowered
Spaaace!

The rest are all individual characters with lots and lots of notes, or notes for settings and games I ran.

I still need to go through sheet by sheet and make sure I didn't miss or misfile anyone, note who is in each file, compile a master list on a separate sheet of paper, and date each character to place on a timeline.

This is an ongoing project. Obviously.

And I haven't even touched the inch-thick stack of AD&D characters, or the foot-high pile of notebooks and binders that are my AD&D campaign notes.

All but a few of these are one-on-one characters I played with Sargon. Sometimes I feel like I can't justify calling myself a "gamer" when I have almost no patience for boxed or module adventures, number-crunching, or wargaming, and when I've only played in a handful of group games (and disliked all but two of those groups) and haven't run any, but, holy crap, there's over 120 player-characters who say differently, and a small army of NPCs. Clearly this is My Thing.

So this, in a box, is my Bar of Lost Souls. It's the most precious thing I own. You're looking at me, right there. The innards of my creative self.

Box 2

Doesn't look like much, but isn't it beautiful?

* Yes, Burroughs' Mars is part of our acknowledged continuity. Yes, it's awesome.
naamah_darling: Cartoony picture of a black panther with curved horns and a red ball in his mouth. He wants to play. (Jandar Sad)
Apparently I post a lot when I am depressed and avoiding panic attacks. WHO KNEW.

BttDB Day 8 kizza kitten

Sauce.

This is a kizza kitten at about five weeks. Rough sketch, WIP, all of that. Her ears should really be bigger.

Kizza are critters from our current tabletop RPG setting, Ethrus Prime. They are like little fennec catbunnies. VENOMOUS fennec catbunnies. They make great pets, though, and are So. Goddamn. Adorable.

Cuteness! Ees good!

One of the drawings I lost was a really beautiful picture of an adult. I am so fucking pissed.

I did find one version of the picture of the actual jandar, also a WIP:

wip: an actual jandar

So there you go. Something to look at.

I am going to edit some pics for this week's Thing I Made Thursday, which SHALL NOT BE DERAILED. Because I really want to sell the goddamn thing.
naamah_darling: Cartoony picture of a black panther with curved horns and a red ball in his mouth. He wants to play. (Jandar Sad)
I am just not having a good time.

So, rueful laugh, I managed to lose/delete three pieces of digital artwork that were important to me in that they made me very happy and I was sort of proud of them.

One is the large version of my character portrait for Rukh Jandar. I have a smaller version of it on Flickr, so I'm sort of okay there.

One is the full version of my horned black panther icons, which are jandar-the-animal icons. I know I have a smaller version of it uploaded somewhere because I posted it in a comment in a community or on someone else's journal but I have no idea where or when that was, and can't find it in any of my photodump sites. I can't summon up the LJ notification email for that comment because that comment was never replied to.

And one is a drawing of an adorable little fennec catbunny thing called a kizza, from the same setting. I have no version of it anywhere, and cannot remember if I ever emailed it to the gaming group. And it's the one I am most upset about, because it was the best one.

I am not the sort to swear and kick things and throw stuff and yell and have a hissyfit, but I am so fucking displeased, seriously. I almost NEVER lose things like this. I have three thumb drives, a backup drive, and two computers. Most stuff is archived SOMEWHERE. I cannot remember, literally cannot remember, the last time I for-real lost a file.

Also, I went to get some beads to fix up a necklace I got (FOR JANDAR NO LESS) and got the wrong damn size of beads.

In our weekly game, Jandar's luck is . . . dreadful. I mean, really dreadful. Golan/Torin/Amaris/Sunder's luck is almost as bad, but is spread out over, like, three personalities, so Jandar's is probably still worse. It's such a notable effect that I wrote a parody song about what it's like when the dice fucking hate your character, but you are too stupid to kill him off and roll up another. (Dice of the Jandar, to the tune of Eye of the Tiger, and aside from the specific character reference in the chorus, it could apply to any campaign that fucks you and fucks you and then fucks you some more.)

And now Jandar's Luck is apparently spreading to real life.

I am not okay with this. I think maybe I need to get back to playing the guy who can roll below a seventy-five.

And right now, that guy is telling me to get my ass into bed. Sigh. I obey.

I want my friggin' kizza. And I am going to concentrate on that fiercely, so that I am not thinking about the other huge and important things I am missing and want back.

Goddamn, can it be next month already, pleeease?
naamah_darling: Scruffy hot guy with yellow eyes and claw-scars on his right cheek. (Rukh Portrait)
We have established that the Baron has never met a die roll he couldn't slap down to a critical success. He has insanely high skill rolls that he has never needed because the dice apparently think his cock tastes like chocolate. If he had only a five percent chance of doing something, he would roll a two. Every time.

Well, I think I have found his opposite number. I have found where all of the shitty rolls are going. I've found the other end of the black hole. You know. The end that sucks.

Those of you not in our tabletop roleplaying campaign will not be familiar with Jandar. I want to say this is unfortunate, but it's probably for the best, because Jandar's luck tends to rub off, and you don't want to get it on you.

He's a cool character, really, he is. The kind of bold-strokes unsubtle character that really only works in a roleplaying game, because the days of pulp fiction are sadly behind us. Slave, gladiator, pirate, mercenary, now on a quest for vengeance against the man who betrayed his clan, destroyed his family, enslaved him . . . and probably also stabbed some puppies and kicked a few old ladies and was likely responsible for killing the dinosaurs. He has the tragic backstory and the awesome scars to match, and since he has a wild psionic talent, he can cause you pain (or pleasure) just by looking at you. And he's really, really hot.

And he's kind of crazy.

One of the animals from this setting is a jandar, which looks a lot like a winged black leopard with horns. Jandar, before he was Jandar, fought and killed one with his bare hands.* He believes that it was actually a mazikeen, an evil spirit of vengeance, sent to kill him for fucking up and getting his whole clan killed. He believes that it possessed him when he killed it, and is using him to effect its particular kind of justice. It's in there with him, you see, all the time. Looking out through his eyes. Waiting. And since his psionic power manifested for the first time during that fight, he believes that it is the source of that power. He has communed with it, and asked it to make him stronger, and he has become stronger. (Game mechanics are fueling his delusion.)

He believes that once he's taken his revenge, the spirit of vengeance will usurp his consciousness completely and Rukh Jandar, the Jandar who wears awful clothes and sings surprisingly well and likes to lose a hand of Queen Mazikeen every now and then, the Jandar who counts smooth stones before bed and recites the names of his family into the wind, the Jandar who was once a boy named Kade, that Jandar will be gone forever, and nothing but jandar-spirit-of-venegance will remain.

I think what he believes is reasonable given what he's been through and where he's from and what his people believe, but he sure as hell sounds cra-a-azy. He'd be the craziest member of the party, except for . . . well . . . most of the other members of the party. As it is, he just seems mildly eccentric, since he doesn't talk about his co-pilot much.

All this is a recipe for a really fun character with the potential to be not just cool but genuinely scary.

Yeah.

Well.

Most gamers probably eventually experience the Character Who Is Smarter Than You. The Baron's got 20 IQ points and years and years of experience on me, yet I never have a problem figuring out what he's going to do. He goes into a situation and owns it. Dice aside, he has come out way smarter than I ever expected.

Gentry was like this, too, a deceptively nerdy little bully trap who once built a bomb out of his shirt, some kerosene, and several sticks of dynamite. He thought of things ahead of time, planned as much as possible, tried his best, and despite a lack of experience and indifferent dice, he generally kicked ass.

Playing a smart character like this is like having the lid taken off your brain. I don't know how it happens, or why, but it does, and it's amazing.

The CWISTY has a derpy little brother, though, and that is the Character Who Is Far Stupider Than You Could Ever Be. I've had a few of these, but Jandar is by far the worst.

Ever.

I mean it.

It is like, when I am playing him, I become incapable of thinking things through. My brain just turns off. If having a CWISTY is amazing, the CWIFSTYCEB is deeply disturbing. Because I try. I do.

This wouldn't be so bad if he could fucking hit anything. A character who sucks at thinking fast can still be a reliable combatant. But no.

The dice fucking hate him.

His stats are good, especially his combat skills, three times now he's been knocked cold in the middle of combat, he can't climb a goddamn rope to save his life, and during one memorable session the best he managed to roll was an 88 on d100, when his to-hit was, like, 85. I love him, but the dude has luck like the last poolboy at a cougar convention . . . i.e., he thinks it's good luck; it's really, really not.

His other problem is that he didn't come out at all like I had intended, personality-wise. He's a mess who fails at being as mean and intimidating – and as fashionably cool – as he wishes he were. ("Hello, ten-year-old hostage girl! I brought you . . . KITTENS!" "Hey! Ember! Check out these awesome stripy chaps!" "Do what I say or . . . actually, I'll go into the other room and let these other people torture you, because despite being an amoral killer for hire, I find suffering curiously disconcerting.")

His consistent inability to do anything but fail miserably has been a cause of some concern, especially because our party appears in imminent danger of death, and Jandar can't hit anything to save his life.

The worst problem is that he has no goddamn sense at all. We don't use a Wisdom stat, but if we did, his would be a 5. Out of 18. He has an INT of 11, so he's not dumb, but he's irresponsible, hotheaded, easily distracted, overconfident, and way too optimistic for his own good.**

After Gentry, who was quite passive, I decided I needed to make a character who could be party leader if it became necessary, and I tried . . . Jandar has all the ingredients. And yet, somehow, he is not that character.

I adore him unreservedly, largely because he has no idea how screwed he is. He thinks life is wonderful, and having him in my head is a lol riot. I can't ditch the guy, he's stuck, but oh, lord, this could have gone better. He is so not the character I meant to play.

And sweet mother of death, the Baron does not like him at all. Thank all the gods that ever were they are not in the same universe.***

I rolled the usual 50-50 split of crits-to-hits for the Baron tonight. The dice are back to kissing his ass. It's reassuring to know that it's not the dice that are the problem . . . it's Jandar's luck. And somehow, at the same time, it is not reassuring at all.

I apologize, sincerely, to the rest of the party.

* I have no goddamn idea how he managed to do this, given that the dice hate him so much.

** To be fair, he's also passionate, driven, playful, and pretty darn loyal. But these will not keep you from getting yourself killed.

***They just have to share my head. It gets pretty heated sometimes.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Oh, hey, more roleplaying notes! We are heading into a new campaign in a totally new setting, and I am stoked.

On the character front, I will miss Gentry. It hurts to let him go, and even in the unlikely event that we revisit him, he has changed, and is no longer the sweet, awkward boy who, upon disembarking from the submersible into the Big Bad Guy's icy arctic lair, immediately initiated a game of slip and slide and drag-me-round on the ice-sheet with the saber-toothed tiger because they were both so happy to be out of the sub. He carried sugar cubes in his pockets in case he ever met a sad pony. No, really, he did.

I get really into roleplaying. It's my escape. Other folks read or watch TV or movies, I have my characters. The one-on-one games with Sargon wrap in a couple of months. Some characters return for multiple engagements, but there's a constant come and go of new faces at the Bar of Lost Souls. Most of my characters don't stick around for long beyond the end of the adventure, but characters I play regularly become a reliable presence in my head. I spend time with them even when I am not playing them, thinking about them and as them, and even playing once every few months is enough to keep this going. I visited Gentry once a week for two years. He was present in my head for longer than probably any other character, ever, and I will miss him terribly.

I've been closer to other characters. Due to the very different dynamics of a group game, there was less overall interpersonal dialogue with NPCs, less of le romance, and so on. But there were things that I finally could do that wouldn't have worked in the kind of one-on-one games Sargon and I tend to run for one another. I could take longer to sketch the slow shift from timid library dork to a smart, reliable ally who could scrap with the best of 'em. In a two-month game I might get three weeks of enjoyable awkwardness before the whup-ass kicks in, so it was a treat to take my time about it.

I built Gentry from the ground up to be exactly the character I wanted to play, and he was. It's always nice when characters surprise you. Gentry surprised me by being almost exactly what I tried to make him. That hardly ever happens.

Not that he didn't surprise me. I wasn't expecting him to be as genuinely decent and moral, or as forgiving and patient and . . . well . . . motherly. I had expected him to be slightly more of a rogueish sort, and he came out . . . I guess guileless will do.

He was also smart. You'd think that all characters would be about as smart as the person playing them, or at the very least, could not possibly be smarter, but I'm sure that other veteran roleplayers (and authors) will agree that this is not necessarily the case. Some characters with good stats are stupid, some are smart but have no sense, and some are just flat-out brilliant. Gentry lived up to his 16 INT. I've had maybe two other characters who were in the same league, and the fact that the Baron came out as a sneaky death machine is hardly a surprise – he's more than twice Gentry's age, and has had formal badass training. Gentry, at twenty years old, with very little formal training in anything, was surprisingly resourceful.

So I've been pretty sad about this peculiar leavetaking, but now the new setting is taking shape, and I'm going to get to be part of something awesome and new, I'm going to get to interact with these awesome new characters the others are creating, and I have a new character of my own. I'm excited! Having something to look forward to has helped a lot of the hurt, but that makes me sad, too. Moving on feels . . . heartless.

Anyway, I guess all this was my way of saying I'm proud of him. Which seems self-aggrandizing, but I feel good. I created the character I set out to create, and played him consistently and well, with very few character lapses, even though his personality was very different from mine in many ways. I made him specifically to not be the party leader type, but he had to be able to fit in with the group. I wasn't sure he actually would – I have very little experience with group games – but he did. And that is how I know I did it right. The game was better with Gentry in it.

Just so I have it somewhere,, I'm putting my initial character notes for Gentry under the cut. This is a much more in depth treatment than RPG characters usually get, essentially very much like what I would do for a novel. It's likely not of great interest to most of y'all, and that's fine, but I will put it here as a tribute to a really decent guy.

Yes, I really rolled April Fool's Day for his birthday. Those of you who knew him may now laugh.

This is what a character writeup looks like in the land of Naamah. )
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
For close to two years, me and a group of friends informally dubbed the Atlantean Irregulars have been playing in the tabletop RPG run by Sargon. Barring a few missed appointments due to travel or illness, we met weekly, and it was always a good time. Sometimes it was a wonderful time.

I didn't talk about it much here, and now that's coming home to roost, since I'm going to do several entries about the game that will likely be of interest to few people beyond the immediate participants. Still, it's my journal, and this is two years of my life and a leavetaking from dear, if imaginary, friends, so y'all can suck it up.

We met on Saturday for the wrap party, where we ate snacks, drank booze, and read all the notes we'd passed back and forth and which we'd all been saving. That alone would have been utterly lolarious, but then the epic epicness began and we started singing.

Apparently some of the group members are the sort of people who make up parodies habitually. It started with one of Eilis and Matt's parodies, then I weighed in, then it became A Thing, and by the end we had fifteen of them, with six of those debuting for the first time on Saturday night.

(If there's any interest, I'll post mine here, since I think they're really sharp, but nobody else is going to get the references, so that's going to blunt the amusement value. Still, a song that includes the phrases "hoof slime" and "stunt cocks" has at least some standalone value.)

The singing was probably the most fun I've had in . . . I literally do not remember. I can remember being more excited, but not happier. And, as I am coming to realize, my body hates "excited." It might as well be pain or fear. I get queasy, my hands shake, I babble. So this was acres more pleasant.

I even got up and sang. I can sing pretty well, but not when I am laughing, and I kept cracking up, so I am afraid my performance of my Lady GaGa parody suffered (I KNOW I KNOW I love about four of her songs, so kill me), but my rendition of KISS' God of Thunder was epic-awesome, because all I had to do was growl in an overwrought dudely fashion, and it's instantly hilarious. (It would NOT have been nearly as funny if Sargon had done it. Sorry.) It was not so great for my dignity, but I believed I amused, so we'll call it even.

And the others sang the songs they had written, and we laughed so hard at one of them that I am still getting aftershocks where I break into giggles for apparently no reason, then start humming "Bohemian Rhapsody."

It was a sendoff of two years of extraordinary friendship and storytelling, and I want to thank every single player and our GM for making it one of the most rewarding parts of my life.

We had three people in the group who were relative novices, and all of them handled themselves with aplomb.

Barb, my bestie, played Victoria, the haughty and occasionally delightfully obnoxious noblewoman/psychic/walking arsenal, to the hilt, and no matter what she thinks her shortcomings might have been, it was an extraordinary showing for someone who was playing their second character ever.

Tony is an experienced gamer and one of the two funniest people I know (I married the other one, if that tells you anything) and his presence just as part of the group is priceless, let alone his portrayal of Dougal Smeaton, the enormous Scottish engineer with a thing for whiskey and a knack for finding himself wherever there is the most trouble, but who also had an ironclad sense of duty and loyalty, and always had his friends' backs. An excellent fellow with surprising depth.

Eilis, total novice, rose past her nervousness and did a bang-up job with Amice, who had one of the more difficult roles in the group. She's the one who went evil for a while, the one we were never sure of completely, who might have turned on us, but who wasn't at all a bad person, and whom my own character, Gentry, came to like a great deal, despite being intimidated by her ability to kill people with lightning and cause you incapacitating pain just by looking at you.

And Matt, one of the three funniest people I know, who had some trouble getting a character to stick, but whose personal company raised the group's lolarity factor by about 30%, just because he is a really, really funny guy, and refuses to take anyone's crap. I am so glad he decided to come along for the ride.

There is also Andromeda, who was not a player-character, but, as a beautiful ex-gladiator hired to be Victoria's bodyguard, quickly made herself indispensable. As she was also a supersized Smilodon, she was able to keep up with the group during all but the most grueling of assaults, and always acquitted herself admirably, becoming something of the unofficial mascot of the party.

And Sargon, who knocked it out of the park on this one, taking a concept that was deliberately chosen (by Barb) to be as stupid and overdone and obnoxious as possible -- "STEAMPUNK ATLANTIS" -- and turned it into something so unreservedly awesome that he had the whole group writing notes and letters to each other in character, making character portraits, writing ridiculous song parodies, even coming up with an audio game trailer, and a freaking 3-D polyhedral die cake. It was staggering. I know he feels anxious about making the next game, whatever it winds up being, as awesome as this, and I understand that completely, but if it is even half as cool as the Atlantean Irregulars campaign was, it will still be very, very cool indeed.

Gentry was in the background a lot of the time, especially at the beginning when he was shy and panic prone and threw up after every fight (oh, god, the one with the guard dogs *shudder*) but he was happy there, happy to carry guns and reload and pack everyone's bags, happy to be the one who remembered to bring the waterproof matches, to be the one who brought folks ginger tea when they were queasy, and the one who brought the saber-toothed tiger yummy goat's kidneys soaked in milk as treats.

Maybe he was less happy to clean up after the cat, or to be the one who held Victoria's hair whenever the morning sickness got the better of her, or to help someone skin and brain-tan a pterodactyl, but he took pleasure in duty, and in knowing that he was useful.

Gentry, more than maybe anything else in his life, wanted to be needed. And I like to think that, eventually, the group did come to rely on his mostly quiet and gentle but sometimes rolling-a-critical-oratory-success-and-leading-an-army-of-dragons-into-battle support. He might be a king now, but as he'd be the first to point out, divine kingship is the ultimate form of service, and I think he'll find it fulfilling. He has a whole country to play nursemaid to, plan for, make LISTS for. He couldn't be happier.

So, from me, thank you to every one of those people, because without any one of you this whole experience would have been less awesome. I know some of you felt out of your depth at first, or at later points, but . . . seriously, I've been doing this for a long-ass time, and everybody was doing really, really well. I will miss all of our characters. We may not visit them to see, but the crew will surely have many more adventures.

And from Gentry: A salute, to the best of companions. Whatever bravery I possess or loyalty I have shown, they are the result of the effort to prove myself worthy of such friends. As I owe them to you, they shall always be yours to call upon.

Poor Gentry. He is going to miss Andromeda so much. He loves that monster cat all to pieces.
naamah_darling: Lucian from Underworld next to a snarling wolf. From the dark into the black, throwbacks always have to go. (Lucian Throwbacks)
Random things:

Just uploaded the cover and text for my first e-book to Smashwords.com and am waiting for it to finish sorting itself out so that I can test it. I am . . . terrified. Terrified that it won't have worked and I will have to format the whole thing over again, terrified that there are typos in it, terrified that I did the wrong thing when I edited the shit out of it. I am also really excited.

All those hateful body image problems are back in full force. It was nice to have a break from them for a while, but I guess it's too much to ask for all this shit to fuck off altogether. "I wish I could get rid of this fucking thing!" is not a healthy way to feel about your meat. It's pretty fucking miserable in here right about now. Thankfully I have really good company.

Gaming with my new character is working out well. Second session tonight. I think he'll make a superb airship pirate captain. I miss the Baron like needing shoes in snow, but it'll pass. Whiiine. Anyway, this new guy is juuust selfish and impulsive and thoughtless enough to do some really entertaining shit, so we're all just sitting back with boxes of popcorn and waiting for him to fuck up dramatically. He's already done it once, much to everyone's amusement except his. Short list of stupid shit to demand when you are aware there are people who want to get rid of you: "HEY! I want to see my sister! Let me into her locked room that I know there is no way into and, conversely, no way out of but this heavily guarded door! Let me in there RIGHT NOW! Wait . . . something's wrong with this idea. I should probably think about thi--NEVER MIND DOOR IS STILL CLOSED MAYBE SEE TO THAT CHOP CHOP!" He's not stupid, but he doesn't always think things through. This should be interesting.

Put in an order at www.rileystreetartsupplies.com, got the wrong thing in the mail, then discovered I had ordered something else by mistake because the picture on both listings was the same. I'd ordered one of the ingredients in a kit, and I had meant to order the whole kit. Not surprising that I was confused, but embarrassing. I emailed them and they answered me the next day saying that they were sending me the thing I had meant to order for free, sorry about the mistake. So, I am not angry with them at all. Their prices are pretty darn good, and apparently their customer service is OK. They've kept me as a customer. Smart. The downside is that my new project still won't be finished for Thing I Made Thursday, so I'll have to find something else. Still, overall a positive experience.

And, last, and possibly most thrilling, I have some sort of hard mass under my ribcage on the left side. I don't know if it's one of those things that has always been there, and I only just noticed it, or if it's new. I don't go feeling around my ribs, you know? I'm having no symptoms, there's absolutely no pain, it doesn't hurt to press on it, and I don't have fucking insurance or money to pay for tests so I'm just going to ignore it and hope it's either supposed to be there, or is harmless.

Because that's what passes for health care in this cockfuck country. Don't get sick. And if you do, try not to need help.
naamah_darling: Lucian from Underworld next to a snarling wolf. From the dark into the black, throwbacks always have to go. (Lucian Throwbacks)
Random things:

Just uploaded the cover and text for my first e-book to Smashwords.com and am waiting for it to finish sorting itself out so that I can test it. I am . . . terrified. Terrified that it won't have worked and I will have to format the whole thing over again, terrified that there are typos in it, terrified that I did the wrong thing when I edited the shit out of it. I am also really excited.

All those hateful body image problems are back in full force. It was nice to have a break from them for a while, but I guess it's too much to ask for all this shit to fuck off altogether. "I wish I could get rid of this fucking thing!" is not a healthy way to feel about your meat. It's pretty fucking miserable in here right about now. Thankfully I have really good company.

Gaming with my new character is working out well. Second session tonight. I think he'll make a superb airship pirate captain. I miss the Baron like needing shoes in snow, but it'll pass. Whiiine. Anyway, this new guy is juuust selfish and impulsive and thoughtless enough to do some really entertaining shit, so we're all just sitting back with boxes of popcorn and waiting for him to fuck up dramatically. He's already done it once, much to everyone's amusement except his. Short list of stupid shit to demand when you are aware there are people who want to get rid of you: "HEY! I want to see my sister! Let me into her locked room that I know there is no way into and, conversely, no way out of but this heavily guarded door! Let me in there RIGHT NOW! Wait . . . something's wrong with this idea. I should probably think about thi--NEVER MIND DOOR IS STILL CLOSED MAYBE SEE TO THAT CHOP CHOP!" He's not stupid, but he doesn't always think things through. This should be interesting.

Put in an order at www.rileystreetartsupplies.com, got the wrong thing in the mail, then discovered I had ordered something else by mistake because the picture on both listings was the same. I'd ordered one of the ingredients in a kit, and I had meant to order the whole kit. Not surprising that I was confused, but embarrassing. I emailed them and they answered me the next day saying that they were sending me the thing I had meant to order for free, sorry about the mistake. So, I am not angry with them at all. Their prices are pretty darn good, and apparently their customer service is OK. They've kept me as a customer. Smart. The downside is that my new project still won't be finished for Thing I Made Thursday, so I'll have to find something else. Still, overall a positive experience.

And, last, and possibly most thrilling, I have some sort of hard mass under my ribcage on the left side. I don't know if it's one of those things that has always been there, and I only just noticed it, or if it's new. I don't go feeling around my ribs, you know? I'm having no symptoms, there's absolutely no pain, it doesn't hurt to press on it, and I don't have fucking insurance or money to pay for tests so I'm just going to ignore it and hope it's either supposed to be there, or is harmless.

Because that's what passes for health care in this cockfuck country. Don't get sick. And if you do, try not to need help.
naamah_darling: Really rough-looking long-haired guy with the hilt of a sword sticking up over his shoulder.  Distressingly frank stare. (The Baron)
Thought I'd just mark the date for my own purposes; last week sometime we wrapped The Baron's second adventure. And hey, what better time to come up with an icon, right? Sigh. It's my way of reassuring myself that we aren't done with him. He's been great to have around, really great.

Gotta love a guy who misses a single-shot throat-cutting kill by three hit points, finishes the job by ripping it the rest of the way open with two fingers, and just keeps walkin'. I covered the crossbow thing a while back. Don't know if I'll ever top that one. I've never before had a character who deliberately saunters through dark alleys alone, hoping and hoping and hoping someone will be stupid enough to jump on him. He loves doing what he was trained to do so much. He's a nasty piece of work if you cross him, but such a good guy otherwise.

He was the guy from this dream of the very dear to me "fuck like nasty animals in the blood" quote, and what do you know . . . he got his wish. There was a lot of blood, and there was fucking in it, and it was definitely nasty and animal. So, he calls that a 100% win, and if he's satisfied fucking his mistress in the blood of his enemies, well, I'm so not going to argue with him. I'm really grateful to Sargon for being willing to Go There, and so is he.

I've been feeling rough the past little while, and it's becoming apparent that this is just . . . my new normal. I had that bad break a while back, and I've never really bounced back from that like I wish I had. I'm still alive, but I just don't have the resilience or the hope that I used to have. My new resting mood seems to be somewhere south of fearful and frustrated.

I'm strong enough to carry this. I know I am. If even one little tiny part of me can bear it, then it's not impossible. It's just tiring and frustrating, and it has a way of creeping into everything so that I question my own feelings and responses. And if I'm uncertain if they're real, everyone around me probably questions it, too. I don't want that to turn into people not taking me seriously, so I try not to complain a lot. Hell, I hardly talk about it here anymore, for all that the beast hasn't bloody gone anywhere. Sargon catches a lot of it, but he's been having really bad mood issues lately, too.

I say I can bear it, but that's a projection based on things staying about the same. The prospect of a downturn in our living conditions is frightening, though, and it's a very real one. I have a lot of doubts, a lot of fear, and for a lot of it . . . there's really no place I can talk about it. It hurts like hell sometimes. It's heavy. It eats at me, to the point I'm occasionally kept awake or jerked awake on the edge of sleep by terrible thoughts. Like what if one of us got really, really sick, or how horribly I'm going to take it when one of us gets a terminal diagnosis, that sort of thing. Shit that is real, and which I know with 100% certainty will happen eventually because we all get old and we all die. Except, apparently, most people are capable of just . . . ignoring this? I don't understand that bit at all. It's gotten bad enough that I have to pretend to be someone else when I go to sleep, so that I can let them worry about stuff relevant to them, thus neatly short-circuiting my brain's hamster wheel of panic. Neat trick, but it doesn't solve anything.

I've also taken to having long conversations with people who do not exist while I'm in the car. It actually helps. I can't decide if it's good that it works, or sad that I actually do this. Or alarming that they talk right back. Right now, a shy Victorian nerd, a kitten-hearted warlock rentboy, and a no-longer-retired assassin are keeping me sane. Three imaginary people. That's not much, but it's more than a lot of folks have. And I have Sargon, without whom none of it would be there.

There are a million things I want to vent about, but I don't know where to begin, and I'm afraid that if I started I would never stop, and it's so late it's early, and I need to sleep so I can get up and do art-type things that need to be done before tomorrow evening. Tomorrow is gaming with the Atlantean Irregulars for the second time this week, to catch up for the time we lost during the snowpocalypse. I love group gaming, but apparently I only have the emotional energy for one engagement a week, because, while I look forward to the occasional second session, it always wrings me out.

I'm going to climb into bed with my absurdly snuggly black cat and pretend not to be me until I fall asleep, and hope that I feel better when I wake up, which I usually do.

Failing that, I hope I dream about something awesome or hilarious.

* Pardon my macaronic neologism.
naamah_darling: Really rough-looking long-haired guy with the hilt of a sword sticking up over his shoulder.  Distressingly frank stare. (The Baron)
Thought I'd just mark the date for my own purposes; last week sometime we wrapped The Baron's second adventure. And hey, what better time to come up with an icon, right? Sigh. It's my way of reassuring myself that we aren't done with him. He's been great to have around, really great.

Gotta love a guy who misses a single-shot throat-cutting kill by three hit points, finishes the job by ripping it the rest of the way open with two fingers, and just keeps walkin'. I covered the crossbow thing a while back. Don't know if I'll ever top that one. I've never before had a character who deliberately saunters through dark alleys alone, hoping and hoping and hoping someone will be stupid enough to jump on him. He loves doing what he was trained to do so much. He's a nasty piece of work if you cross him, but such a good guy otherwise.

He was the guy from this dream of the very dear to me "fuck like nasty animals in the blood" quote, and what do you know . . . he got his wish. There was a lot of blood, and there was fucking in it, and it was definitely nasty and animal. So, he calls that a 100% win, and if he's satisfied fucking his mistress in the blood of his enemies, well, I'm so not going to argue with him. I'm really grateful to Sargon for being willing to Go There, and so is he.

I've been feeling rough the past little while, and it's becoming apparent that this is just . . . my new normal. I had that bad break a while back, and I've never really bounced back from that like I wish I had. I'm still alive, but I just don't have the resilience or the hope that I used to have. My new resting mood seems to be somewhere south of fearful and frustrated.

I'm strong enough to carry this. I know I am. If even one little tiny part of me can bear it, then it's not impossible. It's just tiring and frustrating, and it has a way of creeping into everything so that I question my own feelings and responses. And if I'm uncertain if they're real, everyone around me probably questions it, too. I don't want that to turn into people not taking me seriously, so I try not to complain a lot. Hell, I hardly talk about it here anymore, for all that the beast hasn't bloody gone anywhere. Sargon catches a lot of it, but he's been having really bad mood issues lately, too.

I say I can bear it, but that's a projection based on things staying about the same. The prospect of a downturn in our living conditions is frightening, though, and it's a very real one. I have a lot of doubts, a lot of fear, and for a lot of it . . . there's really no place I can talk about it. It hurts like hell sometimes. It's heavy. It eats at me, to the point I'm occasionally kept awake or jerked awake on the edge of sleep by terrible thoughts. Like what if one of us got really, really sick, or how horribly I'm going to take it when one of us gets a terminal diagnosis, that sort of thing. Shit that is real, and which I know with 100% certainty will happen eventually because we all get old and we all die. Except, apparently, most people are capable of just . . . ignoring this? I don't understand that bit at all. It's gotten bad enough that I have to pretend to be someone else when I go to sleep, so that I can let them worry about stuff relevant to them, thus neatly short-circuiting my brain's hamster wheel of panic. Neat trick, but it doesn't solve anything.

I've also taken to having long conversations with people who do not exist while I'm in the car. It actually helps. I can't decide if it's good that it works, or sad that I actually do this. Or alarming that they talk right back. Right now, a shy Victorian nerd, a kitten-hearted warlock rentboy, and a no-longer-retired assassin are keeping me sane. Three imaginary people. That's not much, but it's more than a lot of folks have. And I have Sargon, without whom none of it would be there.

There are a million things I want to vent about, but I don't know where to begin, and I'm afraid that if I started I would never stop, and it's so late it's early, and I need to sleep so I can get up and do art-type things that need to be done before tomorrow evening. Tomorrow is gaming with the Atlantean Irregulars for the second time this week, to catch up for the time we lost during the snowpocalypse. I love group gaming, but apparently I only have the emotional energy for one engagement a week, because, while I look forward to the occasional second session, it always wrings me out.

I'm going to climb into bed with my absurdly snuggly black cat and pretend not to be me until I fall asleep, and hope that I feel better when I wake up, which I usually do.

Failing that, I hope I dream about something awesome or hilarious.

* Pardon my macaronic neologism.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Gentry)
So, as part of a project for a friend in our Atlantean Irregulars group, I made a map of part of the game world. It was a rush job, but it turned out so cool I am going to have prints made for everyone in the group. I thought it might be fun to offer prints to youall, though, since it really is an awesome image, and since picking up a little extra cash is never a bad thing.

This is the almost-final version. When it goes to prints, I may alter the banner's shape, as I'm not sure the source I got it from was creative commons licensed for commercial use. I have to look into that. It won't alter in awesomeness, though.

Behold:

Map of Atlantis Print

Map of Atlantis Detail 2

Map of Atlantis Detail 1

So, this is just to gauge interest.

Assume the prints will be about 11x14, and around $20. Note that's not an exact figure. I can't calculate anything final until I have a shipping quote from the printer. The more people order, the more I can shave off the price.

[Poll #1662259]

That's not a commitment to buy or anything, I just need to see if enough people are interested to make it feasible.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Gentry)
So, as part of a project for a friend in our Atlantean Irregulars group, I made a map of part of the game world. It was a rush job, but it turned out so cool I am going to have prints made for everyone in the group. I thought it might be fun to offer prints to youall, though, since it really is an awesome image, and since picking up a little extra cash is never a bad thing.

This is the almost-final version. When it goes to prints, I may alter the banner's shape, as I'm not sure the source I got it from was creative commons licensed for commercial use. I have to look into that. It won't alter in awesomeness, though.

Behold:

Map of Atlantis Print

Map of Atlantis Detail 2

Map of Atlantis Detail 1

So, this is just to gauge interest.

Assume the prints will be about 11x14, and around $20. Note that's not an exact figure. I can't calculate anything final until I have a shipping quote from the printer. The more people order, the more I can shave off the price.

[Poll #1662259]

That's not a commitment to buy or anything, I just need to see if enough people are interested to make it feasible.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Travis Tame)
I'm FINALLY getting back to the Valor chapters of Vengeance and Valor, Savage is FINALLY getting around to punishing him for some earlier misbehavior, I essentially have an absolutely gorgeous fantasy creature at my complete disposal with an unlimited cast and prop budget, and I can't think of a damn thing to do to him that piques my interest.

All I can think about is how much I want to fuck Molly Quinn until she squirts. Which is just wrong.

Goddammit.

Another hazard of gaming: characters who are straighter and more vanilla than you. Fuck you very much, Baron L., for giving me a horrible case of straight-guy headspace. I'm going to go stab people until this wears off.

. . .

Wait! No! Arrrgh! That just makes it worse!

I am going to go paint. And maybe watch Dorian Gray. NO CASTLE FOR YOU.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Travis Tame)
I'm FINALLY getting back to the Valor chapters of Vengeance and Valor, Savage is FINALLY getting around to punishing him for some earlier misbehavior, I essentially have an absolutely gorgeous fantasy creature at my complete disposal with an unlimited cast and prop budget, and I can't think of a damn thing to do to him that piques my interest.

All I can think about is how much I want to fuck Molly Quinn until she squirts. Which is just wrong.

Goddammit.

Another hazard of gaming: characters who are straighter and more vanilla than you. Fuck you very much, Baron L., for giving me a horrible case of straight-guy headspace. I'm going to go stab people until this wears off.

. . .

Wait! No! Arrrgh! That just makes it worse!

I am going to go paint. And maybe watch Dorian Gray. NO CASTLE FOR YOU.
naamah_darling: The Punisher skull with a red ribbon barrette. (Punisher Ribbon)
When Sargon and I game with one another, it's high-turnover. We shred through about a novel or movie's worth of plot, and once we've wrapped we move on to something new. I don't know how often, maybe five or six times a year. We seldom go back to the same characters, although we usually intend to.

Some just go on their way, but some stick around, bumping shoulders, bantering, sometimes arguing, as they pass through. (See: The Bar of Lost Souls.)

I can never tell who is going to stick. I've played through intense and amazing adventures with awesome characters but never got the urge to play them again, didn't think about them, didn't move around in their headspace as I went about my day.

Others become impossible to shake. Sometimes they are even non-player characters in an adventure I'm running. It's difficult to predict this, and impossible to force it to happen. You can stack the odds, but it requires a perfect combination of character, setting, and player and GM involvement. If these things are all perfectly aligned you get a character that is likely to click and with the right spark of luck, boom, you really make that connection. If the balance isn't quite right, you sometimes get a character that just doesn't work out, which is acutely embarrassing. Sometimes you have a character who is mismatched for the adventure, which is lamentable all around.

I sometimes find myself deeply connected to characters I did not expect I would care about that much, which is awesome. Sometimes I connect very strongly to a character with no sequel potential, which sucks righteously. And sometimes, characters have thought processes, desires, goals, that are not like mine at all, which is weird. It's generally nice to have these differing perspectives around, but there are times when it sort of freaks me out to be privy to their thoughts and feelings, because they do think and feel. I get through a significant portion of the suck of my life by pretending to be someone else. Say hi to whoever it is next time you see me. No, really.

I've had characters who have kids, want kids, and like kids, but I have never had a character who adores small children and little babies and wants another one right now.* Who is, in fact, ecstatic that his mistress is pregnant. This . . . feature . . . is a product of his cultural values, backstory, and personality; it's unshakeable, and it's incredibly weird because I am just not like that at all.

Lucius, the Baron, loves his family. He loves being a dad, and he desperately wants a chance to do the baby thing again before he's too old to see it through. This wouldn't bother me except that he's a particularly thoughtful character, and he thinks about it a lot. His family's future. Legacy.

And then he goes off and spends all night killstabbing people, which gives him – and therefore me – a euphoric high for a good couple of days. I suppose any animal loves doing what it was bred and trained to do, and he is pretty much the most terrifyingly competent assassin I have ever played. (See the crossbow incident.) He loves it like few characters I have ever had love anything. When he is out murdering people who never even see him coming, I feel a lot better because at least I understand wanting to stab people in the face. Which I guess is pretty fucked up when you think about it, that I have had the urge to kill someone many, many times, and yet have never had the urge to make babies, but that's the kind of world this is.

Usually when a character really grabs me, it is because I have subconsciously identified something about them that I think I need to learn, and my brain is sneakily using the character to get me in the right headspace to learn it. My brain has decided I really, really like this guy, and I am not certain what I am supposed to learn, here. I'm going to assume it has something to do with responsibility, unflappability, quick thinking, mental flexibility, generosity, persistence, reliability, being needed, and/or the ability to be a bad man but a good guy. Not the wanting to be a dad thing. (Or the stabbing people in the face thing.)

We've recently taken up the reins of his adventure again, and in the time between the last one and this one, it seems that he may have become a permanent addition to the daimōnes in the Bar of Lost Souls. This doesn't happen that often, and characters from second-world fantasy almost never stick because the segregation between settings in my mind easily allows for time travel but has real trouble with dimension hopping. Anyway, if he stays, it will put him in a tiny minority, and I haven't seen the last guy since he wrote me a Dear Jane letter, grabbed his hat, and took off for parts unknown.

I don't know if I had a point, here. I mean, I'm not asking any questions or arguing anything. This is just the stuff I think about at fuck-that-o'clock in the morning, my imaginary people and how my life is better for knowing them, and the unpredictable ways in which this collaborative creative endeavor behaves. And how sorry I am that I can't share more of it.

I've always felt like there's something hopelessly self-indulgent about talking about roleplaying games, but making up stories is a fairly enormous chunk of my life, and roleplaying is such a big part of that.

So I ask you, what characters of yours (roleplaying, fictional, whatever) have you connected with unexpectedly? What did you get out of it? What were they like?

* No, strike that. I've had a character who was keen on offspring before, but that was long, long ago, and he was nowhere near this bad. He must've had a hundred bastards, but he wasn't the stick-around dad type. Like, at all.
naamah_darling: The Punisher skull with a red ribbon barrette. (Punisher Ribbon)
When Sargon and I game with one another, it's high-turnover. We shred through about a novel or movie's worth of plot, and once we've wrapped we move on to something new. I don't know how often, maybe five or six times a year. We seldom go back to the same characters, although we usually intend to.

Some just go on their way, but some stick around, bumping shoulders, bantering, sometimes arguing, as they pass through. (See: The Bar of Lost Souls.)

I can never tell who is going to stick. I've played through intense and amazing adventures with awesome characters but never got the urge to play them again, didn't think about them, didn't move around in their headspace as I went about my day.

Others become impossible to shake. Sometimes they are even non-player characters in an adventure I'm running. It's difficult to predict this, and impossible to force it to happen. You can stack the odds, but it requires a perfect combination of character, setting, and player and GM involvement. If these things are all perfectly aligned you get a character that is likely to click and with the right spark of luck, boom, you really make that connection. If the balance isn't quite right, you sometimes get a character that just doesn't work out, which is acutely embarrassing. Sometimes you have a character who is mismatched for the adventure, which is lamentable all around.

I sometimes find myself deeply connected to characters I did not expect I would care about that much, which is awesome. Sometimes I connect very strongly to a character with no sequel potential, which sucks righteously. And sometimes, characters have thought processes, desires, goals, that are not like mine at all, which is weird. It's generally nice to have these differing perspectives around, but there are times when it sort of freaks me out to be privy to their thoughts and feelings, because they do think and feel. I get through a significant portion of the suck of my life by pretending to be someone else. Say hi to whoever it is next time you see me. No, really.

I've had characters who have kids, want kids, and like kids, but I have never had a character who adores small children and little babies and wants another one right now.* Who is, in fact, ecstatic that his mistress is pregnant. This . . . feature . . . is a product of his cultural values, backstory, and personality; it's unshakeable, and it's incredibly weird because I am just not like that at all.

Lucius, the Baron, loves his family. He loves being a dad, and he desperately wants a chance to do the baby thing again before he's too old to see it through. This wouldn't bother me except that he's a particularly thoughtful character, and he thinks about it a lot. His family's future. Legacy.

And then he goes off and spends all night killstabbing people, which gives him – and therefore me – a euphoric high for a good couple of days. I suppose any animal loves doing what it was bred and trained to do, and he is pretty much the most terrifyingly competent assassin I have ever played. (See the crossbow incident.) He loves it like few characters I have ever had love anything. When he is out murdering people who never even see him coming, I feel a lot better because at least I understand wanting to stab people in the face. Which I guess is pretty fucked up when you think about it, that I have had the urge to kill someone many, many times, and yet have never had the urge to make babies, but that's the kind of world this is.

Usually when a character really grabs me, it is because I have subconsciously identified something about them that I think I need to learn, and my brain is sneakily using the character to get me in the right headspace to learn it. My brain has decided I really, really like this guy, and I am not certain what I am supposed to learn, here. I'm going to assume it has something to do with responsibility, unflappability, quick thinking, mental flexibility, generosity, persistence, reliability, being needed, and/or the ability to be a bad man but a good guy. Not the wanting to be a dad thing. (Or the stabbing people in the face thing.)

We've recently taken up the reins of his adventure again, and in the time between the last one and this one, it seems that he may have become a permanent addition to the daimōnes in the Bar of Lost Souls. This doesn't happen that often, and characters from second-world fantasy almost never stick because the segregation between settings in my mind easily allows for time travel but has real trouble with dimension hopping. Anyway, if he stays, it will put him in a tiny minority, and I haven't seen the last guy since he wrote me a Dear Jane letter, grabbed his hat, and took off for parts unknown.

I don't know if I had a point, here. I mean, I'm not asking any questions or arguing anything. This is just the stuff I think about at fuck-that-o'clock in the morning, my imaginary people and how my life is better for knowing them, and the unpredictable ways in which this collaborative creative endeavor behaves. And how sorry I am that I can't share more of it.

I've always felt like there's something hopelessly self-indulgent about talking about roleplaying games, but making up stories is a fairly enormous chunk of my life, and roleplaying is such a big part of that.

So I ask you, what characters of yours (roleplaying, fictional, whatever) have you connected with unexpectedly? What did you get out of it? What were they like?

* No, strike that. I've had a character who was keen on offspring before, but that was long, long ago, and he was nowhere near this bad. He must've had a hundred bastards, but he wasn't the stick-around dad type. Like, at all.

Profile

naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
naamah_darling

March 2017

S M T W T F S
   1234
5 678 910 11
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 25th, 2017 06:19 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios