Stars, Wars and Dystopias: Reading, Planning, Writing

Reading: I’m flirting with a few fiction books and reading a few books about medieval warfare but it is Stars Without Number that is dominating my eyes lately.

In other media-intake, I am really enjoying Adam Koebel’s twitch output, from his dapper GM advice in Office Hours to his Space Master/Dungeon Master technique in Court of Swords and Swan Song.

Planning: The lure of a weekly face-to-face game at the apartment is calling to me. Maybe in October…

Writing: Misspent Youth material for the upcoming kickstarter and a few blog posts.

And you?


9 thoughts on “Stars, Wars and Dystopias: Reading, Planning, Writing

  1. Reading: I’ve been making my way through the web serial ‘The Gods are Bastards’, which is mostly post-D&D-esque fantasy-cum-western/steampunk. There are some complicated missteps — I’m moderately uncomfortable with the elves being partially mapped to Native Americans — but it’s mostly fluffy fun and has queer content and at least a nod to class issues, so that helps.

    Planning: ugh. Nothing? I should be drawing more. It is an important mindfulness thing for me.

    Writing: slowly poking at a prose superhero story, a BW setting idea that metastasized into a short story, and an idea for a BW setting based around Dr. Who in a similar way to how Burning Sands and Dune work (which, let’s be honest, I probably won’t finish because I have no way to do anything with it).

    (I’ve missed seeing these here regularly, so I’m taking this opportunity to throw my own in)

      • Well, don’t get your hopes up too high — it’s mostly ill-formed ideas of how to build traits and lifepaths for the Timelords^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HWardens of Causality.

        The real trick is that settings like Star Wars or Dr. Who are vast enough that not everybody likes the same things. And they don’t always benefit from wholescale explication — not showing things is sometimes as important as showing them, you know?

        The basic conceit, in my head, is that the Wardens are a self-constructed people. Basically, the “first” Causality War was so bad that, in it’s dying moments, the survivors looked around and realized they’d damaged things so badly that the cosmos was at risk of never having existed in the first place. They decided to engineer the timeline in such a way that it could continue to exist in a reduced form — and such an effort required constant maintenance.

        They consciously designed a people who could do that, and rebirthed themselves into becoming it. One thing they all agreed on — the ability of a single entity to have both free will and the ability to navigate the Cosmic Maelstrom lead to the kind of destruction of potential that their own war had lead to — and so they pruned the available worldlines so that such beings couldn’t continue to exist. The new Wardens, for example, who had free will, had to bond with another entity, their Capsule (needs a better name), who had a limited ability to interact directly with space/time but could freely travel through it.

        Anyway — so I think the Timelord-analogues have a kind of ‘perception’ emotional attribute — I’m leaning towards “Apprehension”, which is nicely evocative (for me, anyway) of the Arisians in Lensmen and their Apprehension of the Cosmic All — which is part and parcel of their constant observation and awareness of all the events in nearby space and time. They are all connected to the Cosmic Maelstrom, subconsciously, and can learn to form a kind of psychic bond with an entity whose natural habitat is the maelstrom — their Time Capsule (or whatever it ends up being named). Since the Cosmic Maelstrom underpins every point in space and time, this is also connected to their sporadic psychic abilities and their Archive of the thoughts and experiences of every Warden who has ever lived.

        Apprehension questions would be about things like Running or Staring, Maintaining Status Quo vs. Intervening, and so forth.

        Timelord Regeneration becomes Warden Rebirth. Exactly how this gets handled in terms of skills and stats is a bit unformed in my head.

        Lifepath settings would mostly be fairly limited and rigid, I think. I would think the Academy could be a slight drift of the Magic Academy lifepaths in the Magic Burner, and those of the Panopticon-analogue would probably be matched to Noble Court. “Civilian” might draw on Burning Empires, and the ‘Outcast’ setting (“Renegade?”) would include lifepaths for folks like the Doctor (Interventionist), the Master (Insurrectionist), the Rani (Experimentalist), Drax (, the War Master ( Romana, and so forth. Oh, and Mary Poppins, because I’ve always believed that she is effectively cut from the same cloth as Timelords.

        Like I said, kind of nascent. I haven’t got any numbers, just ideas.

  2. Reading: Nemesis Games (book 5 in the The Expanse series); a terrific, scienticious space opera with a butt-ton of terrific characters. It has that Game of Thrones thing where you’re screaming, “No! No! It can’t go this way! What’s going wrong!? The world is over!” So delightful.

    Planning: Putting together Misspent Youth: Sell Out with Me and edits to the core rules for the same Kickstarter.

    Writing: Been working on a Powered by the Apocalypse hack, Demihumans, about oppressed demihumans.

  3. Reading: I’m trying to read All The Things Right NOW! This isn’t working really well. There’s this whiplash from GenCon and WorldCon back to back, which is awesome, but… So, I want to read 7th ed Call of Cthulhu. I want to keep reading Eyes of the Stone Thief, which is awesome. I want to read the two Achtung Cthulhu campaigns. I want to read Max Gladstone’s 4th and 5th Craft books. I want to read Cassilda’s Song, and Gemma Files’s trilogy and oh so many other books. I’m likely to read the last two installations of Whitehall from, as those are small and quickly read. I did read Willow Palacek’s City of Wolves and Ruthanna Emrys’s Litany of Earth.

    Planning: I’ve gotten as far as I can on one project without feedback and have emailed out a “need feedback now” email. I’m in the middle of massaging scenario #5 out of #7 for layout for Golden Goblin’s Tales of the Caribbean. I’m cramming to get up to speed for a potential other project. Tomorrow, Josh and I attend Lee Gold’s Vikings game remotely (she’s in LA, and we’re in Queens), and Sunday is a housefilk and planning meeting for next year’s Contata, and Monday, we’ve a wedding to attend in Brooklyn. Oh, and I need to buy our Metatopia memberships. Having been utterly sure we WOULD attend DexCon next year… well, the NASFiC is in San Juan over the same weekend, so… things get interesting. I’ve shelved most of the new books, but still have several boxes of papers to figure out what to do with.

    Writing: Lots of notes and write ups for the 1940 leg of my Dracula Dossier campaign. I need to start working on the rest of my review of Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, which is amazing and excellent.

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