Aug 31, 2021

The Dove: ten years anniversary

Ten years ago, I mixed up characters for words, and that poem led to a collection of sci-fi poems, that told the story of a spaceship that lost its way, a religious figure of techno-faith making passengers drink rocket fuel, a really bad captain, metamorphosis - and something more, it's been a while since I read it!

And I drew some pictures, and compiled it all into a sci-fi "horror" (I'm easily scared) story - and that was ten years ago - and you can get it here if you want to (it's free).

Some pages:

(We even turned one of the pages into a song, called Lily, named after a spambot in the story.)

Aug 15, 2021

Mechanized Ex-Baron von Spindelknochen


The von Spindelknochen were a strange bunch. Their favourite type of punishment were beheading (so much that they built a special type of chop-off-and-then-roll-to-a-special-moat-outside-the-castle device to speed things up, known as the Head Chopper, and then they had that problem with the necromancer that kept reanimate the skulls for her army and...but that's another story).

Where was I? Oh the von Spindelknochen, yes, strange bunch. They became even stranger when they had a visitor from the future - another von Spindelknochen it turned out, only too late, as you will see - that told all about how to prolong one's life.

Because, the visitor said, you don't really want to live through these medieval times. These dark ages.

The what now, the von Spindelknochen said.

This, the visitor said. The dark ages. Cold castles, diseases, wars, primitive ways of living. The most advanced thing you'll ever encounter in your entire life is a spoon.

A what now, the von Spindelknochen replied, because the only kitchen utensils they used were knifes since you could chop things off with those, and chopping off things were something the von Spindelknochen really liked.

Exactly! the visitor exclaimed. Five hundred years from now, humanity will travel across the planet through the skies, cutting clouds in half in large metallic, birdlike machines. Don't you want to experience that? Fast forward another five hundred years and humanity is no longer living on this planet, but on Mars, Venus - even Jupiter! And where I'm from, we've even escaped death itself.

Off with his head, the von Spindelknochen ordered, and within the second the visitor's head painted a blood red elliptic path through the air - and landed perfectly on a metallic disc - much like a tray - with small legs all round, that the visitor had brought with him apparently without anyone noticing.

The small tray started running, but the von Spindelknochen soon caught up with it (it wasn't awfully fast).

Oh the irony, the visitor's head managed to say just before the von Spindelknochen tore it off the tray and threw it out the window (and it was actually reanimated a couple of years later by that same necromancer and...but that's another story).

The tray

The tray keeps any head placed on it alive and fully functioning. It's a mechanized, Keep Aliver™-tray (with the optional Spider Legs module attached).

It was ironically invented (in the future), manufactured (in the future and also in the past after the first von Spindelknochen miraculously managed to reverse engineer it) and overly overused by the von Spindelknochen, who made a tradition - at their death beds - to chop off their own head and keep it alive on one of these discs.

The disc doesn't stop ageing though, something the first generations of von Spindelknochen learned the hard way. Though still alive, they more look like a bunch of tree stumps nowadays.

Aug 7, 2021

Sourdoughing: part 2, a wizard's tower

(Read the first part here, or just follow the tag for all posts in this series)


So for this part of the series, I'll create something small, like a wizard's tower, to have something to build on later, e.g. after the tower is completed, we can create a milieu/environment around it in close proximity, and see where that leads us i.e. to place other things, and so on and so on.

Or something like that.

I'll use my Building a wizard's tower using 1d20 and maybe some other dice post for this.

(And apologies in advance for all the times I'll misspell the word entrance.)

Alright, let's get going!

Following instructions, or Doing What The Generator Tells Me To Do

"Get a pen and paper" - alright, I'm already not following the rules. I think I'll use Google Spreadsheets instead.

"Start at the bottom" - how can I do that if I don't know how many floors there'll be? I'll just do a reverse tower. Wait, will that make it a dungeon? Is this a dungeon generator in disguise? Or maybe there's some function to reverse all cells later...hmm...maybe this is why I'm told to do it on paper... Anyway, I'll just start at the top, and do it in reverse instead.

It's already growing on me

"Keep rolling on this table until you're happy" - WILL I EVER FIND HAPPINESS har har alright enough goofing around, let's roll on this table until we're happy.

First roll (thank you,, since the rest of the house is fast asleep): 16 -
Does the tower have at least one balcony?

Nope, can't say it does. It doesn't even have an altan as we say in Sweden.

Next roll: 6 - Find a die that matches the number of floors pretty good
Eh, ok, I'll do that. I got my 1d1 right here. Oh don't look at its flipside, or you'll lose your sanity.
Ok, now what? "Roll twice". Yes, I think I can manage that without, rolling... Oh, look at that, I got a one and a one. What does that mean? "[...] connect those two floors on the outside by means of: Wooden staircase, crude and unreliable"
Why did I have to roll twice? It's not like you have to install two staircases when you're building in the real world; one for going up, and one for going down. This entry needs an editor, I'll get one asap, but in the meantime I'll just connect the entrance with the entrance by means of a wooden staircase, crude and unreliable.

...I'll just use the best of my imagination for this:

Ok, next roll: 11 - Add a floor on top. LARDER.
And two d6 rolls after that:
  • 5 - Broken pottery, but no food. 1 in 6 have rune inscriptions all over them
  • 6 - Lard, kept in clay pottery 
All in all, another UNEXCITING floor. I mean seriously, I know it's called a larder, but for heaven's sake, store something else in there will you. Why would a WIZARD dedicate a complete FLOOR to storing LARD of all things or wait a minute.
Wait a sentence.
Of course it could be interesting. It wouldn't be interesting if a NORMAL human being would store that amount of lard, unless they were a lard lord or lard master or whatever title you'd have in a pseudo-medievil setting (I mean, imagine if this was a normal person's tower with just two floors; you got an entrence with a staircase going around the house on the OUTSIDE, and an attic full of LARD - that's not how you start a family is all I'm saying).
But now we're dealing with a WIZARD. Wizards are crazy, there's no denying of that. I mean, the entrance floor is sound proof of that ("So... there's no second floor?" - "No no, just wrap the staircase around the tower, will you please!")

So, based on that, my imagination tells me this:

Alright, next roll: 10 - Add a floor on top. BEDROOM
Yeah, sounds about right, you don't want to walk all those stairs when you're an old sorcerer.
Oh, another d6 sub table: 6 - Moss is covering the entire floor, although the furniture is still underneath somewhere. The wizard falls asleep where ever
Sounds like a parent with young children to me! Ooh, that gives me an idea:

Nice double line breaking there, breaking all consistent layout rules

Alright, on to the next roll, or should I stop and reflect here? Maybe I'll reflect instead.

I remember writing that post, that generator, thinking one would run through it a-blazing, thirty floors in one minute, e.g. if I hadn't at least twenty entires, it wouldn't be enough. More more more. But as I use my own generator myself, I notice even the slightest - what should I call it - "insinuation" (i.e. as with the moss thing above, that made me think about why wouldn't the wizard clean that up etc etc), may or may not stall the process (for the poor reader/user) by some amount of time.

Or maybe it's because I'm blogging at the same time.
Or maybe because I'm having my first real beer in several months, and my body is all confused, and my brain can't function.

Anyway... Enough reflecting. We'll see if the editor cuts that section or not.

Next roll: 11 - LARD- are you kidding me? No, just no. I need to write an addendum to that blog post. I mean, yes, some floors could benefit from repeating, but a larder? Alright, I'll add it. I mean, one point of this series is to point out how stupid one's generators could be: 5 and 3 - Broken pottery, dry ingredients. Some of fey origin.

Alright, so maybe the wizard doesn't consider the first larder-floor to be a larder at all, but merely a "ear plug resource/golem ingredient" floor, and this floor is just a pantry? Yeah I'll just rename it to pantry:

 I have to say, imagine being a sorcerer yourself, or just a plain pig farmer, and you have been invited to a "wizard's tower" - and this is what you see? A messy bedroom and food stuff? This is why common men become fighters, or clerics; they see this tower and go "screw that".

Ok, next roll: 14 - Find a die that matches the number of floors pretty good, and roll.
Ouch, I mean, yeah it's pretty boring tower so far, so some random change could do us good, but on the other hand... I got a pretty good view of this wizard right now; it's like the reverse of the common "Oh I'm living a common normal life, but I want to become powerful and taste the dark arts yada yada", like "Oh I'm a powerful sorcerer and imps are running around my legs, let's start taking things down a notch one at a time").
Ok, I found a die, let's see what floor we'll manipulate: 2 - LARDER. Oh goody.
Another roll (d6) to see how we'll mess it up: 6 - There’s a lot of barrels here, where plants and edible things are growing. A tiny cloud is circeling the ceiling, keeping everything wet and fresh
Hmmm.... I don't know, oh wait, I do know. I mean, if the lard in the pottery is for golem construction, why wouldn't the things growing in the barrels also be for that? I mean, maybe it's golem hair or something... Or brains? I mean, some kind of tangled weed may be used for a golem brain? Ok, that's good enough for me:

Alright, on to next floor: 4 - Add a floor on top. STUDY.
Yeah, every wizard needs a study. What's the major theme? 2 - Books about famous paintings, and what hidden magic they contain
I get it, every first time parent are looking for that "hidden magic" about how to raise their child "correct", and this wizard obviously has something extraordinary on her hands, so a full study dedicated to dealing with that little monster makes perfect sense:

Now I'm thinking; has this little child anything to do with the golem construction thing going on in the second floor? Hmm...

Anyway, next roll: 16 - Does the tower have at least one balcony?
Nope. I should probably have given that entry the possibility to deal with "if no balcony, do this instead".

Ok, another roll: 4 - STUDY.
...yeah ok, wizard likes their books, I get it, I'll play along. What major theme this time? 4 - Books about common potions that somehow all requires birds as an ingredient (multiple beaks can be found in here as well)
So, "common potions", I reckon these are potions that all wizards know how to brew, but these require birds as an additional ingredient. Does this mean someone set our poor wizard up? Sold her bad recipes? Who would benefit from this? "Oh, a potion of heal sprained toe is just moss and fly agaric - but I'll toss in a house sparrow just for the fun of it!"
No wait, it makes perfect sense. Either our little monster/non-human child has something to do with it (i.e. scribbling all over the potion book), or someone who hates birds and want them eradicated from the area has sold these recipes to wizard.
Hmm, I kinda like that latter explaination. Birds eats worms, ergo worms hates birds, so an earthworm in disguise has sold these phony recipes to the wizard!

Nobel prize here I come


Will this tower do? Am I happy now, as the generator clearly asked of me to be in order to stop? I don't know, how much detail would you possibly need from a wizard's tower? I mean, I have a pretty good sense of this wizard now, even though there's only six floors:
  • The wizard communicates with sirens
  • The wizard constructs golems using lard and tangled weed
  • The wizard is in custody of a small child of non-human origin
  • The wizard is neglecting a lot of simple house chores due to the child
  • The wizard is a lousy carpenter (see: entrance)
  • A nearby earthworm is selling phony potion recipes to the wizard, hoping to eradicate all birds from the area

I mean, I'd love to explore the idea of that earthworm, or that child-like creature - but do I have the generator for that?

Only next post can tell!