Δευτέρα, 31 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

The 2013 100th Blog Post Special!

StarChildren and SpaceBurgers by Lionel Kokkinis.


LOOK AT MY FUCKING AWESOME BANNER.

LOOK AT MY NEW FUCKING BANNER AND MARVEL AT HOW FUCKING AWESOME IT IS!

IT WAS MADE BY THIS SEXY TALENTED MOTHERFUCKER.

eh does comissions and doesn't afraid of anything.


CLICK ON HIS FUCKING PIC TO VISIT HIS PAGE.

On another, less flamboyantly Caps-Locked note, this is Shapescapes' 100th post! As such, I will use this auspicious number to do one of those masturbatory posts bloggers are wont to do about themselves, so I can brag about shit I got done last year:

So here goes the...

SHAPESCAPES 2012 ACHIEVEMENT LIST or IT COULD HAVE GONE BETTER BUT AT LEAST IT DIDN'T GET WORSE.

*joyous bleeping*

I got shit published:

Ever since I remember myself doing anything even remotely interesting (i.e. the age of 11), I recall wanting to write stories. Or, to be more specific, I remember realizing how awesome stories and the process of turning the swirl of ideas and raw chaos in your skull into a comprehensible whole that you can project to others actually is.

I always wanted to be able to put down the images and the exchanges that took place in my head, but I never actually got down to it until I was 16. And what did I do? I wrote 200,000 words worth of fan fiction.

It was pretty fucking terrible, too.

It wasn't until i was 18 when i began an earnest attempt to actually sit my ass down and right, thinking "yeah, I should probably try to get my shit published", commencing my year-long attempt to write the GREATEST GREEK FANTASY EPIC OF ALL TIME.

It fucking bombed halfway through (mostly because it was garbage) so I set off to write the GREATEST GREEK SUPERHERO FICTION EPIC OF ALL TIME which also bombed, because it was a half-baked idea that still hasn't settled.

During that time, I started working on a silly little comedic project which I called "The Chronicles of Choppinstan" (Τα Χρονικά της Καφριλονίας). It did have some...moderate success (by internet standards) but it was never finsihed, because I thought of it as too low-brow for my tastes.

What followed was a 5-year hiatus from writing, during which I felt like crap the entire fucking time and threw myself to tabletop roleplaying as a means to make me feel better. It was until 2011 that I decided to actually do something about my passion, when I started work on the first book of the Sisyphan Scriptures-The genesis of the Alef (Σισσύφιες Επιστολές-Η Γέννηση του Άλεφ) which i am currently uploading here in chapter format and I'm in the process of translating into English.

It wasn't until 2012 that i realized that I was barking up the wrong tree and I decided to try my luck with writing in the English language. Oh, it was going to be hard as balls, but hey, what was the worst that could happen, right?

Besides getting visciously mauled by dogs?

Get On with it, for fuck's sake!

So I started working on some of my stuff and I tried my hand at pretty much everything, which in turn yielded for me a few (and cherished) publications in the English language.

True to form, the Universe granted me my wish (which was the chance to write and publish children's stories) by having my very first fairy tale in English "Something In the Sandbox" accepted for publication by Open Hearts Publishing. I got to write the story of the queen of the playground, of the subtle uprising of her subjects and the banes of wantonness.

Then, Schlock! Magazine did me a favor and published a story I wrote, belonging to mys econd-favorite genre of literature, called "LeftOvers", where I told the tale of a man who got what he had coming.

Static Movement picked my story, "Under the Staircase" where I got to see the apocalypse through the eyes of a child and write about scar tissue on the human soul, the kind that grows into you and forces you to grow around it, instead of the other way round.

Round that time, EveryDayFiction.com did me a solid by accepting my flash story "Treading the Grass" where I wrote a letter in the approximate style of a revenge driven, methodical psychopath in 12th century Japan. (And you can read it here: www.everydayfiction.com/treading-the-grass-by-konstantine-paradias/)

Black Cross Productions liked my superhero story "Blue Oceans, Yellow Sands" sometime near the end of the year and I can't thank them enough for letting the Overmen that have been bounding across my skull loose, if only for a while.

And, last but not least, I got to publish my very first e-book in English! stone Cold Countenance started as a doodle, expanding constantly in my hand from the very first sentence and radiating outward toward every possible direction, until it was about 200 pages long and yearning to be let out. But you can go check out the rest on the relevant blog page.

What I think about 2013-I don't know man, but I know it's not gonna be shit.

With all that said, I'd like to wish all of you wonderufl people a wonderful, happy and productive as fuck year, with joyous occassion all around!

From me to you, here's to a 365-day long orgasm that will engrave a smile onto your face!

Here's looking at you, you tasy, glorious bastard.

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Σάββατο, 22 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

What I Think About Stuff-Next Year In review: a futurospective


 Behold! The future!

Next Year In Review Or Games I won’t play and Movies I won’t watch: a futurospective

So 2012 is coming to a close, Tezcatlipoca’s shadow looms over us and this article will probably be read by the few survivors of the foretold Mayan Apocalypse, who will paradoxically still have working Internet connections.

I’m deleting my browser history, just in case.

With all this in mind and with 2012 having been an insufferable, downright horrid year for my country and everyone in particular, I have decided not to waste your time talking about the cool shit that happened and instead look to a possible future.

So here you are, ladies and gents who are currently being sneakily approached by a group of radioactive contagious cannibals, shambling behind you as you read this:

Coming to you live, from Universe 7B, this is…

THE SHAPESCAPES 2013 NEXT YEAR MOVIE AND VIDYAGAME REVIEW

Remember: Future events such as these will affect you in the future.

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Τετάρτη, 19 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Σισσύφιες Επιστολές, Η γέννηση του Άλεφ-Μέρος 9ο



Παμφάγος Ορχιδέα


6500 μΕ, Τέρρα Πρίμα, Πόλη-ήπειρος Μαχάτ, Θόλος του Πόθου.

«Και μου λες ότι τα επίπεδα των τερματικών είναι γεμάτα με αυτά τα πράγματα;» είπε η Χήρα, κοιτάζοντας την ορχιδέα που της είχε φέρει η Μαινάδα.

«Τα κορίτσια μου φέρανε ένα μάτσο από δαύτα, λένε ότι έχουν φυτρώσει μέσα από το πλαστομέταλλο και έχουν πνίξει τα κατώτερα επίπεδα. Μερικά από αυτά έχουν ρίζες μέσα στα καλώδια του Δικτύου.»


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Τρίτη, 18 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

To-Do List (Last Minute Apocalypse Special) by Konstantine Paradias





From the personal notebook of Jack Schmidt, sole victim of the events of December 21st, 2012:

-Pasta (2 packets)
-Hot peppers (1/2 kilo)
-Dishwashing soap  the green one
-That fucking red wine she likes
-Rice basmati, long
-Mushrooms (not the brown ones, they give me gas) please get the brown ones, baby
-2 liter coke remember your diet, sweetie
-Fucking expensive lettuce it’s Romain. Get two
-12 plastic bags, the big ones
-One hacksaw
-24 cans of condensed milk, for no fucking reason whatsoever you seriously want to go out and shop just for that next time?
-Tomatoes (3 kilos) try to get the really juicy red ones, I love those
-12-litre Drain-O bottle
-Blowtorch
-Condoms (12-pack) try not to get the latex ones, they give me a rash
-A better fucking girlfriend
-An isolated place by the highway where I can bury her so nobody will notice.
-Spade.

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Δευτέρα, 17 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Phoenix (Last Minute Apocalypse Special) by Dimitris Morakeas

It was on the 21st of December the year 2012 that the world ended. 

The reason wasn’t nuclear war,  the wrath of a god or a second coming, it wasn’t the alien invasion that a small part of the population had hoped for nor a zombie infestation as a slightly larger part wished. The earth certainly didn’t split, so tentacles would emerge and rampage as a fringe part of population had dreamt (a smaller subgroup thought that the tentacles would emerge only at the area of Japan and attack specifically and exclusively female students).

It was the hope and fear of us all that did the trick.

People missed work on that day and so nothing really worked; that surprised some people whose outmost fear was that without them manning their posts the end of all would really come. They stayed home and under the fear of death they saw their lives as never  before, some of them admitted to themselves that their lives sucked and found the courage to abandon their old lives even for few hours before the end of all, some realized for the first time how blessed they were (they knew how happy their lives were before but never truly understood it) and become contend with what they had, some realized the pain that they had spread and some of them were crushed under its weight while others changed (or try to change) their mindset and atone for their sins. There were of course those that ignored the whole thing but those people ignore every think around them and thus manage to stay unimportant in the flow of history.

Then came the 22nd.

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Σάββατο, 15 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Human Slaves of An insect Nation-Part 4



Poor, unkillable, lonely slayer of teenagers…


Human Slaves of An Insect Nation, part 4-The Horrors of Horror
Aaahh, horror. Now that’s a genre that’s been tossed around a lot. Movies try to do it but barely succeed



and games do it, even though sometimes horror was not their original focus or intent:



Make no mistake: Horror is not an easy genre to master or to use. It is, in fact (along with comedy) among the toughest genres to work with, mostly because it is based on manipulating your audience and knowing exactly which buttons to push and a masterful understanding of narrative flow for maximum effect.


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Τετάρτη, 12 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Σισσύφιες Επιστολές-Η Γέννηση του Άλεφ, Μέρος 8ο



Πανοπτική Μάσκα

6500 μΕ, άγνωστος πλανήτης εκτός καταγεγραμμένων εκτάσεων, κοντά στη ζώνη του Ισημερινού.

Ο Ραλφ απενεργοποίησε το καμουφλάζ του και παρακολούθησε τη μικρή ομάδα από μαυροντυμένους, με την Οόνα και τον Τόνυ να ίπτανται πίσω τους. Τα σώματά τους κινούνταν και αιμορραγούσαν, αλλά το αίμα έρρεε γύρω τους σαν μικρές στάλες, σα να βρισκόταν σε ένα πεδίο μηδενικής βαρύτητας.

Περίμενε λίγο ακόμη, μέχρι που είχαν πλεόν χαθεί πίσω από τη βλάστηση και άρχισε να τους ακολουθεί, προσπαθώντας να μην πανικοβάλλει την τοπική πανίδα. Το δάσος ήταν ένα τροπικό αντίγραφο των πρώιμων προεπαφικών χρόνων της Τέρρα Πρίμα. Η βλάστηση είχε μεταλλαχθεί, ώστε να προσαρμοστεί στο ξένο έδαφος αυτού του πλανήτη, αλλά ο Ραλφ μπορούσε να δει ότι η  ανάπτυξη της χλωρίδας ήταν βεβιασμένη και ατελής. Τα δέντρα είχαν φυτευτεί, οι σπόροι τους πιθανόν κλωνοποιημένοι σε κάποιο εργαστήριο, αλλά η χλωρίδα δεν έδειχνε καμία πρόθεση να εξαπλωθεί. Τα δέντρα αυτά ήταν πράσινα και ζωντανά, θαύματα βιοτεχνολογίας, αλλά έμοιαζαν να μην έχουν καμία απολύτως δυνατότητα να εξαπλωθούν σε αυτό τον πλανήτη.


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Τρίτη, 11 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

What I Think About Stuff-The Shapescapes Endtimes Last minute special

I know I should be feeling horrible, but this is just so goddamn metal!
 The Shapescapes last-minute apocalypse special! World's going to end in ten days as from the moment of this post, so it's time for all you wonderful people to go crazy! Why wait for the 21th so you can loot and participate in the Great Endtimes orgy? Why wait for the 20th so you can huddle in church and pray to your Gods? Why kill your family on the 21st, like a schmuck, when you can do it right here, right the fuck now!

(In your imagination. This is kind of important)

Write your own 2012 the world just fucking ended apocalypse story. Chuck meteorites on the Earth, shacke tectonic plates until they come apart, or be a pussy and go zombie! Either way, summarize the End of Everything in 3,000 words or less!

Only on Shapescapes. Results will be posted on the 20th, so the winner can do a victory jig before he is consumed by the rage of Tezcatlipoca with the rest of us.

(kudos to Dimitris morakeas for proposing the idea. visit his blog, you bastards aitherontd.blogspot.com)

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Σάββατο, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

By The River



Illustration masterfully brought to you by Vaggelis Ntousakis. http://www.facebook.com/the.grue (all rights reserved)



“I killed a man here, once. On this river bank. I think it was right...there. Yeah, that's the spot. You can still see the stain he left as he bled out on the ground. I remember looking at all this blood pooling ‘round him, flowing between the rocks, thinking ‘this can't be happening, can it? A guy can't have this much blood in him’. He whimpered all the time, though. It's the whimpering I can't stand. See, when a guy's about to die, he kind of...regresses. He turns back into a little sobbing ape, crying for help to the rest of his pack. Had to push him underwater to make him shut up. Little ape went down like a stone, met all the other dead apes in the bottom. It's full of it down there, you know. I bet if you stacked them on top of one another, you could build a house out of all the dead in just the bottom of this river. Hell, you could get some good furniture out of the deal too. Moldy beds, old couches that grampas died in, baby trolleys. I think I'm gonna make me house out of all those dead things, one of these days.

“You’re cold, right? I can see you shaking like a leaf. Want my jacket? No? That’s alright. You ain’t gonna be cold for long. Mind if I smoke?”


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What I think About Stuff-It's Bullshit and You Know It!


PROTIP: If you don’t get this painting, then you’re not an asshole


ART! Or It’s Bullshit and you know it

DISCLAIMER: This is an article aiming to tear at horseshit that plague my country, the Internet and the sensibilities of idiots who try to seem intelligent by swimming along the river of shit that is the ‘avant garde’. If you are offended by this then you are one of them and do not deserve my pity. 

Way back when, in my Rogan Gosh review, I made a brief mention of my unbridled, venomous hatred toward ‘artists’. Note the fucking quotes, they’re important. 

I mentioned how Greece is chock full of bastards who grow goatees, wear Palestinian Indifanda scarves and read or say the weirdest shit, while making sure they are always surrounded by a group of cunts as blind and retardedly elitist as themselves, so that no one will ever tell them that their cucumber on a stone slab sculpture is a piece of shit and that it signifies fuck all.

Or anybody who might say, confront them on how they have been wasting their parents’ money on horse shit.

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Τετάρτη, 5 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Σισσύφιες Επιστολές-Η Γέννηση του Άλεφ, μέρος 7ο





6500 μΕ, Άγνωστος Πλανήτης, εκτός καταγεγραμμένου Σύμπαντος.

Η Οόνα άνοιξε το στόμα της για να αναπνεύσει και ένιωσε το αίμα της να την πνίγει. Ένα μικρό ρυάκι κύλισε από τα χείλη της και έπεσε πάνω στα απομεινάρια του πάνελ ελέγχου του σκάφους.

Διαπίστωσε ότι δε μπορούσε να κινήσει τα πόδια της και ότι δεν ένιωθε σχεδόν καθόλου πόνο. Η λαμαρίνα που είχε ξεπηδήσει κατά την πρόσκρουση την είχε διαπεράσει από τη μία άκρη του στομαχιού της  την άλλη και είχε προφανώς τσακίσει τη σπονδυλική της στήλη, αλλά δεν ένιωθε και τόσο άσχημα.


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Παρασκευή, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Human Slaves of an Insect Nation Part 3-Your Players and You!



The story you can reach out and touch by Serhat Bayram


Human Slaves of an Insect Nation, part 3-Your players and you!

Part 1 was a rant and part 2 was gaming advice, but part 3 aims to cover the best and most precious aspect of your campaign:

Your players

“I'm the cream of the crop, I rise to the top
I never eat a pig cause a pig is a cop”


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Dat Music-5 2012 albums you just got to listen to (guest article by Fotis Wizman Kyriakidis)



5 albums of 2012 you should listen to


#5: Celldweller – Wish Upon a Blackstar

Album cover brought to you by the Rorsach Tests department of Hell.

Celldweller. Does this name ring a bell? The project of producer and self-loathing vocalist Klayton has been around since 2003. His music has been used in the trailers for pretty much every post-2003 action shlock-fest, including Doom. This guy has made a living by licensing his tracks for media usage. For years, he has been making an album called Wish Upon a Blackstar, and every year he would release two finished songs from the album. When the album finally dropped this year, we had already heard half of it.

Proceeds from the album will go to Klayton’s hair extensions fund for aspiring artists.


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Σάββατο, 24 Νοεμβρίου 2012

What I think About Stuff-This Is Not A Nerd Rant




From left to right: Degenerate space horrors, Alien Policemen, Space Nazis (in Exterminating brown and Assimilating Silver), Rational Octopus People, Self-Replicating Miscalculation, the One Good Dalek and the man from Gallifrey himself, courtesy of SlightlyTwisted.


This is not a Nerd Rant Or Yes, it fucking Is!
UrbanDictionary.com defines nerd rage as:
          1) When a gamer becomes upset upon not getting his/her way or seeing a noob playing badly.

Oh thank God I suck at video games, then. I don’t play well with other people and when I do play on my own, I cheat up the ass

Because I didn’t pay 700 euros for a pc only so I could fucking lose to games I bought.


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Σάββατο, 17 Νοεμβρίου 2012

That Faithful Spider and the Crafty Fly


Fantastical images provided by Lyatyvea


“Consider the spider, effenti” said the girl, the Grand Executioner’s hands wrapped around her slender neck, his thumbs pressing on her windpipe with just enough force to let her know he could break her neck with the minimum of pressure. There was sweat trickling on his brow; the girl had given him quite the chase through the palace gardens, as she was trying to escape him. The girl had given him a fight too: scratched his hand with her hairpin, a little bone needle with such ferocity that she drew blood.

“What of it?” said the Grand Executioner, his turban bobbing on his great head, the emerald at the center nodding in assent. His words sounded distant and distorted to the girl’s ears, as if formed by the rustle of the palm tree leaves above.

“It dwells between the earth and the sky, its home built from thin strands, lighter than air. It walks among them with its eight legs, gently dancing above the world and below the clouds with infinite grace. Its haven is built from its belly, woven like an impossibly beautiful tapestry, a testament to Allah’s wisdom, but it is torn apart by gusts of wind or the malicious grasp of man’s hand” she said and found herself looking into the Grand Executioner’s great green eyes, noticing the arch of his brow that signaled curiosity. Slowly, she realized that she could now breathe unimpeded, though his fingers remained wrapped around her neck.

The Grand Executioner

“But above all, the spider is patient. It does not plead with Allah, nor does it curse at the clumsiness of human hands. Whether its house is torn apart by accident or intent, it merely weaves one anew, creating a pattern of even greater beauty and complexity. Now consider the fly, effenti..”

The Grand Executioner’s hands let go of the girl’s supple neck. The bruises on her skin were like great blots of ink on virgin paper. The girl collapsed on the ground and the Grand Executioner sat on the base of a palm tree, motioning for her to continue.

“The fly is the complete opposite of the spider. It dwells in the sky, touching land only when hunger compels it to. It has no dwelling and no understanding of concepts like beauty or patience. Its life goes by as quickly as a song; it knows only greed and lust that make the entire world seem like a feast to its eyes, just waiting to be devoured. Its only acknowledgement to Allah is the rubbing of its forelegs as it prepares to dine, its only worry the propagation of its kind.”

The Grand Executioner smiled and weaved his hands together. The girl was a storyteller, employed by the Sultan himself, her tales for the great man’s ears only. But she had fallen out of favor, given him too many sad tales that had brought him in a foul mood. Eventually, he had the Grand Executioner kill her himself. And now here he was, enjoying one of the Sultan’s delights for himself, the girl’s very last story.

His profession was a macabre one (not that he did not enjoy it), but it had its advantages. The girl continued her tale:

“Once upon a time, there was a spider. Among her kind, she was considered the greatest, for her webs were like tapestries of great splendor and her faith was absolute and unwavering. Such was her renown, that she was even known among men, who always spoke her name with great reverence. 
And it is said that even the Pasha of Samarkand held her in such high esteem, that he had allowed her to spin her web between the two spires of the greatest mosque in the city. And such was its complexity and beauty that it is said that the winds never blew fiercely over Samarkand, for not even the efreeti of the air dared disrupt such beauty.

“On that web, the spider dwelt with her children, her grandsons and granddaughters and their children as well. They were all as devout as her and each shared her passion and her spirituality, though none of them were as faithful as her.

“On the other side of Samarkand, there was a fly. And even among the flies, she was considered the most foolhardy and arrogant. She had been born in the stables of the muezzins and grown strong and fat from the excrement of their horses, and had grown to consider herself the most favored creature in creation. Since a very young age, she had been sitting on the backsides of warhorses and had even sneaked and tasted the Pasha’s favorite dishes and always got away with a full belly.

“As the fly grew older, she realized that not even the delights of the Pasha’s table excited her anymore. So the fly decided to attempt her greatest and vainest feat yet:

“ ‘I shall go to the spider’s web’ she told her brethren one day. ‘And there, I shall lay my eggs on top of the hairy belly of the spider. When they hatch, they will have grown on the killer’s back and be even greater than even me!’ in vain, the other flies tried to dissuade her. They called her quest an obscenity, tried to reason with her, then pleaded with her, and finally they cursed at her. For the spider would catch her and devour her in an instant. But her mind had been made.”

The Grand Executioner slapped his hand on his thigh and let out a loud bark of a laugh. “What madness! How would she go about her business, then? Or did she trust Allah to save her on this one?”

“Surely not. The fly might have been arrogant, but she was no fool. She knew that Allah does no favors for any living being, especially to those that defy death. Instead, she flew around the web and watched the spider from afar for a week, to find out her habits. She discovered that the spider was truly devout and that she prayed at the appointed times. She also found out that the spider hardly slept, being as old as she was, but for the hours between the midnight and first light. This would give her ample time to fly over her, lay her eggs on her belly and fly away as fast as possible.

“And thus the fly waited for midnight, until the spider walked to the very center of her great web and curled herself into a ball and closed every eye on her great head. However, the fly had forgotten that that night was the first night of the month Ramadan and on that night, the spider shut every eye but one, in reverence.  She flew over to her and was about to perform her feat, when the spider shot up and the fly fell wings-first on the web, all tangled. She spun and beats her wings and moved her legs, but the more the fly fought, the worse she found herself trapped.

“The spider saw the fool hardy fly fighting against her invincible web and smiled at her pathetic pleas for help. Had it been any other night, the spider would have killed the fly and devoured her on the spot, but that night marked the beginning of Sawm, the great fasting and the sun was dawning. The spider decided to wait until Iftar, when the sun set, to taste the sweet flesh of her prey, knowing that its fear would make it taste all the sweeter.”

The Grand Executioner leaned closer, intrigued by the girl’s story. He felt a fierce itch rising from the scratch on the back of his hand where the girl had drawn blood, but ignored it. “What then?” he asked.

“The spider went about her business that day and read the Qur’an with her family. When the sun set and the muezzins announced the beginning of Iftar, the spider went to get the fly and found out something shocking: where the fly had been spinning and struggling in the web, a familiar pattern had emerged. The spider looked at it and rubbed each of its eyes; it looked at it from up close, then from far away and knew that there was no mistaking it.

“The fly’s thrashing had formed the first verse of Qu’ran on her web. This troubled the spider greatly. What was the meaning behind this? Was this fly somehow chosen by Allah? Was this a message? Was to eat her sacrilege? She summoned her wisest and most devout child to her side and showed him the pattern. He clicked his mandibles and shook his head in confusion and immediately set out to seek an answer to his mother’s trouble.

“He left the web and went into Samarkand’s mosque, seeking the advice of the moths that nested in the roof and hovered around the lanterns under which the faithful studied the holy texts. He told them of the strange happening on his mother’s web and the moths went into a heated discussion that ended in a maelstrom of mandible, wing and leg, but found no answer.

“The spider did not, however, lose hope. She turned to her most learned grandson instead, who had spent months inside the university of Samarkand and told him of her predicament. Her grandson ran four of his eight legs over his head and ruffled the hairs of his belly and set for the University, where he conversed with the bookworms that lived off the tomes written by the brightest theologians. The worms listened closely to his grandmother’s predicament, argued with each other, devoured a few pages off a tome dealing with the lives of insects, briefly feasted on a book on proper etiquette and told the spider’s grandson that unfortunately, they could not help him. Crestfallen, he told his grandmother the news and she despaired. Her great-grandchildren, who by then had heard the news, gathered around and tried their best to console her.

“‘What if he is making this up?’ asked the youngest of her great-grandchildren, a small thing that had not yet grown even a hair on its belly. But the youngling’s advice was not only unheeded, it also angered its elders. For its trouble, it only received a sound thrashing and was sent to the farthest corner of the web, to brood on its thoughtlessness.”

“Hah! The young one seems to have been the wisest among them!” exclaimed the Grand Executioner, removing his turban (which suddenly felt heavy and unbalanced on his head). “The spider’s faith had blinded her to her own folly and her children and grandchildren are swept along by the spider’s despair.” the Grand Executioner struggled to find the proper word. His thoughts seemed muddled and he felt a terrible weight on his chest. He blamed last night’s fierce lovemaking with his favored wife, feigned sobriety and said: “Why, had I been a member of her family, I would have seen through the bluff in an instant!”

“You would, but then again, you are not a spider. You are the Grand Executioner and your prowess and wits are renowned throughout the Empire. How, pray tell, could any living being match your exceptional faculties?” the girl flattered the Grand Executioner, but her words barely registered. There was a terrible sound in his ears, a ringing sound that reverberated across the walls of his skull and sent tremors through his eyes.

“Go on, what happened next?” asked the Grand Executioner, leaning against the palm tree, desperately trying to ignore the numbness that spread upward from the tips of his fingers.

 “The spider ordered her family to leave her alone in the center with the fly, to decide its fate. As she looked upon her, she saw that the fly had weaved two whole pages of the Qur’an now and was hard at work on the opening passages of the third. Feeling awed and choked by this display, the spider moved quickly and undid the strands that bound the fly together, releasing it. She wept greatly, feeling the weight lifted from her belly at last.

“But that night, as the spider slept, the fly landed on her bristles and lay her eggs and they hatched on her back and her sons grew from the back of the most skilled hunter among its kind. The spider was washed with great shame at this turn of events. She hung her head, crossed her forelegs over her eyes and wept and wept until she died of a broken heart.

“Because the fly, who had grown among the muezzins, had used her faith against her. He wove a deception for her that tugged at her heartstrings and allowed him to trick her and sire his spawn, using beauty to mask his true intentions. As did I, when I scratched you with this little bone needle as you were strangling me. I had it dipped in poison first. You would have noticed the ploy for what it was, of course, had you not been so preoccupied with my story.”

The Grand Executioner said nothing. The numbness had swept all over him and had gone, along with all feeling.

“Your momentary carelessness gave me another chance at life, Grand Executioner. And for that, I thank you.” Said the girl and kissed the dead man on his cheek. She walked away then, past the palace gates, into the streets and mingled with the crowd, never to be seen again.

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Παρασκευή, 9 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Human Slaves of An Insect Nation part 2-Campaign Setup



Human Slaves of An Insect Nation, part 2: Setting up the Campaign Or Yes, Dave. It IS all about the story!

There’s a TON of role playing gaming articles that directly contradict everything I am about to write here. To be perfectly honest, I don’t blame them, since most of them have been written by gamers and are aiming for gamers who want to tread the middle ground and try to achieve an equilibrium between rules and micromanaging a campaign and narrating it.

Let me make one thing clear: rules are important.

Like ‘get gunned down by an attack chopper for breaking them’ important

They’re the objective ingredient holding an entire campaign together and the only thing that stops your game from turning into ‘I shot you, Timmy!’ ‘Nu-uh, cause I like, got a…magic impenetrable shield that covers my entire body!’

I remember having this conversation with my mother like, a hundred times…

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