Monday, August 26, 2013

Alabaster Guardians

The vacation of writing has begun. So much to do, but so much fun stuff to dig into. I'm excited.

Problem currently being explored:

A tower made of lapis lazuli that used to be an observatory was turned into a pleasure resort and has fallen into ruin. Inside the resort is a ballroom. Inside the ballroom is a wall of mirrors that show a perfect, idealized, version of whatever looks into it.

Before the cataclysm happened, the inside of the ballroom was kind of like this (but elves):

When the cataclysm occurred, a number of exceptionally wealthy elves fled to the tower with their servants and their drugs to wait out the storm and (maybe) to wait for help. They destroyed the stairs leading up to the tower and debauched themselves.

Help never came. They ran out of drugs, and eventually melted away.

Now, they lurk throughout the tower, hungry for their drug, but unable to find or consume it. They spend most of their time in the old ballroom near the mirrors where they see themselves as a perfect version of what they once were. So they're fragile and insane. Especially the ones that want to return to their old "solid" form so badly that they try to inhabit the broken stone automatons.

These "oozing statues", what do they want? What do they not want?

to destroy beautiful non-elven humanoids
to collect beautiful objects
to be friends with elves and commiserate with their elven friend on how much more beautiful they are than all other species
to get laid (hits on other elves from the perspective of "you're welcome")

Doesn't Want:
to see what it actually looks like
to be rejected
to feel slighted or irrelevant
to not get the joke (will frequently laugh if it thinks a joke was made)
to be "triggered" by seeing signs of lost beauty (scars, missing limbs, disease, etc)
to see elves using sipopa

Hopefully these "Alabaster Guardians" will prove more game-able than a "guardian boss monster".

Note: Add parasols and shoulder pads to treasure tables. Roller skates too much?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Scrap Princess is full of Gold

+Scrap Princess is full of awesome. Since I've been slacking on the blog, I'm going to steal some of the brilliance Scrap laid out in a G+ thread both to share and to remember:

+Jez Gordon started things off:
"Aight I got one. I was brainstorming with Scrap over a megadungeon I'm working on and one comment stuck in my craw: "Don't mean sound harsh, but the trick is knowing how to make the PCs care about this.... Like what does it matter to them?" What motivations are there for megadungeoning that matter to the PCs? Is gold, glory, and exploring the unknown enough, or does it need to be something personal?"

Then Scrap came through with pure gold:
"+Jez Gordon you misunderstand me, I don't mean what is the point of the megadungeon, I mean what is the point of busting your ass making a particular unique megadungeon if the uniqueness comes to down to a paragraph of text that the players skim over before playing.

Like say you are making a giant meat dungeon in the body of titanic semi dead creature and you make all these maps and work out which parts of it are still alive and which are dead and what is eating what.

This might all just wind up being exactly the same as an old ruined temple or cave complex, expect you go "oh the door is an anus not a door" every time the players say "I open the door" , but they still keep saying "I open the door" because its pretty much a fucking door.

But if half defeated monsters run away and start eating the walls to heal themselves and that opens up new areas or giant maggots clear out areas of poisonous rotten flesh, or severing a capillary in one area leads to another areas hazard being deactivated, then it seems far less likely that anyone will forget that they are in a meat dungeon."

Love it. Absolutely fantastic stuff to keep in mind and will be at the forefront of my thoughts next week. I've managed to snag a week of vacation starting this Sunday to be completely devoted to writing, and finishing the Dark of Hot Springs Island. woo!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

John Cleese and Ivory Towers

Ivory Tower by ~inthewings
Art and living seem to have an inherently antagonistic relationship to one another. Probably because they both take time, and place demands on the person doing them. Its very possible that I mean "creation" more than I mean "art" because creating something sucks. Actually creating it. Dreaming it up, storming it out, and making its skeleton is great fun, but the work itself sucks, and I'm going to post here and cry about it for a bit.

The problem of course is that I'm a "binger". I binge. I fixate. I crush. I love the idea of a thing passionately, and, quite frequently, find myself terrified of actualizing the thing. Making it mortal. Giving it flesh. Pulling it from the spirit world of amorphous ideal forms and shadows and nailing it, screaming to a corporeal form with symbols and lines. Because I could do it wrong. I could fuck it up. I could fail in my execution and fail in my presentation and fail in my communication and cause the audience to despise this creation of my affection. But the fear is kind of off topic, and I should talk about the lack of self control.

When I write, or when I create, it's kind of like falling down a flight of stairs. It happens all at once, it's not the best way to do it, and I'll probably just hurt myself in the process. But when I hit the bottom it's done, so fuck it. I try to be disciplined, but I just don't care about it. I fight it. Twenty minutes a day. Write twenty minutes a day. Do that and one day you'll be good. But I don't. Even when I try, I don't. My mind rails off and has an existential fight with itself to prove that it's all just fucking meaningless anyway, and the page stays blank. Or gets doodles on it. Or lots of crossed out words because I know I'm forcing it, so I try and perfect it as I go in an effort to spite myself instead of just letting it flow. It's dumb.

But, it's because art and living hate each other. Living requires all this stuff. All this... maintenance. And focus. And effort. Cook. Clean. Eat. Pay the bills. Maintain someone else's system in order to receive money to facilitate living in a certain way. Pay attention to the people that love you. Listen to their stories. Care. Remind them you reciprocate their feelings with your actions. Maintain. Is living just maintenance? Maintaining the body. Maintaining the relationships. Maintaining, maintaining, maintaining. And in all this. Through all this, and perhaps sometimes even despite all this, find time to create. To work. To build.

Is that it? Is that the allure of art? It's something... something that exists on its own and doesn't need maintenance. It doesn't need to be maintained. It doesn't need to be maintained because it's dead. The object is the corpse of the art. It's not the art. But that's not the point.

The point. Ivory Towers and the Work of creation. That's the point. Or it was supposed to be. If you don't have time, or perhaps it's better said, if you don't make time then you're not going to be able to break the dam on creativity as articulated so beautifully by John Cleese:

Time and isolation. A retreat from the demands of living. It's like a fucking dream. But power is freedom and wage-slaves ain't got neither.

I really suck at finishing things, but this is why I never tried to just kickstart an idea, and I just need to figure out a way to get my hands on some time. There's gotta be some out there somewhere I can beg, borrow or steal.

And you know... the silliest thing about all of this is that I continue to make progress on the project, I guess I just really want to be fucking finished, but I can't stop feeling like I'm slogging through mud.

So now, I'll end a bad post with a trite quote and get the fuck off the internet for a while:

"On the Plains of Hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the Dawn of Victory, sat down to wait, and waiting—died!" - George W. Cecil (who conscripted it from others, like all good ideas).