Archive for March, 2010

Clod of Cthlhu: Innsmouth is Over, No More Fish Puns, Dangit

30 Mar

A correction: I went back to check, and it looks like Burnham probably does die in the crash. The truck explodes after you’re thrown off of it, and I don’t really see him getting away, so it looks like the flatbed was counter-intuitively the safest seat in the vehicle Jack’s dynamite stupidity has once again proved an essential part of survival. I’m not tallying Burnham’s death as Jack’s fault; honestly, if he’d lived any longer, he’d be Jack’s only real competition on the professional asshat circuit.

Anyway, this chapter has a lovely beginning: you wake up on a gurney in an insane asylum, attended by a doctor, a shady-looking agent, and J. Edgar Hoover. Those of you who paid attention in US History class will know who he is.

Hell if I know, mind. I think maybe he’s a matador or something.

No, of course, he’s a controversial leader of the FBI who used illegal methods to gather evidence and had dossiers on lots of famous political figures. Something of a hotly-debated individual, subject to a lot of contemporary debates on the issue of morality in the exercise of the law. In-game, this translates to the character tying Jack down, torturing him with electrodes, beating him, and forcing him into an extremely dangerous mission against his will and better judgment. I’d be annoyed at this kind of heavy-handed characterization, but I admit to kind of enjoying watching Jack get electro-shocked. Hehe. Hey, keep it up, buddy—shock him enough and you’ll either fix his brain or fry it into charcoal, and honestly, I’m not sure which I’d pay more to see right now.
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State of the Skarn

28 Mar

Break time is over, moved back in, tablet is back, and I’m rarin’ to go. Looks like we’ve got a couple series with ends in sight–Crossfire Tango is three or four good-sized posts off the end, methinks, and the next few Clod of Cthulhu posts will bring us near the ending. Already tossing around ideas for their replacements.

Character sketches have been working out well. I’ll try to do at the very least two more this week, not counting the one I’ve already started (Alec). For reasons of logistics, those might be wrought with tableture. Then again, they might not be, I dunno.

I’m still on the fence about how to handle the D&D updates. I feel like a bare-bones description is a little unsatisfying, but if I’m going to do a session a post in the future, that’s what I’m going to have to deliver. I don’t mind perhaps putting a bit more effort into them, doing a little each day so it’s not a one-night word bomb, but I don’t actually have a limitless amount of time to spend writing these. Some compromise has to be made on the scale of a regular pace to a per-post depth. What do you guys think? Maybe do one session per two regular-sized (1000 word or so) posts,  or keep on the vaguer side?

No other updates, and not much in the way of links to deliver, so I’ll stop nambying about and come in with the comment of the week. This week, it goes to Sydney for bringing up a relevant point regarding my last CoC post:

How did she get on the ledge?

Good question. That couldn’t have been easy; she like a prodigy of getting herself killed. Jack could take notes.


Lord of the Scraps: Session Four, Part One

27 Mar

The players drop off their precious cargo—one captured gnome overseer—at the makeshift farmstead base. Deathgrip officers take the gnome and escort him up to the farmhouse. The players are directed to a place where they can get meals, clean clothes, and some much-needed sleep.

The players are stationed in a circle of tents away from the main area. There’s one for each of them, as well as (apparently) several for other specialists command has posted in the area. The players aren’t really in the mood to ring up their neighbors, so they just go straight to bed.

Kelcinator, an elf, needs not sleep—she need only slip into a sort of meditative trance. This, combined with her keen hearing, is probably why she woke up so quickly when a utility knife plunged through the fabric of her tent.

She watches, still not full awake, as a human dressed in a black cloak enters her tent. He looks at her, a little off guard, and raises a finger to his lips.

Then he pulls out a gun.

Kelcinator reacts quickly, drawing her bow and putting several arrows into his torso. His gun fired once, missing wildly, before dropping out of his hands. Kelcinator shouts, and the rest of the party came full awake.
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Clod of Cthulhu: Crash of the Day

26 Mar

Okay, I’m going to go through these bits quickly, because if this series is ever going to end I’m gonna have to get out of Innsmouth. To be honest, while Jack doesn’t get any smarter as the game progresses, his stoogesque gaffes do grow somewhat less dense. I’ll be able to skim the rest of the game within a few more posts, hopefully.

Where were we? Oh yes, the intensely annoying running gunbattle sequence, where Burnham wheels through town like a maniac and I have to trade shots with every cultist in the western hemisphere. It’s particularly frustrating because when you get shot—and you will ¬get shot, since you’d not have much in the way of cover—it’s hard to find a time to heal thyself. If you’re injured while healing, the process is terminated immediately; since you’re always moving on to a new set of opponents, it’s real tricky to find a five-second interval where you can plaster over your current set of flesh wounds without sustaining a fresh batch.

What really grates my cheese is how the fighting is staged. The order of events tends to go like this: Burnham drives a ways, some gunmen appear in my vision (standing by the road or, as frequently, in it), they start successfully shooting at me. If you think this makes total sense, consider the following:

a.)    Burnham saw these guys standing around and didn’t think to run them over or warn me.
b.)    For their part, the gunmen are entirely uninterested in shooting anything until I come into view. That’s right, no point in wasting ammunition on the driver, the engine block, or the tires. Now, the jackass sitting in the back, hiding and trying to gauze up his bullet wounds—that’s a worthy target.
c.)    If they are shooting at Burnham, either they can’t penetrate the cab or they can’t get a clear shot off at him, because he ain’t even scratched. This would imply that the cab is totally safe from gunfire. Remind me why I couldn’t ride shotgun, using small words that I can comprehend in my 3.5-esque barbarian rage.
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Character Sketches 1-2

24 Mar

Until I sort out image uploading for the new site, I have to link from imageshack, like a peasant. Anyway, procedure’s the same: you want a larger version, you click on it.


I’m not totally crazy about how this one came out, to be honest. I was liking it up until I got to the face–somehow, I never seemed to get it looking right. Also, the jacket shoulders probably could use a bit of work.

Jarenth–Random Dwarf

I don’t know what your vision was for this dwarf, and I don’t know what kind of gear he has, but I do know that this was fun to draw.


This one’s about half done, but I’ve hit a snag. Rust: could you explain how the gauntlet-blade thing works, again? I’m not sure which end the point is facing.

In the meantime, I’ve started on Lux. I’ll do another drawing as soon as she and Alec are done.


In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 40)

23 Mar

EDIT: The screenshots for this one aren’t uploading, for some goddamned reason or another. Luckily, they’re not terribly important, but I’ll put them up once I figure out what the issue is.

A note on screenshots: I don’t post enough, as you are all aware. This is partially because it takes me like two minutes to upload one screenshot–the process of finding it, going to upload image, switching to browser view, waiting, uploading, waiting, resizing, waiting, and then captioning it because the caption doesn’t show up if I do that in any other step is a tedious one indeed. Still, I ought to suck it up more often.

When we last left our hero, he was basking in the considerable profits that only catastrophic failure can produce. Now, before you think I’m a heartless profiteer, you should know that most of this money isn’t actually going into my pocket. The lion’s share of the swag is going towards the friends and relatives of my fallen comrades, the better to support their families and honor their memory.  So at the end of the day, I’m really just making a small … wait, sorry, what’s that? The mercenary’s a mysterious loner and my rat’s an orphan, so neither of them have families to donate to? You don’t say. Hm. Well, I guess I still have to pay to bury them…oh. No, I forgot, their bodies are still down there. I’m guessing by now, the assassins have already dragged them into some nook of the sewer to fester in solitude. That’s kind of like getting buried, in some respects. I suppose it will have to do.

What else do I have to do to make it look like I cared about those guys? I’m really at a loss as to what places I could be putting the money in to at least have a pretense of respectability, here. Maybe I could support their favorite charities? I guess I’ll throw a Suran stripper a few drakes and give the next rat I see a bit of cheese, right before I have to hack it open in self-defense. That should cover my bases.

So, it appears that these profits are going straight into my pocket. I guess that makes me a heartless profiteer? Eh. I can work with that.
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Crossfire Tango, Part 29

22 Mar

Vatsy opened his mouth, and wasn’t quite sure what to say. He found that his vision was tugged to the empty space at his side.

“Come in,” said the smiling man, stepping out of the doorway. “We’ve been expecting you.”

The office had seen better days, but not recently. It was dark, choked with dust, and papered with a hideous green geometric pattern that spoke of authority without class or taste. At the back was a clock, which ticked like a bomb in a radio serial, and a desk– behind which were crammed four men in hooded coats. When Vatsy poked his head inside, the men straightened like startled dogs, and the leftward one whispered something to himself.

“Gentlemen,” said the smiling man. “Allow me to introduce you all to Mr. Vatsy, the, what was it you were calling him earlier?” The man snapped his fingers. “Ah, yes. Hero of the revolution, wasn’t it.”

“It is truly him,” murmured the leftward man. The others nodded.

“Oh, yes,” said Vatsy. “Wrote the articles and all that.” He glanced around the room, standing half-in, half-out.

“Come in,” the smiling man repeated. “Relax, Mr. Vatsy. We’re not going to hurt you.”
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State of the Skarn

21 Mar

Given my website’s unspeakable demographic, there’s a good probability computer screens and books have trashed your eyeballs until they have the perceptive fidelity of dried radishes. Still, a few of you sharper eyed viewers might have noticed something slightly different about the site: that it has one more post than the last time you checked it. Also, that it is now too sexy for any shirt known to science.

That’s right, I’ve been slaving over a lukewarm tablet for the past few weeks, and this is what I’ve wrought. It’s crisp, it’s clean, it doesn’t glitch when the practices of Microsoft Word screw over the operation of outdated versions of Internet Explorer. Yes, I don’t think I’m guilty of hubris when I say that I have now reached complete visual perfection.

Too bad the content’s still sketchy, of course, but I’m not a magician.

This week, there will be things. There will be other things directly afterwards. All of your favorite series, and that one that you hate but read anyway because you’re trying to put off working for another five to ten minutes.

Important Announcement That I Will Totally Regret:

In an attempt to practice drawing things that I would not normally be drawing, I’m going to offer free character sketches. Now, before you get all excited for a non-art-student with a sketchy grasp of perspective and anatomy to be rendering your babies, keep in mind that I’m probably only going to be able to do a small percentage of the ones I get–I’ll randomize which ones I do to make the process fair. If you want your RPG or original fiction character sketched, post a good-sized description in the comments and I’ll have a go at it. I cannot, in good faith, promise that it won’t look like Gary Busey after being dragged under a semi for a few hours.

In other news, I appear to be dead. The culprit is still at large, and he’s also writing a fiction serial that you should read. Just scroll down past the bit with the kobold in the moat until you get to the bit about the evil desk. Can’t miss it.

For a shameless in-joke, Comment of the Week goes to Phase.

Rutskarn, is our plan “Get them,” or “Get them, and if one’s not gotten enough, check him out?”

You won’t get it unless you’ve been following the stalled play-by-post RP Phase and I are involved in. And I respect that.



20 Mar

I had a variety of comic projects I wanted to work on, so I made it a point to bring my tablet back on spring break with me. This was a delicate process, and meant wrapping the device, finding a good place to place it in the luggage where it wouldn’t be subject to undue stress, and transporting the additional monitor I use when drawing.

Of course, I left the stylus back on my desk.

So, looks like any drawing I’m going to be doing this week will be done on paper. I’m actually somewhat irritated at myself for doing this, because I really was looking forward to getting some coloring practice in, but I guess I’ll have to find the time when I get back. In the meantime, I hunkered down and did a character sketch.

Eyda pictured with her animal companion. It’s not actually done, and there are a few proportions that are still a bit wonky, but the basic image is worked out.

I’ve got some of the Crossfire Tango written up already, but I don’t want to launch it unless it’s a bit longer, so I’m going to set it up tomorrow (today, by your reckoning). Mind, that’s also when I’m hoping to launch the new look of the site–fingers crossed.

See you ankle-biters in the afternoon.


Crossfire Tango, Part 28.5

19 Mar

More content to come tomorrow, including the second half of this Crossfire Tango.

It was the kind of warehouse that looked abandoned to the untrained eye, and was probably thought to be by the locals, but that was, of course, absurd. In this part of town, a warehouse could always find clientele looking to store things like imports, pre-owned goods, or perishables, provided the warehouse didn’t look too closely at what was being imported, who had previously owned the goods, and under what circumstances the perishables happened to have perished.

As Vatsy was led in out of the rain, it became clear that the warehouse held two other things in abundance: the fire of revolution and the stink of vague unease.

The place was packed to the rafters with men and women, some of their rough jackets soaked with rain, some of them dry and dusty as though they’d been living under the floorboards for months. In clusters they formed, centered around  poor-quality lanterns that had been set up on nests of crates. They were whispering, taking drags on cigarettes, eating, and generally acting as if at any moment, The Man might stomp a hole in the roof and skewer them with a barbed fountain pen. When they saw Vatsy enter, one could almost see relief in their eyes, as if they’d finally been something concrete to crap their pants over.

“Lovely place,” said Vatsy, almost enthusiastically. “You know, I’ve always thought you can never have too many unmarked boxes. They add a real touch of mystery to a place.”

“Right,” said the father. “Follow me.”
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