athelind: (Magnum Opus)
Okay, I'll bite. What's the Rune Star Tapestries?

It's the blanket title for the Sword & Sorcery Magnum Opus* I've been tinkering with on and off since the early 1980s. It stars several of the characters I played in [livejournal.com profile] godhi's Corongond Campaign, the first big, ongoing tabletop RPG campaign I was ever involved in.

Yes, characters. It was the Dawn of the Nerd Age, before Dallas Egbert was lost in the steam tunnels, in the days of the Great Dice Famine. In those days, playing more than one character at a time and having characters who jumped from campaign to campaign was still fairly common. Game mechanics have matured and evolved a great deal over the last four decades, but in that cusp between the Seventies and the Eighties, between Carter and Reagan, between Eldritch Wizardry and the Player's Handbook, gaming culture was equally embryonic, and many of the customs and conventions now taken for granted had yet to emerge. Many off-the-cuff, ad-hoc decisions made in a convention hall's game room about how a fantasy world might function went on to shape not only game settings but fantasy literature as a whole.

(Had we known we were setting precedent as binding as the Common Law, we might have made different decisions.)

I have dithered around with these ideas and these characters for almost four decades, developing and discarding settings that just didn't work, haring off after misguided attempts to write a "proper" Quest Fantasy Trilogy despite a set of decidedly improper protagonists. After the untimely demise of my friend, Jim, who was an important part of that antediluvian tabletop chronicle, and who never stopped encouraging me to bring my characters to a wider audience than the gaming table, I realized that it was well past time to get serious about this saga.

For the last few months, in fits and starts, jotting down notes at work and in the evenings, I have striven to do just that ... and I'm ready to start sharing.

That's ... informative. But what IS the Rune Star Tapestries?

Well, let me tell you what it *won't* be:

It won't be a Trilogy Quest, where the protagonists have basically One Big Adventure to overthrow One Big Bad, and that's it, they're done. That's the end of their story.

It certainly won't be an Everlasting Gobstopper: those Neverending Series of Thousand-Page Doorstoppers, which drag characters through tragedy after indignity without ever really *accomplishing* anything. [Cue Portentious Violins over Clockwork Maps.]

It won't be a Grand Epic about Destined, Prophesied Chosen Ones.

I plan a throwback to the classic days of Sword and Sorcery: an episodic, picaresque collection of short stories and novellas about a trio of well-meaning troublemakers, three misfits seeking their fortune in a world of magic and high adventure. I feel no obligation to write them in chronological order, any more than Howard or Lieber did. It will be character-driven and setting-driven: the core theme will be exploration and discovery, as Our Heroes seek out interesting and exotic locales and interact with them.

And those ad-hoc decisions I mentioned, up above, that turned "Dungeon Fantasy" into its own subgenre? It just might be a chance to play with some of the eccentric, off-the-wall wildness that didn't wind up as Common-Law Precedent for the ISO Standard Fantasy Setting.

The most quintessential fantasy cliche is the tale of a Heroic Knight-Errant who rescues a Fair Princess from the clutches of a Wicked Dragon.

The Tapestries begin when a Plain Servant Girl rescues a Noble Dragon from the clutches of Errant Knights and would-be Heroes.

They take refuge with a band of Goblins, and that's where their adventures *begin*...


*Yes, that icon is Opus with a Magnum. Thank you, Derrick Fish.
athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
It should come to no one's surprise that a great deal of what I read on the Internet, particularly on the Friends list of this very site, concerns dragons.

It should come as no further surprise that I greatly appreciate someone taking the time to present the following:



Credit: David Morgan-Mars
athelind: (DRAGON!)
Thanks to everyone who's linked me to today's shirt.woot.



Evidently, everyone's immediate reaction to the design is ATHELIND!!

Yes, I've already ordered one.


athelind: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Who is your favorite mythical creature/character, and why?

That would be ... well ... me.


athelind: (grognard)
Does this ever happen to anyone else?

Every now and then, I get an idea for a character that just won't leave me alone. It would be one thing if it were a character that wanted me to write it—but when this kind of thing hits me, it's almost always a game character.

Sometimes, it's a game that nobody I know even plays. I have any number of files and character sheets and general notes for games like GURPS, Castle Falkenstein, and Mutants & Masterminds.

This time, it's for a game I don't even own, in a genre I haven't touched in years.

That's right. A Dungeon Fantasy character has my creative cortex by the short axons. He'd work acceptably in Dungeons & Dragons proper, but only in Third Edition. He'd work better by far in Pathfinder, Paizo's fork of D&D 3.X.

His story: )
athelind: (WARNING: TV Tropes)

This Will Not End Well.


Seriously, did those guys have any idea that a dragon started that TV Tropes page?
athelind: (Eye: RCA Magic Eye)
I seem to be the last person to know this, but Bob Basset, the Russian leatherworker who does those magnificent dragon bags and masks and those equally-impressive cyberpunk/steampunk/forcepunk gasmask-helmet-things, has a LiveJournal feed, so you can see the cool stuff he's cranking out a couple of times a week.

Be advised: Basset also does the occasional BDSM-related gear—he's a leatherworker, after all*—so you might want to filter the feed if you read LJ at work.

For those not familiar with his work:

This is a messenger bag.



*Egregious Stereotype.
athelind: (hoard potato)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I went to see How to Train Your Dragon.

Magnificent.

I enjoyed it almost as much as I did Kung Fu Panda, and, in fact, if we hadn't seen it in 3D, I probably would have enjoyed it more than KFP—I mean, dragons, right? Alas, I find wearing 3D glasses over my regular glasses to be too distracting for the movie to pull me in quite as much. 3D was an interesting novelty with Coraline and Up, but until I can get prescription 3D lenses, I think I'm going to opt out from here on in.

That small technical issue aside, I loved this movie.

I have to agree with the consensus: between this and Kung Fu Panda, Dreamworks is finally making Pixar-quality movies, rather than just snarky, derivative flicks full "hip" jokes that audiences 20 years from now will need a reference book* to understand.

Let me be clear: How To Train Your Dragon is definitely Pixar quality, without being Pixar-style—and I don't just mean the animation, either. It's as well-paced, as well-written, and it has characters of the same depth and charisma as a Pixar flick.

But it has a completely different feel to it.

Dreamworks has found its ecological niche, and it's not the same niche as Pixar's.

Cut for Very Mild Spoilers )


* Okay, realistically, they'll be clicking on the Clifflinks™ on the hyperlinked video file, but you know what I mean.
athelind: (hoard potato)

Multiple Choice Dragon Game


(Found by [livejournal.com profile] normanrafferty)

This was too much fun -- as in, "I'll check this out, but I really can't spend much time on it this morning. Well, maybe a few more pages. Oh, hell, I'm done!"

But all told, it only took about 20-30 minutes, and some of that was getting up for coffee. Some mornings, torching a few knights and conquering a kingdom or two are just what you need to wake up and face the day.

It's a Multiple-Choice Text Game, in the tradition of those venerable Choose Your Own Adventure books. Clever addition: your actions and choices directly influence your attributes, and those, apparently, have further impact on your successes in your later endeavours.

The core Attributes are arranged in opposed pairs: as one of a pair goes up, the other goes down. They're delightfully Draconic:

Brutality vs. Finesse
Cunning vs. Honor
Disdain vs. Vigilance


As the game progresses, you also accumulate Infamy, Wealth, and Wounds -- well, some of you might accumulate the last; Your Obedient Serpent went unscathed until the grand finale, and still took only a single Wound as he dispatched his adversary.

This was a pleasant diversion, perfectly suited to the grauphy mood I found myself in upon awakening -- and quite probably the only time you'll ever see a computer game review in this blog.

athelind: (Default)

Multiple Choice Dragon Game


(Found by [livejournal.com profile] normanrafferty)

This was too much fun -- as in, "I'll check this out, but I really can't spend much time on it this morning. Well, maybe a few more pages. Oh, hell, I'm done!"

But all told, it only took about 20-30 minutes, and some of that was getting up for coffee. Some mornings, torching a few knights and conquering a kingdom or two are just what you need to wake up and face the day.

It's a Multiple-Choice Text Game, in the tradition of those venerable Choose Your Own Adventure books. Clever addition: your actions and choices directly influence your attributes, and those, apparently, have further impact on your successes in your later endeavours.

The core Attributes are arranged in opposed pairs: as one of a pair goes up, the other goes down. They're delightfully Draconic:

Brutality vs. Finesse
Cunning vs. Honor
Disdain vs. Vigilance


As the game progresses, you also accumulate Infamy, Wealth, and Wounds -- well, some of you might accumulate the last; Your Obedient Serpent went unscathed until the grand finale, and still took only a single Wound as he dispatched his adversary.

This was a pleasant diversion, perfectly suited to the grauphy mood I found myself in upon awakening -- and quite probably the only time you'll ever see a computer game review in this blog.

athelind: (Eye of the Sky God)
From a significant fraction of my f-list, including [livejournal.com profile] the_gneech, [livejournal.com profile] pyat, and [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte:

  • If you like, post this meme and your current wallpaper.
  • Explain in no more than five sentences why you're using that wallpaper!
  • Don't change your wallpaper before doing this! The point is to see what you had on!




This is an image from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site, which I read every evening.

I regret to say that I can't remember just what this image is. I know that it's a false-color image of... something. I do remember that I chose it because a) it's wide enough to extend across two wide-screen monitors (which I am not currently using), and b) because it's orange and purple, and vaguely, sinuously dragon-like in the way that clouds and fractals can be.


(If anyone recognizes this image, or has better search-fu on APOD than Your Obedient Serpent, please let me know and put a link to the appropriate APOD page in the comments!)
athelind: (Eye of the Sky God)
From a significant fraction of my f-list, including [livejournal.com profile] the_gneech, [livejournal.com profile] pyat, and [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte:

  • If you like, post this meme and your current wallpaper.
  • Explain in no more than five sentences why you're using that wallpaper!
  • Don't change your wallpaper before doing this! The point is to see what you had on!




This is an image from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site, which I read every evening.

I regret to say that I can't remember just what this image is. I know that it's a false-color image of... something. I do remember that I chose it because a) it's wide enough to extend across two wide-screen monitors (which I am not currently using), and b) because it's orange and purple, and vaguely, sinuously dragon-like in the way that clouds and fractals can be.


(If anyone recognizes this image, or has better search-fu on APOD than Your Obedient Serpent, please let me know and put a link to the appropriate APOD page in the comments!)
athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)


It's a song about the loss of innocence... and we've all lost a little today.

Good night, Mary.


athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)


It's a song about the loss of innocence... and we've all lost a little today.

Good night, Mary.


athelind: (Default)
Everything's better with Moar Dragons:

At a flea market months ago, a dragon toilet paper holder. on Twitpic


Found by [livejournal.com profile] andreal
athelind: (Default)
Everything's better with Moar Dragons:

At a flea market months ago, a dragon toilet paper holder. on Twitpic


Found by [livejournal.com profile] andreal
athelind: (Dragon Conspiracy)


The video doesn't mention it, but some of the technology for this has been in the works since the late '70s. I have copious notes in my old high school notebooks about similar developments.

athelind: (Default)


The video doesn't mention it, but some of the technology for this has been in the works since the late '70s. I have copious notes in my old high school notebooks about similar developments.

athelind: (work)
I know I haven't mentioned much about my current job since I started a couple of months ago, but I'm working on maps of the local water and sewer systems that are being rebuilt.

Today, I'm adding features showing the areas for which we don't yet have solid data. I have files that show what the original pipes looked like, I have annotations that show what's been demolished, and I've got a file with multiple contradictory proposals for the new pipe system -- but I don't know what's actually there, or what will be there.

I've named the shape file "incognita".

I'm fighting off the temptation to label the regions "hic sunt dracones".
athelind: (Default)
I know I haven't mentioned much about my current job since I started a couple of months ago, but I'm working on maps of the local water and sewer systems that are being rebuilt.

Today, I'm adding features showing the areas for which we don't yet have solid data. I have files that show what the original pipes looked like, I have annotations that show what's been demolished, and I've got a file with multiple contradictory proposals for the new pipe system -- but I don't know what's actually there, or what will be there.

I've named the shape file "incognita".

I'm fighting off the temptation to label the regions "hic sunt dracones".
athelind: (Default)
Back in my days at Texas A&M, I spent a lot of time hanging with the SCA group there.

And with Cepheid Variable, the science fiction fan organization.

And with the now-defunct gaming group.

(...this may have a little something to do with my failure to graduate from that hallowed institution...)

Anyway, this afternoon, I happened to recall a song that was in the repertoire of an SCA friend of mine back in those days -- "Dragon Road". I did a Google search, looking for the lyrics, assuming it was an SCA standard.

Much to my surprise, I happened to find his own site -- and that was the only reference Google could find to that particular song. He doesn't know where it came from, either.

But he's got the MP3: Scroll down for "Dragon Road".

It's magnificently geeky: more D&D than SCA, to be honest, as the chorus reveals:

And there were dragons, dragons, flying o'er the road,
Wyverns all around us, and behind us, yellow mold,
And there were orcses, orcses, filling all the wood,
And they all jumped upon us because we were Lawful Good...


Update: I found the lyrics, with a credit line! "by Sir Cipriano d'Alvarez mka Guy Bradley "
athelind: (Default)
Back in my days at Texas A&M, I spent a lot of time hanging with the SCA group there.

And with Cepheid Variable, the science fiction fan organization.

And with the now-defunct gaming group.

(...this may have a little something to do with my failure to graduate from that hallowed institution...)

Anyway, this afternoon, I happened to recall a song that was in the repertoire of an SCA friend of mine back in those days -- "Dragon Road". I did a Google search, looking for the lyrics, assuming it was an SCA standard.

Much to my surprise, I happened to find his own site -- and that was the only reference Google could find to that particular song. He doesn't know where it came from, either.

But he's got the MP3: Scroll down for "Dragon Road".

It's magnificently geeky: more D&D than SCA, to be honest, as the chorus reveals:

And there were dragons, dragons, flying o'er the road,
Wyverns all around us, and behind us, yellow mold,
And there were orcses, orcses, filling all the wood,
And they all jumped upon us because we were Lawful Good...


Update: I found the lyrics, with a credit line! "by Sir Cipriano d'Alvarez mka Guy Bradley "

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