Wednesday, August 24, 2016

[map] Adventurers, adventuring!

I started a few weeks ago working on a few maps to go along with the excellent artwork by Jonny Gray over on Google+, you can see his fantastic piece here (I just realized that he shared his map privately so unless you are in his circles, you will not be able to see his wonderful artwork, my apologies):

This is the first of three maps I plan to draw, each connecting and creating a larger, 'mega-dungeon' to go along with his artwork.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Ten Minute Writing Challenge #TMWC

I am going to go ahead and kick this off. I have always wanted to write, and I have done so at various times, but I lack follow through and the discipline to continue this for any length of time. I feel peer pressure is a strong motivating force, so I call on you to help me. And perhaps I can return the favor.

The idea is simple: Allocate ten whole minutes every day, Monday through Saturday, to writing something. Anything counts (except emails). Fiction, poems, diaries, etc. Pick a location and time that you have to yourself that allows you to focus your attention on writing. Do not think too hard on this. Get a pen, some paper (or go digital if you wish), set a timer, and simply write. Do not think too hard on editing or sentence structure, the goal is simply putting words on paper - not making it pretty. That is what editing and copy editing is for. Let me say that again -
Our Goal Is To Put Words On Paper.

The Rules:
  • Write for ten minutes per day, Monday - Saturday for the entire month of September.
  • You can write more if you wish, but ten minutes is the goal.
  • No editing allowed. Just write.
  • If you miss a day, no big deal, just move on to the next day and
  • Encourage, don’t critique others' works. Critiques are only allowed if the author explicitly asks you to do so.
  • Writing blog posts counts as writing, but email does not.
  • The only prize is your own pride in completing the challenge.

The Why:
Now, the question is why am I doing this? I want to create a HABIT of writing and I have discovered a few things on blogs that are supposed to help with this:
1) Pick a location conducive to writing. It can be anywhere but you need to be comfortable. The idea is that this location is YOURS and no one else's spot. Think of where you would feel calm and at ease, excited even, about putting pen to paper. 
2) Find a time that works. This time needs to be your time alone, with no interruptions that can distract you for just ten minutes. This can be night or day but think about a time that you have a moment alone to yourself so you can focus on writing. 
3) Determine a reasonable goal. I am taking care of this for you by selecting ten minutes. If we are successful at ten minutes, maybe next month we will add some time and see if we can grow into more developed and thoughtful authors!

How this will work:
I am planning on making a post in the evening before I head to bed, around 10pm central US time. This will be an image, phrase, seed words, or something that will hopefully act as a catalyst to creation for you. I call these Story Seeds and will hopefully serve as an inspiration for you. You DO NOT have to use these if you already have something you want to write about.

You can write anywhere you want and there is no requirement to post your work online for others to see, we hope you do, but it is not necessary. However, to participate I would ask you to reply with a comment to THAT POST on the blog that you were successful. If you post your work online and wish to share, please include a link to your work.

Example Story Seeds
I will likely be using Rory's Story Cubes for some of the days, an example is below. You can use all of the cubes, some, or even none of them. Whatever causes you to be inspired.

I may use photos which (hopefully) provide a story seed to encourage you to come up with a story idea quickly. 

I will also likely use Story Seeds (my term for words that cause inspiration to fire). These can be short phrases or simply words. The same rules for Rory's Cubes is applicable here: use some, all, or none of the words. Examples might be:

So, now that I have laid it all out, who is with me? And if you are late to the party, no worries! Jump in whenever! Starting the 31st of August, I will post the following day's Story Seeds for the following day.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

[prose] Guns in the Night

I found myself with a few minutes yesterday afternoon while I waited for an appointment. I wrote it in a Moleskine the old fashioned way, with a pen. Quickly tonight I copied it over to the blog. It is presented with errors and as written. Ended up at roughly 1000 words.

William struggled with the rope binding his wrists. He grimaced as the old frayed rope bit into his flesh. He twisted and pulled again, but to no avail.

“Anders,” the tall man yelled at the smaller man. “Make sure he cannot get free.”

“Yeah, awlsright,” he grumbled in his southern draw. “Yain’t got to yell.”

The tall man removed his hat and wiped his brow, gazing out from his hiding spot between the two buildings. From his vantage, he could easily see across the clear and rolling hills out to the horizon. He figured this allowed clear sight out to a few minutes - enough to give him a warning if anyone dared approach. He replaced his hat and squinted, eyes searching empty darkness.

“Ya, the binds are tight boss,” the said as he pulled and yanked on the ropes behind William. As he neared William his rotten teeth produced a nauseating odor and William had to turn his head. “He ain’t going nowheres.”

“Good,” he did not turn to face the shorter fellow but pointed out across the road to a building on the far side. “Now climb up to that loft across the street. And Anders, take the rifle.”

“Got it boss,” he scurried off, one hand on the rifle and the other holding up his too large pants. “I’ll kept an eye out toos! Don’cha be worried!”

The tall man spit at William boots. Without turning to face William he said “And you, you keep your mouth shut. I don’t want you spooking the natives.” To emphasis his point, his pistol appeared and pointed at William’s face, just an inch between the barrel and his nose.

“You got it mister,” William spoke through his dry, chapped lips. “Not a word from me, but..”

The tall man spun to face him, dropping to a squat so he faced eye to eye with the seated William. His dark eyes were hidden in shadows and it gave him an eerie look. “Look. I drug you here to protect you. You seem insistent on ignoring that fact. Without me you would be dead right now.”

William’ mouth opened but the tall man cut him off first. “Shut it.”

He withdrew a small radio from his pocket, hit a button. A faint beep was heard and William could just pick up the voice on the other end of the line. “Go.”

“Miller, I have William holed up in Old Gulch, six miles north of the incident. Outnumbered by the hostiles and with minimal armament. Request immediate extraction.” He spoke in a hushed tone with quick bursts of information. He did not move.

The voice on the radio uttered a simple “Understood” and was silent.

The tall man stood and performed a quick search of the empty hills. Finding nothing, he looked back at William. His eyes said disappointment and urgency.

“Extraction unavailable at this time, recommend team relocates to grid…”

The tall man raised the radio to his mouth, visibly shaking in anger. “What don’t you get? There is NO fucking team! It is just Anders and I…and this…this civilian! We are fucked unless you get us out of here pronto!”

Only silence answered him. He shook the radio, raising it behind him to smash it at his feet. The sound of crunching wood across the street stopped him.

William spun to get a vantage on the source just in time to see Anders smash through the wooden walls of the barn across the street. The wood shattered and was tossed through the air by the force of Anders body. Anders flew in an arch and crashed to the ground with a bloody snapping sound.

Something moved behind the barn and William strained to see through the darkness. A massive amorphous blob rose behind the barn, easily reaching fifty into the heavens. From each side of the creature, wavering tentacles writhed and twisted. Atop the thing’s head, if it could be said that it actually had a head, was a bulbous mass of yellow eyeballs, hundreds of them, quickly darting this way and that.

William immediately pissed himself.

“Meadows,” the radio suddenly squawked.  “Libra Six has authorized extraction. Two clicks north from your current position. Envoy en route.”

“Finally!” His smiling eyes turn to William and his hand reached inside his coat, producing a large knife.

William eyes somehow grew even larger, he gasped. He began to squirm and shuffle away from the tall man. “What are you going to do? With that?”

“Shut your mouth and come here,” the tall man stepped towards William and grasped for the bound man’s hands. “Stop wiggling damn it, I am going to cut you free.” He grabbed out quickly and with a lighting-fast twitch of his wrist William’s ropes were slashed.

William sat there, surprise covering his face.

The tall man broke the silence. “Look, the trucks will come from that direction,” he pointed behind William, a dirt road was faintly visible through the black. He shoved a small metal box into William’s hands, a simple grey box about the size of a deck of cards. “Run like your life depends on it, run like hell, and don’t look back. Only one of us is going to make it out of here. Get that to Miller, he’ll know what to do.”

William rose and stood, barely aware of his sudden change of events. He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came.

“No need for thanks yous and such,” the tall man dipped his hat and gave a slight nod. “Name is Meadows. Now get out of here, that beast is not going to wait around.”

“Thank you,” William sputtered.

Meadows pulled out a second pistol and gave a slight grin. “Just tell that bastard Miller that I went out with both my guns blazing like a devil.” And then he turned and ran into the street, both pistols spitting fire at the unnamable bulbous mass.

William turned and ran. The last thing he heard was Meadow hollering a rebel yell over a blood-curdling growl of the alien creature.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bullet Journal hacks

A neat little layout I discovered online (originally spotted here Instagram photo), I like the cleanliness but solid design behind the layout. I would likely have to tweak this some as there is not a huge amount of space for tasks but I could easily see this working for a Weekly Overview. I especially like that is clearly displays the day of the week along with the date.

Another great idea she had was the task tracker layout below. It takes mere seconds to whip up the chart for this and it easily allows you to capture a numerical value of your task. She had Water, Steps, and Sleep on her page but I could see you using this for word count in writing as well.

Another system that I came across which I find intriguing but I am not sold on yet is the Time Ladder. Here you write out all your tasks along this ladder drawn on the page. You then map out the ones with certain times (such as appointments, thing you know will happen at particular times) and then as time permits you map out when you accomplish other tasks or plan when you will accomplish them. When the day gets complicated it seems to become a bit too messy for me. I do find it interesting though.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Lord Murdoch's Swindler's Cove

The self-stylized "Lord" Murdoch runs his swindler's market and meeting place here. A small 'resort', if you will, for those who operate on the shadier side of the law. Here one can find a bunk to hide out until the hear blows over. Maybe grab a bite to eat from Helmud's kitchen (try the Gerftord Stew!). Or even sell/swap your latest treasures discovered during your latest excursion.

Murdoch ensures the safety through monetary deals with locals and, it is rumored, some powerful magics. However he does manages, his Cove has not suffered a raid or attack in the sixteen years it has been in operation. High-ranking officials consider the Cove neutral ground and strict penalties will be enforced on those who disregard this rule.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

[map] Temple of Axiod

Master Elizourn stood before the massive hole at the center of the Temple of Axiod. The ledge that ran around the hole had broken and fallen in a few spots. Navigating the men over these openings would be dangerous. He frowned at the thought of losing more men to this damned place.

"My lord," came Gertor's voice from behind him. Gertor was a trusted servant and man-at-arms, in service for a decade. "The men have found something. A crypt."

"Where?" Elizourn asked. "Is it the priest?"

"I forbade the men from opening it. After the last one...I thought it better you were present." He looked away from his master. He spoke of the Temple Ferrin, where half of the men met their doom at the hands of a horror covered in torn rags that emerged from a crypt.

Elizourn placed a hand on Gertor's shoulder. "Good thinking. Let us head to this crypt."

They began to step to the side passage, taking just two steps before a roar shattered the silence of the tomb. It erupted from the massive hole before them and echoed across the massive stone chamber. Dust and small debris fell from their perch above, shaken by the powerful roar.

"Gertor! Gather the men, the crypt will have to wait!" He drew his family's sword, a long, gem-gilded blade, and readied himself...

If you follow me on G+, this was the map I was working on over the weekend where I went for a much more quick and fluid hatching method. Less focus was spent on a more deliberate placement of the hatching. I am not sure I like it better than the other methods.

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