Enjoy your evening!
After last week’s absolutely terrible ending here on the blog, I’m focusing on not writing a review this week (but I have been working on both the game and the Lay). The comic has brought a new audience it seems, which makes me happy. I’ve not been sharing much on the writing front at all lately, but it’s going well as far as it seems. I have been enduring a rather lengthy turn of general burn out from new, more expansive responsibilities and distraction.
So, here’s some interesting facets of the English language, from gawker media:
“In Modern English we have these third person pronouns, which can be broken into four categories – masculine, feminine, neuter, and plural. Essentially, and it’s always been this way in English, plural functions as a special gender in pronouns with its own verb conjugation to boot. It’s really quite neat that way, and that’s why I look at English as having not three, but four genders.” (Here’s the full text).
And here’s a beautiful set of images by Toby Allen. The imagination required to develop and demonstrate these nasty little creatures is amazing.
Yraemr Manor, Yraemar, Delaslattin, the Gjaalestadht, Morning of the 17th Day of the Fourth Month, 1089AC.
“Uncle Markusz really outdid himself with this gift,” Vanessza says, her lilting voice echoing off the chambers of the plush carriage that she shares with her mother. “He was right about the suspensers for the axes! This ride has been the smoothest ever and I love the crushed velvet-plush seats.” She beams at her mother.
“Suspension, axels, and for the wheels, dear child,” Ro, the Epic Hero, says evenly.
“Oh, whatever.” Vanessza waves her hand dismissively. “I’m not an engineer or wheelwright. But, I do love the pattern on the curtain!” She exclaims as the carriage enters the courtyard of the manor.
Sighing, Epic Hero rubs her hand from her forehead over her eyes, running her thumb and forefinger over an eye each (exclamations and chatter had been the entire four day ride from Soelshjarta, Solsken), pinching them on the bridge of her nose for a moment. She takes a long breath, holding it for a short count and then releases it in steadily.
The carriage lurches to a stop in the courtyard, approximately ten paces from the carriage’s right side door to the manor’s primary entrance. The driver’s assistant climbs from his perch on the bench above the horses and rushes to the door of the carriage, opening it and standing to attention. “The Vaektare ab Maluszken, Heir Apparent of Solsken, and her issue, Vanessa ab Malusken have arrived.”
Teryn touches his the tip of his middle finger of his right hand to his brow and then bows low as Epic Hero and her daughter made their way from the carriage. Molly, always looking for the chance to wear her blue dress, curtseys, her lips curled into a small smile.
Epic Hero stands to her full height, swaying slightly before starting her walk toward Teryn. “Grav ab Delaslattin, it is wonderful to see you again,” she says, nodding.
Vanessza, walking in step behind her mother, snakes her right hand out, grabbing her mother’s wrist.
“Vanessza, dear, what are you doing?” Epic Hero says between her fixed teeth; Teryn’s brow raises.
“Who’s that in the window?” She juts her left hand toward the window above the manor’s door
Teryn turns on his heel, folding his arms across his chest and tilts his head up. Molly shrugs, her brows furrowed. The curtain in the window sways a few times.
“Oh, please tell me you saw him,” Vanessza says softly, leaning her cheek against her mother’s shoulder.
Ro stands straight, her head raising and taking a sharp breath. It holds her in her chest as the curtain sways side to side. Molly turns her head to Teryn and snorts, folding her arms behind her back and rocking on her feet.
“Just a trick of wind and probably of light, Vanessza; the combined brightness of the plains, river, and glass can often fool the most observant of people,” Teryn says, turning back to the others. “Shall we?”
“Yes, Grav,” Epic Hero says, her hand locked with Vanessza’s, breaking her held breath.
“Mother, you look pale,” Vanessza whispers. “You saw it, didn’t you?” A small smile touches her face.
“Yes, Vanessza, I saw something. A trick of yours most likely, and you were sent to Magiskhjarta so as to not waste your talents and here you are using mind tricks and illusions,” Epic Hero says, growling low.
Vanessza’s eyes widen.
First, let me dispense with the new Shining (Norway) song, “Off the Hook.” Their album is due out today in Norway and will soon be hitting our shores.
Secondly, a number of articles were released Thursday that made me think of dramatic situations or events in RPGs and what constitutes characters. Rudimentary English/Literature courses provide us with enough examples of how to deconstruct characters and their actions and what they represent for the scope of the story. Think of Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Emma in Emma, Alexander D’Urbeville in Tess of the D’Urbevilles, MacBeth and his wife, &c; I could continue this list for more than a thousand more words, but that would belabor the point. Ultimately, these characters and their failings are that from which we learn when reading their stories, their dramas entice us to continue reading, and their resolution leaves us with our general regard of the story.
For a good number of people, this is why we want to play games of Imaginative Fiction or RPGs. We want a story that plays similar to a collection of short stories or a novel. We want our characters to experience something that we may not normally get to experience.
Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the family of Roger Ebert, a wondrous writer and critic and for all accounts a great person. Will Leitch’s story (My Roger Ebert Story) in which Mr Leitch describes his interactions with Mr Ebert. It is an interesting story and a touching one that describes how Mr Leitch was able to befriend the writer through a prank his peers at journalism school drunkenly dared him to do. It details the efforts that Mr Ebert took on account of Will Leitch. The documentation of this personal experience between the two is amazing in its effort and emotion as it is the events that occurred and I recommend reading the piece in its entirety. Essentially, young journalist Will on a lark befriends the old critic through his brashness and their shared Alma Mater (University of Illinois). Will’s career and efforts are bolstered by this personal connection and he receives Roger Ebert’s help to get a job. Will, later in his career during the heights of the blog boom, writes a highly offensive article regarding Mr Ebert and his show (offensive in its nature because of undeserved criticism). This wounds Mr Ebert who responds privately to Will Leitch. It is an example of cognitive dissonance on the part of Mr Leitch, and reveals a very personal failing on a choice, and the graciousness with which Mr Ebert took this poor decision and responded.
In something completely different, the ICIJ (International Coalition for Investigative Journalists released the “RichieLeak” files today. Needless to write, there are enough tales of wanton corporate greed, personal greed, and general exploitation of the rule and spirit of law, morality, and ethics to go around. This is a tale of people doing what is allowed, but not what is right ethically. Take your time to read some of the accounts on their website; it’s rather amazing.
Sticking with the realm of politics, Anonymous announced today that they hacked North Korea’s twitter. The group, whose efforts have been labeled as hacktivism or criminal (depending on to whom you speak), is a great example of those doing what they perceive as correct outside the scope of what is correct. Remember the Thomas Theorem when deciding how you feel about this: “things that we perceive as real become so in their consequences.” To an extent this seems a very Robin Hood tale and a very ballsy one at that; another viewer could look on it as an American Terrorist attack against a sovereign nation (yes, I realize I just wrote that and I feel dirty here for doing so, because of North Korea’s disgusting history of human rights abuses).
Finally, a character profile came from Grantland today on Don King, the boxing promoter. In a Lion in Winter portrayal of the fiery and flashy promoter, his intelligence is unquestionable, his longing tangible, and his perceptions completely informed by the reality he crafted for himself. This article hits on an amazing perspective: one person can be a great many different things at once. He is a tyrant and bully, a fast talking charmer, a civil rights activist, a bigot, a crusher of bigots, &c. He is a great man with a great many things, but is also a small nervous man.
I choose to present these as inspiration for stories for games of imaginative fiction because these are real world events that people may never get to experience and things that real world people very rarely do. In each of these events and narratives there are more than enough angles for meaningful, impacting stories. It is my hope that Cultura will be amble to allow the cultivation of a mentor-student relationship that frays due to the student’s hubris over his ravenous success, be host to politicians and conglomerates that do all they can to shelter their secrets from the public eye whether for their profit or to skirt around the rules, to contain organizations whose actions are generally under speculative regard such as Anonymous, and to have a diverse and wide character such as Mr King whose history and story is open for interpretation. These are the essences of great stories found in the real world, and these are the reasons why news can be so interesting. You do not have to travel to Krynn, Abeir-Toril, Azeroth, or Middle Earth to find interesting events, people, and narratives. And, you can craft them easily by relying off emotion.