Turkey Day

We are eating with vegetarians. :/ Happy Thanksgiving, all you Americans out there, and to everyone else, I hope that your year is closing pleasantly, and you have reaped a great bounty of good experiences and fortunes from it.

Weapons of the Gods: Secret Arts

One of the things I've noticed about the reaction to this game is that it draws in people who are interested in its high-flying wuxia action, but that's not what keeps them there.

Rather, what I'm seeing is that people read through it, leaping first to the kung fu and saying, "This is pretty okay." Then they start to browse through the book, finding interesting things. The kung fu really doesn't tap the depths of the combat system, for instance (More, lots more, on this later). The motion of the River is fascinating. (I'm a bit of a gearhead; I love these things.) Then they find the Loresheets. "Whoa, it says I can be the descendant of Qin Shihuangdi! There's a world-changing thing that his ancestors can do! Wow! I can force the GM to tell me a story about Tiger Soul!" Empowerment!

And people flip out over this, for some reason.

Then they hit the Secret Arts, which are, at their root, a way to improvise and control systematic reward and punishment systems to make the other players do what you want them to do. Among people who profess to understand the systems involved, the reaction is unanimous: Awesome.

We've been doing this stuff for years, people, and yet when I hear that chorus of excitement for PTA's fanmail, or for narrator dice in The Pool, it's from designers, not regular people who play just regular games, not the people that flip out over Secret Arts...what's missing? What's wrong?


Off-Schedule Post: Rainwater Jaguar

It cast a shadow laced with restless white veins. The breeze became cold and sharp where it had touched its flank. It growled with the sound of thunder on the horizon. The treetops swayed at its throat like tasseled wheat.

It was Rainwater Jaguar, the hungry, merciless bringer of moisture, the changer of blood into bounty.

The rites had been interrupted by the idol priests, the worshippers of Darab-of-Floating-Whiteness, Blue-Eggshell-Ferzeen, Afshan-in-Heat-and-Coolness, and countless others, the priests of the soft and silent gods who did not appear to their men except as flashes of light on the edge of the sun, or a breath of mountain jasmine on the desert wind, or as a heartbeat of compassion in a flinty shopkeeper's eye. The implements of sacrifice had been scattered, and the offerings taken, given bread and wine, hidden from the prelate of iron, the prelate of obsidian, the prelate of bone...

Without offerings, Rainwater Jaguar was growing thin. His watery hide clung to his bones of ice, making deep ripples on His divine ribs. His eyes were darkening with dust, his clarity clouded by the sand in the airs.

Without offerings, Rainwater Jaguar was growing angry, coming to Earth and worrying at things, batting sheep between His paws, looking for a companion to play with. He is but a kitten yet, and for that we are fortunate, for He has not yet learnt the way to hunt.

He must be fed, so that He will go to the sky and bury His droppings there; boiled against that azure dome by the sun, they will become clouds and the rains of spring.

Here I am, Jaguar! Look, I have bared my throat to you! Look, I cut it, the blood comes out! Devour me, Jaguar! Turn me into rain!

His Teeth are so cold.


Being a part of the Web

Are there web sites around that I should look at, link to? Let me know. For the purposes of Raven's sidebar, I like to have a real name to go with personal pages.

There are a lot of places I like that I don't link to here, 'cause they're ot overly relevant; http://www.beaverandsteve.com is one of those.

I'm posting slow 'cause of NaNo, if you hadn't guessed; it's hitting the Bad Week! I'm still excited.


Feneng 10: The River

"Feneng," Blackbird Lantern coughed, "the years have not been kind to you."

She chuckled. "Stand up, you rascal. What have you been doing?"


"Well, no wonder you're still sick. Come, here, we'll dance the fever out." So he rose, and pulled her to his chest, and hand-in-hand they danced. Out the sickroom, into the hall, through the garden gate; the sun rose. Into the woods and across the hills; the moon set. To the River. Blackbird Lantern hesitated; his face burned as Feneng whispered, "I trust you."

They skidded out across the waves and eddies; they scorned the rocks. They paced the dance with the sound of their feet on the water. Days and nights blurred together until they had forgotten all but the beat and the motion of hands, the streamers of steam and the song neither of them was singing.

Finally they stopped and Feneng, unthinking, lifted water from the river and drank. Blackbird Lantern took her by the hand and they rested in the shade of a plane tree. "You are very beautiful today, Feneng."

She shook her head. "I have never been beautiful."

The dance master ignored her modesty. "The River has changed you." So it had: features which were once merely strong and proud had gained balance and poise; the cloudy colour of her eyes, now the rich darkness of a pond, with jade and emerald flickering in their depths. Grief flickered there, too, and monsters. Feneng's lips and cheeks were painted with excitement.

She reached out and ruffled his hair. "Enough staring. Now I know what it's like," she said, "to be you." A yawn. "So, what do we do, now that you are healthy and I an immortal?"

The dancer's eyes flickered left and right, as if to see if anyone was watching, and then he grinned. "What else do immortals do, my dear? We misbehave."

I Dreamed This

So, Monday night (really Tuesday, the first of November), I started The Rosemary Idol, my novel for NaNoWriMo. Just wanted to say.

I dreamed of a game last night, a modular Tarot game where each of the symbols the Tarot uses was a mechanical ability, and you got to construct your character card by pulling symbols off other cards. I assume that these newly denuded cards then became part of the environmental mechanics.