Rogues Gallery: Adamas the Diamond Djinn

Let’s say you’re Batman. You just captured the Joker, handed him over to the cops, and — hey, where’d you go? I just turned my back for a second… Oh, there you are. Stop doing that.

As I was saying. You’re Batman, and you just put the Joker behind bars. How long do you really think it will be before you’re facing him again? A few years? Few months? Next week? You know he’s not going to stay gone forever, right? He’s the goddamn Joker. He’s a great villain. Of course you’re gonna see him again. The writers love him too much to kill him off for good.

TVTropes calls this phenomenon Joker Immunity, and it’s a feature of a good comic book villain. Thanks to Joker Immunity, superheroes really only need a small number of villains to fight over and over again. Sometimes they’ll have a villain- or monster-of-the-week, but in the end, all you need to write a good superhero story is a list of usual suspects, villains to use over-and-over again. This is often called a Rogues Gallery.

Based on this concept, I’m putting together a Rogues Gallery of my own. The villains I have so far are designed for use with Pathfinder, but they’re not tied to that universe or game system. I think I’ll do one post per villain. Here is the first one. Continue reading

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Four Reflections on Lying

“All of the historical oddities and amazing true facts contained herein are lies, made up by me — and it is this astonishing innovation that allows each entry to contain more truths than if it were merely factual… Truth may be stranger than fiction, goes the old saw, but it is never as strange as lies, or for that matter, as true. Proof of which maxim is the fact that I just made it up.”

— John Hodgman, introduction to An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by myself, John Hodgman, a Professional Writer, in The Areas of My Expertise, which Include: Matters Historical, Matters Literary, Matters Cryptozoological, Hobo Matters, Food, Drink & Cheese (a Kind of Food), Squirrels & Lobsters & Eels, Haircuts, Utopia, What Will Happen in the Future, and Most Other Subjects Continue reading

Gigas’ Tale: Just Another Dead Sorcerer

Read the previous chapter here.

Nirg the giant acted quickly. He bent down, over the edge of the cavern plateau, and looked down at the steep slope, with its winding, ridged path upwards. As he bent he hit his head on a stalactite, and swore so loudly that the cave shook. He got his focus back in about a second, and his enormous arm shot down the slope to make a grab for the halfling. The huge fingers closed around the helpless halfling, and Nirg pulled his fist back up.

“All right, who are you?” he said, holding his fist to his mouth. He opened it slightly to get a better look at the intruder, but nothing was there save for his palm! He looked down again, and there still stood the halfling, gaping up silently. “Pah! An illusion!” said Nirg.

The real Gigas crouched behind a rock that shielded him from view of the giants. He only hoped that they wouldn’t come down and look for him, because he was completely exposed to the bottom of the slope.

“It’s just a halfling,” said Grakka, Nirg’s giantess lover. “Don’t get all worked up,” she said, putting a massive arm around his neck.

Nirg looked softly upon Grakka. “But who knows how long he was down there?” he whispered to her. Of course, his whispers were so loud that Gigas could hear them clearly. “What if he heard everything? What if he goes and tells your husband about us? Agor’s the chieftain now! He could liquefy us!”

Gigas was not at all likely to walk into a colony of giants and start spreading rumors about the chief’s wife, and he said so. His voice, smaller than theirs, still echoed around the chamber, masking his position. He hoped. “I won’t tell a soul, I swear it!”

“You won’t tell anyone when you’re dead!” roared Nirg. Gigas couldn’t see it, but the 18 foot giant was Continue reading

Two D&D/RPG Ideas

I have two ideas for role playing games (RPGs) to share. The second one involves railroading the players to follow my plot a bit, and might be better for a video game RPG than a tabletop like Dungeons & Dragons, but it doesn’t matter a ton.

First Idea:
The players are based in a single town for the entire campaign. Sure they may travel, but this town is the only place to really get quests, so they’ll keep coming back there. The town has an inn, though the players will probably want to buy a house or something to use as a home base. There’s a shady store that sells magical items like scrolls and wands and such run by an NPC (non-player character) mage. There’s a store that sells adventurer’s goods like 10-foot-poles, run by an NPC with quests to give. And there’s a weapons/armor shop, run by a crotchety old NPC with no quests, who is hard of hearing and always wants to tell long, boring stories about his glory days. The party will probably not bother learning these NPCs’ names, but they’ll get to know them nevertheless. Eventually, they’ll think of the town as theirs, and will fight to defend it. Could be fun.

Second Idea:
The party is seeking to stop an impending invasion of Orcs, or some such, by killing their fiendish leader. The leader is literally a fiend, a demon, and the only way to kill him is with the famous Sword of Sir Thumim.

Now Sir Thumim, the party learns, was a general in the last war, some 50 years ago. He was a famous warrior of surpassing strength, who forged his own magic sword of incredible power. He became infamous for the way he ended the war: by calling upon the power of his sword to Continue reading

TVTropes Is Evil

In case you’re not familiar with it, go check out http://tvtropes.org right now. In case you’re too lazy to click on the link, I’m posting a blurb from the site’s main page here:

What is this about? This wiki is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction.

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means “stereotyped and trite.” In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.

The wiki is called “TV Tropes” because TV is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media. Tropes transcend television. They reflect life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere.

The reason I titled this post “TVTropes Is Evil” is because the site sucks you in. It’s all hyperlinked, like any good wiki. You’re bound to see some things there that you’re familiar with, so you click on those, and then you click on links from there, etc. It’s actually a really well put-together website, and again, you should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.

Much of the fiction I write is based on a subversion or inversion of a trope, as you may have already seen. I’ll continue to post links to tropes that I’m talking about, as I talk about them.

Sci-Fi Setting: Humans Are Not Average

It seems to me that every time humans are mentioned in fantasy or science fiction settings that include other races, humans are average. This applies to most games that give a choice of races to play, or to science-fiction settings that include a whole gallery of aliens.

That gave me the idea for a setting where humans are decidedly non-average in some way. The story, which I have neither plot nor characters for, would take place in modern times. But the backstory would go back about 1,000 years, to when aliens landed on Earth. These particular aliens were explorers, seeking only to catalog the local flora and fauna on the planet. They landed in Northern Europe, and were dismayed when their studies turned up a version of the bubonic plague that had not yet evolved to attack humans. According to their calculations, there was a 98.2% chance that this plague would evolve into a superbug and cause a planet-wide die-off of humans and other animal species. These explorers didn’t have the medical technology to avert the crisis, so they decided to rescue as many humans as they could with their spaceship, and take them back to civilized space to start anew, with alien technology to help them adapt.

Nine hundred years later, the descendents of those original humans who were “saved” are now an equal part of a interplanetary federation of sentient species, far away from the presumed ruined world of Earth. Another explorer ship travels to Earth to investigate strange radio transmissions, and discovers humans still on Earth, quietly building an impressive society of their own. The aliens decide not to open contact with Earth yet, merely to observe for the time being. Continue reading

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are you starting a blog?
A: Because I’m EVIL! Yes, I’m starting a blog for the evulz. If you don’t like it, I will introduce you to my Minions of Death.

Q: Is this blog going to contain daily updates about your personal life?
A: No. I will probably post some amusing personal anecotes or insights, however.

Q: What else is this blog going to be about?
A: Apart from proclaiming my own villainy, I’m mostly going to use it as a brain dump for short stories, ideas, and other random creative stuff that I’ve got bouncing around my head. I’m not sure if anyone will care to read it, but that’s hardly the point.

Q: Will you ever publish any of the stories you write here?
A: Certainly. I’ll publish them to my blog.

Q: Why is starting a blog evil?
A: It isn’t, you fool! This is specifically an EVIL blog. Surely you would agree that starting an EVIL blog is EVIL.

Q: Is this where I should go to learn more about / creep on you?
A: I’m not planning (evilly or otherwise) to make this my primary internet presence. For information, updates, and stalking opportunities, look at my Facebook.

Q: How often will you update this blog?
A: As often as I feel like. Most likely that means every day for a while, then every week, then a couple of times a month until I forget about it for a few years. But we’ll see.

Q: What makes this an evil blog?
A: Uh, let’s see. How about that bolded, italicized, underlined word in all caps a few questions back? That’s kind of a clue.

Q: Come on, formatting? Is that all you got?
A: I may have worked on setting up this blog on company time. That’s theft, by some definitions.

Q: Anything else evil about the blog?
A: The title of this post… is a lie.

Q: Whoa.
A: Yes. Not only are these questions not frequently asked, but nobody’s  ever asked them.

Q: What about me?
A: I’m afraid you’ve been playing right into my hands the entire time.

Q: Nooo!
A: Muahahahaha!