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Kind of feel like our vampiric character pictured above in the Prince’s Gambit Intrigue deck. Crawlin’ through some tough times to get here. But HERE is quite excellent actually.
First, our first foray into Kickstarting a card game is going gangbusters, with our Prince’s Gambit KS funding goal met in the first few hours, and our backers jumping our pledge totals past several Stretch Goals that add to the deck already. There have also been some great ideas talked about for game rules variants: everything from adding rules for Anarchs and the Inconnu to rules for fewer or more players.
Because backers can download the card PDFs and rulebook, we’ve also been getting folks telling us how much fun they’ve been having maneuvering through the Intrigues and trying to discover who’s Sabbat. Which is always so great to hear! You never know if players will enjoy the game as much as you did creating it.
If you haven’t checked it out, please do, and if you like it: spread the word. With this being our first card game, we don’t have as much of a voice in card games circles, so any help letting folks know could be huge for the game!
Also, like I mentioned last week: we’ll be holding an Ask Me (Us) Anything on Reddit this Wednesday the 29th starting around 12 noon EDT. Various developers and Onyx Path folks will be on throughout the day, and Justin Achilli will pop on in the evening after he gets done his day job to talk about Prince’s Gambit. So if you want all the inside info, that’s the place to go next week!
Just want to emphasize that this is not just for Prince’s Gambit, so we’ll answer about anything!
If you can’t make it, feel free to leave any questions you’d like us to ask during the AMA session right here in the comments.
For those who have asked: we are doing something very special for April Fool’s Day. The only thing I can say, quoting Eddy Webb, is that “On Saturday, discover the latest reason why we fired Neall!”
Which leads us nicely into a decently big chunk of information for folks concerned about Exalted 3rd Edition as a continuing game line. For weeks I’ve been mentioning that we’ve been working very diligently on putting together a plan for how we’re going to handle EX3‘s releases.
(Seriously, this is a long one).
First off, I’m incredibly happy to announce that Eric Minton and Robert Vance have agreed to become the new developers for Exalted 3rd Edition. Eric and Robert have been all over EX3 in various capacities since writing began, and their involvement and love of Exalted goes further back than that.
(I’m not even sure why I’m introducing them, actually, since our long-time community knows these guys so well).
With their help, we have put together a schedule for releases that starts with getting the Exalted 3rd Jumpstart: Tomb of Dreams out to backers as soon as we can get the finished layout approved by the new White Wolf.
Next, they are finishing up Arms of the Chosen, and we expect to have the Advance PDF ready in three months.
They are also in the process of assigning the remaining writing that needs to be done on the Dragon Blooded and The Realm books. Most of the writing for both books has been completed, so once they get used to our process for hiring writers and contracting and all that, we can nail down expectations on when the text will be done. Which is really important, because we won’t be Kickstarting Dragon Blooded until the text is completely finished.
After a lot of discussion, and a fair bit of soul-searching, we’ve decided that the next two books will be Exigents and Lunars. We love a lot of the books proposed on previous schedules, and think they would really expand and enrich EX3, but we have to start getting our Exalted community the projects they need to play NOW (or close to NOW), rather than multiple years from now.
But even with Eric and Robert revved up and excited to deliver the projects I mention above, we can’t deliver these projects backwards through time. And these new devs need to learn their new jobs.
The remaining Kickstarter Rewards will be coming out in the months to come, with Matt Forbeck telling us that his novel’s finished drafts are on their way, and Aaron Rosenberg hammering away at his novel. The EX3 Essays book is being outlined and writers are being contacted, and composer James Semple has all but one of the Exalted character themes finished. He then has to create the “adventure themes” part of the EX3 Music Suites, but needed to figure out the the character themes so he could include parts of them in the adventure themes.
I’m not a musician, so I’ll have to take his word on the process.
So what we have planned are two projects that we are going to start releasing in April. That’s right, in order to provide our community with playable material now and not waiting until the Arms of the Chosen Advance PDF is released three months from now, we’re going to be releasing a section of each book each month as PDFs.
The first book, EX3: Antagonists, will feature both individual NPCs as well as antagonist groups. Each section will be smaller than a chapter, and we’ll be combining them all together as a PDF and PoD book after we have made a good number of them available monthly.
The second book will be the EX3 Bestiary, and will features creatures of all power levels. Some will be creatures the writers of the core had to hold back on, and others will be new and determined by what gaps we see from the core book that this project can fill. We’ll release these in monthly sections that we’ll combine at some point into a book, as well.
Rather than adding projects to the new devs’ already intimidating plate, both these books will be spearheaded by writers familiar with EX3, and reviewed by Eric and Robert. (Also, both books need to be approved by the new White Wolf Publishing before we officially can go ahead with them.)
Finally, our new devs will be making themselves regularly available on the Onyx Path Exalted forum, and will be releasing excerpts and development notes and text on a regular basis. In fact, here is an excerpt from Arms of the Chosen, and in April we’ll have a look at the Dragon Blooded charms:
Obviously, this whole message hasn’t delved into the nitty-gritty of what brought us here, and we really don’t intend to. Instead, we are celebrating a new team of creators, as well as the monumental work that John Morke and Holden Shearer were able to accomplish through some incredibly grueling times for them personally. What glories the future holds!
The Prince’s Gambit casual vampire card game Kickstarter went live last Thursday and funded in about 3 hours! We’ve been passing alternating Stretch Goals for adding the Independent Clans and new art at a rapid clip since then, with more cool rewards yet to come. So please check it out: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/princes-gambit-casual-vampire-card-game and don’t forget to join us for our Ask Me (Us) Anything on Reddit this Wednesday the 29th starting around 12 noon EDT. Various developers and Onyx Path folks will be on throughout the day, and Justin Achilli will pop on in the evening after he gets done his day job to talk about Prince’s Gambit. So if you want all the inside info, that’s the place to go!
Designed by long-time Vampire: the Masquerade tabletop RPG developer Justin Achilli, Prince’s Gambit is a fast-paced social deduction game set within the world of Vampire, but which requires no special knowledge to play. Players must cooperate to gain the favor of the Prince while deducing who among them are secretly the traitorous Sabbat infiltrators.
Next, the Monarchies of Mau KS is scheduled come after Gambit.
Looking for our Deluxe or Prestige Edition books? Here’s the link to the press release we put out about how Onyx Path is now selling through Indie Press Revolution: http://theonyxpath.com/press-release-onyx-path-limited-editions-now-available-through-indie-press-revolution/
You can now order wave 2 of our Deluxe and Prestige print overrun books, including Deluxe Mage 20th Anniversary, and Deluxe V20 Dark Ages!
Beasts are added to Hunter: the Vigil with Tooth and Nail, coming atcha in PDF and physical book Pod versions this Wednesday on DriveThruRPG.com! In conjunction with HtV: Tooth and Nail going on sale, we will also be releasing new TShirts on our RedBubble site featuring the new symbols from the book!
The Secrets of the Covenants for Vampire: the Requiem 2nd REVEALED this Wednesday on DTRPG! Physical copy PoD version coming to DTRPG: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/199280/Secrets-of-the-CovenantsVampires gather under many banners. But five have endured the tumult of Western history better than any other. The Carthian Movement. The Circle of the Crone. The Invictus. The Lancea et Sanctum. The Ordo Dracul. Each has its fierce devotees, its jealous rivals, and its relentless enemies. Now,for the first time, the covenants speak for themselves.This book includes:
- A variety of stories from each of the covenants, all told in their own words.
- Never-before revealed secrets, like the fate of the Prince of New Orleans.
- New blood sorcery, oaths, and other hidden powers of the covenants.
From the massive Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras main book, we have pulled this single chapter, Dark Eras: Fallen Blossoms (Hunter 1640-1660 Japan). Japan is moving into the Edo Period. New laws and new ways of thinking wash over the land, and with a new order come new threats to humanity. Take a look at the Vigil in a time where samurai transition from warlords to bureaucrats, Japan massively and lethally rejects outside influence, and when Edo rapidly grows into a world power.
Continuing our individual Dark Eras chapters, we offer you Dark Eras: Fallen Blossoms on in PDF and physical copy PoD versions on DTRPG! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/205483/Dark-Eras-Fallen-Blossoms-Hunter-the-Vigil
From the massive Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras main book, we have pulled this single chapter, Dark Eras: Doubting Souls (Hunter 1690-1695 Salem). Immigrants and tribes struggled to co-exist on the Eastern Seaboard in the ever-expanding Colonies. Violent clashes, supernatural beliefs, and demonic influences spelled disaster for Salem Village and its surrounding towns, while others fought werewolves and vampires on the frontier. With so much at risk, only god-fearing men and women were deemed innocent — and those were few indeed.
Available in PDF and physical copy PoD versions on DTRPG: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/204372/Dark-Eras-Doubting-Souls-Hunter-the-Vigil
From the massive Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras main book, we have pulled this single chapter, Dark Eras: The Bowery Dogs (Werewolf 1969-1979 NYC). New York City in the 1970s. Crime. Drugs. Gang violence. Vast economic disparity. And werewolves. It’s a lean, ugly time to be alive, and the lone wolf doesn’t stand a chance out there. In the end, all you really have is family.
Available in PDF and physical copy PoD versions on DTRPG: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/203762/Dark-Eras-The-Bowery-Dogs-Werewolf-the-Forsaken
The Locker is open; the Chronicles of Darkness: Hurt Locker, that is! PDF and physical copy PoDs are now available on DTRPG! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/199275/Chronicles-of-Darkness-Hurt-Locker
Hurt Locker features:
- Treatment of violence in the Chronicles of Darkness. Lasting trauma, scene framing, and other tools for making your stories hurt.
- Many new player options, including Merits, supernatural knacks, and even new character types like psychic vampires and sleeper cell soldiers.
- Expanded equipment and equipment rules.
Hurt Locker requires the Chronicles of Darkness Rulebook or any other standalone Chronicles of Darkness rulebook such as Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, or Beast: The Primordial to use.
From the massive Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras main book, we have pulled this single chapter, Dark Eras: Ruins of Empire (Mummy 1893-1924). Perhaps the quintessential era of the mummy in the minds of Westerners, this period saw the decline of the two greatest empires of the age: British and Ottoman. Walk with the Arisen as they bear witness to the death of the Victorian age, to pivotal mortal discoveries in Egypt, and to the horrors of the Great War.
Available in PDF and physical copy PoD versions on DTRPG. http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/178801/Dark-Eras-Ruins-of-Empire-Mummy-the-Curse
From the massive Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras main book, we have pulled this single chapter, Dark Eras: The Sundered World (Werewolf and Mage 5500-5000 BCE). At the birth of civilization, in the shadow of the Fall, the Awakened stand as champions and protectors of the agricultural villages spread across the Balkans. In a world without a Gauntlet, where Shadow and flesh mingle, the steady taming of the world by humanity conflicts with the half-spirit children of Father Wolf.
Available in PDF and physical copy PoD versions on DTRPG. http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/202272/Dark-Eras-The-Sundered-World-Werewolf-the-Forsaken-Mage-the-Awakening
Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes for Beast: the Primordial is available now as an Advance PDF: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/202615/Night-Horrors-Conquering-Heroes
This book includes:
- An in-depth look at how Heroes hunt and what makes a Hero, with eleven new Heroes to drop into any chronicle.
- A brief look at why Beasts may antagonize one another, with seven new Beasts to drop into any chronicle.
- Rules for Insatiables, ancient creatures born of the Primordial Dream intent on hunting down Beasts to fill a hunger without end, featuring six examples ready to use in any chronicle.
The PDF and physical book PoD versions of Reap the Whirlwind, the Vampire: the Requiem 2nd Edition Jumpstart swirls into being on DTRPG! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/201127/Reap-the-Whirlwind-Revised-VtR-2e
You are a vampire, a junkie. Every night, you beg and you borrow and you steal just a little more life, just a few more sweet moments. But there’s a guy at the top. The Prince. He’s got everything. The money, the secrets, the blood.
Tonight, you’re going to take it from him. Tomorrow, there’ll be hell to pay.
This updated edition of Reap the Whirlwind features revisions to match the core rulebook for Vampire: the Requiem 2nd Edition. Text edits and rules clarifications have also been updated.
Reap the Whirlwind Revised includes:
- Rules for creating and playing vampires in the Chronicles of Darkness
- The first two levels of every clan Discipline, the dark powers of the dead
- A complete adventure by noted horror author Chuck Wendig
This new revised Reap the Whirlwind Revised includes an updated booklet, 7 condition cards, and the interactive Vampire: the Requiem 2nd Edition character sheet.
Open the V20 Dark Ages: Tome of Secrets now on DTRPG! Both PDF and physical book PoD versions are now available! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/197358/V20-Dark-Ages-Tome-of-Secrets
The Tome of Secrets is a treatment of numerous topics about Cainites and stranger things in the Dark Medieval World. It’s about peeling back the curtain, and digging a little deeper. Inside, you’ll find:
• Expanded treatment of Assamite Sorcery, Koldunic Sorcery, Necromancy, and Setite Sorcery
• A look at Cainite knightly orders, faith movements, and even human witchcraft
• Letters and diaries from all over the Dark Medieval World
Discussing GenCon plans. August 17th – 20th, Indianapolis. Every chance the booth will actually be 20? x 30? this year that we’ll be sharing with friends. We’re looking at new displays this year, like a back drop and magazine racks for the brochure(s).
In November, we’ll be at Game Hole Con in Madison, WI. More news as we have it, and here’s their website: https://www.gameholecon.com/
And now, the new project status updates!DEVELOPMENT STATUS FROM ROLLICKING ROSE (projects in bold have changed status since last week):
First Draft (The first phase of a project that is about the work being done by writers, not dev prep)
- Exalted 3rd Novel by Matt Forbeck (Exalted 3rd Edition)
- Trinity Continuum: Aeon Rulebook (The Trinity Continuum)
- M20 Gods and Monsters (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
- M20 Book of the Fallen (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
- M20 Cookbook (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
- Ex Novel 2 (Aaron Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition)
- C20 Novel (Jackie Cassada) (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition)
- Pugmire Fiction Anthology (Pugmire)
- Monarchies of Mau Early Access (Pugmire)
- Hunter: the Vigil 2e core (Hunter: the Vigil 2nd Edition)
- DtD Night Horrors: Enemy Action (Demon: the Descent)
- Scion: Origins (Scion 2nd Edition)
- Scion: Hero (Scion 2nd Edition)
- Kithbook Boggans (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition)
- WoD Ghost Hunters (World of Darkness)
- The Realm (Exalted 3rd Edition)
- Dragon-Blooded (Exalted 3rd Edition)
- V20 Dark Ages Jumpstart (Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition)
- GtS Geist 2e core (Geist: the Sin-Eaters Second Edition)
- CtD C20 Jumpstart (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition)
- Pugmire Pan’s Guide for New Pioneers (Pugmire)
- VtR Half-Damned (Vampire: the Requiem 2nd Edition)
- Trinity Continuum Core Rulebook (The Trinity Continuum)
- W20 Changing Ways (Werewolf: the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition)
- Signs of Sorcery (Mage: the Awakening Second Edition)
- SL Ring of Spiragos (Pathfinder – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
- Ring of Spiragos (5e – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
- SL Dagger of Spiragos (Pathfinder – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
- Dagger of Spiragos (5e– Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
- Arms of the Chosen (Exalted 3rd Edition)
- Changeling: the Lost 2nd Edition, featuring the Huntsmen Chronicle (Changeling: the Lost 2nd Edition)
- Book of Freeholds (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition)
- BtP Beast Player’s Guide (Beast: the Primordial)
- CtD C20 Anthology (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition)
- Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition
- BtP Building a Legend (Beast: the Primordial)
- CtL fiction anthology (Changeling: the Lost 2nd Edition)
ART DIRECTION FROM MIRTHFUL MIKE:
In Art Direction
- Beckett’s Jyhad Diary – new stuff AD’dGot some sketches from Sam, finals from Tucker, and a couple more finals from Mark.
W20 Pentex Employee Indoctrination Handbook – Ellis is on it.
- Dagger of Spiragos – Finals in progress… and maps are progressing.
VTR: Thousand Years of Night – Contracted
- Cavaliers of Mars – AD’d(ish)
- Monarchies of Mau Early Access –
- BtP Building a Legend – Sending out notes to artists…
- Wraith 20 – Notes out to KMJ… pinging some of the the old Wraith roster.
- M20 Art Book
- W20 Changing Ways – Need to read through the notes and figure out my art buy.
- Prince’s Gambit – Making the remainder of graphics this week.
- M20 Book of Secrets – Layout in progress. Some art shenanigans fixed… others getting recontracted.
- Pugmire Screen – Awaiting new specs from Printer.
- Pugmire Cards – Working on these. There are quite a few.
- Pugmire – Dropping in index, updating PDFs, and prepping files for press.
- April Fool’s thing –
- V20 Dark Ages Companion – Recontracting two halfs. Layout is about a third of the way done.
- EX3 Tomb of Dreams Jumpstart – going to WW for approval.
- C20 – First proof
- Ex 3 Screen – Shipping almost completed.
- Ex 3 core book – Shipping almost completed along with map and bookmarks.
- W20 Shattered Dreams – Shipping almost completed.
- Shattered Dreams Screen – Shipping almost completed.
- Beckett Screen – Shipped to shipper.
Beast Conquering Heroes – PoD proof on the way.
- Mortal Remains: Beast- Tooth and Claw – PDF and PoD on sale this Wednesday.
Dark Eras: Beneath the Skin – PoD proof being reviewed.
- Dark Eras: Out of the Cold – PoD proof being reviewed.
Necropolis Rio – PoD proof on the way.
V20 Lore of the Bloodlines – PDF out to backers, gathering errata
- Dark Eras Companion – PDF out to backers, gathering errata.
- W20 Song of Unmaking – Backer PDF going out to W20 KS backers this week.
TODAY’S REASON TO CELEBRATE: I always heard that “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb”. Except, now I hear that in the folklore of my wife’s almost-Amish people, their saying reverses the lion and the lamb. Which makes no sense to me. Does your culture have a saying for how March changes in the course of the month? Love to hear it, and meanwhile, Spring is on its way!
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Image Source: http://tryingtofly.deviantart.com/art/Resistance-briefing-room-595199320
"Keady. Ee-Ell-Enn-Two-Four-Bee-Omega-One-Six-Epsilon. Over." The transmission was a bit rough, but the voice was unmistakable and the computer confirmed the command code before I even had to ask it to. I looked across the command center at Wan. "Wasn't Keady on Hecate station? How'd he survive that cluster?" I asked. It was a rhetorical question, of course, Wan hadn't left Absolute Zero in five years.
Wan just shrugged his shoulders and spoke into his headset. "Lakini, you are clear to approach docking port Two-Seven-Alpha. Welcome to Absolute Zero. Over." He flipped a switch, "Should have have security...?" he asked. I nodded and he toggled the interior security channel. "Security, this is command, send two officers to Two-Seven-Alpha." He paused, listening, then replied, "It's Keady." He cut the line and removed his headset, nodding to the junior comm officer.
I met him halfway around the room, "Hecate was obliterated wasn't it?" I'd read the reports but Wan had been one of those who had monitored system-wide communications.
"As far as I knew nobody got off Hecate alive. Of course this is Keady we're talking about so ..." Wan grinned even as I grimaced. Keady's reputation was legend, in that a lot of what people claimed he'd done was myth.
I pinched the bridge of my nose, feeling a migraine coming on, "Yeah. Keady." I sighed, "Come on, let's get down there and try to find out how the hell this is possible. On the way you can tell me everything you know about this ship, what was it again?"
"The Lakini, and we don't have much. It's a private for-hire ship. Registered out of Vesta. Last berthed at Phobos two weeks back. Didn't file a flight plan when it left." Wan paused, probably scanning through the wireless feed to his ocular display. "Captained by ... Nicholas Alexander. Eh, no other official crew registered, like I said, private ship."
"And this Captain Alexander?" I asked as we rode the left down.
"He's a moonie. Used to run ice for Terra-Form on Mars. Left there eight years back. Resurfaced five years ago on Vesta when he registered the Lakini. That's about all we got in the data-banks." Wan stopped in the hall, "Sir, there wasn't record from Hecate about the Lakini docking. Do you think they were there?"
I stopped a few paces ahead of him. "I don't know," I replied over my shoulder. "But I think we're in a position to find out, and maybe find out what really happened to Hecate." I turned fully toward him, "Wan, I'm worried. I think our little private corner of the sky is about to get a lot less quiet."
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I aim to go to market with a board game idea based on a traditional quiz but with a twist. All of the plan is made, just need backing!
Kickstarter - Tabletop Games
Creator of project: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project goal: £10,000
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Spoiler city here folks, I'm going to brain dump my feelings on A Memory of Light so if you haven't read it walk away...
Twenty some odd years ... to say that there was some anticipation, and even some dread, going into this book is a grand understatement. After twenty some years could a story that I've been reading since middle school end in a satisfying way? In the end the answer is largely yes. Was it perfect? No, but it was close enough that I can forgive the bits I felt were missing.
Sanderson did the impossible, he managed to stick the landing on a series not of his own creation after the death of the original author. These last three books might be colored by his own writing style, his own wit, his own method of pacing, but for me they felt like a return to form for the series and A Memory of Light proves a powerful ending as much because of those things as despite it. Sanderson deftly weaves the dozens of characters Jordan left behind into the final threads of a tapestry of humankind's eternal struggle against the darkness.
Every character of note gets a moment to shine, even if only just that moment. The book is thick with the major players though, with Perrin and Mat anchoring the first half and the second half respectively as Rand faces his destiny. For a book topping 900 pages it reads quickly, incredibly so, as a chapter that is nearly 200 pages long breezes by with shifting focal points and highs and lows that run the reader through and emotional wringer.
What works? Basically everything, enough so that trying to pin down speaking topics is largely impossible, suffice to say that the major plot points get resolved, for good or ill. Particularly strong are the various fates of the Forsaken and the first and second tier heroes. Not everyone survives, on the side of the light, but even in death ... well, as Lan says, "Death is lighter than a feather."
What didn't work for me was the final actions and fate of Padan Fain/Mordeth. Considering the implied importance of the dual wounds in Rand's side, the way that Shadar Logoth aided in the cleansing of saidin, and the implied power that Mordeth was amassing, apparently beyond that of the Forsaken, it seems odd that Mordeth doesn't show until the last hundred pages and that he never even comes within spitting distance of Rand's battle with the Dark One. Either he was a red herring all along, or he could have been removed from consideration a few books ago.
Still. One thing out of so many.
After twenty years the Third Age is over and the next age has begun, by the time the Third age comes again it will have long faded from memory, and the events after Tarmon Gai'don will have come around again to be the distant past. There is no beginning or end to the Wheel of Time after all, but at long last we have come to an ending, and for me I think that for all its many ups and downs over the years I am satisfied with the ending of this tale, and the implications and glimpses at those tales yet to be told, and long since forgotten.
Rest in peace Robert Jordan, Brian Sanderson did you proud, and this book can act as a fitting finale for your magnum opus.
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So every year I go to Thanksgiving out in Wilkes County with my momma's side of the family in the past, me, Momma and my sister would all pile into Momma's Pontiac and drive over to her sister Adie's house in Washington, the county seat, but now that Lou has a family of their own, it was just me and Momma in the car. Adie’s house is just plain huge and very Southern, just a massive Victorian beast with a ceiling fan in every room; she did very well for herself, marrying Montgomery St. Clair, youngest son of a well-to-do Georgia family that owns a large dairy. Uncle Monty wanted to be an artist, but his parents pulled him out of art school and he ended up a vet, a large animal specialist to be exact, which got him in tight with the horsey set. Monty is a quiet little fellow, now retired and meek as a church-mouse, whereas Aunt Adie is a force of nature, let me tell you. Everything is a competition to Adie; who has the biggest house, who has the most grandkids, the whole nine yards. Well let me tell you, if life is a completion, then I suppose she's winning, because she's loaded, has five kids and twelve grandkids. You've won, Adie! So can you stop with all the photo albums already? Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, as Daddy used to say!
Okay, where was I? Oh yes, Thanksgiving at Adie's this year. Of course Adie and Monty were there, it's there place, but also Aunt Ren and Uncle Frank. Now Frank has almost as much money as Monty, but as he will no doubt tell you if you give him a half a minute, he earned it all 'by the sweat of his brow'. Frank owns a chain of Ford dealerships throughout southeastern Georgia, though he has little to do with their day-to-day operations; mostly he just sits back and counts his money. Aunt Ren is as quiet as Aunt Adie is loud, but don't let her fool you; she's as sharp as a tack and had a fierce temper if you push her.
And of course, all my cousins, nieces and nephews were there, so many that even that big old house was nearly fit to bust; kids running all over the place and underfoot, including my sister Lou's two kids, though mostly she just holds on to little Ricky for dear life. Big Rick was there, too, of course, all full of Hispanic charm and New York style; Lou really hit the jackpot when she snagged him, let me tell you. Little Tony seemed to be everywhere at once, chasing after the girls just like his no-good daddy who left Lou in the lurch; of course, Ray was a sumbitch while little 'Tone' is an angel, and yes I am horribly biased; why do you ask?
So we've got this house just plain packed with folks, and here I come with my head all full of new and improved attachments, and it is like WHAM!, walking into a wall of noise; my eyes crossed and started to water the minute I stepped inside.
"You got a headache, hon?" Momma had her hand on my arm.
I waved her off and told her I was fine, but she knew I was lying; of everyone I've talked to since waking up, she's the only one who gets it, or at least comes close. She watches Medium, Ghost Whisperer, that one show on TLC with the lady with the big hair and ugly clothes, all of them. She might not know exactly how I feel all the time, but she can pretty much figure it out
"How 'bout I get you drink; how's that sound?"
It sounded pretty great, to be honest, so I let her wander off into the crowd while I leaned up against the wall and took a few deep breaths and just sort of pushed everybody's thoughts off into their own corners. The good news is that since I came back, I have a tendency to put people off, so no one really bothered me as I pulled off my leather jacket and closed my eyes; the bad news is...well, this is my own damn family, and I don't really like them being scared of me all the time! But you can't have one without the other, so I counted my blessings and did my best to become one with the wallpaper.
I used to like these kinds of get-togethers, I thought to myself.
"There's our little angel! How are you, Darla?"
"Hey there, Uncle Frank! Happy Thanksgiving!" I gave him a big hug; at least someone in the family wasn't too spooked to be social.
"Happy Thanksgiving, Dar! Where's your momma gone off to?"
"Oh, she's off gettin' me a drink; what else is new, right?"
Uncle Frank laughed, his face all red from his own little celebrations.
<My God, look at that sweet little ass! I could take a bite right out of it!>
For a second, it felt like the floor had dropped out from under me, like on one of those rides at Six Flags, and I shook my head; please tell me I did not hear what I just thought I heard! Well, not 'heard', but you know what I mean. But sadly, I was correct, as a new side of Uncle Frank was suddenly revealed to me; not only was he a letch, but a cheater and a pig pretty much all around. The images that spilled out of his head, all the women he’d been with, naked girls in every possible position, doing all kinds of things-
"Will you excuse me for a sec? I just need to get a little air?" I gave him my friendliest smile.
Frank looked slightly disappointed. "Oh, well sure, Dar, but you come right back, you hear? We're gonna be eatin' soon."
Not if I throw up first, I thought. Momma found me a few minutes later, sitting out on the porch, and she handed me a whiskey on the rocks, which I nearly downed in one gulp.
"You okay, Dar?" She gently rubbed my back between the shoulder blades.
"Uncle Frank is a filthy pig, Momma! How did I never see that?"
She laughed. "You just sussed that out now? Hell, I've known that for years, and I didn't need a bump on the head to figure it out." She jerked her head back towards the house. "That there is a nest of vipers, hon; not one of them is worth a dime." Momma shook her head and chuckled. "Well, except maybe Monty; he's a sweet old thing. And your cousin Danny is just the nicest young man."
That reminded me of another set of thoughts that had pushed its way into my head a few weeks ago, when Danny and his girlfriend Pauline came to visit. I leaned over to whisper in Momma's ear. "Is Cousin Danny...is he gay?"
She shrugged and whispered back. "I don't know for sure, but I think he might be; can you imagine coming out to Uncle Frank?" She shuddered. "There may be a reason he moved to Atlanta."
I took another sip of my whiskey and sighed. "Life sure is a lot more complicated than I ever knew."
Momma smiled and rested a hand on my arm. "'Bout time you figured that out, I guess. You ready to go back inside? I promise to keep Frank at bay."
I nodded and followed her back in; the rest of the evening proved to be just as interesting, although the whiskey helped a lot.
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Last week, we settled on some important points. I’ll keep an ongoing Q&A page about what we decide for reference in my blog. The link is here.
This week, we should settle on how big the area we’re dealing with is going to be. There was a lot of discussion on it this week, and it will factor directly into travel time. So I’m going to combine the two here this week to work out what we want, and we can talk specifics, like engines and means of travel, but don’t have to.
So the questions to focus us this week are:
- How much area do we want to cover? In terms of AU (Astronomical Units), what do we want our hard numbers to be?
- What is the maximum amount of time for our group to cross from the central world (seat of power) to the furthest rim? I think this might help us set our travel speeds so that we don’t get too fast or too slow – keeping us right where we want.
- We have established two types of travel, established travel and “off the path”. How prevalent do we want the easy travel? How often do people have to go off the path?
- Are the sizes of groups limited by space or by expansion? In other words, ICly do we cover a sector only because that’s the limit of exploration at this time, or is it because something is stopping further expansion?
Feel free to talk about these below, as always. I’ll give some of my own answers to get things started.
I’m not sure what hard numbers I want to see here, but I’d like to say that it doesn’t take more than six months to travel the “empire” or whatever the central group of beings (presumably human) are. I think that if you get much further out than 3 months from the central authority, the ability to hold planets to the governing body diminishes. And since we’re not all Star Trek and we don’t have (as yet, we might) a Federation in which people join for various reasons based not entirely on reality, we have some practical limits.
I think I’d like around 25% of the planets to be reachable by the easy travel, with up to 75% being a month or less from one of the easy travel points. The remaining 25% are long stretches of hard travel – like going to the northern stretches of Alaska in the early 1900’s.
I like the idea that there’s some kind of barrier or block to expansion in one direction or another. Star Trek never did anything with it, but the concept of Space Empires is an intriguing one to me. Even a cold war has its interest to me.
- How much area do we want to cover? In terms of AU (Astronomical Units), what do we want our hard numbers to be?
We have modified the way that we handle user account registrations for new/alternate characters. Instead of using the standing sign up method, you will now need to use the "Register Alt Character" link in the extras menu. This simplifies the sign up process greatly. In fact, all you need to enter is a unique login and display name to get your new character created. There is no painful captcha to try to decipher and there is no email validation. It is just the 2 simple fields.
To register a new character you will need to be using an account that has over 50 posts. The new account will use the same email address and password as the account that you are using to create it.
Alternate logins are limited to 3 every 3 months.