This is a fun idea. A little known place where they build real life versions of the space craft from popular science fiction (aka the conceit from Galaxy Quest raised to nth degree). That would be a great idea seed. You have taken that idea seed a step farther and tried to realize the Maw in the cosmic era setting. To this end you outline the numerical dimensions of the place, drop is some proper nouns, link it to other cosmic era content and the list some more numerical dimensions. You also add some choice details that really put steps forward towards immersion in the world. I like how each “pod” has its own insignia and that you explained (in your first blurb) how the Maw is subtle part of the collective consciousness. You passed on some easy laughs by not including Pod 6, and writing about “those jerks from Pod-6”.
But I don’t think the Maw is fully realized. You give us a lot of numbers and often give us dry impersonal facts. Numbers that might be more descriptive if you told us the ratio clones to people, the ratio droids to people, the ratio of sheep to people and so on. This kind of reminds of the RPG you ran and when scouted the archeology you told me the design history the archeology but nothing about the current state of the archeology. You are just throwing facts up there rather than “mechanically” using those facts to build a point.
There are 2000 workers on Aleph station, but so what? Is it cramped? Do they monitor their droids from one central control room like NASA or are the labs and departments modular? Is there a cafeteria? Which clones are these? (I hope the the crew is 75% Shipwrecks and Roadblocks) Yes we could answer these questions but the gaps don’t fit with pedantic tone of the piece. You scale down the size of the ships for what? Is it going to ruin your RPG if the star destroyer is over 2 kilometers long? Point is you tell us a lot about what this place needs to be to fit into the cosmic era setting, but you don’t tell us what the place is actually like. It is impossible that your imagination begins with a ship we have already seen in another and ends with a number. I assume there is stuff you planned that didn't make into the post. You mention a shipwright in the blurb, while that could be a description of the place, I assume denotes specific person. Did you intended to write up the chief designer of the station? So how about some personalities or people in here? A place where a bunch of dorks have a huge budget to realize their geeky daydreams? There has to be interesting culture on that station. When and how did the Maw transition from clandestine ship tending to think tank?
All these fact about numbers, discussions of budgets and resources bring up another question. Do you intend for economic game play to be part of the cosmic era? Such rule sets have been a part of many RPG systems. In second ed D&D you had the castle guide which allowed you to budget construction of a castle and tax the peasants. . Battletech has a whole arm of core rules for managing a unit, paying salaries and upkeep costs. Westend Star Wars had the Smuggler’s guide which detailed rules for speculative trading and the economics of playing a working space merchant. I think developing your system along those lines might be fun for you.Go to Comment
The Blessed Witch of Cantalspier was indeed none of those things. Alicestasia was an actress and orator of such caliber that a mundane phrase rolled up and spun out of her mouth carried as much power of charm and transformation as an ancient ephemeral secret uttered by the most ruthless of warlocks. Her self-styled narrative asserts that she had been plucked from a field in the farming county of Pran by a troupe of performers. She claims they gave her father five coins so closely shaved that the King looked more a Prince for want of beard and crown.
This group of rowdy musicians and raconteurs was laying siege to all the Keeps and Market towns across the land. The troupe made a living by prying coins from the merchant farmers with a smile before the taxmen could steal it away with their whips. At first Alicstasia fetched water and collected the coins, but the fates did not have thread that short for her. Before she even came of age she could petrify the wagon trains of commerce with the glamour of her bawdy songs. Once she had held every person in the radius of her voice she would climb atop the murmur’s wagon to address the crowd state of eagle’s splendor. Then she would string words together into a stories of hope and grief. Tears pulled more coins from the hopeful farmers than smiles.
With Alicstasia inevitably in command, that murmur’s wagon proved to be siege engine enough to carry her across the walls of every Keep in the river counties. In the Keeps and the towns she found the theater and the beds of rich men.
A low-born actress would never be more than a novelty to the fine folks with five or six names. Alicstasia knew this. She saved the favors, avoided the feuds with snotty wives or petty courtly mistress, and made her self a type of rich. With fame and coin she surprised everyone by traveling to Cantalspier and there she opened a hostel for the orphans and lost children of those wicked streets.
She became the symbol of Cantalspier within six months and within a year she was the patron saint. She brokered peace between feuding families. She reunited children with lost siblings. She cared for the sick, and gave everyone in Cantalspier a since of pride when she passed them. The saying became that three things will kill you in Cantalspier; the water, a full purse and an unkind world about the Blessed Witch.
Her alliance with Luc-Paiser de Vulasier's and Dr. Krimswoffel occurred naturally and at first proved rewarding. The boys needed money, and she had that. The boys needed safe quiet spaces to study the great spells and store their arcane tools; Alicstasia’s house was the biggest home of common ownership in all of Cantalspier. The boys had spells and incantations that could set bones and clear lungs, and that huge home was filled with broken coughing children. She offered everything material that high-minded wizards like Luc-Paiser de Vulasier's and Dr. Krimswoffel like to pretend they never need.
But what did Alicestasia need? Some say she needed an audience, and that Cantalspier was just an opportunity to mix the applause with a respect and adoration the noble born would never give her. Some say she was making amends for the bastard children she had abandoned in order to pursue her own vanity. Whatever the case it would become clear too late that she grew to need de Vulasier.
Luc-Paiser de Vulasier was not a natural lover. But he took to the embraces of Alicestasisa like a candle dropped in haystack. His joy was infectious. Rather than growing distracted from his arcane studies, he became inspired. Alicestasia was his muse. His incantations became more daring and more complex. The threads of reality became strings on a lute to him. How could they not be? What strength did the laws of Gods or nature have to a young man in love? Luc-Paiser de Vulasier became a force to be admired and perhaps feared.
Dr. Krimswoffel was outwardly generous and sincerely enjoyed in the new directions de Vulasier's was taking their works. But a darkness was growing in him. Everyone could see it, except for de Vulasier's. He had grown unable to see darkness even in his sleep; when his dream-self continued to worship his love.
We should not judge Alicestasia's and Dr. Krimswoffel's actions unsympathetically. Alicestasia had grown callous to love over the years. In order to live as she did she had dug moat upon moat, and built wall upon wall to keep out the vile humors of love. She saw how so many young women had been destroyed by love. It is no wonder that she was terrified and lashed out in self-defense. Krimswoffel was a man in love as well. Though his love was not as clear. Perhaps he loved the magic, but saw his partner going to new heights of power that he could not reach? Perhaps he loved Alicestasia in the way an old man loves youth and hope? Or perhaps he had seen more than a student in de Vulasier, and to this old man de Vulasier was the muse? Whatever the reason the Alicestasia and Krimswoffel acted against de Vulasier; without speaking and without preconception they went to bed together. The love had passion, but it was not passion for each other.
That night, because they would not have done it on a lesser night, de Vulasier and Krimswoffel were going to finish their greatest spell: a spell to change the destiny of the wind.
Don’t under estimate the power of the wind’s destiny. The wind carries change, and words. The wind moves clouds to hide the sun and knocks down trees. The winds destiny is a land’s destiny.
When de Vulasier and Krimswoffel were making the final circle of the spell and were taking a moment to catch their breath while their threads of magic tighten. Krimswoffel looked grimly at his protégé. “Luc, I am afraid Alicestasia and I had a bit of a go at each other in the bed today. I hope you don’t mind son, really meant nothing, you know how women like that are.”
Those words were the cruelest act Krimswoffel had ever performed. He saw de Vulasier’s soul break behind his eyes. But the spell must go on or at least so Luc-Paiser de Vulasier and Dr. Krimswoffel had always said when some event attempted to interrupt their ritual casting. They returned to their positions in the circle of power and began the final incantations.
Ritual magic has a rhythm to it, a pacing and all this is based on trust. Trust in your coven and trust in yourself. When prompted for reply by Krimswoffel’s chanting de Vulasier paused. The air around the two of them became pregnant with untamed threads of power. Krimswoffel began to fear not for himself, but for his friend and for the whole city around them. But there was nothing he could do. He dare not trip on the strings of power circling about them.
Then de Vulasier looked at Krimswoffel. It was same expression that Krimswoffel had seen when he found the boy stabbed and dying in the street. The lad had looked lost and shocked but not scared or panicked. Krimswoffel had always been impressed by how de Vulasier had approached death and pain; with a detached curiosity. Is that how de Vulasier was dealing with heartbreak and betrayal? Krimswoffel never found out. The wizard de Vulasier hurled himself out of the circle of power and disappeared in a gust of wind. The threads of magic, that been woven so tightly around the circle, and de Vulasier were gone.
Alicestasia tried to take her own life early the next morning as well. She walked to the center of Cantalspier and threw herself from a bridge into the slow moving sewer that had been bestowed a riverhood by the royal cartographers. Drunk with grief and shame she had not planned her death well. The bridge was only a horse head high and the river was only a few feet deep. Her many admirers among the citizens rushed to her aid. She was returned to her house unclean but unscathed.
Krimswoffel and Alicestasia still live in that great house together. Still care for the children. But they are not lovers and they are not friends. They are inmates sharing a prison of regret, and a secret religion of hope that de Vulasier will return someday. Aside from the ever-invading legion of suffering children, the only new visitors they ever seem to have are a flock of cawing white ravens.Go to Comment
Pretty darn good, I enjoyed the pulpy tale at the beginning. The phrases and pacing dug into the genre like a flesh spike into The Storm Kings thigh. But then you switched it up by giving us another pulpy little story. This second story really doesn't connect to the first story, and thus lacks bite (get it? teeth, bite...bah). I like the mini world you presented and enjoyed reading this.Go to Comment
Finally watched this movie and I will start by saying that I will not try and fat shame this lizard. But I ask where was the shame in this movie. What this movie did though was drop theme of many movie in which monsters represent a punishment of man's sins or crimes.
To your comments:
1) Would you rather have a movie were Godzilla came out of nowwhere? Having Monarch around allowed from some condensed story telling and in specualtive fiction movies part of the appeal is to create a reality in which there are many stones to unturn. Having Monarch allows the story tellers to unpack material quickly and to say that it is just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps your complaint doesn't lie in that Monarch wasn't developed enough but rather the first half of the movie really didn't connect to the second half of the movie.
(Nothing about how close the ships were to Godzilla made sense.)
2) This brings up the death of Bryan Cranston. Agreed his death was a weak link in the story. But not because we weren't going to get any more of his hokey disaster movie over acting but because the movie never bookended to his death. (at least I think it didn't...also did I use a double negative there?). There was never any evidence in the second half of the movie that son had reconnected to his father or gained some emotional closure. The same was true with his kid and his wife. There wasn't a scene in which everything came full circle. I know sometimes when movie try to hit these narrative beats and misstep it is so dissaterous that you wish they hadn't even tried. Maybe there was a scene and they cut it. But Bryan Cranston's death meant nothing in the film and his character's echo location insight was a just sign post in the story. Anybody could have put it up. Agreed his death was handled badly. That his son was wooden I didn't mind. I thought it kind of worked in the movie actually, it would have been exhausting if every time the shit inexplicably caught up to him we had another emotional peak. In fact compared to how cheesey and over wrought the performances in the first part of the movie were I found him a relief.
3) The important part with Watanabe , was he HAD to do TWO things. You needed the first guy to say "Godzilla" to be Japanese. WE NEEDED IT. Second you needed somebody to look at a screen or out a window and slowly take off his glasses as he wrestles with the new reality of the situation. WE NEEDED IT. As for a visceral scientist...well none of the characters in the movie were really guys driving with their dicks. I liked that, bring back the '2001', 'close encounters of the third kind' scientists. But as Godzilla's only cheerleader in the film you had to have him be quiet. If he was loud and hubris filled we would have wanted to fail or at least thought he was nuts. But you are right one could have given him more personality. Give him a couple 1 minute personal scenes like they did with the three principles in the Rock or tell him to act like Robert Downey Jr.
4) You're right...if only Joel Schumacher had been available or maybe Baz Luhrmann.
6) I didn't mind the giant bats. The fact that they called them parasites really had no bearing on the film, so yeah it goes with the movies general haphazard storytelling of throwing facts up and then forgetting about them. But the Muto was way better than Mothra and Mothra's larva. Somebody had to say it.
7) It was disaster movie. But not a very good one.
Why can't we discuss Strolen Submission with this type of depth?Go to Comment
That is a little snobby! Scras don't want no scrubs. Well, I don't need no fancy cars or diamond rings, just bring it on up to me.
Slightly more seriously (Internet serious) I reject your assertion that intellectual investment in art should be based around the financial investment in that art, Perhaps the intention or ambition of that art but those aren't tied to the money.
Nor am I suggesting that we have these types of pedantic fan boy rants, that while fun to write and read, are necessary as a means of critiquing content content here. They are fine for movies, but perhaps we could have a place in which this type of energy could be inwardly directed towards site content.Go to Comment
Whoa, let us not get all butt hurt* here Getting up set about this is beneath all of us. There is nothing wrong with pedantic fan boy rants about the minutia of geek culture as long we keep a sense of levity to it. I enjoyed scras’s get off my lawn rant here and I replied with my own absurd rant ( just with more typos). I said it was fun to write and read...don't confuse the message. I want Scras to write more such movie critiques. I will agree with them or disagree with them as I see fit, but I promise I will enjoy them. Plus dissecting other mediums and story telling helps us refine our own craft (as it is).
Scras is also right to point out these movie take massive resources to produce and as a result we should be harsh of them because they should be worth it. As members of the community that pays for these movies we have a duty to tell the world when they suck. (that is right, by refusing to watch J.J. Abrams material I am saving humanity) I get it. Scras wants a better Godzilla movie. Scras cares about Godzilla. It is part of his identity. But so is the citadel.
He also right, we can’t respond to citadel content the same way we respond to movie. But we can care about it as much if not more. That is all I am saying.
If I had to choose between a world without Godzilla or a world without the Citadel I would take the world without Godzilla.
In summary, Scras you are creative, smart and insightful.
*butt hurt is a Scras, used when people are taken aback by his ruthless flogging of their preferred media or by the amount of knowledge about "stuff" he can drop on themGo to Comment
The term Yuatja is that something you made up or is that from some other source material?
I am of several minds about how to comment on this one.
First thought is whether to critique comment or vote at all. If one comments on something and the recipients gets upset then there is no point. This website is all about personal enjoyment and if you strip them of that than you shouldn’t be here. People often say critiquing is okay and necessary as long as done nicely. But isn’t it nicer not to critique at all and just offer blanket praise? Light hearted criticism is often worse cause people might take it personally. This particular case is rough because it is always rough to make negative comments about the big guys on the website. In the internet world those guys have the power to be bullys and push you around or keep you from participating. Indeed the first time I ever offered Scras and Muro serious criticism I was so worried about doing it I sent it to them as a PM. They were cool about though and I later posted and voted. Critiquing and voting is the game of the citadel. But if push comes to shove if somebody asked me to give them a higher vote, or change my comment I would and I have.
Additionally, in the case of Scras, he always makes a point to say that he writes most of this for himself out of some compulsion. I get that. If there are four winds of the citadel than self-indulgent post has to be one of them. If somebody is posting just for them then maybe should you get off their lawn? But if one posts it up here and not in the forums than it must be because one wanted that piece to be evaluated.
Finally, I am also worried that on this website that I am the guy playing too hard. I am that guy playing full court D in pick up basketball, stealing bases in softball or blocking on the run in flag football. It is always a debate whether to try and be brief and light-hearted, but that can be ambiguous. And perhaps Scras and the cosmic era are special and deserve more attention.
One of the risks I have seen when you write for the cosmic era is that you spit out banal regurgitations of the inspirational material. In this particular post you simply describe the items from Predator movie. You mention a few things about the cosmic era (it could drive you insane or what have you) but you don’t integrate it. You already have arcano tech as a concept that give you carte blanche for most sci-fi stuff. Above, just like in your recent Cosmic Era Avenger’s post, all you do is describe the characters from the movies with new techno babble rationales for their powers and abilities (though I did think /Hulk, equipment: pants/ was funny). Contrast this to what you have done with G.I. Joe. You have taken the material and visual minutia of the Cobra faction from tv show and turned into a subversive and sympathetic terrorist group in the cosmic era. None of the story points are the same, but just a few details are kept, the window dressing is kept. I make have the logo of Cobra but it is really Amerika Command. It is a truly re-imagining. You failed to do that with the Predator tech stuff and the Avengers and thus you waste our time and yours. People like to read articles about stuff they already know, it makes them feel connected and comfortable. It sometimes fun to see lists of your favorite movie villains or the coolest movie guns. Your stuff on the Avengers and the Predator tech is fun in that regard, but not as cosmic era a post. I feel this whole discussion, your brain storming of with regard to how to integrate the tech, would be better suited for the forums.Go to Comment