NaNoWriMo, Blood in the Water, Post-Apocalypse, Kickstarters and Men playing Women and they won't stay dead!

Chris Van Deelen

The first week of the national novel writing challenge has begun and I’m off to a fairly good start. The un-named and un-announced novel I started working on is just over 10,000 words in length, and at this rate I will have to put in some time writing over the weekends if I wish to accomplish the 50,000 word goal.

My overall goal is to have it finished by the end of December, which at this rate is super easy for me to accomplish.

I’m not concerned.

Of course all other projects and so forth have been shoved to the side, including finishing editing for the three mutation books. Those will have to wait until this book is complete. No big deal, and that is something I plan on doing in January.

Huh… to think the New Year is just under two months away. Time certainly flies when you’re having fun.

One of the projects I have mentioned numerous times over the years was the powered armor. The book is about 75% complete, but due to the fact there is little call for OSR game material, it seems unlikely I will ever complete it. Of course if I ever get around to writing it up for Pathfinder or other similar editions, then it will be finished.

The shitty thing is I thought of a new type of armor to add to it – living, biological armor, kind of like the stuff you have seen in numerous Japanese anime like ‘The Guyver’.

Ah well, just one of the many things which I’ve considered but never will have the time to write up.

Until retirement that is.

This week the folks at D-Infinity played Ragnarok: The Hall in the Barrowlands for D-Infinity live. As usual, it looks like they had fun with it and out of all the various mythologies which have influenced Fantasy RPG’s, Norse myth has always been my personal favorite.

So much so I’ve even been reading the comic series Ragnarok from IDW publishing. Sadly the comic is published very slowly and they’re only on issue 10 after over two full years, but I still eagerly await each issue.

In a nutshell… Ragnarok has occurred, the gods are dead, including Thor, but that does not stop him from returning to help the people and land.

It is written and drawn by Walter Simonson, who I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with at Comicpalooza in 2015.

This week Skirmisher also published 100 oddities for a Wasteland, which fits right into the unintentional theme I have discussed so far in this blog. The 100 oddities is quite the successful seller for the company.

And I might as well continue on that theme! Last couple of weeks I discussed mutations and factions in Post-apocalyptic games and this week I’ll cover Technology.

Just like Mutations being spells, Technology is the magic item system of the ruined wastelands. This can be simple items such as water purifiers, reloading kits, all the way to powerful energy weapons and powered armor.

It is very easy to draw a parallel line between magical items and technology. After all, wasn’t it Arthur C. Clark who said that any technology advanced enough could be considered magic?

As is the case with magic items, technology can give the players an edge. When most of the opponents they are dealing with carry swords and spears and use leather armor, think of what a character who has a pistol or automatic rifle and who happens to wear a suit of ballistic armor might accomplish, the kind of edge he would have. After all, unless the enemy was armed with bows or crossbows, the man with the pistol or rifle will have the range advantage, and despite the fact most OSR games have these weapons doing essentially the same amount of damage, firearms usually do more.

Depending on the game, the players – and their enemies – could have access to explosives, higher-rate firearms, energy weapons, hell even energized melee weapons. And like the knights of medieval times, those who happen to have access to power armor, even minor suits, could almost be considered gods in their own right.

Ah yes…  the thing is not all technology is geared towards war and death. What about the injections found in the wastes which cure disease, or help flush radiation or toxins from a body? How about technological elixirs which heal the most grievous wounds, or help someone regenerate a lost limb?

Or the mythological resurrection chambers which, as long as there is a sample of tissue left, can bring the dead back to life?

The parallels are there, and are easy to see. Frankly a post-apocalyptic setting without tech would be a rather dull game to play in.

In my humble opinion.

Last week was the final week of three entries for New Mutant Monday. The reason is very simple – I am officially caught up and will be able to go back to two a week until the end of the year, at which point in time I’ll start series three.

This week saw the Roiders, Deer Folk and Atama Ni Shika. The Deer Folk were inspired by an image posted on the Gamma World Online page and of course I had to write it up.

Two new creatures, both humanoids, will be posted tomorrow.

The young man who has done so much artwork for my books and stories has been working on a game which has recently been released on Steam called 'They won't stay Dead'. Check it out, especially if you happen to be a fan of anime!

I did finish two novels this week. One follows in the Post-Apocalyptic theme I have already touched on and it was called Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith. Two hundred and fifty years after WW3 all but destroyed the planet, humanity now survives in the last two remaining massive bombers which were responsible for the destruction. Just over a thousand people still cling to life and they rely upon a group of men and woman called ‘Hell Divers’. These few, brave souls literally skydive into the radioactive wasteland and brave the weather, radiation and mutant monsters which have appeared in order to bring back vital supplies to keep the people alive, and the ships aloft.

With critical damage having taken place aboard, the Hell Divers have to risk a suicide mission to Hades, AKA Chicago in order to secure the fuel and the parts to prevent the destruction of the Hive.

Hey I really enjoyed the novel and I am looking forward to the second book, once it is published.

The second book I finished this week was Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson. This is the 11th novel in the Destroyerman series and is filled with all the action and intrigue one would expect.

The Grik manage to extract revenge on the Great Alliance, causing heavy damage once again. The Dominion is still a threat, and the allies are still searching for an elusive group of marooned American’s who have been harassing them.

Led by Dennis Silva, a small group head deep into the heart of Madagascar in order to try and locate the lost Lemurian tribes and likewise try to get them involved in the fight against their ancient enemy the Grik.

The reptilian Grik are no longer the near-mindless foes the alliance once faced… they have learned and are now incorporating the tactics used against them during numerous encounters, and are growing smarter by the generation.

Another great entry in the ever expanding and more complex series and of course I am eager to get hold of the 12th novel, whenever it is finally announced.

I don’t know if you would call the next thing I’m going to talk about a rant, or merely an observation.

Men playing female characters.

The reason I am bringing this up is our group consists of five guys, and one of them wanted to play a female.

A little later on in the observation I will bring up something about me doing this as well. You’ll understand soon enough.

I’ve always had a problem with males playing female characters. The reasons are pretty simple. First I find it creepy as hell. Considering the guys I game with, imagine them trying to play a woman is just wrong. Due to my imagination, I keep picturing them in woman’s attire.

It’s NOT a pretty sight.

Secondly and this has always been a major problem is typically the male will play the female as the embodiment of what he thinks a woman should be like. This typically consists of the character acting pretty much like a slut, and wearing as little as possible, OR being an outright lesbian.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against gay or lesbians… I just don’t like seeing a straight man play a lesbian woman, or in other words acting out a fantasy.

And then there is a problem with interacting with GM run NPC’s… trying to play a woman who might be getting intimate with your buddy is really hard to deal with.

There are guys who can pull it off, but most can’t. As a writer I have to admit I have made some of my female characters pretty cliché, but other times I have given them their own strength and personality.

Now the issue is I was given the chance to play my character’s daughter!

I know I could pull it off, but really it is pretty unfair for me to get the option when the other players don’t.

I guess it means I’m just a superior role-player and can call on my writing experience as well as 24 years of marriage.

Still…. We shall see. In the off chance I do play her, first and foremost she will be in disguise to look like a man. Secondly I will have her act properly, kind of the way I have seen my wife act. Lots of experience to draw upon.

Before I close off this week’s blog, even though I had no real intention to back another Kickstarter… I did.

It’s called Kung Fu combo – a hard-hitting, fast action card game. It still has just over 3 weeks to go and the goal is $1500, but they only have achieved just over $300. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling this one is not going to succeed, kind of like Apocalypse Rising RPG. The upside is that game will be relaunched in January so I’ll back it again at that time.

As for this game… well consider I teach Kung Fu, it kind of is a must for me! Maybe give it a look folks, maybe back it.

With that, I’m done for another week.

I gotta tell ya the weather in Calgary has been unseasonably warm for the beginning of November, and looks like it will be well above freezing for the next week or longer. Unlike the end of October, which was unreasonably cold!

Good luck to all my American readers and friends. No matter what, get out and vote. Your vote counts, and if you don’t go and vote, you have no right to bitch and moan about whoever gets in.

Just glad as I have stated numerous times in the past that I’m Canadian and don’t have to participate in the shit-show!

Stay warm, and please try to stay happy!