There was once upon a time a site... which had been on life support for more than one year. There had been three writers left, then us two, and a post at more than one month wasn't enough.
There had to be an end to the site sometime. I hoped my partner would do the last post, but ultimately I had to do it. And I just did it. The town the story was happening in went off in a blast. If there were any survivors by miracle, their story is not told. It's a follow up for anyone or no one to write. But I am happy that there is a closure, that there isn't an abandoned site, but an ended story.
Sigurd cared less about how strange the new room looked - but he had learnt that the electric lights shouldn't look like these were looking, and he silently wondered if they were going to flip out like in the power outages regularly happening in the refuge.
He saw the crystal and two beings working somewhere around it, and he looked questioningly at the other man. His pistol was ready to fire - and it looked like he had to. His teachings as a knight would have wanted him to shout: "Freeze in the name of the law, or I'm firing!" but in these circumstances, he gave up on these, thinking it would give an undue advantage to their adversaries.
He understood that he had to do something to shut the machine down. Therefore, he fired his pistol once at the man and once at the beast by its side.
A third was intended for the machine itself... and as soon as he fired it, he saw an outburst of light. Flames starting dancing from the infernal device, while a deafening sound made his heart rush for a couple more beats, while the pain encircled him. At the same time, he felt a sudden wave of heat hitting him. Then, he had a sensation of floating, before not feeling anything, anymore.
The explosion went soaring away in multicolour rags of fire, encircling the gem and making it blow up in thousands of little pieces, the whole town set ablaze in belching flames with it.
In the ashes of the town, a thick smoke rose, twisting, writhing, changing shape, covering the ruins of the town like a funeral shroud.
I think in a RPG, like in any story worth telling, the characters have friends, enemies, siblings, sometimes parents or children, workmates, sometimes a love interest/ fiancee/ spouse. And all these do flesh out the characters, allowing the reader to see different aspects of their personalities.
Even the one who saves the world (depending on setting), can't do it alone, he still needs friends and workmates in order to accomplish it. (And enemies to attempt to hinder his endeavour).
But how can one build meaningful relationships when a budding relationship of any kind, which promises to develop, is halted by a writer disappearing?
Don't you need relationships in order to build a three-dimensional story? Is it really necessary to get only to have relationships with NPCs that you can write for or with other characters of yours, just to ensure the needed continuity?
It feels pitiful that a certain character has no friends aboard his own ship, except a NPC I can write for. (Hopefully he'll get another friend soon, if it goes according to our plan, and hopefully it will last...) He had a friend aboard an allied ship... but the writer vanished, and said character is up for adoption for 2 months, nobody wanting him yet. (And yes, he is more than my character's friend and another writer's character's love interest). Now hopefully he gets another friend instead of that one.
And this is valid for other characters too. In some cases, including vanishing siblings or love interests/ fiances/ spouses. As if one could start anew every few months... as if it made sense not to have any kind of stable, long-lasting relationships around.
Do you have a sibling or a son for spare? Yes, I know this question would sound crazy... but leaving a family relationship without one of the members looks identically so.
LOOKING FOR IDENTITY: HALF, OR PARTLY?
How often have you heard or said "I'm half, or part Jewish"? You surely have heard it at least, and the wisdom of some Native American elders has something to teach you in this respect. A very touching example, which can be applied successfully to us as well, was told by a physician from Oregon, Les Tate, who discovered as an adult that he was Indian. This is his story, from which each of us has something to learn:
* * *
Some twenty or more years ago while serving the Mono and Chukchanse and Chownumnee communities in the Sierra Nevada, I was asked to make a housecall on a Mono elder. She was 81 years old and had developed pneumonia after falling on frozen snow while bucking up some firewood.
I was surprised that she had asked for me to come since she had always avoided anything to do with the services provided through the local agencies. However it seemed that she had decided I might be alright because I had helped her grandson through some difficult times earlier and had been studying Mono language with the 2nd graders at North Fork School.
She greeted me from inside her house, directing me into her bedroom with the sound of her voice. She was not willing to go to the hospital like her family had pleaded, but was determined to stay in her own place and wanted me to help her using herbs that she knew and trusted but was too weak to do alone. I had learned to use about a dozen native medicinal plants by that time, but was inexperienced in using herbs in a life or death situation. She eased my fears with her kind eyes and gentle voice. I stayed with her for the next two days, treating her with herbal medicine (and some vitamin C that she agreed to accept).
She made it through and we became friends. One evening several years later, she asked me if I knew my elders. I told her that I was half Canadian and half Appalachian from Kentucky. I told her that my Appalachian grandfather was raised by his Cherokee mother but nobody had ever talked much about that and I didn't want anyone to think that I was pretending to be an Indian. I was uncomfortable saying I was part Indian and never brought it up in normal conversation.
"What! You're part Indian?" she said. "I wonder, would you point to the part of yourself that's Indian. Show me what part you mean."
I felt quite foolish and troubled by what she said, so I stammered out something to the effect that I didn't understand what she meant. Thankfully the conversation stopped at that point. I finished bringing in several days worth of firewood for her, finished the tea she had made for me and went home still thinking about her words.
Some weeks later we met in the grocery store in town and she looked down at one of my feet and said, "I wonder if that foot is an Indian foot. Or maybe it's your left ear. Have you figured it out yet?"
I laughed out loud, blushing and stammering like a little kid. When I got outside after shopping, she was standing beside my pick-up, smiling and laughing. "You know" she said, "you either are or you aren't. No such thing as part Indian. It's how your heart lives in the world, how you carry yourself. I knew before I asked you. Nobody told me. Now don't let me hear you say you are part Indian anymore."
She died last year, but I would like her to know that I've heeded her words. And I've come to think that what she did for me was a teaching that the old ones tell people like me, because others have told me that a Native American elder also said almost the same thing to them. I know her wisdom helped me to learn who I was that day and her words have echoed in my memory ever since. And because of her, I am no longer part Indian, I am Indian.
* * *
Things are more complex than they seem, for some of us, who, like Les Tate, discovered after their teen years the call of their blood. And he had the advantage of working daily in an Indian reservation, to have permanent contact with the owners of the old Native American culture!
You may want to learn, to understand; the identity and cultural heritage may have or not importance for one certain person, depending if he has any spiritual interests or not; but even if you learn and understand, some answers cannot be learnt only from the books or from the blood's call.
For some, being a Jew means first of all Judaism, religion; for others, a distinct minority nation, with its own, specific traditions and culture.
You may be proud that you belong at the same time to two peoples, each with its own history and heroes, with its distinct traditions, which maybe in your family were blended in a special way; that Phoenix bird got reborn from its own ash and the Jewish people after the Holocaust; but, irrespective how well you may understand some of these aspects, and agree upon their meaning, I don't know in which extent you can feel some of them, to be a part of yourself, if you haven't been taught since childhood to feel them.
But for everyone the message remains the same: as long as you have a drop of Jewish blood, the door of the Community remains open for you, and, together with it, the gate towards getting acquainted with the other half of your soul, towards understanding the heritage you are carrying, a part of your own unique identity.
Everything is based on previous foundations, and we are the foundation to what will come after us, strengthening or weakening the future by our present deeds. A new world depends on what we learn, think and achieve. It is in our power this new world to be more tolerant, better, more brotherlike and more willing to understand â€“ the inner self and everybody else!
The reflection period after Rosh-ha-Shana, inherent to the beginning of the new year, might grant attention, among other issues, also to the story above. And together with the new year, may all of us be written in the Book of Life, and may everybody who thought once like above, to find the understanding!
(written in September 2008)
Mutiny Part III - Death of the accursed boatswain
Elouan had seen from the rigging the dog’s attempts to save the man he hated the most, and he silently prayed to God not to let it happen.
Jacque Gasquet was trying his best to swim and remain alive, hoping that somebody would throw him a rope or something. He was tired and in pain, as the Breton had strong fists and the boatswain had always been accustomed to give deadly blows, not to receive them. Not to mention the way he fell from the rigging, as the waves had their own way to show they didn’t like him either. He was struggling; his body focused instinctively on survival, and his mind giving only now and then conscious flashes of coherent thoughts.
But when he saw the big dog next to him, nearly catching him, he had never thought that the dog wanted to save him. No, his unstable mind now associated him with the dogs used to catch slaves – the “living ebony” harvest he had transported and sold successfully in his youth, making the fortune the King had confiscated from him later, when nearly taking his life as well.
This was, in his opinion, either a vicious dog ready to bite him and kill him on the spot, or a dog coming after him, to hunt him like the slaves had been hunted… and to make him pay for everything he had done. When the dog went away, he thought he would survive; but when it returned, the former slaver captain Jacque Gasquet was convinced the destiny was after him. He felt suddenly a strong headache and it got all black around him. He could hear the dog’s noisy breath, but he couldn’t see it anymore, he only imagined it ready to get him – alive or execute him with a deadly bite.
Then, the boatswain known aboard “Le Phenix” under the name of Jacques Fresne lost consciousness and fell into the depth of the ocean forever.
Still a Christian deep in his heart, Elouan made the sign of the cross, saying in his thoughts ”Requiescat in pacem!” For him, like for many others, this was a way not to actually pray for his enemy’s soul, but rather not to come back as a ghost to haunt the one who had pushed him to meet his end.
He couldn’t see what had happened to Lieutenant Forrestier, but he heard enough to get an idea. He was looking with hope at the doctor… but if he could have done anything for Little Fish, he would have. Therefore, Elouan clinged to the shroud next to him, took a deep breath and he made the effort to continue his work. As if he could work... As the anger started diminishing with Jacques Fresne’s death, the realization of what he had done was coming to him. And not only what he had done – he kept hearing an angry mob on the deck.
Benoit was quicker to descend on the deck and join the revenge against the boatswain’s mates – all three followers of Jacques Fresne were now judged by the crowd and ready to be lynched. Elouan pondered if to get down too or to keep his position, and he opted to remain where his watch required him to be.
Jean and Fernand had been caught in the turmoil around the third lieutenant. Now that they had seen the revenge against the two men they hated the most, the boatswain and the third lieutenant, they could let the boatswain’s mates escape with a good beating.
”Aubry is right,” Jean said. ”Too much blood had been spilled already. Bosun Fresne is dead, the lieutenant is dead. These three lads had been groomed by the bosun to be like him. They have done their share of misdeeds… upon his orders. Don’t you look at this one?” he hit Antoine with the top of his shoe. ”Now that he had lost his protector, how much is he worth? Begging for mercy! Let’s tan their hide and let them go. Only have a taste of the medicine they had been widely offering us.”
Opinions got split here – some approved, some didn’t. The rumour increased, and some of the men were following the advice and using the boatswain’s mates as punch bags. Fernand was among them. He had accumulated too much anger today.
Mutiny part II - Death of the third lieutenant
On the other side of the ship, Fernand wanted to approach Patrick, who was holding the young boatswain’s mate. He had something to tell him now too, that it seemed the atmosphere changed and the young man’s protector wasn’t there anymore. The men were in commotion, ready to stand up against the bully, following the Breton’s example they had witnessed. Others were shouting the name of another boatswain’s mate they had a bone to pick with, and others Lieutenant Forrestier’s, who had given a few harsh punishments lately too, for minor offences.
It was as if the boatswain’s death (or maybe the young rigger’s before, the one they knew as Little Fish, by the boatswain’s hands) was the spark starting the fire of justice in their hearts. Would this burn as tall as to turn into an uprising against all those who had wronged them?
Some crewmen had been gathering around Little Fish, talking if to call the doctor when he obviously wasn’t breathing anymore or to get ready to sew him in his hammock. One of them remembered that an officer had to be called first… and the one who came on the deck to see what the commotion was about happened to be the most hated among them, the third lieutenant Forrestier. As if some of the thoughts of the men on the deck had brought him here!
The sailors had nothing against the acting captain, lieutenant Lecuyer, who was a fair but distant man, rather new aboard. He had been leading them to victories and to getting unharmed from the confrontation with blockade runners.
They had nothing with the second lieutenant, Bauldry, either. They were objective enough to admit these officers had been doing their duties and, in the rare opportunity when lieutenant Lecuyer had to give a punishment, it was well deserved and not cruel, mostly focused on remedying the issue at hand and learning a lesson what not to do in the future. They were the ones who made the ship function and do what the King expected from a flagship, and the sailors understood there was more in running a ship on the deep seas and in battles than ordering men to pull and haul and managing watches. These tasks were meant to be delegated to warrant and petty officers… and they were expected to do their jobs and make the men work.
How exactly said warrant and petty officers had done it and how much hatred they had gathered on themselves, it was seen now. And the third lieutenant, who just made his appearance, was of the same kind of ruthless men like the dead boatswain and his mates, chosen by their superior to match his way of being.
People gathered menacingly around Lieutenant Forrestier immediately. Jean shouted at Fernand to come join them in getting their revenge, as they had been recently the target of the lieutenant’s rage. Fernand left Lemieux be, focusing on the lieutenant he hated more. The once orderly seamen had become an angry mob, ready to make a stand for their own justice, not believing in the Naval authorities’ justice anymore.
The officer, frightened, understanding from the mob’s figures that their intentions weren’t kind, took out his small sword, trying to impose and make room with it, which ended in stabbing with it the sailor who was closest to him. This was the beginning of his undoing – the crowd took the sword from his hand by force, piercing his chest with it.
Jean and Fernand couldn’t say, in all honesty, which exactly had been their part in all this. Things happened quickly, more instinctively than well thought.
Mutiny - Part I: Death of a young rigger
The boatswain, that everybody except Antoine Lemieux knew under the name of Jacques Fresne, was looking at his mate at his son, with approval. The lad was learning. He was getting better at mastering the art of being obeyed by the sailors.
On his side, Jacque was barking his orders to the riggers, to work quicker and better. Claude, afraid of the man, hurried to pull a line through a block and it fell back, hitting Jacque in the face. The boatswain cursed, rubbing the painful place, and, in a fit of rage, climbed the few spars separating him from the offender.
How do you dare to do it to me? Youll pay dearly, sacre fils de chienne! he shouted, punching him in the face, while still holding tight with the other hand.
The lad, shocked by what had happened, and frightened, already trembling in waiting his punishment, was caught unprepared by the bear fist landing in his face, so he lost balance completely, falling on the deck.
Elouan, a yard farther, arrived too late to be able to do anything for the Little Fish. But his enemy, the boatswain, was there, looking at him with injected eyes, all his concentrated rage seemed on the verge of bursting into incandescence.
"Go back to your work! There is nothing to see here! Jacque said, wanting to get down. This lad never learnt to pay attention to his work. He had an accident before, its not the first one but probably his last one. A weak breed, nothing to build on, he added, convinced that everybody would say the same thing.
It had been merely a work accident, and the lad had been in sickbay before, he was prone to accidents. What investigation could prove anything different?
But Elouan had seen what had happened, and he was seething, at his turn. The Breton faced the enraged boatswain unflinching, snarling, unafraid, his eyes launching back poisonous flames to the Provensal.
No, it was not an accident. You have thrown him down, I saw it, and I think there are other witnesses too. This time, the acting captain will learn more about your ways to behave with the men and especially with the ship boys and younger sailors.
He was shouting loud enough to be heard by all the sailors around, and a few approved.
Who knows if other work accidents involving people whom he disliked had been genuine or not? another said now, that he felt supported by the other riggers.
Jacque didnt believe them. He knew the officers wouldnt either. It was a warrant officers word against the dirty sailors.
"Shut up, you bastard! Everybody, go back to your work, or I'll trim your dirty hides!
As Elouan was the closest to him, he raised the hand to strike him, more or less like he had done with the unfortunate lad to whom he didnt spare a glance to see if he was still moving or not. This was the best opportunity to take his revenge on the damn Breton. He had buried better men than this one
And the confirmation came from the deck, for who was able to pay attention to what happened below them. Somebody went to look at Claude, and he shouted:
"Little Fish is dead! He broke his neck falling from the rigging!"
Elouan was stubborn and full of hate. He had liked the young Claude, who had been under his care. He was sick of the boatswains hatred and abuse. And, more than everything, he remembered that he had been the one who had ordered Armelle's attack.
Yes? The same way you have done it to Armelle, because she is my fiancée? Bad choice from your part; we got engaged anyway and I am not going to leave her just because you wanted it to, he hissed, raising his own fist as a guard, and deflecting the mans blow.
It was a fight between two men with a close age gap between them, only that one was better fed than the other but the better fed one had also his body weakened by an addiction to opium.
So what if you got engaged to her? Not the first, nor the last woman to mourn for her betrothed! Jacque replied, as he fought back, intending to throw him from the rigging as he had done before, then to claim that he had been attacked which was true.
One of the sailors in the rigging above them cheered for Elouan, which angered the boatswain even more. They have exchanged a few blows, one stronger than the other... but the one who succeeded to make the other lose balance was Elouan. With a well placed fist, he sent the boatswain flying into the sea below.
Elouan heard the cheering, but now it didnt impress him. When Benoit told him to let the bastard drown, he nodded.
Then he returned to his work, hate and anger still not calmed down, focusing on the shrouds he had to tie properly. Those were knots not to be untied so easily...
Besides everything you have witnessed by my side, and his continuous picking on me, he had sent thugs to attack my fiancée a few months ago She hadnt properly recovered yet, and shed be disfigured for life, he explained his reasons, while he kept securing the shrouds as if nothing had happened.
The day of the execution soon arrived, when a crowd of thousands of people of all ages and social conditions assembled to witness Chago's last few minutes on this earth. It was the first execution of this kind to take place in Kanesville in the latest ten years or so. The judge had wanted an example out of him, discouraging such deeds in his precious town.
Chago had time to get resigned to his fate. He was still wondering, though, who was the Judas among the Steamhawke crew who had planted the false evidence in his luggage, but he understood he would never find out.
Somewhere a dim glimmer of hope was that Azzo and Ivan might have done something for him and they would show up in the last minute but what if they couldnt? At least, he would not give his enemies who had testified in false against him, some of them former friends, the satisfaction of seeing him in despair. If the crowd wanted to see the show of El Morenos execution, he was ready to provide it and to die with dignity.
Though emaciated with confinement and the pain of torture, Chago was clean and properly dressed with his best clothes. The dark blue costume he was using mainly for blending in at upper class events, if he was after a high mark, was now to be the last attire he was wearing. The elegant white shirt with frills and the cravat were hiding fresh wounds and older scars underneath, giving him a presentable look.
As the cart went slowly along through the midst of the gazing crowd, Chago was praying, poured forth his soul in front of the only Supreme Judge he knew and accepted.
As if knowledgeable about the event, a flock of vultures or other similar birds of prey was flowing above the crowd, as if they knew what was bound to happen, then landing on the ramparts around the place of execution and crying loudly, in anticipation of their bloody feast. Chago looked at them helpless and cursed loudly in his mother tongue, a contrast to the prayer he had barely finished. Such bad omen mourners made him shiver and realize better what kind of death awaited him. He was human and he was scared. Only that he didnt let it show.
In order to take his mind off these birds, he invoked the help of his patron saint, with the same prayer he had said during the pilgrimage and during any difficult times: Glorious Apostle Santiago, whose very name is a symbol of warfare and victory, please obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending warfare of this life, that we may be victors in the strife and deserve to receive the victor's crown in heaven.
It was obvious in the crowd that most people believed he was guilty and rejoiced for the cruel show of the execution. He couldnt look at the people nearest to him, who threw thunders from their eyes at the alleged cold blood murderer of innocent women and men.
There were, though, people who didnt and not only among Steamhawke crew. There were also people who thought this useless display of violence wouldnt change anything, wouldnt deter the potential criminals going ahead with their plots. There were rebels already sick of the military dictatorship and how things were going in Kanesville in general, and there were young women who were impressed by the dignified appearance of the condemned.
One of these young women stepped forward with a guirland of flowers the local ones specific for the season, rather small and in various colours and threw it upon him. It hit him exactly when he finished mentioning the victors crown in heaven. Oblivious to the tradition which compelled that girl to do it, he put it round his neck, as it was large enough, and he looked around who might have offered it to him.
He couldnt know who exactly had done it the girl had stepped back, being engulfed by the crowd. His eyes fell on a thin girls silhouette farther away. Her hair was the same colour like Myiras, let free on her shoulders, and she had flowers of the same type pinned in her hair. He couldnt see her face, as she was turned to somebody else, talking with that person. So, Chago was convinced that Myira was that one, and that she had thrown the guirland to him, as a good bye gift.
A wooden stage had been erected, upon which stood the big cannon, so that everybody could see how the despicable mass murderer was punished. The executioners artillery soldiers in shiny parade uniforms loaded the cannon according to what they knew from so many drills.
Given that an execution of this kind hadnt happened for many years, though, the soldiers loaded the gun, by reflex, exactly how they did at the field exercises, without thinking what it was going to be used for this time. Some grapeshot found its way among the blank cartridges, and nobody noticed, preoccupied by the advancing cart with the condemned and by the disturbing birds of prey hovering around.
Finally, the cart arrived to the right place. Chago stepped down from the cart, refusing any help, even if he was rather weak and he would have needed it. The prosecutor was waiting for the condemned, surrounded by the artillery soldiers and their sergeant. A buzz of excitement ran through the crowd as the minute of the execution neared.
Do you have anything to say? the prosecutor asked Chago.
I am dying innocent of all murders I was accused of, he answered simply and proudly, scanning the crowd.
He hoped to see Myira once again, and it seemed to him that she was somewhere, farther away. He seemed to recognize her elegant dress, the one she had been wearing when they exchanged confessions and promises, and her long hair was flowing free in the wind. The sight emboldened him. If he was to die, at least she should remember him as a hero.
But as I am going to die, I kindly ask the permission not to be bound on the cannon and to order fire myself when ready.
The officials blinked in surprise. It had been heard that something like this had happened once long time ago. Was the prisoner so tough?
Permission granted. Sergeant, keep your eyes on him. And you, the prosecutor turned to the condemned, I hope you wont try anything funny with all these armed soldiers around you.
Somewhere in the first row, the journalists were noting down everything for the breaking news edition of their newspapers.
The crowd, ready to lynch him if not under sentence already, changed suddenly their opinion upon witnessing this attitude. A respectful silence fell upon the place while the officials retired and Chago stepped forward to meet death with his body weakened by tortures, but with unbroken spirit.
For one moment, his thoughts flew to the pacifying mission he had to enforce as a young officer, then to the many such bloody missions his maternal ancestors had been subject to, remembering the way the legends said some of the chieftains died. He wouldnt be any less.
With his head up and with a proud poise Chago walked steadily towards the loaded cannon. Once arrived to the muzzle, he took another glance at the crowd, and his eyes fell on the known bounty hunters Wild Bill, Ray and Copperhead who were, to his surprise, surrounded by soldiers in a doubtless way: they were just taken prisoners. A smile crossed his lips. There was still a bit of true justice in the world and it was Gods justice more than the humans.
Chago had joked with death and teased his friends as long as he lived. Now he bowed to the crowd, without a blush or a shadow on the expression of his eyes, as if politely taking good bye from them.
Not a quiver of his lips and not a frown were visible when he leaned on the muzzle.He made a wide sign of the cross, putting himself under the divine protection, then, pining the officials with a glare full of reproach, Chago ordered Fire! with a steady voice to the soldiers surrounding the cannon.
In this moment, he was not afraid anymore. He saw the match put to the touch-hole, and the next moment, in the shouts of the crowd, the priming was fired.
With a sudden flash, the explosion covered the place in a thick cloud of smoke.
The vultures flew high into the sky, taking their bits of prey with a scary precision from wherever the explosion had thrown them. Unlike at other executions of this kind, not a vestige remained afterwards from the man once known as El Moreno.
The people in the first rows were splashed by a shower of blood, including the reporters. As for the soldiers in their shiny parade uniforms, the sponger and the loadmen, they got not only covered in blood, as they were the closest. Grapeshot knocked them down, killing and injuring some.
But it was not the only effect of the grapeshot load. It got scattered among the crowd too, with distressing results. Several men and women got hit, some deadly, some seriously wounded, and the mass of people gathered around panicked, trampling the others around in the attempt either to run away, or to get to their loved ones who had been among the victims. Angry shouts were heard from here and there, becoming louder:
That man was not guilty, who knows how the Militia had condemned him to hide their own crimes!
He must have been one of the rebels who raised his voice, look how he died in dignity!
There might be our turn next if we dont stand up to these uniformed criminals, look what they are doing! The execution is just a pretext; they wanted us crowded here to be able to kill more of us, look!
A volley of stones, bricks and bottles was launched at the law enforcement troops. The soldiers stormed around to confront the assembly but their hits with weapons and canes were not enough, as the crowd became angrier and angrier, hitting back and disarming the soldiers. The rioting crowd was more numerous than the soldiers. As the mob dispersed they began to break into stores on the nearby streets, and their anger was increasing.
Those who had peaceful thoughts decided suddenly to return home if they could before being dragged into the uprising by one or the other side. No wonder if the newspapers tomorrow would forget about the alleged murderers execution to write about riots, arson, murders and massive robberies instead.
Okay, so I administrate over at Distant Fantasies and as such, on a regular basis get to see new sites or existing sites as I just browse the DF Directory. As such I find sites that strike my fancy and … Continue reading →
I guess each RPG - which is a collectively written story - gets sometimes the misfit.
But while we encourage the misfit as a character in various ship crews, as a personality interesting to explore in the interaction with other characters, we don't encourage the lone wolf in a creative endeavour based on collectivities (ship crews). Yes, the odd one or two might happen, as secondary characters, forging their paths among the collectives - but they are rare sights. (Exactly how women sailors should be rare sights too, the odd one or another).
Unfortunately, most often it doesn't happen so, and I don't understand why the writers don't try more to work on their characters and make them fit the story. Because if the character doesn't fit, the experience on the site, ie in writing the story, won't be as good as the one for those whose characters do fit. Instead of looking strangely at the suggestions and rejecting them, you should look widely at the story as a whole, to see what characters are really needed and how can you adapt your ideas so that they really fit.
What we get instead (and they don't stick much around, when they are the wrong characters for the ongoing story)?
1. The captain. There are people who want their characters only as captains, and they are disappointed that here the captainship (or any higher position) is gained in the story, by being a dedicated writer, involved in the story, doing properly the needed research, bringing good ideas and collaborating with the others.
They don’t realize either that crewing a ship is extremely difficult (“so what? I’ll have crew immediately” – yes, and this is why in 4 years, after having several captains, the ships in our story are still undercrewed… so why would we want even more ships?). And I think these are the more control-focused and individualist writers. They don’t want the captainship for the reasons me and a few others who got it wanted it – to help push the story forward when nobody else did. They think that it sounds cool and that being captain meant doing whatever they want without any rule… and it is not true in the given setting.
For a captain like some cruel ones wanted to be (and didn’t stay because we didn’t offer them this opportunity… especially when speaking about a character too young to be really a captain), the pirate crew (because pirates do elect their captains, unlike in Navy and merchant shipping, where they are appointed) wouldn’t have elected them as captains first and foremost, or they would have demoted them at the first signs of dictatorship. (And if they didn’t want to step down, what about killed in their sleep?)
2. The present day/ fantasy guy. There are people who don’t want to do research at all, and who want to write about a historical setting as if it were a present day story, just with different clothes, but with the same mentalities and facilities as in the present, or who want only their fandom and nothing else. For these sort of writers, a fantasy setting would suit them better (and eventually not a RPG site, but a fanfiction/ individual story).
And I am adamant about keeping the experience of the historical setting, because this gives the charm of a historical fiction story: having, through the characters, the experience of living in that particular century and place, with their mindsets and challenges.
Strangely, but many people don’t care about it, at all or not so much. Come on, guys, if we, those who don’t have English as mother tongue, could do research on the 18-th century and on life aboard ships, those who do have English as mother tongue could do it even better than us. Especially that most things are, now, either copied on the site, under resources, or given as links to internet articles - which is much more than I ever had on the first site I had joined, when I wasn’t sure how to formulate what I was searching in order to find it.
3. The lone wolf. Again, an embodiment of a control-focused and individualist writer, who wants a character who doesn't take orders from anyone... and who isn't, actually, integrated in the story, having only short thrills with immediate satisfaction, when in the world of writing everything happens gradually, in time, as the chapters (threads) succeed one over the other.
A lone wolf as a secondary character, getting occasional plots from time to time, while the main characters are seafaring focused and part of the crews? Yes, it is perfectly all right. We do encourage exploring all kind of characters; but we have a main focus.
4. The colonial lady. Nothing against such a character in itself, as long as her mentality fits the time and setting and she doesn’t want to be a modern day feminist misplaced in that time. Ladies, slaves, prostitutes, honest housewives of working men or women working hard to earn their living are interesting to explore. It works well, in the same mindset as the case above, as a secondary character who has plots from time to time, as the story ideas ask for it.
What I am adamantly against is the ones who want to transform a seafaring adventure into a colonial life story, by not having people aboard the ships (again, because this usually asks for research), then they complain that the site shouldn't be seafaring focused.
Well, what does "Age of Sail swashbuckling adventures" tell you? Not exactly, or not only "colonial life". The site, story, setting is seafaring-focused, with the colonial life only a side bonus. Yes, the story is obviously focused on the four ships’ seafaring adventures. People should have first a character aboard a ship. Then, for the times when that ship’s story is less in the limelight, to create characters aboard the other ships and on the islands. One can create any character fitting the setting, or to write for existing or newly created NPCs where the action is in the moment x.
Creativity is free, but in the limits of the historical setting and of the story (which is continuously expanded, and reasonably added to - for example, when we do have 3 islands as main setting, one can have an odd thread in another location, as long as it makes sense - such as Cuba, or Bahamas, or the Mainland. But having a part of the story taking place in Europe just to suit a character's / writer's whim... wouldn't be advisable. Who is not in the setting, is not active in the story.
5. The “here but not quite” people. Unfortunately, in all factions, there are lots of people who don’t understand that writing a story together with others is a collective endeavour for which everyone’s absence harms/ blocks the story. They post once in a blue moon and they aren’t invested in the story because they don’t give themselves the time and the commitment to get invested.
I can’t help seeing the potential of all characters for various stories,and missing them in the story, because they were the ones who had the power to make things happen. Ultimately, this is the characters’role, to make the story happen. And by not writing, people not only reject this potential and the development of stories which would need them; they reject other characters’potential development too, because writing stories alone within a RPG sometimes is a solution, but most often it is not.
I have learnt that nothing can be achieved without full involvement and commitment. That you reap what you sow, and the effort bears fruit. In a hobby, giving yourself without half measures brings the satisfaction of achievement, and many other subsidiary ones.
But it seems most people dont know to live, to give themselves, to commit. They are lukewarm, not inspired, not excited, not invested, lacking any commitment. You cant build a house on sand; you can build it only on stone or on wood frames. Otherwise, the first gust would blow it down. I wish people understood it.
Enthusiasm is not sold in the bakery, to buy two loaves; if you give an idea, you should be prepared to follow it when openly embraced. If YOU cant get inspired by your own idea to actively participate (I am not saying to lead, because I know not everybody is a leader; this I can understand) then why would anybody else be inspired to implement it?
My experience says that when the one who gave the idea is not taking part at all, it is a downer to everybody, and (almost) nobody else would actually participate in said event, no matter how much the staff is supporting the ideas. Usually, when one gives an idea, should be not only willing to be involved, but inspired by said idea to write among the most active people there. I can and I will be really active; but I cant do it all alone, and the others would need your enthusiasm too in order to be persuaded to join.
You are saying that you would like reading this story, but you arent willing to commit to writing it, and you are telling me I might disappear midway, dont rely on me, but I think it is interesting for the whole group You deserve receiving a prize for honesty; a virtual cup full of enthusiasm and inspiration, if I could fill it with what you need the most. But this is not the way to write a story together. I feel this is the recipe for me to remain to write a whole factions story by myself - which wouldnt be the first time, no matter that it wasnt you some of the other times; it was another one or another one, still thinking like you.
What I cant understand is why would you want to disappear, when it is your idea? And if your idea is not good enough to inspire YOU to write it and make it happen, how would it inspire others then? (Except odd cases like me, who can see the potential of a good story everywhere and go for it, and who write even with 38.7 C running fever.)
You should learn to commit in order to achieve something, To make room for all your hobbies in your week, especially when they involve other people too, and to finish what you have started.
Yes, I would need some sweet bread to make my day sweeter. Not that I have anything particular to resent today as I do. I guess some days of this kind just happen, when everything already piled up starts hurting and mattering.
I have an exam today and I haven't studied enough. No time. I have a hard day at work too... and I am just taking a little break from it now.
It is rainy for several days and I feel it in my bones, in my head, in everything.
And I have deadlines for my site too. No, I don't mean the plenty of owed posts that I will catch up with some day.
Owing posts is my natural status anyway (even if normally I never owe them for more than 2-4 days). I am a slow poster - not slow as in waiting a century to answer somebody's post and blocking threads. Just slow as in taking 30 minutes to 2 hours for writing a post and being jealous for others' productivity, because I know there are people who are able to write (if talking about 2 writing partners) 4-5 posts each in the time I need for writing 1-2 posts, and complete a thread in one day (when the threads I am involved in usually take several weeks/ months to be completed, when I would have liked them completed in 2-3 weeks)
This delay doesn't happen because I would be so slow; I can answer, and I usually do, in 2-3 days; but others can take more than 2-3 days for their replies to me.. and so on. So yes, I am jealous of others' productivity. (At the same time, I am not sure I would be able to focus to posting only to one thread; if I have time to write several posts, then I am writing them to several threads, so that each of them goes forward).
It is the beginning of the month... and until the 6-th I have to finish the Monthly chronicle. Since I am busy with the training courses and all, and I have announced this publicly, I would have hoped and needed some help. Nobody offered. I have asked my only available staff member for help (since the others are on hiatus, and she just returned with renewed energy). I haven't received it yet, and I am not sure I will.
I am annoyed with everyone now... but I am sure this will pass. And it is more important to stick to my deadline and prove (myself and the others) that I still can do it no matter what... and only afterwards to express my disappointment at the lack of help.
I think some people simply don't care...
Remember that post forever ago? With Uncle Sam in a Star Trek Uniform! Well a Star Trek Podcast found in and asked to use it so I thought I’d remind you of it and send you there way: http://priorityonepodcast.com/ They … Continue reading →
So I’m in the process of updating Morrigan’s Madness and Morrgasm. I was thinking that Morrigan’s madness needed something new and improved for a skin (still working on that) and just a makeover all around. Excitingly I added a new … Continue reading →
So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone that I’m a big fan of Halloween. This year is no different. All out crazy and I’m designing for comiccon too. I am sad that my daughter changed her mind … Continue reading →
So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone that I’m a big fan of Halloween. This year is no different. All out crazy and I’m designing for comiccon too. I am sad that my daughter changed her mind last minute to Abbey Bomindable from Monster High but that … Continue reading
You know your boyfriend is perfect for you when they understand the priorities in your life. Not only does he understand but he goes out of his way to fix those things for or with you no matter how frustrating … Continue reading →
So I’ve had Star Trek RPG coded and open since March. Now it’s a fabulous looking website and it’s smooth fix width layout. Gorgeous. The pink version is my favorite. Now that’ all fine and dandy but I browse my … Continue reading →
So I’ve had Star Trek RPG coded and open since March. Now it’s a fabulous looking website and it’s smooth fix width layout. Gorgeous. The pink version is my favorite. Now that’ all fine and dandy but I browse my website from mobile devices and this has been driving me … Continue reading
We have been working hard to improve the look and feel around the site as well as adding helpful new awesome features. One of those new features is Two Factor Authentication. This is currently enabled to help protect your account from being hijacked if it is ever hacked. If you have suggestions for more questions that we can add (if you choose to do security questions over Google Authenticator) than don't hesitate to post in that thread and give us some ideas!
Next up! We have updated how blogs appear on their main page. We now have the most recent article fully shown with the other articles truncated below. It came with a Grid layout and a traditional layout. We also increased the height of the cover image to better showcase an image of your choosing!
All around we have made some aesthetic changes to many things around the site (like the embeds that were difficult to read). We hope you enjoy them!
Another cool feature that we added is we now have discord integration! So if you're in discord either on your computer or on your phone you will now get notified when new topics are posted around the forums. Currently it is set up to primarily post from the "Wanted, Roleplay" section and the "Roleplay Conversations" sections. In the future this may change. Please feel free to provide feedback in the Staff Contact forum to let us know if you think we should add more or remove any so we know what you like.
Now! Onto Challenges! The Best of 2016 has been posted! We would like to thank everyone who nominated and to remind everyone to look out for these same things as we will be repeating it next year and probably with more categories! You are free to contact us and let us know of categories you think we should add! Go check out the winners here:
Following that! We are looking for award ideas! Funny, nerdy, bizarre whatever! We want to make awards fun to both have and earn. If you have an idea for an award for something around the Initiative than please let us know what it is and how you think it should be earned! We would love more fun and creative ways to engage you!
Moving on from awards! Our Spotlight Challenge is nearly at it's end! Don't miss your opportunity to get your site listed in the header of the Initiative for an entire month! Check it out and send us some stories about Valentine's day! Remember they don't have to be about love!
Voting for Graphics Challenge 9 is up! Go vote for your favorite one here:
We have also posted a new graphics challenge! It's super easy and fun! Go make some avatars of some animals!
Think you have what it takes to write a graphic inspired challenge!? Go check out this writing challenge:
Last but certainly not least! Don't forget about @Gothams Reckoning advice blog. Just send them a PM with your question that you would like advice on and they will post it in the blog and give you advice. You can be completely anonymous just advise GR when you send your PM.
We just want to add that we can't have this awesome community without you! So we thank you for being awesome members and being supportive to one another! You all rock!
I have followed your work for many years and yet I hardly know you at all. But I can relate, I know your pain, I've been there. I was spending a car payment every year on hosting, and my service did not allow for monthly payments. The reality of my debt, finances, and whether or not this money was making me happy put my hosting down to die after year 2 or 3.
One of the problems that I made early on was that I was too helpful. I tried to help people who didn't want help. They always resented me for it, it always ended badly, I was always butt hurt, and it was always a massive waste of time and energy. It took me years to learn the art of sitting on the sidelines, like everyone else, and watching the firework explosions from afar, instead of trying to wrestle the matches away from the person lighting them. I wonder if you tried to help people who didn't ask for help? If they treated you that way, certainly they weren't ready for your help, they just had good intentions and half-baked notions. There are many people who are very insistent and adamant that they do want help, but they don't want help, they want their very specific notion and experience and all of that isn't actually help and it isn't the help that they need. I know that this wound hurts. But give this a try, and I think that you will find yourself less abused. Remember that if you help someone who doesn't want help, all you get out of it is wasted time and energy and hurt, and all the person gets is a prideful and mean story about someone else, because they aren't capable of receiving that help.
There is a lot to be said about paid services and the wisdom there. I asked for $10 once for an eternity of hosting and support, and many sites could not get that much; they were not serious. $10 is what someone would pay a month for ad-free on JCInk or Proboards. Because I asked for real money, people treated me better and more respectfully, they believed me more that I knew what I was doing. Far less people wasted my time. And the people who wasted the most of my time never paid.
One of the reasons that I stopped hosting was because I found, like you did, that I wasn't really friends with anyone. I just had people who popped in every 5 years to ask me to help them with coding this or that. I suck at keeping up with friends, so half of that blame is mine, but the other half... When I would tell someone that I just don't have time to fix their coding issue, they would insist or just quietly not be my friend anymore. So now, I rub it in their faces with the truth. "I'm sorry FriendXYZ, I know that it sounds like a simple issue to you but it's looking like it's going to be 8 to 15 hours of hard work for me to track down and I think you could find someone who could do it faster for you at a roleplay resource site. I'm working two jobs, one below minimum wage, and I'm having a hard time." And then they don't bother me anymore, and all of it is true. It's a bit overly passive-aggressive, but aggressively standing up for myself was the other side of the pendulum that I had lacked all that time, and it helped immensely, and I have found my balance between both sides of the pendulum.
There are some directory/resource sites where people come in to request help with their problems and it always amazes me at the minimum effort put in. That most issues are a few badly formed sentences that don't include what's needed to debug them. I used to get snippy at the staffers who moderated them at their inane requirements for a form always a form omfg why?! But now I understand that their real requirement was effort and to desperately and quickly weed out the wasters of time and energy as easily as possible. I have some skins and other things that I made for resource sites and people are over-entitled, not just to me, but to everyone. Providing ongoing support for those resources is utterly exhausting and about half of the time you ever spend on something goes into supporting it over all the long time its used.
I am tired, Arceus. But I am not as tired as I was before because I put up my boundary lines and maintain them because I know they are my sanity, and because I know if I let them slip, someone is going to take advantage of me because that's why they needed to cross those boundary lines in the first place.
Someday you will come to feel better about things, about yourself, about roleplays. But for right now, rest, find peace and serenity. Don't go back to hosting because right now it's unhealthy for you. I found that part of my desire to be a piggy-back host was to find my value as a person by being useful to others, because I felt I had no value otherwise, and many treated me just as I felt about myself. If you feel this way, don't be afraid to talk to a therapist, because life is short and they are the fastest, least painful, and most efficient way towards healing and being happy.
I hope this helps you in some small way.
Here is my discord if you'd like to talk sometime
That's a very good point. RPers treat other people like too many people treat retail workers. I try and blot that particular job from my memory.
I mean if you just want to do the RP equivalent of quietly shooting the breeze with a bud, I think my site's gold for that lol! But I truly appreciate wanting something more structured than a multigenre!
I'm on a 'surrealist panfandom' site that's decent, and Morr's site. That's all I've got!
Idk man, after working retail for a few years, I can believe it. xD
Thanks! If you got any suggestions toss em, I'm looking at practically anything atm. Friend endorsements definitely get bonus points c; Being kinda quiet on the ones I do join, but I'll... waddle my way out of the depression tunnel eventually. lol
I love you too! You're a fantastic person 🙂
It is saddening to see how people treat each other publicly in the forum rp community. I struggle to believe that they behave that way in meatspace!
Good luck with your RP search though! I hope you find some excellent places 💖🙂