From March 5th through 11th, Smashwords is having their Read An Ebook Week promotion. All of my titles will be reduced by 50%, with a few prices dropped so low they’re ending up at FREE! That’s 30 titles you can stock up on!
The genres are medieval fantasy, post apocalypse, vampire, historical, sci fi / cyberpunk, and horror / mystery eras. I wasn’t familiar with all of these, and am looking to see how they make things work. Let’s see if I can find a vid on a Mad Max or cyberpunk LARP next.
Descrip: Live Action Roleplaying – or “Larping” – is a hobby of thousands of people worldwide. There are many settings in LARP – and today, I show you the 6 biggest.
Recently re-released and reformatted. This novel is rather complicated to put into any one genre. It’s partly modern day paranormal / spiritual, based on my actual experiences and research, and it’s partly Iron Age fantasy set in Ancient Canaan. This novel is currently available for $5.99 at Smashwords, and the 9th in my Chaos Rift series.
About this series: The Chaos Rift is meant to shake you out of your comfort zone. It is meant to strip away those rose-tinted glasses that keep you complacent, to show you the world as it really is, and also to show you how alternate worlds might really be, based on what has been seen and done here, what has been created and imagined, in our own reality. There are moments or triumph and levity, as there are in real life, but when the pendulum swings, it will go a long way into the shadows. Many of these titles are not for the many, but for the few. Are you one of those few? You have been warned. The Chaos Rift begins here.
About this title: What is the nature of our reality? What is truth? What is fantasy? Perhaps it is time for us to break the paradigms of the mind, dogma, history and the universe all around us. This tale begins in the present, but the adventure is more profound than you can imagine. Let us travel to pre-Biblical Canaan, a time when the gods shook the Earth to defy the World Changers. Rating: HIGH controversy.
It was a little awkward for Alyssa to stand there in the great room, naked except for the semi-transparent suit, while waiting for her body heat to activate the material. They decided it was the only practical way. If Alyssa went to change into the suit in another room, it was entirely possible that Oscar would not know when she’d come back. He wouldn’t be able to hear her or make any other observations because his brain could potentially refuse to acknowledge that she was standing there in front of him. In the end, they stood side by side, looking away from one another, uncomfortably, but maintaining a point of contact by holding each other’s hands.
“Is it working?” Alyssa asked, after about five minutes of waiting.
Oscar glanced down at their hands. While they were still clasped, he brought them up to eye level. “Look.”
Clearly, she could see Oscar’s arm and the curled fingers of his hand around hers. Her hand and arm, strangely enough, were now gone.
“Okay, I’m going to let you go.” Oscar instructed her. “I want you to stand in front of me for a couple of seconds. After that, walk over to the bathroom and take a look at yourself in the mirror. Keep talking or making some sort of noise, so I’ll know where you are.”
Nervously, Alyssa stood right in front of him. “Well?”
“I can still see your boobies.” Oscar smiled.
“Really?” She covered up her chest with both arms.
“No, I was joking. I can’t see you at all.” He said.
This prompted Alyssa to reach out and give him a playful slap on the shoulder.
“Hey, I felt that!”
Alyssa started laughing. “Okay, I’m going to the bathroom now.”
“Keep making some sort of noise, like I told you to.” Oscar reminded her, as he took a seat and began writing down notes.
As she made her way to the bathroom, Alyssa decided to hum to herself. The bathroom mirror did not show her the image she was accustomed to seeing. She felt a little weird about that, as if she were a vampire gazing at its missing reflection for the very first time. She didn’t even cast a shadow anymore.
“How do you feel?” Oscar called out.
“Normal. Well, a little warm, even though I shouldn’t be warm because I’m naked.”
“Are you thinking clearly? No dizziness, no fear or anxiety?”
“No, nothing like that.”
“I didn’t think there would be, but I just wanted to make sure. Okay, let’s go out for some burritos.”
This book is in the public domain. I got my copy on Archive.org. Here is a direct link to the book page. Below is my review for the novel, as well as a setting description you can use in your own writing, RPG gaming or other creative projects.
Listen to the audiobook on Youtube:
The Night Land by William H. Hodgson
Reading date: 01.17.2023
Review – This book was published in 1912. I read Hodgson’s Borderlands book about a week before this one, and I thought I had an idea of what to expect, especially when I noticed my PDF copy has nearly 500 pages. The book starts off at a reasonable pace, and ends up that way, but the vast majority of it is travel time. The author goes well out of his way to stretch the journey out, even when nothing is happening in the story. Every story day, the author has to tell us that the main character stops to eat, stops to sleep, in many instances two or even up to four times on a single page. The main character will stop and philosophize often, for a page or two, on nothing important, nothing that furthers the story along, as he recalls memories from a past life or what he thinks might happen next. There are not enough monster encounters to keep the story lively. You would think there would be a pay-off after a battle with a strange creature, and sometimes there is, but other times the creature isn’t even described, and so the conflict falls flat after all that expectation that, please, let something exciting happen soon! There are good instances of suspense and battle descriptions, but they are few and far apart.
The main plot of the story is that the main character must make a long journey, find his lover and bring her back to his home location. After the tediousness and monotony of the first part of the journey, after he finds the lover the story actually gets worse. In addition to reading about how they eat and sleep, eat and sleep, often, we now have the main character philosophizing about love and romance, while walking deep in wild forests or volcanic fields. We get to read about how the lover has to do her hair up to look pretty for him, how naughty she is that she must be kissed every other page, or every page, and how she must even have her toes kissed, despite how many dangers lurk around every corner. If that isn’t bad enough, she starts running into the woods or other wild areas, playfully, lovingly, because she wants to be chased, until the main character has enough and begins beating her for it. But later on, he has forgiven her, and he plays his own ‘loving’ games, such as when he ties a strand of her hair around her feet, so she can’t run off anymore, and they both smile and kiss at how cute that is. Is this novel the predecessor of YA or what? Pardon me while I retch.
At the climax, every foe and monster lines up to prevent the protagonist from reaching home, even those that aren’t described, where the protagonist is half-dazed and fighting so much he can’t remember who he even fought. This is a major spoiler, but you probably won’t get as far as the end, if you do make the attempt to read this long, boring novel, so here goes. The lover dies, and that would have been satisfying to me after all the trouble she put the main character through. But stop! The power of love, yes, the power of love, fills the citizens of home, and the energy of that place conspire to bring the lover back to life. They live happily ever after, but I think she should have stayed dead after all that monotony, not to mention the long-winded despair and random musing the author put me through.
Don’t read this novel. Read the Borderlands book instead, and count yourself lucky. The Nightlands is as bad as reading the same five consecutive pages of the Borderlands book a good fifty times. Ten pages of boredom followed by a monster fight, rinse and repeat, and you’ll understand why I gave this book a 1 star rating.
Setting – Part 1
An exceptionally strong, young man lives in a mansion, surrounded by other mansions. This man happens upon a neighbor’s home, meeting a beautiful young woman whom he right away becomes fond of. They share an uncommon psychic bond and/or a kinship in their dreams. The man is attracted to this women, becomes smitten by her, and visits often. At one point, a small group of kidnappers attempts to take the woman, but the young man and the woman’s hounds repel the attack.
To test their love, the young woman visits town often, at night, to go dancing. This infuriates the young man, causing him to stay away from her. Later, he again visits her often. This time, the young woman asks her maid to dress as a suitor. In her manly clothing, the maid pretends to visit often and deceives the man into thinking he has a rival. When it seems that the young woman has more interest in the new ‘man,’ the young man is doubly infuriated and refuses to visit the young woman for a much longer time.
After a time, the young man’s heart convinces him to give the romance another try. He visits the young woman, who finally reveals the ruse and why she did it. They marry and spend many happy years together. Unfortunately, the woman dies during childbirth and the man is in many ways broken of spirit.
The main character is born into another life, in a much different era, perhaps millions of years in the future. This era is bleak, with a dying sun overhead and great monsters everywhere. The main character is a gifted psychic, a quality venerated among his kind, and exalted to high positions with great responsibilities. As he uses his psychic gifts, he dreams of who he was in Part 1, and of the woman he once loved, and he remembers many things, considering them only musings, until the woman, who is also blessed with psychic powers, reaches out to him. They both remember who they once were in the ancient past. He can be with her again, he realizes, if he could only reach her, but he does not know where she is in that desolate world.
It isn’t easy to seek her out. His people have built a sanctuary in the shape of a giant pyramid, large enough to house millions. Near the pyramid are four mountains, lying in cardinal directions, but they are not merely mountains but massive evil beings who are slowly creeping toward the pyramid to devour it and the people inside, and to feed on their souls. The only thing preventing the mountains from coming closer is a force field based on that world’s ether, which repels the evil, and so they wait, these huge mountains, until they can strike.
The main character tells his peers of the woman, and the people she lives with, as he can see them, not always but sometimes, with his psychic mind. His peers look into past records, finding a group led by a rebellious leader, all of whom were banished from the great pyramid. The group traveled into the wilderness, in no specific direction, pursued and tormented by the wild creatures and other evil beings, such as giants. In time, they settled, building a smaller pyramid with a weaker force field around it. Even now, those people are struggling, and the force field waning. They will not last long against the menaces creeping ever closer.
In the great pyramid, the population sympathizes, but there is nothing they can do because they don’t know where the smaller group is, and even if they knew the location, they could not risk leaving their sanctuary. This angers a large group of young men or youths, who take arms and plot to leave the great pyramid at once, despite not knowing where to look. They go, and from the great pyramid observers watch their progress with powerful telescopes.
The army of youths fights off a number of giants, losing a good number of their kin. Part of their group splits off to return to the great pyramid. A new army is sent to retrieve them. Great cheers come from the pyramid when the adult men reach the returning youths, but this happiness is short lived. Another threat emerges, more powerful than the giants, capable of sucking human souls into it. Having no choice, the adult men sacrifice the returning youths, before the threat reaches and when it does, it destroys a large number of the adult army. The surviving adult men return to the pyramid, and the mothers cry for their lost sons.
Meanwhile, the remaining youths press forward, still seen in the far, far distance by the telescopes. A new threat emerges, a giant black house that mesmerizes the youths toward it, so it can eat their souls. From the great pyramid, great soundings are made, and psychic calls, to break the youths out of their spell. It seems to work. The youths recover their senses and start coming back home, until the giant black house increases its mesmerism and fully convinces the youths to enter its black door. The entire army of youths is eaten. The mothers cry again.
After such calamity, of course the main character is compelled to leave the greater pyramid, alone. He is given to wear a suit of gray armor and armed with an iron rod or staff. The rod has a rounded disc at its end. It is powered by the ether of the world, focusing natural energy into fiery killing rays. The character takes peculiar route in seeking out the minor pyramid. He heads to the northeast, whereas the youth army had gone northwest, but later, due to the rough terrain, crosses the expand at great peril and takes up the northwest route. There are encounters along the way.
1. Indistinct but hostile Gray Man. Who is he?
2. Indistinct Silent Ones, who stand silent and attack only when disturbed.
3. A camp of sleeping, elephant-sized Giants and their horse-sized Hound.
4. Strange Doors that open suddenly in unexpected places, trying to swallow.
5. A giant Yellow Spider hiding under sand, creating a funnel to topple its prey.
6. The Evil Mountain, who will rally threats if it sees you. Why walk that way?
1. Hide in the brush and hope they don’t find you.
2. The ground gives way, you fall into the earth and the threats pass you by.
3. Time for battle, because it is too late to run.
After all of that, the main character stops to rest at a stream. He is chased by a Hound, hiding in the water, using the stream to cover his tracks as he attempts to avoid the great beast. He is forced to travel further west, passing very close to the House Of Silence that finished off the last of the Youth Army. Once he has cleared that vicinity, he turns north again.
More travel, and then, more travel. The protagonist moves through barren lands, through lands dotted with with flaming plumes of gas, up slopes, down slopes, through a thick forest full of large dangers that are rarely described. During one upward climb, to a peak so he can look out at the landscape, he is chased by two proto-men with thick necks and shoulders. He manages to kill both, but it is a troublesome fight.
Later, the main character climbs up a large tree for sighting. A pack of proto-men comes to climb that very tree, all of them armed with large rocks. They are hunting a great, horned beast, with one proto-man leading the beast to where the others hide. When the beast comes in range, the wild men in the tree jump down on top of it. They try to kill the beast, and it kills off many of them, before the entire hunt moves elsewhere. And then, more travel, and more travel. Smaller dangers include snakes, spider-crabs and scorpions.
Through the psychic connection, the protagonist senses his lover is nearby, and she is. As it happens, the evil of those lands afflicted the people of the Minor Pyramid, so much that they threw open the doors to their refuge and ran outside, where the creatures and beasts swarmed over them. In many scattered directions they ran, with the evil beings chasing after them, and the lover, with her psychic sense, ran and traveled toward her distant lover.
Now that they are together, the protagonist takes time to care for his lover. Together, they begin the journey back to the Great Pyramid, but the pace is slower, and resources lessen because there are two of them now. Many creatures are out there looking for them, and for other humans who are still trying to evade the evil ones. Finding places to sleep is more difficult. At one point, other people fleeing are chased down by men with thick necks and shoulders, a second type of proto-men. The protagonist tries to save at least one, but cannot. Later, this another type of proto-man attacks his lover, two hairy men with four arms, the upper arms used to attack, and the lower with lesser strength used only to hold or pinch. The lover is injured slightly before he can kill the creatures. During their travel, the two are pursued by giant, smelly slugs, and other creatures not described, as well as snakes and scorpions.
In an odd twist, the lover becomes a liability. She demands excessive attention from the protagonist, wanting to be held and kissed, wanting even her toes kissed at times, despite how they are both exhausted and filthy. To be fair, the protagonist himself bestows great amounts of loving attention to her, but as this goes on, her cravings become obsessive, even demonic. At the start of this novel, we did see the lover playing games to test the main character, but now, when he does not tend to her whims, she will run off into the forest, forcing him to chase her down. He is greatly angered by her behavior, chastising her at first, becoming violent enough to whip her on the shoulders and arms with a stick, and yet, she still runs off, time and again.
This strange behavior reaches a crux when they reach the edge of a river. The protagonist builds a raft, but before they can start their way across, to reach an island and place of relative safety, the lover begins to act quirky again. This as a band of Humped Men arrive. The battle is fierce, with the main character giving and taking damage, as the threats attempt to take his lover away from him. She is suddenly light on her feet and runs off with several threats after her, while he stays to deal with the majority. The lover is armed with a knife, and when she returns, she will use the knife to stab the enemy and retreat, repeatedly, showing more energy and determination, strangely, than she has ever shown before.
After the great skirmish, the lover manages to drag the protagonist onto the raft. It is she who navigates the raft through the river, stopping at an island. They rest on this island for a good number of days, until the protagonist gathers his health and does his best to repair his gear. This done, they travel downriver until it becomes necessary to leave the raft behind and continue on foot. The protagonist worries, as they are close to the giant black house.
Remember, if you will, Part 2, where the giant black house has eaten or destroyed the remnant army of youths. In this case, the protagonist decides to chance it, as traveling near to the black house is feasible and will cut the journey by several days. What the protagonist has not counted on is how the black house will affect his lover. The house affects the lover badly, putting her into a state near death. The protagonist is forced to carry his lover the rest of the way.
Every foe in the region comes out to stop him, in droves. The protagonist encounters foes he cannot even describe, and also large numbers of proto-men, hounds the size of horses, and great giants. Sometimes, the protagonist must fend with only one arm, as he carries his lover, or else he might put her down if they are too many. He passes the evil northern mountain, which has its eyes on him, but does not act against him.
The people of the Great Pyramid know he is coming. They send out a large number of armed soldiers, but the soldiers can only go so far before they come to a number of black hills. The hills are malevolent, seeking to destroy the soldiers, or to eat their souls. The soldiers can’t travel through the hills, but the protagonist and his burden must to reach safety. The psychic elders in the Great Pyramid give him mental support and guide him through as best they can. One last mob of giant hounds attacks the protagonist. The soldiers of the pyramid can reach most of them with long-ranged energy weapons, depleting their resources, and the protagonist must fight his way through the last of them.
Finally, the protagonist reaches the area of safety. There, it is discovered or realized that the lover has died. The protagonist is distraught for days, and also needs the time to recover from his wounds. In a sorry mental and physical state, he attends the lover’s burial. At this time, there is a great lamentation from his people, this sorrow and also admiration for his bravery, that it stirs up the energy of the Great Pyramid. The energy flows into the body of the lover, reviving her, and is seen as a miracle among all. The protagonist and lover are in each other’s arms, later married, and at the last a statue of he carrying she is erected, to commemorate his great endeavor.
This book is in the public domain. I got my copy through Standard E-Books. Here is a direct link to the book page. Below is my review for the novel, as well as a setting description you can use in your own writing, RPG gaming or other creative projects.
Listen to this book on Youtube:
The House On The Borderland by William H. Hodgson
Reading date: 12.29.2022
Review – This book was written in 1908. The start and ending of the story have some action scenes, but the larger, center section is a long description of cosmic events projected over tens of thousands or millions of years. The book was simply written, without a lot of artful prose, but in this case it was a good thing, as adding flourishes to the already long descriptions would have put me to sleep. The action scenes at the start were excellent, and probably set the basis for every pop movie depiction of a lone man inside a house, at night, defending against multiple attacks by outside forces/foes. The cosmic exposition clearly influenced Lovecraft in creating Cthulhu Mythos. The cosmic stretches I did not like, but I might grow to like them later, as I did not at enjoy C. L. Moore’s similar stretches in her Jirel Of Joiry stories, but after subsequent readings I have come to appreciate them as masterful. For now, I’m rating this book at 3 Stars.
Setting – A house in the forest, partially set back against a hill, secluded, driving distance or 20-30 minute walk from the nearest village. The house has multiple floors. It has a front and back door made of heavy wood, and a weaker side door that needs to be reinforced in a hurry, in case of siege. The windows on the first floor have strong iron bars.
A portion of the first floor is larger than the second. Foes can climb onto this short roof to get at the second floor windows, which are not barred. Foes can use a loose gutter pipe on the side of the house to climb onto the short roof.
The house has a small tower on one corner, adding a third or fourth level, plus its roof, allowing protagonists to look out over the forest, or to fend off attack with firearms. As a last resort, characters can climb up to the tower to make a final stand.
Half a mile from the house is a large pit or sinkhole. The pit is at least 100 feet deep, with dark cavities visible along the walls that could be ancient tunnels. It is difficult to climb down the edge to reach them. The pit formed recently, perhaps after heavy rains. Large conifers, pines, have fallen into the pit, and perhaps also a house or two, mixing in with still water, mud and/or clay. Protagonists could explore the pit and tunnels, learning that thanks to the recent formation of the pit, foes or nasty creatures have started emerging.
A tunnel from the pit branches out to the location of the house. Foes/creatures from the pit could travel to the house, possibly gaining entry through a basement or cellar, or digging their way through into the first floor. Alternatively, a door could be built into the cellar, covered over by barrels or other obstacles. If the characters can access this door, they could travel toward the pit and make a surprise attack against the foes. The area below the cellar could also have magic or energetic significance for the foes, that the protagonists have not discovered yet.
The foes at first do not want to kill the protagonists. Perhaps a character has killed a foe, by accident or deliberately, and this causes the foes to attack in force. Possibly, the foes want to capture the protagonists for a sacrifice to their deity, or an offering to a shaman or witch.
Naturally, the protagonists are unable to leave right away or call for help. They have no choice but to hunker down and bear through the attack(s). Village folk could be part of the problem or the solution. Most villagers might not know anything about what lies under the house or why the pit was formed, only hearing the rumbles after a great rain or thunder storm, but too scared to come out and investigate for themselves. There could be a village elder that suspects or knows the truth. Money or alcohol could get this person to talk.
Foes: In the first attacks, unclothed swine! Not kidding, they were unarmed, grunting pig people. A second foe appeared later. It was not fully described, but it had large, claw-like hands that left glowing white marks on its victims. This mysterious foe incinerated a cat through a window, and scratched a dog’s middle badly enough that the dog later became sick and died. Be careful not to let the sick dog lick your hand, especially if your hand has scratches or wounds on it already, or else you might get sick too. Infected people have a 50% chance of survival.
If you’re into Sword & Sorcery, this might give you a woody. I’ve collected 169 Plots, 169 Villains, and 34 campaign outlines to give your fantasy story or rpg a NOX boost. The entries are from the masters, such as Howard, Lovecraft, Moore, Lieber, Moorcock, and from all sorts of other genre sources. Best of all, this collection is priced at Pay What You want over on Drive Get it free! Thru RPG. Link:
Some sample dice rolls to get your imagination cranking, rolled using GigaCalculator:
#11. R.E. Howard – Conan, The Man-Eaters Of Zamouola
The protagonist rents a room in a place where travelers are known to vanish without a trace, encountering a hidden danger. After this, the protagonist searches for the source of this danger, when he finds a distraught woman whose lover has been abruptly taken away. This leads him / her to a temple / religious site, where new and unexpected dangers await, but the woman has lied, and she and her lover are not who they initially claim to be.
#14. Michael Coldewey – Heavy Metal 2000, 2000
A laborer who turns into a powerful, evil overlord that can gain minions quickly and send them on murderous raids, all of whom will be very hard to defeat.
Call To Adventue Campaign A
Player 1 Attributes: Sailor, Vow Of Vengeance
Hidden Destiny – (High Arcanist)
Act 1 Events Round 1: Gain Adventurous Round 2: Learn Dark Secrets, Gain Instill Fear Round 3: Excel In Studies, Gain Cruel Master (Act 2 Activated)
Act 2 Events Round 1: Gain Unlikely Alliance, Take Over A Gang Round 2: Face The Warlock Round 3: Commune With Nature
Act 3 Events Round 1: Gain Supernatural Round 2: Gain Surprise Attack, Gain Desperate Rage, Drive Back A Demon Army Round 3: Banish The Fiend
I’m about 40 pages into this new novel. It’s sword and planet, loosely, and I’m making key decisions for the story while playing Ironsworn RPG solo. You can get a free PDF of this work in progress novel on the Articles page of my author site, Raymond Towers Dot Com. A link to the page is found here:
“Nothing to do,” Nottle grumbled, once he was back ‘home.’ “And all day to do it.”
The AI wasn’t speaking to him, but it was making his head throb. That was a sign he was about to get a language upload. Howi watched him with some interest, possibly thinking him nuts for talking to himself out loud. Awan slept badly, with fever.
“How bad is it going to be, Baby?”
Not bad. The worst part was adapting your circuitry to accept instantaneous interaction. Any additional exchanges of information are mere bumps on a road.
“Circuitry, huh? It sounds like you wired me in to wherever you’re at. Like my ID chip, right, that you talk through? I’m connected to a place outside of this reality now.”
When the AI refused to answer, he walked over to the still burning fire. The kindling was running low, he noticed. “We need to get more of that.” He noticed that Howi’s attention was still on him. “I have to go east, into the desert. Ma’oohooka. Five days. Manage’yoo tabe.”
“Ma’oohooka.” Howi said.
“That’s right, into the desert. You stay here. Get food, get water here. Stay here. Tumawa’a. Paydda.”
Howi spoke several words in a stream, too many for Nottle to keep up with. The best he could do was interpret that he should not go, and why was he going. “Slow down, cowboy! I’m not fluent yet!” He went on to repeat the idea that he was going east for five days.
“Tagenna.” Howi said. “Tuhewepu. Pehe.”
Nottle only understood the last word, Pehe. It meant something bad or rotten. Howi had used that word when speaking of Awan’s infected leg. What was out there in the desert, that Howi had to use that specific word to describe it?
My new writing project is not titled yet. It falls into the sci fi and medieval fantasy genres, and I’m using the Ironsworn role-playing game to push the action along. If you’d like to read this Work In Progress, head over to the Articles page on Raymond Towers Dot Com for a free PDF direct download. I’ve got two related documents posted there.
Untitled Project Game-Play – the fiction, currently at 10 pages long, Licensed as CC BY-ND-NC, or ‘copy and share.’ The game-play doc will be updated frequently.
Untitled Worldbuilding Project – the setting details and random generators I came up with for this setting (the setting is loosely based on real-world Oregon, plus the Celtic and Paiute peoples). This document is licensed as CC BY, meaning you can use the setting details and prompts in your own projects.
The first few paragraphs of the story:
“Take one more step,” Nottle threatened. “And I’m going to fry one of you.”
He didn’t pray much, but he was praying now. The last thing he wanted was to pull the trigger on his plasma pistol.
The six men were obviously hunters. They wore thick animal furs to stave off the biting cold, nearly covering their entire faces. From what Nottle could see, they had dark hair and eyes, and ruddy skin. He tried to make out their features, when a flurry of snow cut across the divide between them, obscuring one side from the other. The first two were moving, Nottle observed, ever since they’d first spotted him in his sleek blue spacesuit. Their short spears were held up high as if they meant to launch missiles at any moment.
“I’m not kidding!” Nottle shouted, holding the pistol out. “Another step is gonna be your last one!”
He questioned whether they were territorial and defending their grounds, or hungry enough to eat him. In the end, it didn’t matter because it was clear they were going to try to kill him. For a long, tense moment, Nottle wondered how they saw him, in his form-fitting blue suit, with his blue space helmet that had a raked angle to the back, where the compressed oxygen cartridge went, and his reflective visor that slid up like a motorcycle rider’s, showing only his eyes and the bridge of his nose.
One of the nearest two shouted at him. The man looked big, rugged, and mean.
“I don’t understand your language, bro!” Nottle shouted back. “This is all one big mis-”
I rolled four villages for a solo game and short story I’m starting up. Here is the first one, called Windhaven, where I think my protagonist is going to spend most of his time. For variety, I used several idea generators, including:
The Oracles from Ironsworn (free)
The Masks supplement, Keltic race, found on the AS&SH Resources page on Hyperborea.tv (free)
The D-Percent 100 Physical Trait Generator from Black Falcon Games (on Drive Thru RPG for 75 cents each, Male and Female)
These are all free or low cost resources! Here are the details I generated. You can use them in your game if you need a quick village and don’t have the time to flesh it out. If you want to use this in fiction, I suggest you adjust the personal names to your setting.
Name: Windhaven (Finnish: Tuulen Paratiisi, French: Havre du Vent, Latin: Ventum Portum, Norwegian: Vindhavn, Spanish: Refugio Del Viento)
Population: 240, divide by 5 to get 48 buildings, including an ale maker
Construction: Timber walls, thatched roofs, buildings flanking main thoroughfare, well constructed but poorly maintained, buildings noticeably larger than normal, tent city of military personnel set up outside perimeter of town
Settlement Trouble: Attack is imminent (awesome roll because we already have military nearby!)
1. Gwen – female healer, find a person and collect a debt, charming and critical, light green eyes, dark brown hair
2. Kalidas – male forester, secure provisions, anxious and hot tempered, dark blue eyes, medium auburn hair, *crooked nose
3. Jelma – male performer, gain knowledge, strong and brave, light hazel eyes, medium auburn hair
If anyone can use these details, go for it. If there is any interest, let me know and I will create a free pdf with all 4 villages and post it on my 4shared page. I tend to create lists and tables as I go along, and I’ll probably have 10-15 pages’ worth when I’m done.
George R R Martin is an American novelist and short story writer, screenwriter, and television producer. He is the author of the series of epic fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire, which was adapted into the Emmy Award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones (2011–2019).
01 – The human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing about. You need characters to question who, and what, they are and how they fit within the world around them. This is key for character development.
02 – Write for yourself. Following trends, or pleasing your audience in spite of your own plans, harms good storytelling. Listening to critique is good, but inevitably you must be entertained and feel your way through the writing process.
03 – Anyone can die, and death is a key part of any story with conflict. Don’t give your characters any special treatment, have them play by the same rules you set upon your world. Not only does it add constant tension, but it also creates a realistic atmosphere.
04 – Sometimes an idea can just come to you. If so, do not disregard it, instead follow the idea as a writer and write it! It could either lead into an interesting project or serve as useful practice.
05 – Show don’t tell. Immersion is essential to any story. Only through visuals and vivid descriptions of your world, can your audience even start to imagine themselves in your world.
06 – Allow yourself to discover in the process of writing. While you need to know the major outcomes of the story, and character arcs, allow yourself to enjoy and be aware of your sixth sense on your way through the story.
07 – When writing a script, dialogue should never be too long. Other than a few monologues, or moments, keep it short and sweet. Also, read the dialogue aloud by yourself or with the cast, this is a simple effective way to see if it works.
08 – When adapting a novel, you’ll always lose some content. However, a good adaptation rides the fine line between cutting side content and keeping smaller meaningful moments that enrich the story.
09 – Being a writer is not a career for those who wish to be stable. It is a massive risk in every way. A true writer, even during the lows of their career, will never stop storytelling. It is essential to whom they are. So, from a beginner to a bestseller, never stop writing.
10 – The ending to an act is fundamental to keeping the audience engaged with your story. Leaving it on a cliff-hanger, or teasing the audience with a different outcome can be the best way to break up converging storylines and finished acts.