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Tuesday, November 29

All That Glitters - Part 6: Confrontation

Ilmarė closed her eyes and shook her head. "I don't believe this," she muttered under her breath. Then she raised her head and smiled a dazzling smile. "Look, I think there's some kind of arrangement we can work out. You're clearly a sensible…" she choked on the word "…man."

Behind her, Bijoux began to purr with arms outstretched in a gesture of supplication. She focused on the two dogs, which titled their heads in confusion at her.

There was a momentary pause while each party sized the other up. Then the half-orc broke out into laughter.

"You want to negotiate, pretty elf? I'll tell you what: you put down your weapons and then I will be happy to work out an…arrangement with you."

"Oh for crying out loud," said Sebastian. "Let's just kill them and be done with it." He stepped forward with palm outstretched. "Fuco aspergo!" [MORE]

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Monday, November 28

Flames Rising Interview Revised

Check out the revised formatting of my interview with Flames Rising.

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Speaking Engagement: AnonyCon 2005

Yep, I'll be a panelist at AnonyCon this weekend as well as gaming:

GP04 Freelancing for Beginners Discussion
With: Michael Tresca Sun: 10 - 11:30 am
Want to learn how to get your material published? Have a day job but also hunger for game design on the side? Learn about how to break into freelancing.

GP05 Digital and D20 Discussion
With: Michael Tresca Sun: 12 - 1 pm
Cheaper than a dead tree, more powerful than a spam email, faster than shipping by truck or car, it's digital distribution! Learn how to use PDFs and the net to your advantage in getting your material out there and in the hands of the players.


[MORE]

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Sunday, November 27

Well of Stars Update: FINI!

I just wrapped up the last chapter and the epilogue. It all comes down to Deren vs. Marty, Klekless vs. Rebma.

"The reason I'm telling you this is because of Deren's ring. It's how he survived your first attack. He's very hard to kill."

"Oh, I'll be sure to finish him off this time." Marty turned to the undead squirrel that sat on his shoulder. "Summon the killer Stags."

"Killer stags?" Klekless slapped his forehead. "Don't you have any normal minions? Like a giant or something?"

"As a matter of fact I do. But it's taking awhile to wake up."

Four things hopped onto the far end of the branch.

Klekless gaped. "What the…"

"Duneyrr, Durathror, Dvalin, and Dainn," said Marty, addressing each of them in turn. "You know what to do."

They meeped in response. Bowing low, each of them hopped onto an obsidian platform that appeared nearby. Then it lowered into the mists.

"You've never SEEN a stag, have you?"

"Hey, give me a break," said Marty. "Those were the first minions I created before I saw caribou in the Northern Wastes."



Official NaNoWriMo 2005 Winner

If you want the full story, you'll have to read the book whenever I managed to find someone to publish it. :)

77,070 / 75,000
(102.8%)


I'd like to thank my beautiful wife Amber, who was the inspiration for Rebma (think about it) and my Tivo, which fed me a neverending supply of Teen Titans, Last Avatar, and Batman cartoons. Taking breaks every few hours to watch somebody blowing something up was very invigorating.

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Saturday, November 26

Well of Stars: Home Stretch

We're in the home stretch! The novel picks up speed here with a few different events: Deren and Rebma soldier on alone. And then it's time for a flashback!

Rebma was shivering uncontrollably. Her breath came in long, ragged gasps.

"Sinnikpok," said the older woman, pointing at the covers.

"Okay, okay, I get it," said Deren. He slipped under the covers with Rebma.

Rebma’s body was freezing, cold in ways no human body should ever be cold. He put one arm beneath her neck and encircled her with the other. She was a tight ball, but when he touched her she relaxed a bit. He tried to bring her body as close to his as possible.

The old woman watched sternly. The younger one struggled not to giggle. Finally, the older woman was satisfied. She left the tent.

"Somehow," muttered Deren, "this is not how I imagined it."

72,090 / 75,000
(96.1%)

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Thursday, November 24

Torassia - Adventures in Fantasy Russia [BUNDLE]

Want to play in fantasy Russia (Torassa) but missed out on all the print products? Well, now you can get two adventures set in the frozen lands of Torassia: Tsar Rising and its sequel, The Dancing Hut. You also get Frost & Fur: The Explorer's Guide to the Frozen Lands, the last word on adventuring in the arctic. Total value is normally $28.50, but you can buy it for just $23.00. Check it out at RPGNow!

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Talien's d20 Modern Horror [BUNDLE]

Looking for Blood & Brains, Blood & Spooks, and Blood & Blades all in one place? Now you can get them at a discounted bundle! Normally $22.35, you can get all three for $18.00! Check it out at RPGNow!

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All That Glitters - Part 5g: The Hidden Cave

"I'm fine," said Beldin in irritation. Despite his wounds, the dwarf's pride has suffered most. "But we're in a sea cave. It may be more than an underwater tunnel we'll have to worry about soon."

Bijoux pointed at a crustacean attached to a nearby cavern wall. "This is a creature of the sea," she said. "It does not normally live out of water."

"Fine," said Ilmarė. "We'll need the lizard anyway to haul the treasure out of here."

"That's very noble of you," said Bijoux, narrowing her eyes.

Before Ilmarė could respond, Sebastian asked, "whatever happened to Oriku?" [MORE]

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Wednesday, November 23

Well of Stars: Redli, Bertram, and Petey's Exit

Too much happens here, but suffice it to say it involves a dragon, a zombie, a dwarf, and a whole lot of snow.

Every sort of wildlife that Redli had killed crawled, slithered, climbed and bounced to life. Caribou, bears, wolves, and rodents of all kinds came skittering out of the trees and slopes, surging in a wave towards the two humans.

A beautiful, strong male voice sang out:
"The women are unsettled
As feathers in the wind,
Each moment changes their minds."

"Whit th' heel is 'at?" asked Redli.

"In tears, or even smiles,
Yes, women's lovely face,
Forever beguiles us!" sang Bertram.

Redli spun around, trying to pinpoint the sound.

"The men that is so mad
To trust a women's heart
Forever must be sad," sang Bertram.

"Noo i've seen it aw," said Redli. "A singin' zombie."

64,659 / 75,000
(86.2%)

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Tuesday, November 22

Well of Stars Update: Enter the Plague

Given that the plague has largely been raging around in the background, it's high time it showed up the old fashioned way...by affecting somebody we care about.

Farrim lifted one sleeve so that the bare arm beneath it was visible. Black spots dotted the length of his forearm.

"Sweet Sikkar," said Rebma. "You've contracted the plague."

"Shhh," said Farrim. She noticed the sweat on his forehead. "I don't want to panic the others."

They spun around the square. Rebma felt Farrim's hand go limp on her back. Then he collapsed to the ground.

"Farrim!" shouted Rebma.

The musicians stopped playing. Petey looked up.

Farrim fell backwards, arms splayed. The black sores were clearly marked along the length of his arms. Blood trickled from his nose.

Someone shouted "the plague!" Then chaos ensued as revelers scrambled away in horror, stumbling over each other to avoid Farrim.

62,087 / 75,000
(82.8%)

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Monday, November 21

Well of Stars Update: Deren and Rebma Have a "Moment"

Deren and Rebma finally get a chance to be alone.

"I'm not sure why you let the traitors go," said Rebma, staring at the trickle of horses exiting the city. "They'll only turn against you later."

"Maybe," said Deren. "I gave them a means of saving face. They can say they're spreading the word of my return."

"As opposed to running with their tails between their legs," said Rebma. Her expression softened with genuine concern. "You're too kindhearted."

"If that's the image I project, then I'm glad," said Deren with a smirk. "It is important I be seen as a benevolent ruler after my checkered past. And the best way to do that is to embrace my enemies."

"So you plan on giving the Darklord a hug?"

60,412 / 75,000
(80.5%)

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Well of Stars: Drakungheist Regroups

Deren lays down the law. He's finally a king now, so he has some matters to attend to. But before he leaves on another quest, he has to tell the assorted nobles how it's going to be.

"How will you get there?" asked a third noble. "The Frozen Wastes are miles…"

He trailed off. The sound of beating wings reached their ears. Something big was coming.

Petey stuck his head through the double doors. "SQUEAK?" bellowed the dragon.

The startled nobles nearly jumped out of their seats.

"That's how," said Deren.

59,809 / 75,000
(79.7%)

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Sunday, November 20

Well of Stars: OMG My Eyes Are Bleeding

I'm too exhausted to explain the details, but in a frenzy of writing, I caught up on my novel. I reached, in a frenzy of writing, the word count I should be at on November 20 of National Novel Writing Month. According to the NaNoWriMo site:
And now a request for the weekend: Mid-thirties, all around. Hit the 35,000-word mark in your book by Monday and you're absolutely golden. If you're way behind, fear not. Every year, thousands of writers go from being out of contention to caught up over the course of this weekend.
My eyes are bleeding and my fingers are claws, but God help me, I did it. I'd like to thank my loving wife, my collection of bad 80's rock, and my Tivo for keeping me sane throughout. Check out that word count baby!

59,310 / 75,000
(79.1%)

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All That Glitters - Part 5f: The Hidden Cave

"Faer ned I amar, im canam!"

A spider the size of a man landed on top of the second bear with all eight legs. It had bright red legs and mandibles and a reddish-yellow thorax. The spider sank its fangs, dripping with poison, into the beast.

Bijoux recoiled in horror. "What have you summoned? That thing…it has the taint of the infernal about it!"

"It's saving our lives," snarled Ilmarė. "Quiet, or you'll hurt its feelings." [MORE]

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Saturday, November 19

Well of Stars Update: The Story so Far

The men all gather round to bring each other up to date. And they leave Rebma out of it.

"You'll have fresh mounts and supplies," said Farrim. "I can get the men ready in an hour."

"Do you have any dead horses?" Rebma asked Parsippus. He was trying to ignore her, but it wasn't working.

"An hour? That's quick for a castle under siege…" Deren trailed off when Farrim pursed his lips. He understood what was happening.

"And a dead pony, for my servant?"

"What are you going to do with it?" asked Parsippus indignantly.

"Look," said Rebma. "I'm sure you're all upset about the undead armies and the plague and all that. And I sympathize, I really do. But I've almost been eaten, shot, stabbed, sacrificed, burned, and drowned. So it's going to go like this…you either get me a mount I can use, or you ARE THE MOUNT."

Parsippus blanched. "We'll have them ready."

50,566 / 75,000
(67.4%)

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Well of Stars Update: Mano a Elfo

Deren, Petey, Bertram, and Rebma to the rescue! Sort of.

Deren barreled towards the elf and launched into the air, catching him at the waist with a flying tackle. Telgis went down, hard.

"You dare to touch me?" The elf’s beautiful features were twisted in rage. Deren lifted a fist to punch him right in his pretty face.

But then he blurred and was gone.

Deren blinked. "What the—"

There was a CRACK! and Deren felt the world spin. Someone had kicked him in the stomach.

Deren rolled over, trying to catch his breath. "Fast," was all he could get out.

"That’s right, human. Faster than you’ll ever be. I’m no lumbering zombie." More lights exploded in Deren’s head as Telgis kicked him twice more.

Deren stumbled backwards, rising to his feet. "Kill you," he said.

"Really?" said Telgis, pretending to be deep in thought. "Not today."

He blurred again. Deren tried to focus, but the edges of his vision were beginning to darken. There were two sharp pains to his side, more blows from the elf. Something snapped, probably ribs.

Deren fell backwards. The ground was soft from being so close to the Long River. He felt grateful. Telgis shadow loomed over him.

"You’ve been quite enough of a nuisance," said Telgis. "I’m going to reanimate you as my court jester." He lifted a fist.

49,510 / 75,000
(66.0%)

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Friday, November 18

Well of Stars: Closing the Trap

Barish makes it into the Sturmgeld. But it's too easy.

"A bluff," said Barish. He downed his own drink, hard. "So he was in a rush. He wanted to end the siege quickly. And you didn't fall for it. But why let us into the city? With rationing, we can hold him off for months with these supplies."

Farrim took another swig and put his drink down. He peered into the depths of the mug, deep in thought.

Barish slammed his drink onto the table. "That's it!"

"What?"

"Telgis' troops need no supplies. They don't eat; they don't get tired. They don't need relief. There's only one thing Telgis needs more of."

Farrim slowly turned to meet Barish's gaze.

"People."

A small shockwave sloshed the contents of Farrim's mug. Then another. And another.

Something huge was coming their way.

48,150 / 75,000
(64.2%)

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Well of Stars Update: Telgis Gets Cocky

He's an elf. What did you expect?

Telgis watched the bombardment atop a horse that had stopped breathing a long time ago. It made for a smoother ride. The cannonfire was wreaking havoc on the convoy. The captain didn’t dare bring his men-at-arms out of the protective circle of the wagons, but his bowman couldn’t strike back. Human bows were no match for Dwarven ingenuity.

Of course, if it had been elves he were facing, that’d be a different story entirely. Telgis sighed. The good old days.

Telgis raised one arm and the firing stopped.

“Time to mop up.”

Telgis pointed to his left and right and then brought his hands together to point forward. His men dismounted and advanced against the wagon enclave.

45,512 / 75,000
(60.7%)

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