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Sunday, February 28

Paper & Pixels: Done

Tomorrow morning, the final draft of Paper & Pixels: The Evolution of Fantasy Gaming, goes out in the mail. It's been a two year, exhausting journey since I first came up with the idea for the book and we still have at least nine to fifteen months to go. But I'm glad to have made it this far!

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Saturday, February 27

This song is now stuck in my head

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Thursday, February 25

The Jaded Temple: Part 1 – Zombie Ninjas

Dark flashes of movement blurred out of the shadows. They were surrounded by men in black outfits wielding thin-bladed swords. They all wore peculiar masks over their faces, expressions of fanged beasts, jovial fat men, and weeping courtesans.

"So much for not setting off any traps," muttered Guppy.

"Oh great," said Caprice. "More ninjas."

The leader stepped forward and slowly drew the mask away from its face.

It revealed the head of a mummified corpse, its eyes empty and dry and its wrinkled mouth open in an eternal moan, with a long moustache gauzy with cobwebs.

"Worse," said Archive. "Zombie ninjas." more

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Wednesday, February 24

A Relative on the West Coast...Probably

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:12 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Tuesday, February 23

The Jaded Temple: Prologue

CHICAGO, IL-- The temple looked harmless enough. It was located at the edge of the area of the city known as Chicago’s “New Chinatown.” The building was constructed of wood and stone; most of the structure was obscured from view by a ten-foot-high stone wall encircling the grounds. A clump of small, leafy trees blocked the temple from casually prying eyes that looked through the single wrought-iron gate in the wall.

At night, the area just inside the perimeter wall was illuminated in spots, and human shadows could be seen moving inside the temple itself when a body passed before a lighted window. A lone guard patrolled the perimeter wall, his outline clearly discernible in the dim light. There were no other signs of movement outside the temple building.

Hammer lowered the nightvision binoculars he requisitioned in a hurry from the Chicago SWAT team. Sprague had ordered the raid so quickly on the supposed Tiger Transit headquarters that the agents weren't given much time to prepare.

"One guard, from the looks of it. Caprice, you still know your way around a rifle?"

Caprice leaned next to him on the roof of the building across the street from the temple. He grinned and patted the sniper rifle slung over his shoulder. "Sure, but won't that blow the place up?"

Hammer shook his head. "It shouldn't, not out here. We fired several rounds in a Fumo Loco greenhouse – blew out the glass first. So long as there's air circulating we were okay."

Guppy chimed in over the comm. "It's inside that you have to worry about."

"Uh…" Archive interrupted. "Where's Jim-Bean?"

Hammer looked through the binoculars again. "Son of a…"

A shadow that was undeniably Jim-Bean sauntered up to the gate. The soft glow of his lit cigarette marked his path.

"Looks like we are go," said Hammer. "Everybody move!" more

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Friday, February 19

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Presents Jack Chick's "Dark Dungeons"!

dd02a.jpg

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Thursday, February 18

Chapter 51: The Jaded Temple - Introduction

This story hour is from the "Chinatown: The Jaded Temple," in Dragon Magazine #62 by Jerry Epperson for Top Secret. You can read more about Delta Green at http://www.delta-green.com. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!

Our cast of characters includes:

There are a lot of gems hidden in archives of Dragon, back when a magazine was willing to fill its pages with a multi-page layout of an area that might – MIGHT – have something interesting in it. These were the days when vast pages would be taken up with scenarios that read more like blueprints, with no clear narrative path for the agents to follow. In this case, it's a temple that just happens to be hiding radioactive isotopes.

I knew that I wanted the agents to take on Tiger Transit's headquarters in full force, and that I would eventually need a layout for them to infiltrate. With the Portuguese translation of the Seventh Scroll of Hsan, the Focloro Verdadeiro, slipping through their fingers, the agents are rushed. There's no time for preparation – I threw them right into the next scenario. The twist is that the Tcho-Tchos are trafficking in Fumo Loco, which is highly flammable. That provided a fun twist: Sprague specifically prohibited firearms lest the whole place go up in flames.

This really perturbed Hammer, as I knew it would. But it also provided for some interesting twists. In the end, it comes down to Mok Bin Tau, leader of the White Shadows, and Jim-Bean, the increasingly erratic psychic abductee. We know this will end badly.

Defining Moment: Hammer gets fed up with not using his pistols.

more

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Saturday, February 13

Unit 23: Conclusion

Archive ticked off the items they had discovered: "…an African juju bag, a Hindu incense burner, a South American feather cloak, an ancient reading glass, a book on physics and sorcery by Sir Isaac Newton, a crystal ball, and a book on torture by Count Ferencz Nadasdy."

"Sounds like nighttime reading to me," said Jim-Bean.

"Were you firing…grenades into that warehouse?" Guppy asked.

Jim-Bean smiled. "Why should the ninjas and bikers have all the fun?"

Hammer, standing a bit apart from the other agents, was getting reamed out by Sprague over his cistron. After a few more grunts and nods, he hung up and marched back to his companions.

"Sprague's pissed, isn't he," said Caprice.

"You could say that. We lost all our police backup. No cops, no SWAT, and…" he looked specifically at Jim-Bean, "no Jericho Jets."

Jim-Bean snapped his fingers.

Hammer took a deep breath. "So it's up to us."

"Us?" asked Guppy. "Just us?" more

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Friday, February 12

Aliens Rap

This...this is a thing of beauty:

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Monday, February 8

Unit 23: Part 3 – The Thing in the Van

Archive, Hammer, and Jim-Bean stood uncertainly at the entryway to Unit 23, trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

Amidst the swirling smoke and occasional spurts of blood, black figures darted in and out. Hammer kept his pistols trained on the entrance, waiting to see what came coughing out of it. Archive stood beside him, muttering an incantation.

Jim-Bean wandered into the melee, firing grenades at random. more

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Saturday, February 6

Paper & Pixels: Done!

The final draft is complete at 90,000 words. A couple of more edits, a couple more interviews (if anyone else bothers to get back to me before the end of next week...yes that means you), and this sucker's done.

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Friday, February 5

Unit 23: Part 2 – Those Darn Ninjas

Caprice, pistol out, made his way through the smoke and the screaming towards the van. All around them, Satan's Sadist bikers engaged with White Shadows.

A throwing star whistled past Guppy's ear, skewering the big biker near the flipchart in the forehead. He foamed at the mouth and fell over.

"We've got to get out of here!" wailed Guppy.

"Chill." Caprice threw open the door. Milliard was slumped over the wheel.

Caprice unceremoniously dumped Milliard. There weren't any keys on the body.

Caprice shoved Guppy in ahead of him and jumped into the cab of the panel van.

"Can you hotwire it?" asked Caprice.

"S-sure!" said Guppy. He wiggled under the steering column.

There was a thump on the hood of the car, thin blade drawn for a strike. Caprice fired his pistol three times, instantly cracking the glass. The safety glass was a spider web of cracks, making it difficult to see anything.

"Almost there…" said Guppy.

A blade shrieked through the top of the cab, just missing Caprice's head. He pointed his pistol upwards and fired the remaining bullets in his Beretta.

Another thump and a body bounced off the hood.

"Got it!" The van hummed to life. more

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Thursday, February 4

10 Places You Can't Go in the World

Just in case you thought there were no mysteries left in the world. more

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Tuesday, February 2

Unit 23: Part 1 – Twenty Three

Snowdog and his Indian accountant stepped out of the limo in front of a warehouse.

"Are you sure this is the place?" Guppy asked nervously. It'd been awhile since he'd been out in the field. He had been running tech support from behind a desk, recognition from Majestic that he wasn't really up to the kind of stress demanded by a field op.

Located in Chicago's 23rd District, they stood before a disused warehouse amongst an entire wasteland of abandoned and run down industrial units. It was exactly what it is intended to be – a quiet makeshift spot away from traffic where illegitimate business could be conducted.

"Unit 23, 2323 E. Schiller Street," said Snowdog, actually Caprice in his street rapper persona. "Dis is it, yo."

Guppy nodded and, taking a deep breath, they sauntered their way into the warehouse. more

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