Wednesday, October 19, 2011

13 Nights of Halloween 2011: Night 1 The Blob (1988)

R.G. Male's Dark Corners has moved to a new home. Expect all of the old posts to be moved soon. Sorry for the inconvenience, please don't mind the dust.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

13 Nights of Hallowe'en 2011 Preview

Hello and welcome to the rundown of this year's 13 Nights of Hallowe'en. This year I decided on a single theme... remakes. Some people love to hate them, but I take them as they are. I will try not to talk too much about the originals if at all. I certainly won't compare them--I have somewhere else I want to do that when time permits a lengthier look. In a moment I will drop a link to the list of all thirteen movies. Hit your local video store, snail mail rental services or legal download service and watch along. If you felt like it you could start watching a night early and be in the know of some of the things I may hint at about the movies--plus you could watch whatever you wanted on Hallowe'en night.

The title for each night and sales links to are over at WraithStop™ as per usual, with the actual nights' posts appearing here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Disruption Break Now

I will not be posting again in September, while I work on some coding projects that need to get done. I will return in early October to preview the 13 Nights of Hallowe'en, and with some special news. Take care and see you all again then.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Down to the Intimate Adventures

I recently read a short article or micro-blog post about the scale of evil in fantasy role-playing game adventures and sessions. The question was asked why is everything on such a large scale? A necromancer raises an army of the undead, an entire world is threatened by the opening of a portal into a hellish world, and such grand and epic storylines. No one is going to say that these are bad plots or undesirable situations for players and Game Masters alike. However, where are the smaller plots? Where is the mad alchemist bleeding a unicorn for his magic projects? Where is the boy with some evil thing living in his cupboard? Where is the woman chained to an altar awaiting the sea monster to take her as a sacrifice to leave the village's fishing boats alone? Where are the myriad of small personal horrors and injustices waiting to be dealt with?

The answer is they are wherever you want to come up with them and slot them into your game. That is if you are into that sort of thing. Not everyone wants to start from scratch. Not everyone needs to be a world builder. These intimate sorts of plots should crop up different places. Game designers that want to should get on this need. They can always be used as one shots, convention scenarios, side-stories, and whenever a diversion from the usual is needed. They can certainly come in handy for gaming groups to try out a new game. They would give a taste of what it is like without a lot of pre-preparation and actual game time to run through them. They can also be expanded; part of some larger storyline; or from the same game and author who constructed them so, strung together to form a complete storyline. So, if you design and author games and you are reading this, go make with the tippy-tap and garner yourself a wider audience.

Mood: relaxed.
Music: P & V by Anthrax and Strange Encounter by Steel Prophet.
Anthrax: Volume 8
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Steel Prophet: Dark Hallucinations
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Make the Introductions, Josh

There are a number of benefits afforded to extended and long-term narratives. The benefit is felt more strongly in the written word than in movies as far as series tend to go, frequently because of a singular author. Of course moving from the page to the screen can pass on those benefits. I have discovered a really nice benefit while writing the posts for the On Dark Rhoads™ blog that I did not anticipate, as much as it makes sense. I can introduce concepts, characters, and any idea I might like to add into the narrative at any point, without getting straight to the point of why it is there. I can hint at its importance, or I can say nothing and just let it stand. Silence on the point can add its own mystique as well. Then I can come back to it when the time is right and the savvy readers will know they've seen it before and have the kind of aha moment that just wouldn't occur or be possible any other way.

This kind of foreshadowing is really appealing from this side of the process. It may not be quite so exciting for the reader, especially previous to the reveal. I just recently introduced a pretty important element to Josh's story in just such an offhand way. I'd like to think that it is mysterious too. People will read it and tell themselves that this simple, almost innocuously boring update has meaning that is not readily important, otherwise why is it there. The question then becomes can I, or any author in a similar situation, have superfluous posts? The answer must be yes. For starters, the idea of a red herring is reliant on giving information that is not actually important, at least to the true advancement of the story's main conflict, and to the characters beyond the time that it has proven false. By the way, the revelation was that Josh does vote for the hidden-evil political party.

Mood: dramatic.
Music: Street Justice by Twisted Sister and Top Jimmy by Van Halen.

Twisted Sister: Stay Hungry (25th Anniversary Edition)
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Van Halen: 1984
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unnatural Understandings and the Disparate Minds

When you have a setting with ghosts, poltergeists, and other paranormal goings-on in that vein, the next logical addition to the setting is people who investigate and or deal with such manifestations of the supernatural. There are essentially two types of groups who undertake these endeavours, though there is always the potential for overlap. There are those that take a scientific approach and those that take the metapsychical approach. Beyond, or aside, from the overlap of these two methodologies, is the conflict between the two, which can be further complicated by the deniers and debunkers of both. This of course ends with a messy four-way conflict, but therein lays some fun of its own.

Since you are beginning with a reality base that includes the paranormal as witness-able fact there should be at least the beginning of a scientific basis for understanding it, even if the real hard science answers will not be found for many years to come. The science need not be clear, or widely accepted, or even very useful, but it should be there. Where there is a need for understanding, there will be people to pursue it. They will come up with answers that work for them, eventually. The same can actually be said of the metaphysical adherents too, they will find answers in the fashion that suits them. Since this is a fictional setting they can be just as correct and valid as the science-types, and often will be far ahead of the curve because they simply embrace the rules they see rather than trying to understand them at a level beyond utility. They also do not necessarily seek a rationale or explanation.

Most of the scientific types will have commonly held beliefs about how the paranormal works. There can be some dissension, even some where groups have wildly divergent theories, but I would guess it is minimal. That said it is minimal in comparison to the myriad of occult system beliefs. There is no feeling of consensus behind these groups because they do not believe so firmly that there is only one reality. As soon as they witness the success of a group with a different belief they must admit there is more than one approach, which is unless they fall into the same category as the debunkers. Even though the metaphysic groups can see more than one method they too can believe their way is superior, or more morally true, or what have you that causes from polite disagreements up to vicious rivalries amongst them.

Mood: expressive.
Music: Satellite 15...The Final Frontier by Iron Maiden and Not A Dry Eye In The House by Meat Loaf.

Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier
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Meat Loaf: Welcome to the Neighborhood
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

They Need Your Vote, Josh

If you're new to this blog, or just to this particular topic I am writing a blog called On Dark Rhoads™. It is the fictional account of Joshua Rhoads and the haunting of his house. It is more than that though. One aspect of the fictional world Joshua lives in is a fictional political party running the country. Another aspect to consider is Joshua is psychic and does not know it yet. Now, this is what I'm dealing with...

Another decision point has come up in the Joshua's journey. I essentially have to make the decision before the fork in the road appears. Some interesting links have been brought to my attention that afforded some new tweaks to the still forming setting. Some of them have come up in TechStop™ and others may make their way into there. They are not a part of the horror, but at the same time they do add to it and certainly many of them are not nice for people like Joshua. There is nothing to stop me from doing one thing in Joshua's stories and another in the game, but I would like to have that cohesion. So here is the decision to be made. There is the aforementioned political party with sinister intentions. Is it more compelling for Joshua to be aligned with them and learn of the dark side and reject it or to be opposed to them in the first place?

It may be something of a cliché to be party to the party and then learn the error of his ways. They can only be visibly sinister to a small degree or otherwise they would not have the power and influence that they do. At the same time I do not believe there is some dark core pulling the strings but that it is more a matter of an overall dark outlook. Furthermore I intend for them to be the way they are for the good of others. It's not an intentional malevolence and they are not aware of the amount of harm they are creating or the hatred they foster. It's not about any particularly bigotry either--except for political party opposition bigotry where one party despises the other so thoroughly and thoughtlessly--at least not initially until events of other natures start them down that path. It is not a matter then for Joshua to just be readily aware of their malevolence.

At the same time this party is hard line on a number of subjects, which draws a certain amount of ire from different factions, and a general disgruntlement from people who align themselves with the other parties. The drama is a little less starting on the side of right and removes added dimensions such as guilt over Joshua's former affiliations, and anger at first having indirectly been duped and then becoming victim to their burgeoning malice. There is nothing to stop Joshua's affiliation with the opposition party from having its own turmoil, including the party siding with the malevolent one on the topic of people like Joshua. Here what seemed right is no better, but has the option of it being possible to sway their opinion to a more moderate stance and embrace the approaching sea change for everyone's benefit.

Mood: harried.
Music: Trumpets Of Jericho by Bruce Dickinson and Death on Two Legs by Queen.

Bruce Dickinson: The Chemical Wedding
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Queen: A Night at the Opera
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