paulmundane

General and somewhat random story things

Archive for the category “Notes, Warnings, and All Apologies”

Blowing off the dust

Hey!

Wow, it’s been forever since I’ve been here, huh? Yeah. I’ve been out doing stuff. It’s been grand, but I haven’t been sharing, which was less grand I guess.

So, I owned a candy store for the last few years? Did I tell you all that was the plan? No, no I did not, because I am selfish with my personal information. I did though. It was called Candy Candy Candy (I can’t let you go). It’s past tense, because honestly I found that owning a shop wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I mean, it was fun, but it wasn’t, you know, the dream.

Which brings be back here. Writing is always my big goal. My dream within a dream. Retail owner kept me from that, which is funny, because originally I thought having my own business would actually give me more time to write.

Looking back on it, that was a silly thought. Whichever. I’m back now. And I’m going to go back to sharing. I’m going to be a bit more…whatever…in the sharing this time mind you. I found trying to write long stories online drove me into corners. So, now I’ll share whatever I’m doing. Short stories, ramblings, recipes, whatever. There’s no real plan.

And hey, that’s fine right? I mean, who needs structure? Not this guy.

 

Intermission

So, been sick for the last few days, hence no new chapters.  It’s not to say I wasn’t writing, I just wasn’t cleaning up for presentation.

Alright, I wasn’t writing as much as I should, to be completely honest.  In fact, I reaquainted myself with the Mass Effect franchise.  I WAS sick though, so I’m going to cling to that as an excuse.

What I did do while I was out though was reach my 50 000 word goal for November.  You know, Nanowrimo and all that.  Yeah, I know, you’re all like ‘Hey Paul, we can see your story here.  There’s no way Lovely Angel-Pocalypse is at 50 000 words.’

Unbelievers.  Let me tell you how I write.  See, what you see here on the blog is rough.  It’s really rough.  I’ve mentioned it before.

But that said?  It’s not the roughest my work can be.  I polish a bit before I post, you know, for you guys.  The rest of my writing is a series of out of context quotes, roughly laid out scenes that I may or may not use in the future, and conversations that I’ll likely shoehorn into the story later.  I have about 30 000 words of random unsorted garbage.

And that’s a good thing.  Most of it will get tossed, to be honest.  I’ll get to where I was going to use a scene or a conversation, and I’ll rewrite it.  Some of it will never even be reached, because I’m not as much of a story architect as some are, and my characters tend to drive the truck.  Sometimes they don’t drive where I planned for them, and sometimes stuff I thought would be cool just never happens.

Which is great by the way.  I like to have half an idea what my story is going to be, but I also like the surprises.

Speaking of which, I’ve already introduced three of my main characters, with some cameo from two others.  None of them acts the way I originally envisioned (which means in clean up, first few chapters will get complete makeovers).  This is the type of thing I like from my characters.  They reach a point where they exist outside of whatever caricature I originally based them on, and become people.  Then, as I said, I can hand them the keys and let them drive.

ANYways.  New chapter will be up later today, or tonight.

Thank you for your patience.

So.  Yeah.

I was going to continue my Pirates of Neverland as my Nanowrimo story for this year; which is to say I was going to cheat, and use some of my pre collected word count.  I justified this to myself pretty easily.

See, I own a business.  A candy store to be exact.  And we are about to have a giant huge awesome great sale that we’ve been planning for a long time now.  The planning part falls especially on the first bit of November, as we pull the last strings together.  So, knowing I wouldn’t get a chance to write for the first week, like, at all, I didn’t feel bad.

Well, not at first at least.  See, the thing about Nanowrimo is that it forces you to get work done on a deadline.  An insane deadline at that.  But that’s not all Nano offers.

See, the whole starting a new novel on the first day, and struggling to get it done by the last, forces a whole new way of thinking.  I like to come in blind to this, and make everything up on the fly.

That doesn’t work on Pirates Of Neverland btw, because I have that solidly pictured in my mind.  I needed new to pull this off, which is where Lovely Angel-Pocalypse comes in.

It’s a ridiculous concept as well, which I love right off the bat.  Chapter one is up already, and I’ll have a chapter or more up every day for a bit, as I catch up with my Nano word count.  The story catchphrase right now is:

Sometimes, when you depend on a group of fourteen year old girls in Japanese school uniforms to save the world, they fail.

That’s it.  A world in ruins because the heroes lost.  There’s a lot more to it of course, and I’m looking forward to hitting up several Anime tropes, but…well, you’ll see.

Anyways, that’s my once a year apology and explanation.

On with the show!

Dave-0: What did I think of Shadowrun?

Right, this is posted for a friend.  We used to game together when we were younger, and one of those games was Shadowrun.  Those who don’t know it, it’s a cyberpunk future RPG mixed with a healthy dosage of fantasy.

If William Gibson and J.R.R. Tolkien were drinking buddies, Shadowrun would be their drunken ‘oops’ child.

Anyways, Harebrained schemes recently released Shadowrun Returns: A turn based game set in familiar 2050, and the Shadowrun universe.  I bought it the moment I could, while Dave-0 waited on my opinion.  This is that opinion.

Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun returns is a turn based, tactical combat RPG.  It uses the isometric view familiar to nineties turn based RPGs.  Play-wise it reminded me of the first two Fallout games.  I guess Fallout Tactics too, but you know what I mean.

The game is deeply steeped in Shadowrun Lore; pandering heavily to old RPGers who remember the pen and paper.  It name drops quite often, and the streets are full of nods to the original stories.  That said, you don’t need to have even the faintest knowledge of Shadowrun to play.

In combat, your team has several options; most being shoot or move.  You begin with two action points, but can get more as you advance.  Moving a basic distance takes an action point.  firing a weapon, or stabbing a guy takes an action point.  Some spells take two, but most of them take an action point too.

Yes, there are spells, and there are mages.  Tolkien/Gibson.

Furthermore, combat doesn’t always take place in just one spot.  If you have one, a decker (type of computer hacker) can be running the matrix while your team is shooting it out.  They have their own actions in the matrix, and get two turns for every one of combat that goes on in the meat world.

This concept of running two ‘worlds’ at once was one of the major sales pitches, btw.  It’s a big deal for Shadowrun, because your decker’s action could influence the fights in the real world.

SO, WHAT DID I LIKE?

First off, I’m a sucker for Shadowrun.  You could maybe sell me a spreadsheet if you just called it Shadowrun: Excel.  I’m trying not to be biased, but damn do I love me some Shadowrun.

And to be honest, Harebrained did a fine job of this; story wise.

First off, as I mentioned, they name drop a lot.  Mecurial shows up.  The Universal Brotherhood are there.  Dunkelzahn gets mentioned several times.  The list goes on.  You even hang with two big names in Shadowrun Lore.  These boys did their research.

Combat is a major point of the game, and is handled well.  Most combat happens in cluttered areas, and the key to survival is finding cover.  A runner out in the open is a dead runner.  As your character builds up, they gain skill points that can improve their stats and skills.  They gain new feats with weapons of choice, and new tactical options open up.

The above mentioned skill, or Karma, system is an important addition.  Shadowrun was somewhat unique in its day (pen and paper that is) in that it didn’t have a level up system.  Instead, you gained karma for successes and failures, and could spend them directly into stats and skills.  This carried over to Shadowrun Returns very nicely.

The character stats use the stats from the Pen and Paper too.  That’s important to me.

Finally, and this was the big sale, the game is open to easy modding.  Already a community is forming, and writing adventures in the game.  I’m waiting for some industrious folks to transfer Queen Euphoria and Dreamchipper (some of the early SR adventures) over to the game.

WHAT DIDN’T I LIKE

This is nitpicking, but despite my love for the game, there were a few spots it came up short.

First off, and the most annoying, was the slot system for cyberware.  There is a stat in game called essence that measured how much ‘human’ you had left.  It was specifically created to keep characters from slamming two million random cybernetics into their meat.  It is still in Shadowrun Returns, but they also put in a slot system.  You can have one cyber in your head, in your eye, one for each arm, one for your torso, and one for each leg.

It was the torso that annoyed me the most.  See, if I have a Street Samurai; I want to jam him/her with dermal plating, wired reflexes, and probably some muscle replacement.  Now?  I can only have one.  Boo.

Also Harebrained, where are my cyber-spurs?  C’mon buddy.

The lack of access to other teammate’s skills outside of combat was a nuisance.  I came to a situation where I needed a door opened, and to do so I needed a computer skill of 1.  That’s right, I needed to be aware that computers existed, which my character wasn’t since he only understood shooting things.  I had a nova-hot decker in the team, but no option to have her open the door.  Wasn’t a thing she does I guess.

For as much as I liked the ability to move from meat to matrix, I found the matrix to be lacking.  Design wise, it was meh.  Worse, there wasn’t that many options to access it, or make it worth the time.  One mission, I could take control of some turrets in  a hall.  Another I could see from security cameras.  Those are really the only times I can think of that I found use of the matrix.  Both times were directly involved with the mission (as opposed to being optional actions)  The usefulness of the matrix could fluctuate with homemade missions, I suppose…

Also, where is the astral?  Maybe that will show up later.

Finally; and not a problem to me, but to maybe those not used to nineties games, there is a lot of reading segue (or segway, depending on your preferred mode of transportation).  You don’t often walk from spot to spot.  Instead, you have a page of text telling you why you’re off to the next stop while you ride in the taxi.  This was common to this style of game, btw, but for those used to ACTION!, this might be detrimental.

Actually, now that I think on it, if you’re so used to ACTION!, then why are you playing a turn based strategy?  Really, this might just not be for you.  Strike that last complaint.

SO…

Dave-0.  The game’s, like, twenty bucks.  Is it worth that?  Totally.

Even most of my complaints above had more to do with the adventure that came with.  It’s meant to be an open source, so judging on the story packaged with it is like judging a minis game on its starter pack.  Instead, recognize that the base rules are sound.

Still don’t like the cybernetic slot system though.  But that’s my opinion.

What’s the hold up?

Alright. Here’s what I got. I was working on The Outside, and I had a million ideas. Yay. Thing is? None of them had anything to do with The Outside. In short, I don’t think The Outside is what I want to write. Not right now at least. So, I’m declaring a skip week. A skip couple weeks in fact, as I sort my thoughts, and figure out what I want to be writing.

I do this often, by the way. I mean, if you’ve been reading for awhile, you know this. This is sorta how I brainstorm. I come up with an idea, and I run with it. Problem is? Sometimes I don’t run very far before I recognize that the idea isn’t working for me.

Anyways.

I know I said every Monday, but I can’t force it. Writing is not a force thing. I mean, it is in ways; you got to hit quota and you got to get behind the keys if you want to get anything done. I just can’t force a story I’m not feeling. So that’s that. I’ll see you all in about two weeks. I’ll figure out what story I want to tell by then.

Honest.

-Paul Mundane.

Decker Pause, and Other Things

Right.  Hello, and all that.

So, right now, on my computer box, I’m writing the third part of my Decker story.  Neat huh?

Problem being?  I don’t have a part two to share with you all.  I’m pretty much typing up the end, just after finishing the beggining as far as you, my readers, have seen.  I don’t have  a middle to share.  And I’ll be heck darned if I’m going to lose this ending I’m writing.

Soooo, Decker is on pause, from your point of view.  I’ll post it again when I get a mid bit for it.

Until then, I’ve got two things that I want to do.  The first is set a schedule for myself.  It’s one I’ve been following a bit already, but I figure I’ll set it in stone here.  I’ll be posting on Monday nights from now on.  A chapter a week, instead of the chapter a day or so I did with Tales from the Bucket.  It’s for the best, cause I really can’t get the words out these days as fast as I could before.

Two jobs and all that.

Second thing?  While Decker is on pause, I’m going to be revisiting The Outside.  I’ll be posting a story a week, at about three thousand words or so.  I have big plans for these tales, and a bit of nostalgia.  See, The Outside was the first piece I was working on online.

Oh, by the way, if you weren’t around for their first outing, I’m going to be fixing up and re posting the first two stories before I get to new ones.  There are a few tricks of the trade I’ve learnt since I originally shared The Outside, and they need some polish.  You’ll see.

First one goes up tonight.  It’s called The New Guy.

See you all then.

Paul Mundane

Passing time

So, hey.  I’ve been away from here a bit now, and you know, may be a bit more.  Did I tell you all that I opened a candy shop?  I did?  Whelp, that’s been time consuming, which is a good thing. 

I’ve also been working through a few little things and stuff, and I’ve let my writing slide.  I was doodling a bit, which is nice, but isn’t finishing a story.  There’s been a bit of writer’s block, and well, time makes fools of us all.

I’m not back yet, mind you; but I am back next week, with a new story idea.  It’ll be great, maybe.

Paul Mundane

Look at this drawing. That’s what I’m doing when I’m not writing. Or it is today at least.

Look at this drawing.  That's what I'm doing when I'm not writing.  Or it is today at least.

So, suffering some writer’s block for the last week. It’s not that I don’t know what to do with Cole and Jimmie, it’s just getting them from point A to point B. I’ll be able to push through in the next day or so.
Till then, I drew this today. Well, ok, I drew it yesterday, then scanned it, then re worked it in Inkscape today. I really like how it turned out.
This is Decker, by the way. One of my Champions Online characters. Yes, I do use female characters when I play MMOs. I use male ones too, but whatever.
Point being, turned out nice. I accidently formed a way of using the pen tool that I really like. I think I’ll try at free handing a new picture soon without drawing it on paper first. Saving trees…so, you know, Captain Planet and all that.

Brace Yourself…

So, new post coming soon.  Yes, I know it’s been a bit, but I’ve been a bit busy.

Did I mention that I’m opening a candy store in Kitchener?  I am!  It’s going well, and we’ll be open this weekend, which is wonderful.  That said, it’s been keeping me away from my writing, which is why you haven’t seen a new chapter in a bit.  I’m just fixing up some stuff writing wise now though, and will begin to post again by the end of this week.

After that, I’m looking to go back to my posting regularly.  This time (unlike with Tales From the Bucket) it will be every second day.  For those who were there for it, I posted for Bucket pretty much every day, save for near the end, where it became sketchy.  I’m hoping to avoid that hiccup this time, but figure doing a chapter every second day will be a bit less taxing.

I’m also going to be doing some editing on Tales From the Bucket during that time, and am hoping to get it published in the new year.  Fingers crossed.  I’m also doing some neccesary editing to my other book, The Amelia Academy, and want to put that to paperback in the next few months.

Pretty busy, in short, but not in a bad way.  Maybe it’s a bit early to say, but the new year is looking pretty good from here.

Paul Mundane.

The Delays and whatnot.

So, my new readers may have noticed a bit of a delay on my posts.   My older readers will just recognize this as a thing that happens.  Both deserve a bit of an explanation.

 

See, I’m opening a candy store in Kitchener.  Yes, that is a shameless plug, but also an explanation.  We’re at the last week of paint and struggle, and right now, there is only time for that.  It may hold me up till December, but then I’m back to Adventurers!.  I mention this to tell you, but also to remind me.

This will be the first Nanowrimo that I fail to beat since I learnt of them.  It’s not that bad a thing, cause I’ve learnt most of my skills at finishing from them, but it’s still a bit of a bummer.

As for all of you?  I have more written, but nothing that’s readable yet.  Just chunks.  Once I have the store open, I’ll give it a bit of a polish.  It’ll still be roughish, but there is a limit to how rough I’m willing to share.

Anyways, I’ll see all of you soon.  At least, I’ll see you reading my stuff, hopefully.

 

Paul Mundane

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