Some of my very first books were from the Choose Your Own Adventure series. If you are not familiar with these small children's books, they allow the reader to become the main character. Beyond that, the plot of the story changes based on decisions by the reader. There can be many possible endings - but they may only be discovered by the reader making choices.I've always preferred the high epic fantasy and hard science fiction genres. Piers Anthony was a favorite author of mine. Perhaps because the very first long novel I ever finished on my own (without the pressure of parents or teachers) was On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. From there it was on to Companions of Xanth and another world. While I've always been a slow reader, I find that my mind delivers vivid imagery, rich sounds,
and deep emotion from the works of fiction I read. While in college I learned about the 'suspension of disbelief' - and was made aware how low the hurdle for my 'suspension of disbelief' was set! I really, really got into whatever I was reading, or watching at the moment.
There was a time I recall asking how to write a book, a story, or a novel.From some arts and crafts store, or local educational supply store, my mother found a large poster about plot lines, character development, proper grammar and sentence structure. I liked the poster a lot - figured it was my ticket to being an author - then promptly hung it up inside my closet door with the other toys. Something in me loved the idea of writing - of exploring other worlds - perhaps even worlds I dreamed of inside, and longed to visit myself. But another part of me had a hard time sitting down to write...
That part of me is still very much alive. Recently I learned a good term to describe myself is 'dilettante'
. But the child-author is chipping away at walls time built, and is stirring up a desire in me to write. And he's doing it through a medium that is very special to me. The interactive fiction genre - the digital offshoot of the classic choose your own adventure book.
The truck barreled down the highway at a steady seventy three miles an hour. Certainly too fast for a few of the sleepy towns Denny passed through. Many of them were simply speed traps for the local and state police to fill their coffers. Every summer the beach traffic would fill these highways like water gushing down a rain spout. Denny was fine with a few tourists getting pulled over and fined, but it was a different story entirely when he had work to get done.
Behind the cab of his tractor a long bed loaded with crates of chickens was keeping pace. Trailing behind the soon to be deceased was a cloud of feathers and dust a mile long. Like all the hauls he did away from local farms, they trailed quite a lot of chicken feathers around the county along their route. There wasn't much of a wind today which meant the cloud Denny stirred up drifted off the road under it's own momentum and came to rest in the fields and houses all along the country highway. Often drivers would try to cut their wind resistance down by trailing close to Denny's bed. He always got a laugh out of frightened drivers who's face lit up bright read with a sudden pump of his brake lights.
When the men were done working, Tom surveyed the scene. A few birds with broken wings, or missing legs lay about the dusty floor in house Four. For whatever reason these birds were not worth the extra effort to run down or to toss into the crates on the back of the large truck. And there were usually always a few birds left behind like this. Tom collected them and took them up to a small old rabbit hutch near the back of the house. He or his father would slaughter, clean, and prepare them later for the freezer.
Tom did notice one thing as the men were filling the truck one last time. The birds. They were - aggressive. Over the years Tom had watched, oversaw, and helped load the trucks countless times. Usually the too fat to walk poultry would only exhibit enough energy to take a few steps away from a collector. Today - the birds were in rare form.
First things first, Tom knew he had to seal the hole in the chicken house. And that meant removing the dead deer carcass. He stood and shook his head clear from the waves of nausea that often accompanied his clean up of the dead chickens. But this time was different, this time there was something more powerful behind his cascading waves of vomit. Perhaps it was just remnants of the River last night washing over him one last time. But Tom thought that deer was a bad sign.
He walked to the shed and grabbed a length of chain, and a saw. If he wouldn't budge by force Tom would be forced to do a little surgery. Funny thing - growing up in a hunting family all his life - disemboweling and dismembering a deer never phased him. These rotting, stinking, bloated chickens were another matter altogether. He always hated cleaning the houses, and he usually ran from the house at least once to vomit. Why should today be any different? Closing the tool shed Tom took the long walk back along the crushed clamshells to the rear of the houses.
Walking past the out buildings, Tom passed the corpse bin where all the rotted chickens lay in layer after layer of rotting layer cake. Tom crossed the crushed shell driveway and headed to the tool shed. Glancing over his shoulder at the old house he felt a pang wash over his heart that was all too common. The sense that the old house was more neglected at times than the corpse bin. Certainly more neglected than the chicken houses themselves. But then - the houses earned their family a meager living. The old house was an endless source of frustration, mounting repair costs, and growing property taxation. In the end, Tom assumed, he wasn't as concerned about the house as he was for himself. He felt neglected. He felt under valued. He felt underappreciated. But none of that really mattered now, because he had a job to do.
The ear bud slipped into place, and soon after a wave of crashing cymbals and guitar riffs flooded Tom's ears. The squeal of Steve Tyler's alto crescendos always seemed to appeal to Tom more than almost any other musician. Aerosmith had been his one confidant on long days in the houses. When the heat was bearing down hard and the humidity wouldn't cease. It was the clever lyrics and bluesy bass guitar that carried his spirits back and forth from the dark endless corridor of the house to the stinking putrid mass steaming into mush at the corpse bin. Now with a full day of work ahead of him, and only half a day's worth of light, Tom was glad to have Steve and the crew with him.
Tom woke up later than usual and his Mom was already screaming up the stairs. Pulling on a pair of week-old jeans, and the t-shirt he wore drinking the night before he moved toward the door. On the way past his overly cluttered dresser Tom grabbed the ear buds hanging from his iPod and slipped the pair into his back pocket. His father never liked Tom listening to music while he worked, but it was the only think that Tom had found could keep his stomach from churning and breakfast down. It was the one thin layer between the reality of the situation, and the disgusting images that flashed through his mind. The music helped keep him calm and sane a little longer. Long enough anyway to finish the grizzly chore.
Today would be even worse thanks to Mark and Jett and the bottle of bourbon they filched from their dad's cabinet. Tom's friend Mark was the ring leader of their little crew, and more often than not the one to slip away from trouble when he saw it coming. That didn't stop Mark from pulling Tom and Jett into all sorts of misadventures that usually resulted in one or both boys having their hides tanned. Jett always got the worst of it, Tom was sure. His Dad was a raging drunk and a lightweight meth chef. He never cooked enough to get on the radar of big guns at the state level. But the local cops knew where to look if there was a string of meth heads breaking any store windows. Either way - when Jett's Dad brought the hammer down - you sure as hell didn't want to be the nail he was aiming for. And Jett was always the nail.
I've picked up a new toy! Well - technically I've had this one quite a while. But it took some time to read through, begin to understand, and to actually play. Then I said "the heck with that, I'm just gonna try it!" - And the result was Zombies of Sussex
, Chapter 1.About Mythic
Most Role-Playing Games operate under the principle that there are players and there is a Game Master who prepares an adventure, and "runs" players through that adventure. GM's put in a ton of time preparing.
Mythic requires no GM prep, adventures are meant to be played off the cuff. Mythic can be played entirely without a GM - with a small group of players - or completely alone as a Solo RPG. And that's what got me interested! Look for more Mythic story threads on the Realms of Adventures website. In the meantime, check out Word Mill Games' Mythic RPG
, GM Emulator
, and Variations PDFs.About Zombies of Sussex
Follow my personal journey as a (hopeful) survivor of the Zombie Apocalypse as it spreads across this Delmarvalous landscape. Beginning quite simply as a test of the Mythic RPG system, and RPGSolo.com Engine, I plan to run the story thread as long as it carries on being fun.You can chime in and help set the plot line! Check out the ongoing forum post surrounding Zombies of Sussex here at RPGSolo.com. You can answer the poll each week and let me know if it's worth another chapter, should have it's head smashed and buried, and any PLOT TWISTS you'd like to inject. Thanks for reading!UPDATE: Zombies of Sussex has been discontinued in favor of heading back into a story I started for NaNo WriMo 2012. Look for the introduction to Death's Shore here soon!
It has been quite some time since my last post. After considerable work on the Deeds scattered across Wurm, I decided to put the game aside for a bit. I was not making enough progress alone to enjoy the game play. And finding others to play with, in the same time zone, who were committed to gaming in Wurm - was almost an exercise in futility.
There are many good people playing Wurm. Lots of exciting and interesting deeds being developed. And some great coding happening by the development team. I look forward to poking my head in from time to time. But the pace of the game was much too slow in the long run... And it was a LONG run. Anyhow...
Now the sleeping giant awakes with some new adventures in mind. Life has thrown me several new adventures I look forward to taking on in the near future. The plots of many novels continue to thread out in my thoughts. Several new games have come to the fore and I'll explore those here as well. Finally, the gaming group I was fond of joining has splintered, but was supplemented (if not replaced) by a dynamic couple who's love of gaming is fueling lots of game exploration! More to come...
On the new Pristine server, I am known as the character Sheridan Washburn. Sheridan is a member of the Lakeview Deed which is a participating community in the Wurm Academy Alliance. Recently, I revealed my big, hairy, audacious plan to construct a 'Big Build' on the plot of land I cleared.
In Lakeview there is a large area leveled with plans for a House, Archer's Shop, Inn & Pub, Alchemist Lab, Priest's Gem Shop, and Winery.
Once the property is built, the plan is to host LIVE trivia game nights with real prizes (possibly Gold, Silver, Drake Armour, and of course other valuable items).
"So go forth as the finest men and women of the Jenn-Kellon School of Archery I have ever had the privileged to oversee." And with that six long years as an apprentice and student in the Academy ended! The graduation ceremony and speech were the icing on the cake, but all Aendi and his mates wanted to do now was cut loose and celebrate. They had spent the last several years of their lives in a rigid, unforgiving, concentrated, focused academy devoted to the art of archery. Everything from selecting the properly aged tree branch for shafts, to collecting feathers from the finest pheasants had been covered. They knew the ideal target regions on both large and small game - from hell hounds and fire spiders to passing deer and wild boar. Although their practice had been confined mainly to the walls of the academy - their aim was true, and their marks were sure to fall.