Friday 30 September 2016

On villains

Nazis are, if pop culture is to be believed, the bad guys it's OK to mow down in droves.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Tuesday 27 September 2016

The myth of the virtuous gamer

One of the bigger game forums has rules about hate groups. If you're a nazi or neo-nazi, you advocate for nazi or neo-nazi causes, or you play devil's advocate, you're banned forever. It's obvious, sensible. I approve of that.

Sunday 25 September 2016


41 is a prime number, a twin prime with 43.

The last symphony of the forty that Mozart wrote is number 41.

That seems right.

Saturday 24 September 2016

Inner Worlds, appendix: "Nothing about this hobby is OK"

I can say this is not OK because I developed it and so it's my fault.
So all of the Inner Worlds posts of the last couple weeks have inspired dialogue to some extent. On a Facebook thread discussing the most recent one, a game writer who is better known than me said this:
Be sure to let me know if you find a way to pursue this path of analysis without reaching the conclusion "nothing about this hobby is OK."

Friday 23 September 2016


In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.
Blake, London

I remember being in a panel debate about religion a few years back.

Thursday 22 September 2016

For Frank #3

More album reviews, continued from yesterday. Another old album by an established artist, and some new things.

I went back and embedded some songs in yesterday's entry, by the way, because that's helpful.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

For Frank #2

This month's album reviews include two old albums by established artists, and a bevy of stuff from Bandcamp (you know about Bandcamp, right? I'm sort of obsessed with it right now), CD-R label Reverb Worship, and stuff from the back catalogue. This is part one of two.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Inner Worlds #5: Just Sex

(Everso mild TW for discussion of consent and associated issues.)

So yeah. The heart is a dangerous thing. Being in love is powerful; it remakes you, transforms you, for good and ill. I mean, I could talk about how it changes your chemistry, how having loved and lost brings irreversible changes to a person. It defines us. It is where we come from.

Monday 19 September 2016

About standards, about genre

Good, but not game changers. 
I am so very, very ambivalent about genre writing.

Sunday 18 September 2016

The advice of a responsible parent to their child on issues of conflict resolution

(Sometimes we get the opportunity to share with our children our beliefs on peacemaking and diplomacy. We sometimes rise to those opportunities, magnificently. Aaaaand sometimes... sometimes we don't.)

Saturday 17 September 2016

In Music #2: Musical Russian Roulette

When I wrote this, in 2012, I had been Artist in Residence at Swansea University for about a month, and I was in the middle of preparing to stage and perform my first performance show. 2012 was my annus mirabilis, and was all the better because I had recognised it as such while it was happening, and was able to enjoy it while it happened.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I had spent a year not listening to music, and when I reconnected with music, thanks to an mp3 player that my friend Emily had given me, I found that something had changed. I'd decided to shove the whole contents of my mp3 library onto it, and put it onto shuffle for a month, just to see what came out, what moved me. This is the account of one day in October 2012, during my rediscovery of music. 

Friday 16 September 2016

In Music #1: Miss Angie

I just pulled them out, and thought, "I wonder if I still have the stickers," and I do! This was quite exciting.
(I thought it might be fun to resurrect some of my music writing. A lot of what I've written in the last few years has been about music I love... but some, some has instead focussed on touchstones for my life that have affected me in other ways. This is the first.)

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Aeneid IV, lines 1-23: "Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae"

This is a work in progress, OK? OK.
(I've been reading Aeneid IV in Latin without the aid of a translation. So I thought I should do my own.)

A blessing of dismissal.

Go without knowing the destination or the direction;
Go without water or food or the net to catch you, should you fall;
Go blind but seeing only the hope that you will find;
Go and have the faith to carry the ones who love you,
Go without a thought of onward,

Monday 12 September 2016

Inner Worlds #4: In My Power

Mia Sara in Legend, when she gets turned evil (but only for a bit).
Today, my series about the mind and the heart in role-playing games moves outside of things that reflect the real world and into the realm of that sci-fi/fantasy/horror staple: mind control. Some of this I wrote before, in the mail list discussion that made me write these essays in the first place.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Colin Firth Was In Love With You

Last night, you were the heroine in an historical romance,
And Colin Firth was in love with you
Only he was dying, and he was too uptight
To declare his passion until it was time
For him to be carried to his deathbed.
You told me afterwards, though,
As we walked from a fairground to a locker room
Where we were going to put our things
(We were younger, student age I think)
That you had fallen in love with a girl,
And you would not tell me her name.
It was clear to me that your lover had made you unhappy.
I for my part did very little, only waited impatiently
For you to choose a locker in which to put your things
So that I might put my things in the locker next to yours.

Friday 9 September 2016

Inner Worlds #3: Mind and Body

sian: now 20% less empathic.
So this week I've been dealing with how you model the inner life of a character in a role-playing game, and I've talked about issues of right and wrong and come to no conclusion whatsoever, and I've talked about social interactions and how they get complex, with slightly more conclusion, and now it's time for mental health and trauma.

Thursday 8 September 2016

Inner Worlds #2: Rights and Wrongs

From my first edition Player's Handbook.
So in Dungeons & Dragons, there has always been this thing that annoys a lot of people –

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Inner Worlds #1: Connections and Consequences

The skills list.
I decided that I'd talk about game design. Specifically, about the design of language, thought, morality, social interaction. This is the first of a short series.

"Haven't you got a mid-life crisis to be getting on with?"

There wasn't a post here yesterday. Yeah, there wasn't one on Saturday either, my first unannounced absence since like July, but then I was best man at another wedding (like buses, you go eighteen years and then two come along at once). Yesterday though, I got my tattoo.

Sunday 4 September 2016

Driftwood Cross

Hanging here in ugliness, battered artless asymmetry
Washed up, ruined, stained and wreathed in frayed forgotten ropes,
Salvaged, lifted, turned from side to side, examined,
Lashed together loosely, holding fast, an invitation.

Come: rest among these anything-but-casual components,
Come rest among these common things,
The recognition of suffering, the joining of discarded parts,
Battered in the waters, given stillness.

Made whole in rebirth in this narrative of life,
Forgotten, discarded and abandoned to destruction;
Remade, rebuilt, regiven life, regiven beauty.

Friday 2 September 2016

Moyra, Trader of Qeraf

Backers of Chariot will be glad to know that Cosmic Memory is finally on its way. This is one of my favourites from Malcolm's collection of supporting characters. It has a delicacy, a poetry to it. It felt right.