D&D- The Lost Laboratory of Kwalish

character art by one of my players, Yazzart

Our D&D game continues. I’ve woven the official adventure The Lost Laboratory of Kwalish into the next arc, which has them retracing a historical expedition into the Barrier Peaks. I’ve modified the story to fit with the existing world, and that has resulted in some interesting shenanigans.

Last session, the group were exploring an area despite rumours of some sort of creature that can turn you to glass if you look at it. The group proceeded blindfolded, relying on the verbal guidance of Gearbox, a little drone that is along with them. Of course, they got attacked by an Ooze during their travels- which they had to then fight blind, with only the high-pitched terrified voice of Gearbox going “No, no it’s over there! On your left!” It was really quite entertaining.

Civilization Battle Royale Novel complete, asides from final editing pass.

Whoa. The entirety of the book, all 146,000 words of it, is now available on the site for free and always will be.

This update also contains the acknowledgements section, just as a way of thanking the many people without whom this book would not have been possible. It’s been an incredible journey writing this.

A quick reminder of our road map from here: I plan on doing a proof-read of the book from start to finish, along with consistency editing (hoverbike, hover bike or hover-bike?) to give the text that final layer of polish. I have been doing some of that as we have been going, but taking a step back and going from the top down is always important. As part of this final polish, I also plan on adding a set of small illustrated banners into chapter title pages, indicating what approximate era we are in.

It’s been one hell of a ride, and I think I’ve become a better writer somewhere along the journey. Until next time, seeya!

Elevator Hijinks

My partner and I got trapped in an elevator at a Dutch train station. A glass one stopped halfway between two levels, leaving us with a rather tense hour as four fire fighters, two police officers and three engineers tried to free us. The thing was 85 feet up and kept shaking, with the lights flickering. They were eventually able to slowly lower it to the bottom and get the doors open, but it was rather traumatic. We missed our flight home as well, though the airline was kind enough to reschedule us on another flight for free. Glad to be home!

Civilization Battle Royale Concludes

Hi there folks. After three years, the Civilization Battle Royale Mk II, the game upon which the novel is based, has concluded. It’s been one hell of a journey, with the game almost being lost a couple of times to crashes. At one point the organisers had to reconstruct the entire game by hand, tile by tile, unit by unit in a fresh save. But after trials and tribulations, high times and low, the game has finally concluded.

The novel too is not far from completion now, seeing as it rapidly caught up with the game during hiatuses. Based on the content I have yet to adapt, I estimate that the final chapter of the novel will go out in February of 2019.

It won’t truly be the end, as I am planning on doing a comprehensive edit and polish of the book as a whole after that date. Additionally, the team behind the revived incarnation of the game will be running fresh incarnations of the format under the name CBRX.

I’d like to thank everyone involved- Tpangolin and the BluCassette team, as well as the myriad of artists, narrators and the community who built such a wonderful project.

Review: Clariel: the Lost Abhorsen

Thought I’d jump in this evening with another review. Tonight’s book is Clariel by esteemed fantasy author Garth Nix. A little background- this is a prequel to The Old Kingdom series, which Nix wrote the central trilogy for back in the 90s and 2000s. As one who was extremely taken with the core books of The Old Kingdom back at the time, it was fun to go back and revisit the series like this, particularly with a relatively obscure character from the series’ lore.

Clariel is a girl born into an influential bloodline, with relations in both the royalty and the Abhorsens- those who keep the dead down. As a naturally reclusive girl, she desires nothing more than to flee the capital and live alone in the forest, but events forever conspire to keep her deep in the city where powerful entities maneouver her like a chess piece. Of course, a person can only be manipulated for so long before they snap.

The book makes for a thrilling read, particularly the final act. Expect thick politics, magic, and of course spirits from beyond this realm of reality- it is an The Old Kingdom book after all. The audiobook for this one was rather good as well, with Graeme Malcolm reading.

100 Chapters of Civilization Battle Royale

Hi there folks. Good lord, I can’t believe we hit 100 chapters- but this October it will have been two years since I began my endeavour, releasing one chapter a week to adapt the entirety of the Civilization Battle Royale. Well, here we are- and 100 chapters in we are rapidly approaching the endgame. In The Thin Green Line, Forces are mobilising for what will be the final war of this epic game. I estimate we have another 20 chapters of content remaining, give or take a few for wrapping up, so I can say with some certainty that the book will be complete in the first few months of 2019, perhaps around February.

Dungeons & Dragons continues- at the moment the players have worked out that an evil organisation is hunting one of them- but they could be after one of two players, so it’s all resulting in delightful paranoia. The two of them have escaped the wreckage of the Prophet I, but it seems their problems are only just beginning.

In other news, I’ll be starting my first actual lectures at the university soon, which I am looking forward to delivering. It includes a unit that centres on tabletop games, including D&D– which is literally perfect.

Until next time!

The Rings of Pelagius

Hi folks.

I ran a wonderful Dungeons & Dragons session last night, one I had put considerable planning into as the culmination of the party’s recent quest. Continuing on our sci-fi adventure, the party had been searching for a lost science ship known as the Prophet I, last seen in the rings of Pelagius, a vast blood red gas giant in an unclaimed region of space. Our players began having strange dreams and headaches as soon as they arrived in the system, but they were able to complete the side-quest on a nearby moon to fire up a relay tower with which to locate the craft.

Last night they found and boarded it, only to discover that the interior was immaculate, warm food left out on the tables, the television in the corner playing some old comedy movie… The party were incredibly suspicious of course, and determined that the two spacesuits in the corner were not only enchanted, but had something inside. After going right up to the glass case they were in, their cleric had the smart idea of using the spell command on the enchanted suits, with the order to reveal, and I read out the following text:

You cast the command, and the space suit on the right begins to turn. Its body creaks as it faces you, one hand reaching up to the golden visor that obscures its face. As it pulls back the visor, you see the emaciated corpse within- and suddenly everything changes. The lights go out, and you see how the room truly is; a horrifying husk of a living space. Most of the furniture is broken, the floor littered with blood and rotting debris. Messages have been scrawled over the walls in haphazard, jagged letters. “I must pour it out of my head”, “This is the dream”, and much more illegible mess. There is a shrine against one wall, a painting of the planet and rings in blood and some other dark liquid, maybe engine grease. Below is the message “Praise the red god”, the letters irregular and smeared. Turning back, you see the second space suit suddenly jerk into motion- and both begin to step towards you.

They were then trapped for several quite nasty fights. In time, they discovered that something about the planet itself was off; it corrupted the minds of those who tarried near it for too long. Alas, the poor crew of the Prophet I had been there a very long time. They were able to rescue the lone survivor in the cargo hold, who had sealed themselves in there and constructed magical barriers to keep the madness at bay- and then they got the hell out of there. As they flew away, they spotted the frozen body of a lone crewman who had thrown himself out of the airlock years prior- even in death, his body bowed in prayer to the red planet.

It was a great session, and one I very much enjoyed running. They were highly unnerved by each new horror as they progressed further into the ship. D&D has been on my mind a lot recently, as I will be running a unit with the university focused around tabletop gaming.

In unrelated news, the Civilization Battle Royale is approaching its 100th chapter. I’ll make a post about it in mid September when that comes to pass. I have also added a bar for it with the other novels, as its now over three quarters of the way to completion. Till next time!

Solent & Sci-fi

A new job is on the horizon for me! Starting in the new academic year, I am moving on from my video game desing teaching role at the college to lecture at Southampton Solent University! I am really looking forward to the new changes and opportunities over there. The university has some truly amazing facilities for video games- and I’m already working out lectures for the game art students over there.

The Civilization Battle Royale Novel hit 120,000 words this week with its 92nd chapter. The novel is a little over two thirds of the way to completion judging by the progress of the game over on Reddit, which is itself close to finishing.

On the side, I’ve also been running a new D&D campaign for my close friends, using some custom rules and homebrew content to develop a science fiction setting. The first puzzle of the campaign involved them having to stop their capsule from spinning chaotically as they entered the atmosphere of another planet. The control panels of course had no markings on them, the labels having long since rubbed off- but they did adjust the pitch, roll and yaw of the craft. It proved for some entertaining if panicked experimentation on their part, but they did land successfully.

The Missing Few Trailer, and more CBR

Hi there folks. The wheel of time turns, and I can’t believe it’s March already. A few little tidbits to share with you guys; check out the latest trailer for The Missing Few, a video game project I have been working on for the last two years as a technical artist. I just uploaded the 72nd (!) chapter of the Civilization Battle Royale novel. With this latest installment, the book is now over a hundred thousand words in length and drawing into its final phase, as great futuristic empires battle it out for global dominance.