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Getting rid of WordPress drafts

It might seem silly to post this now or at all, but I did write it, and it was going to be Edelweiss’s first encounter. Today, I just don’t seem to feel like doing anything. I need to write another thousand words, but my mood went sour, so I don’t want to push it. There’s still time left in the day, and it’s the weekend.

//

One of the quietest advances made in the field of organic robotics was the “sleep” function. Even non-organic devices needed to be shut off as part of routine maintenance. But the dolls and butlers of the world had human shapes and faces. Their sleep functions allowed them to dream.

Edelweiss, named after the flower, stirred in her sleep. Her gears clicked quietly, steam hissing gently through her veins. Purists claimed the system was a minute mockery, while others lauded it as a miracle of technology. Edelweiss thought of it only when it required repairs.

Her dreams were more florid than they might have been. After all, she was a masterpiece of aesthetic, the solid dream of a mad poet with a spanner. Her eyes were perfect glass spheres, hand-painted to imitate the real thing while bragging to surpass it. Her hair, made of copper beaten to a softness not meant for metal, kept its shape whatever she endured.

Images of fire ripped through her clicking, whirring mind. Shouts turned to screams.

She sat up as though spring-released. The sounds of battle were no deep imagining. John’s side of the bed was empty. He must have said something to her to make her go on sleeping.

Cursing the parameters she could not consistently control, she rolled out of the bed, and improvised a tunic from one of the sheets.

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Headaches impair brain function

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of headaches. I’m pretty sure this one is my own fault, though. I stayed up too late.

It makes it hard to be jazzed about anything, for a start. Yesterday was a nice Christmas. We got to do everything we wanted to do–at least in a broad spectrum–and everyone liked their gifts. I know that people tend to, but we focused on giving things that would be appreciated, consumed, and/or used.

I forgot to take any of the homemade chocolate, and that category was where Appa’s entire present lay. He didn’t mind, but I felt bad. I’ll have to go visit him when I don’t feel like my head is a chunk of clay trying to stay attached to a toothpick.

We got the most eclectic collection of Harry Potter movies, which made me laugh. We didn’t have any, and now we have the fourth, fifth, and eighth ones.

I would really like to sit down and write the next encounter, or get more than a hiccuping start on Chapter 10, but it’s so much more difficult with a headache. My tablet is actually encouraging more typos than usual.

Next PaPW encounters:

Arete and Surinder go into Lady Magna’s mansion, hear out the proposal–which Surinder will have to explain forgetting–and then they refuse, fight their way to a standstill, and try to use force to keep Lady Magna from coming after either of them.

Candle goes to meet with his lady lover, and realises how deep in it he is when she lays out terms. If I have time, his other lover may show up.

Anson tries to convince Edelweiss to submit to an examination, and invites her to join the women and men under his care.

//

I still need to work on Chapter 10. It’s not an easy chapter–more dialogue-driven exposition from a character that I’m not always confident in. I have a couple of ideas for ITWYM, but I have to scrap one of them, and I have to replay the first few hours of one of the other games to refresh my memory.

Is it spreading myself too thin if no one is interested in any of the projects? I thought that it meant I just had a lot of things I wrote for myself.

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Jess and Aphrodite encounter details

I’m going to have to come up with a new naming system for encounter detail posts.

This one changed a lot in the writing, and I definitely blame the fact that I didn’t feel like writing it. It’s not a bad one, and it was made easier by the fact that instead of making notes on dice rolls, I just wrote my details post alongside the actual encounter. It also had very few rolls, and much more thought.

The first check could have been Jess’s Intimidate skill to browbeat Aphrodite into going to the Watch, but that isn’t the way she rolls. [/pun]

But Aphrodite is a cunning little minx, and not anywhere near the straight and narrow. She tried to charm Jess into forgetting about the incident and following Aphrodite’s pace. At first I thought I would have her roll against Jess’s stats, but after I took a look at the numbers, that didn’t seem plausible.

First of all, there would have to be an opposing stat, and the only thing that could have fit contextually would have had no chance against Aphrodite’s dice pool.

So I decided to just make certain rolls Difficult or Easy. This one to start with. Aphrodite rolled a Difficult Charm 3 + Presence 2. 4 successes on white, 0 black.

Interesting, since I had not initially intended to give her a chance to roll that option. I’d meant for things to go against her wishes.

I know where I want these two to end up, but that doesn’t mean the dice would fall that way. At this point, Aphrodite wanted to shake her off, but she is a little dazzled by the idea of having been rescued. Jess is noble and still wants to see this through, but she isn’t personally attached.

In fact, at this point, I decided to trade out her Paranoia Complication for Stubborn, because it fits her character better. No change in stats, just responding to how I’ve been writing her.

Anyway, for someone else, I would have gone with a Charm roll, but not only does Jess not have any points in that skill, but her approach here was different than a Charming character’s. She’s being kind, reasonable. Playing to emotions that are already there instead of trying to manipulate certain emotions into being.

Empathy 2 + Presence 2 = Pool 4. 4 successes, all of them on sixes. But Aphrodite is cynical. She has to make a Perception check to realise that Jess’s behaviour is sincere, if a little detached. An Easy 5 + Perception 2 + Wits 2. Easy because Jess is not all that hard to read. 2 successes.

I could feel the scene start to play out much more quickly than most of the encounters have done, but that was fine. This scene never really had to accomplish much, and I was trying something a little new–an NPC with a full character sheet.

One last roll for Aphrodite to convince Jess to come inside and have a cup of tea. Etiquette 2 + Wits 2. 1 success. So she’s polite, but apparently too flustered to show off her full repertoire of learned manners.

So, it concluded differently than I expected, and covered less ground, but it made me realise that the other things I wanted to write with these characters need to have a bit more setup.

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PaPW – Gratitude?

It hadn’t taken long to learn that this young woman was significantly younger than Jess herself. Besides being petite, which oughtn’t to have been an indication, she was stubborn as a child.

“The Watch can’t do nothin’,” she insisted, all but stomping her foot. “Can’t and won’t. I’m not big ‘nough to have a payroll.” She spat on the ground. “Not that they’d be on it if I did.”

They had left the men far behind them, and her earlier fear seemed almost entirely forgotten. Jess held the girl by the shoulders and fixed her with a stare that her grandmother had said could soften rock. “Those men hurt you. Someone will have to do something.”

“You already did.”

“Yes. Well. I’m not enough.”

“Oh, I think you’re more than enough.” The girl relaxed in Jess’s grip as though it were the most natural place in the world to be.

Jess let go with a sigh. Children were exactly like this. “At least tell me your name.” She could file a report with the Watch on her own. Even if it wasn’t likely to make an impact without the victim there with her.

“Aphrodite Cloudburst. And what’s your name, hero?”

The smile was infectious to the point of toxicity.  Jess released her grip, trying to keep from smiling back. “Jessaminica. Listen, if you won’t go to the Watch, will you at least let me take you home?”

For a moment, Aphrodite looked taken aback. “Huh. I guess I was right about the hero thing.” She furrowed her brow, then broke out in a smile that was unlike the others. It was less sparkly. More genuine. “I live on Dire Street. In the pleasure quarter. Big house, lots of windows.”

As she led the way, she went on talking. About the weather, her hair, how expensive it was to live anywhere. Everything but what had happened in the abandoned house. Jess gritted her teeth and focused on following her and keeping anything else from happening. Perhaps part of Aphrodite’s blasé attitude was due to having faced many similar incidents.

The idea of the pleasure quarter did not escape Jess. It did not exist among the tribes, but she had to admit that they had no need for it. Sex was treated with respect, but had very few rules. According to what her mother had told her, the higher up one went, the more repressed men and women became. She almost found herself asking how the business fared under such conditions.

They reached a large house with many windows, and Jess nearly laughed. It had seemed such an absurd thing to say.

Aphrodite put a hand on the knob, then paused. “Would you… That is, I feel I owe you a cup of tea. We should have biscuits.”

Her pitch never rose, but Jess could hear the question. She chewed the corner of her bottom lip. The men had to have cleared out by that time, and she wouldn’t get anywhere with the Watch on her own. True, it was clear what Aphrodite’s career was, but that didn’t seem like sufficient reason for two men to accost her with such single-minded hostility. They were too efficient for it to be random, or small.

“I would love to.”

She followed the girl inside.

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Edelweiss, Candle, and Anson encounter details

I really want to fuzz over this one and make it as brief as possible. This is unlikely to happen, as not only is the encounter quite long, the dice rolls and game decisions, and all the other behind the scenes stuff is kind of complicated.

Some background information on how and where I wrote this:

I’ve mentioned on my blog before that my regular keyboard experienced battery death. This forced me to find another bit of hardware to write with. My Alphasmart had several drawbacks, the final of which kept me from writing for days. Sometimes I just don’t want to use a particular device I own. I blogged about this before, and it’s kind of boring.

The real point is that using the Alphasmart meant that I could keep two files on the same machine and flip between them. One for the encounter, and the other for the dice rolls I had to keep track of.

Things didn’t start to get really complicated until I got up today, finally transferred all of my text to my PC, and got into writing the rest.

First dice roll was for Edelweiss, a Perception 2 + Wits 2 check to anticipate the arm, which I made Difficult because the room was smoky and she wasn’t paying attention. 1 success each on black and white, which comes out to 0.

After she won a Strength check to push him away, combat began. Neither had a ready weapon, so they each had -3 to Initiative, and -2 to their combat dice pools.

With their initiative crippled like that, it was kind of interesting. Edelweiss had 3 dice, and Jimmy only 2 (in fact, he didn’t get his name until rather later), and they kept on tying for initiative. I don’t really like the game’s tie solution, which is stat-based, so I just re-rolled until someone won. It was Edelweis, with 2 successes to the pirate’s 0. The way that PC and NPC stats work, there’s really no way that the solution in the book is fair.

Edelweiss’s combat roll was Swordplay 4 + Dex 2 + Initiative Bonus 2 – Unready 2, for a pool of 6. She gained 3 successes, while Jimmy only rolled 1.

And oh, our Edelweiss is just that kind of girl. With her degree of success 2 + Collapsible Sword 4 + Strength 3, she rolled 6 successes. Jimmy’s health points were wiped out.

But wait! The fight’s not over. Jimmy rolled a Fortitude + Resolve save (Physical 3 + Mental 2 for the NPC pirate) and succeeded. So he remained conscious and the fight would continue.

Candle stuck his nose in and combat widened. I actually finished rolling Edelweiss/Jimmy combat first, because I had all the numbers in front of me, and went back and wrote everything all in order.

No unready penalties for anyone this time around. Candle won initiative while Pirates 1 and 2 tied. They are statistically sameoids, so I just had them go in number order. We see the return of our old friend the Outnumbered penalty, with 3 black dice for Candle. But, he also decided to attack both of the pirates, so he had to halve his dice pool. Not too much to worry about, I thought. He has Firearms and Dexterity each at 4, plus 2 for winning initiative. That gave him a pool of 5 per pirate–but 3 black dice for each roll as well.

Against Pirate 1, he rolled a success each on the black and white dice. I hate those. 0 successes. But against Pirate 2, he rolled 3 successes on white and none on black. Pirate 1 rolled 2 successes, and Pirate 2 rolled 3 successes.

So, Pirate 1 got to hit. Pirate 2 tied with Candle, but because Candle won initiative, he won the round. However, he could roll weapon damage only. Weapon damage for Candle’s Heat Ray (steam) is 10 dice. Cue my grin.

With his Degree of Success 2 + Cutlass 7 + Physical 3, Pirate 1 ended up with a dice pool of 12, and he whomped Candle. 5 points of damage, and it could have been so much worse.

Left with one pip of health, Candle rolled damage for Pirate 2. Here, I kind of just want to cut and past my notes. (Keep in mind, all three pirates–Jimmy, 1, and 2–have 6 health points)

Candle
(Weapon damage only) Heat Ray (steam) 10
7 successes

Pirate 2, we hardly knew ye. Fortitude + Resolve roll, or shine on, you crazy diamond.

2 successes. You live.

Technically, I’m not sure at what part of the turn characters who are into their grey dice should be making saving rolls, but I liked the drama of doing it right then, and he was going to have to make one soon anyway.

Back up to Edelweiss and Jimmy. I knew he didn’t stand a chance, but he’s just so plucky. I wondered if she would really murder him or not. They both chose to slash at each other with swords–his a cutlass, hers the collapsible sword–and rolled initiative.

This time, they had no penalties–except for Jimmy’s -2, thanks to being in his grey dice. However, that does not affect his initiative. And if it does, too bad, because I didn’t roll it that way. Even if I had done, he could hardly have done worse. Edelweiss rolled 3 successes, and Jimmy rolled 0.

For combat, they both rolled their Swordplay skills and Dexterity. Edelweiss had the initiative bonus, and Jimmy had the “Oh I’m dyin’ here” penalty. Even so, it was a close thing. Edelweiss only rolled 1 success, but Jimmy didn’t roll any.

Edelweiss’s damage roll was Degree of Success 1 + Collapsible Sword 4 + Strength 3 = pool 8. I thought that would be it for Jimmy.

But she only rolled 3 successes. A pretty heavy toll to take, but he wasn’t dead yet. And he made his saving roll.

All of this not-dying earned him a graphic.

I was starting to wind down, and it was about time Anson came in, so after the saving rolls were taken care of, I had Anson roll a Difficult Empathy 4 + Presence 2 check. No successes on the black dice, but 2 on the white. No one was impressed, but he did make everyone stop goading the fight.

I did actually make a few healing rolls, but doing it made me realise just how pointless they were at this stage of the encounter. It was technically over, so I just wrapped it up and awarded Candle 2 experience points for being awesome. I think at the end of this round of encounters, I’ll give everyone 1 fate, which I’m sure at least one of them will exchange for experience. We’ve got at least two or three trying to improve their attributes.

Anson didn’t really get to do anything, but maybe I can accept this as a good place to set up whatever happens next.

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PaPW – Good Old Fashioned Pub Rumble

Edelweiss sat in a corner of the Rusty Arms, contemplating a drink. In the most literal sense. She was not the only patron bearing arms. However, judging by the density and reach of the smoke, she was the only one without tobacco.

She reached up and grabbed a fistful. It remained in her hand for nearly a full second before dissipating.

“Well what have we here?”

It was not the first time she had heard some iteration of an opening line. “I am not human. Nor am I inexpensive.”

A heavy arm dropped down as if from the smoke, latching about her shoulders. “Then it’s a good thing I had a string of lucky spreads.”

“Spreads.” It was a question, but only the way that Edelweiss asked it.

“Oh, bless. Must be a new model, not knowing Port of Call.” He squeezed her, which was unpleasant. His breath smelled worse than his body, and the competition was quite fierce.

Edelweiss pushed him away. “It matters not. I am engaged.”

“To what? A steamclock?” The man guffawed at his own ill-informed humour. “Come with me, honey. Old Jimmy’ll pay twice what your john’s shilling out.”

Speaking to this man was only worsening the situation. Edelweiss stood up.

He started to reach for his weapon, but Edelweiss was not about to be taken by surprise. She grabbed at her belt and drew a collapsible sword.

It folded out to deadly form seconds before the accoster had drawn his own sword. His eyes could barely follow the speed with which she struck. The blade sliced through the smoke, carving a deadly trail that ended in the man’s belly.

He stared down at it in dismayed surprise. “That ain’t friendly…” he said, choking on the last word. He dropped to one knee, but did not let go of his cutlass.

A thrill of anticipation and respect whirred through Edelweiss’s gears. Those eyes. A wound like that had all but killed him, but he wanted to go on. She eased into a more flexible stance, half-forgetting where they were. A real fight. This wasn’t sparring, or a desperate feat. This pirate had stopped seeing a whore, and was looking at a hand with a sword. She could feel it in his gaze, that he was looking over her stance now, not her hips.

Gravelly voices raised in protest and appreciation. Some cheered, but they were hushed up as men began to circle round them, like fast-moving clouds. Two men helped the first to his feet, but he pushed them away.

“First time I’ve seen such a lovely in this kind of distress.”

Another man had entered the circle, although this one had come to her side of it. She sized him up. “This is not a show,” she warned him. “Never mind what they are chanting.” She indicated the crowded pub-goers with a jerk of her head.

“It’s never a show.” The man, youthful in appearance, had large eyes only slightly hidden by his wild rust-coloured hair. He held up a device, similar to a steampistol, but slightly more complex, with a lens in the wide muzzle. “By the way, I’m Candle,” he said.

There was something about his smile that invited a mirrored answer. “Edelweiss.”

Old Jimmy’s friends were casting dirty looks their way. “Now that we’re friends,” Candle said, “I think local tradition demands we spill someone else’s blood in celebration.”

It was a stupid joke, but Old Jimmy was already heading back to cross blades. Edelweiss started to calculate how the battle would go against two opponents, when Candle leaped ahead to position himself by Jimmy’s friends.

Chivalry was  such an interesting concept, she thought.

Jimmy was staggering, but he held his cutlass upright. “I prefer a good horizontal dance to battle,” he said, then coughed. “But I wonder who made you capable of both.”

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Candle fire at both of the other men. Two blasts of heated air boiled towards his targets. His first shot went wide, allowing the skinnier pirate to strike at Candle’s leg. But his second shot hit home just before the other pirate could clip his knees. The chubbier pirate screamed and tore at his shirt. The cloth burnt away, revealing the blistered, bubbling skin beneath.

Horrified gasps mixed with the general roar of appreciation.

Old Jimmy didn’t seem to notice or care. He remained fixed on Edelweiss, wearing a determined smile that was marred only slightly by the trail of blood glistening on the corner of his mouth. But he made a game attempt at a swing.

Edelweiss sidestepped it, but she hardly needed to. It was a shame that a man with such gumption did not have the skill to match. She slashed at his front, tearing more clothing than skin.

Although he remained standing, his breathing became ragged, and the blood that had soaked his clothes was beginning to drip. “You just might be… a bit too much for me,” he said with an embarrassed chuckle.

“Now hold on!”

Everyone in the pub turned to see who had shouted.

With her superior vision, Edelweiss could cut through the smoke to see a thin man standing on a chair. He was dressed well, but not too well, and he was holding a black bag in front of him, like a parish priest clutching a bible. Perhaps he was handsome, but he did not seem a capable fighter.

“This quarrel should be allowed to die off without two of its participants doing the same,” the man said, head held high. He cleared his throat, then added, “The most exciting bit is over. Let them seek medical attention.”

The crowd murmured, but began to disperse among the tables. Some of the patrons left altogether. Jimmy laughed, then hunched his shoulders when it became a hacking cough. In a moment, the weedy man was by his side, still clutching the black bag.

“You are an impressive young woman,” he said quietly. “But you might consider learning some restraint.”

“Oh, don’t ruin her,” Jimmy gasped. “I ain’t dead, am I?” He waved his friends away, giving some instruction to have the chubby pirate taken to hospital. “No offence, doc.”

Candle cut short any possible response by hauling himself over. “I’m not picky.”

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Surinder and Arete encounter details

Writing this encounter took a bizarrely long amount of time. Life interfered quite often and rather heavily, plus, I don’t think it’s as good as the others were.

This is probably because there isn’t a lot going on. It’s a talking head scene, and to make it even harder, I had to really pin down what this Lady Magna’s deal is.

But that’s enough about why it took so long. When I was first writing it, I somehow got into watching something, which my husband joined me in. When I watch stuff by myself while writing, I tend to pause and unpause it, writing in bursts, but that’s annoying for someone else who just wants to enjoy the video.

So, I decided all of my dice rolls and scene directions, and wrote them on the back of an old receipt that was just sitting on my desk. Later, I just wrote from what I had planned and  the noted skill checks and outcomes.

Funny note: The receipt is from changing money in Victoria.

If one is familiar with the skills in Airship Pirates, it should almost always be obvious when I called for a skill check and what skill was used, just by reading. To a lesser or possibly greater degree, the degree of success is also easy to guess by reading.

That said, when Arete implied that Surinder should make her a setting for a gem in return for information, he rolled Craft (wire art) 4 + Wits 3, for a pool of 7, which yielded an impressive 6 successes. So he not only worked very quickly, but he came out with an especially pleasing design.

As he was so successful, Arete provided two significant bits of information. I decided to give him a second chance to repair something and gain the opportunity to ask her to join him in his next Magna-related action.

To fix the clock, he rolled Ad Hoc Repair 4 + Wits 3. He rolled 2 successes. Less impressive, but he got the job done.

With that opportunity open, he had only to roll some kind of skill check to try to get her to join him. Surinder has very little Presence, and not many points expended for charm-type skills. So I let him appeal to her through his Streetwise skill, presuming that he is laying emphasis on the seedy understanding of the situation. Streetwise 3 + Presence 1 gained him 1 success. He barely managed it, and it will cost him in the long run.

Let’s hope it was worth it.

Personally, I think that he will definitely need Arete. She is better equipped for battle, and from what has been seen and said of Lady Magna and her retinue, there will be fighting, and it won’t be an easy encounter.

If I don’t move the characters around into different groups for whatever reason, the next we see from these two will be from Arete’s point of view, “storming the castle”.