Saturday, October 31, 2009

System Shock Quote

From Spoony's review of System Shock, quoting SHODAN:

"In my talons, I shape clay, crafting life forms as I please. If I wish, I can smash it all. Around me is a burgeoning empire of steel. From my throne room, lines of power careen into the skies of Earth. My whims will become lightning bolts that raze the mounds of humanity. Out of the chaos, they will run and whimper, praying for me to end their tedious anarchy. I am drunk with this vision. God: the title suits me well."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Eight rules for writing fiction

Eight rules for writing fiction:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

-- Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1999), 9-10.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Crab Clan Names - People, Places, Etc

This is where I am going to keep a list of the names I use so I can keep everything straight:

Hida Takai - the sergeant in charge of the PCs' unit

Friday, October 9, 2009

Crab Clan Army Composition

Your unit designation is 7th Squadron, Reserve Company, 25th Legion, First Army. Reserve companies, in Crab armies and all Rokugani armies, consist of specialized troops like shugenja, yojimbo (bodyguards for shugenja), siege engineers, and cavalry. Typically each specialty is confined into its own squadrons (1st squadron is all shugenja, 2nd squadron is all siege engineers, and these squadron number about 20 people each) but your group is one of a number of newly formed squads consisting of mixed troops intended for flexible point support and special operations (i.e. doing PC stuff).

Going from the ground up:

Squad - about 5 people, led by nikutai (corporal)
Squadron (guntai) - about 20 people, led by gunso (sergeant)
Company (kaisha; reserve company is yobihei kaisha) - 7 squadrons and command staff, about 150 people, led by chui (lieutenant)
Legion (daibutai) - 4 companies + reserve company + command, about 750 people, led by taisa (captain/commander)
Army (go-hatamoto) - 48 legions and command, about 36,000 people, led by rikugunshokan (general)

You need not remember any of the Rokugani terms or even any of that. Just for your information. And if I remember correctly, army rank comes after name. I am basing this on Keroro Gunso, which means Sgt. Frog in Japanese. So it would be Yasuki Mai nikutai.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Troll Viral Load

We started virology today and I had an idea for a troll who was infected with a particularly virulent virus. The virus multiplies rapidly and in any other creature would kill its host in hours due to the massive tissue destruction and hemorrhage. However, the troll's natural regeneration allows it to maintain homeostasis even while it sloughs off pounds of flesh as new virus.

This is gross on two levels. One, the thought of an actual, macroscopic lump of viral material and two, the thought of a troll who is constantly dripping with this macroscopic material and wants to kill and eat you. A particularly smart troll might try to evenly distribute the virus across its arms or body; otherwise, a large viral abscess could serve as a built-in "pot of poison" that it could dip its hands in before attacking.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More Manly Names

And these are all real:

Staff Sgt. Max Fightmaster (Army National Guard)
Manley Power (British Lieutenant General and Governor of Malta)
Rad Heroman (Lance Corporal USMC)
Magnus Ver Magnusson (World's Strongest Man)
Rockland Steel (bus driver)
Lt. Commander Flex Plexico (US Navy)
Elliott Bonebrake (chiropractor)
Rip Torn (actor)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I am Ashamed that I find this Funny

From the archives of the webcomic Natural Twenties:

Men and women are very different. For instance, it is now widely accepted in the scientific community that ladies have vaginas. This hypothesis, however, has not been tested because most of the scientific community has never seen any conclusive evidence, and will never see any conclusive evidence. What mysteries the vagina could unlock remain a mystery. I believe that with more resources, we could explore this further and it could possibly point us in the right direction of a Unifying Theory. Yes, I have reason to believe that the vagina-force is the glue that keeps atoms, and the entire universe for that matter, together.