Thursday, August 8, 2013

WSWM13: B08

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I found Recte on my roof, not because he was actually trying to hide from me, because I never would have noticed him if he had, and that was the first sign that they were back. I nodded to him, and he nodded back. Then, because I was walking backwards looking at Recte, I tripped over Atrox still lying in his bedroll.

"Really, I'm not usually this clumsy," I replied to Atrox's disapproving look.

"Sure you're not."

I looked up, still lying on the ground, and saw Copia's sarcastic grin shining down on me. She offered me a hand up, and I took it, then returned the favor to Atrox. He accepted the courtesy, knowing we both knew I actually provided little aid.

"You guys look good."

"You look bored, Satis, as usual."

"Gee, thanks Cops, you're too kind."

She grabbed the end of her hair and shook it at me threateningly. "You know I hate that nickname."

"A thousand pardons."

"That will have to be enough, I suppose." She dropped her braid.

"Did you have a good war?"

Atrox muscled in on the conversation. "It was too long. It's good to be home." Recte signaled his agreement.

"Don't you mean, my home?"

"Same thing."

Copia peeked over Atrox's shoulder and stole the dialog back. "So, see any good quests while we were away?"

"Just one, a couple of days ago."

"Really? Details, details!" She finished climbing over Atrox and dropped to the ground in front of him.

"I found a sword in the woods."


"And I left it there."

"Why would you do something like that? --Oh right, of course."

I felt a hand clamp down gently on my shoulder and realized that last part was directed to Recte, who was now standing behind me. I internally applauded myself for not jumping, before adding to Recte's comment, which I gathered was somewhere along the lines of "Remember who you're talking to" with "Well, yeah. And it was stuck in a large boulder."

"Once and future king again?"

"Looks like."

Atrox shook his head. "I am so tired of the motif. Pass?"

Everybody was in agreement, and again for his next suggestion:

"Shall we go grinding then?"

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WSWM13: B07

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Before I go too much further, let me get something straight. Though I preferred to be alone, work alone, train alone, live alone... I wasn't always alone. I wouldn't call them friends, they were friends of each other, but they were just acquaintances of mine.
And they were all nerds who took Latin in school, which meant I never had to explain anything to them; they understood well enough, and it made for a nice change.

Atrox was a biggish galoot, wide in the shoulders, narrow in the feet, and excessively tall. He preferred spears, staves, bo, javelins, the lot. Sometimes they had cross-braces and sometimes not; but when he joined in the ranks of larger parties, he was invariably elected to carry the coat of arms. It rankled him some, but few enough people could defend themselves with it.

He was also convinced that he was absolutely terrible. He wasn't, but that didn't stop him from moaning about it between engagements. From what impressions I got from the others, only a stern look from me ever shut him up, but he never stayed that way for long.

Copia was pencil thin and short, but she had a mane of flaming red hair. It was tied back into a tight braided bun whenever she was active, but otherwise, it was kept in a straight braid, whipping around often because she had a tendency to turn her head sharply. If you weren't sitting close enough, and someone opposite you caught her attention, you were due for an accidental whipping.

She preferred ranged weapons, bows, crossbows, slings, and the like; and would rather stand a few rows back from the front lines, all the better not to be trampled. She also had remarkable skill nailing targets during volleys.

Copia teased Atrox, goading him, and I once saw her climbing him like a jungle-gym set, but to my knowledge, they were friends and nothing more.

Recte, the third member of their crew, is hard to explain. He was quiet, not unlike myself, but never said a word. His specialty was stealth, and I can honestly say I have no idea what he actually looked like. He communicated exclusively through hand signals, which Copia and Atrox seemed to be completely fluent in, regardless how ridiculous the message they claimed he was passing on.

After a while, I gained a feel for concepts, but never could pick up on the degree of specifics that the other two could. Despite that, he never showed annoyance, or anger, and every time I asked how he joined up with Atrox and Copia, I got a different story.

I rather suspect Recte just showed up one day, and by the time they noticed, he had become a regular fixture.

Atrox, Copia, and Recte. And sometimes Satis. If nothing else, they never let things get boring. They tended to disappear off on long engagements, all signing up as mercenaries for the same side; I wouldn't see them for weeks or months at a time. But when things were feeling particularly slow, when I started to feel the least bit of boredom in my routine, they'd show up and hang around just long enough for me to start yearning for the routine, and then they'd be off once again.

Like I said, I'd never really call them friends of mine, but I think they considered me one of theirs.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

WSWM13: B06

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I was out walking in the forest earlier, picking herbs for health potions (yes, I often brew my own) when I found a unusually gilded sword. Now, I'm no stranger to finding strange things in my walking, but few swords were gilded like this one; the working was perfect, equisite, but not overdone, which is something of a problem in these parts.

I would have picked it up and taken it with me, but it looked rather firmly sheathed in a stone.

Now, I can fit a lot of things into my inventory--a lot more than most--and sure, they seem to lose all or most of their weight when I get them into my pocket, but before they get into my pocket, they weigh what you'd normally expect.

I didn't touch it. I've read my share of classic fiction, and also watched my share of quests. I knew better than to plunder willy-nilly into those sorts of things without reading the fine print first; a lesson learned by too few of those think-headed adventurer-types who like to hear themselves talk, which is a shame, really.

I don't think they ever learn.

I do learn, which is suppose is a shame in and of itself, because I don't get to go on wild goose-chases; I know better.

Ignorance must be bliss, because the lack of ignorance certainly isn't.

Monday, August 5, 2013

WSWM13: B05

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In many worlds in many games, when you set up your character you select a class, right? So what's my class?

Well, here in... I really can't keep calling it Here, so let's start by giving this place a nom de plume. I think Anseo will do well.

Here in Anseo (wow, more repetition), it doesn't work that way. Sure, you build your physical likeness, but that's it. Everything else is how you play the game. As you grow as a player, it gives you options, opportunities to specialize, like getting offers to train under specific schools or masters. Actually, it's not "like" that at all; it's exactly that.

The offers I got didn't come in for the longest time, with my playing style. By the time they did, I was already adapted and comfortable playing as "undecided."

The only benefit to it is that I don't lose skill points by using off-class weapons. Since I don't have a speciality, technically, no weapon or equipment is "off-class." Of course, since I don't have a speciality, I don't get bonuses from any weapons or equipment that I use. You could say my sword has no name and no soul, if I used one, that is; the only heart in my cards is the one in my chest.

Now, in some games, if you use weapons that are off-speciality, you just fumble around with them and never gain any skill, but in Anseo, that doesn't hold true. Whatever you use, you gain skill in the using of it. Hypothetically, any class could gain enough skill in an off-class weapon to negate the off-class penalty, but nobody does; they find what fits their style and stick with it.

Why do I use two tonfas and three sais?

That's what I own and practice with outside the game. I supposed you could say I get some bonus from actual practice, but it doesn't work out that way.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

WSWM13: B04

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I mentioned dungeons before, and I invariably will again, so I might as well explain what they are to those who don't understand.

They're like real dungeons, places where monsters are kept, and the more violent and dangerous are kept furthest from the entrance. That's about where the similarity ends.

For one, the front door isn't locked, and two, they're not all dark and dreary. The rooms themselves are sometimes locked, depending on the nature of the dungeon, and there's treasure. Lots of treasure of varying value; some of the quality I'm used to picking up during my work shift, and some I almost never see, mostly because by the time I get deep enough to see the pricier stuff, I'm overtaken by someone else doing a speed run and taking advantage of the rooms I cleaned out for them.

I get overtaken a lot, and while it annoys me a bit, I've gotten pretty used to it. That doesn't mean I exit the dungeon; by no means! I'll follow along in their wake instead, grabbing the loot that they decided wasn't worth enough to haul back to civilization.

But at the bottom (or top, or end, depending on which way the dungeon goes) there's an altar with an enormous chest, and the rarest and most expensive items in the entire dungeon are there. Well, usually. Sometimes the treasure isn't there, because someone made it to the altar first, and it hasn't reset set, or they were waiting in the bottom while it reset, took the items and ran off without anyone noticing, or the game could just be pranking you.

Behind the chest and the altar is a deep pit, rather looks more like a crater, and within that is a giant floating statue, more often than not mystical in some way, its face floating level or above the chest in front of it. It's mostly just there for decoration, but the left behind refuse congregates on the bottom of the pit, and only the garbageman has access.

Like I said, it's usually just refuse, but sometimes, something truly rare and worthwhile ends up there.

What causes that?

Well, speed runners don't always notice everything they should, and sometimes toss away items without actually looking at them first. Sometimes raiding parties have arguements about how to divvy up the spoils, and somebody gets the idea that if they can't have the item, then nobody can; they throw the item down where they think nobody has access: the crater below the floating statue. Sometimes, even the meticulous make a mistake, trying to decide which items to take and which items won't fit into their inventory slots, and they make a bad call.

So that's what I get to clean up. There's a small access door somewhere, usually near the entrance of the dungeon so I don't have to clear out the monsters to take out the garbage. It doesn't take a special key to open, just a knowledge of where to look, and access granted by administrators just in case someone did find it.

If you were hoping for a special artifact to open it, sorry if I disappointed you. Like I said, there's nothing special about me, or I'm not Satis the Good Enough.

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

WSWM13: B03

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Welcome back. Or, well, I assume you're back, or you wouldn't be reading this, and see that I'm welcoming you. I'd be welcoming someone else instead. Unless I'm not welcoming you back because this is your first time here, so it's just a plain old welcome, in which case, go back and start from the beginning, and when you return, then it will be a true welcome back. Don't worry, it won't take too long; I'm not one of those god-aweful heroes who likes to hear himself talk.

Like I said yesterday, I'm not going to tell you what happened yesterday, because our session yesterday was spent regaling you about what happened the day before. Instead, I'm going to finish telling you what I was telling you yesterday, the part I left out.

I went to work.

Now what kind of work does Satis the Good Enough get? It's not like I'm good enough to sell myself out for mercenary work, or even built like someone who could; or assassination, either the doing or the being done (honestly, who would pay someone to assassinate me?). No, I do something that needs being done, that not many are willing to do.

I'm the local garbageman.

I really don't mind the work. Plenty of folks throw away low level items that aren't worth the time to sell or auction off. It's far easier just to drop them, to leave space in your inventory to pick up something more valuable.

Well, I've got the time, the patience, and one thing that nobody tells you until you've applied for the job (really, nobody applies for this job; you can get paid better being cannon fodder): extra storage and stackable weapons. Now I can't say that holds true for all servers, but here, it does.

No, I'm not going to tell you where here is, otherwise my job security just goes out the window. I may not be exceptional, but I'm certainly not stupid.

So besides my small paycheck of... well, suffice to say it's small, and I'm not on the dole like a spendthrift noob--I get to keep the payout of what I find. Not the actual items themselves--that's in the contract--but the payout. If they let me keep the items themselves, I suspect they think I'd just be moving the mess from one place to another.

Nobody wants a landfill cluttering up the city, and where do you think they'd put it anyway? They'd tear down the forest whre my hovel resides, that's where! I'd rather be surrounded by nature and too cold or too hot than perfectly comfortable and surrounded by refuse.

So I went to work, then passed by the auction houses on my way to clock out, swung by the bank on my way home, and as the daytime players started to come awake, I was having supper and then tucking myself into bed.

It's not a bad life.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

On Writing: What is WSWM?

If you're reading this, you've probably seen my last three posts, each title prefixed with the initials WSWM, followed by a strange code.

WSWM stands for WeSeWriMo, which probably sounds very similar to something else you might have heard of: NaNoWriMo, and indeed, they're very similar. I've personally participated in NaNoWriMo twice, and yearly in NaPoWriMo.

To the non-writers in my audience, I suspect this all sounds like gobby-de-gook and nonsense, but I assure you, it is anything but. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month in November, and is the most advertised and participated in of the three mentioned celebrations (it also tends to produce more terrible writing than the other two). NaPoWriMo is National Poetry Writing Month in April, and while I yearly participate, I do so in an unofficial capacity. WeSeWriMo, which looks rather different from the other two, is Web Series Writing Month in August; of the three, it is the most imformal, spanning more than just written work (though that's what I focus on), and leaves the setting of goals to each individual artist.

This will be my first time trying to write a web serial, and you can find all of the entries here.

Since I have a tendency to come up with some many ideas for stories, I've decided not to try to limit myself, which is what the A, B, and so forth are in the title, at least until I decide on a title for each strain. The number following the letter is the episode, and I hope that's rather self-explanatory.

Wish me luck!

My WeSeWriMo 2013 Progress So Far:
9.67% completed!

WSWM13: B02

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When I rolled out of bed, I ended up on the floor. It happened every time, but it didn't bother me because I slept on a futon on the floor, and the reason I did that, well, a bed frame wouldn't fit in my hovel.

This wasn't in the early days of setting out, still on the dole and not yet established. No, this was yesterday. I did it this morning too, and will again tomorrow, but I don't have a story about today yet, and probably won't, since I'm taking today to explain what happened yesterday. While that would be rather meta, I doubt it would be particularly interesting, especially after you hear what happened yesterday, only to hear about me telling you what happened.

Anyway, after I rolled out of bed, and after doing all the basic things that everybody does after they wake up from a good day's sleep... Yes, I sleep during the day, at least while it's summer; all the better to save on cooling my hovel, while small, leaks like an open window. How I survive the winter is a different story; maybe I'll share it tomorrow.

I had breakfast while most people were having supper... Yes, it's still called breakfast because I'm breaking my fast! Would you stop interrupting me?

Anyway, I got dressed in my Good Enough jerkin, slipped my three Good Enough sais into my belt, and filled the two Good Enough tonfa holsters on my lower legs. One look at my equipment and clothes and nobody is going to be PKing me for any of this substandard equipment; no, they all want plus-five this and plus-nine that. Though, every once in a while a noob tries to come up on me, trying to ditch their minus-five this and minus-three that, but the day I can't take on a fresh noob is the day I'm no longer Satis, the Good Enough.

I have to walk into town. Most players live in town, but I have better things to spend my hard-earned gold on than rent or a mortgage. Well, actually, I don't. The most expensive thing I own is my third sai, nd that's only because I have to pester Game Management to let me wield it and leave the fourth at home. All of my other gold is sitting in the bank.

Yes, really, it's in the bank. What, did you think I'd bury it somewhere in the floor of my hovel? No thank you! The bank has insurance on their deposits. My hovel doesn't have insurance at all.

So, there I was walking into town, and sitting in the centre square was a plague of Russian ogres. Why are the orges always Russian and the Russians always orges? Okay, so maybe not all of them, but it certainly seems that way.

They were recruiting noobs for cannon fodder. That is one particular hazing tradition I avoided like the plague. Naturally, they see me, with my barely Good Enough equipment, and ask me to join them, as if it wasn't a dead give away what was going on, but as they say, there's a noob born every minute.

Before I go any further, let me get something out of the way. Noob is both kind and derogatory. It's a given for all player newly joined, regradless how knowledgeable they are to the world, and in that, it's used almost affectionately. However, when you've been around long enough to have figured out how the world works, but haven't, that's also a noob. The second kind is what these recruiters are normally looking for, though they invariably get flooded with the first.

They saw me and made an assumption. Assumptions are bad for a reason, and that reason is that I break them. They tried to goad me into joining their quest, and when that didn't work, they tried menacing me.

It's a shame they didn't recognize me, but like I said earlier, I'm no hero, just Satis, the Good Enough. Only the nerds who took Latin in school recognize me, and they remember enough of it neither to recruit me to cannon fodder nor to an equal share, they just leave me alone.

So I kicked the oaf in the armpit. It's not their primary weak spot, or the rarest, but it gets the job done without a minimum amount of embarassment. I don't exactly have the cajones to kick him in the... yeah. Or the jump height to kick him in the face, anyone who can jump that high is more than just Good Enough.

He didn't go down, but he flinched, and in situations like these, that pretty much counts for calling uncle. Not enough, though, for me to risk sticking around, or to try dodging the Kick Me sign one of his buddies stuck on me as I slipped away.

I'm no stranger to Kick Me signs, and if I was headed home, I would have used it to wallpaper my walls, along with the all the others.

And then I went to work.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

WSWM13: B01

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I walked into the light with no trepidation: the crowds had already carried off their heroes, each bearing their trophies and winnings, while I waiting in the dungeon's foyer.

I didn't have the broad shoulders of a conquerer, or the reflexes of the swordsman, or even the precision of the archer. I certainly didn't have the ingrained abilities of any mage. No, I had nothing to set me aside from the crowd, besides the fact that I avoided crowds at all costs.

I was Satis, the Good Enough. (Yes, I know that's repetitive.)

If you look back on those days of Alpha and Beta testing, you won't find me. Nay, even if you fast forward through the primary rush of the initial public release, you will not see me (unless someone steals my name, again).

Who would want to steal this name? All who play want to be the best, the top of the world, all who try dream of being The Best. Except me. I heard the music, knew the tune, and could hum a few bars (though they were hopelessly off key). I'd been there, done that, but had to pay regular price for my t-shirt because the sales had all ended.

I was Satis, the Good Enough, and you'll find me walking out of the dungeon long after the dust has settled, because, after all, who wants dust in their eyes for the long walk home? I mean, come on, let's be realistic here.

What I do is undervalued. I pick up the leavings, after grinding my way through long and arduous passages, too often finding myself being overtaken by someone with stars in their eyes. But I take those common drops, selling them for all the pittiance I can muster, and save every last penny away.

I am Satis, the Good Enough, and I've been waiting long enough to share my story. It's finally my time, not to shine, but to glisten with fond mediocrity.

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WSWM13: A01

I woke up on a deserted... well, a deserted desert. Why does everybody else get a bloody island? No, I get a friggen desert. It's filled with sand, cacti, sand, little scrubby bushes, and more sand. And those little scrubby bushes just wither and crumple to dust if you so much as touch them.

I picked a direction and started walking. What else would you expect me to do? Can't exactly build a sandcastle without any water.

I brushed a cactus absently, and it was like my whole body flinched in pain, but no prickles came off. Kicking it in frustration a few times didn't hurt, strangely enough, just knocked it over. I managed to pick up the pieces and kept walking.

Night started to fall, and I considered stopping for a break, but the desert around me started coming alive. Hey, you'd be scared too!

With nothing else to build with, I surrounded myself with the cactus pieces, and tried not to move too much while I waited for sun and safety to return.