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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword


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Everything posted by Alaeha

  1. Fear Acting through your fear renders it powerless. Acting through your misery offers no such guarantee. Tequila or Absinthe?
  2. I think that's me, but I think I was supposed to be receiving a role and some replacement cards?*Pokes Stick with a stick* If I'm just confused here, sorry about that.
  3. I subscribe to the view that everything can be explained by science, eventually -- if we apply enough diligence to our studies and continue to refine our theories, tools, and methods. And if we don't kill ourselves off first. I'll admit that those are two very large "if" statements, though. I apologize in my delays on follow-up, life has been interesting lately, I'm planning a move and training for a potential promotion at work, so my time and energy are at a bit of a premium right now. For the sake of clarity, when I say "This is NOT about religion," I don't mean that religions haven't incorporated magical practices into their ways of doing things. In my opinion, every prayer uttered is a very basic form of magic -- imprinting your thoughts and desires on the cosmos with the intent of changing something. Asking a spirit to act on your behalf and see to it that the thing happens is also common practice. Religions are not alone in doing this, either. Theater is FULL of superstitions based on mystical concepts, ranging from its treatment of the Fey (Fae, Fairies, Faeries, Fair Ones, whatever you care to call them,) to all the legends surrounding the play Macbeth. It IS believed in every magical tradition I've come across that speaking the name of a creature or thinking about it at length can draw its attention to you. What I mean is that I believe that there is an underlying order to everything, and that what we see as magic is simply that which we haven't figured out yet. Before Psychology, we still knew that it was not helpful to keep reminding people of the bad things that had happened to them, under most circumstances. Before physics, we still knew that dropping rocks on people's feet would hurt them. As we figure out how to measure things, we become capable of understanding them more completely. If there is anything that cannot be understood, I believe it will only be that which cannot be quantified. *looks left* *looks right* *looks down* Ahem. How did that soapbox get there?
  4. Alaeha flashes a quick, but brilliant smile at the sight of the pale woman, and she cocks her head to the side as though listening to some inaudible friend. A laugh escapes her lips as she reaches impossibly deep into her handbag and withdraws a small sketch. "Greetings, my nocturnal friend!" She approaches silently, not quite touching the ground with each stride, "I've known a few vampires in my time, and if you're shopping for a bargain, I happen to have just the thing for you." She extends the sketch depicting a forest clearing around a single enormous tree, from which lifeless humans hang like fruit. "This, my friend, is a Body Tree. I never understood the thing -- it grows fresh, young adult human bodies with no minds attached. It's an endless -- albeit inefficient -- form of sustenance for a creature such as yourself, with none of the annoyance of trying to find a willing donor or escape notice. I happen to have the exact location marked on one of my maps, and I'd be happy to share it with you, for the right price." Alaeha relaxes backward into a seated position, floating in the air next to the vampire. "Of course, I wouldn't mind sitting down for a meal with you either. I've acquired a certain fondness for blood over the years."
  5. OOC: Anyone else kinda want a separate (non-"competing") thread for the rejected items and pitches that were funny but didn't end up being used? I've got more inspiration than turns or cards.
  6. (Why not? I may as well share mine as well. My words are:CheeseBraceletBodyMusicSpaceTree) For some time, a dark haired woman had been sitting in the corner holding a bottle of scotch and a glass in what seemed idle contemplation. She looked up at the toga-clad youth and stood with a half-smile. "A party? I could point you toward three parties right now. Most of the Lambda Lambda Lambda boys seem to be headed up to the Lounge on High Street, but I heard they were having some trouble finding a DJ." She reached into her purse and pulled out a small, shiny disc. "It seems to me we can kill two birds with one stone here! This disc is full to the brim with high quality renderings of Space Music! I happen to know the boys out there love this stuff, and there's 40 hours of music in here. Take it up to the Lounge and your party is set to go all night! "Of course, I didn't get all of this Space Music for free... 15 geld, and it's yours!"
  7. Sounds awesome to me. I would like to do mine with a specific character simply because I've been itching for an outlet to RP for a bit now, I certainly don't expect anyone else to. I'll look forward to it.
  8. I really like this. As a GM, I adhere strictly to what I call the Rule of Awesome -- if it increases the Net Awesomeness of the gaming experience, I try to make it happen. I apply this rule when we're talking character concepts, when I lay out the House Rules, and any time somebody says "I want to do <some ridiculous stunt.> Can I do that?" It also plays in during Scene Selection -- does it make the gaming experience more Awesome in some way? Playing out a shopping scene CAN increase the net Awesomeness by increasing the sense of immersion -- especially if done at location that serves as a plot hub, as it allows you to make the shopkeeper into a recurring NPC. It can serve as a means of conveying valuable information about the local goings-on. If I don't think it serves to make the game more fun in any way, I skip it. Same thing with Random Encounters -- a lot of times, I'll dispense with them. Usually, I just bring them out once in a while at fairly random intervals to keep people from feeling as though the world is safe and devoid of threats. On the other hand, Random Encounters can serve as a very effective way of driving home the idea of being in hostile territory. If the players know that it's up the dice whether their characters are going to get a full night of uninterrupted sleep, it instantly instills a sense of stress and paranoia that can be very difficult to create by other means. Players may not enjoy it, but done to the correct extent it can increase the level of immersion and provide opportunities for more -- and greater -- triumphs. I suppose that's the way I feel about writing as well. "Does this chapter/scene/line/character serve a function? Does it have any drawbacks? Can I think of a way that is more effective or has fewer drawbacks?" On the whole, I like your list of criteria for whether a scene needs to be included. The really cool scenes tend to do more than one -- for example, advancing the plot while showcasing a character's awesomeness (outsmarting and thwarting the evil mastermind, for example,) or furthering a character's evolution while laying the seeds for future developments (which could mean anything from an uncharacteristic show of compassion to a training montage at a Fancy Pants Wizard's College, among other things.)
  9. Depending on how quickly the pitches are to be demanded, I could probably play this. It sounds like fun. I'll tentatively sign up to play in character as Alaeha. I never really made time to do much with the character as she evolved in my mind.
  10. Excellent question. I haven't done a lot of work with lunar energies personally, but they seem to be well and truly bound up in the dogmas of some of the nature based religious paths. In simple form, when the moon is waxing (transitioning from New to Full), it's a good time for magic that is designed to build, heal, grow, protect, or other similar acts that consist of gathering energy and MAKING something out of it. Conversely, when the moon is waning (transitioning from Full to New), it's a good time for magic that is designed to dissolve, destroy, harm, or hinder. This doesn't necessarily mean doing bad things, as dissolving a love spell or curse is probably a good thing to do. If all you take away from this message is those two paragraphs, you'll probably be fine. The rest is just elaboration on some details. Full and New Moons are particularly interesting to work with. It's been my experience that as the Moon enters the stage of being Full, it is at its most powerful for use in constructive magic, and similarly it is at its most powerful for destructive magic as it enters the stage of being New. However, when it continues the cycle and begins shifting in the other direction, it is very easy to turn that energy to great effect for its new purpose. In other words, a Full Moon that is just beginning to wane can still be a powerful source of energy when dispelling something. Similarly, a New Moon, as it begins to wax, can be a powerful source for beginning new projects and creating things. Some of my friends who work with lunar magic will do spells through small daily rituals that work through the entire lunar cycle, building up energy as it waxes and then pushing away the things that stand in their way as it wanes. Often this sort of thing takes the form of a few minutes of meditation with a candle that has been set aside for that spell during night or around moonrise. As to the particular phases (New, Crescent, Half, Gibbous, and Full) I actually haven't seen much. I'm aware that the last few days of waning as the moon approaches new are called the Dark Moon in some circles, and are seen as a good time for recuperation, self reflection, and seeking balance both within yourself and with the world at large.
  11. Repose, respite, I awake from my dreams -- echoing emptiness, typical. Seems foreign, false when I look at my face: lazy, lackluster, just empty space. Ever, eternally, Nobody's here. Claiming, calling this hollow, blank sphere Terminus, terrible -- nothing to show. Imposter, imperfect – trust me, I know. Obvious, odious, easy to see Nobody, Nothing: I've told you, it's Me.
  12. Alaeha

    I hear you

    This is interesting, and well written. I'm not quite sure who it's addressed to, but I like that the list of addressees is a bit open. The one stumbling block I hit when I read this is the second line of the final stanza -- "as we journey on together" has two syllables more than the second line of any of the others, which breaks the pattern just as it's become cemented in the reader's mind. Otherwise, I quite enjoyed it. It's always good to see poetry that is both pleasant to read and clearly meaningful to the poet.
  13. As the first article in this series, it seems best to start with an explanation of the subject matter. This is like the first day of class, when the syllabus is handed out and explained, and questions about the class are answered. Let me take just one moment to explain what this is NOT about. This is NOT about religion. It is NOT about sitting in church kneeling before God, nor about dancing naked under the moonlight. A great deal of occult lore can be gleaned from old religious texts and practices, but the magic itself is completely detached from any religious path. In simplest terms, magic encompasses that which is real, but which is not yet understood on a scientific level. Chemistry was magic – in the days before we had found ways to objectively measure the composition of an object. Psychology was a deeply mistrusted and sinister form of magic until it evolved into something more akin to its modern form. Even Physics was once the province of magic. Anything that happens, but can't be explained by our present understanding of the world, is magic. When we learn enough about it that we can explain and measure it, it will become another branch of science. Here's an example: Have you ever found yourself thinking about someone you haven't spoken to in a while, just as they send you a message or call you on the phone? Certainly, it's possible that it's just a coincidence... if it only happens once. What if you wake up out of a sound sleep with the intense feeling that someone specific wants to talk to you? Is it coincidence when you find that they had just sent you a new message only moments before you awoke? What about the third time that it happens? I have a friend who does this regularly. She hasn't had a “false read” yet. Let's take another example: Tarot. Tarot is a form of divination – the interpretation of a randomized set of symbols to derive information. Skeptics deride divination as being so “vague” that any given spread can be bent to match any situation, and maintain that the “art” of tarot reading is simply bending the meanings of the cards to describe one's psychological reading of the questioner. Sounds like a convincing, plausible argument, yes? I was skeptical about Tarot myself. So, I tried it. To eliminate any possibility that I was deluding myself into believing I was successful when I wasn't, I applied only those meanings which were listed in the thin paper booklet that came with my deck. It was spooky. My roommates saw me and started asking questions, so I reluctantly started doing some readings for them – inwardly preparing myself to be a bit embarrassed. Every card, without fail, could have its prescribed meaning read aloud to answer their questions even if I didn't know what the question was – and even when the answers involved people I didn't know or details I wasn't privy to. In fact, it was so uncannily accurate that one of my friends started asking for two or three readings every night for a while about silly things, until I had to ask him to stop because it was giving me headaches. This is magic. Studying and experimenting with things that we don't yet understand, in the hopes of mastering and understanding them. It's an unceasing cycle of asking questions and finding answers that lead to more questions. There are some subjects that I consider to be of crucial importance, and I'll be covering those over the next couple of articles. There are also a number of subjects about which I'd like to share my findings. Ultimately, though, this is all about you guys! What would you like to hear about? What catches your curiosity? What experiences of yours would you like to discuss?
  14. I would say that writing is not necessarily art in the same sense that any other work one might do with pen and paper might not be considered art. One might be an experienced and deft hand at writing office memorandums, but that does not of necessity indicate that any of these is art. Of course, a particularly bored office worker might find some way to write these memos as prose, which I would classify as art. Film is art, it is not static. Music is art, it cannot even be seen. The Martial Arts are arts which can be impressive and inspiring to behold, and they cannot easily be dissected into either words or images. If this were a Venn Diagram, I would have drawn the circles of Art and Written Words intersecting, but neither would be wholly contained within the other. I consider it entirely fair -- I don't think of Road Signs as art either.
  15. Alaeha

    A Long While

    It's been a while. How long? I couldn't say. It's all so different, and still nothing's changed. New names, old names, brown's faded into grey, But everything's still here, if rearranged. It's been some time since last I walked these halls, it's all so strange – or is it just that I am not the Poet who once graced these walls with verse when I was weak and young? But my, it's been too long. Too long indeed, and yet my old home still remains intact, I see. The New Age came, but I cannot forget the friends I left – so I'll bring them with me! I place my blessing on this artist's shrine, So long as words grace page, may it yet shine!
  16. Have we twice engaged the cosmic microbes in flailingly graceful yogurt? Nay, my hedgehogs, you have octuplets in the sextillions to bring to the beginning of omega! Rejoice and be sorrowful, for this is the beardsecond which the Divine Architect has wrought in his effervescent and swirly sophomorism.
  17. Waitwaitwait... so what manner of comment is it that you're looking for? I'm gathering that you do want to know if it's too trite, but don't want to hear that someone didn't like it. Myself, I'm always heartened when I see someone writing in verse, but I'd be interested in a seeing a more varied structure. Say, a more traditional Quatrain (ABAB or ABBA) rather than just a pair of couplets lumped together and given the same rhyme. Don't get too discouraged if it takes a bit for people to respond. Most of us don't have that much time to catch up on what's going on around here, and don't have time to reply right away (or even at all) to everything we read.
  18. 1. adjective -- shifty 2. verb -- ridicule 3. noun -- noun (what? ) 4. body part -- pineal gland 5. verb -- partake 6. body part -- sternum 7. emotion -- hilarity 8. adjective -- famished 9. noun -- hot dog bun 10. noun -- tea 11. pronoun -- she 12. emotion -- apprehension 13. adjective -- chalky 14. adjective -- slender 15. body part -- trachea 16. verb -- fabricate 17. noun -- gerund 18. verb -- speculate 19. body part -- duodenum 20. emotion -- quizzical 21. verb -- batmobiling
  19. Blasphemous: Grossly irreverent toward something held to be sacred.
  20. Breakfast The most important meal of the day.
  21. ambidexterity the noun of being ambidextrous -- able to use either hand with equal ease. Would the same term apply to beings with more than two arms? Or would we need a more boring word like "multidexterity" for that?
  22. 1. Name of Female Pennite: Signe 2. Name of Male Pennite: Gyrfalcon 3. A Mythical Title: Master of Shiny Tube Socks 4. Noun: Codex 5. Verb, past tense: Acquiesced 6. Name of Another Pennite: Merelas 7. Adjective: Paisley 8. Verb ending in “ing”: swiping 9. A Liquid: liquid helium 10. Adverb: blithely 11. A Time of Day: nap time 12. Noun: signet ring 13. A Weapon: hand held guillotine 14. An Exotic Article of Clothing: jewel encrusted codpiece 15. Verb: mince 16. A Piece of Furniture: ginormous sleeping ferret 17. Plural Noun: scales 18. Part of Body, plural: torsos
  23. Alienate To push away. To cause indifference or hostility.
  24. (Warning: Rant Ensuing) Umm... nice try, but no. Waaaaaaaaay back in the dark ages, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the face of the membership was completely different, the problem that originally sparked the conversations which led to the implementation of the guilds had nothing to do with providing more advanced feedback or any such. If that had been their original purpose they would not have been introduced as they were -- it would have been much easier and more to the point just to revise the Writer's Workshop. The original point to the guilds was to address the overwhelming tendency of the membership toward finishing up their Quill Quests, looking around and seeing no further room for advancement, and falling off the face of the earth. When Finnius and I took over the AAA, we deliberately restructured it to be an Elite Club. No rubber stamp policy mandated that any who bothered to apply could get in -- by the time you're a Quillbearer and looking toward advancement outside of the ranking system already in place within the Pen at large, we expected at least minimal ability within your field. It was a stark contrast from the Pen's "come as you are" attitude, and it was good. But the guilds have been defined and redefined and reredefined, changed hands, lost steam, lost socks in the wash, and had the majority of those actively interested in any of their original purposes either conscripted into planning events as Guild Leaders or wandered off. The common thread in every definition seems to be that it's somehow dirty to want further advancement or recognition after finishing up your Quill Quest, so that aspect has been shunted aside repeatedly in favor of emphasizing the purpose of the guilds as a "learning aid" or "activity center". If we had been given "create learning aids" as our focus, we would likely have just added a "library" to the Workshop to hold a compiled series of "Lesson" threads in the vein of the ones I made back when I was actively writing poetry. If activities were what was needed, there was no need to divide things up by genre -- just put together an Events Committee or some such composed of people who knew that organizing events was what was expected of them, and let them brainstorm ideas and contact people. And that's actually in part my fault -- I was one of those responsible for the original carnival, whose purposes were to liven the Pen and spread awareness of (and interest in) the Guilds. It's since mutated and begun to devour the guilds such that people think that it should be their purpose and focus. As I said, if you want an Events Committee, there's nothing wrong with having one. You say that the guilds as they currently exist are dispensable. I think it's unjust to hand someone a title, neglect to mention which of the half-dozen or so visions of the Guilds is current, and expect them to make anything worthwhile. I think it's criminally unjust to blame and accuse the guild leaders for the failings of what was foisted off of them in poor condition. And in addition to fixing the undefined broken factor, they're expected to organize events for a mass of entities which may or may not deign to respond to any or all of them (ever wonder why Peredhil has so much geld that he set up a thread for lending it out? It's not because we bribed him to be such a polite guy -- for a while he was participating in every guild event to try and get people interested in them). The Pen will get no more out of the guilds than it puts into them. Every activity, no matter how good the idea, will flop if nobody is interested. Every forum, as we can see from experience, will be silent if people aren't interested enough to post in it. The AAA is just now starting to get the "classes" that Finnius and I had wanted it to have. And I'm sick to death of this entire discussion, which has been occurring in bits and pieces almost since the guilds came into existence. As I see it, for this discussion to go anywhere new, all of the various purposes and models of the guilds will need to be acknowledged and examined, and those who are running the situation will have to decide which of those are and are not currently needed. If the current forum structure doesn't fit that, fine. I recall that there were PMs going around at some point asking if (in the event that the guild forums got restructured) the old works posted throughout the guilds could be reposted in the appropriate places around the Pen. Edit: Also, discussion of the Guilds and their structure really shouldn't take over the feedback thread, so we should probably make a separate thread for it. (Realized this after I took in the size of this post)
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