Roleplaying games. For some of us at BLP, they’re our bread and butter (I’m one of those lucky jerks who gets to play them as part of my day job). For some of us, they’re a recent discovery. Psychodrama, the performative act of becoming someone else in mind, and sometimes in body, is an ancient one that galvanized culture and led to most forms of art and entertainment in the present day. Roleplaying games connect us to aspects of other people and ourselves, and helps open our eyes to new perspectives. This week’s Going Around poses this prompt to our team of contributors: Tell us about an RPG character (tabletop or otherwise) who has stuck with you after the game is done.
…TO PUNISH. YOUR. NOVEL.
(Or whatever other creative pursuit you may be engaged in today.)
DEATHNOWRIMO 2017 is live on Discord (all day) and Twitter (until I go to bed, and then Miki picks up the reins some hours later). Our Extra Life charity stream begins at 10AM EST and ends at 11AM EST tomorrow–yes, we’re packing 25 hours of games into our stream, for the kids, and for you! Catch those on our Twitch page starting at 10AM EST, and check out our Extra Life page to help kids at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center!
Kamen Rider Calliope Update #1!
When I write something, especially a fiction piece, the question “why am I writing this?” passes through my mind a lot. It’s not referring to the large-scale, navel-gazing “why”; if that hadn’t been answered for me already, I wouldn’t have even started writing the piece in the first place. It’s the smaller, more close-and-personal “whys” that make me sit back sometimes and take a more scrutinizing look at how I’m writing something.
Why am I writing a character that embodies certain traits? Why am I using this setting? Why am I skipping over these details to focus on some other ones? For a writer, every word is a drop of paint on a canvas; no matter how small it may be on its own, a single tiny morpheme ultimately plays a part in shaping the audiences’ perception of your piece. To quote some already-abundant advice, make every word count.
This fiction piece I’m writing, Kamen Rider Calliope, is meant to fit into a pre-existing framework with well-established tropes and traditions. However, using prose instead of film as a storytelling medium creates another degree of separation between my story and the “purest essence” of what Kamen Rider is as a work of fiction. It would take a work of genius beyond my imagining to write a fanfiction that would perfectly evoke the sensation of watching Kamen Rider as a TV show. I never want to say that a creative endeavor is utterly impossible, but saying it would be attainable is almost insulting to the art of cinematic storytelling. There’s magic that can be produced through the lens of a camera when actors, script and cinematography all catalyze perfectly; words fail to describe the many layers of emotion and symbolism that can be seen in a tiny instant of a film.
I’m going to stop there because I’m in no way trying to say that prose is inferior to film; the two are simply different, and there are creative apexes that neither medium can truly cross over into, respectively. In following my intention to evoke the trademark feeling and pace of a Kamen Rider show, I’ve found that the scenes I’ve got planned out require a much higher wordcount to get through than I was expecting. At the time of this writing, I’m about halfway through act one of my outlined narrative, which would translate into the first two episodes of a Kamen Rider TV show. I’m predicting this act will be around 15,000-20,000 words in all… Now consider how most Kamen Rider series are 40 to 50 episodes total.
I’m not quite sure what I’ve gotten myself into, but for now I’ve still got the optimism to keep going full-steam.
To play Jokers & Journeys with Tarot cards, use the pip cards as usual. A Royal Family becomes that much more difficult to score; a Blackjack is played with the Page of each suit and its corresponding 10 (you can call it a “reversed reading” if you want to). The Major Arcana are as follows:
Hello, readers and writers! I hope folks are having a productive NaNoWriMo. I’m plugging away on my own work, which ties into the news I have today.
In the coming months I will be publishing a serial fiction story through BloodLetterPress, the Kamen Rider Calliope Project. Every week you’ll be able to check in on our site to read the latest installment, similar to novels published in newspapers or magazines in the 19th and 20th centuries. The format has since mostly migrated online, and I’ve been interested in exploring the medium for awhile now.
Well, here I am, a few days late and a dollar or so short–but, I am here, and that counts for something. It’s been an adventure fighting the inky beast, but guess what? It turns out that the ol’ beasty is actually pretty rad, and instead of fighting them, I should have just been like, totally embracing this inky fiend all along, you know? Anyway, all’s well that ends well, so with a cramped up drawing hand, and stars in my eyes, I can finally close this chapter of my sketchbook with a sense of pride. Continue reading Inktober 3: The Third One
BLP had an amazing time running our game Stars Fall Up with folks who attended Jiffycon this past weekend! A huge thanks to all who showed up and hung out with us. Seeing people be excited about the game makes us 1020% more excited about it as well, and personally speaking, it makes me want to keep making supplements for the game.
So here’s our first offering. Below you’ll find six pre-generated character that we used at Jiffycon for our SFU session. They’re totally free to use and remix however you feel like, so go nuts. The character templates are purposely vague to allow for a great amount of customization from players, while not having to fret over coming up ideas for backgrounds and #tags.
BloodLetterPress compatriots, the blessed month of Halloween has come and gone, and the long, dark hour of National Novel Writing Month is upon us. Fear not the empty document, compatriots: it is prime DEATHWRITE season, and we are here to help you bring forth words from the deepest reaches of your imaginations.
The creators of DEATHWRITE have furnished you with a Discord channel, so that you may commiserate with BLP contributors and others who have chosen this undertaking. Organize word sprints, swap ideas, beseech your fellows for feedback or inspiration, organize your own DEATHWRITEs at home and abroad, and feel the certainty of knowing that this struggle is not yours alone.
Additionally, BloodLetterPress invites you to participate in DEATHNOWRIMO: PUNISH YOUR NOVEL, a DEATHWRITE event dedicated to participants of National Novel Writing Month, on Sunday, November 19th, starting at midnight Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5:00). This event coincides with our Extra Life charity stream.
Until then, compatriots, go boldly forth, unburdened by your inner editors.
It’s got to be here somewhere.
It’s what they all think, and what many of them speak aloud. Their weak boots filling with my waters, their feeble sight confounded by my mists, they trudge through the trackless stretches of my maze, jumping at cobwebs and the shadows of trees, bewilderment giving way to desperation and gray, empty hopelessness. And the mires swallow them up as they kneel. So it has been for seventy succulent years.
“It’s got to be here somewhere,” one now says, parting his way through thick, slippery vines. His eyes flick from shadow to shadow, from stump to imagined looming shape. His fear comes off him in a slow, oozing torrent that spreads across the surface of the water, but the map in his clutched hand and the hollow promise of gold in his jittery mind lend something like confidence to his voice. He is telling himself that he is confident, and he is just good enough at lying to himself to believe it.
BloodLetterPress (represented by Miki and myself) made our live debut at JiffyCon this weekend! Here’s some of the cool stuff we did.
We kicked off the morning by playing a game of Fuel Priest, a dieselpunk RPG in development by Timeless Caverns. I personally think dieselpunk is a criminally underrated genre (and am working on a dieselpunk setting of my own), so I was excited enough by the concept of Fuel Priest when we sat down to play, but if I had known what I was in for, I would have been practically ravenous for this game. In the 34 pages of their current design, the folks at Timeless Caverns have created a game driven by hope, desperation, and reverence, where characters are defined by their kinship with their tools and their various interpretations of a common dogma. It’s a work of elegant design married to exciting and timely narrative themes, and I can’t wait to play it again, or see the next step in its evolution.
From there, we ate a quick lunch, and Miki went to play Brodie’s Here Is My Power Button, which I’ll let them write about. After navigating a logistical hall of mirrors, I found myself playing Elliot Baker’s Tiny and Chrome, a Lego-based car combat game in homage to Mad Max: Fury Road. While I don’t speak from a wealth of experience, this was easily the most fun I have ever had playing a miniatures game—intuitive rules ensured that each turn passed quickly, and playing with five other people meant that the board state changed explosively every round.
And, finally, we ran a game of our own Stars Fall Up! I did a terrible job of explaining the rules, but it didn’t take long for our shared story to take off into a madcap Pilot City full of gondolas and ziplines, werewolf law, and suspicious turtles, which culminated in a boss battle against a Voltron made of Radio Shacks beneath a total eclipse of Planet Marsha. Huge thanks to Dylan, Brodie, and Aaron for checking out our game and lending your splendid imaginations to our evening! And huge thanks as well to Modern Myths and the organizers of JiffyCon 2017, for giving us the infrastructure we needed to expand our community, meet new people, and feel like Real Life Professionals!
BloodLetterPress careens forward into November with more fresh content coming to you a couple times a week here on our website. Our Extra Life fundraiser culminates on November 14th in a 24-hour video game stream on our Twitch channel, which coincides with a DEATHWRITE: DEATHNOWRIMO 2017 EDITION for you writers out there. Until then, we hope your Halloween is the best ever!