Sunday, March 19, 2017

Some Sci-Fi Stuff



Here are a couple sci-fi things I made a weirdo energy glove thingy and a phasing energy scarf. I may make up some stats for my current game I am running in meatspace: Numenera. As always, I dig comments, questions, and suggestions.


What I wear is an expression of who I am.

 
A knife dancer. Art By: Me

Author's Note: Here is more information about the Manukari, a group I have based upon: the Romani, Indian Culture, and Noh & Kabuki theater. I have also included 4 magic pieces of head-wear that are commonly used by the Manukari. The first post about the Manukari can be found at this LINK. The Manukari are part of the Dreamland setting I am slowly working on, which can be found at this LINK. The systems I used to make the magic items are: OSR / LotFP / AD&D, Into the Odd, and Pits & Perils. I am willing to convert these things to over systems by request. As always, I look forward to any comments, suggestions, or questions you may have.

But Who Are They Really?
They are like any other group of people, filled with saints and monsters while the majority live between. There are those who revel in the richness of their own culture, while others forsake it for another. In the end, they are human, and in being so have no single story, but rather a multitude from every individual.

A common factor, as common as individuality would allow, is a love for dance and music. One might blame the blood and its influence of genes, while others might point to culture, however, the Manukari hold that it is their souls that call them to love the rhythm of step and strum.

Their magic is based in song and dance, and from it they are capable of wonders both terrible and great. Accordingly, their arcane crafts are focused upon song, dance, and pageantry. One might find these creations in bazaars in far lands, or pawned in dingy shops nearby. While at one time they held their creations dear, their fall from grace has lead to times that become leaner by the day.

A Manukari child dressed in traditional clothing. Art By: Me

With the youth abandoning their caravan homes for sessile life in cities, the nomadic families have become thinner with years. In the hopes that new blood might reinvigorate the Manukari culture, the elders have been allowing those who prove to possess an Atmamanu (a Manukari wise soul) to join their families. Others who assist the families, and show honor, are allowed to journey through the lands with them, or are given rare gifts as a sign of the Manukari's favor.

Perhaps you might hear more of these vibrant, but enigmatic people, perhaps not. A storyteller tells stories as their mood strikes them, and this one may wish to remain silent on the tales of the Manukari. What is less perplexing is their arcane crafts, which I lay before you, an offering for you to take or leave as you please.

Headdresses and Masks
Part of the Manukari culture when concerning dance and song is pageantry. It is not merely enough to dance and make music, one must show outward signs of the message being communicated. Each headdress or mask is linked to a set of dances, each set having its own theme. To gain the benefits of these magical crafts one must dance or make music for a short time before the piece awakens to bestow its blessing. The amount of time needed in order to awake the headdress or mask differs from piece to piece. It is up to the GM/System as to what constitutes a successful roll to dance/make music.

Head-Wear of the Manukari. Art By: Me

I – Headdress of Thana Muse of the Dead
This headdress is used during funeral rites, at the bedsides of the dying, and places where the dead have become restless.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 1 Hour
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer are immune to the pains caused by death, though not the effects themselves.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus necromantic or death effects. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 4 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a bonus to their AC against undead creatures. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st.
The wearer is capable of striking incorporeal undead with any weapon they are wielding as if the undead was corporeal.

Into the Odd
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 1 Hour
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer are immune to the pains caused by death, though not the effects themselves.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus Arcana and other supernatural effects that drain Strength or effect the soul of the individual. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The wearer gains a bonus to their armor against undead creatures. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The wearer is capable of striking incorporeal beings with any weapon they are wielding as if the being was corporeal.

Pits & Perils
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 1 Hour
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer are immune to the pains caused by death, though not the effects themselves.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus necromantic or death effects. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 4 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a bonus to their Hits when attacked by undead creatures. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 2 levels after the 1st. (Hits lost only refresh if the the headdress is reactivated).
The wearer is capable of striking incorporeal undead with any weapon they are wielding as if the undead was corporeal.

A dancer wearing a Mask of Shivsa. Art By: Me

II – Mask of Shivsa Muse of Blades
The mask is warn by those who guard the Manukari caravans, or during the rare instances a family caravan goes to war. Those who wear these masks tend to wield long-knives and shorts-words.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Dance/Music Requirement: 1 Turn (10 Rounds)
Benefit Duration: 4 Hours
Benefits:
The wearer gains a bonus to AC in combat. At 1st level the bonus is +1, this bonus increases by +1 for every 4 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a bonus to-hit with Slashing weapons. At 1st level the bonus is +1, this bonus increases by +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a +50% bonus to their movement rate.

Into the Odd
Dance/Music Requirement: 10 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 4 Hours
Benefits:
The wearer gains a bonus to their Armor in combat. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The damage die of Slashing weapons wielded by the wearer increases by 1 step, even when impaired the lowest damage a Slashing weapon may do is 1D6.
The wearer gains a +50% bonus to their movement rate.

Pits & Perils
Dance/Music Requirement: 1 Turn (10 Rounds)
Benefit Duration: 4 Hours
Benefits:
The wearer gains a bonus to their Hits in combat. At 1st level the bonus is +1, this bonus increases by +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st. (Hits lost only refresh if the the headdress is reactivated).
The wearer gains a bonus to-hit with Slashing weapons. At 1st level the bonus is +1, this bonus increases by +1 at level 8.
The wearer gains a +50% bonus to their movement rate. 

A dancer wearing an unnamed mask. Art By: Me
 
III – Mask of Kossa Muse of the Wounded
This mask is worn by healers and doctors, granting them the ability to heal fresh wounds, aide the poisoned and sick, as well as regenerate lost limbs (though at a cost to themselves).

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Dance/Music Requirement: Any
Benefit Duration: The benefits of the mask only function while the wearer is dancing, plus for 1 round afterward.
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) heal 1 point of damage per round.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus poison and disease. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a bonus to their AC while dancing. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st.
The wearer is capable of regenerating the lost limbs of others, however each time this is done the wearer loses a digit off their hands or feet. While this may be done a few number of times without ill effects, too many fingers lost will mean an individual is unable to hold items, while the loss of a big toe will severely effect someone's balance. When the digits are lost, the individual feels no pain, and a smooth patch of skin is left where the digit once was.

Into the Odd
Dance/Music Requirement: Any
Benefit Duration: The benefits of the mask only function while the wearer is dancing, plus for 1 round afterward.
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) heal 1 point of damage per round. This healing does not effect points lost from stats.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus poison and disease. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The wearer gains a bonus to their armor while dancing. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The wearer is capable of regenerating the lost limbs of others, however each time this is done the wearer loses a digit off their hands or feet. While this may be done a few number of times without ill effects, too many fingers lost will mean an individual is unable to hold items, while the loss of a big toe will severely effect someone's balance. When the digits are lost, the individual feels no pain, and a smooth patch of skin is left where the digit once was.

Pits & Perils
Dance/Music Requirement: Any
Benefit Duration: The benefits of the mask only function while the wearer is dancing, plus for 1 round afterward.
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) 1 Hit of damage per round.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus poison and disease. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 4 levels after the 1st.
The number required to hit the character while they are dancing increases by 1. 10 to 12 for 1 Hit and 13 for 2 Hits. This increase means that only individuals and monsters with bonuses to-hit are capable of scoring 2 Hits on the dancer.
The wearer is capable of regenerating the lost limbs of others, however each time this is done the wearer loses a digit off their hands or feet. While this may be done a few number of times without ill effects, too many fingers lost will mean an individual is unable to hold items, while the loss of a big toe will severely effect someone's balance. When the digits are lost, the individual feels no pain, and a smooth patch of skin is left where the digit once was.

An unmasked Manukari woman. Art By: Me

IV – Headdress of Tellov Muse of Ways and Roads
These headdresses are worn by caravan masters/mistresses, as well as those assigned to guide members of the Manukari.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 2 Hours
Benefits:
Anyone within 10 feet of the wearer is able to see perfectly in any natural lighting condition, be it low-light or complete darkness.
The wearer is able to see perfectly through any type of darkness, even magical darkness. Furthermore, the wearer may see through fog and smoke without hindered.
The wearer is enabled to find the shortest, most direct route that he or she is seeking, be it the way to or from or out of a locale. The locale can be outdoors or underground, a trap but not from spells like the maze spell. The ability will enable the wearer to select the correct direction which will eventually lead him or her to egress, the exact path to follow (or actions to take).

Into the Odd
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 2 Hours
Benefits:
Anyone within 10 feet of the wearer is able to see perfectly in any natural lighting condition, be it low-light or complete darkness.
The wearer is able to see perfectly through any type of darkness, even magical darkness. Furthermore, the wearer may see through fog and smoke without hindered.
The wearer is enabled to find the shortest, most direct route that he or she is seeking, be it the way to or from or out of a locale. The locale can be outdoors or underground, a trap but not from confinement created through supernatural means. The ability will enable the wearer to select the correct direction which will eventually lead him or her to egress, the exact path to follow (or actions to take).

Pits & Perils
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 2 Hours
Benefits:
Anyone within 10 feet of the wearer is able to see perfectly in any natural lighting condition, be it low-light or complete darkness.
The wearer is able to see perfectly through any type of darkness, even magical darkness. Furthermore, the wearer may see through fog and smoke without hindered.
The wearer is enabled to find the shortest, most direct route that he or she is seeking, be it the way to or from or out of a locale. The locale can be outdoors or underground, a trap but not from spells like the maze spell. The ability will enable the wearer to select the correct direction which will eventually lead him or her to egress, the exact path to follow (or actions to take).

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

And they wept upon the shores of dream and memory.

The Dance of Edges and Blades. Art By: Me
 
Author's Note: Here is a legend of the Manukari, a group I have based upon: the Romani, Indian Culture, and Noh & Kabuki theater. I plan on expanding on them further, but I wanted to present this part to see what others think. This culture is an expansion on my Dreamland setting (LINK). I would really dig hearing your opinion as well as suggestions for possible sources of inspiration.

Manukari
Left behind to dance the dance of dreams and sing the songs of sleep, performing along waking shores of Rem. Once nobility in the court of a dreaming king, grand lords and ladies, their right to rule founded in a talent for expression. Each bent knee and will to the wounded poet king Eoin Leutz, a lord lamed by a mundane world made hard by casual cruelty.

King Eoin with his wise court in tow crossed the world, collecting creators whom mundane society had little use for. They became an avalanche of dances, stories, and music as they moved over countrysides made almost monochrome in earthen hues. Towns, bored as any place mired in the mundane, celebrated their coming and became melancholy at their departure.

I think I may start making collages again. Collage By: Me

In time the king and his court became too wondrous for a quotidian world, soon finding themselves on the shores of the Rem Sea. Upon its prismatic waters, the pier-city of Traumstadt was founded, the stone of its construction mined from the petrified bodies of stillborn gods. Having never emerged completely from the waters of birth, the dead deities stood like small mountains out of dream waters.

Wounded in both spirit and flesh, the king soon grew tired of his city, wanting for better lands on which to gain respite. Taking half his court with him, he set off across the dreaming waters to find a true Dreamland, one that did more than merely act as a border to sleep. Leaving incredible wealth to those who remained, a wealth he refused to tell of its acquisition, he left for places that may have only been fantasy.

King Eoin's final commandment: dance, sing, and speak of fine things, call to the dreams of all until the king calls. There, upon the shores of Rem, those that remained sat a wept when they remembered their king. Soon their tears would run bitter, as they were made paupers from nobility.



Eoin had left Bahram, his bastard son born of a dalliance between the king and a living poem, to reign over those remaining who had taken to calling themselves the Manukari. Soon, Bahram's heart was made dark through the whispers of Marchen, turning him from the Manukari. Tales twist into arenas both true and false when called to make testament of the nature of Marchen: some say man and others woman, some speak of one and others many, some say old while others speak of youth.

Bahram cast out the Manukari from Traumstadt, calling them thieves and lairs in tones that the people would believe. Now, made to survive by hand and wit alone, they wait for their king upon the shores of Rem, at times weeping for his memory.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

To be both insignificant and great, is to be a god.

I like the color version I did of this better...

So, I wasn't really happy with the general style of the last picture, after reading about the origins of the Romani. Fun fact: according to genetic research done in 2012 they most likely originated from what is now North-Western India. So, I am going for a much more Eastern Indian look. This pic is of a 'knife dancer' who fulfills the roll of guardian, entertainer, clown, and philosopher in the Manukari culture (butchered Sanskrit: Manu - Wise, Kari - Artist). So, if anyone is actually fluent in Sanskrit, I would be very grateful for a correct translation of what I am going for here. I have worked on some more weird musical instruments, and I am in the process of making ceremonial headdresses/headpieces/masks. Having studied quite a bit of Hindu philosophy in college, I really ought to do more with the culture in my writing, since its woefully underrepresented in RPG's. So, yeah... The game I run got canceled for tomorrow night, so I should be ready to post by tomorrow. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I shall dance the dance of life


So, I tried a more classic comic-book style with this pic. This is a member of the people who are the makers of the weird musical instruments. I have yet to come up with a name for them, though I am basing them on the Romani due to the close association of music with their culture. I plan on using the Romani mythology as a basis for their origins. So yeah, if you have any recommendations or suggestions for improvement, please let me know!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I shall strum the strings of fate itself to lull the Norns to sleep



Just a couple strange instruments I made for a possible musically based post later. As always, I am open to whatever folks may have to say.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A good composer does not imitate, he steals.


Weird stringed instrument heads. Art By: Me

Author's Note: Above is a few sketches for a random generator I am working on: a random stringed instrument generator. I want to create a generator that has multiple different instrument heads, necks, and bodies, with each part granting a different minor ability. As you can see from the first 'head', I took the term very literally, and then ran with the idea: this thing I did with the 'head' will come into play later in the article. In this article I talk about a couple books that I think have some awesome advice for people who actively create new things, and want those things to be noticed by the wider world. Later in the article I lay out one technique I use to come up with my own weird ideas. I really would dig hearing about how you go about getting your inspiration, or anything you do as part of your own creative process. So, please, leave a comment and let me know how you do those awesome things you do.

So... Why did I write this post?
In my constant pursuit of becoming a better writer and creator, I have read a couple short books written to help me in my quest. Both books are by Austin Kleon: Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. Steal Like an Artist focuses on how to find inspiration and how to apply it to your own work. Show Your Work focuses on getting noticed on the net, and how to do it in a way that builds up a community and not just yourself.

I won't give away all the secrets of these two books, because Austin Kleon deserves the money he gets from the sale of these things. They both are short, and are filled with a lot of why-didn't-I-think-of-that information. Some of the stuff you may already know, but unless you're already an expert, you'll at least find some new and valuable information.

What I am going to do is cover a couple ideas presented in the books in the hopes that they can help others in creating and sharing their work.

Ideas are like Lego's: you can't make new one's, but you can combine them to create an infinity of new works.

Do then teach, wash rinse repeat
One of the central theme's in 'Show Your Work' is that successful creators don't hide their techniques, rather they share them. He gives quite a few examples of famous folks who make it a point to share their 'trade secrets', and how doing so has made them even more successful. One reason to do this is by sharing your techniques, other folks may be able to give you advice on how to improve them. Another reason is that by helping others you can help foster a community of like minded folks, which can be an awesome resource for yourself and everyone else when it comes time to start making stuff. Really, go buy the book, because its advice is great.

My 'Secret'
So, now I am going to go over tool/technique I use to come up with ideas.

YOINK!!!
Steal. Steal every concept and idea you come in contact with, and hide it in a notebook. I carry a notebook around (a moleskine because I am a wannabe hipster/pretentious) wherever I go and write down cool ideas I see, or weird ones that come to me. 75% percent of the stuff in my notebook will never see the light of day again, but that's okay. The idea is that you hoard every idea you encounter, so that when it comes time to come up with something new, you will never be at a loss.

Naturally, concerns about plagiarism will bounce through your head as you read this, but have no fear, I have an answer for this. Steal a lot, then mix it together. Wanna know something? There hasn't been a truly new idea for at least a century, if not more; look hard enough, and you'll find that someone came up with the basis for the idea you just had more than a century before you were born. What matters is how you combine ideas, and how you present them.

Think of ideas and concepts as Lego’s, little pre-made bits that you can combine in so many different ways that you might as call it infinite. There are so many creative and incredible things being made by the Lego fan community, I recommend you look some of the stuff up to see how folks can express themselves using pre-made objects.


So, back to the YOINK. Steal all the stuff you think is cool, and then combine them, more than likely you do it already subconsciously. The main idea is steal a lot of stuff, and combine as many as possible into one project; the more ideas in a single project the more original it will be.

One thing I like doing to get ideas is to take metaphor and simile literally. Here are some examples of how my technique works.

The cafĂ© was like a battleship stripped for action.” The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.
Ideas: Weird industrial cafe (maybe in a factory). A cafe in a metal boat (maybe re-purposed?). A metropolitan city, filled with hip places like clubs and cafes, built from and into an old/ancient gigantic battleship.

...and they turned back over the plain toward the rocket, whose ports gleamed afar like a row of staring eyes.” The Lotus Eaters by Stanley G. Weinbaum.
Ideas: So a rocket is kinda like a tower, so perhaps a tower covered with eyes that stare out. A fleshy/biological tower, the tower being a single creature, a creature grown for a specific purpose. An artificial structure, the eyes acting like stylized laser cannons; maybe the eye theme is there as part of a religious structure.

Scrawled mounds of stone, like mountain waves, seemed to roll up to steep bare slopes and towers.” Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey.
Ideas: An ancient and deserted city, buildings built onto one another in ever growing peaks. The city itself is the size of a small mountain range.

In Conclusion
I am going to periodically write these things in the hopes of helping others, and for others to help me improve my own techniques. As I stated before, I really would dig hearing about how you go about getting your inspiration, or anything you do as part of your own creative process. So, please, leave a comment and let me know how you do those awesome things you do.