Monthly Archives: March 2015


This morning I started thinking about faith, and what that means to me. I’ll get into how I started thinking about later on, but I figured I’d start with some clarifications.

I don’t have faith in gods, or religion, and I find it somewhat farcical that people do. As an atheist, I just find the idea of trusting in some higher power to come to your aid to be ridiculous – even the worst holy texts usually have some message of “God helps those who help themselves” and religion is supposed to supply a willpower and drive to help one attain their goals, not be a wish-fulfilment strategy.

I work with religious colleagues (which has had its own interesting tales) and what I usually see is that their religion is a background thing, something that supports them without being their drive. I can respect that, and they respect my lack of it, and it works quite well.

But that isn’t what I meant to talk about. What I meant to talk about was that while I don’t have faith in the traditional sense[1], I still hold faith – I have faith in people.

Now, that shouldn’t be taken in a “I have faith in humanity” sense or a “I have faith that people will usually do the right thing” sense because both those statements are to one degree or another, bollocks. It’s very difficult to have faith in someone you don’t know, and that is part of the problem with faith – it’s a “complete trust or confidence” and giving that without knowing someone is difficult.

Particular examples of people I have faith in are some of my friends who are having some trouble right now. One of them is facing various difficulties and is worrying about whether they’ll be able to attain their goals given all of the obstacles that keep coming up along the way. I have faith that they will achieve those goals, and that they’ll be stronger for it (and I’m doing my best to help clear away some of the obstacles); I have faith that they’ll pull through despite the odds and get everything they wanted. The second person is having their own troubles – facing off against difficult health issues that it’s difficult to go through alone, and harder to ask for help with. I have faith that they will get through it, that they’ll overcome the hardships, and that they trust me to help where I can. It’s much more difficult to help in this case, but I have to have faith that they know that they have my support and that they will tell me when they want me to be involved (or I’d go crazy).

And that’s why I wanted to make this post: not to espouse on my religious views (or lack of them), and not to make a statement, but to let them know that I have faith in them and I will continue to support them as best as I can. I have faith in my friends, and sometimes you have to remind them of that.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. While American dictionaries seem to list the religious definition first, I hold to the Oxford Dictionary definition which lists “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something” as the primary meaning of faith

[YouTube] TIE Fighter

OtaKing77077 has created an 80s-anime-style short film based on TIE Fighter pilots. Aptly enough, it’s called TIE Fighter. It’s only 7 minutes long, but it’s amazing in terms of detail and the effort that’s gone into it. I could clearly identify everything going on (but I’m a Star Wars geek) and while it had no dialogue (instead having a rock soundtrack) you didn’t need to hear what the characters were saying.

Roughly speaking, an Imperial probe droid discovers a Rebel fleet and an Imperial picket squadron hypers in to crush them. The focus on detail and the abilities of the various ships and fighters involved tells me that either OtaKing has seriously done his research, or is as much of a fan as I am (probably both).

There were two points that stuck out at me during it. The first is that the TIE Bomber pilot featured is female – a state of affairs unlikely in the Imperial Navy under Palpatine; and the second is the unlikely squadron of a TIE Interceptor, TIE Fighter, and TIE Bomber, which only makes sense from the perspective of (a) awesome, and (b) the Fighter and Interceptor running at a lower speed than rated so they can peel off to take on threats and still catch up with the Bomber. So, that second point actually does make some sense, and the first point can go screw itself.

Enjoy the film if you haven’t seen it already.

[YouTube] TomSka

YouTuber TomSka is one of my favourite comedic artists on YouTube. He’s been making sketches for a while[1] and his talent has greatly improved in that time.

He has a solid grasp on professional editing and what makes his sketches pop rather than languish, and I’m not the only one to pick up on his talent – he was recently featured on, and has also done videos for the BBC, Cancer Research UK, and more.

His sketches introduced me to other comedic talent on YouTube including Jack And Dean, Crabstickz, Tim H, and more. As with several other successful YouTubers, collaborations are common, and he’s been involved in few collaborations with what I think of as the RocketJump crowd (Freddie Wong and friends).

If you haven’t seen any of TomSka’s sketches, there’s a few here I’d highly recommend:

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. 7 years or so

[Awakening] Siriche

Siriche (Seeker in Gaelic) is a man driven by the urge to restore his dead fiancée to life. In his Awakening, he bound her soul to his and now he seeks a way to make her whole once more.

After he Awoke, he was found by local Brilu who taught him the ways of magic and of their traditions. A foreigner to their traditions, he never quite felt at home there, though he couldn’t doubt the presence of Badb Catha over his Awakening – the crows that watched him have never left his memory.

He has adopted their traditions as his own, even becoming passably proficient in Gaelic (though his pronunciation leaves a lot to be desired). Even they couldn’t help him forever, and he returned to the city he left long ago. The mages of the cities are quite different and their traditions are alien to the ones Siriche learned in the highlands. Their lore is no less useful for that though. He has learned their ways as well – becoming a scion of two very different Awakened worlds.

Now a Silver Ladder, he pursues the paths of power wherever they may lead him in order to accomplish his impossible goal. As a Crow (Moros), he has skill in the arcana of Death and Matter which allows him to produce sufficient means that a mundane career is not an issue, leaving him free to seek arcane matters.

Regarding costume (as I didn’t have a clear enough idea of the character when I did my costuming post), Siriche is a Silver Ladder and a Moros, but importantly he’s also Brilu which means he adopts other arcane symbology than the norm. What I’m thinking is a sharp shirt, possibly a suit jacket, with quality trousers (but not necessarily suit trousers). Accessories include a silver crow’s skull pendant[1].

Inspirations include:

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Thanks to Bobbie for helping me pick out the right pendant

[Requiem] Charles Morganti

My Requiem character for the post-reset Isles of Darkness chronicle is Charles Morganti. He’s a Daeva Invictus/Crone; he’s around 200 years old; and he is not a very nice person. The following is something of a work in progress tracking the development of the character.

Character inspirations for Charles include:

Alternately flamboyant and reserved, Charles could almost be seen to have issues with maintaining a single personality. The truth is that he is bored, and in an effort to make things more entertaining brings out these flamboyances to drive interesting circumstances.

He is a patron of the Dark Goddess, though his primary allegiance is to the Invictus – there is politics, and there is religion, and the two need not collide.

As a means of income and diversion, Charles maintains a stable of willing sycophants and dolls available for the right price to any customer. Prices vary by the customer, and his bordello is quite the den of sins of all varieties.

He was sired in London in the early half of the nineteenth century by the Daeva Invictus known as Aurelia Morganti. He quickly came to appreciate the new appetites of the kindred, and became quite skilled in the manipulation of kine. Having a financial background, he took well to the moneyed politics of the Invictus, and secured a modest status there, while he became drawn to the Circle of the Crone over the next hundred years – somewhat to the disgust of some of his peers.

He took neither side during the war, content to watch as others scurried about in the fighting. Now that the fighting is done, he sees Edinburgh as somewhere to find some excitement and has made efforts towards moving his places of business in that direction.


[Fiction] Preparation

A bit of fiction for my No Rest for the Wicked character, an Imperial Knight pilot.

He waits, the time is not ready yet. The flask of amasec dangles in his fingers. One more swig, and it’s stoppered and away, the ritual focusing him for the moment. Entering his code, he starts the activation process and settles back in the iron throne. Snake-like cables burst out from the chair, seeking their targets.

The articulated nerve plugs hang in the air for a moment, seeking the graft-sockets embedded in his flesh. A pause in motion then the plugs slam into place, whirring locks engaging as data spikes slide into nerve channels, momentary discomfort echoing through twitching nerves as the Throne’s systems become one with his own. His skull, neck, and forearms throb from the new connections.

The instincts of the Throne seep into him, the half-heard whispers echoing down his spine as he begins the transformation to his true self – the iron self that knows true war.

In a true Sanctuary, the Throne Mechanicum would descend into the waiting Knight before the knight is linked into its systems. For a Knight at war, this is less of an option, and he reaches up to connect and lock the hardlink systems.

His fingers twitch as he becomes more than a man, nerves becoming synonymous with circuitry; sensors come up, lighting up his visual cortex; servos engage, replacing flesh and blood with machine and oil. Seeing with the eyes of a god, he strides out onto the waiting field.

Menials scatter as a slow pace becomes a stride then a run. The ion fields kick in, and the shield on his left arm flickers into readiness. The power lance that is his right arm crackles with lightning. The partner to his soul rises up to greet him, his thirst for battle met by that of the machine of which he is part. He is no longer just Trysten Martinus Ariakin, he is Fulgida Lancea and he is charging into war once more.

Straight Razor Cabaret

My new Vampire: the Requiem character for the Isles of Darkness is more than a little based on a character I created for a PBeM Vampire: the Masquerade game.

One of the main differences is that my Requiem character is male, while the Masquerade character was female. One of the things I did to solidify that character in my mind was write the following fiction piece. Some people may prefer not to read it due to triggers or just plain unpleasantness, so I’ve placed it under a cut.

I’m not sure how well it would stand up to being gender-switched, which may be a flaw in my writing – not that I’m going to claim excellent ability at writing in the first place.

For those who might recognise it, some of the character inspirations come from Aurelio Voltaire’s songs, specifically Straight Razor Caberet and Cathouse Tragedy. Continue reading Straight Razor Cabaret

Con Man

Want to see Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk working together again? On a spaceship? With Nathan as the captain, and Alan as the pilot?

Unfortunately it’s not a Firefly reboot, but the parallels are obvious. Con Man is a web series being written by Alan Tudyk that retells some of the convention experiences he’s experienced over the years since Firefly, centring around Wray Nerely, an actor from a fictional sci-fi show that was cancelled too soon by a network. While his best friend Jack Moore (played by Nathan) has rocketed to fame, Wray hasn’t had anything else of note, and languishes in the convention circuit.

You know what? Alan explains it better. Watch the video.

Have you watched it yet? No? Go watch it!

Watched it? Good. So Alan put together an Indiegogo campaign for his new show idea because he didn’t want to be beholden to network schedules, guests, approvals, and all of that nonsense. He wanted to be able to make his own show the way he wanted it. So he asked the fans to help out.

He asked for $425,000 – enough for three episodes of the twelve in the first season. At time of writing, he’s at $2,217,875 and rising. That’s fully funded all twelve episodes and more besides. There’s another 22 days left in the campaign, so who knows what else might come out – the next stretch goal will get a comic for the fictional sci-fi show written.

Where am I going with this? Well, if you want to support Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion in making something awesome, then go to the Con Man Indiegogo campaign and put in a few dollars (or just enjoy the videos already published).

Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest ClineReady Player One by Ernest Kline is a book I really enjoy. I’ve read it a few times now, and this recent reading seems to have haunted me a little.

I decided on Wednesday morning that I was going to start re-reading it. Wednesday night, I put it down (finished) having only stopped reading it while I was in the office. Oops.

Thanks to Loot Crate‘s Play Crate from February, I actually now have two copies – which may have been the inspiration to re-read it. Halfway through it, I decided to recommend it to one of my colleagues, and offer to loan it to them. Turns out I didn’t need to. This is where the haunting aspects came in.

Thursday, I talk to my colleague, having finished it again in a day (oops), and discover it’s the next book on his reading list. Coincidence, I think, but awesome. Then last night I’m watching the TableTop Cards Against Humanity episode (NSFW[1], NSFC[2], NSFA[3]) and one of the guests is Laina Morris (Overly Attached Girlfriend). So I go and check out her channel on YouTube, and at the end of the first video I watch, she recommends an audiobook of Ready Player One read by Wil Wheaton.

So that was weird.

Anyway, I love this book. It’s geeky and it doesn’t pretend to be anything different. It’s full of trivia and media icons from the 80’s and follows the story of a geeky fat kid who ends up becoming an OASIS superstar, beating the bad guys and getting the girl along the way. Yes, that’s cliche but it’s the story full of them. In an age where you have virtual reality worlds freely available with modding potential far above that of Second Life that has effectively replaced the internet (and the real world for some people), there’s a story based around 80’s classics and text adventure games. And that’s awesome.

Maybe there’s a little too much “orphan raised by his aunt has all his family and friends killed then goes out and brings down the evil empire with nothing more than pluck and a few loyal friends”[4] but that doesn’t matter – it doesn’t stop it being a good read.

Seriously, stop reading this and go read Ready Player One instead.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Not Safe For Work
2. Not Safe For Children
3. Not Safe For Anyone
4. the plot to Star Wars and a few other enterprises

Characters and Costume

Recently I’ve been thinking about characters and costume. Namely about new characters for the Isles of Darkness, my newly concepted character for No Rest for the Wicked, and my slightly older concept for Stargate.

The thing about LARPs is that they need costume to make the characters feel real, and the thing about costume is that it can get expensive. My current main NPC for No Rest for the Wicked has £200-300 worth of costume I bought just for him – and that’s not even my own character.

So what am I thinking to pick up? Well, let’s start with the No Rest for the Wicked character, Trysten Martinus Ariakin. Trysten is an Imperial Knight, a warrior who glories on the field of battle encased in a machine of war perfectly synced to his reflexes. His costume has to reflect who he is, and the practicalities of his profession. I’ve made him more augmented that strictly necessary with extra nerve grafts for speed and agility. The forearm plugs from these need phys-repped (as do his neck plugs) and they need factored into his costume as well. What this means is that I’m looking at a sleeveless top under a more military jacket – practicality under uniform.

Sleeveless top: Punk Rave Steampunk Zipped Tshirt
Jacket: Punk Rave Embroidered Velvet Jacket (for dress occasions), Necessary Evil Loki Jacket for everyday
Trousers: Necessary Evil Mephisto Trousers
Plugs: something like these may be the basis of my hard-plug sockets Plumbsure Diaphragm Washers

Next up, my Requiem character for the Isles of Darkness – Charles Morganti. He’s a Daeva Invictus/Crone, which means he should be making a statement with what he wears, but may be open to bending tradition. He’s around 200 years old, so his tastes run a little more to the Victorian than modern day, but he’s been around long enough to adapt to more modern dress. I picked up a nice black (could be charcoal) shirt from a charity shop, and I may match it up with my black brocade trousers. While charity shopping, I found a (ladies) coat that would have been perfect if it wasn’t too small and that has sent me on a quest for the perfect coat for the character. I may have found it, but it won’t be cheap.

Coat: The Dark Angel Allerton Jacket
Trousers: also from The Dark Angel, but not available at the moment

My Forsaken character for the Isles of Darkness – as yet unnamed – is a Storm Lord living in the country. Various aspects of the character were unclear to me until I found a tweed-lined green bodywarmer in a charity shop. This has solidified the idea of who he is in my head, as obviously he’s landed to some degree, has lots of money and a shotgun collection, and is known for hunting at odd hours on the moors. Thinking about it, I may need to go back an buy a flatcap from the charity shops as well.

My current Lost character concept for the Isles of Darkness is a tribute to Delboy Trotter, CMOT Dibbler, and other such characters. A hawker of wares who can buy or sell anything for the right price, and has a range of Gen-U-Ine products guaranteed to do something, even if it’s not what you needed.

A character I haven’t really spoken about at all before now is my potential Stargate character. I’ve crewed a couple of events, but it’s only relatively recently that I picked up the concept. He’s an “analyst”, specialising in languages, branched out into some covert ops. Still playing around with the idea.

So I think that without even trying that puts me at £300 of new kit to buy this year, and I find myself wanting to buy it all now when I should really be spacing this out over the year. It’s a little annoying when that happens. And that’s not including the new weapons I’ll inevitably want to go with them (like the £115 custom rapier I just received from Skian Mhor).