Goblinstomper! Development Diary (XXVIII) – Fiddling, Puzzle, Doors

Time slips away from us all.  I apparently thought I had more hours today than the actual 24, and didn’t get all done what I intended.  But I did get some work done.

Another Fiddling With Maps

One of the great things about writing, in general, is how fluid it can be.  Ideas that seemed great one day are replaced the next by hopefully better ones the next.  And if those better ones aren’t so hot, they can always go to the wayside.

For instance:

gs-development-070

This was the original map I had the first time I tried making a game.  Not too shabby, I thought then.

I reach this point last week, though, and I thought better.  I wanted puzzles.  Not great puzzles, maybe, but something.

My first thought was switches and doors.  Flip the right sequence of switches to open the door.  That sort of thing.

In fiddling with that, I made closes walls and doors, as mentioned in the earlier post.  I also dumped the door idea and went back to calling up a bridge, like I’d done at a MUCH earlier stage.

All of these ideas lead to a change in the map.  Like so:

gs-development-071

Not too shabby, but, as I said before, I’d lost the maze aspect to the proceedings, and I liked the maze.

Thus after what passes for a lot of thought with me, I went back to the old map.  But with some changes:

gs-development-073

I’m going to call this done for now.  I can fiddle with things until the cows come home and still want to fiddle some more.  Best to set it on the shelf and move on (though I might get some Door Events ready just to give it a better look while I test it out.)

My work here brings up two further points I’d like to discuss with you.  If for no other reason than to keep this from being two posts in a row on the same flarking area.

Puzzling Out Some Puzzles

One of the things holding me back on this part was the puzzle.  I kept thinking that it had to relate to those little matters I set up in the woods.  Needed to be switches, that sort of thing.  Only how many of these things could I make without them becoming derivative and cliché?  Which wouldn’t be long, as sequence switches are ALREADY derivative and cliché.

Just like them, is all.

Anyways, to circle back to an earlier point, I suddenly changed what this first act was about.  This was the tutorial act.  The act where I show the various features of the game, then expanded on in the later acts.

Thus inspiration came.  Go crystal:gs-development-075

The Player touched the crystal and a bridge appears.  Or a door opens.  Depending on the situation.

Not any different from a switch, you say?  Well on the next floor I set up three crystals.  Turn one off and the one next to it turns on or off, depending on what lit or not.  It’s no more original than the switches, but, again, I like it.

For the next point, allow me to draw your attention to the lower right corner of the above image.  You know what’s there?

Obviously a Door

Sure, it’s a door:

gs-development-076

This brings up an interesting little point.  Or at least it was an interesting point for me; you’re mileage might vary.

With the perspective of this game, you can’t just have doors in just any wall.  It needs to be demonstrated to the Player to be used by the Player.  Am I right or am I right?

That’s where those silly shadows on the floor come in.  Put in the right place, they say door just as surely as a doorway.

The shadow could be drawn a little smaller than that.  I considered it a bit, then rejected it.  Didn’t look right to me.

Still, it behooves me to show what the gap in the shadow means.  I was thinking of redesigning an earlier map anyways (LATER!), so I’ll no doubt do it then.  Might even have it in a few other places, just to be sure.

Not the greatest point, again, but who knows?  Maybe it’ll be vital for me to know and now I have a place to look for it.

When Life Hands You Lemons, Tell Life You Don’t Like Lemons and Hand Them Back. Unless You DO Like Lemons. In That Case the Polite Thing to Do Is Thank Life For the Gift.

I had a whole Goblinstomper! post raring to go.  Was happily writing it up in my head, getting screen shots, the works.  Only when I sat down to write the post, I learned that a vital screen shot was absent.  The only way to get said shot would be to remove all the work I’d done, and, ha ha, I love this site and all, but not that much.  So no post on that.  Suffice to say the game advances, and hopefully I’ll get something I can share with y’all tomorrow.

It might be script work, it might be game, I dunno.  It will be Goblinstomper! and it will be me moving forward.  That’s what matters about that.

This leaves me with a lot of nothing to talk about today.  As that was the worst thing to happen to me, We’re going to put February 17, 2017 in the good day file (fingers cross for the few hours remaining.)

As I vowed not to have posts up that just say I have nothing going on postwise, it behooves me to come up with something to talk about.

Thus a couple of things spring to mind:

One:  I’ve mentioned elsewhere that they’ve canceled the potential Friday the 13th reboot/remake/sequel/thing.  That same link gives you my thoughts on how a reboot etc. should go, so I won’t go into it here.

However, today the website Bloody Disgusting (such a name) posted a synopsis of the proposed film, and mein Gott have Friday the 13th fans missed a bullet.  A complete disaster, that’s what that sounded like.  You want a perfect example of over thinking what should be a very simple premise, here it is.  Three killers!  One after the other.  There’s no way there’s going to be anything close to the original series standard of characterization.  A particular bar that’s oh so very low.

Two: While looking up the link for the previous thing, I discovered that there’s going to be a new series based on Stephen King’s Castle Rock.  Sounds like it has possibilities.  Which is the only thing I can say about it, as there’s nothing else to it.

It really depends on how many King stories the series draws on.  I rather doubt any of the novels will be adapted for it.  Hopefully there’s a chance for some of the stories making it.

And that’s all I gots for today.  Sorry about that!

Quick Glance: Assassination Classroom

assassination-classroom-000I might have said this about previous weeks, but this hasn’t been my week for writing.  Various reasons, none of which I’m going into here, save that once again the world is safe from rabid stuffed alligators and once again I’m not getting enough pay for the job.

Or pay at all, come to that.

Really have to talk to someone about that.

In any case, I’ve found myself a new anime obsession, Assassination Classroom, the story of an octopus like creature who’s only desire is to teach a class.  A desire that, once fulfilled,  will leave him to destroy the Earth.  Unless his beloved class can kill him first.

It is, to keep it quick, a hoot.  I’m about five episodes in and have been having a blast with Koro-sensei (the yellow guy to the right) and his students.  Like One Punch Man (currently my favorite anime OF ALL TIME), it takes what I’d have thought to be a single joke premise and gives it a wonderful amount of depth.  Deeply entertaining.  It’s taking most of my will not to binge through it like I did with Voltron.

Worth checking out.

The Great Echoing Hollowness and Other Stories About the Inside of My Head

My Greatest Adventure 6 000

So.  In the process of writing another post, I came across the above image in this blog’s media files.

Not a bad little cover.  Does its job, it does.

I can’t for the life of me tell you why I’d want to talk about it.

I know it was important enough to make a copy of, but not why.

Looking up the post it’s attached to did me no good.  That would be yet another essay doing what every right thinking comic book fan should be doing.  (And if you just thought “Praising Power Girl?” either you’re a reader with refined tastes or me.  Because I forgot what I’d linked to here.)

In case you didn’t click-through, that particular post was all about a completely different comic cover.  There’s no possible way to connect this one to that one.  Unless you do it under the banner of being covers that caught my interest some how.  A broad connection, to be sure.

It makes me wonder how many more of these images I’ve got in my media files that I have no idea why they’re there.

Going through my writing files, I’ve come across story titles that have no stories.  Not even a note to tell me what I was thinking.

Sometimes this can lead to amusing moments, I admit.  But man, am I tired of doing that.

One of the many reasons for changing my life.

More Stuff You Never See Happen to Power Girl

super-girl-000

A cover is the first thing anyone sees of a book, comic or otherwise.  It’s supposed to draw the reader in, make them want to buy the book.

The only way this cover works, if it works at all, is that this is somebody’s effort to draw in the all important Romance Comic (RC) crowd to the title.  “Oh, poor Supergirl!  However will she cope?  Will she find love?  Who’s kitten is that?”

Or something like that.

Look, I don’t know what RC fans look for in a comic.  I’m a Horror Comic guy.  No severed head, no dangling corpse, pass.  Let’s go see what Little Lulu is doing this week.  That’s me.

Anyways, they’re drawing the RC reader, the reader has the comic in hand, and he/she looks down and sees that title.  The Garden of Death.

Which is a great title.  Don’t get me wrong.  But it really doesn’t fit the cover.  At all.

Who’s kitten is that, anyways?  Is that Streaky, the Supercat in his mild manner disguise?

I’m trying to come up with something (allegedly) funny for Zatanna, but I’m coming up blank.  Outside of the backwards talk for spell casting, I’ve got nothing on her.  Not even interest.

Whatever her “surprise feature” is, it has to be better than this cover.  Gads.  Dull.

Cullen Reads? (I) – John Charrington’s Wedding By Edith Nesbit

This is a series of indeterminate length talking about various things I’ve read.  Novels, short stories, what have you, all are potential subjects for me to talk about.

Today’s subject is the short story John Charrington’s Wedding by Edith Nesbit.  The provided link will take you to the work in question.  From here on out expect dread SPOILERS!  You have been warned!

————————-

I picked this particular tale for two reasons.  The first that it was relatively short (I suspected this would be a late post).  The second was that I’d thought I’d read it before and was after a fashion familiar with it.  Not sure if I have or not, but it is still familiar.

Seee, John Charrington’s Wedding follows the oft told tale of a soul entirely too determined for his own good.  John’s going to marry May Forster, dead or alive.  And it’s no real surprise which it is.

This is true with a lot of Ghost Stories.  Lots of familiar trails being trod.  So I knew what would happen well before Nesbit reached her points.

Not a mark against the story mind.  It’s still a well told, creepy little thing.

Take the opening line:

No one ever thought that May Forster would marry John Charrington; but he thought differently, and things which John Charrington intended had a queer way of coming to pass.

 Boom.  Right there she’s setting the ground work for the supernatural happenings to come.  Far more efficient, I think, than John’s repeated declarations about getting married “dead or alive.”

Another thing I liked is that at no point is there a reason for the haunting beyond that first explanation.  There are no bad people involved, no vengeance from beyond the grave.  For whatever reason John always gets what he wants, and does so one last time.  Much to May’s detriment.

Nesbit has a nice, simple writing style that’s easy to read and gets the point across.  After reading this story, I’m rather curious about some of her other Ghost Stories.  Maybe after reading it, you might be too.

Well There Went THAT Idea

I was climbing up into bed last night when I suddenly realized I hadn’t posted anything here.  As my bed time is midnight and I usually stay up a little past, this proved to be a problematic insight.

Oops.  There goes the every post in February thing.  Oh well.  Good thing I don’t get paid for these things.

On the outline front, I have another partial completed, one I like quite a bit.  I now need at least one more before moving from this here Stage Two to that there Stage Three.

On the review front, I’ve looked at the Godzilla box but have yet to watch the film.  A fact I find depressing.

However! I intend a new feature here at this blog called Cullen Reads?  in which I review a book, short story, whatever ever week.  I hope to have one up every Monday, which means I’ll be posting again later today.  Unless I forget.  In which case the first one will go up next week.  Unless I forget again.

Finally, to make this post have a nice, warm, fuzzy feel, here’s a picture of Power Girl considering causing a great deal of pain to someone who probably deserves it.

power-girl-harley-quinn-000

Goblinstomper! Development Diary (XXVII): Unnecessary Work Undone and Other Tales That Witness Madness

Unnecessary Work Undone

Let me show you something:gs-development-067

gs-switch-002Last month I talked about Switches.  Specifically I talked about my Stage Direction Switches, Switches I used to control cut scenes.

Now, as they will be used throughout the game, I figured I needed something to shut them all off, making them usable for the next cut scene.  Thus I hammered out the above Common Event.  When running, the Common Event will turn off all my switches.  This particular one covers other things, such as variables and the like.

Very nice.  Very handy.

Now let me show you what I discovered last night:gs-development-068

Bear in mind I’ve used the Control Variable window here.  A lot.  So I’ve seen these options.  A lot.

That range option?  The numbers involved?  That’s like the Variables given name.  What I call SD: A is actually Variable 2 (or, to be precise, Variable #0002)

This nice little feature is also in Control Switch flavor.

Which means I’ve done a goodly amount of work for no real reason.

In multiple projects.

Anyway, this:

gs-development-067

Now looks like this:

gs-development-069

My great triumph of the weekend.  He sighs irritably.

Moving the Plot Along (Kind of)

I made mention a few updates back that I had a cut scene made.  As it keeps you in formed of where the plot is (in its basic form, natch), I figured I’d let you in on it.

morty

The cut scene pops up the moment Our Heroes step off the row-boat at their destination, taking the Player all the way back to the church.  There, no matter what Path they’re on (for the curious, this explains that), Mortimer will be the one in the church, doing whatever he does when there when no one’s around.  Practice sermons, maybe.  Or polish something.

No matter what it is, it’s by the book.  It is his way, after all.

val

Only a moment is spent setting up the scene.  Then into the church comes a purple haired young woman.  It’s our last playable character, Val.

Val is there to borrow the church’s row-boat.  The very same boat our Heroes have taken.  Learning this doesn’t please her.  But that’s nothing compared to learning a certain red-headed Goblinstomper was the one who claimed the boat.

Her response to this is a rather interesting “Not again!”

And that’s the scene as it stands today.

Screaming At the Screen

And now back to impotent rage.

But first!  Check this out:

gs-development-070

This is the first floor of the Genruitow Tower, where our Heroes were head for.  Or, rather, it was.  Originally.  These days I’m all about the Puzzles, and I felt I needed some space to puzzle things out.

So today I did a quick reworking of the floor.  Came up with this:

gs-development-071

I’m torn.  This is nice.  Symmetrical.  Functions real well.  But the other one is a maze and I love me some mazes.

We might go back.  Nothing’s keeping me from going back.  I’d just need to think through the puzzles first.

But I did mention impotent rage.  Let’s start heading in that unpleasant direction.

 You might notice that these rooms actually look like rooms.  Unlike the church, which has open areas at the top, everything’s closed off.  Like this:

Now the reason for the open areas before was… hang on, let me quote myself from before:

 The rooms have no doors, nor are they really enclosed like rooms tend to be.  That’s because RPGMaker keeps the Player from walking through walls.  All walls.  No matter what.  So if I have a door in a wall, it’s going to impossible for the Player to walk into the room.  There are workarounds (at least two that I know of), but for this quick project (that’s taking all month) I’m not worried about it.

Well, as I was noodling out the tower’s puzzles, I considered doing something with doors.  The particular doors I liked didn’t match the square shape I was going to have to use.  And one thing lead to another, and I ended up creating tiles.  This tiles match up with the ones the map already has in place (call them Wall Tiles) but are placed game-wise over the actors.  Cut-and-paste job, mostly, but the result… oh, the result!:

gs-development-072

Look at that little blue hat poking up back there!  Like someone’s behind a wall or something.  Heh heh!  This is great!  Why didn’t I do this before!  Lemme work on the church nexT!

Do the exact same steps, and presto changeo, I’m ready to test.

Where I find the colors of the new tile set don’t match the colors of the original Wall Tiles of the Church.  At all.

Clear noticeable difference.

Oh yeah.  That’s why.

No matter what I try, the colors don’t match.

Impotent rage time!  Whoo hoo!  Haven’t felt that since…  Five minutes ago!

I might have anger issues.

Typing this out, I’ve thought of a possible solution to the problem.  I’m going to check it out tomorrow.  After I’ve cooled a little.

What’s Sissy Doing?

Finally, the other day I wrote a dinky little essay over at the sister site on how a Friday the 13th reboot/remake should be handled.  It’s real short, because it’s a very basic idea.

And no, I didn’t simply say “There shouldn’t be one.”

But now I wish I had.

4,704

No series posts today.  After I finished yesterday’s post I worked on three potential outlines, finishing only two and only having a good (hell, GREAT) feeling about one.  Today I’m either watching the original Godzilla for the Sister Site or working on Goblinstomper!  There might be more work on outlines, too, I won’t rule that out.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today.

Yesterday I pumped out close to five thousand words.

That’s including yesterday’s post, but not anything by good ole Lester Dent.

Not sure how to feel about that.

It’s almost a fourth of what I’d need for the Three Day Novel, so it’s a disappointment in that regard.

But the positives all out way that.

This means that, by rights, I should be able to crank out a novel in two weeks. Small caveat and reminder: That’s 4704 words on four separate projects.  Different stories, different thoughts.

It’s still suggestive.

The GREAT outline was sort of like the Tailor, Brave and True one in that I wrote it in a white heat of beautiful creative energy.  It was an idea that I’d tried outlining before (and had some success with), which, to me, says that if I’m familiar enough with the material, I can do the dance.  I can create.  I’ll be fine.

Now if it comes up, speed ≠ quality.  It doesn’t mean racing through is producing crap, either.  What it is producing it material to be refined.  It’s giving me something I can work on.  Something I can improve upon.

Something I can actually see published one day.

I’m rather excited about this.

Working the Outline (III): Letting Dent Be My Guide

From Jim Butcher we move to another writer entirely: Lester Dent.

Saying that name might earn a blank look.  Dent was a pulp writer during the early parts of the previous century.  Among the many, many works he created (well over 150, according to Wikipedia) was one of the most influential characters of all time: Doc Savage.  Supposedly he wrote 200,000 words in a month.  So when you’re in a dead hurry to writer a novel (which, frankly, I am), there are worst people to turn to.

Dent at one point wrote his own “How To” on writing.  It’s this work we’ll be leaning on for the next step of our outline journey.

Before that, though, let us look at where we left off yesterday with Tailor, Brave and True.  This is our Story Skeleton, the two sentence outline we have now:

When a misunderstanding puts him in the role of the kingdom’s protector, a “brave” Tailor struggles to fulfill the role as best he can.  But will he succeed when he has to face down savage monsters, cunning murderers, an irate Princess, and the ruthless Ogre behind them all?

Now we turn to Dent for advice on advancement.  We’re just going to use the meaty bits and leave his examples where they are:

Here’s how it starts:

  1. A DIFFERENT MURDER METHOD FOR VILLAIN TO USE
  2. A DIFFERENT THING FOR VILLAIN TO BE SEEKING
  3. A DIFFERENT LOCALE
  4. A MENACE WHICH IS TO HANG LIKE A CLOUD OVER HERO

One of these DIFFERENT things would be nice, two better, three swell. It may help if they are fully in mind before tackling the rest.

Okay then.  Where does that leave me?

#4 is a snap.  Our brave Tailor finds himself put into a dangerous situation.  He has to do something that he’s not equipped to do.  During the course of the story, the more he tries to extract himself from the situation (one of his own making, remember) the worse things get.

Now what about the other three?  Where does that put our Ogre?

#1 doesn’t seem that practical right now.  I’m not writing a mystery or a thriller; I’m writing a comedic adventure.  If I can think of something along these lines to add, righteous.  Otherwise, it’s getting tabled for now.

Same holds true for #3.  This is a bog-standard fairy tale/Fantasy setting of a quasi-medieval kingdom.  I suppose I could finesse it some how, but right now it’s easier just to leave things be.

That gives me #2.  The different thing for the villain to be seeking.  Not the other #2.

Cheap humor from a man with little coin to spend.

Anyway.

Looking at our antagonist, what do we have?  According to Wikipedia, which is never EVER wrong, an Ogre is “often depicted as inhumanly large and tall and having a disproportionately large head, abundant hair, unusually colored skin, a voracious appetite, and a strong body.”  They tend to be smarter than regular Giants (or at least as smart as villains tend to be in Fairy Tales.)  They also tend more towards made (the one in Hop-o’-My-Thumb has seven-league boots, while the one in Puss in Boots can shape-shift.)

So how about this.  This Ogre, he’s also a Sorcerer.  He makes monsters.  These monsters he’s using to threaten the kingdom.  What does he want from the kingdom?  Nothing less than the princess for dinner, literally.  He’d never eat Royalty and wants to see if they taste any different than the regular people he normally eats.

This sort of conflicts with a part of the Story Skeleton–I seem to imply that the Princess abets the Ogre–but maybe not.  Even if it does, what does that matter?  Things change.  Nothing is set in stone.

And maybe we can cover #1 here after all.  This Ogre makes strange monsters.  Giant Wasps with kitten heads, puppies with tentacles, combinations that don’t really make a lot of sense but are lethal

There we go.  Three out of four.  What’s next, Dent, what’s next?

Here’s the second installment of the master plot.

Divide the 6000 word yarn into four 1500 word parts.

We’re stopping here a second.  Dent’s talking about writing short stories, i’mdoing a novel.  So I’m expanding on this by one zero.  So instead of finishing at 6,000 words I’m doing 60,000 words.  Thus I’m looking at four 15,000 parts.

This was how noted Fantasy writer Michael Moorcock handled it.  I’m sure it’ll work fine for me.

And if I do a novel in three days, as intended, that means 20,000 words a day to hit 60,000.

Not insane at all.

Yep.

To continue (remember to add the zero):

FIRST 1500 WORDS

  1. First line, or as near thereto as possible, introduce the hero and swat him with a fistful of trouble. Hint at a mystery, a menace or a problem to be solved–something the hero has to cope with.
  2. The hero pitches in to cope with his fistful of trouble. (He tries to fathom the mystery, defeat the menace, or solve the problem.)
  3. Introduce ALL the other characters as soon as possible. Bring them on in action.
  4. Hero’s endevours land him in an actual physical conflict near the end of the first 1500 words.
  5. Near the end of first 1500 words, there is a complete surprise twist in the plot development.

 As I’ve been working on this post, I’ve been thinking about how to handle this part.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

The other day the Tailor did something he found amazing.  He accidentally uncovered a wasp nest at his shop and while dealing with the angry insects managed to kill all seven of them with one swing of a ruler (the only weapon he had on hand).  Rather pleased with himself, he goes out that night and gets plastered at the local pub.  

During the course of this, he brags about killing seven with one blow.  And maybe the size of the wasps gets exaggerated a bit.  Okay, it gets exaggerated a lot.

Next morning, he finds out he’s volunteered to head out and kill some monstrous wasps located in the woods.  This is not good.  But the tailor feels he has to go.  He’s a man of his word, his oath is his bond.  Besides, the man he agreed to do the job for happens to be the local Baron, a man you simply didn’t want to cross.  Maybe even more than giant insects.

The Baron, it should be said, doesn’t expect the Tailor to live through the experience.  In theory he’s supposed to send men out to deal with the threat himself, only he doesn’t want to lose said men.  This way, when the Tailor fails, he can say he did the best he could (sent out a great Hero, even) and call for the King to send out some Knights or something.

To further hedge his bet (and to make it look like he’s giving his all to help), the Baron gives the Tailor a little helper in the form of a recently caught Thief.  The two are armed with really big sticks (not even pointy) and sent out into the forest to meet their destiny.

 A couple points here.

Point #1: The above is all back story.  Little of it if any gets directly told.  I’m thinking maybe being placed in front of the Baron.  Maybe not.

In any case, I’m just setting up a place to put my feet.  I noticed doing NaNoWriMo that I sometimes take too long to get to the point.  For instance, last year’s attempt, the main character had no idea anything was going on as the novel moved towards the halfway point.  The reader knew, and depending on the story that’s enough.  In an adventure, it makes the Protagonist look a little unaware.  And inactive.

Point #2: You might also be curious about the addition of the Thief.  The twin sources I sited yesterday have no such character.  What gives?

Another of the things I noticed while doing NaNoWriMo is that I tend to keep my protagonists solitary far, far too long.  The Thief gives the Tailor someone to talk to.  Some one to bounce ideas off of.  Not to mention give back story to.

That said, here’s the plot proper:

The Tailor and the Thief wander the woods for a while until they find the wasp nest.  As it’s dusk, they figure most if not all the wasps are in the nest.  All they need do is plug the entrance, cut the nest free of the tree, then set the thing alight.  Simple, right?

Only as they near the nest, a little head pops out the entrance.  It’s a kitten.

The Tailor is startle by this–what is a kitten doing there?–but the Thief immediately wants to kill the thing.  This proves the wise course, as on seeing the two, an evil cast comes over the kitten’s face.  It gives a strange, almost buzzing cry, then starts coming out of the nest.

It’s a Giant Wasp with a kitten’s head.

A fight ensues.  The first Kitten Wasp manages to escape, but as the Tailor deals with it, the Thief manages to kill the next one as it tries joining the fray, blocking the entrance and containing its now furious comrades.  A third one, who hadn’t returned to the nest, attacks, and before being killed stings the Thief, putting him out of action.

Now by himself, the Tailor knocks the nest from the tree and sets fire to it.  Whenever he sees anything remotely feline or insectlike, he strikes it.  Finally the nest grows quiet and the battle done.

Which is just as well, as the Thief isn’t weathering the wasp poison well.  The Tailor gathers his comrade up and manages to return to town to find help.  It’s touch and go for a while, but the local healer manages to save the Thief’s life.  It’s also at this point that the Tailor learns the Thief is a she and not a he.

Far as the Tailor is concerned, this is the end of it.  He’s done his part and kept his word.  Back to hemming up pants.

Only the next day (or thereabout) a group of Knights come.  The King requests the pleasure of his company.  Now.

Without much say in the matter, the Tailor heads off with the Knights.

At the palace, the King lays things out like this.  He needs his best Knight (call him the Paladin) for a special task.  The Paladin is located off in the boonies somewhere, with horrible monstrosities in the way.  The only person the King feels can be trusted with the mission is the man who killed seven Giants in one blow.

Say what?  Well, the story’s been exaggerated yet again, this time dropping the wasp portion of things.

The Tailor really wants to correct this misunderstanding.  He also wants to gracefully bow out of the task.  Before he can, though, he’s introduced to the last person that disappointed the King so.  Or, at least, the sole bit of that person.  The rest has been quartered and buried in disagreeable parts of the Kingdom.

Yikes.

Before the Tailor leaves, a young woman accosts him.  This is the Baroness (no relation to the Baron earlier).  She’s a friend of the Princess and she’s just appalled by the Tailor coming in here under such patently false pretenses.   She tells the Tailor flat out that while he’s fooled the King and the Princess, she isn’t fooled, and she’s going to prove to them that he’s a fraud, not a hero. So there.

What can be said to that?  The Tailor wishes the Baroness well, then heads off to find the Paladin.

Not far down the path, a strange man comes up to the Tailor, asking for help.  Being familiar with fairy tales and magic helpers appearing along the path, the Tailor is more than willing to ablige.  Right up until he finds out what the man wants help with is the Tailor’s sudden, painful demise.

Also?  The man has crab claws for hands.  Just as a point of information

Anyways, the Crabssassin (he’s got to have a name) does his best to kill the Tailor.  During the struggle, the Thief makes her presence known.  She wants to pay the Tailor back for saving her life (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more).  This she doesn’t quite do, but facing two foes is a bit much for the Crabkiller (a better name will come, right?) and he splits the scene.

This was an odd thing to happen, but a coincidence, right?  After all, there are going to be monsters on the trip.  That was just one of them.

Right?

 And that’s where I’m going to end this installment.  How do I stand, with Dent in mind?

The trouble I’ve come up with for the Tailor–the weird wasps–gets dealt with right away, but as I implied earlier, it’s connected with the Ogre.  So too is the man with claws.  More oddities will pop up as the story proceeds.

By this point I have my other characters in play.  We have the Tailor and his boon companion, the Thief.  While the Ogre isn’t mentioned, his hand’s at work, too.  Then we have the King, who while not the real threat is threatening our Heroes, and the Baroness poised to either add a threat or add help later in the story.  Mentioned but not directly involved are the Princess and the Paladin.  The latter, at least, will pop up in part two.

Not sure about the surprise twist.  Crabstalker (seriously?) might cover it (why are our Heroes being targeted for death?) as might the Baroness’s quest to expose them.  I’m going to label that close enough for right now.

Tomorrow (maybe) we’ll continue on with part two, maybe part three, depending on how the words go.  For the rest of my day, though, I’m writing more little essays like this for myself, trying to kick start a few more essays.  Not only that, I want to see how many words I can squeeze out of my little gray cells.  A full accounting will be given tomorrow no matter what else I go with.

For the record, this post was 2,172 words long, including this sentence and excluding anything Lester Dent wrote.