Monday, October 31, 2016

Something for Halloween...

A dark cave. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.
Enter the three Witches

First Witch 
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

Second Witch 
Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch 
Harpier cries "'Tis time, 'tis time."

First Witch 
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

Double, double, toil and trouble; (10)
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch 
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch 
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe (30)
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch 
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

[Enter Hecate, to the other three Witches]

O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i' the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

[Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' etc, Hecate retires]

Second Witch 
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hashtag Poetry

Hashtag poetry
sits out there in empty space,
waiting to be found.

Like a lonely child,
abandoned at a Wal-Mart,
waiting to be loved.

Hashtag poetry.
Just there. Drifting. Silent. Still.
Waiting just for you.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Say that you love me.
Make me believe that it's true,
'cause I don't love you.
'Cause I don't trust you.
Yeah, you talk a real good game,
but I play better.
And I play to win.
So talk your talk, walk your walk.
I ain't buyin' it.
You're just a liar.
A snake with poisoned honey,
concealed in your words.
A cold-hearted snake,
with a body build for sin.
So shut your damn mouth.
Just take me to bed,
with no more sweet promises.
I'll settle for sex.
And save my poor heart,
for someone better than you.
Do you understand?
Keep your damn mouth shut,
'cause I don't care what you say.
'Cause it's all just talk.
Just sweet, nothin' words.
Your lovetalk. Empty and cruel.
Just part of your game.
So bite your damn tongue,
or I'll bit it out your head.
Your lovetalk is dead.
Let it rest in peace,
in pieces with my broke heart.
No more time for talk.
No more time for you,
outside this bed, this minute.
No time for fake words.
Shut up and get up,
walk your ass out my front door.
Take you talk with you.
Walk away with it,
locked away behind white teeth,
so all is silence.
Slink out my front door,
'cause your sad, bad game is done,
and lovetalk no more.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Port Babbage

Followers of the blog know that I've gotten back in D&D over the last year or so.  I have, in fact, become the de facto DM for the group I belong too.
This past Sunday we started a new adventure in a steampunkish/fantasy city called Port Babbage. I thought I'd share some of the details of the city here, since I doubt my players have much of an interest in them. 

The City of Port Babbage

Port Babbage is a large city established on the northeast coast of the country of Parnival. It has a population of over 32,000 souls.  The majority of the city's residents are human, but it has large populations of gnomes and elves as well.
The city was established 310 years ago as a trade port, but its reputation as a trading post was quickly eclipsed with the establishment of the Patrium Ingeniium.  Originally conceived as a Temple to the Crafting Gods (Gond, Reorx, etc), the Patrium Ingeniium had soon expanded to include the University of St. Arnus.
The Patrium Ingeniium attracted inventors, engineers, mad scientists and eccentric geniuses. Soon, Port Babbage had acquired a reputation as a tinkerer's paradise.
Several notable inventions and inventors are connected to the city.  The first firearms were conceived and constructed in Fort Babbage by the Weith family.  The Bluenoses, the gnome clan responsible for the otto-mobile, hail from the city.  The Victrola was invented there, as were the first diving suits and, more recently, hot air balloons and zeppelins.
Indeed, the city itself is a model of modern architecture and engineering.  Its streets follow a precise grid pattern, and those streets are illuminated by gas lamps and, more recently, electric lights. Port Babbage's sewer system is one of the finest in Parnival.
Many public buildings in the city have been equipped with coal-fueled furnaces and gas jets. However, candles and oil lamps remain popular in residences.
The city is divided into ten districts: Parriger, Kestfield, Zorville, Kells, Naylock, Sterling, Veter, Sibson, Regis and the Docklands.  These are known as the Inner Wards.  The Patrium Ingeniium is located in Sibson, which is generally considered the nicest residential neighborhood in the Inner Wards. Just south of Sibson, Regis has become the heart of Port Babbage's commercial and industrial interests.
Kells is the worst neighborhood in the city.  It is, essentially, a huge slum housing sweat-shops and tenements. Crime is rampant in Kells.
Just west of Kells is Parriger.  Parriger is the site of the Port Babbage Hospital for the Mentally Challenged.  This insane asylum houses the poor and the mad.  It is less interested in healing the sick than containing the city's homeless riffraff.  The public can tour the facility for a few coppers and the orderlies are known to offer other services for a few coppers more.  Occasionally, an inmate will vanish. Officially, these souls escape.  Unofficially, they were freed by paying the Warden a large sum.
The neighborhoods outside of Port Babbage's walls (Annelle, Happ, Jolaire, Hunterson, Nutch, Silman, Cullen and Opal) are collectively referred to as the Outer Wards.  They are primarily residential neighborhoods with a smattering of commercial and light industrial business concerns that cater to their needs.
Also outside of the city walls is the area known as the Pledgewoods.  This is a large section of forest, sacred to the local druids, and left untouched by a royal decree from Parnival's monarch.  The Pledgewoods are the home to various woodland creatures, as well as small fey, such as pixies and sprites.  A druid named Barimor protects the Pledgewood from those with evil intent.
Port Babbage occupies an unusual space, politically, within Parnival.  For centuries, the city existed as an independent political entity within the larger Duchy of Seahawk.  It was governed by the Vicount Babbage, a title held by the Persis family.
When the Insurrection against King Leopold II began, the Viscount Babbage declared the city neutral. He swore not to give martial aid to either side, but to provide humanitarian assistance to all. The vicount kept his word, but when the Insurrection was put down, King Leopold could not ignore the fact that Port Babbage did not rally to his banner.  He had to punish the city.
As a result, the title of Viscount Babbage was abolished and a Royal Governor was appointed to oversee the city.  The king chose Baron William Hinderstone for this position.  Also, the political and legal authority of Port Babbage was curtailed, restricted to the wards inside the city's wall.  The Outer Wards now fell under the authority of the Duchess of Seahawk.
Since the end of the war, a curious series of incidents have occurred in Port Babbage. Priests of the Crafting God, Arx, have fallen into divine trances and begun assembling clockwork men. These clockwork men are empowered with life and sentience by Arx and then sent out into the world. Their purpose is unclear, even to the priests of the Patrium Ingeniium, but they seem to be interested in exploring the world. The 'birth' of these automata are heralded by the ringing of bells and the shriek of steam-whistles across the city.

Swords overhead

Good afternoon, gentle readers!
So, October has been a lazy month for me, at least as far as blogging goes.  After last month's blog-o-thon, it feels quite decadent to post an entry when I feel like it, and not because I HAVE to. 
Sadly, while my blogging life has become sedate and lazy, my personal life has not.  I've had all sorts of things happening this month that have kept me on the go.
I swear, some days I've felt like that baby from the bible story. Y'all know the one? Two women go before Solomon, both claiming a baby belongs to them.  Solomon resolves the situation by ordering his guard to cut the baby in half.  Immediately one of the women gives up the child. Solomon, of course, gives the child to this women, as he reasons only the mother would give up the child to save it.
I feel like that child. Pulled in multiple directions, with the threat of a great, bloody sword hanging over my head.
I shall not go into the details here, but suffice to say, I'm under a little stress.
Just a smidge.
A chocolate bar's worth of stress, instead of a bottle of vodka level of stress.
But it's consistent.
Still, I persevere. Or try to.
On that note, I'd like to thank everyone who's bought one of my stories in the last month or so. I appreciate your patronage and hope you've enjoyed the stories.
That's about it for now.
Hope everyone out there is having a fine October!
- xoxo George

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Celestial Warlocks

Miriam Briggs stood in the center of the road, all too aware of the soldiers standing behind her. As they shifted, she could hear leather creak, the soft scrape of sword against shield.  She wanted to turn and tell them to spread out a bit, that they were packed too close, but there was no time.
The orcs were already approaching, walking forward at a measured pace, their bestial faces grim. They already knew how this fight would go, knew it would end with them sitting by a pile of corpses wiping blood off their blades.
Or maybe not, thought Miriam. Gods willing.
She shut her eyes and reached for the power, felt it flow into her.  Tightening her grip on her silver staff, Miriam drew a breath.  Lowering her staff, she let the light pour through it.  It erupted from the staff’s head, a bolt of lambent force that slammed into one of the approaching orcs.  The eldritch blast knocked him on his back, throwing the orc’s orderly march into disarray.
“Now!” shouted Miriam, raising her staff. “Now! For Gird! For Riverkeep! For Parnival!”
And with that, the Battle of Nunker’s Road began.

Celestial warlocks are a different breed of warlocks. Their patrons are not evil fiends, capricious fey or inscrutable outsiders.  The patron of a celestial warlock is a being from the Higher Planes, an emissary of good. This patron could be an angel or an empyrean, a saint or possibly a demigod. They empower good people to do one thing: spread good in the Material World.  As such, all celestial warlocks are of a good alignment.  Whether they are lawful, neutral or chaotic doesn’t matter.  All that matters is their desire to serve the cause of their patron.  For this service, their celestial patron grants them a portion of their power.
That said, good can be subjective. A celestial warlock of a lawful good alignment might support a king who is taxing his people harshly to pay for a war.  Another celestial warlock in the same kingdom, might be allied with the rebels seeking to overthrow this regime.  Each side thinks they are doing the right thing, the good thing. Who can say that they’re wrong?
Celestial warlocks can be difficult to work with in an adventuring party. They’re going to do the right thing, regardless of the consequences.  In this, they’re like paladins. Indeed, paladins and celestial warlocks get along fairly well. And, like a well-meaning paladin, their good intentions can often put a party through hell.  Sometimes literally.

Otherworldly Patron: The Celestial
You have made a pact with an entity from a higher plane of existence, a being whose aims are noble, if sometimes mysterious.  Such beings are good by nature and will not form pacts with any creature of non-good alignment.

Expanded Spell List
The Celestial lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Celestial Expanded Spells
Level 1: Command, Detect Evil and Good
Level 2: Calm Emotions, Zone of Truth
Level 3: Glyph of Warding, Protection from Energy
Level 4: Freedom of Movement, Locate Creature 
Level 5: Planar Binding, Teleportation Circle

Celestial Awareness
The presence of strong evil registers on your senses like a noxious odor, and powerful good rings like heavenly music iin your ears.  As an action, you can open your awareness to detect such forces.  Until the end of your next turn, you know the location of any celestial, fiend or undead within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover. You know the type of being whose presence you sense, but not its identity.
Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Luck of the Blessed  
Starting at 6th level, you have advantage whenever you must make a saving throw.

The Fearless Heart
Starting at 10th level, you can’t be frightened while conscious.

Cleansing Touch
Beginning at 14th level, you can use your action to end one spell on yourself or on one willing creature that you touch.
After you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

Celestial Warlocks & Pact Boons
At 3rd level, the patron of the celestial warlock bestows a gift upon them for their service, just as other patrons do.  However, the nature of their patron influences the forms some of these pact boons take.
If a celestial warlock takes the Pact of the Chain, the find familiar spell works as usual. When you cast it, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: a faerie dragon, a psuedodragon, a sprite or a pixie. A celestial warlock cannot take an imp or quasit as a familiar, because they are considered evil creatures.
The Pact of the Blade and the Pact of the Tome work as usual for celestial warlocks.  However, celestial warlocks do not refer to their tomes as a Book of Shadows, but as a Book of Illumination.  Also, their pact weapons appear to be made of precious metals, often decorated with glittering jewels.


I fall into you
like tears into the ocean.
I make no impact.

You take all I am
and just wash it all away,
diminishing me.

You don't care at all.
Not for me or anyone.
You are a cold fish.

Colder than the sea.
Heartless as the fishy friends
you catch on your hooks.

I want to hate you.
It should be so damn easy,
but you're beautiful.

Beautiful as ice.
More beautiful than the sun.
I want to hate you.

Why can't I hate you?
It would make things easier.
Simpler at the least.

Love's contradiction.
It lifts us up, throws us down.
Love is a traitor.

Love is your weapon.
Love and beauty both. Defiled.
Diminished. Beggared.

But I still want more,
still want you and your cold kiss.
And so I am done.

Sacrificed to love.
Stretched out on its cold altar,
waiting for the knife.