Tag Archives: Fantasy

Hey, I finished a novel!!

It sucks. It’s garbage. It needs some major edits – hell, a whole damn rewrite is needed to make this thing any good.


It feels GREAT.


It’s an honest-to-goodness 130k word novel that I actually finished. Who cares if it sucks? Just finishing the damn thing was a huge learning experience. The beginning actually rocks, though the middle is pretty much a mess, and the ending doesn’t work because the middle doesn’t work. But I see what I did wrong, I know what I need to focus on the next time around. I have been putting aside a million little ideas so I could narrow in on this current project. Time to grab one of those and start over!


I’ll probably cannibalise this completed project for ideas. There’s some good shit in there!


BRB butchering my manuscript.

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Posted by on June 14, 2014 in Literature


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Dar al-Islam, Part Nineteen: Upset

Now that we have a safely unified Kalmen Sultanate to once again rule over, what’s next?
We need to give our armies a short break!

I agree. They are tired, and you are wounded.

Once again, the Caliphate has changed dynasties. Where there was once the Abbasids, then the Samanids ruled, now the Halilids have taken the throne in Damascus. Here they are at war…


With the Ha’ilids. Halilid vs. Ha’ilid. That won’t be confusing at all.

A few years pass. Nothing of note happens, except that the Halilid Caliph calls us into his wars. We join to avoid a prestige hit (not that we need to worry about prestige)


Fourteen thousand prestige!

Another event of note:


Well, Hakam II (HAKAM HARDER). You have some vassals to assuage, since they are all but guaranteed to revolt. Your brother Zaia, Prince of Africa, seeks to remove himself from the Kalmen Emirate and form his own

I think the best course of action would be to  raise our armies and place them in his counties, then arrest him. If he escapes and revolts, our armies are already in position to crush him.

That is… disturbingly well thought out.

I am a hunchbacked genius with Elusive Shadow. All I have, all I am, is thinking.


Unnecessary precautions, in the end.

That’s not all you have to deal with, though.




Some random Nordic hero wants Sicily?

Seems that way.

And one of my lords wants the entire Sultanate?

Seems that way!

Assassinate them both!


Zing! Now what about that other guy…

He escaped.

Balls to that. I’m going to find that man and kill him!



Now that is just annoying! I’d better go kill them.



Okay, now your breaking the fourth wall to post pictures from the internet. Stop it.

Make me! Come at me bro!


Umad? Yeah, u mad.

*grumble grumble grumble* You have another rebellion to worry about. Your half-brother Danyal, wants Sicily.


Jeez, everyone wants Sicily these days! I don’t get it. What’s so special about Sicily?

I have no idea. But your already *on* Sicily, having just beaten back a Scandinavian raid and put down a simultaneous minor rebellion. So just wait for him to show up and then kick his ass.


Yeah, exactly like that! Good job! However, Danyal has landed a second, larger army in western Crete.


I suppose I’ll go kill him there, too.

Good plan. Except…


But, but… But I had twenty thousand men! Where did they all go!?

They got killed. Danyal now has the upper hand in terms of men, but there are men who remain on the mainland. They could put up a decent fight against Danyal, should you muster them. There is also the Kalmen mainstay; mercenaries!

Another battle breaks out on Crete, as Danyal hunts down the last remaining pieces of our army there.


Look at that badass Imam just standing there like it ain’t no thang! Promote him.

He’s already your Court Imam. So no.

Fine. Hire some mercs to deal with Danyal.

Done. While they make landfall on Crete, more Vikings pillage parts of Sicily. Also:



Forever alone, I guess.

You shut your whore mouth! I have four wives, I’ll have you know! How many do you have?

… Shut up. The Halilids have lost the throne of the Caliphate, and it’s gone to the Samarids. Again. However, there is good news:




Stop that!

Right. Well. Here’s how the war for independence is doing:


They’ve successfully lain siege to a number of our castles and cities, and have defeated what small forces we could muster in the area. With the main army in Crete, they’ve had the run of good luck against our smaller armies. However, the fleet has been dispatched to ferry the men from Crete to Tunis, and from there launch a counter-attack.


NEXT TIME: More War!

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Posted by on September 7, 2013 in CK II, Snarkangel Plays (The Tags)


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So I Saw This Today:



So the guy who says ‘fantasy is written in the language of dreams’ goes and makes the most drab and dreary fantasy setting out there?

Has this guy never been to Niagra Falls? Has he never looked through a fucking telescope, or at footage of the ocean floor, or even HEARD of the Nile or Amazon rivers? Has he never seen a picture of Ayers Rock, a bamboo forest or Naica Mine? Has he never, ever, in his entire life picked up a copy of National Geographic, or watched the Discovery Channel, or even browsed youtube briefly?

And this is only sticking to the geographic. Has he never studied Buddhism, never heard of people of Mongolia or Egypt, Greece, Rome or Persia? The ironworkers and teamsters responsible for building the world we know today? Has he not heard of psychology, sociology, physics or biology? Anatomy, art, music and film? Human fucking FLIGHT is lame to this man when it is achieved by hard work and the ingenuity of thousands, as opposed to someone writing about wax wings. We don’t read fantasy to find colour again, we read it to find new colours. To find novelty and creativity different from the novelty and creativity and beauty that surrounds us every day. Is George Martin so unimaginative he has to denigrate reality in order to wank his own chosen profession and pat himself on the back in the most banal and self-congratulatory way imaginable? And are you really going to fall for it?


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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Ten: The Fall of Zaskidet

The Year of the Forks 410

Vile glacier-mists spread anew through the halls of Zaskidet, seeping into empty rooms, permeating the empty workshops. Blood and Dwarven viscera stain the walls and floors, drip from the ceilings. A tribe of Troglodytes fight Goblins for loot, scavenge what they can, and return to their cavern homes. Doors kilter off their hinges, rats run rampant, and the last Dwarf of Zaskidet throws himself from the Shrine and into the molten core of the Scintillating Ash.

The Cult of Forks is no more. The pilgrimage is over.

As Austin Jones drowns in magma, he thinks back on what he has done and laughs a mad laugh. After five years of torture, death and disease, it is over. No more will friends suffer and die under the mismanagement of ill-trained medical staff, or from the assault of giant maggots wreathed in flame. No more will the terrifying visage of Ishashstumäm haunt the sleep of family. They sleep their eternal sleep now.


All the Dwarves of Zaskidet. That long balancing act on the edge of insanity finally wore the Dwarves of the Cult down. When Austin snapped, he took with him the entire fortress. When the dust settled and the blood pooled, only he remained standing – missing an arm, and an eye, and a tooth, but he lived.

Then I abandoned what has been the most exciting, !!FUN!! fortress I have ever had the honour of playing.




Smells Like Dwarf Fortress.


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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Nine: Tantrum Lull, or The Quiet Before the Storm

Sorry for the long wait between posts. Not much of interest is happening in Zaskidet anymore, now that I have a military capable of fighting almost everything.

Spring, in the Year of the Forks 407

It’s the slowest tantrum spiral I’ve ever experienced, a plodding descent into madness, one-by-one. An underground Troll comes along to ruin my farms, the petty asshole.

Hey you! Get away from there! GET OFF MY UNDERGROUND LAWN!

I hate Trolls. Almost as much as I hate those pathetic Elves.

Seriously, stop wrecking my farms. It’s really annoying!


Death Count: 33 (Stanley Clone attacks Austin, who promptly wrecks Stanley’s day)

The tantrum continues, as does construction on a fancy-as-balls dining hall. Statues made by our master mason, Robyn Cross. Walls engraved by Jamie Gib and Justin Currie the Xth (where X is a hilarious number). Some tables and chairs of finely-wrought gold and silver, though most are simple stone – the gold and silver are being used for more important projects, like the Shrine, and fancy goods for the Bromgev – now that we’ve settled into our safe routine, Lara Foley is demanding a room fit for the Prophet of God. My first project, the Shrine, isn’t even finished, but I’ve started carving a giant mansion out of the mountain. It’ll be fun – and with the magma waterfall I intend to build, maybe even !!FUN!!

Here's the dining hall, rooms, hospital, and the well in the upper left, where all the cool Dwarves hang out. I also need to put a roof on The Pit. There is far too much snow inside Zaskidet. I do not approve.

And here is the Shrine (which really needs a better name. Leave suggestions in the comments!). A walkway, doors and floors and first-floor walls of solid gold! If God is not pleased with this, may he melt us all with magma.

Year of the Forks 408

Yes, that’s one whole year. I told you nothing interesting happened!

Oh wait, Death Count: 33

Ishashstumäm is still around. I nearly forgot about him. I’d like to say that my recently recuperated military had an epic fight against the many-blooded Yeti.

But they didn’t. They wrecked him. That was anticlimactic.

It was at this point that I used DFHack to clean up the map. No more bloodstains, no more Goblin bits and Dwarf vomit. My FPS was hurting, and I needed to get rid of the tracking of so many smears. I’m sad to see it go; it was almost like the Yellow Brick Road of Zaskidet. Except red. And made of blood. But it lead hapless adventurers and migrants through the glacial valley and to the Pit itself.

It will soon be remade, I think. Another Goblin ambush – easily dealt with. This time ’round, there are many more Gobbo bits than Dwarf bits. An improvement, I think.

Phase Two of my Increase My Playability Plan (IMPP) is melting EVERYTHING I’m not using. GET THOSE SMELTERS CHURNING!

Year of the Forks 409


Year of the Forks 410

THE FORGOTTEN BEAST TORMUK HAS COME! A great maggot composed of flame. It has a knobby trunk and it undulates rhythmically. Beware its poisonous vapours!

Fuck. Everything. Well, you wanted excitement? Here, have this MAGGOT MADE OF FIRE!

Luckily, I have not been slothful in the empty years. Send in the new-and-improved Feral Walls!


It seems Tormuk can break down doors. He got into the fortress and killed three Dwarves before the military slaughtered him – though to his credit, one of those Dwarves was my militia commander, so now I need to appoint a new one. Austin Jones gets the job, since he’s been giving a good showing lately.

The rest were killed in the subsequent tantrum spiral. I seriously need more challenge – this is getting ridiculous.


Oh balls.


More deaths, this time by Goblin ambush. Then another. And another. Three in rapid succession, killing a few Dwarves ont he surface. I send the Feral Walls, but their new captain is asleep, so the squad stays inside. The Gobbo’s laugh and laugh as they slaughter our defenceless Dwarves.

OH COME ON! Yeti, Blizzard men, Ice Wolves, two Forgotten Beasts, and we’re going to die to some GOBLINS? What is this nonsense?



That’s it, I’m locking every door. Zaskidet is in lockdown until Austin Jones gets off his sleepy backside and can lead the charge.

Still sleeping.


I hate you so much.




Because now you are awake. You see the Goblin horde – having now killed all of our Yak – milling about outside. You decide food is more important. After spending literally weeks eating, you decide drinking is also important, and spend weeks nostril-deep in wine and beer.

You’re fired. Jimmy Breau, take over. Show us what you’re worth!


Well, he at least got his squad to the fight, even if he failed to get himself out. Call it the Charge of the hilarious Brigade; Jimmy leads the way, straight into a veritable forest of Goblin bolts. There are enough bolts to equip an army – which is unfortunate, because that’s what we’re facing here.

Were facing here. Once the Feral Walls finally got their butts out the door, they ruined some Goblin flesh. Which is now decorating the glacier, top to bottom. It looks like Christmas – red and white.

It looks like boredom.

Wait, what’s this? Austin Jones has gone Berserk?



Next Time: The Fall of Zaskidet?

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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Seven: Zaskidet Under Siegeish

Autumn, in the Year of the Forks 406

The fortress faces its first goblin ambush.

After Ice Men, Yeti and Forgotten Beasts, this almost feels anti-climactic.

The invading goblins seem inordinately interested in my Yak herd. So much so that Austin Jones, Justin Currie (the fourth!) and Jeremy Banks close to sword range against the Goblin Crossbowmen. An easy rout. Austin proceeds to thoroughly wreck their shit, killing every single Goblin. He has earned two infinitely perplexing nicknames: Clawarmour and… The Crab of Fissures.


I can’t seem to take any more screenshots of Dwarf Fortress itself, so I can’t show you the blood and body parts strewn about. They are everywhere. Dwarf bits. Yeti bits. Blizzard Man bits. And now Goblin bits.

A lot of goblin bits. I think every single goblin ended up in at least three pieces. Damn it Austin!

Though I may have fixed the alcohol shortage, I am still without liquid water. And injured Dwarves need water.  I send the Feral Walls to explore the caverns, hoping to find at least a puddle of some kind.

Work on the shrine has begun – sort of.

The observant reader might notice the Yeti that has so rudely interrupted work on the Shrineroad - a bridge and walkway made of solid gold, dangling over the pit of the Scintillating Ash. Looking at it in Stonesense, I realize it looks absolutely odd without some kind of pillared support. It just kind of... floats there. Fixing that is, I suppose, the next step.

Death Count: 19 (More nameless Dwarven workers fall to a Yeti)

Everywhere I turn there are more Yeti, more Ice Wolves, and more Blizzard Men. Dread Ishashstumäm – as the Cult now calls him – wreaks havoc on the building of the Shrine. Why God punishes us for our works, I cannot say. Perhaps more gold is needed to slake His violent jealousy. I shall build the Shrine entire of finest gold! No expense shall be spared!

Nor, it seems, shall we. Ishashstumäm continues his rampage across the high-topped mountains and glaciers around Zaskidet, killing animals and terrifying more Dwarves. The Feral Walls keep their distance – Ishashstumäm seems more fearsome than any faced thus far, and the Feral Walls are exhausted, injured, and hungry. They keep their vigil, attempting to draw the ferocious beast closer to the walls, where the Inky Hatchets – Moses and Jeff Copp – can pelt him with fine iron bolts from their Yak-bone crossbows.

Death Count: 20 (Nelson Lovestrom, torn to pieces by Ishashstumäm )

Fuck. Everything.

Austin Jones is made the leader of the Feral Walls – he and Bromgev Foley are the only two of the original seven remaining. Everyone else has died (at least once!).

Death Count: 21

I honestly don’t know what happened. I got a ‘Tirist Abdoreg has been struck down’ warning. Zooming in on the issue, he is… In his bed. Alone. Rotting. And no one seems to be in any hurry to bury him in one of the many coffins I’ve placed – seeing as there’s been so much death in Zaskidet. Only Tirist’s pet dog seems to love him; it hangs around in his room, soaking in the miasma his body exudes.


Ishashstumäm has taken a terrible toll on the Feral Walls, so I order the retreat. They need medical attention immediately! As Robyn Cross is now quite the skilled mason and stoneworker – but still absolutely unskilled in the medical arts – I set her to work carving statues and wall engravings. Since not one single Dwarf has one single medical skill, I guess I’ll foist the job on some unskilled rube, rather than waste the time and talents of my only worthwhile mason. Who should I choose?

Jimmy Breau! This feels like sound judgement! He promptly gets to work misdiagnosing injuries and suturing wounds that don’t exist.

Please stop being crazy.

In the meantime, I prepare to up the death count once again, but Justin Currie IV fares better than his predecessors and escapes the infinite wrath of Ishashstumäm by falling ass-over-tits down the mountainside. He survives though, the hardy bugger.

The second cavern layer has been breached!

There are underground trees here! With luck and caution, we might be able to start a logging industry and build some damn beds! The fortress has survived on only four of them this entire time. For forty Dwarves. I hope you like snuggling together!

Meanwhile, Jimmy Breau remains a faildoctor, and the Feral Walls remain inside the fort. Ishashstumäm continues to slaughter, not discriminating  between the tame animals of the fort and the wild camels that so infest our glacier. He seems enraged, endlessly howling as he kills and kills.

And Tirist rots and rots. I can’t bury him, I can’t even engrave a memorial for him. Smells like Dwarf Fortress!

Bugbats swarm up out of the depths of the cavern, but they don’t seem hostile. I keep my eye on the tiny buggers anyway, just in case. At least they aren’t Elves.

Snowstorm after snowstorm buffets the fortress as we head into winter. They almost seem expected now, blasé. I do so miss the sun.

While my attention was in the caverns, Ishashstumäm got hold of Jeremy Banks and brutalized the poor off-duty military Dwarf, leaving him a heaping pile of bloody flesh in the snow. The Yeti is driven off by the Inky Hatchets and their expert marksdwarfship, but I doubt Jeremy will survive the season. I visit the poor Dwarf in the hospital – which has recently seen something like a renovation. His head jerks about, gazing blindly at the walls, at passing Dwarves, at any sound that echoes in the rough-carved room.

Ishashstumäm took his eyes. And his left arm. And his right hand. And his left foot. And his upper lip. And his spine.

That last one seems pretty important.

Don’t think this absolves Jeremy of his duties as member of the Feral Walls. There are only forty of us to weather this unending, haunted place. No Dwarf may slack! Bromgev Foley stands over the bed of our butchered friend and says a quick prayer, splashing holy alcohol on his bleeding, tattered body. God will see him safe – in this world or the next. May he imbibe many barrels of ale in the hereafter, and bed many bearded women.

Slowly, day by day, Jeremy loses his breath. His lungs fill with fluid, his breaths come shorter and shorter. He was loved by many, the most social Dwarf of the Cult of Forks. I checked the relationships of my Dwarves, and Jeremy was friends of every single Dwarf in the fort. If he dies, his death may be the tipping point for a tantrum spiral – the Dwarves of the Cult in Zaskidet are… unhappy.

Memorial slabs are commissioned for the dead. Though they rest safe and free of worry in their fine coffins deep in the mines, I feel this does not sufficiently immortalize the actions of my bravest of Dwarves.

The Hall of the Fallen - soon to be adorned with memorials, statues and engravings. In the upper left, you can see the locked door leading to the caverns and the lever used to work the gate.

In the meantime, another caravan!

In the meantime, another ambush!

The combined forces of the Feral Walls, Inky Hatchets, and friendly Dwarves easily shatters the Goblin force, strewing even MORE Gobbo bits all over the glacier. It is serious gorefest on the surface.

Death Count: 22

Jeremy Banks has suffocated.

Progress is slow.

Next time: Tantrum spiral? Tantrum spiral.

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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Six: Oh shit!

Summer, in the Year of the Forks 406

And a Yeti!

Fuck. Everything.

 Then Jimmy Breau, his mind overtaken by the obscene circumstances – this monstrous siege of Zaskidet – snaps, falling into a Fey mood. He has been possessed by creatures beyond the veil!

I told you this place was haunted. I told you all. But would anyone listen? Nope. And now we’re besieged not only from the glaciers above and caverns below, but from within our very halls by the spirit-fog that never relents in this evil place! Jimmy takes a Craftsdwarfs Workshop, then runs into the rotten pile of bones and half-corpses that makes up our refuge pile, digging up a Yak bone. He then begins his profane work in mysterious secrecy.

If he is truly possessed by the fog of Zaskidet, he may need to be exorcized, culled from the halls of the fortress for the safety of all. So the Bromgev has declared – so it shall be.

In the meantime, let’s check in on EDI, our friendly neighbourhood Forgotten Beast.


So that's Edi. In my fortress. He has Bulding Destroyer, just like the Yeti.

Speaking of the Yeti, let’s see what it’s up to.


Here he is, wrecking my front gate.

And here's Moses, directly above, failing to crossbow the Yeti as there is a floor between the two. Balls.

Meanwhile, in the mines below:

Dwarven screams echo through the mines of Zaskidet, followed by the limbs of shorn bodies. Arms, legs, and more than a few fingers and toes litter the dark – and now damp – deep tunnels. Edi  Apufi Cavemi – Edi the Jackal of Servants – tears into the brave, undertrained militia of Crystaltalons, Nelson Lovestrom taking the worst of the assault. Still, he stands firm, piercing his iron pick again and again into the flesh of the twisted creature of the deeps. Not even the crashing of the gates above disturb the vicious  melee. Not even the rage of a Yeti ransacking the fortress proper will end this fight to the death. Screaming aspersion and hate, the Dwarves of the Feral Walls hack and tear into the ancient foe.

Nelson loses his pick in the stiff flesh of the monstrous beast, leaving him unarmed – adding his name to the growing number of Dwarves known to bite their foe in the heat of battle.

The combination of piercing iron picks and heavy silver warhammers quickly cripples the Forgotten Beast, but not before a young Dwarf is pierced through the heart and killed outright.

Death Count: 14 (an un-dorfed Dwarf)

Andrew Osborne, in a display of insane bravery, decides the industry of the fortress is more important that some quaint Forgotten Beast; so much so that Andrew figured stone-hauling was worth the risk of death.

It went very well for him.

Death Count: 15 (Andrew Osborne II)

Am I having !!FUN!! yet?


Nelson maintains an unbreakable grip on the Forgotten Beasts… *ahem* … lower body. He remains our most prolific killer – seventeen Wolf kills, plus Failburials. But it is Austin Jones who slays the fearsome Edi  Apufi Cavemi. He’s come a long way since fleeing a goat barely over a year ago. He also has ten other kills.

Poor Justin Currie has only one Wolf kill. It’s time to earn your keep, Justin, or you’ll be left behind!

Jimmy Breau has created Inirmerseth, a Yak Bone Helmet. All Craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality. This object menaces with spikes of Yak bone.

Thanks for the help Jimmy.

Now for that Yeti…

Death Count: 16 (Justin Currie III)

He didn’t even make it to the Yeti before dying of blood loss. Maybe I should pay more attention to my Dwarves needs.


Nelson strikes the Yeti down with the aid of Austin Jones and Moses, who, after the Feral Walls drew the Yeti away from the walls of the fortress, managed to land a few bolts in the Yeti’s chest.

Then a Blizzard Man comes along. How quaint. It falls easily to the properly armed Feral Walls, Austin removing its head. WITH HIS WARHAMMER. Damn, Austin, you sure do like removing heads with weapons that shouldn’t remove heads! Ever!

What a mess to clean up…

Speaking of messes, both Austin and Nelson seem to be bleeding everywhere, which is unsightly and an inconvenience to the workings of the fortress. I tell them to stop, but they don’t listen. Instead, they collapse into unconsciousness, the silly Dwarves.

Robyn, my newly-appointed Chief Medical Dwarf – the last one died somewhere along the line – tells me they should receive medical attention, but why would I listen to her? She isn’t trained in the medical sciences any more than I am! In fact, she has no relevant skills whatsoever. Her opinion is promptly ignored.

Sadly, my impromptu hospital from before is still functioning, and the lazy Dwarves decide bleeding in a hospital bed is superior to bleeding in the halls. They track smears and pools of their blood all through the halls to get into those beds

Damn there’s a lot of blood. Shouldn’t that be on the inside? Lazy Dwarves can’t even keep their life on the inside. Yes, they are the Feral Walls, Heroes and Protectors of the Fort – this only makes their failures all the more glaring. Should heroes not be held to a higher standard than the peons of the Cult?

I am adding Jeremy Banks to the Feral Walls – he seems to have at least some training in the use of armour. He can pick the rest up as he goes.

Get it? Pick? Because the Feral Walls uses picks as weapons.

I’m kidding. He’s getting a sword.

More migrants! Seriously people, I need more Dorf names. If you want any name – it doesn’t even have to be your name – leave a comment below. You can even have more than one!

Still no medical dwarf. Looks like Robyn is going to start diagnosing those injured warriors. This can only end well.

In other news, now is the time to begin our first project: the shrine to God atop the Scintillating Ash. First step, digging a stairway into the core of the mountain. Yeti and Blizzard Men abound.

Progress is slow.

Next time: Building a Stairway to Heaven!

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