Plotting a Plantation

Thought this was neat and you might enjoy if I shared it.  The scan didn’t pick up the graph paper’s details very well, so I added a few labels in paint.


I volunteered to be party foreman for the restoration of the abandoned sugar cane plantation we’re rebuilding.  Anyone who actually knows a thing or two about planning farms could probably point out why this is terribad, but it’s probably good enough for D&D.

Phase 1: Set up temp barracks (10 x 20), warehouse (40 x 40), tool shed (10×10), and 4 temporary long houses (20 x 30 each).

Phase 2: construct three 10×10 wooden guard towers (fairly simple ones, covered platforms 12′ off the ground).

Phase 3: Repair the Old House

Phase 4: Distillery (40 x 30), 2 small warehouses (30 x 30), small stable (30 x 30)

Phase 5: Introduce farm workers to begin working fields. Build two small cart bridges over the spring stream. (20’ x 10)

Phase 6: Begin work on palisade; Palisade Phase 1: 2070’ of walls.  two 20’ gates.  Six 30×30 guard towers. Four 10 x 10 gate towers.

Phase 6: Build additional housing (five more 20 x 30 long houses) and 30 x 40 for special personnel; SW old Guard Tower dismantled; E Guard tower moved to center of east palisade wall.

Phase 7: Expand warehouses (40 x 40 to 100 x 40, 30 x 30s to 40 x 50 and 50 x 60)

Phase 8: Expand distillery to 40’ x 80’, expand stable to 30’ x 60’.  Build 90’ privacy fence between old house and distillery for Namia.

Phase 9: Extend palisade north and east to free up more arable land.

Phase 10: clear and cultivate additional acreage.

Our DM will be tallying up construction expenses.  We’re going to have our work cut out for us looking for a way to pay for all of this.

Update: here’s a better quality scan.


Xilland stats for B/X

Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 6+6
Move: 150’ (50’)
Attacks: 2 claws/1 bite
Damage: 2d6 each
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: Fighter 6
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Neutral

Xillands are huge woolly monsters with an ursine head, large tusks and four sets of limbs.  They are nearly 20’ long and can rear up to 12’ in height.  Xillands’ foremost set of limbs end with long saber claws.  Below those are arms with anthropoid hands that it can use for grasping.  Next is another set of claws.  The last set of limbs end in cat-like feet.  They mainly inhabit chilly swamplands and are exceptionally fast.  If both claw attacks hit a single opponent, the Xilland will use its second set of hands to grasp its target; if this happens, its bite attack will automatically hit and the Xilland will make two additional claw attacks.  Xilland fur is so thick that only piercing weapons of short-sword length or longer and only magical projectile attacks can hurt them.  Xillands are immune to cold and take half damage from fire.  Xilland furs may be used to make clothing with a permanent “Resist Cold” effect (see Cleric Spells, p B16)


2015 Planetary Awards Nominations: Torchship, by Karl Gallagher

Forget the Hugos, Nominations for the 2015 Planetary Awards are due February 14th!

In the Small Press / Self-published category, I’d like to nominate Karl Gallagher’s Torchship.

Torchship is a hard sci-fi adventure story in the vein of Firefly* about an interstellar freelance cargo-freighter and its crew.  Torchship is set in something of a post-empire future in which both Earth a sizable portion of the colonized worlds have fallen to a devastating AI rebellion, leaving a few highly advanced but paranoid cyber-isolationist worlds and a tough-as-nails frontier beyond.  As a fully analog spaceship, the Fives Full is one of the few interstellar craft permitted to travel between the “Disconnect” and “Fusion” worlds.  In the course of taking odd jobs to make ends meet, the Fives Full’s crew stumbles upon the opportunity to hunt for buried space treasure.  The catch?  It’s deep in the heart of the AI ravaged ruins of humanity’s former dominion!

Torchship is Karl Gallagher’s and Kelt Haven Press’s first book; Gallagher’s amazing and Kelt Haven Press has a real winner on their hands.  You should keep both of them on your radar.

My interview with Karl Gallagher can be found here.

I’d also like to plug Matthew D Ryan and his book Sceptre of Morgulan as something of a runner up.  Everything I’ve read by Ryan has been great, and I’ve also had the opportunity to interview him and have him do a guest post, and if the award were broken down into SF and Fantasy instead of story length and small press/indie vs. trad published, I’d be able to nominate them both.  Torchship breaks the tie by being the first book in a series; rather than nominate the third book in a series, I’ll just say “Go and buy Drasmyr; you can download it for free, but you should really buy it, too.”

* If Firefly were written by someone who actually knows a thing or two about spaceships and engineering.

Dunhams Destroys, Cirsova Builds

I will pay triple what Dunhams Manor is offering for the opposite of what they’re asking for.

Take the kind of story that Lovecraft, Merritt, Dunsany, Chambers or your other favorite pre-Derlethian weird writer would’ve told and tell it without any irony, any deconstruction, any tongue-in-cheek, any post-modern moralizing or mockery.

Tell a good classic pulpy science fiction story with a twinge of existentialist horror via alien and isolating elements.  Or take a heroic fantasy approach to the Mythos; tell a story of the naked apes struggling to survive in the world ruled by Elder Gods and Old Ones.

Ironic hipster parodies and Cthululz have been the norm for decades.  Those need to be destroyed, not Lovecraft, and I’m willing to pay good money to authors who’ll do it.

More of this:


Less of this:


Please no dropping nukes on Cthulhu.  Note that modern and contemporary ::fingerquote:: “Lovecraftian” fiction or detective noir pastiches will be rejected unless you really bring something great to the table.

It will be a few months (probably April) before Cirsova officially opens submissions for issue #2, but consider this a heads up.  We pay .01 per word with a bonus .01 for the first 2500 words.

Yes, there will be a 2nd Issue.  More on that soon…

Cathy Young, “Cuckservatives”, #Gamergate and the Trump Phenomenon

I haven’t talked about Gamergate, or even really followed it much, for some time; I’ve been too busy with the zine and my new writing gig at Castalia House (both of which have been going fabulously!), but this article rubbed me the wrong way, particularly the attempt to link the term “cuckold” to racism.

This is rather disappointing coming from Cathy Young, especially as one of the few in the media who gave gamergate fair coverage.  As someone who was close to gamergate, she should know that “cuckold” is not the racial term she claims it is.  As a slur, it has come back to prevalence in the last few years, not in reference to race or the supposed black “cuckolding porn” she describes, but by and large to male feminists who are perceived as not being able please feminist women.

Cathy admits in the twitter thread that she knows the actual origin of the term (having to do with Cuckoo birds; it was never a racial term to begin with and has been around in English since the days when most Englishmen had never seen black people and probably thought they were mythical).

It’s pointed out to her that the term “cuckservative has nothing to do with race” to which she replies “Except those who use it say otherwise”, linking to not to someone using it and claiming that they’re using it as a racial slur but to a National Review article full of people complaining that they’re being called cuckservatives and the people calling them that must be racist, claiming that in addition to being called cuckservatives, they’ve also been called “kikeservatives”.  The National Review article’s first linked source?  Washington Post.  Because those guys are in touch and know what they’re talking about, amirite?

It’s sad to see someone who supposedly took up the cause of ethics in journalism spreading and repeating silly falsehoods.  It’s even sadder to see very few people calling them on it.

First, let me preface this next bit by saying that it is not an endorsement of any candidate or policy, but conclusions drawn based on my own observations.

The Trump phenomenon is not difficult to explain.  Many who have, in the past, supported the Republican party as an opposition to the Democrat party and progressive platform have come to realize that there is no such thing as a RINO and those who’d been labeled RINOs actually represent the strategy and consensus of the party as an organization.  In a two party system, Trump represents the only opportunity for those who are opposed to the Democrat platform and who are tired of the GOP’s perpetual betrayal of its base.  It also represents a backlash against conservative eggheadery; for all of the think-tanks and institutes and scholars supposedly promoting conservative thought and ideology, where does any of it show up in Washington?  It’s a vote against policy wonks and think-tanks as much as it is against other candidates.

In an effort of the established pseudo-conservative intelligentsia to stop Trump and thereby maintain their control and relevance, the fear mongering about the straw-alt-right has been ratcheted up.  This is backfiring, however, because when taking Europe into account, people are able to see “there but for the grace of god and another few years of social democratic policies go us” (and I’m not just talking migrants and refugees, but failing social programs and the economic turmoil of the Eurozone as well); the people haven’t changed much in their core ideologies and beliefs, but in their desperation.    Voting “conservative” in the last several election cycles has failed them and many refuse to take the gamble again when 3 cycles in a row Republican majorities in Congress have failed to bring about the policy changes the electorate had voted for.  People have moved from conservatism to nationalism because they feel like they have no other choice.  The GOP is far more responsible for this change by being an ineffective opposition party than the institutional left.  The GOP must paint their failure as being the responsibility of a fringe group of far-right lunatics because otherwise they will be forced to admit that the American people have abandoned them utterly; yet by making concerted efforts to destroy their own front running candidate, they are proving how little the American people need or want the Republican Party to have anything to do with anything at a national level, because they are willing and active participants in the modern American Kleptocracy.  The desire for any alternative at this point is the biggest shaping factor of the 2016 race.

The Republican party IS an institutional cuckold; in the case, the egg is the statist agenda.  Once a pro-statist social agenda in place, they tend to it like it was their own.

For those on the left, whether middle or far left, this should be an object lesson in the importance of not going all out to destroy opposition to your agenda; if opposition to your agenda is ineffective or non-existent, those who object to what you’re doing will go to desperate extremes to shift the balance.  We haven’t seen anything yet, here in the US.  Again, Europe and the backlash that the social democratic left may be about to face there on a continental level has potential to be a bloody demonstration of what happens when any one agenda goes too far without reasonable opposition that is not simply dismissed and denigrated as “alt-right”.

Even many of those who support Trump probably wish that it never had to come to this.   But after a longstanding betrayal predicated on a falsehood of shared conservative ideologies, America’s relationship with the GOP may finally be coming to grisly end.


Shoutouts: Jabari Weathers & the Zelart Scholarship

Jabari Weathers has added the clean Cirsova art to his  online gallery.  You should absolutely check out some of his other work.

If you have a project for which you need art and are looking for something with a dark and surreal 70s New Wavy take on fantasy, I highly recommend Mr. Weathers.  He was great to work with and got the project completed ahead of schedule (over holidays even!)

Though I may try to mix it up a bit, I absolutely want more Cirsova covers done by her in the future.


I don’t know if this is still the case, but the last I’d heard there had been no applicants to Postmortem Studio’s Darkzel art memorial scholarship.  I hope this is no longer the case.  It’s a relatively small thing, but something I strongly support and believe in.

If I had any advice for aspiring artists, it’s don’t listen to the art teachers who tell you to stop doodling monsters and cartoon characters.  If you’re an artist and want your art to feed you someday, SFF illustration is where it’s at.  Your talents will be appreciated and in high demand.  The journeyman artist has always been a thing, but with today’s publishing boom in both fiction and gaming, you’re going to be more sought after and have more opportunities than ever.

So please, if you’re an aspiring artist in school, consider submitting something to apply for this scholarship.