Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dungeons and Dragons, "Character Ideas" pt2

Ideas for Future Characters
            A while back I wrote up some short biographies for characters I thought about using in a 5th edition game of Dungeons and Dragons.  While I ended up using only one of them and have since moved on to running a game rather than playing in one.  However, and let’s be honest here, the most fun there is in Dungeons and Dragons is making a character.
            Since I like doing it, I figured I would make a chart in Excel and start checking off class/background combinations, by the end of this writing exercise I will have 156 character ideas.  I have decided not to include races, sub races, sub classes, or the backgrounds from supplemental materials.  Just the Players Handbook… FOR NOW.


            For fun, I will also give a numerical rating for whether I think something is “Interesting”.  There are characters that are so common as to be arch typical or even cliché, but maybe there is a reason they are so common, because they are just that intriguing.  Feel free to disagree or offer your own suggestions and objections in the comments.
            If you would like to share some of your own unused character ideas, do so in the comments, maybe use this format (maybe get it to catch on, I like its simplicity) and try and keep to a shorter length, you don’t want people to “tldr” your stuff.
            One more thing worth mentioning, I will make an effort to include a variety of different fantasy races in my character creation.  I have written before that I could run an entire fantasy world with just humans and see most fantasy races as too bland to be seen as meaningfully different from humanity (elves, to me, are too often played as just tall humans with pointy ears).  I also know that this is not an opinion shared by most and I want to try and expand my own horizons.


What Have I Got?
            Only one entry.  Originally, I was planning to take these things 4 at a time, but I got a job and would like to actually PLAY this game from time to time.  This week didn’t even get a theme because a theme tends to suggest a full roster of characters with something in common.

 
It is a little frustrating how much of this is on Pinterest.
It is hard to credit the creators, even though I am citing my source.


Name: Azmiyah Samie
Class: Warlock (Fey)
Race: Dragonborn (Metallic-Brass)
Background: Folk Hero
History: On the edge of the world, before the great waste know by the other races as, “The Land of Wind and Ghosts” the sheen of my Clan’s scales can be seen in heat of the beating sun.  The nearby halfling communities called us the “Horned Clan” after the lizards that would wander thru the scrubland we inhabited.  We were a good people.  Desperation does terrible things to a soul.
            Our resources ran out.  The druid leadership of our community could no longer make the crops grow or the game flourish.  The glass we had worked for trade became brittle to the touch.  Poverty and Hunger hung over us like the shade of cliffs promising a rock slide.  Then it came.
            I know it wasn’t a true Dragon.  Its form twisted as a mirage and it spoke a language none of use knew and we all understood.  Was it a Wind or Ghost from the desert?  Was it Madness called by our dying?  All I recall is it asking for favors in exchange for a crystal bottle filled with amber liquid that would sate all hunger.
            It would fill us up with itself.
            We were so hungry.

Goals: My Clan is known as the Desert Wind now.  Pushing out in every direction we swallowed territory, enslaved the other races, and with our new powers have begun work on sowing the “Seeds of Sands”.  All over the world there are key spots filled with verdant life that must be twisted to the whim of the Mirage that Sated our Hunger.
            I broke free.  Somehow, after walking thru a mental desert chasing awareness of myself, I found me.  I broke from the compulsion to swallow the world in sand.  I still have the power of the Mirage, but I also have my mind.  Thankfully my opposition to my people’s crusade has made me into a legend.  People see me as a source of hope.
            The key locations of verdant life must be protected.  My mental state must be protected from the Mirage.  My people must be freed from this compulsion.  The world cannot be plunged into the Age of Sand.

Rating: 4/5
            I think the big strength of this one is the Fey lord that the pact was made with.  The idea of a desert Fey Lord that takes the form of a mirage is pretty cool to me.  I also like the idea that this entire clan is now effectively warlocks under the sway of a Fey Lord that is seeking to spread its wasteland influence by destroying magical locations that is a good plot for the background of a campaign.
            The character itself is not a folk hero to their own people, but a hero to others because they managed to break free of their people’s influence.  The idea of having the metallic dragons be the ones drawn into this adds another layer as the metallic are traditionally the good guys.


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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Poem, "Exotic Word"

Exotic Word

You're an exotic word
Auto-correct just keeps trying to rewrite you as something else
Because it is a tool of semi-literate barbarians

You're the right word in a poem that is only half written
Letters traced invisibly
Like the cursive movements of a finger
Pulled, turned, and twisted over bare skin

You're not a typo
any more than a tan line or freckle
is a form of punctuation

There is only one punctuation mark
I would look for with you
an exclamation point

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Blog For All Time, End of Year 1

            Last year at this time I decided on the nebulous goal of making sure I had a blog entry for every date on the calendar.  That way when my Facebook feed came around to stroke my ego via the “Memories” feature I would always have a sample of my own writing to crack out and post up.
            At this point I typically don’t repost my older stuff, as my old writing is mostly shit.  I apparently had a long-term relationship with run on sentences, and cheated on those with incomplete sentences.  Sometimes, when I write while drinking I go back to those relationships.
            What I am saying is, my old stuff is exactly what it was supposed to be, the junk I had to get out of my system to reach my current level of proficiency.  Almost like that was my stated goal when starting this blog and all subsequent writing projects I have done.  My spelling still hasn’t improved, but that I can blame on technology.
            Having something for everyday of the year is maybe not the best reason for why to write, but when you are trying to bang out a ton of words as an exercise in and of itself, you need motivation (any old excuse) to put fingers to keyboard.  Often that motivation amounts to “a day on the calendar must be made orange”.  I don’t know why I chose orange.
            Let’s take a look at the old calendar.



            Big empty spaces in October and December; somewhat empty spaces for March, July, and November; and just too many little holes all over the rest of the place.  No real rhyme or reason for this scatter shot.  Just several years of random activity layered on top of one another.
            Now let’s look at the new one.
 
I also switched from using the paint can to just drawing orange boxes over the day, allowing for a much cleaner fill.


            I feel I have made good progress on my goal.  Aside from months that were previously so empty that filling them would have required a plan of attack, I still turned a lot of the temporal map orange.
            117 open spaces has been reduced to 30.  Just 30.  I know few people reading this have a lot of writing experience and maybe if you do that sounds like just another year of your life, but for me that amount of writing is legendary.  Now that I have a full-time job there is no way I will ever have the time necessary to put down that many words in a year ever again.
            How did I do this?  I think the clearest thing I can point to is Dungeons and Dragons.  I have written about it more this year than any other year of my life, and if you were to mash all of the blogs I wrote together they would easily be the length of a book.  I have played around in Dungeons and Dragons since I was 15 but this was the first time I really hammered out entry after entry and put those entries out for people to read and absorb.
            For others to read, absorb, and criticize.
            I hope a few of them think I did well.
            Earlier this year I wrote my 400th blog on this site, on the 6th anniversary of starting this blog.  This entry today is my 500th blog.
            On the 26th of April in 2013 I set a goal of writing 1,000,000 words.  As of right now, I am closing in on 600,000. 
            Between this day last year and now I wrote 216,302 words.  That is madness.
            One year ago today, I set out to fill my calendar.  While I have let numerous days pass by without getting an entry (1 of which because I thought a Hurricane was going to destroy my home town, luckily it did not), having an entry for everyday of the year is too easy a goal now.  I am too close to finishing it.
            I have to think of something else.
            I am just going to have to keep writing.

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            If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter (click that link to follow me), Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dungeons and Dragons, "Character Ideas" pt1

A Too Long Introduction
            A while back I wrote up some short biographies for characters I thought about using in a 5th edition game of Dungeons and Dragons.  While I ended up using only one of them and have since moved on to running a game rather than playing in one.  However, and let’s be honest here, the most fun there is in Dungeons and Dragons is making a character.
            Since I like doing it, I figured I would make a chart in Excel and start checking off class/background combinations, by the end of this writing exercise I will have 156 character ideas.  I have decided not to include races, subraces, sub classes, or the backgrounds from supplemental materials.  Just the Players Handbook… FOR NOW.


            For fun, I will also give a numerical rating for whether I think something is “Interesting”.  There are characters that are so common as to be arch typical or even cliché, but maybe there is a reason they are so common, because they are just that intriguing.  Feel free to disagree or offer your own suggestions and objections in the comments.
            If you would like to share some of your own unused character ideas, do so in the comments, maybe use this format (maybe get it to catch on, I like its simplicity) and try and keep to a shorter length, you don’t want people to “tldr” your stuff.
            One more thing worth mentioning, I will make an effort to include a variety of different fantasy races in my character creation.  I have written before that I could run an entire fantasy world with just humans and see most fantasy races as too bland to be seen as meaningfully different from humanity (elves, to me, are too often played as just tall humans with pointy ears).  I also know that this is not an opinion shared by most and I want to try and expand my own horizons.


What Have I Got?  Wanderers.
            I recommend as a DM, that if you have the luxury of having your players making characters as a group, picking a theme of 1-5 words to serve as an inspiration seems like a good idea.
            I decided to choose a theme for all of the characters I made today to illustrate this, that of the Wanderer.  It is an easy theme to work with in Dungeons and Dragons as most adventurers have to go to a large number of places to go on a wide variety of adventures.  That being said, I managed to get 3 of them to fit a subtheme of “Exile”.  They are out and about, but not super happy about it.  Maybe I am feeling too brooding these days. 



Name: Katarina Othronus, the Exiled Diaspora
Class: Barbarian (Wolf Totem)
Race: Half Elf
Background: Outlander
History: My mother’s ancestors were once good people.  Our homeland was vast and shielded from the world by white and violet mountains to the east, and the glittering sea to the west.  Then the Sea People came.  Our glittering sea once full of little fishing boats was replaced with the burnt red of a sun setting on water full of bodies and burning sails.  Our city was sacked, and while once upon a time those mountains seemed impassable, my people fled thru their tight paths to the land of my father’s people, the Elves.
Goals: My elf side sees the length of time stretched out before me and my clan, a century has passed since the humans fled from the Sea People, and in another century, unable to grasp that there is no return they may fade from this world, forgotten.
            My human side, filled with burning human blood, can’t let that happen.  I feel within me the anger of thousands of dead ancestors killed in my homeland.  I feel the rage of many thousands more lost in a land unknown to their forbearers.  I see in the night the packs of wolves moving thru the forest and know that my pack, my people, must go back to our homeland, we must not simply fade from this world.
Rating: 4/5 (please leave your own numerical score for these in the comments)
            While “Outlander” and “Barbarian” go together like bacon and eggs I think that greater depth can be plumbed by contextualizing the “Outlander” as someone in exile, the Barbarian’s rage as the rage of their ancestry, the totem of wolf being taken up as a symbol of unity, and the mixed heritage providing internal conflict.  All of these elements together allowed me to take something that could have been the 10,000 Barbarian from the land of Barbarians and instead create something much more original.  This is a person who wants to reclaim a homeland they have never been to, while at the same time belonging to another homeland that sees such efforts as a small thing compared to the vast history of the elves.




Name: Ribbles, the Bawdy
Class: Bard (Lore)
Race: Gnome (Forest)
Background: Sailor
History: I would like to think of myself as something of a pioneer.  If I am not the inventor of insult comedy, something I did while cooking roast pig in an island port full of Summer Elves… Well, if I am not the inventor then I am at the very least a truly lauded explorer and developer in the field.
            I have traveled to dozens of ports and talked with every prostitute, gambler, drinker, and ne’er-do-well I can find to find better, more disgusting ways of making people laugh at themselves.  Sometimes they laugh so hard it hurts.
Goals: I am composing my manifesto.  It will be the longest and most comprehensive book ever written on the topic of insults.  Drawn from port towns all over the world, from as many languages as I can interact with, and with etymology to explain how new words and insults evolved in such a hazardous environment.
            Ports are a breeding ground… and not just for bastards like you, but for language.   People from all over the world enter these colosseums of vulgarity to do battle with beasts of insults, most of which are just colorful ways of calling each other “ass”.   Once I have my book altogether, I will compose the single greatest insult I can, the best ever made, and I will use it on the concept of humorlessness itself.  I will kill it dead, giving everyone in the world a good chuckle at how impotent and shit such things are.
Rating: 3/5
            I have no idea how I managed to come up with a gnome writing a manifesto on insults, that idea poured out of my brain in all one sitting.  The only difficulty I see with this character is that the person playing them has to be able to say clever insults, or at least poetic ones.  I know that I can do that, half of the NPC’s I play are sarcastic in such a fashion, but most people will just come off as attention seeking edge lords, and will bring down the room by being mean instead of funny.


Name: Dain of No Clan, the Honorable Exiled
Class: Rogue (Assassin)
Race: Dwarf (Hill)
Background: Soldier
History: Dwarves are “Honorable”.  Dwarves are “Forthright”.  Dwarves are “Unsubtle” and “Brash” and many other adjectives that do not couple with the word “Assassin”.  There is a reason for that.  Dwarven commandos, dubbed “Sharp Flints” are a well-guarded cultural secret by the clans.  “Sharpened of the Darkest Stone” is the call to action, and the ability to push that sharp stone into the throats of the clan’s foes is the mission.
            After the last conflict, the King refused to call it a war, I was granted “Honorable Exile” as reward for my time in the Sharp Flints.  My actions during the war were considered so beneath the honor of the Dwarven people that I could not be allowed back into the society whose safety I had helped secure, but so noble was my sacrifice they would not punish or damn me in their histories.
Goals: My name will be written on a black stone tablet and kept in a vault, secure till the times of judgement when the Lords of the Caverns return to guide the Dwarven people into the next world.  When they come, the tablets will be broken, and I shall join my people in the next world.  My honor and place in the clan restored.  As for right now, I am free to use my sharp stone on all the wicked fools and villains I find.  Let’s go find some.
Rating: 2/5
            Let’s be clear, the role of “Soldier” is not meant for certain classes.  The Rogue is typically drawn to Criminal and Charlatan backgrounds, those seem like the most logical for a class based around stealth and opportunism.  The subclasses for Rogue are also not suited for the role of a conventional Soldier.  This is not the sort of contrast that leads to creativity, this is the sort of contrast that just doesn’t really fit.
            Since I had to make such an odd fit, I looked for the race that would have the biggest break culturally and then worked to connect the dots.  Dwarves are not typically Rogues but are often Soldiers, what if even their Rogues were seen as a type of Soldier?  Did it work?  I don’t know.  I could not come up with goals aside from, “do good till I die and go to heaven”.  Which is admittedly weak.  This is definitely the weakest individual character of this lot.




Name: Karg
Class: Paladin (Vengeance)
Race: Half Orc
Background: Criminal
History: In this Kingdom, I am a crime.  I represent the pollution of the good, natural, noble blood of the populace by the foreign menace who wish to rape the women, and emasculate the men.  I am the product of rape according to the laws of this Kingdom.  Never mind my mother’s happy tears on the day of her wedding to my father.  Forget the years of secret love and devotion.  Ignore the endless aching sobs she cried next to the spot where they burned my father’s body.  She was the victim, he was a criminal, and I am the crime.
            I am a crime by birth.
            My father was tied to a tree, to die of exposure over the course of days, and then his body burned in a pit.  He came to me in dreams when I was young, to play games, give me the hugs I had never gotten, and to teach me to farm.  They were all dreams of a man I never met and will never have the chance to live up to.  He was a peaceful person.  Strong enough to work a farm and forge.  Strong enough to be in love.
Goals: I will have my revenge on the bigots who destroyed my father.  Vengeance for the little boy I was.  I will burn this toxic dump of a kingdom to the ground.  I will mount the head of the King on a post and throw garbage at it.  I will kill until there are no more of them to beg forgiveness from my wrath.  When they are all gone, maybe, just maybe… I will find some peace in the afterlife.  On a little farm, a child again, hugged tight in the arms of my father to live the life I was denied.
Rating: 5/5
            This, I think, is one of the intersections that has been made a little too easy in 5th edition.  In previous editions a Paladin was required to be a paragon of virtue and as such the only way to make them a criminal was to assume the government declaring such a thing was evil, Sheriff of Nottingham style.
            5th edition though, provides a much greyer form of Paladin.  This option is what I have chosen to do here.  The path of Vengeance is the most personal and least good of the Paladin subclasses in the players handbook, but at the same time it does ostensibly have an end goal that can be reached, Revenge.  Once the character has their vengeance, the question of where they go and what they do from there is intriguing and something that could make for a cool story in the context of a game.
            If you are a fan of science fiction I feel I should point out that most of the inspiration for this character was G’Kar from “Babylon 5” (the name is an anagram).  G’Kar was defined by vengeance for nearly two whole seasons before having a religious experience and shifting tracks to become one of the spiritual heroes of the series; in fact, his quest for vengeance was so tied into his persona, the villains of the show did not see him as useful in the long term because he had no aspirations beyond vengeance, and they wanted to align with those who had vision for the future.
            I have talked about “Babylon 5” before, but as it relates to Alignment in Dungeons and Dragons, I highly recommend the show (the first 10-12 episodes are pretty weak, but everything after that till season 5 is considered some of the best science fiction ever produced).
            Another small bit of inspiration?  “Born a Crime” the title of Trevor Noah’s book on growing up mixed race in Apartheid South Africa.

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            If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter (click that link to follow me), Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Dungeons and Dragons, "Undying Patrons"

            I have been DMing a game of 5e Dungeons and Dragons for months now and have started to get more of a handle on things in 5e that I enjoy and things that kind of rub me the wrong way.  Plenty of these ideas have good baselines though, and do what they need to do.  That is, inspire me to make my own stuff.

            A while back Wizards of the Coast released some more options for the Warlock class.  The idea behind the Warlock class is that the character makes a pact with a powerful entity in exchange for magical abilities.  In the main books, the powerful entity is a demon, a powerful Fairy, or an alien being that would drive most men mad to even know it exists.  These things are powerful and mysterious.  They are not gods, but certainly so powerful that meeting one is considered a legendary story in its own right.
            One of the newer options is that of the undead or “undying” pact.  The idea being that you could make a deal with a powerful lich or vampire to gain tremendous power.  In theory, this kind of works.  It draws to mind the scene in “Dracula: Untold” where Luke Evans makes a deal with Charles Dance to get vampire powers.  I gave a scathing review to that movie a long while back, and if you haven’t seen it, don’t bother.
            Thing is, in DnD powerful vampires, liches, and mummies are a little more common than they are in most other forms of horror-fantasy.  Removing a lot of the mystique such a bargain would have to it.  The deals feel less like meeting a powerful entity and more like making a deal with a powerful political ruler, akin to a king.  Not insubstantial, but something that would happen in some capacity to most adventurers.


            The book offers some suggestions, Vecna (my favorite bad guy), Iuz an undead demi-god; the Lich Queen Vol from Eberron; the Undying Court; Vlaakith who is the Lich Queen of the Githyanki; or Fistandantalus (I am morally opposed to ever spelling that name again or trying to learn anything about that character).
            Here is where my complaint starts to come in.  The suggestions are either Gods (in which case, be a Cleric, the class that deals with gods) or dudes/duddettes.  Let’s ignore the gods, they are out of flavor (“get back over with the Clerics!”).  Let’s instead focus on the guys like the Undying Court and Vlaakith.
            These are powerful beings in their worlds.  Some rule nations, some rule cities floating in other dimensions, some are centuries old.  They’re all tough.  But, they are people you can just talk to, and who talk to other people.  They’re dudes that put-on pants and read the newspaper.  Compare that to Satan, C’thulhu, or the Fey embodiment of Winter and the undead-dudes (un-dudes) just seem…. mundane.
            There has to be something that is more powerful and unknowable than a typical undead, but not actually a god in the typical DnD sense.
            I MADE SOME UP.
            I drew on references from real world legends (like you do when world building) and tried to make an undead lord for each of the most iconic undead monsters: Ghost, Vampire, Mummy, Zombie/Skeleton, Lich, Death Knight, and Miscellaneous (the most terrifying of catchalls).
            Fun thing, I took so long to post this, I am certain my Death Knight patron, Shaitan shares its inspiration, Stormbringer (which I talked a little about here) with the basis for the new Hexblade Warlock they introduced in “Xanathar’s Guide to Everything”.  Though, I don’t think they use the name “Stormbringer” (I mean, Michael Moorcock ain’t dead yet, and I am sure there is some copyright attorney looking for a vein to tap).

            Without further prattle, here are my undead patrons.
            (I started with the one I think is the silliest.  Bear with me.)


Undead Patrons
            There is darkness.
            Within that darkness there are monsters.
            Some of those monsters would be seen as like unto gods.
            They make deals.

            Davy Jones is the coldest sea, the current which pulls swimmer from shore and breath from lung, he takes those souls who cannot move on and makes them his servants, caught in the whirlpool that is undeath.  Jones is the cold that numbs the mind.
 
Were you perhaps expecting a different deal making Davy Jones in popular culture?

            The Midnight Sun is the anti-light, the progenitor of all vampires, the progenitor of the Shadow Fell, and all spilled blood pours toward his great will.  He is the thirst which drives all to madness.
 
It's a pun.  Also, I have never seen this movie.
            Imhotep is the endless sand, the beating sun, and the husk of dried flesh that was once living.  Far from water, far from shade, in the endless wandering of a death unending, preserved and kept for the world after life.  Imhotep is the fear of what is after that keeps the dead walking.
 
I will admit he is more intimidating as a 700 foot tall sand storm with a face.
            The Mass Grave is the deepest pit, the sum of all worm-eaten flesh and bone ground to dust, the cold space beneath even the darkest of the Underdark, and all those mindless evils hear his whispers of, “Rise”.  It is the hunger which drives all to desperation.
 
None of the internet pictures for this term are spooky in a fun way.  They are just terribly sad.  Feel free to change the name.
            The Red Hand is the ever scribing, the keeper of secrets, the pen that writes the words of uncreation.  She is the painful truth, the bared soul, the tormenting conscience, the evidence that removes all doubt of guilt.  She is the knowledge that gnaws at the spirit.


            Shaitan is the black sword, skin breaker, soul taker, rune covered, strength bestower, and securer of legacies.  It is the weapon that kills its holder by inches, taking each with life slain.  Shaitan is the rage that drives the good to do wicked.
 
Ironically this is a design for the "Sword of Kas".
            Charon is the taker of passengers, ferryman of the River Styx, navigator of forgotten lives and lost passions.  He is the hand that takes yours into the afterlife, he is the memory that fades into dream, he is the apathy that causes all to fade.
 
There are about 10,000 images like this.  This one was pretty good.

One More Thing
            There is another new Warlock path in the previously mentioned “Xanathar’s Guide to Everything” that I think is so totally out of place that I want to complain about it too.  But, I don’t just want to complain about it, I want to denounce it.  I think most people who have seen the option know what I am talking about.  I’ll get to it.
            As is, I hope these things were cool enough for consideration in your own game.  If you have your own ideas, post a link in the comments.

            Have Fun.
______________________________
            If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter (click that link to follow me), Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Poem, "Slow"

           In the past, I have written poetry on this blog.  Sometimes I take poems I find on the Poetry foundation and rewrite them, write a response to them, or just wreck them, as I don't know anything about poetry.  Today I drew inspiration from the Poem, "Now the Slow Blood" by Robert Fernandez to create my own little poem.
           Feel free to tell me what you think.


Slow

Slow the flow of rain.
Now the voice drops lower.
Glow narrow bolt of light.
Below the blood runs colder.
Low below the grass it stiffens.
Now the voice is slower:

Cold light casts thru showers.
Old joints of a church goer.

Slow the sound as thru cotton.
Slow muffled words gathered, gotten.

Old Scratch, near marker standing,
His finger, slowly curls, enticing,
Smile, bright, wide, inviting.

Slow is the idea creeping in the mind.
Slow does the thought grow.
Slow to open eyes, no longer blind.
Slow comes resignation, sorrow.

Not to heaven, no, not there
Old joints, bad soul, down, down there.

______________________________
            If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter (click that link to follow me), Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Stranger Things, It, and Imagination

            I just saw on twitter a question about Eleven, the psychic little girl on “Stranger Things”.  (MILD SPOILERS are ahead).  The question was, “Why do Eleven's (and Eight's) nosebleeds always start with the left nostril?  This has never made sense.”  (Generally speaking, you should still follow Beth Elderkin on twitter, I come off super condescending to her question in this blog, but she writes articles that are frequently good).
 
I picked this image because it is one of my favorite parts of season 1.
            Now, before I get to answering the question I am going to spell out something important.  This is the sort of detail that DOES NOT MATTER.  It is a visual signifier that has no actual narrative impact beyond telling you, the audience, that a character is doing a thing.  It is no different than Superman’s eyes glowing a different color when he uses his X-Ray vision.  Why that color?  The color doesn’t matter, it is just there to tell you what is happening.
            I would also like to point out that I have not seen the second season of “Stranger Things” yet, I am still watching “Mindhunters” and have a life.  Maybe don’t put things like “… (and Eight’s) …” in your Twitter.  The show has been out a week, that is a spoiler.
            With those two things in mind here is what I am going to teach my readers something the education system should have tried to teach you when you were in school.  I am going to try to teach you to use your imagination.

"Hahahhahahahaha...."
            As far as I know (again haven’t seen season 2) they do not discuss in any detail several things about Eleven’s time in the government facility that gave her the psychic abilities.  Aside from big tanks of liquid, a shaved head, dull looking underground facilities, and Matthew Modine looking somehow both detached and invested the nature of Eleven’s time at the government facility remains somewhat mysterious to the audience.
            The audience also does not get an explanation about how Eleven’s powers work.  Sure, “PSYCHIC” is what Eleven is, but her brain chemistry, whether there are implants in her skull, or if it is magic is never explained.  The source and functional mechanism are unknown.
            Since we the audience have no answers as to what went on in the facility or how Eleven’s powers work we are free to imagine our own scenario for what went down.
            Here is how you use your imaginations kids.  Start with the question, “Why do the psychic characters always bleed from the same nostril when using their powers?”  Now, make up an answer to that.  I came up with two in the half second it took me to read that tweet.
            Answer 1, “Eleven’s powers manifest because of a tumor that rests on the front of her brain, it pushes on her nasal cavity and causes bleeding when she uses her abilities.”  This one comes from my experience with a previous movie about a psychic, “Phenomenon” starring John Travolta.  It is an imperfect comparison because that movie also had the brain cancer make him super charismatic in addition to his super intellect and telekinesis.
            Answer 2, “The facility would regularly do noninvasive brain surgery on Eleven to monitor her abilities and health.  To do this they went in thru her left nostril and it is now a constantly reopening scar.”  This one is not inspired by any other movie, book, or what have you.  But Answer 2 definitely fits with the tone of the show and makes more sense with less explanation.  Also, the idea that her powers would have drawn no blood if not for the facility has a poetic symbolism to it.
 
Or maybe her Indigo Chakra is out of alignment.
Pick your poison.
            This whole thing is perhaps moot.  The Duffer brothers may have a great idea for how to wrap this question up and just haven’t dropped it on the audience yet.  Like fan explanations for the origin of the Borg, what really happened to Ichabod Crane, and why kids like the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (actually that last one has a canon answer), when things go unanswered the audience is free to make up their own solution.
            In fact, offering your own answer to what, how, and why is often the most fun aspect of being an audience member.  When official products and productions start filling in the gaps and removing that participatory element, that is when much of a work’s mystique is lost (see all prequel movies of “Star Wars”).  That is why I am generally down on prequels, side-quels, and other books or mini-series that seek to show “what really happened” or “mystery revealed”.
            Asking questions of simple things that do not affect the plot can be a creative exercise that kicks off a whole chain of strange and interesting ideas.
  
This is from "Sandman" #40.  A comic that deals with the nature and value of mysteries.
             Here is another one I have seen a lot of that I am not going to bother finding a specific instance of, “Why is the killer “IT” clown not just killing the kids?  He is a cosmic monster and he is taken out by a bunch of kids?  Lame.”
            Let’s answer those questions.  Honestly, this one is super easy for me, Pennywise the cosmic monster is just not as powerful as he claims to be.  He is perhaps some grade C- cosmic asshole who picks on kids because that is all he thinks he can handle.  He is physically weaker, dumber, and far more vulnerable than he leads people to believe.  He very much needs a long wind up before each pitch because he does suck.
            The only thing calling Pennywise the “worst thing ever” is Pennywise (and in the book, there is a cosmic turtle, which I am partial to the interpretation that thing might also be a big liar about how important it is).  You are under no obligation to believe the trickster spirit when he says, “Look, I am so totally bad ass you guys, for reals, yo.”  The monster is under no obligation to tell the truth, and if his actions indicate limitations then you should conclude that there are limitations.
 
I mean, would this face lie to you?

            I cannot stress this enough: Don’t point to elements like this and say it is stupid or lame.  Again, none of this really matters, and if you find yourself disliking these sorts of fine details I think you are actually disliking something deeper and finer that you can’t put your finger on and shifting the blame to unimportant but easy to identify things.  Don’t look for things to dislike, instead look for why you dislike something.

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