Phew, you miss a week, you miss a month! Thanks for coming back after that unscheduled hiatus, I've got news and announcements! First up, it's been crazy busy here the last few weeks. The Professional Casual Network of Podcasts has been steaming along. At this point we've recorded a few seasons of a few different shows, and others are getting pumped out weekly! The Space Between Presents: The Root of All Evil, is our new deep dive into the Netflix docuseries, Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich. We have a time trying to keep our signature style with such heavy subject matter, but I think we find a good mix. We've also recorded a series for The Space Between, with special guest Throlash, Taylor, in which we discuss the original New Mutants comic series from 1982. We take four episodes to cover the first twenty issues which will culminate in our discussion of the movie, once it premiers on Disney+ on August 28th. That was a blast to make, and we're ready to jump into more comic talks.
On the personal side of things, I've been working on my Andora RPG by writing a playtest scenario and tweaking character creation. Dani made a Salamander Blessed and the process took about 20 minutes and she said it was smooth and fun. There's no dice rolling for creating a character, it's all about player choice. I can't wait to run an actual playtest session with the Grim Podcast of Perilous Adventure gang and see how it really plays.
Tim and I also did a little playtesting of a board game I'm developing, working title: Hero Squadron. We played about half a game and it seems solid, with one major issue staring at me that I can't quite figure out. More on that in the future!
Tim and I have also been playing through Final Fantasy 8 and recording our thoughts for a season of The Space Between. It's been a blast, but I just realized the other day that I missed something major that will be a pain to make up. Oh well, it's still fun while I play!
Other gaming has been practically non-existent, but at least Atomic Mass Games is releasing miniatures again, so I've been painting up a bunch of those. Check out my Instagram for pics @Icedan3.
Fiction! That's what this blog is about! I've been working a little on Lani 2, which is now known as Lani: New Gods. I like the title, let me know what you think. You can find me on Twitter @Icedan_HDH I've been busy querying Hundred Dollar Heroes, and while I've gotten a few more 'no thank yous,' they have been pretty positive, saying I had a strong hook, or they read it with interest, but it just didn't quite fit them. Keep trying!
Starting next week I'm going to add book reviews here an there. i'm not the fastest reader, so they'll be intermittent, but I'm excited for it!
I haven't done my 100 Words/100 Days in a week or so, but I'll still post here what I've done since last time, and I'll get back on the horse today!
Enjoy those below and a pic of my most recent models painted, otherwise, Stay Classy!
19: 5/29- "Great Minds"
One of my greatest influences throughout my life is one that has influenced many. The late Stan Lee, the father of modern comics. I don't know if anyone has had as much of an impact on nerd culture, or even being a founding father of nerd culture, as Stan "The Man" Lee (other than maybe George Lucas). Stan Lee has been a huge influence for me due to his creative expanse. He created so many characters that are still relevant today like the Avengers (minus Cap), the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and so many others. I use a lot of his philosophies in creating not only my own superheroes, the Hundred Dollar Heroes, but all my characters. I hope to show homage to Stan Lee with my work, he was certainly a "Great Mind."
20: 5/30- “Foreclosure 1”
Camille sat on the front steps of her family home. The double wide trailer was bursting with people, splitting at the seams with humanity. Camille was the oldest of six, and there was less and less room on the reservation all the time. Her parents couldn't afford the trailer anymore. Any day now the bank was going to come by and hand over the foreclosure papers. Camille didn't know what to do to help. She was only 14, not old enough to get a job for the bills, but old enough to understand the problems. Camille sighed and her hair turned a deep shade of blue. 'If only my augments could help some way.' She thought. Her blue hair was blown out of her face, a helicopter was landing in her front yard. On the side was the symbol of the HDH.
21: 5/31- “Foreclosure 2”
The helicopter touched down and a superhero stepped out. She was a tall, slender woman wearing a striking blue and black uniform. A long red cape billowed out behind her, but was not pulled up into the deadly blades above. The woman wore a cowl that covered all of her face other than her mouth. Her eyes were two bulbous red goggles. She strode confidently towards Camille, who shied back slightly.
"Miss Stillwater?" The superhero asked in a dusky voice.
"I understand you have applied to be a Hundred Dollar Hero."
"Yeah, I did. I didn't think I'd ever hear back."
"Well, you're in luck, we've been monitoring you, and we think your augments would fit our field team nicely. We will train you at the academy until you are ready."
22: 6/1- “Foreclosure 3”
Camille looked up at the superhero in front of her, incredulous.
"I am called Psion," the superhero said. "You will be compensated for your time as a Hero. This will increase once you become a field member."
"Compensation, I'll make money?" Camille asked, getting excited.
"Then I'm in!" Camille hopped to her feet, giddy.
"I hope that money is not your only drive to become a Hero," Psion said, looking down at the teen.
"Well, I want to help my family. I didn't think I'd be able to make money for them so soon!"
"Camille, I feel you will be full of surprises. Come, let us talk with your parents. We also need to discuss a code name."
Camille's now brilliant orange hair couldn't hide her excitement.
23: 6/2- “Hero Squadron”
Hero Squadron is a grid-based miniatures game using the Hundred Dollar Heroes and Andora worlds. Each player takes control of a group of super-powered individuals to try to take down the opposing leader. The game is played in rounds during which each player activates their characters to outmaneuver and out-power the other side. The rounds are played with players activating their ‘chips’ based on a characteristic, so play often flows back and forth.
Each player also has a deck of 30 cards they can create to help their Heroes through the fight.
Hoping to playtest this week!
24: 6/3- “Smoke, Fog, and Haze”
"Give us a screen!" Lani shouted over from the stern of the ship. Kas nodded and swirled her arms around her. The water churned and bubbled all about them. The bubbles popped and mist flowed out, covering the ship in moments. Kas leaned against the railing, catching her breath. "That should help for a while," she said between breaths. Lani gave her a thumbs up and returned her gaze behind them. They were being followed, but Lani hoped the sudden fog shrouding them would allow them to escape. "I can't see them," Lani called out. "Should mean they can't see us." "Doesn't matter," Najim said from the bow. "They'll never give up. Skorn is leading them."
25: 6/4- “New Mutants”
Illyana is practicing magick in her room. X-Men are gone again, this takes place during Secret War (one of my favorite stories, future episode?!) Emma Frost, the White Queen, has Kitty captured! (Recently Kitty became the Red Queen of the Hellfire Club, but then Sebastian Shaw killed her by drowning…) Emma banishes Illyana’s astral form. New Mutants come running, Illyana has accidentally summoned demons! Oops! Demons fear Illyana as the Queen of Limbo. Get them under control. All of the superheroes are gone! (Secret Wars…). Guess we gotta get a bus ticket to Boston… lol. Danger Room wouldn’t let the NM practice against the Hellfire Club, that’s an “X-Men Level Threat.” But they’re going anyway.
26: 6/5- “Sugar”
Sugar is a friend of mine. Not a good friend though. More like the friend that knocks on your window and then asks if you're home to hang out. Sugar is the best, and worst at the same time. Almost anything is made better with sugar. Except red delicious apples, they're just awful. Sugar tastes so good, but oh man, you pay for it in every way. It's good for your taste buds, but not for your teeth, your waistline, or your skin. Sugar is the best example of a love/hate relationship. I wanna eat it all the time, but I know I need to limit it. But I don't wanna! So I do, a little...
27: 6/6- “Lani 2 Vignette”
Lani and Brutus took their seats and looked around. All of the other passengers, around a dozen humans and a family of four rat primals looked at them. Lani’s hand went back to her sword hilt, but she paused a moment, studying the rat primals’ features. They didn’t look like the Vermyn. Instead of shaggy brown fur, these people had smooth blue-grey fur. Their heads were smaller and they didn’t hunch like the Vermyn did. Their front teeth weren’t as pronounced or as sharp.
“How’d you do that, lady?” the smallest rat boy asked.
Lani looked around a moment and realized the boy was asking her.
“I didn’t really do anything,” Lani stammered out.
“You made that sword catch a’fire,” the rat boy’s dad clarified. “What kind o’magic be that?”
28: 6/7- “Numbers”
We are constantly surrounded by numbers. Numbers on a scale, number of eggs at breakfast, number of those killed in a pandemic, number of children someone has. Numbers are fascinating and frightening at the same time. Mention math to someone and they’ll either light up, or their eyes might go wide with terror. Numbers can seem magical as well. When things fit just right, when the math adds up, when geometry can be seen everywhere. Numbers make our favorite games go round. And numbers can be terrifying when you receive that bill in the mail. We are surrounded by numbers, and we all have to make at least a little sense of them.
29: 6/8- “Dread”
Purge couldn't breathe. It was all too much. The quiet, the stillness, the bodies. Purge walked slowly across the concrete floor of Home. He had to step over bodies of people he had known his entire life. Tears flowed freely from his eyes as he scanned the area. He didn't see his huge pink friend, Cytor, neither did he see Shed, who he thought might be his girlfriend. He wasn't sure. It wouldn't matter if he found her in the same state as those he was stepping around. He didn't bother checking any of the bodies for signs of life, there was too much blood. The people here were torn apart by the bullets of the Black Skulls. They had been gunned down with no remorse. Purge dreaded continuing his search, but he had to know about his friends.
30: 6/9- “HDH Synopsis”
The world of the Hundred Dollar Heroes is set 150 years after First Contact. In our present, a massive alien spaceship came into orbit around our world. Those aboard were seeking asylum from a terrifyingly powerful force simply known as the Slavers. Refugees of dozens of disparate alien races fled to Earth because it is located on the opposite side of the galaxy as the Slaver’s empire. The people of Earth were able to broker the Great Compromise and allowed the aliens to live with us, mostly peacefully. In the next decades jealousy of the aliens’ strange physiology and powers grew among humans and things started to change. Groups began to graft alien-looking parts onto others so they could have different colored skin, fins, and other augmentations. Quickly this became nefarious, aliens were abducted for their parts and DNA. A group known a Mutatis Mutandis created a serum that could be injected into people and change the DNA of their sex cells, passing mutations on to offspring. Soon the world was full of Augments, those that were born with hybrid alien DNA that made them something altogether different. Often these mutations came with wondrous powers. Other times, the DNA was incompatible and horrendous mutations occurred.
31: 6/10- “Fear”
Greymelken had won. The total darkness of night seemed to pervade every day life. Orcs and goblins were forced into life with the other races. Elves and dwarfs were hunted down, their people annihilated. The worship of the Sprites was outlawed. After a time the laws were stripped from the ledgers and all memory of the Sprites faded. Temples were toppled, ancient scrolls destroyed, their presence obliterated. Except in one man. Ronan, the fiercest opponent to Greymelken, was the only warrior of the Void Wars left. Everyone else in the world was controlled by fear. Until centuries later when a certain girl was born with no concept of fear. Greymelken became the one afraid.
32: 6/11- “Closed Doors”
Lani hated the door. It sat, smug in it's ability to remain steadfastly closed. She had tried everything she could think of to get it open. Even Brutus's great strength could not move it. She tried stabbing, she tried slashing, she even tried hitting it with Brutus's kanabo, but the thing was too heavy for her to really get a good swing with it. She asked Ronan about it.
"That is a door I did not make, it has always been part of the tooth."
"So you know what's behind it?" she asked with her usual enthusiasm. "Alas, I do not," Ronan admitted. "One day I had hoped to, but that will not happen for me now. When you learn, and eventually join me in the Void, please let me know."
"Of course," Lani assured him solemnly.
33: 6/12- “Shadow”
Implant kept to the shadows, his all-black stealth suit making him nearly invisible. Implant loved solo missions, he didn't have to deal with annoying teenagers asking dumb questions show off. Implant didn't need to show off, he knew what he was capable of. His oculars scanned the area, three hostile heat signatures could be seen on the other side of the wall. Implant loosened one of his combat knives ready for anything. He wasn't granted lethal force for this mission, but his knives didn't have to be lethal all the time. He silently slunk to the doorway and waited until he saw one of the hostiles was just on the other side of the door. With his cybernetic muscles, he smashed his way through, shocking the man and tackling him.
34: 6/13- “Good Vibes”
Purge couldn't help but grin as he walked the halls of the Egg, the floating headquarters of the Hundred Dollar Heroes. If he didn't have green skin, his cheeks would have been flushed pink. Instead, they were a slightly darker shade of green, but he didn't care. He didn't mind the idea of people knowing he was happy, he was full of good vibes. Purge strode down the hall with more confidence than he ever felt he had before. He would have said he felt bubbly if he had been familiar with the term. Today was the greatest day of his life so far. Today, Purge had been officially made a Hundred Dollar Hero.
35: 6/14- “Shopping”
"What do you mean I need new clothes?" Purge asked incredulously. "What's wrong with the stuff the Company gave me?"
"Really?" Camille shot back. "Grey sweatpants and your uniform?"
"Well, yeah, they're comfy."
"I'll find you a site with clothes for people with tails."
"That's a thing?" Purge leaned over the computer screen, trying to get a closer look.
"Ok, we know blue goes well with your green skin," Camille was saying to herself, browsing the site.
"What about orange?"
"What about it?" Purge asked, losing interest already.
"I'll get you this shirt, consider it a gift for making the team."
"Thanks!" Purge went to give Camille a hug, but wasn't sure if it was okay.
"And these shorts, they fit around your tail."
36: 6/15- “The Professor”
A teacher that influenced me during my long time spent at school. That's a tough prompt. I never got super close to teachers, just not my style. But I had a lot of teachers that were great and pushed me to do better, to be better. One, who I complain about often, was a Lit. teacher I had at Potsdam. I took two classes with this Prof (who will remain nameless). One was a "Winterm" films class focusing on "the Frontier." The other was a literature class that I honestly can't remember what the focus was on. I took three literature classes that semester, so they often blend together. This professor was a known hard-ass with grading. I routinely got Cs on his papers, while getting As on papers in my other classes.
37: 6/25- “The Professor 2”
I spoke with another Lit. teacher I had, As on his papers, about it. And he suggested trying to find what that professor was looking for in his papers. It made a lot of sense, I couldn't write the same way. for every professor I had. I went through the hard-ass professor's comments on my writing with a fine-toothed comb and used all of his suggestions and changed how I did things in his class. My papers improved to Bs, then finally As. I did alright in his class, not as well as I would have liked over all, but it was a true learning experience. I use this prof. as my example for this prompt because even though I didn't like him much at the time, he taught me to be a better writer through grit and determination.