Thursday, October 6, 2022

A Clue Sandbox

I put together a horror adventure for the Demon City backers and I'm making it available to y'all if you want it.

It's a "clue sandbox", meaning that there's some trouble and clues and people to ask about the trouble in every direction. There are dozens of NPCs fleshed out, along with their daily movements around the city and their (every-shifting) connection to The Horror. The idea being: the PCs can start anywhere and find their way (by hundreds of possible routes) into solving the murder--or becoming the next victim.

It's for Demon City, of course, but it's not a mechanics-heavy adventure so would be pretty easy to run in any horror system.

So far I haven't had any complaints from the backers, so...if you want one, email me: zakzsmith AT hawtmayle dawt calm. 20 Bucks.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Less Boring Gods Make Better Clerics

 There are the first 5 random gods I made using the new God Generator, now available in the Store.


Worshipped under various names in the Eastern half of the Cube, the Sister of Infinite Punishments is assigned the task of disciplining liars and oathbreakers. She is a patron to assassins, executioners, torturers and all who employ them in the name of justice.

The sacred frieze of ice sculptures  known as the Cold Jataka tells the tale of how she executed the Emperor who plucked out her left eye by infiltrating his palace with the aid of a magic cloak and hammering an icicle into his brain as he slept. In temples devoted to her in warmer climes, porcelain figures of the goddess with one artificial eye of pale sapphire and nipples of lapis lazulil hold wooden hammers, icicles carved of diamond or crysta, and cloaks of patterned silk.

She is said to devour any who do not worship her and her fearsome  devotees sacrifice night birds in her name. However, they must always be kind to children, as only an adult may break an oath.

Clerics doing her work in the world may choose Unseen Servant, Sleep. Cause Light Wounds, or a limited Detect Lie (only works on the last 10 minutes)  as a bonus spell at first level.


It is said that The Preposterous Grandparent sits on a black egg atop the highest peak in every mountain range in the Imperial Lands (no-one has ever climbed two disparate mountains simultaneously to check) and that anyone who can make the Grandparent laugh hard enough to fall off the egg will be granted the ability to raise one friend from the dead.

The Grandparent despises ogres, oni, and ogre-mages as they have no sense of humor and often insult the wood-spirits with whom he prefers to spend his time. The Grandparent battles these monsters with a pick-axe and will occasionally use his ability to possess worshippers to warn villagers if such a creature is nearby. In return, the Grandparent demands that these followers amuse him in various way ( they can only eat food if it is baked into pies and must spend at least one day a week intoxicated by mushrooms) as well as  sacrifices of mined gems. He has no time for anyone who does not appreciate him and his clerics cannot aid such infidels with their magic.

His followers may gain Charm Person, Command or Cure Light Wounds as bonus spell at first level.

Nyaa of the Two Temperaments

Sea Elves and Elves of the Drownesian Isles who wish to sail must seek the favor of Nyaa of the Two Temperaments, though she is deaf to all entreaty and will always do as she pleases. She is both toothsome and terrible, half-woman-half-scorpion, wreathed in a net that cannot hold her, with a toothed maw like a scar across her belly into which she feeds sailors who have drowned as she crawls the sea-floor, after stinging any who survive to death with her poison tail. All fish do her bidding and a cloud of scavenging flies follows her at all times. She carries a stoppered vial containing the tears of fisherman’s widows.

Clerics devoted to can gain Purify Food and Drink as a bonus spell or else gain the ability to become amphibious but in return they must never mention the sea without bowing in its direction, must always touch anything blue in sight (save the sky, a false god), must always cover their mouths with fabric marinated in salt water and, as befits a sailors’ god, can only travel, fight or work in heterogeneous groups (no two members may have both the same species and gender).

Strike Overlord

Typically depicted by the Elves of Broceliande as a displacing panther with a cestus in one forelimb, a decanter of wine in the other, and riding a living cloud (called Arhad-Riin) , this urbane god receives the prayers of those who would spite all quiet order and live instead by wit and steel. In the stories of the epic Threll Din Dydnyadd (usually translated in Broceliandaise as “Morally Complex But Largely Entertaining Exploits of a Feline Personage Who Insists On Being Called Strike Overlord”) this patron of both duellists and liars baffles the Goblin King, tricks the elder gods, drinks the Wine of Ceaseless Tumult, and defeats the first lion, tiger, lynx and leopard in single combat.

His clerics receive a boon of either a permanent +1 to hit with a melee weapon or Charm Person as a bonus spell, and in exchange the Lord of Duels asks that they wear a pattern of shifting stripes, offer kindness to children (who are too easy to fool or kill, and so represent no challenge), avoid music (bards suck), and dip all their food in the blood of a defeated foe before eating it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

A Fun Development

So there was this site called KiwiFarms.

I am not 100% sure how to describe it but it's easy to google everyone's takes. It seems to be mostly anonymous, like 4chan, so people just say bananas shit and troll and say things that basically aren't true.

The main thing, though, for me, is that a lot of people who harassed me were on there--and it recently got hacked and all their data was leaked. 

The second the news came out someone who was repeatedly--in real time online--harassing me, abruptly stopped.

So, basically:

If you know a game designer, or someone on twitter or on Reddit who has been claiming I did something wrong--check to see if they're still on the internet as this whole leak plays out.

If you think I did something wrong and you're reading this:

Ask that person again whether I did anything wrong and--if so--what exactly. There's a good chance they won't feel comfortable telling you any more.

For me, this is a huge break and improves my situation immensely. There was some vile right-wing shit on that site, and--as I hope you know by now--most of the people who signed on to my ex's attack weren't in earnest about it and often adopted fake personas in order to press their case.


Also: I am working on game stuff right now, so keep an eye out.




Monday, August 29, 2022

I'll Call Him Ed Because I Can't Tell You His Name

I can't tell you his name because 3 years experience shows people--people reading this--will harass his family. I'll call him Ed.

Twelve years ago I had business in...a cold city. I didn't know anyone but Ed's boyfriend.

I stayed at their house. We hung out and watched TV, watched the snow fall. Talked about art, the midwest--which I knew nothing about then. Ed had a collection of cookie jars.

They were nice was the point. Intelligent, incredibly generous, willing to think about things you put in front of them and to put things in front of you so you'd think about them. He wasn't the funny one (the boyfriend was the funny one) but you got the feeling he knew it, which was funny.


Ed liked my work--he eventually had a stained-glass window made from one of my paintings. I hadn't seen him in years--maybe ten?--when I found out he had one year left to live.

I visited. He wasn't the kind of guy who wanted pity or to talk about the chemo or biopsies or the remaining viable cells. He had lived a life of being the reliable guy and wanted to keep being that guy. The cancer had accelerated his decision to retire but he'd been a very successful lawyer.

So as soon as he's shown me around the apartment--and the new cookie jars. He says "I hear you're dealing with something of a legal situation. I can take a look for you if you like?"

He wanted to do something besides sit around the house and talk to his kids on the phone and wait to die. He said it--plus you could just tell. He read every document, he asked every question, he listened to tapes of hearings, he threw himself into my case(s) whenever his health permitted.

There are things that a lawyer that you're paying might not tell you--because it might involve them getting paid less. Also, just, he'd worked on some of the biggest defamation cases in the country. So, for two years, whenever I was dealing with any big legal decision I'd send it to him and get a second (often third or fifth) opinion. "A judge won't care about that" or "If they said that in that state it's open-and-shut."

He kept not dying. He also kept not wanting to talk about the cancer (I tried because I felt bad he was spending the effort on me) and talk about my case instead.


He called some months back and asked how all the legal stuff was progressing. It was a little bit of a surprise because up until then he'd waited for me to call him (legal stuff involves a lot of waiting for the court to decide to set a deadline to do a thing). I told him. We're waiting, as usual.

A few weeks later Ed's boyfriend (now ex-) got in touch to tell me Ed had died. Ed had gotten sick of the chemo and decided to just end it--after tying up his loose ends.

Looking at the dates, I realized that call was one of those loose ends.

He'd decided to die and one of the last things to do on this planet was get in touch, check in with me, and help however he could--and not tell me he was about to die. He didn't want pity about cancer, he wanted to do what he could to make sure I was ok, that I wasn't being taken advantage of, that my lawyers were taking the tack that made the most sense, that I was suing the right people, that he called all his people to find out what he could about any judge any of them knew anything about.


I don't know why I'm telling you this but the reason I'm still here, the reason I'm still alive is because of about two dozen people like Ed in my life. There was only one Ed but there are a lot of Eds: People who have been going through all the shit that life, Covid and the world throw at people and still had time to stop and go "Holy fuck, Zak, this is fucked up" and buy me lunch or give me the number of a guy they know or just show up and type a thing on the internet and let the other Eds know they're not alone.

I will never be able to repay them because either I die or I will live and owe them my life. I'm not a doctor, I'm not an EMT, I'm not a shrink, I don't have any life-saving skills. I can't do what they've done for me.

I also will probably never be able to publicly say their names and, probably, vice versa. Even if I survive, the people who did this will never stop trying to find ways to harm them. But I wanted to say that I appreciate you, not just to Michelle, Kimberly, Charlotte, Sara, and all the people who can speak out publicly, but to all the Ed's out there who can't. My house owes your house a debt it can never repay but I'll do my best to come as close as I can.




Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Caught Lying Again (Video Evidence Part 4)

So, in the past few days I posted clips(here, here, here) of Mandy being something other than who she's pretending to be while filming I Hit It With My Axe. Mandy and her goon squad immediately began concocting excuses for her behavior in the clips:

...but she actually comes out and says why she's in a bad mood right there in the footage:

Maybe that's a fluke? Nah, she returns to it over and over. She explains her own behavior very clearly in real time. Mandy--the girl who had no filter--says straight up she's "pissed off" we're not having sex enough because she's too sick, completely contradicting the narrative she gave later. And she complains we're not shooting enough porn:

...and says it again:

Mandy Morbid clearly had no problem telling anyone what was on her mind. She did it day and night. We believed her, we did what we could to keep her happy.

You think maybe she was the world's greatest actress and was saying this all because she knew the cameras were rolling? Then why was she writing the same thing to herself:

I think it probably goes without saying that you can't accuse someone of abuse for doing what you told them to do or for describing you how you describe yourself. But Mandy may no longer be rational enough to understand that.

If this keeps going, this is what we're looking at: Mandy yelling at a judge that me and all her friends--if we were good people--should've ignored what she was telling us about what she wanted, about what she wanted from us. and about the state of her mental health and we should've instead treated her like the person she would pretend to be a decade later.

Even if we could've known she'd turn into this new person, the clips show that doing anything other than what Mandy said she wanted in the moment would've been scary.

So, complete catch-22.

More footage soon,

Friday, August 12, 2022

Yikes (Video evidence part 3)

 So, as shown before (1, 2), Mandy lashing out at people for no real reason was common.

Again a few short clips showing more of it:

Now, again, like many times before, we were able to talk to Mandy about all this and she was in therapy regularly enough to realize this was wrong.

She apologized for the above behavior in an email she sent to her friends and she described this behavior in terms of the disorder she always said she'd been diagnosed with (proof here): Borderline Personality Disorder.

Mandy now claims it was "gaslighting" to agree with her: she claims it was "gaslighting" her to describe her as having BPD and everyone was "gaslighting" her to say she was acting crazy.


This was all footage from our games, but there's a lot more from other sources and in many ways it's a lot more serious. Next time I'll post more video and we'll get into that.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

More Video Evidence (pt 2)

As promised yesterday, here is more video evidence.

If you watched I Hit It With My Axe, some of you may remember a plot twist:

The group's first quest was to hunt down Eshrigel the medusa's daughter. They found someone in a mask (a guest star) on their way and then, int he middle of a desperate fight, she took off the mask and revealed herself to be the medusa's daughter by partially turning the bad guys to stone.

Here's how my ex- dealt with that. The clips are short but it helps to watch all three because it escalates very quickly:

Obviously I don't post this to show Mandy not appreciating the plot twist (or me) but it's an example of how completely out of proportion she took things--one surprise and she decides, in the middle of a shooting day, to quit the show.

As you may know-the show did go on--Mandy changed her mind because, as demonstrated yesterday and in this post before, she used to have self-awareness about her mental health issues and how they could hurt other people.

Afterwards, when we talked about it, she admitted the real reason she freaked out was that she felt like the guest was getting more attention than her. Literally.

We were scared of Mandy, as Frankie and KK point out in this during-game-interview from the same time period when Frankie's asked about a moment in a game where her character temporarily got ensorcelled and had to attack the nearest person:

"...I tried to remain neutral so as not to conflict any real life relationships."

Anyway, more video tomorrow.