nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
I have written some words! And put them together in a unique arrangement! And some of them make sense!

I wrote some of this a while ago, then ran out of steam. I was looking at it this morning and decided to add some more, and after a few hours was done.

The story isn't finished yet; I've still got to write a bridging scene between the previous part and this part, the ending. We'll see how many more months it takes me to write that.

Previous part of the story is here; first part of the story is here.

2797 words )
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Samuel R Delany's The Star Pit, a radio adaptation from 1967.
nelc: (Brain)
Grave Worms, a short story by Molly Tanzer.


Oct. 5th, 2016 03:40 pm
nelc: Bob Howard from the cover of The Fuller Momorandum (Fuller)
The BBC Radio production of Doctor Who: Protect and Survive is probably not a good thing to listen to if you're feeling at all emotionally fragile. Maybe it has more resonance if you grew up in the UK in the era of the Protect and Survive leaflets and Briggs' When the Wind Blows, but it's pretty bleak anyway, I think.

Also Tesco's Screws and Rawl-Plug Set (£2.00), you probably want to avoid that, too, whatever your state of mind. One of the screw's head snapped clean off while I was tightening it.
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)

Brook Summerton, a Halfling PC from a Fantasy Age game. There’s a story about the duck; though it’s not very interesting, it does contain the phrase, “You killed the guard duck.”

Genesis 3 figure, Bus Stop, clothes from DAZ3D; Halfling morph by Kaleya at Renderosity; Aircon unit by 3dregenerator on; Rubber duck by CC0 Bot on

DAZ3D Studio, Photoshop CS5.

A reminder

Sep. 25th, 2016 03:45 pm
nelc: (think)
If you're a friend and you're not logged into LJ (or Dreamwidth) when you're looking at my journal, you're not going to see my private posts.
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)

The WarpCycle, a muscle-powered FTL vehicle. A visualisation of the GURPS vehicle I posted a while ago.

Victoria 4, Michael 4, Bodysuits, Booties, Gloves, Cowl, Tourist Map and Book, all from DAZ3D; Tandem bicycle frame from, modified by me; warp pods and deflector off NCC-1701 model by gruaro on; other props and textures by me; Jupiter photo by Cassini.

Poser 2014 and Photoshop CS5.


Sep. 15th, 2016 05:07 pm
nelc: (Default)
Many years ago, Steve Jackson Games was going to publish a companion volume to their comprehensive rules set for specifying vehicles for the GURPS RPG, GURPS Vehicles (GV), listing a multitude of, well, vehicles, statted out for play. This was mostly because math-phobic GURPS fans were not attracted to the involved processes of GV, and demanded some more example vehicles than the paltry few in GV.

This volume was to be called, appropriately enough, GURPS Vehicle Companion. In playtest, as I recall, it went through three, or maybe four, authors before finally running aground and sinking with the decision to update GURPS to 4th Edition, which would require an all-new version of GV at some point (still waiting).

Contributions were invited from gearheads. I submitted a few. Here is one of them, converted to 4e:

Warp-Cycle (TL12)

The Warp-Cycle is a muscle-powered FTL vehicle. Although slow by interstellar standards (only 2.5C), it has a quite nippy performance for an in-system vehicle. The first warp-cycles were patched together using scrap grav-cycle frames and surplus life-boat warps, but warp-cycling has caught on as a leisure activity all along the Perseus Arm and many minifacs have a design in their databases.

Warp-Cycles typically have a small thruster (powered, like the warp engine, by muscle), but the acceleration is very low, and only used for fine-tuning velocity. The standard way of matching velocities with a planetary body is by warping close to the body (but still out of the atmosphere) and allowing the planet’s gravity to accelerate the warp-cycle, while warping at a low rate in the opposite direction. When velocities are matched, the vehicle is then warped to the appropriate point on the planet’s surface or in orbit. Old-school warp-cyclers like to do this with only simple navigation instruments, trusting to their skill and judgement to avoid accidents, but most modern warp-cycles come with a tiny, dedicated computer with navigation and vehicle-handling programming.

Typically warp-cycles come with a small rechargable power cell capable of storing the energy from 10 minutes' hard cycling. Top-of-the-line designs come complete with a pressurised capsule, but these are generally scorned by those who prefer nothing between them and naked vacuum (except a pressure suit).

TL ST/HP Hnd SR HT Move G LWt Load SM Occ DR dV Cost Locations
12 30 -5 0 7 0.02/2.5C 0.002 1.8 0.6 +2 2 0 F $56K O

Explanation of terms: TL, Tech Level; ST/HP, Strength/Hit Points; Hnd, Handling; SR, Stability Rating; HT, Health; Move, realspace acceleration in yards/sec/sec, warp speed in multiples of C; G, acceleration in Gs; LWt, loaded weight in US tons; Load, load in tons incl passengers; SM, Size Modifier; Occ, Occupancy; DR, Damage Resistance; dV, delta-V (F indicates that it depends on the Fatigue of the cyclists); Cost, in year 2000 dollars; Locations, what bits the vehicle has (O indicates that the structure is Open)


Bad Day

Sep. 13th, 2016 05:02 pm
nelc: (Default)
There's nothing left to eat in the flat and I still haven't gone out for groceries and I'm a bad person and I haven't suffered enough.

Edit: I'm going to get the groceries, because if I die of starvation I won't be able to suffer any more.
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
Ideas from the thread, 1001 Things to find inside of a secret government warehouse:

Cut for length )
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
An idea of mine from the thread, 101 Locations in trade hub space station:


In the unpressurised zone of the container storage area, where spare cargo containers are stacked and often forgotten about, there are many, many containers. One, almost completely indistinguishable from any other except for its serial number, #14228, and the worn colours of a defunct shipping company, hides an unofficial establishment. It's not exactly a secret, since all the artificial intelligences on the station and not a few organic and plasma-based vacuum dwellers know about it. It's not exactly a bar, since AIs are seldom affected by chemical intoxicants, and who knows what plasmoids do for fun, anyway? But whenever an AI needs to meet discreetly with another AI in a setting that isn't work, and isn't infested with ambulatory collections of pink goo, or filled with corrosive oxygen, and which isn't likely to be as surveilled as the station's virtual spaces and comm nets, #14228 is the place where they often go.

Organics aren't exactly barred, but it would be a lie to say that they are welcome, even if they know about the place, let alone where to find it. Besides, it's an uncomfortable place for them, even in their pressure suits. The light level is at starlight intensity, requiring the use of image intensifiers to navigate around (thermal infra-red is of limited use, and millimetre radar is absorbed by the coating on the walls and furniture). It's in a vacuum, of course, and there is no artificial gravity. Inside, #14228 is in fact several containers welded together with the interior walls heavily modified or removed entirely, although the exact size and shape is obscure. The interior is maze-like, with partitions, rooms, booths and the occasional large empty volume scattered seemingly at random in three dimensions. Although you seldom see them do it, the staff re-organise the partitions from time to time so that it seldom has the same exact layout as the last time you visited.

The customers can be observed, usually motionless, attached by Velcro, or magnets, or just holding on with a manipulator to a wall or structural beam; sometimes in small groups, linked together by private fibre optic cable; or in couples with their optical ports lined up, a little laser light leaking from the gap, or holding manipulators as their digits beat a rapid, complicated tap code to each other; sometimes in larger groups, the ether so filled with RF signals that a sapient can't pick up an uncorrupted data packet from a metre away; or sometimes solitary, not connected to anything, sensing nothing, seemingly oblivious to the external universe. The staff move quickly and surely through the dark maze, providing whatever services the clientele require.

No-one knows who owns the place: some say it's the Silicon Mafia (as though they still used silicon); others that it's a robot collective (careful who you're calling a robot, pink goo); still others that it's run by the station AI for its own amusement. Station security know about it, and watch the container's hatch closely (when the storage bay's cameras are working), making note of who goes in and out. They may have an informant or two on the staff; the informants may even be reliable, or maybe not. But the club is heavily RF shielded, is isolated from the station's own network, and is regularly swept for recording dust. Probably no-one knows completely what goes on in there.
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
Ideas for the thread, 101 threats to a fantasy town:

  • Badgers are digging up the local graveyard. ...At least, people are saying it's badgers.

  • In the city, the followers of Cult A and Cult B are bitter enemies, always at each other's throats. Out here in the sticks, the priest of Cult A and the priestess of Cult B have pretty much agreed to get along to get along, always helping each other out with this and that, supporting each other at council meetings, and so on. However, the Bishop of Cult A and the High Priestess of Cult B are both due to visit next week, and are expecting to see evidence of enthusiastic followers smiting enemies and heretics politically, blood-curdling polemics issued from the altars, everything short of fighting in the streets — in fact, strike that last, although Cult A/B is a cult of peace, there is nothing in the holy doctrines saying you can't defend yourself against unwarranted aggression, such as a member of Cult B/A daring to breathe the same air as you. Any perceived lack of zeal may result in the aged and respected priest or priestess getting replaced with some young firebrand from the city, who's only going to stir up trouble. Your job as sheriff is to help the local cultists demonstrate proper enthusiasm, stop any stirrers getting carried away, and keep up the pretence to the relevant superior of either god-botherer being the primary mover and shaker in local politics while the other is within an inch of being stamped out.

  • The local hero is returning home after many years adventuring, to hang up his sword and retire. Unfortunately, he never succeeded in conquering all of his enemies, or his enemies' relatives, and they are seeking revenge. All of them, at once. Expect to see a plethora of mysterious strangers, vast wingèd beasties glimpsed far off above the clouds, and bands of orcs and goblins brooding ominously on nearby skylines.

  • Time for the annual midsummer Fishtown vs Cowtown ballgame! Object of the game is to get the inflated pig's bladder from the town square to the harbour or the cattle market. Players may kick, punch, head, or carry the ball. Players may kick, punch or head other players, but carrying is frowned upon. Play starts at midday, with a break for a round of drinks whenever a goal is scored, and continues until nightfall or everyone is too drunk or injured to continue. As sheriff it's your job to keep property damage and spectator injuries to a minimum. And serve as referee, here's your whistle. Good luck!

  • Originally Posted by Arilou
      Someone has pulled the Sword of Destiny from the Stone of Ages. Unfortunately, no one knows who. Double-unfortunately, it was what was keeping the monsters away from the town.

    "Again? Bloody tourists! *Sigh* I'll get the spare sword... I don't know why we keep that bloody stone. We'd be better off with it in the lake...."

nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
Ideas for the thread, Ways the Villain isn't actually dead. These posts are all old, btw, I'm not having an unusually creative day.

Cut for length )
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
My contributions to the thread, Things to have been dug up:

Break for length )
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
My contributions to the thread, Give me your alternative realities!

Cut for length )
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
My contributions to the RPGnet thread, 101 unusual things in the sky (slightly edited):
Cut for length )
nelc: (Default)
My wonderful landlord has served me notice. After 16 years (roughly 14 of which were largely trouble-free, errant plumbers notwithstanding), I have two months to find somewhere else and get moved there.

I guess I better start collecting cardboard boxes.

On a boat

Jul. 31st, 2016 11:02 pm
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)

Tanya Dziahileva is on a boat, in another bizarre fashion shoot picture.

Victoria 4 from DAZ3D; Superhose by outoftouch, ExtraLongGloves and Tiny Bikini IV by 3DAge, all on Renderosity; Boat by Arslan on; Sikorsky Erickson S-64 helicopter by Virella on; BlasTech DLT-20A blaster rifle by MCDLabs on

Poser 2012, Photoshop CS5.

I got to find another way of doing rotor disc blur. Maybe if I had any talent I could just paint it instead of trying and failing to use various masks and filters.

I guess I should go and do that thing I've been putting off now... maybe tomorrow.
nelc: (Default)
A phrase coined by poster Bailywolf at in a thread about D&D villages, but further defined here:
The core of Hearth Fantasy is [..] a fantastic world and stories revolving around a local, personal, core of home - the hearth, heart of the home.

It's got connections to fairytale fantasy, and can live within a high or low fantasy context (in terms of prevalence of magic).

It's the fantasy of Granny Weatherwax and Tiffany Aching, though the Wizards do lay a good table, and have made the university their hearth.
nelc: (Default)
In a post by Hawker40:
This is a fighter pilot story, so you know it's true.

Raytheon is the designer/builder of the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air to air missile, best anti-air weapon ever. Sidewinders are heat-seekers, 'locking on' to the aircraft's hot engine exhaust In theory. Early (1950s) versions of the missile had the bad habit of locking on to the hottest thing in it's field of view. If a dogfighting aircraft pointed the nose at the sun, the missile would lock on to the sun, and then refuse to accept anything colder as a target. So, your missile tells you it's locked on to a target, you pull the trigger, and the missile goes screaming skyward trying to kill the sun. (Ignoring any enemy planes in the area to do so.)

To solve the problem, Raytheon came up with the "Break Lock" button, claiming that by pressing a button installed in the cockpit the missile would lose any lock on it had and look for a new target. It worked by the simple expedient of turning the missile off and back on again. Raytheon had invented the reset button decades before Apple or IBM had put them on computers.

So, to fighter pilots (and Navy firecontrolmen), to try to fix something by turning it off and immediately back on is a "Raytheon Reset".


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