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Tales of the Darksome Thorn: The Dead Forsworn
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Thursday, May 2, 2019

MTG Multiverse Survival Guide: Quick Tips

Inspired by this Quora question:

Suppose you woke up and find yourself somewhere in the Magic the Gathering multiverse, on one of the many planes. What would you do? Where would you go?

There’s lots of options here that depend a great deal on which plane you ended up on.

If you land on Ravnica for example, you might go watch a Rakdos show, or visit one of the Selesnya sanctuaries. If you land on Gobakhan you’ll want to pick up some diamonds from the sand, because they’re literally everywhere. If you’re on Kaladesh you’ll probably want to find a steampunk pet of some kind to follow you around, and if you happen to be on Ixalan it would be cool to meet some of the domesticated dinosaurs and maybe make a friend.

Lots of things to do. :-)

First things first though. If we assume you’ve landed on a random point in a random plane in the multiverse, it follows naturally you probably didn’t land in a city. Unless you landed in Ravnica, where the city covers the entire planet, you will probably find yourself in one of the many vast expanses of untouched wilderness, filled with enormous baloths, ravenous wurms, and vicious drakes. And worse things. Much worse things.

Ah, nature. :-)

So what should you do if you want to survive the night? In most planes, the first thing you’ll want to do is find civilization right away. How to do that is going to depend on the plane though, and of course you have to survive the local wildlife long enough to make the trek all the way to the nearest village.

Discussing each plane in turn will take time though. I’m hoping to cover that in later entries, but for now, here’s some quick and dirty tips for surviving as an unarmed, unmagical human who just woke up in the Magic the Gathering multiverse.

1. The first priorities in any survival situation are water, food, and shelter. The easiest way to find all three is to find civilization, as just about every plane we know about has some kind of civilization (though not all). There are of course some spiritual or mental planes where you don’t technically need any of these things. Let’s not worry about those yet.

2. Keep an eye on the weather. Some planes are plagued with dangerous weather patterns such as manastorms, voidstorms, diamond storms, lavalanches, stone rain, fire rain, and of course, elemental activity. On these sorts of planes shelter becomes an even greater priority than normal.

3. Avoid the larger wildlife, most of which will eat you if it finds you. There are a stunning number of apex predators in the multiverse, so many it makes you wonder how sentient life ever evolved here. Avoid open spaces, watch your back at every turn, and basically don’t relax until you can find friendly sentient life.

4. Also, don’t trust your previous understanding of how nature works. Even familiar looking creatures might work completely differently, depending on where you landed. Watch animals closely before approaching, looking for unexpected fangs, wings, and other oddities. Avoid corpses, which might not be completely dead. Try to figure out which plantlife is sentient and which isn’t before gathering firewood or building a shelter. In fact, you should probably ask every branch and stone for permission before picking it up, just in case.

5. If you have to live in the wilderness for a bit, trust plains or islands over forests or mountains, and forests or mountains over swamps. Avoid swamps at all costs. Plains and island creatures (white and blue creatures) tend to be a bit friendlier to innocents.

6. Find a village right away and ask for directions to the nearest city. If there are no cities, ask for a sanctuary. Use signs and pictures to convey your meaning if you can’t find the right words. You want to make it clear you are not a warrior or adventurer, you need a safe place, and you don’t know anything.

7. Make sure you know the language before you head to a large city. You might find you know the language right away, and you might not know why. There’s no lore explanation for this, but every plane seems to speak the same language despite thousands of years of history and very little cultural sharing. The answer, of course, is because of magical influence between the planes, so my best estimate is if you don’t know the language right away you will probably be able to pick it up really quick.

8. Don’t travel alone if you can avoid it. Travel with a companion or even a caravan, as there is bound to be someone headed to the city eventually who can help keep you safe, if only from your own ignorance.

9. Once you’re in a city, avoid the obvious danger zones: cults, gangs, and warclans. Remember: you are an unarmed, unmagical human and a foreigner. You are a target. Try not to stick out too much. You don’t want to end this trip as a necromancer’s undead minion, and that is very likely if you can’t watch your step.

10. If you can learn some magic, do it, but not at the risk of joining a sketchy organization. There are a lot of different forms and sources of magic in the multiverse, so the quicker you can learn, the quicker you can find a place in this plane’s society. Find your niche.

11. Be tolerant. Racism is a huge problem on many planes, but you can’t afford to get caught up in it. Some planes don’t have humans, and on others the best connections you can make might not be human. Try to understand, and at the very least try not to offend. You can’t afford to be too picky about allies in a world where the isolated get eaten, beaten, turned into the undead, or all three.

12. Speaking of which, join a team. Maybe not right away, but once you’ve learned a bit about the city you’re in and how the plane is divided into its respective parts, find the part that appeals to you most and seek it out. You’ll learn faster that way, and have someone to watch your back.


For images: 

To learn more about each plane: 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

80,000 words and climbing!

Today Dead Forsworn reached my goal of 80,000 words! There's still a couple chapters left of story and a great deal of editing to do, and with the planned combining of the two novels into one I suppose we could have declared an 80,000 words milestone 50,000 words ago, but still!

Things are coming together in an exciting way. :-)

It seems appropriate actually that the 80,000 word mark fell at the same moment as an important character death. No spoilers, though! You'll find out soon enough.

Thank you for all your support in this joint adventure!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Young Artists and Phagim

Thank you to my family's homeschool group for reading Darksome Thorn! Rebekah and Haley both decided to recreate the phagim from the book, and I love how they turned out. :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Temporarily Unpublished

Hello friends and other relations! I recently requested the rights to my book back from Class Act Books, so for now my novel is without a publisher. This isn't the last you'll see of the Darksome Thorn though! I've been working on the sequel for a year and a half now, and I'm nearly to the ending. Once that's done, the plan is to combine the two stories into one complete novel, revise them both to fit snugly together, and find a publisher for the new and improved version.

I'll keep you updated on this website, so please continue to check in. This and the Facebook page are both a great place to offer suggestions and ask questions.

Also, I still have a few copies of the original The Son of Dark available for purchase. Just a few. Please contact me if you're interested. Also, please contact me if you're interested in providing promotional art for my website. Facebook is the best way to do that for right now.

Go on a fun adventure today! You'll hear from me anon!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

10 Lessons from My Latest Dwarf Fortress Experience

The story of my most recent fortress is a little too depressing to explain in detail. In fact, here is an actual quote from an in-game report: "Diagnoser cancelled sleep: too depressed." Ever feel like the game you're playing just got a little too real?

So I'll just share a few things I learned from the experience. Farewell, Peakedtowns!

1. If fifty people volunteer to come live at your fortress for the purpose of "eradicating monsters," don't expect them to actually be of much help. Also, hide the drinks. 

2. When dwarves say "deep metals," they mean "DEEP metals." Deep enough I never actually found any. 

3. A local elvish retreat might seem a good place to send a raiding party, but only if you don't mind filling your pastures with cougars, foxes, and the occasional grizzly bear. 

4. Speaking of pastures, don't try to put caged goblins out to pasture. It doesn't work. 

5. I also learned what veteran players mean when they say "tantrum spiral." It's not pretty. 

6. When your broker ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. As I watched him punching a cow out of sheer frustration, I realized: this is a broken dwarf. A broken broker, if you will. 

7. Sending all your military out of town right before a tantrum spiral and an accidental "pasturing" of four goblins is just bad timing. And again, those volunteer Monster Slayers you permitted to move in? They're still useless. 

8. You might think you're safe because the last invading goblin fell into the river and is currently in the middle of an underwater battle with an echidna. But you're not. 

9. Insanity, possession, depression, and hauntings do NOT mix well. 

10. If you tell a hundred dwarves to crowd into a small meeting room underground during an invasion, they will listen. They will complain so much the game starts to lag, but they will listen. 

Wish me better luck next time! :-) 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Interview with Camille's Harem

Camille's Harem recently released a podcast we recorded together a year or two ago, about my experiences while publishing my first book. Big thanks to the Harem for such a fun and engaging interview!

I hope I can record with them again sometime! It's been too long. :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Cry Wolf

Final ImageAbout a year or so ago, a friend of mine asked me to try out a game he designed. He called it a microgame, a take on the story of the boy who cried wolf. We played it several times in the next fifteen minutes, and I was having a blast! You wouldn't expect that much variety and suspense out of such a simple game, but that's exactly what I found.

Well, now Cry Wolf is complete! You can bet I jumped to be one of the first backers on Kickstarter. With beautiful artwork to match the classic theme, the game should be shipping in early 2019, and as of this post it's just over 50% backed. Please help us bring this game into the world!

Such a beautiful beginning for my friend's aptly named company,
Game Warden.