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from ~vitorg

I found this “challenge” (rather a self-improvement routine) by searching old services, and then I found dayzeroproject.com.

I'm really excited to do this! Even though I don't think I may accomplish everything on this, just the challenge it poses to myself is insane.

Hopefully, I'll be fine also.

My list is available here.

Tomorrow I'll try to accomplish the first thing: writing a letter for the end!


from dozens



Oh! One-Eyed Charlie used to have two eyes But he didn't listen to his councilor And he fell on a stick.

Always listen to your councilor! Don't run with sticks!


Shut up! Go to sleep! Or One-Eyed Charlie Will come in the night And stuff you in a sack And take you down to the lake Where the frogs used to sing But they don't sing no more


Oh! All of the other kids Used to make fun of One-Eyed Charlie Because he had poor depth perception So Charlie waited till they all fell asleep And set fire to their cabin with them all still in it

Always be respectful! Don't make fun of people because they're different!


Shut up! Go to sleep! Or One-Eyed Charlie Will come in the night And stuff you in a sack And take you down to the lake Where the frogs used to sing But they don't sing no more


Oh! One-Eyed Charlie sleeps in the ground And if you have mud on your shoes at the end of the day He'll drag you down to sleep in the earth

Always wipe your feet! Don't track dirt in the house!


Shut up! Go to sleep! Or One-Eyed Charlie Will come in the night And stuff you in a sack And take you down to the lake Where the frogs used to sing But they don't sing no more


Oh! One-Eyed Charlie has got a list Of all the wicked children And all the noisy ones too And the ones who don't go to bed on time

Follow all the rules! And do what you're told! Shut up! Go to sleep! If you're lucky you'll get to grow old!


Shut up! Go to sleep! Or One-Eyed Charlie Will come in the night And stuff you in a sack And take you down to the lake Where the frogs used to sing But they don't sing no more


from Hammers make nails

I listened to FHB's Pro Talk podcast a couple of days ago, an interview of a lead carpenter for a remodeling company in Shoreline. Carpentry was a second career for her, formerly a graphic artist. She said she hoped more artists would enter the trade because carpentry is a creative profession and an artist's skill in seeing can be useful.

I mentioned this to R— (also a visual artist) and they said this had been something they struggled with when they first started a couple of years ago. They wanted to make something artistically good even if the work would eventually be covered up or not highly visible.


from Hammers make nails

In a small bathroom, we removed the tub to install a curbless shower. Chip some tile out, remove the drywall to take the rest of it, and put up plywood and tilebacker in preparation for the solid surface panels, which we arbitrarily decided were going to be about 86 inches tall.

The room is five feet wide, and with the vanity taking up half the length. Just before I cut the plywood B— called and asked, “how big is the bathroom doorway?”

It's only big enough for a panel 82” tall.


from Hammers make nails

It's been so long since I've been on a jobsite without a mobile phone, it's hard to remember how we operated without them. Despite their many upsides I think they've contributed to one particular downside for me personally: an increase in first order seeing.

First order seeing is like first order thinking, when you try to solve an immediate problem without considering long-term consequences and knock-on effects.

I was prepping the upstairs shower pan, so I opened up the joist bay to access the drain the plumbers had left there at rough-in. Only when I cut the hole, the drain wasn't there.

It was possible the drain was just one bay over. Though that would mean cutting a bigger hole in the subfloor and cutting through the beam to move the drain over. My phone was nearby and without much thought I called H—, we discussed it and agreed I'd probably have to cut a bigger hole. H— casually said he was almost sure the plumbers had put the drain in the correct place. While we talked I was staring at the wet wall and the vent pipe in it, and somewhat without thinking reached my hand into the joist bay, under the wall, and found the pipe — just about a foot over from where I thought it would be, but still in the right bay. I just couldn't see it at first.

When I tiled the downstairs shower last week, there were two valves. One was a typical valve with a mud ring. The other one didn't have a mud ring, and looked smaller than the other. I thought it was a different kind of valve, maybe the size of a shower wand elbow, so I only cut a hole in the backer board and tile just big enough to fit around it.

After it was all done H— looked at the valve and said it was the same as the first one. It just never had a mud ring put on it, probably because the plumber had forgotten to do it. I cut out the tile and backer board in place with a hole saw and a multitool. When it was cut out I saw we put a nail plate over one half of the valve's mounting screw holes as well.


from Hammers make nails

A few days ago we started installing window sills, and somehow we decided (I don't remember why) to use a full 5/4 by 8, which would stick out from the wall a little more than typical. However we decided that was OK. When R— cut them and put them in, it was obvious they were too big. They already had everything cut upstairs, but we were about to start downstairs because that's the priority for the move-in, so we decided to cut them down later since they weren't nailed off yet, and it wouldn't be much extra work, and it would look better. We all went downstairs and started trimming.

Fast forward to today, when I was done downstairs, went upstairs, and nailed off all the window sills but the bathroom, which R— hadn't cut yet. When B— measured for the bathroom (since they hadn't cut any sills yet) we discovered all the sills upstairs were still too big because they hadn't been cut yet, because I didn't remember we had decided to cut them down. Now we decided to leave them as they were because the extra rework wasn't justified for the aesthetic harmony of upstairs and downstairs.

I've decided I need to remember my decisions.


from Hammers make nails

Last week we moved to the south side. R— was back, after two weeks out. They were sick of something undiagnosed, and we had decided if you don't get a negative test then you should stay home for two weeks. The south side has a roof to wall that's difficult to stage, with the only access off a 10/12 roof. R— is not comfortable at heights. Also the first thing to do there was put in a line of blocking with almost no room to work, where you have to rely a lot on your reach. I've got about a half foot on R— and I had trouble with that spot on the north side.

Knowing all these things I put R— on the blocking first thing. In the past I haven't pushed R— for a variety of reasons but I felt this was a good test. When they had to step away from the task for a moment I somewhat perversely didn't pick it up for them but waited for them to come back to start it. They (slowly) roped up (luckily we had a tie off point right there), and took until lunch to get halfway done, only having to redo the work once fortunately. It's not always easy to gauge how much trouble someone will have with something. I often wonder if the benefit outweighs the cost. Nevertheless when R— finished they gave a victory salute. That's always a good sign.

This past week we formed up for the pour Friday and I let R— and B— take the front porch without much direction. It was an effort at times, overhearing their discussion, not to jump in. It's a challenge to their level of ability, but it's also a challenge to my sense of control of how things should be done. When I let someone do something without much oversight, it's a real letting go. There were little things they had to redo, though that was because the plan was mostly verbal. It's a reminder a drawn out plan is worth the time.

Later R— thanked me for letting them do it on their own. I think in my position I don't have the constant oversight and it's easy to forget what it feels like to be in that position.


from dozens

Join us for the thrilling conclusion of BBJ QUEST: Social Anxiety Barbarian!



An entity known as the Owl has been poisoning the town's beloved Forgotten Dead and turning them into stone for unknown reasons. But it has got to stop! Our hero's investigation leads them from Lullaby, City of the Dead, into Deadspace, a realm made up of the final memories of the dead. They trade the memory of their long lost lover to a ravenfolk for safe passage through the Beyond, a vast mysterious crimson void that connects the final moments of all the dead. Finally arriving at a lavender pool, they jump in and are transported to a beautiful forest meadow where two little girls are picking wildflowers.

And that's where we are now.

125 ~bx @ 14:40 2021/11/30



126 ~dozens @ 15:30 2021/11/30 [edited]


The younger one has a wild tangle of long, curly, uncombed, straw-colored hair. She avoids your eyes and hangs back a little bit.

The older has black hair cut into a severe bob with short bangs. She looks at you boldly and unafraid. “I'm Nemosyne. This is my sister Heckat.”

You ask them about the flowers. Nemosyne nods and holds out the bouquet she has gathered. “Want to smell? They're really nice.” She smiles.

The younger one, still kind of hiding behind her older sister, asks in a voice barely above a whisper, “Are you here about the lady?”

Nemosyne keeps smiling but almost seems to flinch when Heckat speaks up.

There's an odd sense of familiarity to all of this. The girls, the meadow, the house. Sort of a weak pre-deja-vu.


127 ~dozens @ 15:41 2021/11/30

Pronounciation Guide


=> https://ttm.sh/Fd2


=> https://ttm.sh/Fdu

128 ~bx @ 15:20 2021/12/02



129 ~dozens @ 15:43 2021/12/02


They smell really nice. Kind of sweet and heady.

Nemosyne smiles at you happily. Heckat eyes you warily.

A voice calls out from the cottage. “Girls? Nemosyne!”

Nemosyne turns and calls out over her shoulder, “Coming!”

She turns back to you, “We have to go now. Bye!” And she turns and starts skipping toward the house, clutching her flowers in her hand.

Heckat watches her go and hangs back for a moment showing no concern nor urgency about her summons, as though accustomed to being overlooked and ignored. You notice her hair again, unbrushed and tangled. A smudge of dirt on her face. Her dress is frayed and patched, an obvious hand-me-down from her older sister.

She glances up at you now and then as she talks but mostly keeps her eyes down, “Nobody listens to me about the lady. She's not supposed to be here.”

She finally fixes you with a stare and you notice her eyes are a deep golden amber.

“Are you here about the lady?”


130 ~Gaffen @ 04:14 2021/12/03



131 ~dozens @ 10:33 2021/12/03


Heckat frowns and looks down at the ground.

“She arrived here a while ago. People act funny around her. I don't like her. She's not supposed to be here.”

She turns and points behind her to where the trees climb up a modest hill.

“She stays over the hill in the hollow in the old tower.”

She digs in the dirt with her toe as she talks and draws the same abstract owl shape that that one Forgotten Dead drew back in the village when you questioned it.

She says, “I hope you're here to make her go away,” then she abruptly scratches out the drawing with her foot and turns and runs toward the cottage.


132 ~cymen @ 06:03 2021/12/06


I walk to the hill top.

133 ~dozens @ 13:09 2021/12/06


You leave the bright, sunny meadow and enter the shadowy forest. When you make it to the top of the hill, you look down into the vale below you. You see the remains of what looks like an ancient fort and settlement. The houses and cottages that used to surround the fort are all completely gone and reclaimed by nature, save a stone chimney here and a few crumbling stones there. Most of the fort is gone too save for a crumbling stone wall in severe disrepair, and a fallen tower.

The base of the tower still actually stands in the center of the courtyard inside the crumbling wall. It's about one half to one story tall, and it seems like most of its insides are exposed to the elements.

The rest of the tower, about two story's worth, is laying on its side. A large segment of it is laying across the crumbling wall, having flattened it to the ground when it fell. This looks like the most obvious place to climb over and into the courtyard should you choose to approach the tower base.

The vale is quiet. There are fewer trees down below and more open grassy spaces.

As the sun starts to set, shadows grow long and darkness settles over the vale. You can see the warm flickering glow of a candle emanating from somewhere within the tower base.


134 ~cymen @ 16:08 2021/12/06


I will try to sneak up on the lady using the shadows of dusk. I am taking my time so as not to walk into any traps and maybe try not to take the most obvious route.

135 ~dozens @ 17:55 2021/12/06


You descend into the vale and take a circuitous route around the tower, sticking to the shadows and trying to be quiet.

You get to the smashed part of the wall and carefully climb up the sloped pile of rubble, and then down the other side.

The tower is a short distance from you now. The warm candlelight you saw earlier continues to flicker somewhere deep inside.

When you find the tower entrance, you creep forward to get a look.

The inside of the tower is basically one large room. Most of it is under open sky, but there's a large section of it, farthest away from you, that is protected by a portion of ceiling. It is in this part of the tower that the candlelight is coming from.

It is set up as an alchemist's laboratory. There are cauldrons and beakers and bottles and vials. A crude makeshift shelf leaning against the wall is full of sample jars and other rare ingredients. A long wide workbench is in the center of the room mostly devoid of any area to actually work. It is piled with books and heavy tomes.

A tall slender woman in a dark cloak stands at the table with a candle, hunched over a book, running her finger over the lines as she mumbles quietly to herself. She then quickly moves to reference a second book, and then a third, before returning to the first.

You hang back in the shadows and she seems not to have noticed you.


136 ~Gaffen @ 04:57 2021/12/07



137 ~dozens @ 09:16 2021/12/07 [edited]


As you watch, she looks away from her books toward the far corner of the room, and walks over there to a small cauldron. She reaches in and pulls out a small clump of sporeshard.

Shard in hand she walks back to the workbench and starts to roll the thing up in a long strip of leather. She looks up to the ceiling and reaches one hand up toward the rafters and a speckled owl silently flies down and lands next to her. She ties the leather to the owl's leg.

At the edge of the table is what looks like a large round mirror lying flat on its back. But when she drags her fingers across it, its silvery surface ripples and moves like water. She grabs the owl with two hands and plunges it through the surface of the mirror, up to her elbows.

When she withdraws her hands they are empty, and she goes back to puttering around with her instruments and studying her books.

As all this happens, you manage to get a better look at her. She is tall and thin and pale. Her black cloak envelops her small frame, its hood thrown back to reveal a tight short crown of curly sandy hair. Her eyes are a dark golden amber. She's grown, but there's no mistaking that this is Heckat, the little girl from the meadow.

138 ~cymen @ 09:59 2021/12/07


I try to wrap my head around things for a minute or so.

I am in deadspace. It seems to be an actual place. People live here. People live here... people live in deadspace. What? Heckat is here multiple times. She has a device to send things elsewhere. Presumably to the land of the living.

I am in so far over my head now light is filtering down anymore.

139 ~cymen @ 10:01 2021/12/07


Fuck it. If she is the bad gal here I don't stand a chance anyway. I stand up and call out: Heckat, would you kindly explain to me what you are doing here?

140 ~dozens @ 11:00 2021/12/07


You startle her when you call out. She bolts upright and stares at you with wide golden eyes. A look flickers across her face—hope? panic?—but then it's gone and her face is carefully neutral.

“You,” she says with a touch of sadness.

“I told you not to look for me. You told me you wouldn't look for me.”

You are confused. You've never met Heckat. Either of them, the child or the adult.

She cocks her head to the side. “You don't remember?” She walks slowly around the table so that she is standing in front of it, facing you.

“You don't remember, do you?” She shakes her head sadly as she steps slowly toward you, studying your face. “Tell me what memories you gave up crossing the Beyond, you poor fool.”

141 ~Gaffen @ 10:13 2021/12/08



142 ~dozens @ 12:00 2021/12/08


“My... memories?” you falter as realization suddenly dawns on you.

You gave up the memories of your lover to the ravenfolk for safe passage through the Beyond.

Which means...

“Oh no.”

Heckat reaches out and gently cups your face with one hand and shakes her head.

“No,” she says. “No, don't fret about it. This is for the best, really. This will make things easier.”

She withdraws her hand and turns her back on you as she walks back to the workbench.

“You were probably the last person alive who still remembered me for who I was. Now I truly am entirely forgotten.” She laughs mirthlessly and roughly turns a few pages in one of the large tomes. She closes her eyes and sighs. “Now I'm free.”

“You don't remember any of this any more. But I grew up completely overshadowed by my sister. I don't remember my parents ever even saying my name. To everybody else, whenever they bothered to think of me, I was only 'Nemosyne's sister' and nothing more. I barely even existed. And after she died, I didn't even have that to tether me to the world anymore.”

She turns and peers into the cauldron where the sporeshards are growing, and she adds a few drops of something from a bottle she plucks off the shelf.

“I felt just like the Forgotten Dead, you know. Not really of this world, but compelled to linger on. They just want to feel human again. But they can't. I relate to them so much, in fact. Them the forgotten dead, me the forgotten living.”

She turns and fixes you with a stare from across the room.

“Everybody deserves the right to actually be forgotten. Actually forgotten. It is an unkindness to make them linger on they way they do.”

She takes a step forward and places her hands flat on the workbench and leans slightly forward.

“So, yes. I am 'the owl'. I'm setting them all free. And I won't allow you to stop me.”


143 ~cymen @ 12:36 2021/12/08


I take her hands. “Explain it to me! Why are the Forgotten Dead not really forgotten? Why do they linger?”

144 ~dozens @ 14:34 2021/12/08


“My whole life, my entire identity has been based on who my sister is. 'Nemosyne's sister' they called me. As though I didn't even have a name! That's all they want. They just want somebody to know their name. As long as you keep giving them hope every year during the Festival of Remembering, they'll cling to that hope and keep coming back. The same way I used to hope people would see me for who I am instead of who my sister is. After she was gone, it was like I disappeared and I could finally be me. I want the same for them.”

145 ~Gaffen @ 03:42 2021/12/09



146 ~dozens @ 07:56 2021/12/09


Heckate sneers at you, “Don't you dare to question me! I've BEEN there! I've lived what they're going through. And I've felt the peace of finally being let go.”

“Now,” she continues, suddenly calm and placid once more, “you should leave here and let me continue my work. You promised, after all, that you wouldn't come looking for me. So keep your promise and go back where you came from.”

She returns to her research and her work, seeming to ignore you for now.


147 ~cymen @ 13:43 2021/12/09


I promised a little girl just over that hill I would see about the lady. The little girl thinks she shouldn't be here.


148 ~dozens @ 17:50 2021/12/09


Heckate raises an eyebrow at you. “She said that? That's odd... I haven't seen any original behavior from any of the projections since I've arrived. I had in fact decided that this was some kind of feedback loop on autoplay. Nothing new has happened since I've been here, nothing to deviate from the script.”

She looks thoughtful, “But if it suddenly recognizes you and me as not being part of the simulation, then ... where is that sentience actually coming from?”

She narrows her eyes at you suspiciously, “You changed something. How did you get here anyway?”

She produces a small cloth pouch on a draw string from somewhere within her voluminous cloak and bounces it in the palm of her hand a few times as she crosses the floor toward you once again.

“Tell me, are you even really here, hmm?”

She holds the pouch out to you and then suddenly drops it, swiftly snatching the draw string as it falls through her closing fist. She flicks her wrist, sending the pouch arcing through the air toward you face. You flinch out of the way at the last minute but it still catches you in the collarbone, and it releases a small cloud of fine mist upon impact.

You breathe in the mist and you cough and your vision swims for just a second.

You feel your connection to deadspace decay further from okay to weak.

“Hmm,” Heckate nods. “Well you've seen about 'the lady', dear. Now I really do think it's time you were on your way.”

She draws the pouch back and prepares to bop you in the face again.


149 ~Gaffen @ 03:11 2021/12/10



150 ~dozens @ 08:03 2021/12/10


“Hey, that was mean!” you cry out, blinking and sneezing in the dust. She grins maliciously at you as the pouch arcs down again toward your face.

This time you're ready though and you crouch low and knock her legs out from under her with a sweeping kick. She squeals and falls all the way down in a heap, her puffy black cloak billowing around her.

You jump up and grab the nearest book. You know this is all basically a dream. There's no permanence here: you can't take objects from deadspace with you when you wake up. But...

You dash to the edge of the table as Heckate groans and starts to get to her feet. You bat the surface of the large round mirror a couple times like a cat to disturb its surface, and it ripples like a saucer of milk. “WAIT!” Heckat screams behind you. You glance over your shoulder. She's too far to stop you. You thrust the book through the mirror up to your elbows. It's ice cold. You open your hands and drop the book, letting it fall who knows where, and draw your hands back out. Your hands sting from the cold. You shake them out.

Heckat growls angrily and reaches both arms up toward the sky. You look up in time to see a half dozen large owls silently decend from the rafters, all razor sharp beaks and talons.

You close your eyes and try to actively feel the feeling of letting go, of slipping away. You sever your already weak connection to deadspace.

You open your eyes and see the owl, face twisted in anger. You smile, “Bye, Heckat,” and you fade away as the first owl sinks its talons into nothing.

You wake up gasping for breath on the floor cushions in the Loominary. You heave and wretch into a bucket that had been placed at your side for just this reason. Re-entry is hell. It takes several minutes to calm down.

Now, two things:

On the floor near you is a giant leather bound tome. The one from the owl's haunt.

And, at the far end of the room laid out on a stone altar is the forgotten dead, the one whose sacrifice allowed you to enter deadspace in the first place.

Only this time, you know him. You remember.


You know his name, his friends, how he died. His story dances on the tip your tongue, begging to be told.

He turns his head and looks at you weakly, imploringly.


151 ~cymen @ 11:44 2021/12/11


Grab the book and start searching through it for clues!

152 ~dozens @ 14:58 2021/12/11


You flip through the book. It's dense. A lot of geomancy, mycology/biomancy, and necromancy. Heckat has scribbled copious amounts of notes and calculations and corrections in the margains.

You think if you spend some time with it, you can learn a lot about the production of sporeshard. Including isolating the deadshroom strain if you wanted to have more expiditions into deadspace. You also think it might be possible to come up with a treatment or antidote for the disease.

Behind you, Silas groans on the altar. He's mostly stone at this point.


153 ~cymen @ 16:15 2021/12/11


Try talking to Silas!

154 ~dozens @ 21:16 2021/12/11


You approach the altar where Silas is slowly turning to stone.

You look at him and remember living through his final moments.

“I know you.”

He turns his head and looks at you.

And then you do something that by definition nobody has ever done.

You name one of the forgotten dead.

“I know you, Silas. I was there. I saw it all.”

And you tell him everything. How his friends loved him. How Lethe was with him at the end.

Silas looks at you and smiles.

He looks away and then the life leaves his body.

He looks content and peaceful.

Silas is now longer one of the forgotten dead.

He has been named. He has been remembered.

And the disease stops spreading across his body.


155 ~dozens @ 21:17 2021/12/11


== Epilogue ==

Heckat was right about one thing. The forgotten dead don't deserve to be made to linger on, desperate for recognition, desperate to be remembered.

But her conclusion was wrong. The answer isn't to kill them and turn them stone. The answer is to give them what they want.

Using Heckat's tome, you are able to isolate the deathshroom strain from the sporeshard.

Over the next couple of days, you and the Weavers use the deathshrooms to bear witness to the final moments of all of the remaining forgotten dead. And then you name them and memorialize them. And they pass peacefully and happily.

You save them all.

The dead who have already been turned to stone, who couldn't be saved, are moved into the town center as a memorial to the forgotten dead, whom you have made obsolete. There will never be any more.

The statues are paid tribute every year during the Festival of Remembering.

Time passes.

One day you return home to find a bouquet of wildflowers with a card. It's not signed, but it has an abstract drawing of an owl.

The two of you ultimately wanted the same thing in the end, after all.

And you respect her wishes to be forgotten and don't look for her again.


from dozens

This is a copy/paste of a fun little freeform roleplaying game my friends and I are playing together on a bulletin board on tilde.town.

Read along as our hero journeys into the memories of the dead, and from there into the void of the Beyond!

All posts in this series:


Our hero entered the lair of the Cave Lads to retrieve a bunch a stolen ceremonial blankets and traditional costumes needed for the annual Festival of Remembering. They fought off and outsmarted a bunch of weird creatures and puzzling encounters and finally confronted the Lads and got the goods back. The Lads told our hero that it was all just a prank that they had been put up to by “the owl”.

Back at town, the Festival of Remembering is able to commence with the return of the stolen goods. People commemorate and celebrate the dead, and everything goes great until that night when the townspeople eagerly await the benign Forgotten Dead who are supposed to rise and enter the town looking for warmth and stories.

Only a handful of the dead appear, and they are suffering some kind of infection that is slowly turning them to stone. One of the dead draws an owl when questioned.

Our hero decides to go to the city of the dead, Lullaby, to investigate. There they find a member of the powerful Weavers guild collecting samples from one of the petrified dead. After a tense stand off, they agree to work together, and the enigmatic Owl comes up again.

We learn that the mushroom that accompanies the petrification process has been shown to, when burned and inhaled, plunge one's consciousness into a projection of the final moments of the person from whom the mushroom was harvested, and from there potentially to a shared landscape common to all the dead.

Our hero agrees to try the mushroom.

Which brings us to now!

101 ~dozens @ 22:27 2021/10/26


On the way to the Loominary, the weaver tells you everything they know about the mushroom.

  1. When harvested from a body, it can be dried and burned, and inhaling the smoke allows you to enter the memories of the deceased on which it grew.

  2. If you eat the mushroom (not recommended!) you gain the look, smell, etc. of a corpse. Humans and animals will view and treat you as dead even as you go about your business. The effect lasts for about 24 hours and/or until you take a bath.

At the Loominary, the Somnambulists prepare you for your journey.

Here's what they tell you about Deadspace:

You'll enter the memories of the deceased leading up to their death. The more you smoke, the stronger your connection to Deadspace. When the subject dies in their memories, your journey ends. You can change their memories (e.g. to prevent their death and give you more time) but doing so weakens your connection to Deadspace. When your connection breaks, you wake up weak, shivering, and vomiting.

From the initial memory, you can journey inward into the subject's deepest core memories. Or you can journey outward into deep Deadspace, into the Beyond. The Beyond is a shifting landscape with landmarks that are the same no matter whose memories you start from, suggesting that it might be some kind of persistant afterlife shared by all.

You meet your subject: one of the forgotten dead laid out on a cot. Its disease has progressed a fair bit: it is half petrified, but has been picked clean of the fungus. It has a wide gap between its two front teeth, and its left eye socket is so shallow you don't think an eye could have fit in it while it was alive. It looks at you pitifully and pleadingly.

The mushrooms have been prepared for you ahead of time. You lie down on some cushions and light the censer. The smoke fills the room and your lungs, and the sensation is unpleasant. It's like somehow falling asleep while drowning. Your heart races and feels like it will beat out of your chest even as your breathing slows and your eyes become heavy and finally close.

You jerk awake and find yourself sitting at a table in a busy tavern. There is lively music and chattering voices. The atmosphere is jolly and festive. A chorus of raucous laughing voices sings out behind you. You turn and see three friends playing cards. One of them is gathering up their winnings after winning the round. He's a gap-toothed young man with an eyepatch. “I swear,” another of them laughs. “You're going to rob us blind if you keep winning like that!”

102 ~bx @ 15:29 2021/10/31



103 ~dozens @ 17:01 2021/10/31


You are still yourself.

Deadspace is playing a sort of reenactment inside your head of his final moments based on his memories.

It's as though this is all a play, and you've suddenly appeared on stage.

The gap-toothed young man with the eyepatch retorts to his friend, “Rob you blind?” He taps his eyepatch. “Well, you'd be in good company!” The two of them laugh, while the third card player sitting at the table glowers and scowls.

“Tell ya what!” Eyepatch continues. “I'll buy you two another drink with the money I just took from you—haha!—and then I must bid you a good night!”

He waves at the tavern keeper, holds up two fingers, and then drops some coins on the table and stands up. “Goodnight, gentlemen!” He gives a little bow, puts on his coat, and heads for the door.

The sour friend glares at him as he goes, and the jolly friend calls after him. “Come back, Silas! You have to give us a chance to win our money back! Aw, fine then. Next time.”

Silas. You've just learned something that by definition nobody else has ever known: the name of one of the forgotten dead.

Silas will die sometime in the next few minutes.

What do you do?

104 ~Gaffen @ 11:17 2021/11/01



105 ~dozens @ 16:46 2021/11/01


After a moment, the jolly friend gets distracted with flirting with somebody at another table, and the sour friend discreetly grabs his coat and slips away after Silas. Is it him? Could he be the killer?

You follow him out and step into the night. It's dark and cold, and most people have the good sense to be indoors. You follow him up and down a few roads until he stops before a small stone footbridge and steps off the road into the shadow of a tree. Up on the bridge, bathed in the light of a lantern on a pole, is Silas. He sits up on the guard wall, gazing whistfully at the dark current as it rushes beneath him, dangling his feet idly in mid-air, lost in his thoughts. As you watch, the sour friend steps out of the shadow back onto the road. He reaches into his cloak and slowly creeps toward the bridge.


106 ~Gaffen @ 04:13 2021/11/03



107 ~dozens @ 09:53 2021/11/03 [edited]


Sour Friend is almost to the bridge, and draws his hand from his cloak. He's holding something small, but you can't see what it is.

You call out just as he crosses over from the shadows into the pool of light cast by the lantern. “Silas! Watch out!”

They both whip around to face you.

Now that you can see them in the light, it looks as though Sour Friend has pulled a tobacco pipe from their cloak? He stands staring at you, momentarily frozen, scowl deepening into a surprised grimace.

Silas looks at you and at Sour Friend. “Lethe? What..” Lethe (aka Sour Friend) turns from you to look over his shoulder back at Silas.

Silas swings his legs back over the wall and hops down onto the bridge. “Lethe, who is that-”

You and Lethe both see it before Silas does. A plumicorn—a huge horned owl-like creature—swoops silently down and attacks Silas. Its sharp talons claw at his scalp and its hooked beak snaps at his fingers and wrists as Silas raises his hands to his face and falls backward against the low stone wall. Silas gasps violently, but the attack is otherwise eerily silent.

“Silas!” Lethe rushes forward as the plumicorn flies off.

Silas's hands and face are all bloodied, and he slumps against the low wall as Lethe runs to his side.

You have changed the memory. If Silas had still been sitting on the wall when the creature attacked, he would have easily pitched forward off the bridge and into the inky black water. You feel a brief wave of queasiness and your vision swims for a second as your connection to Deadspace degrades from strong to good.

Certain actions in Deadspace, such as changing a memory, weaken your connection here. When your connection breaks, you reawaken in the world of the living.

For now, Silas is alive, and Lethe is tenderly holding his hands and cradling his head, examining his wounds, a concerned scowl on his face.


109 ~dozens @ 11:55 2021/11/17 [edited]


You rush forward to see if Silas is okay.

Lethe scowls up at you while continuing to comfort and coddle Silas. You're starting to wonder whether that's just the way his face looks.

“I'm okay... I'm okay...” Silas blubbers. He has long bloody scratches on his hands and wrists and on his scalp, but none of them seem that deep or that serious. He'll be just fine.

The world around you wobbles and shimmers nauseatingly and then snaps back into place. You feel your connection to Deadspace weaken from good to okay.

Because in real life Silas died during the plumicorn attack, he has no actual memory of anything that is happening right now, and so Deadspace is struggling to maintain this memory, and to keep you in it.

You feel like you could hang out here a little longer and ask a few more questions at the risk of being ejected from Deadspace.

Or, you could venture toward either of the edges of Deadspace.

Imagine Deadspace as a donut.

From where you are currently, you could venture inward toward the “hole” into Silas's other memories. There, you could explore other core memories. Could he have formed memories after he died? Could you possibly find out who poisoned him and the other Forgotten Dead?

Or you could venture outward to the edge into the Beyond, into the communal deadspace shared by everybody. Its mysteries (and dangers) are uncharted and unknown, but might eventually lead you to other memory bubbles like this one.

Stay here? INWARD to Silas's Core Memories? OUTWARD to the Beyond?

110 ~bx @ 12:25 2021/11/17



111 ~dozens @ 17:57 2021/11/18


You step to the side and slip out of the world, leaving Silas and Lethe behind on the bridge, and emerge in the crimson void of the Beyond.

The Beyond has landmarks and denizens.

Although most of the Beyond is constantly shifting and changing, there are persistent landmarks common to every instance of Deadspace. This leads travelers to believe that the Beyond is a single experience and location shared by all the dead. Traveling between landmarks is pretty much the only way to progress through the Beyond and learn its mysteries. And if you're careful, and lucky, it can be done without provoking any hostility.

The denizens of the Beyond include the fleshless Hollow Men, whom you'd best avoid, and the enigmatic Ravenfolk, who can be bartered with.

You are currently suspended in the crimson void. There's nothing above and nothing below, yet you can stand and walk as though on firm ground.

Nearby is the towering obsidian obelisk known as the Lighthouse, usually the first landmark seen upon entering the Beyond.

In the middle distance is something that stands on two legs like a man, covered in a cloak of glittering black feathers. Its head is the bleached white skull of a large bird with a long beak and large empty eyes. One of the Ravenfolk. It faces you and stands motionless as though waiting.


112 ~Gaffen @ 02:09 2021/11/19



113 ~dozens @ 11:18 2021/11/19


You approach the ravenfolk. It stands much taller than you.

Its voice emanates from somewhere within its empty skull and seems to envelope you.

“Greetings, Living One. Tell me what brings you here, and I will tell whether I can help you.”

114 ~Gaffen @ 04:02 2021/11/22



115 ~dozens @ 08:26 2021/11/22


The ravenfolk nods.

“That which you seek are all one and the same. I will take you to them if you are willing to trade with me. The price is a precious memory. That of a loved one. Give the memory to me, and I will show you the owl.”


116 ~cymen @ 12:58 2021/11/23


I slowly shake my head Which memory?

117 ~dozens @ 14:33 2021/11/23


Which memory indeed. Name somebody who was special to you[1]. A parent, sibling, friend, teacher, lover, etc.

[1]: You, the hero of BBJ Quest. Not you the human reading this.

118 ~Gaffen @ 04:08 2021/11/25



119 ~dozens @ 10:29 2021/11/25


You agree to the ravenfolk's terms and offer them the memory of your lover.

They accept.

Your memories flow from you like water, swiftly receding until you stand alone on the dry, sandy shore of remembrance. Your heart stops aching, but is now less full.

The sorrow and resentment is gone, but so is all of the growth and everything you learned from the relationship about yourself and life and love.

There. You are free of pain, and completely ignorant of the hazards of love.

The absence of your memory is so complete that you don't even have the capacity to wonder if it was worth it.


120 ~dozens @ 10:47 2021/11/25


The ravenfolk seems to swell and take on new vitality after feasting on your memory.

They turn and lead you away from the Lighthouse into the expansive crimson void of the Beyond.

With the help of your guide and a little bit of luck, you avoid the Hollow Men with their chattering teeth and a lumbering slavering Void Beast that sails past a little too closely for your comfort.

You rest for a while by the Iron Husk, a colossal figure that is rusted and hollowed out, lying in scattered pieces. You ask the ravenfolk about it and they tell you that it is a dead god, that it walked the spheres and inspired awe and fear before being banished to the Beyond, where it was forgotten and eventually died.

You continue on and eventually come to a cloudy lavender pool.

The ravenfolk gestures toward the pool, “The owl resides in this memory bubble, far from the prying eyes of man.”

“I have fulfilled my end of our bargain. Fare well, traveler.”

The ravenfolk explodes with a burst of inky black feathers into a flock of blackbirds and flies away into the void.

You are alone in the Beyond next to a murky purple pool.


121 ~bx @ 06:59 2021/11/28



122 ~dozens @ 07:39 2021/11/28


You reach your hand into the pool and swish it around a bit. The pool seems to be full of a heavy swirling vaporous mist. It feels kind of cool and maybe a little damp.

Thick ropes of purple mist swirl lazily around as you agitate them, but quickly settle back down as soon as you stop.

You withdraw your hand and inspect it. Looks fine.

I guess the ravenfolk was suggesting that the owl, and the answer to who is poisoning the dead, lies through these mists..


123 ~Gaffen @ 08:03 2021/11/30



124 ~dozens @ 09:08 2021/11/30


There's no wading into the pool. So you just dive in.

The mist gathers with alarming quickness around in thick ropes like a hungry animal, taking on substance that it previously lacked. You resist the urge to panic as it squeezes around you and hugs you tight, thickening and darkening from lavender to deep purple to black so that you cannot see and cannot move. Surprisingly, the mist rockets you upward instead of lowering you down into the pool. You brace yourself, barely able to breathe, and squeeze your eyes tightly shut until you feel your ascent start to slow and then come to a stop. As the thick ropes loosen their grip and then melt away into nothingness, you feel soft grass beneath you and see sunshine through your still closed eyelids.

You open your eyes and find that you have been deposited in a vibrant green forest meadow carpeted with wildflowers of purple, yellow, and orange.

The sun shines warmly and there is a gentle breeze.

A small simple cottage stands next to the treeline, near which two little girls are picking flowers.



Stay tuned next time for Social Anxiety Barbarian Part 5: The Owl's Haunt!


from dozens

by Osgood H. Oswald


This essay will compare and contrast the published versions of backgammon through the ages, will review its current iteration as a popular fantasy role-playing game, and will finally connect its past to its potential future via its use as a divination tool.

Past: A Brief History

Backgammon 1st Edition, also known as OBKGM (Original Backgammon) was released in Iran in 2021 BC. The original ruleset was relatively lightweight compared to later editions. The rules, board, dice, and pieces were all slightly different from what we play today, but the core mechanic of “racing game with sending pieces back to the beginning” remains unchanged.

One thing that is unique to this edition is the spiritual component of the game. Certain squares had certain meanings and landing on them predicted a player's future, or foretold an omen, or was understood to be a message from some deity or other supernatural figure.

The 2nd edition (BKGM 2e) was published in 1166 BC in Persia. It controversially dropped all support for the supernatural and removed all references to omens and deities. Its rules are a little different from what we play today, but it essentially the same game.

BKGM 3e, the first major update to the game during the modern era, didn't come out until the 1920s when a Mississippi riverboat captain with a serious gambling addiction named Fathomer Applesail introduced the doubling cube. This would be, to date, the game's last major innovation.

The cube was originally intended to merely enhance the gambling aspect of the game, but it ended up having unintended, far reaching strategic impacts.

Finally, in the 1960s, a supplement was published as version 3.5 containing additional optional rules involving the doubling cube. This is the current version of the game.

Present: A Review of BKGM 3.5e

Today, backgammon is a popular fantasy role-playing game in which you adopt the persona of a powerful wizard of the “backgammon” school of magic. You play by enchanting 15 checkers (your “men”), bending them to your will, and then racing them around the track to bring them home before your opponent can do the same.

The risk of the game is right there in the name. “Backgammon” is derived from the words “Back” and “Game.” It is a game in which you risk having your men bumped off the track and banished from the board to the ethereal state of limbo known as the “bar”. At that point, all further progress halts until you are able to successfully conjure your lost man from the bar and they are reborn and sent back to the beginning of the track where they must begin their journey anew.

It's ohana rules.

“Ohana means family. And family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

-Lilo and Stitch

The wizard you play is also adept at chronomancy. They are able to leverage an arcane device known as the Doubling Cube. It is a false gift that, if refused, immediately ends the current conflict and catapaults the players forward in time to the beginning of the next game. It is a subtle manipuation of time, but powerful in the hands of a skilled wizard.

Whereas Dungeons & Dragons is a wargame at heart with fantasy roleplay layered on top, Backgammon is at its core a racing game. As is the case with most roleplaying games, it is a game of skill and strategy, but also of chance and luck: randomness is injected into the game through the rolling of dice. In this case, two six-sided dice are rolled to determine how many spaces your men can move.

Future: Bringing The Sacred Back

Starting from the opening position of the 3.5e board, one must roll exactly 167 in order to bring all their men home, assuming perfect play.

The number one stands for unity and indivisibility. And as Frank Black tells us, the devil is six, and god is seven. So 167, the unity of god and the devil, means perfect balance and harmony, such as that which what is seen in the taoist yin-yang and the discordian hodge-podge.

Given a platform of perfect balance, the 3.5e board is an ideal candidate for reincorporating some of the mysticism of OBKGM.

The I-Ching provides a framework for doing so.

The eight trigrams map easily to the 24 points. There will be three runs of Heaven, Lake, Fire, Thunder, Wind, Water, Mountain, and Earth, starting from point 1 and continuing to point 24.

When you roll two dice, you will (usually) move two checkers. It will often be arbitrary which move corresponds to the first, or upper, trigram.

When feeling compelled to do so, you can look up the resulting hexagram. For example, at https://divination.com/iching/lookup/

The difficulty with this system is it requires a lookup. The benefit is that it allows all 64 hexagrams to be represented on a 24 point board. The difficulty of the lookup can be circumnavigated by simply deciding for yourself what, for example, “mountain over water” means to you.


A potential 4th Edition of backgammon should include content not seen since the publication of Original Backgammon. Namely, the portents and omens and other elements of divination. It is high time backgammon was weird and occult again.


from dozens

This is a copy/paste of a fun little RPG game my friends and I are playing together on a bulletin board on tilde.town. Read along as our hero journeys to Lullaby, city of the dead!

All posts in this series:

Interlude: Festival of Remembering

Each year on the day of the eighth moon is the Festival of Remembering. It starts with a noontime feast in the village green with food for everybody and then some. Then everybody dresses up in old timey costume so they look like one ancestor or another. They recite the names of their dead, and remember them through story and dance and song and poetry and plays.

With night comes games and drinking and revelry until the witching hour, when everybody puts out blankets by their front doors for the forgotten dead. And then they wait inside by the fire with warm cider and wine. They wait for the forgotten dead grow restless and rise naked from the cold ground and start to wander the dark forest.

The forgotten dead flock to the village and take the blankets to clothe themselves and keep themselves warm. And the villagers bring them into their homes to care for them, warming them by the fire and telling them stories until they feel soothed, warm, and human enough to leave and go back to sleep for another year.

78 ~dozens @ 12:12 2021/10/06 [edited]


You successfully return to the village with the bundle of stolen costumes and blankets. The grandmas shower you with kisses, the children cheer and pelt you with small candies, the emotionally reserved adults nod stoically in approval, and the village elders, as promised, give you a small cash reward, which you humbly refuse but then graciously accept. (You surreptitiously sneak out at the first opportune moment to pay off your debt to the Weavers Guild, leaving you with just a little bit of coin to spend.)

Everybody jumps into their costumes and the festivities begin. Folks recite the names of as many dead family members as they know. There are songs and ballads of heroes of yore. There are stage reenactments of comedies, tragedies, and follies. As much remembering as possible takes place.

When night comes, there is food and drink, singing and dancing, merry making and revelry. And everybody congratulates you and thanks you for saving the festival.

You smile to yourself and decide to enjoy the festival.


79 ~bx @ 07:49 2021/10/09



80 ~dozens @ 13:39 2021/10/11 [edited]


You have a dope ass time with Pebbles and Igor (pronounced “Eye Gore”, which is what you named your new sword friend because it has an eye, and it is a sword. So, there's going to be gore.)

You do some sack races and wrestle a pig, and bob for apples and play a kind of blindfolded game of tag. (Pebbles and Igor both seem to have fun during this game in particular which is interesting because Pebbles technically doesn't have eyes, and Igor is basically all eyes, so you're not sure how it actually works mechanically for them, but they seem to be having fun which is all that matters.) It's all super fun, and you're soon exhausted.

Just as well. Now it's the witching hour, when the Forgotten Dead are scheduled to rise.

Everybody is making their way home, setting out blankets for the dead, and resting inside by the fireplace. As time goes on though, it becomes clear that something is amiss. Villagers peek out their windows and doors, looking up and down the empty streets. Usually there are dozens upon dozens of Forgotten Dead roaming the streets by now, wrapping themselves in blankets and rapping on doors to be let in. Now there are probably 3 – 5 to be seen in the entire village.

The dead that have arrived pull themselves forward, dragging petrified limbs. They knock with arms stiff and fossilized, large chunks of their bodies crystalized. The villagers shudder to see them in such an unnatural state. The dead are supposed to be made of bones and leathery skin. Not inorganic stone.

What is going on? What has happened to the dead? Why are they turning to stone? Where are the missing Forgotten Dead?

Maybe you only /thought/ you saved the Festival of Remembering. Something else is obviously afoot.


81 ~bx @ 13:43 2021/10/12



82 ~dozens @ 12:43 2021/10/14


You catch up to one of the forgotten dead as it stumbles down the road. You catch it by the arm and pull it to the side. It allows itself to be pulled off the road and under the eaves of one of the nearby houses.

You inspect the dead more closely and notice two things.

One, there's a strange mold growing on it that seems to be digesting and breaking down the leathery skin that clings to its bones. Pieces of it slough off

Two, its bones are in the process of slowly being turned into stone. It's pretty: the stone sparkles with small crystals. But it looks lethal. As lethal as something can be to someone who is already dead. This one drags it fossilized leg like it is dead weight.

Soon this poor creature will be nothing but a human shaped hunk of rock.

It looks at you pitifully and works its jaws, though it has long since lost the ability to speak. It clutches a finely woven blanket in its hand, which it holds out to you. You take the blanket, a fine product of the Weavers Guild but with a pattern you don't recognize.

Then the dead stoops down and scratches a few circles and lines in the dirt, drawing a crude owl. It straightens up and looks at you for a moment, then turns and starts to limp away toward the nearest house where it grabs another blanket to wrap around itself.

You're not sure what the message is here, but if the Weavers are involved, you can head over to the Loominary to ask them.

You know you could also head straight to the Lullaby, the crypt where the dead sleep, to look for clues and see if it's been disturbed.

And what's with the owl? The Cave Lads said someone or something called “the owl” convinced them to steal all the blankets and costumes in the first place!


83 ~bx @ 13:19 2021/10/14



84 ~dozens @ 18:03 2021/10/14


It's prime witching hour now and shadows everywhere are as deep and dark as the ocean as you and Pebbles and Igor leave the comforts of town for the beckoning woods where Lullaby lies.

It is a fair walk from town, deep in the forest. The path is overgrown, but worn enough that you can find your way even in the dark.

Soon you're walking along the tall piled stone wall of Lullaby toward the black iron gates, one of which hangs lifelessly on its hinge, and the other of which has been pushed open by the forgotten dead on their pilgrimage to town. A ground keeper's cottage huddles just inside the entrance like a scared animal, long vacant and abandoned: only the dead live here. The walls of the cottage still look sturdy but the windows have long since been broken.

In the middle of Lullaby is an overgrown sunken garden with a dry fountain covered with creeping vines.

A triple row of mausoleums lines the walls of Lullaby, the first one with its back to the wall, and the second facing the first one, forming a claustrophobic little path. And the third one sits back to back with the second one so that it looks out on the garden.

A couple of the mausoleums stand open from when their inhabitants decided to go for a stroll.

It's a dark, moonless night, and it's as quiet as a grave.


85 ~bx @ 16:16 2021/10/15



86 ~dozens @ 14:24 2021/10/19


You decide to start investigating a mausoleum that overlooks the sunken garden of Lullaby, the city of the dead.

You skulk across the courtyard trying to stick to the shadows, for one feels obligated to sneak here so as not to disturb the sleep of the dead. Your steps are dampened by the soft decomposing leaves and grasses. The night of the new moon is deeply dark. The air is still and there is a sickly sweet smell of too old flowers.

The heavy stone door of the crypt stands ajar. No family name adorns the mausoleum, for this is not just the city of the dead, but of the forgotten dead.

You slip inside. It is small and claustrophobic, roughly 12 by 12 feet, cramped with coffins and tables and urns and a neglected shrine. The floor is carpeted with a thick layer of dust, disturbed only by a fresh set of footprints leading from the door into the building, between narrow shelves of coffins to a small, open trapdoor, where a metal ladder affixed to the stone wall leads down into the catacomb.

The footprints end here at the top of the ladder. A faint glow can be seen emanating from somewhere below. When you peer down you can see a dancing shadow as something scuttles around. And you can hear soft mumbling and muttering, and faint scratching and scraping.


87 ~bx @ 15:36 2021/10/19



88 ~dozens @ 19:36 2021/10/19


You were sure to grab a couple of self-inflating glow orbs before leaving town, so you should be all set on light sources.

89 ~Gaffen @ 01:13 2021/10/20



90 ~dozens @ 09:12 2021/10/20


You carefully, quietly climb down the ladder and step into the catacomb.

There is one short hall lined with recesses, most filled with vertical coffins. The hall terminates a short distance from you in a wider room where the light and the shadow and the noises are coming from.

The room contains a wide altar atop which is a body, one of the forgotten dead. You can tell even from here that its bones seem to be fully crystalized based on how they sparkle and reflect the light. Everywhere flesh still clings to its body, it is covered in fruiting, moth-gray fanned mushrooms.

A humanoid figure hunches over the altar with its back to you. A glow orb hovers on the far side of the altar, backlighting the figure so that it is an inky black shadow: you can't make out any features. It bends over the body, mumbling and hissing to itself, and seems to be scraping at it or roughly scrubbing at it.

It has not noticed you.


91 ~cymen @ 14:25 2021/10/20


Creep closer to figure out what it's doing!

92 ~dozens @ 14:43 2021/10/20


You edge your way into the room and creep a little closer to the figure. It is now a mere couple arms' lengths away from you, but you can see them more clearly, and you notice two things.

Firstly, it is definitely human.

Secondly, a long Fighting Needle dangles from their belt. And, even more forboding, they wear a brightly colored sash draped across their torso from shoulder to hip.

This is unmistakenly a member of the Weavers Guild.

Some Weavers are actually handy with a Fighting Needle. But the thin blade is mostly for show as a warning to outsiders who don't understand the real threat of a master Weaver: the sash.

Weavers are highly trained in the deadly art of sarong-fu and can easily overpower a much stronger foe with a simple sash, blanket, rope, or any other soft weapon. It is well-known that any Weaver who is clothed is formidible opponent.

This one is hunched over the body of the forgotten dead, cursing under their breath. One hand full of crystals and mushrooms, and the other hand frantically scraping at flesh and bone with what looks like a small metal flat-headed spoon.


93 ~cymen @ 08:28 2021/10/21


Help pepples up to the main chamber and tell him to cause a distraction after you have hidden in one of the coffins.

94 ~dozens @ 10:56 2021/10/21


You slink out of the chamber and back into the shadows of the hall, and pluck your stone necklace from your neck. In the palm of your hand, the stones assemble themselves into Pebbles, your good friend the pebble golem.

You tell them to count to ten and then cause a distraction. Pebbles nods resolutely, and you set them down on the ground and hide yourself in one of the coffins, leaving the lid open just a crack so that you can peek through it.

You wait for a couple beats and then hear a loud clatter of stones as though Pebbles managed to jump off of a high platform somewhere and scatter across the ground.

The Weaver gasps and stops their incessant muttering. You hear Pebbles tumbling quickly toward the ladder, and the sound of stone against metal as they start to climb up. And then the Weaver cursing and stepping out of the chamber and into the hallway, past your hiding spot. After a couple seconds, you hear them start to climb the ladder up to the entrance of the mausoleum.

You crack the coffin lid open and peer into the empty hallway.

Thanks, Pebbles!


95 ~Gaffen @ 13:20 2021/10/21



96 ~dozens @ 15:46 2021/10/21


You sneak out of your coffin and into the chamber, listening to the clatter of pebbles and the footsteps above. It is dark, so you get out one of your self-inflating glow orbs, and yank on the tab. In a matter of seconds it has fully inflated and is bobbing up and down in the air at your elbow, shedding a soft orange sulphuric light.

The forgotten dead is laid out on the altar. Like you could see before, its bones are fossilized, made of solid stone, flecked with small glittering crystals. What little remains of its flesh, formerly dried and leather-like where it clings to the bones, is being devoured by a moldy fungus. This is no longer a former human. It is now merely stone and slime.

Next to the body on the altar is the scraping tool the Weaver was using: a small metal spoon with a sharp, flat head. And also a handful of mushroom caps and crystal shards that have been scraped off the body. You can see some scratches and gouges from where the Weaver was working.

Finally, you find a scrap of paper on the ground, its edges tattered as though it was torn from a book. The Weaver must have dropped it when they left.

The script is mostly unintelligible but you can pick out the words Sporeshard and owl. There is a sketch of the strange fungus next to a hoopnet and nicstaff, powerful artifacts used by the Weavers only safely within the walls of the Loominary to Travel.

You suddenly notice that Igor has been rolling its eye and blinking frantically at you, and you realize that you haven't heard any footsteps from upstairs in a while.

You whirl around and see the Weaver standing in the entrance to the chamber staring at you. Their Fighting Needle lies discarded on the ground. They have removed their bright red sash and have looped their long slender hands through it. Their glare flickers from your eyes to the paper you hold in your hand and back again. And they take another soundless step forward.


97 ~Gaffen @ 04:45 2021/10/22



98 ~dozens @ 07:00 2021/10/22 [edited]


Vibe check!

“Heyy, buddy. How's it going there, champ?”

The Weaver halts their advance and regards you cooly. They say low and quiet, “You shouldn't be here.”

“Well you probably shouldn't be ... doing whatever it was you were doing to him,” you cleverly retort, gesturing toward the body on the altar behind you.

The Weaver scoffs, “I'm collecting samples. We're trying to stop whatever this is. Do you know what the Weavers are known for around here? Making blankets for the forgotten dead. We do much more than that of course. But if they disappear, then so will we eventually.”

“Well I'm trying to stop this too!” You take an eager step forward, and wave the page excitedly in the air. “I don't know what all this stuff is, but I know about the owl!” The Weaver's eyebrows lift slightly. “Maybe if we compare notes, we can fill in some gaps for each other, help each other out. What do you say?”

The Weaver seems to consider it but continues to hesitate, hands still looped through their sash.

Convince the Weaver?

99 ~dozens @ 12:33 2021/10/25


The Weaver nods, and the two of you trade notes.

You tell them about how the Cave Lads said the owl told them to steal all the blankets. And how you saw mushrooms and crystals growing together in the caves.

The Weaver tells you a couple things:

  1. The disease is caused by an agent they're calling a sporeshard: a small geode-like stone with a hard rock casing surrounding prismatic crystals and mushroom spores. When the sporeshard is introduced to the dead, the crystals and the spores infect it and work together to fossilize the bones and remove the flesh. It doesn't seem to have any direct effect on the living. They've recovered one intact sporeshard from a lone groll found outside Lullaby.

  2. The Weaver Somnambulists have taken special interest in the mushrooms left behind by the sporeshard: they seem to be similar to the psychedelic mushroom that they use to enter the Dreaming, but it drops the Traveller into memories of the final moments of the dead instead of into a benign dreamscape. They have been too scared to explore the “Deadscape” further, but the final moments of the dead may hold some clues were you to seek out the Somnabulists in the Loominary, headquarters of the Weavers.


100 ~bx @ 13:26 2021/10/26



The end! Stay tuned for the next installment of Social Anxiety Barbarian: Deadspace and Beyond!