Thursday, 27 April 2017

Gnome Fey Hunter

“You’re the fairy hunter?” A gruff voice demanded from behind me. I was sitting at the bar at a tavern enjoying a warm meal I didn’t have to catch and cook for myself.

“I am.” I confirmed, then ate another forkful of stew. I got a potato in this bite.

“How much?”

“How much for what? Be specific.” I suggested taking another bite.

“How much will you charge to get rid of the evil tiny fey that is keeping us from thinning a certain area of the forest nearby?” I turned to look up at the half-orc. “Nevermind.” He grunted and turned away. A half-elf and human followed him.

“Just because I am a gnome does not mean I am not the fairy hunter you seek.”

“Gnomes are of the fey. Why would they hunt the fey?” The half-elf scoffed.

“Elves are of nature. Why would a half-elf take up logging?” I mimicked his tone. The human and half-orc laughed. Without losing the sarcasm I continued. “I bring you the body, you pay me in its weight in platinum pieces. I am sure there is a merchant with a scale we can use in this lovely hamlet.”

“Deal.” The half-orc said with a tusked grin. I grinned back and shook his hand. “You don’t get any coin until you bring us the body.” He said squeezing my hand.

“I take it you have paid to get rid of this fey already?” Shaking my hand once the half-orc released it as if he had hurt me.

“Yes an Erastilian paladin who said it was evil but yet as a fey it was a part of nature and thus he would not kill it. He trapped it and relocated it and then a week later, before we could finish our work, it was back.”

“I have no problem killing the fey for the coins. I just need to know where it is.”

“We will show you.” The human said in a surprisingly high voice.

“Tomorrow.” I agreed with a yawn, trying to pop my ears. “It is not as if you log at night.”

“We will be here at sunrise.” The half-orc said and the trio left the tavern. I returned to my stew.

The next morning I met the trio as I descended the stairs from the second floor. I had dressed to impress with my chain shirt and armored kilt. I had my bastard sword and my short bow for visible weaponry. Two quivers of twenty arrows, two bandoliers crossed my chest each holding eight flasks, and each wrist had a sheath of five more arrows. My belt had two waterskins, two pouches, four daggers, and a handax.

“Are you ready to go?” the half-orc asked.

“I am.” I had woken up early to eat while watching the sunrise.

“Good.” He turned and the three trooped out.

“Do all three of you really need to show me the way?”

“We go together.” The half-elf stated smugly.

I didn’t ask anything else, in case it was the humans turn to answer. We walked in silence into the woods. We walked for a long time, at least an hour, before they stopped. “See that mess of underbrush by those pines ahead of us?” the half-elf whispered to me.

There were seven pine trees, spaced a few feet apart, their lower branches intertwining, and a mess of underbrush surrounding them. They were directly in our path and hard to miss. “Yes.” I whispered back.

“We have been trying to clear the underbrush and lower branches but it keeps attacking us.”

“Fine.” I stood and walked forward, taking the handax from my belt. I began chopping at the undergrowth.

After the forth swing, a spear bounced off the right back of my chain shirt. I turned and looked at the tiny fey. It looked like a bundle of sticks bound by vines and given life. I dropped the handax, it had just been a ruse to get its attention. I drew my bastard blackblade and showed the fey its cold iron blade. “I was hired by the men who are trying to preserve these trees to kill you if you continue to interfere.” I said to the twigjack in sylvan.

“Mine.” It screeched, sending a barrage of splinters at me. I rolled forward, avoiding most of the damage, and sliced up the left leg of the fey and produced flame down the cold iron dealing even more damage. The tiny fey howled as it caught fire.  

“I WILL KILL YOU.” It screamed, sending another barrage of splinters at me. I was too close to dodge. It would be a long process later to remove the tiny shafts of wood. It was a simple process now, to remove the tiny head from the tiny body of the fey. The two pieces fell to the forest floor. I picked them up and shook the torso of the fey. Two tiny wands fell out into my hand. Typical fey.

“We will not be paying you.” The half-orc said brandishing a large ax.

“Let me get my gear from the tavern and I will be underway then.” I responded, absentmindedly turning the wands over in my hands.

“You are not mad?” The human squelched from behind me.

“I did not expect you to have enough platinum to meet my price.” I said walking back towards the hamlet between the half-orc and the half-elf without lifting my bastard sword at either of them. “I expected the double cross. I just wanted to kill the fey. I will do it for free. I often do. I just asked for the weight of the fey in platinum because you all were annoying me.”

“So now what?” The half-elf asked.

“I go get my stuff and move on. You do what you are supposed to with that.” I said tossing the body of the fey over my shoulder towards the brambles and pine trees.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Battle of the Patrols - In Game Terms

Battle of the Patrols – in game terms

Excel Spreadsheet “Book”: Word Count 739!
B. Initiative
C. Hit Points at start of round 1
D. Actions during round 1
E. Hit Points at start of round 2
F. Round 2 actions
G. Hit points at the start of round 3
H. Round 3 actions
I. Hit points at the start of round 4
J. Round 4 actions
K. Hit points at the start of round 5
L. Round 5 actions
M. Hit Points at the start of round 6
N. Round 6 actions
O. Hit Points at the start of round 7
P. Round 7 actions
Q. Hit Points at the start of round 8

From my opinion post “The comparison of patrols is most interesting to me. Eleven to twenty plus a lieutenant for a patrol of sahuagin compared to three to ten plus two lieutenants of 3rd level and a leader of 3rd–6th level totaling six to thirteen for merfolk. So for the sahuagin lets roll 1d10+10 and for the merfolk 1d8+2 and let the patrols battle it out…”
I am instead going to do full patrols. So twenty level one and one level three sahuagin versus ten level one, two level three, and a sixth level merfolk patrol. The level ones will all be warriors. The third level lieutenants will each be fighters. The leader of the merfolk will be a waves oracle, because it was either that or a cleric or warpriest or ranger. Sahuagin and merfolk both fight with tridents and heavy underwater crossbows with ten bolts according to their bestiary entries. Starting hit points for each warrior is ten, fighters get thirty, and the oracle has only forty-eight, max of their hit dice. Also, merfolk Armor class of 13 and sahuagin armor class of 16, according to the bestiary. I have made a table for each participant of the battle and their initiatives and to track the hit points at the beginning of each round, until that number becomes zero or less.
During round 1 they will be using their heavy underwater crossbows and aiming at random warriors. Actions per round will be 1d20 for merfolk or 1d10 for sahuagin for who they hit, 1d20 to hit, and 1d10 for damage if not a miss. The Merfolk leader will use ice armor to make herself the target of the sahuagin arrows.
During round 2, the sahuagin lieutenant, during his turn, will order them to “Shoot the spellcaster in the Ice Armor.” He tries to show by example but it bounces off her ice armor. The Oracle meanwhile will hold her Ray of Searing Light until the lieutenant gives his order, then she will hit him with it, for 19 damage.
Round 3, the merfolk lieutenants and oracle will shoot at the sahuagin lieutenant, meanwhile all the sahuagin will shoot at the merfolk oracle, and all the merfolk warriors will shoot at random sahuagin warriors. The oracle creates a trident spiritual weapon to attack the sahuagin leader. Spiritual trident misses during attack of opportunity due to the lieutenants ranged attack.
Round 4. The merfolk oracle will cast cure moderate wounds on herself, curing 21 points of damage and bringing her hit points up to 36 before the sahuagin begin to attack her. Spiritual trident misses and misses again during ranged attack. The merfolk lieutenants one missed but one hit with their arrows.
Round 5. The merfolk oracle will again cast cure moderate wounds on herself, Curing 13 points of damage and bringing her HP up to 39. Spiritual trident misses but hits during ranged attack for 6 damage. The merfolk lieutenants miss with their arrows though.
Round 6. Oracle uses a third dose of Cure Moderate on herself, healing fifteen damage and bringing her hit points to 40. The spiritual trident misses both times, as do the merfolk lieutenants.
Round 7. Not needing a cure spell the oracle will again cast Ray of Searing Light at the sahuagin lieutenant again dealing 14 damage. The merfolk lieutenants deal three and ten damage with their arrows too. Killing the sahuagin lieutenant.
Round 8. Casts Cure Moderate Wounds due to taking so much damage, regains 20 hit points for 34. The oracle states to the eight remaining sahuagin, “Your boss is dead. Two-thirds of you number are dead or dying. I give you this one chance to leave here with your lives.”

Now here is the thing. I am thinking of ending it there because after eight rounds of everyone just shooting each other with arrows it becomes a little tedious, no matter what point of view I use. There are only two bolts left if both sides started with full quivers anyways so I might continue on. That is a decision for another day. Right now there are eight sahuagin left, nine with the one playing dead, and eight merfolk.
Also so far I have three points of view to write from, the sahuagin playing dead, the sahuagin lieutenant who dies in Round 8 which was my original idea and why I stopped here, and the merfolk oracle. I can make a part 2 of Battle of the Patrols – in game terms if they decide not to flee for their lives.

Opinion on Merfolk of Golarion plus

Merfolk of Golarion. That is a book I would love to read. I mean they have elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, humans, and kobolds. Did they not learn with Bastards of Golarion that sometimes having too many races in one player companion makes for a not so good book. Not saying Bastards is a bad book, it is still one of my favorites, but they could have done more with it. With the next adventure path, Ruins of Azlant, has a lot of aquatic adventures, hopefully. I really hope that it can be run while playing aquatic races but it does not seem that way in the descriptions. In June, Paizo is putting out the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures. In July, Paizo is putting out the Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Sea. Now the campaign settings are usually bigger books and they can fit a lot in them so I am looking forward to see what they put in that for the merfolk settlements. This sounds like too much to me considering the size of those books “ Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Sea explores the mystical paths and strange abilities of seaborn adventurers—and those who hunt them. Discover the secrets of aquatic elves, gillmen, merfolk, tritons and more. New magic items aid aquatic characters in adventuring on land and take land-dwelling characters into the mysterious deep, while new spells grant mastery over the waters. A host of other new archetypes, feats, and more allow characters of all types to infuse themselves with the power of the sea. “ I mean what a two page spread each for aquatic elves, gillmen, merfolk, tritons, and others, plus a two page spread for new magic items and/or spells. A two page spread for “those who hunt them” which are most likely the non-aquatic races. That right there is the entire book. The new archetypes and feats will have to be woven into those main categories.  I want a book just on merfolk!

With the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures there are things I really hope they include. According to one developer “ it's just a 64-pager. Half of the book is a gazetteer of Golarion's oceans and seas, and the other half gets into the rules for underwater combat and provides some fun new options.”  Since there will be no fire underwater, and humans are a fire based species as much as an air based one, the differences between how things work needs to be addressed. How are weapons forged? How are potions and alchemical items in flasks bottled without sea water contaminating the mixtures? How does a wizard, magus, or alchemist keep a spellbook or formula book, the ink would run, the paper would get wet and break down?

Off Topic idea, in the discussion for the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures they discuss the lakes, especially Lake Encarthan. Lake Encarthan is another thing that could easily have a book all on its own. I mean it is a huge, freshwater body of water, lake means freshwater sea means saltwater, with seven nations along its banks, Druma, Kyonin, Lastwall, Molthune, Nirmathas, Razmiran, and Ustalav. People of the North combined three different kingdoms, Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Realm of the Mammoth Lords, and Irrisen. Granted some of the nations around Lake Encarthan have been discussed before, Kyonin was discussed in Elves of Golarion as that is their homeland and Bastards of Golarion for half-elves, but that in no way means a medium-sized book focused on Lake Encarthan  would not be an interesting idea. Perhaps a full adventure path that goes to each of the countries, somehow fitting two into one book.  Wait, now I am giving away my RPG Superstar ideas.

Back to the merfolk. Merfolk are very xenophobic but yet are on friendly terms with aboleth. They keep animal companions too and thus by extension familiars. In fact two of the three favored classes for merfolk in the advanced race guide are druid and rangers, both of which have animal companions. It makes sense for them to have familiars too as opposed to spellbooks, thinking along the lines of the unlettered arcanist. I just do not see how the merfolk can be friendly with aboleth. Aboleth are aberrations, evil alright lawful evil, and have tried to destroy the world of Golarion once already, see Earthfall. The only thing I can think of is the fact that Aboleth have created some aquatic races, including skum and ceratioidi, which means they may have made merfolk too or at least some Aboleth cults are stating that. Aboleth in their own language translates to “Owner”, “Master”, or even “God” so it is easy to see how the Aboleth see themselves. Yet merfolk will willingly serve Aboleth. I cannot wrap my head around it and I hope that in one of the upcoming nine books, seven for the adventure path plus the other two mentioned previously in this post, somehow this relationship is explained.

Onto happy thoughts, bright colors. The reason I love the gnomes with Pathfinder is they are offshoots of the fey and they have bright colored hair, like troll dolls, and their skin can have colored hues as well. Same with the merfolk, their hair and scales can come in a wide variety of colors and hues, to summarize the Advanced Race Guide. Their upper body, torso, head, and arms, is humanoid, generally described as human or elven in build, while their lower body is that of a large, long fish. I love choosing bright colors for character creation. I use the manga hair color meanings for hair, or I roll 1d10 if I am in a random mood, and I use an aura color chart, randomly rolling 2d20, for eyes and gnome skin tone. I can do the same thing with the merfolk but I like to roll 1d4 first because I like multicolored tails. Snakes do not have one color for their scales nor do most fish. Sometimes the colors are very similar. Sometimes they are not. Yes, I realize that I can get a one on a 1d4 and thus have  single colored tail too. I just like the options of having bright colors in the fantasy setting. I also know that “Despite the potential variety in the race's appearance, merfolk in shared habitats tend to boast similar pigmentation” unlike gnomes. The most I have done so far for a grouping of merfolk has been a caravan so this has yet to really become an issue.

Speaking now on the caravan, it is interesting how the bestiary entry for merfolk has a maximum of 71 with:
company (2–4),
patrol (3–10 plus 2 lieutenants of 3rd level and 1 leader of 3rd–6th level),
or shoal (11–60 plus 1 sergeant of 3rd level per 20 adults, 5 lieutenants of 5th level, 3 captains of 7th level, and 8–12 dolphins)
Meanwhile the sahuagin, with which the merfolk share Outsea which is in itself a great settlement, have bands and tribes of higher numbers, but a patrol of a maximum twenty-one. Eleven to twenty plus a lieutenant for a patrol of sahuagin.
band (20–80 plus 100% noncombatants, 1 lieutenant of 3rd level and 1 chieftain of 4th level per 20 adults, and 1–2 sharks), or
tribe (70–160 plus 100% noncombatants, 1 lieutenant of 3rd level per 20 adults, 1 chieftain of 4th level per 40 adults, 9 guards of 4th level, 1–4 under-priestesses of 3rd–6th level, 1 priestess of 7th level, 1 baron of 6th–8th level, and 5–8 sharks)
Making me wonder why the low numbers for merfolk? Merfolk do have settlements beyond Outsea, Stormshoal, Jehyseel, and Chosovosei at least. Chosovosei is supposed to be a small city, in game terms that means a population of five to ten thousand.

The comparison of patrols is most interesting to me. Eleven to twenty plus a lieutenant for a patrol of sahuagin compared to three to ten plus two lieutenants of 3rd level and a leader of 3rd–6th level totaling six to thirteen for merfolk. So for the sahuagin lets roll 1d10+10 and for the merfolk 1d8+2 and let the patrols battle it out…

Friday, 21 April 2017

Ioun Dwarf and the brothers

The Drunken Magic Stone is not only my home but also my livelihood. I had started out as a brewers apprentice and tavern wench. When I was drawn into a life of adventure by the patroness and Wyrdy, my ioun wyrd it had been my dream to someday have my own tavern. Now I have retired from the life of adventure.
Walking up to the three story stone structure I felt a surge of pride. I had built it myself. A tavern, inn, and the third floor my private sanctum. I have a massive garden on the roof, to keep it safe from pillagers and pests. Then the third floor I have a bedroom, bath, Reliquary, and my workshops, my alchemy lab, my brewery area, and our gemcutting and stoneworking workshop. The second floor is simply lodgings and a lavatory. On the first floor is the typical tavern common room and bar, with my small office along the north-west corner and a storefront for my stones along the northern wall. The office leads down to the kitchen and storage areas I dug out below the Drunken Magic Stone. Three storage areas and two vaults.
I had left Wyrdy in charge while I had gone to fetch the water. We had nobody staying on the second floor right now. The chance of adventurers stopping in had not been too high, especially since I would have only been gone less than half an hour. Even with the battle with the giant I had not been gone any longer than planned. Yet there were four houses tied up to the hitching posts outside the front of the Drunken Magic Stone. I sent a feeling of concern to Wyrdy. It sent back a feeling of calm and business.
I walked in through the door like I owned the place, which I did. “How may I help you?” I offered taking quick stock of the room. There were three men in the room. Two human men sitting at the bar. An elf was standing by my storefront.  The fourth horse had not been saddled as a pack horse so the fourth rider must be in the lavatory.
“Your familiar, with the help of unseen servants, has been taking rather good care of us.” The elf said.
“Excellent care.” The blond man at the bar agreed taking a swig of his mug. He put the empty mug on the bar and an unseen servant picked it up and refilled it from the barrel. Then the unseen servant set the refilled mug back on the bar in front of the man.
“Wyrdy, you have been keeping a tab correct?” I said aloud to my ioun wyrd familiar. It bobbed up and down in the air as if a humanoid nodding.
The door to the lavatory opened and a half-elf came out. “I told you the drinks would not be free brothers.” He said laughing.
“But elven said not to worry about it.” The redhead said taking a gulp from his mug.
“You are a purveyor of stones?” The elf asked me.
“I am.” I confirmed as an couple of unseen servants lifted the waterskins and the large greatclub from my hands and took them behind the bar.
“And a spellcaster as well?”
“I am.”
“We recently had an altercation with a necromancer and from said altercation acquired a few magic items and a lot of onyx stones.” The elf said, pulling a very full belt pouch off his belt.
“You would like me to apprise the stones and tell you what the magic items are?”
The elf grimaced. ‘If possible I would like to sell you the onyxes since I really do not want stones touched by necromancy. Possibly the magic items too once you determine their properties.”
“I will take the stones. I will appraise them. Then we can discuss trading their apprised value for my services, my alcohol, and possibly rooms if you would like them. I do have some coin too don’t fret.” I said walking up to him and the counter of the storefront.
“What about the magic items?”
“One thing at a time. First I have to identify them. Then appraise them if you want.  Then we can discuss trading for them if you decide you do not want them. I do not have a lot of coin, perhaps enough to buy one magic item.”
“Alright. Give up your bags brothers.” The elf said turning to the other three sitting at the bar. They reached to their belts and pulled off a bulging pouch.
The half-elf also took off a tube for scrolls and taking the humans pouches walked them over and put them on the counter next to the elf. “You had better be sure about this.” He muttered to the elf before turning his back on me and going back to the bar.
“We can start with the stones as planned.” I said confidently.
“Why not start with the magic items?” The half-elf said scornfully.
I looked at the elf and said “Whichever you all prefer.”
“The magic items.” The elf agreed with his brother.
“I charge 100 gold pieces per identification. I will gladly take that out of the onyx gems with your agreement.”
“One hundred gold.” The half-elf said putting his hand on the hilt of his sword.
“A typical fee.” The elf agreed smiling. He pulled two wands out of the quiver on his back. “Let’s start with these. Then the four scrolls. Then there is also a potion and a ring.”
The half-elf added, “and a glass bottle with a cork that I am not sure if it is even magic.”
“I keep telling you it is.” The elf snapped at him.
I pulled down a bottle of wine and plucked an owl feather from the basket hanging from the ceiling above the storefront bar. “Just put all magic items on the counter and then I can cast identify.”
The elf took the magic items, one from each belt pouch, as the half-elf demanded “If you are only casting one spell why do we have to pay you for each item?”
“Nine hundred gold pieces worth of identification of magic items is fine so long as she is willing to take those black stones in trade.” The elf hissed at his half-brother.
Without waiting I cast Identify. We could argue about money later. I began, as asked, with the wands. “This redwood wand is vampiric touch. This oak wand is mage armor, a typical spellcaster spell.” I said . The elf put the oak wand back in his quiver and pushed the redwood wand to the side. “I doubt I will have enough to buy the vampiric touch wand, in a settlement you can get ten thousand gold possibly.”
“Alright.” The elf said, returning that wand to his quiver too. Then he handed me the scrollcase.
It was made of hollowed out bone femur with a screw top of the ball joint. I unscrewed it and pulled out the four scrolls. All were obviously written in blood but on vellum as opposed to other, sinister materials. “This first on is an arcane scroll of Make Whole. This is arcane eye, a divination arcane spell.  This is phantasmal killer and the last is gentle repose.” I said looking at the scrolls and handing them back to the elf.
“The bottle is indeed magic.” I said smiling at the half-elf. “It is a bottle of air. The potion is another gentle repose. The ring is a ring of protection, first level.”
“I am keeping my bottle of air.” The half-elf said snatching it back.
“I will be keeping my ring.” The redhead said, acquiring another mug of my ale.
“I don’t see the point of the potion if it isn’t healing.” The other human said offhandedly.
“It has its purpose.” The elf said picking it up and handing it to the half-elf who nodded solemnly. I understood the look. They had lost siblings while adventuring before. Gentle repose would allow them to bring the body home intact. “We do not have any use for the scrolls. We have no arcane spellcaster.”
“Any of you can learn to cast arcane spells at a university.” I suggested looking at the half-elf.
“The humans are too far along in their lifetimes.” The elf said dismissively.
“I need to stay with them to keep the peace.” The half-elf said seeing my look.
The elf glanced at the half-elf then sighed. “Let’s move on to the onyxes.” He said, picking eight or nine stones out of each bulging belt pouch.
I picked them up as he set them on the counter and though a gem loop in my left eye priced them aloud. “Forty, forty, fifty-five, fifty-five, fifty, fifty-five, sixty, sixty-five, sixty, fifty, forty-five, sixty, sixty, fifty-five, fifty-five, fifty, forty, fifty, fifty-five, forty-five, sixty, thirty-five, fifty, sixty, forty-five, thirty-five, sixty, forty-five, fifty, forty-five, forty-five, forty, forty, And forty-five totaling seventeen hundred gold pieces.”
“Time to discuss money.” The elf stated. “Nine hundred for the determination of the magic items.”
“Half a silver piece per mug totals 3 gold pieces for your tab so far.” I added.
“Agreed.” The elf said. “That means seven hundred ninety-seven still owed to acquire the remaining gemstones.”
“I gave you’re the prices I would be selling the gemstones for not what I was willing to pay to acquire them.” I corrected the elf.
The half-elf laughed as the elf scowled. “Meaning?”
“I buy gemstones at three-quarters their appraised value. Meaning I will take them in trade at twelve hundred seventy-five. Minus the nine hundred three means I owe you three hundred seventy-two gold pieces.” The scowl on the face of the elf deepened as the humans stood and turned toward us. “How about we split the difference and I throw in two potions of cure moderate wounds?”
The elf smiled. “Agreed.” He said holding out his hand. I shook it. Then I walked over to the bar and pulled out two potion vials with red-orange liquid. The elf walked over and accepted them.
While the elf had his back was turned the half-elf rolled up the scrolls and put them back into the femur scroll case. “Time to go then?” The half-elf asked hopefully.
“Yes, the day is young.” The elf agreed.
“Excellent brew.” The redhead said as the blond chugged the liquid remaining in his mug. They left without further comment. I walked back to and behind the storefront bar. I pulled out two baskets of onyxes. Those worth fifty gold pieces or more went into one basket, those less into the other.  

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Ioun Dwarf vs Crag Giant

Crag giants …”When labor is in short supply and high demand, crag giant hunting parties venture forth, raiding nearby civilized lands and capturing whatever humanoids they can.” They are the perfect CR 11 adversary for my new level 12 dwarf mountain witch with an ioun wyrd familiar. The stories will be written in first person, so that I do not have to figure out the name any time soon, names are the hardest thing for me to figure out for characters.
Why the mountain witch? Because it focuses on stones. It grants new hexes based upon the shaman stone spirit. The first hex would be cauldron, as she will be a brewmaster and possibly have a small tavern that also sells magic items. The second level hex is taken by the archetype. Then it is perfect with the 4th, 6th, 8th, 10,th, and 12th hexes being taken by crystal sight, lodestone, metal curse, stone stability, and ward of stone, not necessarily in that order. Preferring to be paid in gemstones she ends up selling magical stones and gemstones too after a while. Thus she has a tavern that sells alcohol, magic potions, some liquid alchemical items, gemstones, and magical gems and stones. Something that would belong in a very small settlement or as a waypoint.
She started out life as a brewer and then when she got her ioun wyrd familiar she became all about stones. I still need to choose her patron too. For now though, a battle to prove her prowess.
I had been collecting water from the stream when he came lumbering out of the strand of trees. Thirteen feet tall with mud brown skin and long, shaggy black hair. He pointed his greatclub at me and said in the language of the giants “You will come with me to be a slave of the crags.” 
“I don’t think so.” I said back in the same language, switching out the full waterskin in my hands for an empty one beside me. I dipped it into the water to fill it while mentally going over the spells I had prepared this morning with Wyrdy.
“You will come willingly or I will incapacitate you and bring you with me unwillingly.”
“Are you saying you might be unwilling to incapacitate me?” I asked trying to confuse him with circular logic.
“You are coming with me one way or another. Your knowledge of our language makes you a better slave than one without it. Your waterskins will be coming with us as well.” He added as I switched out the now full waterskin for my last empty one.
“I have too much work to do today. Just go find some young adventurer and take them instead.” I said taking the fifth full waterskin from the stream. Picking up the other four I stood and warned him “I would not want to have to kill you.” I said thinking of my slay living spell.
He laughed. Then stepped forward and swung his greatclub at my head. He made contact but I never go out without a ward of stone. He rang my bell a bit but not enough to cause me to forget the spell. I stepped forward and let the necromantic energy loose into the giant. Giants have a great fortitude but hopefully the giant would have enough reason to back off.
He stepped back then swung the greatclub at my head again. I ducked and he howled in pain from an overextension. Apparently I needed to inflict more pain. I touched him again, sending more necromantic into him, inflicting critical wounds.
He growled and switched his club to his other hand. He swung at my head again. It hurt. A lot. I had been planning on using vampiric touch to work on a martyr’s tear but now I needed a quick healing. I felt the boost like putting a compress of cold peppermint leaves on the two places the greatclub had struck.
The third hit, on my shoulder, dislocated it. I used vampiric touch again shouting “I can last longer than you.”
“Your necromancy will not save you.” He argued, swinging his club again. I ducked and inflicted wounds on him one last time.
He stumbled and I gave him one last chance. I popped my shoulder back into place and glared at him. “Are we done?”
Apparently not as he swung the greatglub at me again. I ducked and lessened my infliction to serious wounds. It was enough to knock the giant over, unconscious nearly dead.
I kicked the greatclub over towards my waterskins, it would make a nice addition to the weapon trophies on my wall. I took the giants waterskin, four times bigger than the ones I usually carried and still half full, mine now. I looked into the pouch around the giants neck and came out with a fortune. The eight platinum pieces would have made a normal adventurer or businessman but I loved the thirteen gemstones. One by one I transferred the gems into my own pouch, a sardonyx, citrine, peridot, a black tourmaline, a black pearl, a small diamond, another small diamond, a small ruby, a second small ruby, an emerald, a third small ruby, a second emerald, and a star sapphire. I picked up the greatclub, my waterskins, and headed back to The Drunken Magic Stone, my tavern magic shop. I still had spells left to make potions and one use of vampiric touch to work on the tear too. It wasn’t too bad of a fight and the bounty was more than worth the pain. I valued my Drunken Magic Stone too much to go out adventuring again but the gems…

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

My Evil Idea part 2

There are the living. There are the dead.
Then there are those that are in between. The spirits, ghosts, or other dead without a body that remain to torment the living. Those that have bodies but no pulse, no need to breathe, but still they move as if alive. Those that were living, became dead, then returned to prey upon the living. They are referred to as the undead. The undead come in many forms, corporeal and incorporeal, the mindless, the predators, and the consummate undead.
Undead are formed in a variety of ways. Undead occur naturally when the living die with unfinished business. Magic can also bring the dead back to some semblance of life. Magic usually makes mindless undead servants. Some living use magic to become undead themselves, in a parody of eternal life. These consummate undead can in turn produce partial undead through reproduction with the living. That is how I came to be.
Character so far:
Dhampir spirit binder wizard
Necromancy undead school specialization
Divination and Abjuration as prohibited schools
At least level 3 for the Improved Familiar of a Beheded
The beheaded being the Evil Protagonists elven elder brother
Mother must then also be an elf
Mother deceased since most mothers die in childbirth of the partial undead.
Since the Evil Antagonist is a half-vampire the father will have to be a vampire
If she is going for consummate undead herself she will be going lich, my favorite
Her idea with necromancy is the reclaimation of lost life
Female beacuse it is my gender... Might change it to male!
Antagonist Ideas
Cult of Droskar, Paizo evil dwarf god?
Cilt of an evil deity of death and decay but not undead, anti-undead if possible
Cult of deity of destruction
I keep thinking cults because the Evil Protagonist can create her own army

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Ponyfinder Part 1

I got a new Pony figurine while shopping Saturday. I plan on playing Ponyfinder with my niece soon. Her birthday party was Saturday. Mostly I was shopping for her and I did get her a series 4 mystery box for herself. I opened mine and got the Mane-iac Mayhem figurine.

Mane-iac Mayhem makes me think of a witch from Pathfinder with the prehensile hair hex. I can use her to make a first level witch pony. Green hair means an antagonist that switches to the side of good in manga.

The figurines eyes have irises of red surrounded by green. My Little Pony is all about finding the good inside ponies aka people. So looking at auras, because that is how I figure out the meaning of eye colors for all my characters with their bad aspects for a villain I get:

Red: Rules the emotional body. In a good, bright and pure state, red energy can serve as a healthy ego. The lesson of Red is to take full responsibility for everything that happens in our lives. Our struggle with attachments on the physical plane, materialistic, money worries or obsessions. The densest color, it creates the most friction, easily excited, unforgiveness, feeling overwhelmed by change, anxiety or nervousness, fear, intense emotion, anger, frustration. On the verge of confrontation. Used to create horrific suffering with power, the urge to win, to have success, intensity of experience, struggle, competition, force of will, determination, sense of importance, or merely increases physical energy.

Green:  Green is social and a doer. When seen in the aura this usually represents growth and balance, and most of all, something that leads to change. Intelligent, direct, quick thinker. Here is the energy that sparks our imagination and creativity. Deeply focused and adaptable. Healing, a natural healer, the healer and the nurturer of life. All natural healers should have it. People with a green strong point in their Auras are natural healers. The stronger the green Aura, the better the healer. Green represents Jealousy and envy, frustration, losses, Fear or the need for security.

Once Mane-iac Mayhem comes to the side of the player characters she will be a healer, which since witches have access to healing spells this does fit very well. But first they need to get passed her jealousy and anger towards the party over a loss she thinks they caused. See how looking at the bad meaning of auras can provide the perfect starting plot points?

Now if Mane-iac Mayhem is going to be changing sides she cannot be the Big Damn Evil, Mastermind, Boss, or whatever you want to call the head villain. I prefer Big Damn Evil or BDE for dealing with the children. Like Tolkien with Saruman, I don’t need to know who the BDE is at the beginning I just need to know they exist.

I still have a lot of time to plan but there is time. I still have to set up a when for the campaign after all.

Monday, 10 April 2017

My Evil Idea

I was always interested in the idea of the evil that is helpful. Like Riddick, Sinister Squad, and Suicide Squad. They are still evil. They do not become good at the end. Evil in and evil out. It is like the line from the beginning of the Chronicles of Riddick “In normal times evil would be fought by good, but in times like these, well, it should be fought by another kind of evil.”

That is the thing to remember. These are not bad guys versus the good guys from the bad guys point of view like Wicked. The protagonists are evil. The antagonists are evil.

Usually it is just because someone more powerful, sinister, or cold-hearted finds something to use against the evil person or people and leverages it. In Riddick, the air elemental leveraged Riddicks freedom to get him to help her defeat the Lord Marshall of the Necromongers.

In Sinister Squad, Alice put explosive wrist bands onto Rumpelstiltskin and the Queen of Hearts to make them do what she wants. Then Alice used the Queen of Hearts ability to mind control any man, except Rumpelstiltskin, to control the other male prisoners. Alice is not the most sane individual in the movie either. Love plays a great role in why some of the evil ones do what they do.

Love plays a role in Suicide Squad as well. From the Colonel Rick Flag being in love with the Doctor Moon to Harley Quinn and Jokers relationship. Let us not forget  Chato Santana and his lost love of his wife and children that caused him to stifle his powers. What touched me the most was the love Deadshot has for his daughter.

Not to say that the boss lady, Amanda Waller, didn’t use other means to control the members of the Suicide Squad.  Amanda used the carrot and the stick method. The stick being explosives that she had injected into their necks. The carrots being rewards that the prisoners desired, like more time with his daughter for Deadshot, cable television for Mr. Jones, and an expresso machine for Harley Quinn.

So that makes me look at the list of the characters I would need to get a story or series like this going:
oEvil Protagonist or team
Ranged attacker
Femme fatal
Hand-to-hand combatant
Reluctant member
oEvil Antagonist, the typical villain
oThe carrot/stick lady
oCarrot/stick ladies enforcer?

It seems like a major plot point to get the Evil Protagonist interested is to have their freedom taken away and then have that, at least in part, be the carrot. It was done with a bounty in Chronicles of Riddick and jail sentences in the Squad’s.

Another plot point is the Antagonist trying to get the Protagonist onto their side. After all, both are evil and evil knows what evil wants. In Sinister Squad it seemed to work in the Antagonists favor. In Suicide Squad it was fake, unobtainable mind control, which is why it failed. Usually it occurs at the end of the second act or sometime in the third before the point of hopelessness.

My primary idea is a necromancer. Necromancers are easily seen as evil. Perhaps she was born a half- or partial undead? It would make her reviled from birth. Like Mr. Jones in Suicide Squad humans did not accept her, they treated her like a monster and so she became one. She just prefers the company of the dead and undead to that of the living. She could create her own army if she needs one and does not need a squad. Which brings up the question, if the protagonist has death, undeath, creation, and an army what can the antagonist have to counter that?

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


I was still spooked with the incident with the kitten when I got back to the apartment. No cemeteries for a few days. You would think since I can hear and communicate with the dead that cemeteries would not bother me. They do. Sometimes it just feels like there is something there, watching me, but when I call out nothing responds. That is an eerie feeling that if you have never experienced it yourself I cannot explain and if you have no explanation is necessary.

I put the mini backpack on the dresser. I emptied my pockets too onto the dresser. Took out the Arc and the Surface and placed them on the desk. I booted up the surface then went back to the dresser. I took out the crackers and returned them into the box in the cabinet. I opened the dishwasher, less than half-full.

I closed it and went to the washing machine. It was nearly full. I stripped out of my clothing and tossed them in. Then I put in a capful of Thieves household cleaner and started the washing machine.

I stoppered the right hand sink and turned on the hot water faucet. The washing machine ran on a cold cycle so I had full pressure. I dropped two capfuls of Thieves household cleaner and a few drops of lemon essential oil into the sink. I reached under sinks and pulled out a gallon of white vinegar. I splashed a quarter of the bottle into the sink too. Then I put the white vinegar back under the sink. I hurried over to the Surface and started up Pandora, AC/DC for cleaning.

I went across the apartment to umbrella stand that I used to hold an umbrella, a broom with dustpan, and the mop. I grabbed out the broom first. I walked back and turned off the hot water. Then I swept the dark hardwood floors. Then I took a large bowl and filled it with the solution before I mopped the dark hardwood floors with the cleaning solution from the sink. I left the mop in the sink, head down, and pulled the stopper. Then I used an old fleece rag and with the solution in the bowl cleaned the countertops, range, sinks, inside the microwave, and every other surface including the toilet. I dumped the bowls contents into the toilet and flushed it, to wash the inside of the toilet bowl. Then the bowl I had used for the cleaning solution went into the dishwasher. The rag went into the sink with the mop, to go into the washing machine once it was empty.

I took the clothesline from the floor by the toilet and stretched it across the apartment to the hook above the bathtub. The clothesline was permanently attached to the hook on the wall by the toilet, no reason to take it off that hook and nowhere to really store it above the tub. On the floor by the toilet, it was never in the way. The washing machine buzzed. I could almost time the entire process perfectly.

I took the folding drying rack out from under the table and set it up. Then I unloaded the washing machine and hung up my clothes to dry.


Walking to the bus stop, I saw a kitten trying to cross the street. People say cats can see spirits. I am pretty sure it is true. I don’t spend enough time around cats to know for sure. I don’t like cats. Especially white cats. Like Doctor Evils cat in the Austin Powers movie. Not that the cat was any better bald. Both are just wrong.

This was a small, striped kitten standing on the yellow lines in the middle of the road as traffic kept passing by on either side. I don’t like cats but it is still a living creature. There was a break in traffic so I rushed across the lanes, scooping up the kitten as I crossed the center of the road.

The kitten sank its tiny, sharp claws into my hand. That is the thanks I get for possibly saving its life. Any questions as to why I don’t like cats. I put my injured hand on the ground and let the kitten go. The kitten stepped out of my hand and then turned back to my hand. It stepped on my hand with a sheathed paw and went to lick at one of the wounds it had made. I jerked my hand away. No way was I allowing the kitten to taste my blood. Creatures could control you that way. Just because the thing looked like a kitten does not mean it was one.

The kitten looked up at me and gave a soft meow. “Yes. Pitiful. Now go try that trick on someone else.” I scoffed. I turned and continued to the bus stop. A change in plans on the destination. I needed more protection, just in case, after all the thing did draw blood.

I had two ideas where to go to get the Schrol to balance and protect myself from negative energies. Both were in downtown Troy, just a simple bus ride on the CDTA Route 85 to River Street and Front Street. The large bus stop with the where all the CDTA routs intersect. Alright not all but it is the main intersection point for my use. Both shops are just a walk down River Street, across the street from each other.

I do not want to see ghosts so an orb would be counterproductive. Just a simple, rough-cut black tourmaline to carry as a psychic shield. It shouldn’t be too expensive.

I started out at River Rocks. It was a nice shop, well lit, with one employee. There was a long folding table with beads for jewelry making. She had more beads made from gemstones in bowls on a class counter. I found a bowl of small black tourmaline beads for seven an a half dollars each. Expensive. She also had chrome tourmaline crystals. I will need to look those up when I get home.

“I have larger pieces in the cabinet behind you.” She suggested.

I looked. On the top shelf were two crystal chunks of Schrol, labeled as such. Black tourmaline and white crystals too. The large one was priced at sixty-eight dollars. The smaller at forty could fit in my fist. “Interesting and I might be back. They are not exactly what I am looking for.” I said honestly.

I left the store and walked across the brick cobblestone crosswalk to Hippies, Witches, and Gypsies. The store was smaller and darker but stronger in the metaphysical sense. There were two customers, one looking at books and another looking at jewelry. The woman behind the counter greeted me warmly “Welcome. Is there anything we can help you with?”

“I am looking for black tourmaline.”

“Well we have some in our loose stones. I think Olivia made a pendant of one or two. Of course, there Is the bowl here on the counter with raw black tourmaline.” She continued as I walked straight to the counter. “Did you know that 2017 is the year of black tourmaline? There are shaped black tourmaline in the glass case behind you too.”

I looked at the bowl on the counter. One of the stones sang to me. I circled my hand above the bowl. Trying to figure out which stone it was. I waved it side to side still unable to tell which stone it was. Still unable to tell which one it was I decided to just blindly pick it out. I closed my eyes and reached into the bowl. I found the right one, hidden below the others, and extracted it from the bowl. The price tag on the edge of the bowl said three dollars and ninety-five cents. I smiled at the woman behind the counter. “This is perfect.”

She smiled back. “That will be four dollars and twenty-seven cents.”

I put my mini backpack on the counter, took out my arc, and pulled out a five dollar bill. She put the stone in a small, brown paper bag and handed it to me with my change. I put the arc back into the mini backpack, the change and stone in the bag in my right pocket with the house key.

“Thank you and have a great day.” She said with a smile.

“You have a blessed day too.” I replied smiling.

I walked out and back towards the bus stop to go back home. I nearly stepped on the same kitten. “Unless you want me to kill you and sell your body to a Chinese food place you will leave me alone.” The kitten yowled at me. “Go find some sucker to twist.” I said walking away. I stopped at Market Block Books, looking in the window. I saw the kitten still following me. I looked at its reflection in the store window. Nothing, no kitten, no entity, just empty space. Unsure if that was better or worse I hurried to the bus stop. I made it just in time to catch the Route 85 bus.


I had never thought about it before. I mean, they inhabit me for a while to write their good-bye letters but I have never had any spirit do something like what happened this afternoon.

I was in downtown Troy. I was just wandering, shopping, trying to find a spirit to help. I was in a helpful mood. I wasn’t paying attention to the living, or apparently not enough attention.

The guy grabbed me from behind and forced me into a short, tight alleyway. I was frightened. Then I felt the familiar feeling of a spirit entering me. My eyes clouded over then they cleared some. It happens when the spirit possessing me wants me to help with or experience their actions.

I had never taken any self-defense classes. I spent most of my time at home or in Waterford where I was comfortable. I never saw the reason to spend the money. Now I realized my mistake.

The spirit that inhabited me had some sort of training. It didn’t even hesitate. It slammed my head back into the face of the guy holding me. Jammed my right elbow into his stomach. Then we turned counter clockwise and kicked the black man right between his legs. He fell. I ran.

I got winded easily. I was not in the best shape but I do walk everywhere so I have some endurance. It is hard to run with a spirit inhabiting your body trying to force it the other way. I stopped. With an effort similar to forcing out bowel blockage I forced the spirit out of my body.

“I saved you.” She complained.

“I am grateful.” I responded truthfully.

“We can go back and kill that rat bastard who killed me.” She demanded.

“When did you die?” I hadn’t read of any female deaths recently in the library newspapers.

“Nineteen ninety-three.”

“That was twenty-four years ago.” I explained softly. Sometimes spirits lose track of time.

“It wasn’t him then.” She said sounding confused.

“No it wasn’t him.” I agreed. “What is your name?”

“Why does it matter?” She asked forlornly.

“I need to know what to call you. Even if you are ready to move on I need to know the name of the woman who saved me, who made me rethink the cost of self-defense classes.”

She laughed. “I don’t know if I have anything to move on to.”

“Spirits stay for unfinished business. I am guessing yours is revenge.”

“I don’t know. Twenty-four years he might be dead by now or at least an old man.” She paused then added curiously “I have never entered a person before.”

“I have an affinity with the noncorporeal.” I said trying to sound technical.

“What like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost?”

I laughed. “That is the best comparison I have heard.”

“So you milk people out of money by pretending to contact their departed loved ones?”

“No.” I exclaimed. “It is the best comparison for my abilities. I make my living writing.”


“I tell the stories of those spirits who want their stories told.” I said.

“How do you make money with that?”

“I write a lot of novels, sometimes articles or short stories. I publish them all under the name of the spirit that tells me the story. They are not my stories but theirs. I just facilitate the telling and collect a sort of finder’s fee.” I tried to explain. Sometimes explaining my profession to spirits made me feel guilty. Sometimes the spirits thought I was taking advantage of the situation.

“That is a much better way to earn a living with such an ability.” She sounded relieved.

“Thank you.”

“You can call me Jane. My full name is Janet Marshall but I prefer Jane.”

“Thank you Jane. My name is Tiffany Sibyl Tien.”

“With a last name like Tien I would expect you to be oriental.”

“Most people would. Makes it easier when they come looking for a psychic to contact their loved ones. I can just say “nope, not me, I sublet” when they come to the door and they go away.”

“You don’t like the living?”

“I don’t like most people. I prefer to interact with them as little as possible, especially in person.” I paused thinking of the girl from the other day. “Sometimes it is true for spirits too but you and I seem to be getting along rather well.”

“I was not a people person in life.” She said and I could hear her smile. “I liked movies. Preferred them over television because it took too long for an ending and I hated the cliffhangers. I wanted the full story in one sitting.”

“I can find a way for you to watch movies at my place if you want to come home with me.” I offered.

“I don’t know…”

“I could tell your story.”

“I have no story.” Jane stated.

“Everyone has a story.” I said.

“No. I think I will just be moving on.” She said.

“You don’t have to go.” I pleaded. There was no response. “I didn’t mean to pressure you.” I stood there for a minute before finally admitting defeat. I had scared her away. Perhaps I had moved too fast. Perhaps, like me, she just didn’t trust people. I shook my head sadly and began walking to the nearest CDTA bus stop. I was going home.

I might Google Janet Marshall. I might just try and find a local self-defense class. I might just cook a good meal and watch Ghost again, saving the computer work for another day. I would see how I felt when I got back to my apartment.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Shoe Issue

There are very few times when I want a car. Between the bus, which takes me into downtown Troy, and the Library and Hannaford, I have everything I really need. If I cannot get it between those three, I can order it online and have it delivered straight to my door.

Except for sneakers. I was walking back from Hannaford after another grocery trip when it happened. With my right foot, the stitching on the insole came away from the rubber of the shoe. I did not notice until I got back to the apartment.

Sitting on the couch after putting the groceries away I looked at the offending shoe. I could always duct tape it. That would work for a while. 

Eventually though I would need to go through the hassle of shopping for shoes. I wear a size nine and a half wide. Not many stores carry them.

I need laces in case my feet swell up. It happen sometimes.

I need slip resistant shoes too. I wear them all year round. Even in the winter with ice.

I prefer they be made of leather. Leather will provide at least some water resistance.

Ordering them online is never an option. Even if they ship the correct size, I would have to walk around in them to try them out. Then I would not be able to ship them back if they did not fit right. If they cut into my heel or pinch my toes, I am stuck with them.

I could always drop them in the clothing donation boxes I guess.

I put down the shoe and picked up my Surface. I went to google and put in shoes. Clicked shopping. Clicked 9 and a half, wide, sneaker, black, genuine leather, and women’s. The first option was a Dr. Scholl S for $49.99. Clicking on it brought me to the Dr. Scholl’s website. An interesting option but my current pair were still fixable.

I got out the duct tape. It was black like the leather of the shoe. I put it on top of the dresser so that when I went to go out next time I would not forget to tape up my shoe.

Part 6

When I got home, I thought about what to write next. Uncle Sam appeared in my mind. Most people don’t know that Uncle Sam was a real person. Sam Wilson from Troy, NY. He is buried up on Oakwood Cemetery. I have not been to Oakwood before.

Sometimes I first contact the spirits that give me their stories in cemeteries. There are closer cemeteries to me in Waterford. The Waterford Rural Cemetery, St. Josephs Cemetery, Saint Marys Cemetery, Saint Peter and Paul Cemetery, and even Saint Michaels Cemetery which are all closer than Oakwood Cemetery.

A quick Wikipedia search told me “He was originally buried in Mt. Ida Cemetery, but later transferred to Oakwood Cemetery in Troy.” Great, so even if I go to Oakwood Cemetery Uncle Sam might be at Mt. Ida Cemetery instead. A quick google search for Mt. Ida Cemetery. Get the directions. Click the bus option and I can take the Route 85 straight there. So, Mt. Ida first then if I get nothing there I will move on to Oakwood. Moreover, Oakwood has a lot of walking just to get there. Hopefully, I find a spirit in Mt. Ida Cemetery that wants their story told.

I shut down the Surface. Put it and the Arc in my mini backpack. I opened the fridge to add a bottle of water and my stomach grumbled. I looked down and said to it “Fine. I will fill you first before I go.” I pulled out the crockpot and reheated some pot roast. I added a sleeve of crackers to the mini backpack in case I got hungry later too. I sat down on the yoga ball to eat and thought about the spirits that had, with their stories, helped me obtain financial freedom.

Sometimes spirits don’t know they can leave their place of death or internment. I have spoken to many spirits in graveyards that use their grave as their new personal workspace. I find it interesting how those who were the most creative in life seem to always have unfinished business in death.

That is what lingering spirits are. Not everyone who dies stays behind as a spirit. Think of how crowded it would be if they did. A very few who die choose to stay. Mostly it’s due to unfinished business. When their business is done, they go on to whatever is waiting for them next. I hope that Joan the Jumper will move on after taking a little time to haunt her baby daddy.

Some creative types just never have unfinished business. The poets and writers keep writing. The inventors keep inventing. The scientists and mathematicians, the real ones who can never take a break from their work, just never stop. By the time they finish one thing they have another idea they must explore before they can move on. To them that is Heaven.

I think that’s where the muses come from. Everyone has some sensitivity to spirits. Sometimes a creative spirit will latch on to a likeminded person and teach or influence them.

I looked around my studio apartment. I could get a bigger place. My checks from the books I put out nearly monthly would allow for that. Historical Fiction and Creative Nonfiction seemed to be nice genres. It all depended upon the publisher for which one my work ended up slotted. If the spirits asked, I would tell them the partial truth, historical or nonfiction. I used the spirits name as my nom de plume or if the spirit did not want that, I would say anonymous. They were never my stories so I never felt right putting my name on them.

Perhaps someday I will write my own stories. I looked on the dresser at the piles of books I had there. Books on writing, that said to write what you like to read. Books on the Vietnam War, I wanted to find a soldier or more than one preferably, to write about their experiences. The other piles consisted of research for my current projects in editing to confirm some of the spirits recollections for my publishers.

Publishers always want proof of the possibility of everything I write in my books. Luckily, in middle school I learned how to cheat for research papers. Step one, Wikipedia and other encyclopedias, back then there were still the printed variety in some libraries. Step two, summarize based upon the subject from those research locations. Step three, build a bibliography from books found in the library on the subject you are writing about. Wikipedia having the references at the bottom of every article made that easier. Step four, using the bibliography books, find portions in the report that can be footnoted to them, at least one to each book. Now I just take the stories the spirits tell me and do steps three and four for the publishers.

Right now, I was just waiting for publishers to get back to me about projects I had sent out. The spirits usually did not wait around for the revision phase thankfully. Ordering books on the subjects from the libraries beforehand made the job a little easier. Mostly I went to the Waterford Library and used the Mohawk Valley and Southern Adirondack Library System. If they did not have enough information about the subject for the publishers or myself then I went over the Lansingburgh Library and the Upper Hudson Library System, which included the city of Albany. Ordering the books ahead of time saved time when the publishers emailed me with their questions, which I thought made the research more believable.

Right now, I needed to find another spirit to start another project. I put my bowl and fork into the dishwasher, which I will have to run tomorrow. Tomorrow might be a housecleaning day if I cannot find a spirit at Mt. Ida Cemetery to write a story with. I hate housecleaning. I locked the door behind me, being thankful I didn’t have much of a house to clean. It was why I never moved into anything bigger.


Monday, 3 April 2017


Since I have the warning on day one and Terrible Minds has given an intriguing challenge this week I will start with number four since this is day four of NaBoBloMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. The challenge pick one of ten single word titles and write an approximately 1000 word flash fiction story based upon it.


“I saw you here the other day on the bridge talking to another ghost.” A female voice said as I stepped onto the Troy-Waterford Bridge.

“Who are you?” I asked the disembodied female voice.

“My name is Joan.”

“Where did you die?”

“Down there.” She said.

I couldn’t see her but I could guess where she was pointing. “You are the girl that jumped off the bridge about a month ago?” I asked just to make sure.

“Yes, can you help me with my unfinished business so that I can move on like that kid in that movie?”

“You committed suicide. You chose to take your own life and knew when you were going to do it?” I asked appalled. A spirit had never approached me from a suicide.

“You can see the dead. Will you help me cross over to the other side?”

“I am not a grim reaper or a portal.” I snarled.

“You can see me. You can help me.” She shouted.

“I can hear you. I can’t see you.” I said walking quicker across the bridge.

“Will you at least help me?” She sounded pathetic.

“No.” I snapped.

“Why not?” she demanded.

“Because you planned your death. You should have made sure all your business was complete before you jumped.” I answered over my shoulder as I stepped off the other side of the bridge by Hannaford.

“I am stuck here.” She wailed.

I did not want to tell her that she wasn’t. She would follow me around everwhere until I did help her if I told her that. I thought about what I knew and tried to figure out what to tell her on the way back, after major grocery shopping.

When you jump off a bridge, you die one of two ways, or a combination of both.

One, you hit the water and the impact kills you. Sometimes the jumper is knocked unconscious. Other times, the jumper survives for a time. The person can be seen flailing about in the water, trying to stay afloat, only to succumb to the extensive internal bleeding. Death can take seconds or minutes.

Two, you drown. You hit the water going fast, and your body plunges in deep. Conscious or otherwise, you breathe in water and asphyxiate. This is usually if you go in vertically, feet first.

Adding winter in New York to the mix gives a third option. Ice water. Good to drink in the summer. Deadly to jump into from a bridge. Temperatures can get cold enough for the Hudson River to freeze, not solidly but for at least a good foot of thickness at times, making it hard as solid ground. The Hudson also has a current. You will not come back up where you went under and if you go through the ice, instead of going splat against it, you will be trapped beneath it and drown. Even if the ice is not solid, the water can still cause Hypothermia.

On my way back, with the full folding cart, I crossed the bridge again. Three steps on it and she asked, “Why won’t you help me?”

“You chose this path. You are choosing to stay. All you have to do is let go and you can leave for your next plane of existence.” I said.

“I don’t want to go to hell.” She wailed.

“Listen drama queen.” I snapped at her. “You made the decision to take your own life. The guy from the other day had been murdered. He did not know it was coming. He had no way to prepare for his death. You should have set your affairs in order before ending your life. You keep bothering me and I will…”

“You have no power over me.” She sounded like one of the popular girls from ninth grade.

“You sure about that?” I asked stopping and turning to where her voice was coming from.

“I need your help.” She demanded.

“With what?”

“I don’t want to go to hell. Suicide is a sin.”

“You should have thought of that before you committed.”

“I just wanted to hurt him like he hurt me.”

“Hurt who?”

“My boyfriend. I got pregnant and he wanted me to have an abortion. I couldn’t kill my child.”

I interrupted her. “So you gave birth and then committed suicide?”  

“No I was seven months along when I found out he had gotten another girl pregnant. He dumped me after I told him I was pregnant and refused the abortion. She got an engagement ring.” She started sobbing.

“So since he chose another woman he impregnated to marry you killed yourself and your unborn child?”

“Once they got married he could take the child away from me. He could provide him with a father and a mother.”

“What is your unfinished business? What is keeping you here?”

“I don’t want to go to hell.” She sobbed.

“Even if you hadn’t committed suicide you would be sinning by being pregnant and unmarried.” I stated flatly.

“Children are a gift from God.” She snapped.

“And yet you took that gift and destroyed it. You destroyed yourself too. If the baby daddy didn’t care about you when you were alive I doubt he’s caring much now that you’re dead. Move on.” I said as I stepped off the bridge on the Waterford side. “Besides if you froze to death at least hell will be warm.”

“You bitch.” She screeched at me. I felt a breeze pass on my right. “Wait, I am not trapped on the bridge?”

“Nope. Go haunt that baby daddy.” I said with false encouragement.”

“I will.” She said.

I shook my head and kept walking. She didn’t say anything else.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Part 3

I opened my apartment door and walked inside.

“Are you going to invite me in?” Andre asked.

‘I could but if you are just a human spirit you can enter without my invitation. If you are not you cannot.” I said closing the door.

“Well that is rude.” Andre said from inside the apartment.

“Perhaps but it has been the best test I can come up with so far.” I said putting the bookbag in its normal spot on the dresser. I took out the two books from the top and placed them on the bottom of their respective piles. Then I took out the surface and the arc and put them on my desk. Then I took the bookbag into the kitchen and placed it on top of the wine chiller, next to the sink. I pulled the small garbage can from the cabinet beneath the further sink. The crockpot from beneath the closer.

I opened the cabinet above and put the box of crackers next to the peanut butter. I put the hummus, sweet tea, and block of cheese in the fridge on the other side of the kitchen area. I pulled a knife out of the butcher block next to the range on my way back.

“Will you please just write the letter to my Mother before you start cooking?”

“Let me get this done first.” I said unpacking the bookbag. “Trust me. I have done things like this before and you haven’t. It will take you a while to figure out what to write.” I plugged in the crockpot. “Multiple drafts.” I added opening the box of crockpot bags. “You have no idea how hard it is to figure out the perfect words.” I left the box on the counter and put the bag into the porcelain. I continued explaining to him as I got out and washed the potatoes. “By the time you are done I will be weak and need to eat and sleep. If I don’t make the food first I will not have anything to eat because I will be too weak to cook or even cut up the block of cheese I just bought.” I said placing the potatoes on the counter, on the produce bag, and began cutting up the potatoes. “After all this walking in the cold I want a warm meal.”

“It will take hours for that to be ready.” Andre stated the obvious.

“I know that. You will understand.” I said as I dumped the potatoes into the crockpot. I pulled the interior porcelain out and filled it from the sink just above the potatoes. I put it back in the heater portion and turned it on high.

“My Mother always used beef stock.”

“I find stocks too salty.” I replied opening the beef roast and dumping it over the water. Then I opened the vegis while I continued to explain. “The potatoes need the water to cook properly. Then the juices from the meat soak into the water and create its own sort of stock. More of a gravy I think. I am not a professional cook. The vegis just go on top, no exact amounts really, and then put the top on and get work done.” I rinsed the knife then put it in the dishwasher. I pulled three twist ties out of the cutlery drawer. I wrapped the leftover peas, onions, and carrots then put them in the fridge and small attached freezer.

I picked up the garbage can and the bookbag. I walked across the apartment and put the bookbag back in its place before walking to the desk. “Come tell me what type of notebook you would have.” I said opening the top drawer. I had spiral wide- and college-rules as well as legal and letter sized notepads in white, yellow, blue, and pink. There were smaller notebooks and pads too.

“Spiral notebook. Wide Ruled.” He answered.

“Alright, I said grabbing a black pen from the cup on my desk. I sat down on the couch, sat the garbage can on the floor by my left leg, and opened the notebook to a blank page. “Sit as if you were sitting on my lap.” I told Andre.

“What?” He asked appalled.

“The only way for it to look as if it came from your hand is for you to have written it. You can inhabit my body for this purpose. Use my ability to interact with the corporeal world and write your final note to your Mother. All you have to do is sit as if you were sitting on my lap. You will fall right into me. Then just write your note.” I felt the cold before I finished my instructions. I finished the last sentence as everything went cloudy.


I wasn’t sure how much time had passed when my vision came back into focus. The lights were on and it was full dark outside. On my desk were two neatly printed pages of a note and an envelope with two addresses written on it on top of the closed spiral notebook. The return address had the name Andre Martin. The mailing address had Antonia Martin. I wasn’t sure if while he was within me I had told Andre to make out the envelope and turn on the lights or if he had done so on his own accord. “Andre are you still here?” I asked as I stood. I picked up the garbage can, walked the half-full container across the room, and placed it back under the sink. I lifted the lid from the crockpot. The food was ready. At least three hours had passed. I got down a bowl, pulled out a fork and serving spoon from the drawer, a knife from the butcher block, and with shaking hands scooped out a bunch of vegis. I cut a chunk from the roast and turned off the crockpot. Then I grabbed the still hot porcelain, pulled it out, and ran it over to put it into the fridge. I pulled out the sweet tea and taking it, grabbed the bowl, and sat on the sofa to eat. Tomorrow I would clean up the rest and mail out the letter. I barely finished eating before I passed out sitting up.