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Tycho / 2 days ago

The Night Of A Thousand Hours: Escape

(It’s frankly a dangerous business in the DMing game to write as much as I did back then.  I don’t really do that anymore, which is a lie.  I lied right there.  I just like writing, and it’s hard to stop.  I would say the hardest part about writing the Lookouts book is that there are no breaks for players to interject.  I like to leave a lot of “room” and I’m trying to figure out how leaving room works when I have the tiller of the entire narrative.  Oh, by the way, the streets are full of these things too.  It can never be easy.)

As the creatures fall, hissing and warping, you see silhouettes in the night sky, creeping above the buildings.  You hear the stretch of bowstrings, just before an old cart careens out of a nearby alley.  Twisted arrows, gnarled like the roots of trees (HOW WOULD THAT FLY JERRY), thunk into its side and its driver shouts, “Come aboard, friends!  Unless you’re warming to changeling hospitality!”

Vaalgarten, Tinkerer of Immeral Wood, rides his horses as hard as he is willing to on such a wet night, in such a dark forest.  He is humming an old song, and smiling as he does so.  The song - and the smile - stop sharply at the first howl.

“Zabi, Pharoah!  HA!”

(Here’s what’s funny.  So, it was apparently super important for me to name this fucking dude’s horses.  But when it comes to a fairly complicated skill challenge involving ensorcelled wires strung at neck level, let’s take a look at what kinds of notes I leave myself.)

Metal Strings 4

(Thanks.  Anything else I should know?)

cart tree?

(Awesome, man.  Yeah.  Cart tree.  Sounds good.  The best part is the question mark, as if to say that it might be a cart, or a tree, or some amalgam thereof, but it’s not known.  Indeed, it may not be possible to know.)

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 3 days ago

The Night Of A Thousand Hours: The Mermaid Incident

I’m glad to see Galahad again.  I have a lot of sympathy for young people who don’t understand what you have to do in order to get kisses.  The only thing that ever worked for me, admittedly the sample size is not large, was not caring so Goddamned much.  People can…  smell it.  And they don’t like the smell.  I’m not saying you can’t care, obviously you do.  But you have to know at some level that not getting this particular kiss at this particular time won’t cause the universe to split in the middle and demons to come out.

The other trick was to already be in a relationship, for some reason.  Does wonders for the confidence.  Of course, that scenario is also fraught.  Good fraught?  I don’t know.  The scheduling was a nightmare.

There aren’t a lot of notes for the fight in The Mermaid.  The rule is that any damage the baby would take is taken by the person holding her, but I never wrote it down.  People had to pass the child hand to hand to keep from being cut down, which was the intention.  There should be more on my innovative “leave no notes” note taking method in the next post.

The DLC Kickstarter had a backer level where, if you backed at that level, we would send you a print of every strip there was a podcast for in that season.  That was an idea we had.  And some people took us up on it, which we appreciated.  Several vats of toner later:

(click to embiggen)

Let’s look closer.

(can also be clicked)

That is one of the more bonkers offers I’ve seen on Kickstarter, and they’re finally REAL.  The same Kickstarter was also responsible for Kris Straub‘s excellent animification of the podcast.  Once these are out, there’s just one more animation from Kris and one more episode of Family Lunch.  But the podcast is back for good.

We’ve since moved things like Early Access to Podcasts over to Club PA, which you might have seen, along with early access to comics and way more stuff than I could possibly explain here.

(CW)TB out.

My Microsoft Surface Commercial!

This is sort of strange for me. I’ve never done anything like an actual commercial before. I mean, I’ve drawn comics for companies which are essentially commercials, but I’ve never appeared in one myself. Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of the Surface though, and I really like all the folks over on the Surface team at MS. When they asked me to appear in a video, I said hell yeah.

You can head over to the Surface blog and see it right now. I basically laid out why I think the device is so incredible for artists. I saw a few people asking about the stylus I’m using and it’s the Bamboo Feel from Wacom. It’s a great little pen and works like a charm on the Surface Pro.

Thanks to the Surface folks for giving me the opportunity to share my take on their device. I know I use it in sort of a non-standard way. Also I’d like to thank them for not making me breakdance.

-Gabe out


Tycho / 1 week ago

The Night Of A Thousand Hours: Introduction

(When I think about why the adventure must have stuck with him, it comes down to three things.  One is the framing device, which can be used in campaigns lots of ways, but is especially effective when the reveal arrives in the space of a one-shot, one-night adventure.  The second is that they aren’t trying to save the entire multiverse, which is what you are usually doing in this shit.  The other “thing” I mentioned comes in later.)

“Tell me again, Father Gordon!  Tell me about my parents.”

“Are you certain, child?  Have you not heard it enough?”


She is resolute.  She pulls the blanket up beneath her chin; she will not be moved.

“Very well, then.  Very well.”  He takes a seat on the rough stool near the bed, and begins to speak.

“The Mermaid is an inn more famous than the town that surrounds it.  There are those who say the town sprang up because of the inn, but this story is usually told late in the night, after many rounds have been ordered, and another is on its way.”

The sign swings on links of new chain, shining in the torchlight.  Fresh paint draws your eye to a beautiful mermaid who has broken a trident over her head.  Below it, a smaller sign is linked below - one that says Aer Saelarri, Hae Ghulimi Eleph Phaedest.  Welcome to The Mermaid, Children of the Forest.  Elven lands must be near.

(Jesus Fucking Christ.)

The weather is apocalyptic, and it’s getting late, so it’s good to be off the road.  You shake the rain off your travelling cloaks and and step inside, to a roar of welcome and the clank of heavy mugs.  It’s a full house, so you take a seat where you can, in the drafty place nearest the front, and when your drinks arrive it’s hard not to get into the spirit - raising them when the door opens, cheering as an elven woman enters.  People quickly return to their drinks, their meals, and the town gossip that thrives in places like this.  But you can’t take your eyes off the newcomer, still framed by the door.  She seems to be scanning the room, looking for someone, but her eyes never rest in any one place.  She clutches the bundle at her chest even tighter.  A couple of shuffling steps later, and she collapses at the nearest table - yours.  The back of her tunic is black with rain and blood.

Mugs clatter to the floorboards, their contents pooling and flowing through the cracks. She looks into the bundle, or appears to, but there’s no light in her eyes.

Inside the nest of rags, a baby peeks out without understanding.  Her tiny face encircled by blonde curls, she looks exactly like the elf who carried her.

(The baby, yes.  That was the other thing.)

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

We missed Annarchy, and we wondered who she was hanging out with these days, so we thought we’d find out.

I like to posit on the “stage” of the strip that Tycho is some kind of despotic table tyrant when it comes to running a game, but in practice I usually don’t have much opportunity to abuse players with ultradifficulty outside of the occasional stunt.  I respect it, absolutely.  But if I kill these fuckers, actually do it, then they won’t have a chance to find out about my super awesome worldz.

Jamie’s been cooking up a campaign setting for her group, something that allows for episodic one-shots inside an overarching thingamading.  But, like Trek let’s say, it’s a hook that requires heaps and heaps of unique settings.  Everybody into this kind of shit has tons of old aventures they’ve either played in or ran, either way, and Gabriel suggested she run The Changeling Baby.

I love that this has become a kind of shorthand.  The real name of the adventure is The Night of A Thousand Hours, because I’m… you know, who I am, and I ran it in two-thousand nine.  It must have made an impression on him though, and I’m glad, because no matter what I make he is my intended audience.  It’s a fun challenge, because we don’t like the same things.  I’m into etymological wand’rings and he is into farts.  So he makes me curve it just enough off my core intention to be something a person who is not me stands some chance of enjoying.

I have all my notes from then, because the Cloud knows all, and while they’re playing it in the strip I’ll include some of that stuff alongside a certain volume of self-hatred occasionally ensconced deep within parentheses.

(CW)TB out.