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Author Topic: Zaval's Creative (?) Corner  (Read 208 times)

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Offline ZavalTopic starter

Zaval's Creative (?) Corner
« on: September 10, 2018, 11:09:59 AM »
While I wait for a decision on my application's approval, I figure I'll set something up here!

Nothing fancy here, if I'm perfectly honest. Every so often, I'll get an urge to write something out, and maybe get some feedback. Most of what I write (if it's not part of a wider campaign or role play) tends to be more one-shot pieces. Ideas where I think, "Hey, that'd be fun to write out," then just see what people think. It's not something I've been able to do for awhile, so I'm excited to try again.

In no particular order, I like writing:

- Faux/fictional worlds and histories
- After Action Reports (AARs) of strategy game sessions
 - Can include Civilization, Age of Wonders, etc.
- One-shots set in established fictional settings
 - Ranges anywhere from the DCU, Star Wars, etc.

Whether any of this turns out to be any good or not, I'll leave that to the readers to judge. :P

Please, if you have any feedback you'd like to leave for anything I write here, I'd be more than happy to accept. I like to think I have relatively thick skin (comes with my day job), so I welcome any and all constructive feedback and critique.

Hope you enjoy! If my application gets approved, I'll work on editing this front page and making it look better. :P

Offline ZavalTopic starter

Re: Zaval's Creative (?) Corner
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2018, 11:33:08 AM »
Author's Note
Part of my job right now involves historical analysis as an assignment. I'm totally on board with this. My colleagues...they're not too enthusiastic, given how much else we have to do. But I've been having to do a lot of reading about the First World War, particularly the earlier portions of it and what led to it starting.

So this is something that kind of popped into my head. I didn't have an outline ready before I posted this, and this is more or less me vomiting words onto Word as I went (not literally, I swear >_>). Hope you all enjoy!

Excerpt from 'Escalation: Clash of the Colossi'
By Gorduin Zinfina, Adm. (Retired) of the Eluzan Imperial Navy
Published in A.A. 1032


No study of the first truly modern war in the mortal realms is complete without an examination of the arms race that developed prior to its beginning. I confess that it is difficult for me personally to maintain objective distance, as I was but an Ensign in Her Eternal Majesty's Service aboard the colossi. We were all full of fire, vigor and spite towards the Orrush Dominion - what self-righteous elf wouldn't? But I am leaping ahead of myself.

In hindsight, one of the greatest contributions to the First Imperial War came about due to an escalation of arms development and production. Scholars far more learned and esteemed than myself have laid the blame solely on the Admiralty's fixation on the creation of the modern aerial colossus. Though as a right-thinking Navy elf I beg to differ, I must concede that their arguments have some merit. Even so, I shall seek to rebuke a few of their arguments.

To those readers who are unaware: in After Ascension 989, Bereson Artificers Inc., on commission from Her Eternal Majesty's Navy, developed the HMS Colossus. To us now, it seems almost quaint. A vessel of silksteel, lined with orichalcum plating and two aetheric generators, with half a score of ballista secured in omni-directional mounts. At the time, we all felt ourselves at the forefront of the modern age. The very first aerial warship! The namesake of an entire classification of warship! What was there not to be proud of?

The Orrush Dominion took umbrage most exceptionally, it would come to pass. Their own navy had just completed a rather costly and intense modernization project. It is not too difficult to imagine that, right on the moment that they could proclaim that there was not a vessel lacking cold iron plating, their moment was stolen away.

The next two decades would prove most enlightening. The Dominion, the United Provinces of Eskala, the Sunburst Duchy - all soon began developing their own colossi. Each was more devastating and threatening than the last, and Her Eternal Majesty's government was compelled therefore to maintain its advantage. Yet this proved to be a most difficult task, as one colossus would scarcely ascend to the air before it was rendered obsolete by a contemporary's new technological advancement. Ballista were soon replaced with Dragon's Fire. Aetheric generators began to be supplemented with weather mages. The Dominion even outfitted the DSS Bagrak with in-built nesting grounds for Wyvern riders, which in turn compelled the United Provinces to create a class of colossus dedicated entirely to the task.

As frightening as these advances were, we all felt that it would be quite some time before we could begin to even test any of our theories. Would these vessels even work? Did a mortal generation spend itself on incremental upgrades to an unproven design? We all comforted ourselves with thinking there was no possible way a war could ever break out to validate these theories.

Were it not, that is, for the damned fool and his crossbow in the Border Vales...

Offline ZavalTopic starter

Re: Zaval's Creative (?) Corner
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2018, 06:54:25 PM »
Author's Note
It's been a few days, let's have another piece!

This one is a bit of a throwback to an older game. I'm not the best at writing action sequences, so this is just as much for practice as anything else.

I'm not too sure how this came across. I'm not particularly happy with it, but I'll leave it as is, warts and all. Hope you enjoy.

"Would you hurry the hell up!?" the ganger yelled. Blindly firing around the dumpster, he flinched as return fire from the cops pattered off against the dumpster. "Shit!" he muttered, fumbling blindly around his jacket for another clip. "We wait here any longer, more cops show up. Wait even longer than that, then we get capes out of the woodwork!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, would you like to take over setting up the fucking bomb!?" the other one yelled. "It's your fault the fucking cops even noticed us!"

"My fault!?"

"Would you two shut up!?" a third yelled.

Oh, this was too rich. I honestly wasn't expecting much from a Friday night, figured even the Hellions would want to take some time off. But no, these three chuckleheads were trying to break into a grocery store's valuables. Right next to Atlas Park.

Not the sharpest tools in the shed. But hey. You get proven wrong every so often, right? Still, Longbow's probably not going to notice too soon, so might as well.

My feet carried me across the rooftop without a sound, the Hunter's Cloak masking all sounds as it swirled around me. Not that the sirens and the gunshots and the yelling weren't already doing most of the legwork on that. I reached into the web of pouches secured to the kevlar armor and found what I'm looking for. "Surprise," I whispered as I fling the flashbang into the alleyway below. Looking away for just long enough to not get caught in my own device - wouldn't that be embarrassing - I wasted no time by diving below, feeling the liberating rush of wind tickle my face as I plowed straight into the first gunman behind the dumpster.

Funny thing about Paragon. You get just as many two bit crooks trying to make a name for themselves as you've got heroes. I mean, seriously. The city's practically drowning in heroes of all types, but we still barely get by from one disaster to the next. If it's not Arachnos, it's another Vahzilok plague. Or the whole damned thing turned out to be because of goddamned Nemesis.

God, I hate that guy.

Still. Job to do and all. Not all that many capes who stay cleaning up street crime. Lots of them think it's literally beneath them and want to go charging Rularuu or the next alternate world's invasion of us. But life and crime keep going, and SOMEONE with a brain is eventually going to grow up to be a problem if you don't keep tabs on things.

Knocking the wind out of the first idiot, I smacked the pistol away from his hands before grabbing his head and slamming it into the dumpster. Hard. Not bothering to wait for him to slump into unconsciousness, I immediately threw myself into a roll along the ground as his buddy near the unfinished bomb, still blinded from the flashbang, fired blindly in my direction. Unlikely to hit, but they only needed to get lucky once. One jab right to the throat put him out of action, wheezing as he crumpled to the ground. Now-

I threw myself backwards and was rewarded with the feeling of a bullet whistling just past my face. "Cheap," I muttered as I grabbed a rock on the ground. Using the momentum from forcing myself to the ground, I rolled back up to my feet and threw the rock at the gunman as hard as I could. I didn't bother to wait and see if it would hit, I simply started sprinting towards him, the Hunter's Cloak already obscuring my position as its spells started doing their thing.

I should really figure out how that works at some point.

The gunman had flinched and ducked. I heard glass shatter from the rock's impact, and it was my turn to flinch. That sounded expensive. Hope the owner was insured. Without pause, I tackled the guy, hoping to just bring him to the ground.

...didn't work out the way I hoped. Guy was hardier than he looked, and just took the momentum right into a glass case nearby. We both winced from this one - him for having sharp glass introduced to his backside, me for how expensive that sounded. As we both connected into the ground, I decided to just cut my losses and withdrew the taser. "Lights out," I muttered as I jabbed it straight into the guy's chest.

That thankfully did him in, but I was annoyed I had to use it at all. Maybe he was in charge? That's how it works, right? The tougher you are, higher in rank or something?

Ignoring the crook twitching on the floor, I got to my feet and took stock. The place was just wrecked, the bomb - I walked over wearily and pulled the plug, watching with mild satisfaction as the countdown timer sputtered out of existence. Now all I had to figure out was why they were trying to break into this place of all things.

...if anyone asked, the crooks broke everything. Rock thrown included. That's my story to the detective, and I'm sticking to it.

Offline ZavalTopic starter

Re: Zaval's Creative (?) Corner
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2018, 08:35:55 PM »
Author's Note
*looks at number of posts on this thread*

*looks at views in proportion to it*

*is mildly confused, but somewhat encouraged*

I think what most people fail to appreciate about the God Fall was just how thorough it was.

Imagine, if you will, a living, thriving world. A world that had great cities that rose to rival even the highest of mountains. They had their own defenders to protect them, great armies of the mightiest warriors and the wisest sorcerers, we are told. The cities had untold numbers of people who lived there, where all could live like kings, all plied from the great trade lanes that we see only hints of now.

Above all, however, was an almighty pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. Each God or Goddess claimed one of the great cities for Themselves, proclaiming Themselves their patron. Through Their mighty works did the great cities thrive. Through Their mighty works, also, was great violence inflicted upon each other. For you see, what records that have survived the God Fall indicate that the Gods were not a unified pantheon. Far from it. For despite Their divine natures, They were altogether quite mortal in their ambition and pride.

We can only suppose that Their inability to unite against whatever destroyed Them was Their greatest weaknesses.

I need not point out just how far we have fallen since the God Fall. We do not know what destroyed the Gods, only that They ceased to be. Without the Gods' guidance, the great cities of mortals fell to ruin. The gifts of the divine and the fell were far too intrinsically linked to the deities, and without their presence or their guidance, mortals were denied their greatest gifts of Godly blessings and magic.

We make do now, without the pantheons. In scattered settlements, the occasional castle, and the ancient monasteries and temples whose orders outlasted their patrons. It seems mortals are now just content with attempting to survive. Perhaps rebuilding will take place at some point.

Perhaps we await the return of new Gods.


"...well, that explains a lot," the young man sighed as he read the last passage of the manuscript. He held out a hand, only for a pale light to emanate almost by reflex.

"For one thing, I'm not dead."

Offline ZavalTopic starter

Re: Zaval's Creative (?) Corner
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2018, 08:42:01 PM »
Author's Note
Let's have another one. I'm undecided if my fantasy snippets are all interconnected at all, but they're fun to write regardless.

Of all my travels, dear reader, none have had quite so profound an impact on myself than my ventures into the Frozen Wastes. And immediately I must point out that such a name is a misnomer. Clearly, the cartographers that came across this region of the continent never actually visited here. There is some truth to the name, but it fails to capture what is a uniquely beautiful land.

Now, I grant you, it gets
ungodsly here during the winter months. But the spring and summer times could not be a different tale altogether! For as much snow descends upon the land in the winter, the springs are comparatively sweet, but the summers are terrifically hot, even greater than if you were submerged in a smith's forge.

As you might be aware, the Frozen Wastes - which the locals wish me to impart upon you is, by their reckoning, Algrash - is not a dead land. It is a vast steppe, with plains that go further beyond what the eye could possibly ever see! You would be fortunate to see anything resembling hills or valleys - the gods simply saw fit to not include them in Algrash. What they did see fit to include were vast herds of wildlife. Great wolves hunt in packs to bring down even greater scaled beasts that resemble landbound tortoises. Flocks of birds congregate in the sparse pools of water that occasionally surface from the depths of the earth. And, perhaps greatest of all, are the mighty horses. I can scarcely imagine what advantages they might bring to the knightly orders from home were they to be broken to the saddle; wild as they are here, I have yet to see beasts even more fleet of foot than these.

The tribes that live here are hardy folk. They must be, to survive in such a difficult environment. Food is never in a guaranteed supply, for the great wildlife I just described - and failed to do justice, I might add, for such a study must be reserved for greater scholars than I - are just as determined to fight for their survival as the tribes are determined to hunt them for their own. Human and orc tribes roam the steppes of Algrash in search of food, water, and greater prey to hunt. They occasionally war with one another over matters of honor or ancestral slights. But in as many instances of violence, I have witnessed tribes that had previously engaged in vicious warfare offer succor and aid in times of desperation. There is a strange form of altruism built into Algrash's culture, but the tribes are consistently capable of mercy as they are ruthlessness.

Also consistent to their culture is sacred hospitality. Any traveler from the Empire would immediately recognize this, albeit with regional quirks. The tribes are happy to receive visitors, and even happier to regale them with tales of their history, their triumphs, and their downfalls. Indeed, the histories I have recorded had grown to such an enormity that I have dedicated an entirely different volume to them. And I can only imagine how much I have missed since returning from Algrash. But I digress. Once accepted, the tribe as a whole welcomes the guest on the first day, and will insist that they stay at least a night or two. Gifts are not expected, but the standing of their guests are greatly enhanced if they are received. This includes items that are not quite tangible, such as declarations of friendship - many of which I am proud to maintain - or stories or myths from home. While it may seem puzzling to those of us from civilized climes, the tribes see information and stories as a form of enrichment that is not so easily gained.

However, I must also caution my readers to never break their hospitality. For while I have described a friendly people, they can be overcome with such great rage if their trust is betrayed. They will grant visitors the benefit of the doubt, and over time trust can be cemented. But if a guest is seen as breaking their word, they become an avowed enemy. And the tribes have long memories indeed.

I must also caution my readers that gestures of kindness may carry consequences that are at odds with what we are accustomed to. In one instance, a tribe I visited was facing a variety of troubles. One trouble I was able to assist in was introducing the form of navigation by certain stars. It is a simple art, but it inadvertently led the tribe - and myself - to a herd of game. I still scarcely understand what happened, but suffice to say, I am now married to a lovely woman of Algrash.

I most certainly do not regret my time there, but I do caution you if you are of a mind to visit: your life is likely not going to be quite the same as when you entered.