27 Jul 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Werehouse?  There House

"We have a client coming."
"Are we looking at staplers moving around in an office?"
"We keep all our work confidential."
"Ginger, where are your clothes?"

Kristi watched Ayel as the blonde entered the warehouse.  She waited for the door to close before opening her own door.  "Okay, Ginger, take a look around."

Ginger dismissed the tawny-haired woman with a wave of the hand.  "Yeah, yeah, I know.  Look for people like me."

"And other Wee Folk," Kristi added.

Ginger hopped out of the van, her long hair swaying.  She darted under the van.  Kristi followed the tiny woman out, but remained standing beside the minivan.  She stretched, working out a few kinks in her back.  A breeze promising rain later wafter through the parking lot, teasing Kristi's hair.  She heard tiny footsteps running across the gravel; it took some willpower to avoid looking in Ginger's direction.

For her part, Ginger dashed to the edge of the gravel, marked by several dandelions pushing their way up through the rocks.  The tiny woman touched one of the growing weeds.  In moments, the plant grew, flowering in a bright yellow blossom.  Ginger plucked the flower and held it over her head like an umbrella.  She sauntered along the the wall, acting as if she was there for a stroll.  The tiny woman stole a glance back at the van; Kristi leaned against the contraption.

At the corner of the warehouse, Ginger stopped.  She peered around, even looking up.  A raven flew overhead.  Ginger pressed up against the warehouse and waited for the bird to fly away.  Once sure that it was safe, the tiny woman crept around the corner, then sat down, crossing her legs under her.  She closed her eyes and took several deep breaths.

26 Jul 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Commentary 1

Ayel, Kristi, and Kieu - LTV Paranormalists - are hired to find a ghost, in dba LTV Paranormalists "Hauntings Anonymous" Chapter 1.

Welcome to the second arc of dba LTV Paranormalists!  No, you haven't missed the first arc.  Let me explain.

Paranormalists began as a few rough ideas, mostly characters talking to each other without any real plot to pull things together.  The idea languished and carried over from hard drive to hard drive, only to be brought out for reading every few months.  In 2016, the idea came up out of the depths of my hard drive in time for consideration for NaNoWriMoParanormalists won out over continuing Unruly, a Shadowrun story to test adaptation lessons, and the time travelling kaiju hunters.  For the first arc, I tried writing it in flashback.  It didn't work out well.  To be honest, the first arc is a mess.  I'm trying to put in a more linear order, but it'll take time.

The second arc, though, was linear.  Halfway through the first arc, I realized that there was a problem.  During NaNo, the goal is writing, not editing, so the mess would have to wait.  The mess is still waiting.  The second arc didn't need as much editing.  One chapter got moved to the first arc, fitting better there, and some fallout from the moved chapter went with it.  The rest still works as is.

The series is essentially Scooby-Doo except the supernatural is real.  Since the introductions are in the mess of the first arc, a quick run through of the main characters is needed.  Kristi, Ayel, and Kieu are all students at Carleton University.  Kristi Theissen, an art history major with a minor in medieval studies, is the one who came up with the idea.  She drew in Ayel and Kieu, both of whom she new through classes, for their expertise.  Ayel Lindeman, majoring in commerce, has the business acumen to form the company.  She was skeptical about the supernatural at first.  Kieu, a computer science major, is the tech expert, and is willing to believe.  Joining them is Ginger, who they met in the first arc.  Ginger is one of the Wee Folk, not quite a fairy, not quite a pixie.  Ginger is Ginger.

When getting the story set up, I wound up looking up regulations for private investigators to see if LTV Paranormalists would run afoul of them.  It's close, but the out is that they're, at best, researchers, and looking up information on properties is explicitly excluded from what needs to be licensed as a P.I.  That line looks fuzzy, though.  I have a backup plan for when the fuzzy line needs to be crossed.

Being a small start-up run by students, LTV Paranormalists doesn't have a proper office.  They can't afford one.  Ayel is treating the business as a side project; in the first arc, she was encouraged by her advisor to use the opportunity to test out some theories brought up in her classes.  She still has a regular job to pay for her tuition and books.  Kristi has other means, which need to be worked out a bit more.  Kieu has patents helping her out.

During the research to figure out what the cast is taking at Carleton, I found some details that worked beautifully for my purposes.  For Ayel, Carleton Commerce includes an entrepreneuship concentration, ideal for starting a small summer business.  With Kieu and computer science, I discovered that Carleton now has a Mobile Computing stream, something that didn't exist when I graduated with my Comp. Sci. degree.  Lesson here: Always check, even if you're positive you know everything you need.

Friday, looking for ghosts in Hauntings Anonymous Chapter 2, "Werehouse?  There House".
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, a test run of the Bond Project with From Russia With Love.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, why remaking horror and mysteries is difficult.

20 Jul 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Chapter 1

Kristi Thiessen, Ayel Lindeman, and Kieu Vo joined together to create LTV Paranormalists, a partnership dedicated to investigating hauntings and convincing the cause, be it spectral or fae, to move on.  They have access to specialized help - Aidan Lockhart, who has security and private investigation certificates, and Ginger, a fae discovered during their first case.

Kristi stepped up to the barista.  "Hi, Ayel!"

The tall blonde woman behind the counter repressed a groan.  "What can I get you, Kristi?"

"A pot of herbal tea, please."  Kristi searched through her purse for her debit card.  "When do you go on break?"

Ayel checked the clock on the wall.  "In half an hour, at the soonest.  Depends on the crowd.  Why?  And how did you know where to find me?"

"Your sister told me."

"Because of course she did."

"We were her age once.  Anyway, I've got a client coming.  We have a client coming."


"You and me.  LTV Paranormalists."  Kristi beamed.  "I asked our client to come here to discuss his problem."

19 Jul 2018

Leverage By the Numbers - Oz

Last week, I reworked Numbers from By the Numbers, bringing her from the Shadowrun setting into one of my own creation.  Numbers was the easy one to work with; her background came to the fore during the story and her role didn't really change despite the translation; she's the hacker of the group, and the new system, the Leverage RPG, has that as an explicit role.

The rest of the cast of By the Numbers will take work.  The Mecha Academy setting doesn't have magic or cybernetics, meaning the rest of the crew will have fundamental changes made to them.  Yet, the goal is to keep to their personalities, not their abilities.  Having learned my lesson the first time I created characters for the game, I'll just focus on one character, Oswald, the mage.

13 Jul 2018

Leverage By the Numbers

I've worked on a character from By the Numbers, writing up Numbers for Shadowrun.  The main problem with the story is that I'm playing in someone else's intellectual property.  The characters, though, are mine.  If I can translate them into a new setting, I have a more or less original work.  Heists occur in all genres; Ocean's 11 is a good example.  Move the heist to a different time and setting, like a fantasy world or the far future.  Liberating heirlooms from a dragon's horde is still a heist, as is stealing data from a privately owned space station.  The trappings are different, but the key is how the characters overcome their challenges.

To this end, I'm going to try to create Numbers using the Leverage RPG.  I've delved into the game before, getting ready to write Unruly.  Having learned my lesson the first time, I'll just create Numbers, though the rest of the cast will chime in.

Before starting, though, I do need a setting.  I want to move away from the mash up of cyberpunk and epic fantasy that is Shadowrun while still staying in the realm of science fiction.  The Mecha Academy setting is there ready for expansion.  What that means is no magic (sorry Oz), no elves (sorry Treehugger), and no trolls (sorry Charles).  Cybernetics aren't a thing in the Mecha Academy setting, more for prosthetics than willing replacement.  The setting's gone through that phase.  WIth all that out in the open, let's go steal, er, make us a Numbers!

6 Jul 2018

No post today

Thanks to the record heat we've had here in Ottawa West-Dagobah, I couldn't even think without breaking into a heavy sweat.  I will catch up at some point, though.  Have a cat pic in the meantime.  I adopted Jewel two weeks ago.  She's adjusting well.

Jewel on her second night, finally joining me on my bed.  (Taken June 19, 2018.  Photo by author.)

Jewel two weeks later, far more relaxed.  (Taken July 1, 2018.  Photo by author.)

Today, over at Psycho Drive-In, Wonder Woman (2017).
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, Sherlock Gnomes.