Swiftstryker, The Wordsmith

Member Since


Last Activity

1/17/2023 11:27 PM

EXP Points


Post Count


Storygame Count


Duel Stats

11 wins / 16 losses





Profile pict is from this awesome young woman.

And...I'll probably be drowning in classes...which means inactivity...so...yeah.

Trophies Earned

Earning 100 Points Given by BerkaZerka on 06/17/2021 - Old School CYStians rule!


The Prisoner's Caravan

A loosely DnD-based storygame for a campaign I had in mind, but never got to writing.

Recent Posts

2023 resolutions on 1/10/2023 5:01:20 AM


Either go bankrupt or make a fuckton of money off of this option, God help me.

2023 resolutions on 1/10/2023 4:46:54 AM

tl;dr yeah it's mostly fine if you're there as an exchange / expat to accrue experience, but eating imported ingredients, following local customs, and taking health risks with a surge in specific kinds of cardiovascular diseases similar to COVID does leave you in more danger if you're not taking extra precautions to watch what you say, eat, and simply be at.  culturally, the south of china is more cosmopolitan than the north and most of the inland, but the CCP pushes han superiority about as strongly as Europe pushes diversity: hard enough to create a loud minority, with the added benefit of having gov't-controlled speech to always push things in favor of their vision.

societally you're not going to see much of what's real and what's a facade until you head into the countryside.  whereas the US has a stock market propped up on inflated numbers, China has a housing market propped up on inflated numbers.  You can see entire shell cities with less than a proper skeleton crew doing less than basic maintenance, and there's constant and dramatic floods and droughts due to the excess of dams built along its rivers.  Food and water security are also affected greatly by this, and when combined with the often-mandatory lockdowns that literally lets the authorities weld people shut inside their own homes, it means that a country that shouldn't have issues of famine ends up having famine in major metropolitan zones.  Real estate is a nightmare and you're going to be confined to relatively expensive housing (not like Taiwan is so much different, being an island, but either way if your local gov't is sponsoring the trip it shouldn't be terrible).  If you youtube video something like "china weld lockdown" you should see plenty of videos discussing this sort of stuff in greater detail.

So yeah, when you're in the CCP's home turf, your gov't has relatively little in the way of giving you extra protections / leniency as it does in Taiwan, which is much more diplomatically proficient than mainland China.  You can at least say stupid shit while you're learning Mandarin, but the Taiwanese dialect may be less spoken abroad.  I have no idea if they even teach Cantonese in Taiwan to foreigners.

Personally, I think going to Taiwan might be a safer bet, particularly because of how much more competitive it is as a nation to try and train competent people -- even foreign students -- to keep its leverage in the larger scheme of things.  They're strong in the STEM field and have TSMC and UMC to prove it, as well as a competent public education system to ensure Taiwanese-born engineers are fed into those foundries.  Also because -- while it isn't as absolutely free as the US is in speech -- it beats Singapore and mainland China in being able to discuss any and all topics as needed in the region.  Being able to ask all kinds of questions, however smart or stupid, helps in that regard.  And you'lll still have internet access beyond the Great Firewall that China has, which means you'll still get to use Youtube, Google, etc. instead of CCP-sponsored websites.

China, being that much bigger of a country, can have a lot of opportunities to have hits and misses with its level of education that it may provide to you, on top of all the other non-academic related topics mentioned above.

2023 resolutions on 1/10/2023 4:34:08 AM
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EndMaster's Prompt Contest on 5/22/2022 5:21:46 PM

Is #46 open?

Swift wants to write about fee-fee's and zombies. on 4/21/2022 11:17:28 PM

It'll be a case-by-case basis, with particular undead becoming close friends with the protagonist's original self (while you aren't behind the wheel making decisions for the necromancer), while others signal time and again they're actively tortured being brought back.  It's not like the undead themselves in this story are static personalities, so I do want some of them to switch attitudes over the course of the story.  Some may adjust to being in the physical world once more, others might go insane pursuing a certain regret in their past lives, and still others just regress and become empty puppets.  A lot of these consequences are by happenstance and conversation, rather than necromancy being an exact science with predictable outcomes.

Which brings me to another point I forgot to address: I do want there to be another plot wrinkle (#4 or 5?) involving the disillusionment with magic in general.  Just like how necromancy is a spotty practice with variable results, resurrection isn't always going to be a good decision if the wrong person gets brought back.  Like an old advisor to many kings being brought back for the nth time?  He'll probably just off himself or douse the entire audience hall in flames before running for the hills.  Maybe I can marry this with the costs plot wrinkle (resurrection becomes cheap; necromancy becomes expensive and/or vice versa or both become cheap / expensive), but I'm leaning on the idea that this is a phenomena that happens later in the story to signal the beginning of the end, or early on as a way to pique interest on the necromancy's polar opposite.

Swift wants to write about fee-fee's and zombies. on 4/21/2022 11:02:20 PM

1. Yes to the first question.

2. It really depends on the life of the person.  People who are religious obviously get sucked into heaven / hell, and those who commit themselves to specific gods generally can't be recalled in any capacity (not even through true resurrection; the god has claimed that person's spirit).  Then after spirituality comes people with strong impressions from life (so someone who is politically rigorous, someone who has seen a lot of war, someone who was a doctor, a master tradesman, etc.) who feel satisfied; they tend to go sooner.

3. A day or two doesn't really matter in the beginning, but if you're trying to recall a soul at the very cusp of an afterlife, then that day or two makes all the difference.  There's no clear timer, though, so necromancers usually try to be as expedient as possible with their pulls while they're still cheap.  It just gets way more difficult to pull people who have no attachment to the physical world and you have to end up placating yourself to gods to let them loan you one of their flock.

Swift wants to write about fee-fee's and zombies. on 4/21/2022 7:22:11 AM

It's more like a general lobby of purgatory, and necromancy pulls spirits out of that lobby and ground them to the mortal plane. Most spirits who didn't make much of themselves in their past life are curious to see the going-on's of the physical world, but aren't exactly as interested or self-aware as the living are...initially.  They'll become more aware as they spend more time in the physical world, for better and worse.

Spirits who spend long enough in that purgatory go to their respective afterlives (think other planes of existence like Sovnguard or the Nine Hells from Forgotten Realms), so pulling those spirits from those other planes will produce varying results.  After all, wouldn't you be pissed off if you were ripped out of Heaven to help some mopey-ass loner get their ass off the ground?  Or, if you were pulled out of Hell, wouldn't you be scrambling to find a way to bind yourself on the material plane for as long as possible?  Self-awareness and memories tied to the physical plane will lose their grasp the longer a spirit spends in that afterlife, and after forging a new identity in that respective heaven / hell, there eventually will be no way to recall that spirit back from the dead.  After all, that old self has been discarded for the new self.

There's also some differences between forms of undead, with zombies and flesh golems becoming the most aware due to all the flesh involved (think of them like interfaces for spirits to feel, eat, sense, etc.) vs. skeletons (which are controlled like puppets by their respective spirits).  And the more gruesome amalgamations and monstrosities (which our protagonist probably would only create along the "worse" routes where complete selfishness overrides any sense of empathy for the spirits) will end up being abominations from a personality standpoint.

Immaterial necromancy is always temporary, so there may be lapses of memory between conversations with the dead that way.  This also is going to create a plot wrinkle where a particularly long-time servant of the necromancer loses their original body and ends up passing on with the added accomplishments of servitude, which brings that particular person much closer to an afterlife than purgatory.  From what I've already written, there'll be a subplot regarding spirits' consent to being pulled back into the material plane.

Note to self: "Tug the rope if you're there."

More on the setting and the start. on 4/21/2022 7:01:05 AM

Here's some guidelines to future me for making the intro of this story. 

There a few things that need to be established in the intro:

1. The protagonist is a necromancer.  There is no "I become" arc like other stories.  Which means I have to show the sheer normalcy that the protagonist has in speaking with the unliving, and contrast that with a big fucking rift between their life and the lives of other people when the fact finally becomes apparent.  Becoming a necromancer was a natural conclusion and choice to the protagonist before the player's agency because the necromancer exists independently of the player.  Which leads me to the next part:

2. The player is stepping into the necromancer's shoes.  The intro needs to guide the player into the character's mindset, rather than the player molding the gloves into the shape of their hands.  No personalization, no names, no gender, nothing to customize.  Which leads into the final part:

3. The usage of "you" needs to be impactful for this to work.  If the adverb "you" is being used, it is to drive a point home hard enough to pull the player out of the immersion for a bit.  This can apply to future chapters later, but starving the players of the Y in a CYOA game makes them fill the void by drinking the details more heavily.  Inductive reasoning and implicit details need to be either obvious enough to be taken as a fact, or pieced together after stringing the player along for a bit.  Is this necessary for every chapter, or every work?  Fuck no.  But introductions need to make an impact, so this is why the reminders are being left here.

3a.  Why not drown players in "you" until they become desensitized to it?  Because that is going to be done on introspective scenes, where the player becomes a sort of separate consciousness from the protagonist.  Being constantly reminded of the self this early on risks reducing immersion.  Could I convincingly add "you" and "your" to the intro?  Definitely.  But again, it's all about being visceral.

Antagonists: on 4/21/2022 1:35:49 AM

Swift, I get that it's supposed to be an intrapersonal conflict between the main character and the player (since they are one and the same), but why the FUCK did you throw in external antagonists?

I want them to be minor / machinations of the outside world moreso than people who embody ideals, because I personally find that too many plots involve external conflicts (though, they are much simpler, easier, and more entertaining to read and write).  After all, if this game focuses on the mental state of the protagonist, it stands to reason that it should be largely introspective and/or conversational, rather than a confrontation of powers.  We can leave the whole good ubermensch vs evil ubermensch to other writers and stories.

That being said, the end-goal of this story is to mold the protagonist into someone that is going to deal with the outside world in a specific way.  So setting up external antagonists creates incentive for the protagonist to change, impresses new and changing conditions on the protagonist's world, and generally will become the measure with which to measure (and that, that will be measured out unto the player through the protagonist).  I don't think I want to create a "me vs. the world" mentality until the "worst" ending, though, so a lot of the conflict should be focusing on the necromancer and their friends.

Another plot wrinkle. on 4/21/2022 1:21:03 AM

Okay, but why necromancy?


Knowing that true resurrection is a thing in this setting, necromancy can be seen as a cheap, accessible alternative to true resurrection.  Not to mention that true resurrection will probably be vastly more selective in who gets brought back (someone of high standing vs. some peon with no power, political prowess, etc.) due to resource constraints and so on and so forth.  A possible plot wrinkle could include the lowering costs of resurrection for the outside world / the rising toll of necromancy on our protagonist, in which the holistically "better" method of resurrection becomes commonplace and logically sound.

At its hypothetical extremes (this could be the "climax" of the story for either "best" / "worst" paths, or even some of the gray paths), undeath and true resurrection could raise some questions towards the gravity of life and death:

1. If death is a minor inconvenience, then what does it mean to "die"?  What value is there in life that is free from death?

2. Are there other ways one can die beyond the physical aspect?  Are there profound losses (especially relationships) that can be experienced between those of the living?

3.  What is the value of someone's life after death?  Is the memory of their existence more cherished than the actual existence itself?

I do want to touch upon some really gnarly, personal topics with these same questions, but I also have a gut feeling there will be a lot of reactionary responses if I start to include suicide, abortion, euthanasia, etc. in the story.  It's a bit too on-those-nose for some people, but it's not like these topics weren't a recent issue: societies in every technological era still struggled with them.  So I still feel justified on writing about this kind of stuff, but I also know it would be a hell of a challenge to approach these topics without denigrating either side and letting the reader choose for themselves what values to align with (or I could intentionally critique both sides, but that sounds like preaching and ranting, which I don't want to do in a storygame).