Friday, November 17, 2017

Dungeon Landlord 003

In Pursuit of the Ultimate Cheat, I Reluctantly Became a Dungeon (Land)Lord
3 - Know Thyself
Calm down. Calm down. Calm. Calm. CALM THE FUCK DOWN!!!!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
OK. Let’s recap.
I’m in a foreign world.
I’m a slime.
With crap stats.
I said it in the way that it’s obvious it would have been OK to reincarnate as a slime if only my stats weren’t nonsense.
This is way too unfair though. I mean, as a slime, I can’t even be expected to be able to use tools. Hell, I don’t even have hands!
I tried to focus on the sensation of rolling around the ground. How exactly am I moving? I will it and my body starts rolling. I don’t think I have eyes, but I can see everything around . . . well, I can see EVERYTHING around me. I may not have eyes in the back of my head but I can definitely “see” out of the back of my head.
If I focus, I can even get a sense of the inside of my body . . . pretty barren at the moment.
Acquiring some sense of my own body, I use my will to push part of what I’ll refer to as my stomach out and away.
SUCCESS! A tenuous pseudopod extended out. Willing another pseudopod out from what I’ll refer to as my back and YES! I now have arms.
Well, pseudo-arms.
. . .
Hands are still beyond me.
And.
For some reason.
My consciousness feels kinda’ thin.
Right now.
A strange sensation that I might once have described as panic is welling up inside.
Slap! My two pseudopodious arms smack back into my back and stomach and are reabsorbed.
At once, my higher cognitive processes kickstart.
Ugh, I think I was pretty close to going from “intelligent slime” to just “slime”.
So let’s keep the pseudobody experiment on the backburner.
Speaking of backburner. Food would be great.
Do slimes even need to eat? I mean, what exactly am I made out of? Is it some sort of fat? Jelly? Am I actually a flan and that’s not just a bad joke? Is my body LCL? Liquefied organs?
I don’t really have a sense of light. Looking around, I appear to be in a cave.
Well, maybe cave is too grandiose.
I’m in a hole.
It’s about ten meters square.
Err, um round.
Well, cavey round, you know? The widest part is about ten meters.
There aren’t any particular rock formations. From the center of the hole, I can “look” up and see a passageway to hell-if-I-know-where.
That’s it.
“I’M SUPPOSED TO BE LORD OF A DUNGEON AND INSTEAD I’M LORD OF A HOLE?! THAT DAMN GENIE COULDN’T EVEN GET THAT PART, RIGHT?!”
Whoa, I was so pissed off my thoughts literally spit out of me. The force of the slime churning inside of me formed enough sound for a voice to get out. Yuck, that was gross. Let’s shuffle, err, slime away from that mess . . .
“Greetings, Master.”
If I had eyes, they’d be pretty wide-open right now.


Name: Prota
Player: Unknown
Race: Intelligent slime
Gender: Neutral
Age: 30 minutes

Str: 1→2
Mot: 2
Spd: 1
Apt: 1
Hea: 1
Cre: 1
End: 1
Log: 1
Dex: 1
Cha: 1
Agi: 0
Ego: 0→1


Abilities: Creature Creation; Dungeon Terrain; Tackle; Pseudopod
(“Not like I can really use pseudopod effectively though”)
New Achievements:
Last Second Save - Narrowly avoided a self-inflicted lobotomy. (“How close was it?!”)
Vomit Out Words - Manifested a voice through churning liquids. (“Now I get an achievement for throwing up? Please don’t remind me!”)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Dungeon Landlord 002

Next Chapter (coming soon)
In Pursuit of the Ultimate Cheat, I Reluctantly Became a Dungeon (Land)Lord
2 - Character Sheet

Ahhhh! Oh my god! The pain!
Wait a second. I seem to be OK. Nothing hurts anway.
Where am I? No matter how you look at it, it’s wayyyy too dark in here.
Ahh! I’m paralyzed! I can’t move!
Wait. I am moving. Why can’t I feel my arms?
Or my legs?
Hmm. What’s this? If I concentrate it seems like . . . it is! A flipping Character Sheet! Nice get!
It’s me! Did my wish go through after all? Well, that means that I died, but if I got my wish then I can do anything. I can probably even go back home!
I was a little worried when that genie lady said about being a dungeon owner, but . . . anyway, let’s check out my stats!
Name: Undecided
Player: Unknown
Race: Intelligent slime
Gender: Neutral
Age: 0

Str: 1
Mot: 2
Spd: 1
Apt: 1
Hea: 1
Cre: 1
End: 1
Log: 1
Dex: 1
Cha: 1
Agi: 0
Ego: 0

Abilities: Creature Creation; Dungeon Terrain; Tackle
WHAT?! Intelligent slime? That can’t be! Can’t I at least get to be a shapeshifted dragon?!
At LEAST?!
Oh well. Let’s pick a name before we go any further.
Hmm. How about Supreme Lord of Darkness! I don’t have to worry about being accused of being a chuuni if I’m in a world where slimes exist.
Supreme Lord of Darkness is a little long though. Ah! I know, the name I used for all of my uber-NPCs!
I watched with satisfaction as my listed name changed from “Undecided” to “Prota”.
I mean, I can’t ever come up with a name, so maybe it’s a bit of a cheat to name my characters something like “protagonist”, but I always thought it was amusing to have an NPC named Prota. My friends never really got the humor though.
Alright! Let’s max out these stats!
. . .
. . .
Hmm?
WHY AREN’T THEY MOVING?!


Name: Unknown → Prota
Age: 0 → 5 minutes.
. . .
Stats: Unchanged.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Dungeon Landlord 001

Table of Contents

In Pursuit of the Ultimate Cheat, I Reluctantly Became a Dungeon (Land)Lord
1 - Death
“So it’s that sort of thing, you know? What’s your wish?”
“Wish?” The figure in front of me wasn’t blue, nor was she singing, but she could only be a genie. In fact, not only wasn’t she singing, but she seemed pretty bored. Where’s my Robin Williams? Can I not afford that much production value even in a dream?
“Tch,” she clicked her tongue in annoyance, “Yeah, you know. Your one true desire. Anything you could want, I can give you.”
I smiled. I had only ever had one wish and I wasn’t going to waste the chance even in a dream. “I wish for the powers of a dungeon lord!”
Shocked from her languor, the genie asked, “That’s an odd one, are you sure?”
“Are you kidding? It’s the ultimate power! To create anything I can imagine and change the game at will! Everyone’s character sheets open to me and editable by me, including my own!”
I cheerfully lost myself in the memories of the module I finished just last night and the maiden playthrough by my online adventuring group. Right as they were about to prematurely reach the final boss room, I managed to push them onto a ramp leading to a subterranean monster den. I barely had time to tweak the special abilities of the boss before they made it back from the trap.
Hmm. That’s strange. I can’t remember how the final fight ended . . . don’t tell me I fell asleep after all that! Oh shit, she’s still talking.
“I’m pleased to announce your wish has been accepted! Let’s finish the rest of the details concerning your death at a later time.”
Suddenly full of pep, the dream genie spouted off some nonsense about dying. What? Wait, MY DEATH?!
“My death?!”
“Yep!” Hey, don’t sound so happy with that response Miss Genie! “Usually, I just deal with people that want to bang their crushes when they die as young as you. You’re the first that just wanted to own some dungeon. I guess that’s why they OK’d the reincarnation request.”
A sinking feeling turned my stomach inside out. “Excuse me, Miss Genie. Did you say dungeon owner?”
“Yep!” Ugh, there’s that cheerful comeback! Go die! “I hope you like your new life! Try not to get hit by a meteor this time!”
Pain flooded my senses and I involuntarily doubled over. My skin was burning and my organs were melting. To put it simply, things were NOT GOOD.
“Oh, I forgot to mention that your body wasn’t recoverable for the reincarnation. But what are you going to do when you get hit by a meteor. Frankly, it’s a miracle that we were able to recover enough of you that you could even talk. So make do and TRY YOUR BEST!”
The genie—no, was she some sort of death god?—the death god’s cheerful words chased me to merciful darkness.


Name: Undecided
Player: Unknown
Race: Unknown (Former human)
Gender: Burned off
Age: 0 (formerly 20)

Str: 0
Mot: 3
Spd: 0
Apt: 1
Hea: 0
Cre: 2
End: 0
Log: 1
Dex: 0
Cha: 0
Agi: 0
Ego: 0
(“Unknown? I can’t remember my own name? And hey! Even if it’s burned off, you still have a gender, right! RIGHT?! It’s the 2000s!)

Abnormal Status: Body destroyed (“Oh, come on!”)


New Achievements:
Dinosaur Wannabe - Killed by meteor (“She was being serious about that?”)
Leap before you look - Made a wish without a contract (“YEAH YEAH, I thought I was DREAMING. How the hell was I supposed to know it was some sort of purgatory”)
Died a Virgin - Did not request to lose virginity from death god (Rare trophy!) (“How many people request that for it to be a rare trophy?”)
Grateful Goddess - Did not request sex as final wish (Rare trophy!) (“TWO trophies for basically the same thing? I guess I understand why she was so happy about my wish”)
Land Owner - Proud (“!”) owner of a plot of land (“How could she have gotten this so wrong?”)
New Game+ - Granted the right to reincarnate (“Well, at least I’m not dead”)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Announcement: Dungeon (Land)Lord and Upcoming Publishing Schedule

Hi everyone!

I'm starting a webnovel (WN) called, "In Pursuit of the Ultimate Cheat, I Became a Dungeon (Land)Lord".

This is an isekai, game-world WN riffing off classic RPGs like D&D, Final Fantasy, and others. I set it in a WotA-like world so there will be familiar organizations, monsters, and the usual world map.

In fact, the "game engine" the WN uses is one I worked on developing for a pen-and-paper WotA game.

The premise is an individual from our world has been playing games like D&D for years—almost always as the game master—and has become convinced that becoming a "Dungeon Lord" would be the ultimate cheat in life. Being able to see and adjust character sheets, summon and create whatever sort of monsters and items imaginable, and just in general, reality altering abilities. When they lose their life in a freak meteorite crash, they are given the option to restart in another world with a single cheat . . . unfortunately the genie in charge misunderstood exactly what a "Dungeon Lord" was. Thus begins their second life as a dungeon landlord.

I'll be posting chapters and art on here. Look for a table of contents/summary page to pop up shortly.

Right now I'm working on getting enough chapters ahead so that I can maintain a weekly publishing schedule without too much effort. I've got the first six weeks ready to go.

This will be an ongoing story in addition to my normal publishing routine. Once arcs finish (far in the future), I'm planning on eventually going back and collecting the chapters and art and do a final edit/polish to release a paperback/digital LN version.

In other fiction news, we're still waiting on the final version of the The Throne of Ao cover before releasing a paperback edition.

The second chapter in Cross Adventures is nearing first draft completion, and we are currently aiming to release it this year, but nothing's been set in stone (and won't be until it's actually complete, I'm done on promising stories and failing to meet the deadlines because of day jobs and other responsibilities).

I've also been playing with the idea of having some free online stories in Cross's series, but I am waiting to see how Dungeon Landlord goes before committing to that. Web stories are simultaneously easier to write and make a LOT less money (in my experience), so I'm not anticipating it becoming a major part of our catalog.

There are always other stories in the mix, but these are the ones that are our main projects right now.

Additionally, I plan on moving away from the "whatever I feel like talking about" aspect of this blog and concentrate it more completely on my own creative endeavors. Occasionally, I won't be able to resist doing reviews and analyses of shows I'm loving (or hating) and if I can tie something to what affects me personally, I'll definitely weigh in on it, but those things never really reached much of an audience so they ended up being entirely a vanity project.

Comment your thoughts and questions below!

Thanks,
~Zero


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"Cross and the Cap" — Urban fantasy, explicit content, novella: pre-order now!

I'm so excited about my newest novella, Cross and the Cap. Writing this story has been nothing but fun, and I really think that will translate to you as you read her first adventure. You can check out the Amazon listing here: Amazon.com/dp/B071HRWK3V

I like to think of Cross's stories as being similar in tone to Deadpool (violent, irreverent fun) taking place in the WotA-Modern setting. Cross is foul-mouthed and vain, but possesses incredible power in the form of her trusty magick-shooting guns. She also has this annoying ability of being able to hear the narrator, and she doesn't exactly approve of everything he has to say either.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

"The Throne of Ao" is now available . . . again

I've written previously about what a hard decision it was to remove the Throne of Ao for sale. It was my first novel and I feel that I avoided a lot of the pitfalls inherent in first novels, but the sales were just never there and it killed me to see it go down week after week.

What a difference a handful of letters can make. I am incredibly fortunate in that I actually got to hear from some of the readers that came to the book on their own and weren't strong-armed into reading it by myself. There are few things that can compare to hearing a fan gush about what they love about your work that you've put so much of yourself into and they definitely made me realize that I wasn't doing anyone any favors by having it unavailable, least of all the people I wanted to reach the most.

So I got to work on the second edition, added a note from myself, an art section, and other minor updates. The biggest difference is definitely the cover though.

And republished.

The Throne of Ao is now available for purchase exclusively at Amazon.com for $2.99. If you've previously bought it, the new edition is linked to the old edition, so you should be able to download the new one with no problem and no extra purchase.

Here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008L1G3TM

Thank you for your support! Please expect new stories and new works in the near future!
~Zero

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Ghost in the Shell is classic sci-fi with a modern finish

I can't say enough good things about this movie. 

Ghost in the Shell has the feel of Blade Runner meeting the Matrix with a 2017 veneer. It's way up there in terms of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies and I'm looking forward to rewatching it.

I usually think the critical consensus is pretty spot-on. Very rarely do I find myself thinking they've all missed the mark and I think getting mad at critics for not liking a film is pretty stupid.

But wow, did they miss the mark. I do not understand. Did we watch the same film? 

I have no complaints about Ghost in the Shell except that I'm not currently rewatching it. 

Zero, zilch, nada. 

Well, there are a LOT of studio logos in the beginning. So I guess, one complaint. But that seems petty. 

Scarlett Johansson is fantastic in the role of Major. For a character that is iconically reserved and detached, she cranked the subtlety of every action to 11. I found her captivating, pulling me in completely and wholly engaging my attention every second she was on screen. Besides the occasional sarcastic quip and the look in her eyes, you rarely get to know what she's thinking. Where some actors might leave you bored or frustrated, she was perfect. Everything drew you in more instead of pushing you off. 

The supporting roles were ancillary to her performance and did the job they needed to. Nothing that blew me away, but nothing to take away from the movie either. 

The visuals are stunning. We watched it in IMAX 3D, and although the 3D aspect wasn't anything mind-boggling, the visuals in every scene were a marvel to behold. 

It stands on its own without knowledge of the franchise necessary. It is an adaptation, if that wasn't clear. I'm not going to compare it to the original, but I think it did as good a job as could be hoped for. I'm nothing but pleased. 

A lot of the "what does it mean to be human" philosophizing you'd expect from a movie about a girl with a synthetic body.

Speaking of a girl with a synthetic body that didn't choose to have one. There's an entire consent thread throughout the film that pays off quite nicely. As a feminist, I'm fairly happy with the choices made. I can understand that she's partially nude in much of the film and that might bother people, but it makes sense since #1 she doesn't see herself as human and #2 she has a barbie body (i.e. there's nothing there: a synthetic human doesn't need reproductive parts).

It's not looking like it's going to make a ton of money, but let's hope it picks up internationally and we get a couple more. 

If you like sci-fi, you need to go see this movie. If you want to see more movies like this being made, you need to go see this movie. If you want more movies starring female actors in traditionally male roles, you need to go see this movie. If you like anime and want more anime adaptations, you need to go see this movie. 

Go see this movie.