The Dead

The dead? The dead… well they don’t die anymore, just slowly waste away. If they’re lucky maybe they can have a volshebnik use their dark arts or some taytakura prey to some unseen fiend to stop their body from rotting and existing in a state of agony until they break down to dust. Of course in some parts the dead that don’t die are hauled into fires and burnt, unlive, screaming and kicking until they’re nothing more then ash. What happens then? I’d sooner not know, would like to imagine that’s the end of it, but knowing this world I’d not bet on it.

Naomi Wilding,

  • Senior Student at St Authors Academy
  • Missing for 3 months.
  • Unstable family home
  • Reported delinquency
  • Body found buried in the garden.
  • Brain missing.
  • Empty cavity used as kind of plant pot for a flower.
  • Flower not previously catalogued.

Charlie Bird,

  • Junior Student at St Authors Academy
  • Missing 11 weeks
  • Part of Miss Wilding’s friendship group
  • Single parent household
  • Truent
  • Body found buried in the garden.
  • Similar state to Miss Wilding.

Hanna Smith,

  • Senior Student at St Authors Academy
  • Missing 10 weeks
  • Part of Miss Wilding’s friendship group
  • Boyfriend – also missing
  • Abusive father
  • Minor criminal record
  • Body found buried in Garden.
  • Similar state to Miss Wilding.

Jamie Collins,

  • Junior Student at St Authors Academy
  • Missing 9 weeks

Conversation

“Sometimes it’s simply easier to kill”

“That’s a reasonably troubling statement”

“However that is the state of things, the world is on the brink and there’s little point in trying to justify yourself to those with a knife to your back.”

“While I can see your point you may learn a thing or two by listening to them.”

“They were letting their blade do the talking before I concluded the conversation.”

This short exchange was had between two men in a dark field while a half dozen noblemen lay dead around them.

Seeding the Stars

Fourth Generation Seed Fleets

By this point in time a Seed fleet consisted of over a hundred large ships sent in a number of waves, the first consisted of automated factories that would arrive first. The factory fleet would set about building orbital infrastructure, deconstructing asteroids and smaller orbital bodies, large scale laser network construction and the development of O’Neil cylinders.

The second wave was made up of seasoned colonists, people who had helped in the organic settlement of the solar systems worlds and environs. For all practical pueposes their ships were O’Neil cylinders that had engines to propel them through the depths of space. Generally there were four such ships with a total population of about two million people.

The final wave was more of a column of settlers looking for a home away from the Sun that had been the species home for so long, among them were AI and other virtual life.

3 Dandies

The exaggerated sniffing of the air as he strolled past them in the quadrant was a daily pitter-patter that drifted towards a young man that walked by who seemed to mind his own business.
“It’s a disgrace they let dogs in.” A blond true blooded noble snorted as he lent back against the wall waving a lavender hanky in front of his nose.
“Dog? To fine an animal, what we have here is common swine.” A dashing brown haired noble exclaimed excitedly.
“Swine swill more like.” A third red-headed boy laughed obnoxiously.
“Good day sires” the passerby bowed slightly as he moved swiftly on.
“By God, it spoke to us!” The blond chirped.
“How disgusting I must wash. Immediately!” The brunette clamoured.
“The indignity of it all!” The redhead Hollard.
The young man stopped and turned. Looked as though for a moment he was about to say something and then turned back to his walk.

Crack the Can

A pair of vast graphene cylinder spin like thousands of others, ten kilometers long, a radius of one and a half kilometers, each home to over ten million souls. Held together by a lattice framework of steel and graphene and connected to the center of each cylinder like a cotton wheel on a spool the megastructure futher surrounded by a network of solarpanels, sattelites and domes. Small vessels dart between the artificial island in space, while effortlessly orbiting the Sun.

A black cylinder which had been hidden in the shadow of a piece of tumbling ice traveling a short few dozen kilometers from the habitat sprung visibly to life. A blaring thermal signature, monstrous acceleration, cargo doors silently slide open and vast metalic gods ready to hurl themselves into space.

“Hey, Charlie?” Tariq the sensor operator asked sounding a bit bewildered.
“What’s up” Charlie was stood on the ceiling reading an inventory log.
“I’ve got a massive heat spike coming from that rock we indexed for a fly by.” Tariq prodded some buttons.
“That doesn’t sound kosher, got visuals?”
“Just getting some along with a full scan.”
Charlie spun to face one of the larger monitors as the image came in, black on black, but the light from the sun barely reflected off the surface. “What the fuck” he mouthed.
“This ain’t no cargo hauler in a rush.”
“Analysis of object would indicate a space craft, given its behaviour I would suspect it’s hostile.” The ships AI chimed in. “Activating collison defenceses.”
“Tariq, Raise the island, get them to the emergency shelters!”
“Ahead of you already.”
“Unauthorised systems access at outer docking doors.” The AI added.
“Got a visual feed?” Charlie looked out across docking can which the nest protruded into. Metrics and messages streamed across the inteligent glass as claxons howled.
Four large stealth black combat mechs were attached to the outside of the cans hull. “Combat sleeves.”
“Why aren’t they reacting to the drones?”
“I guess they don’t care.”
Tariq looked across at Charlie “I guess that ain’t good”
“You’d guess right”
The docking bay began to open, and as it did a small cylindrical object began to float into the docking can. They stared for a moment.
“Holy shit, get down and cover your fucking eyes!” Tariq screamed as he dove to the ground. Charlie a moment behind. The light so bright that even with face buried on the floor it was as bright as day. An elecromagnetic pulse rippled from docking can and through the habitats destroying all electrics.

“This is Diver one, package delivered, moving to collect the prize.” A womans voice oveer the intercom moved her armoured combat sleeve through the docking can outer door and into the sea of blackness the other sleeves following in, maintaining firing archs and vision.

“This is Diver three, Scan shows the package did the work, controls on their reactors are scrubbed and the whole thing has shutdown.” A male from the recon sleeve.

“Pop the can Diver two, we need into cylinder two.” Diver one directed. She looked across at the nest, two thermals, she lifted her snub cannon and pulled the trigger, no thermals.

“This is Diver Two, Confirmed”

“Diver three, make sure we’re ghosts.”

“This is Diver Three, On it Diver one”

Solutions

Again I find myself contemplating the problem with setting IT organisations on the “right path” with regards to transformation. It almost seems that out of politeness and I suppose an obligation to some pretence created before my arrival. There is a common pattern to the “Digital transformation” get in some tools, an issue tracking system, a continuous integration platform, maybe some kind of orchestration, a version control system, etc… normally these will all be the “likely suspects.”   



At some point, someone will say something like “I feel we’re creating solutions for the unknown” at which point I will look at them somewhat at a loss for words. Not because I disagree but because I deeply understand that they are likely right, it isn’t very smart to go “yes I know, but this is what the organisation has asked for and as such that’s more or less what we’re going to do.” What would I do for most of these organisations if given carte blanch? Firstly I wouldn’t set about putting in place tools until we had to, remember “Do just enough so that you can get started.” I suppose I take the most issue with the process and management side of the whole thing. Version control is likely the only thing that’s a no-brainer you go with some flavour of hosted git, which one? I don’t really care.

The last thing I’d ever commit to is a computerised issue management system whether it’s VSTS, Atlassian or Kanbanize, why? Because that way leads to creating a “solution” that doesn’t make any sense. There will be loads of features you never use and as many that don’t fit the business and given the business doesn’t even know what it wants yet you’re in a sticky place.

By the way, I really dislike the word solution, as I tend to find that today’s solution is tomorrow’s embuggerance. I’m very much a believer in the Toyota view of “countermeasures” this is what we’re doing until we find a better way of doing it and we will constantly challenge ourselves with finding a better way of doing this.

So I would say the best thing is to stick to using sticky notes, large bits of paper, whiteboards, bits of string, felt tip pens, and A3 reports. I’d suggest talking every day and changing things every week or so. Engender PDCA and robust problem-solving methodology. Then maybe after six months or a year, you’ll be ready to commit the current state to a computer system of your design. Don’t buy COTS as it’ll have lots of things you don’t want and it will lack lots of things you do want. You can use the time saved by your new processes to do this development work if you do go for a standard packaged piece of software look for the one that sets the least level of constraints. You can’t trust that a third party piece of software won’t do something your company can’t accept.

I honestly think that this would drive far better practice and adoption in almost all organisations. Though we wouldn’t get to deliver nicely packaged “solutions.”

Dark Road

It didn’t take much time to think about his answer, yes, of course, he’d take the job, who could turn down that kind of opportunity? And now here he was sat in the driving rain waiting for a delivery man. The road was dark a single street light out of a half-dozen seemed to still function, streams of water ran into drains, a burbling sound mixed in with the wind whistling around Georgian townhouses and safety railings. What a miserable night to be out, but it was going to be worth it when he got paid.

Through a window in a house opposite he could make out the top few inches of television, he imagined a family sat in there nice and warm, eating a nice meal. His stomach growled it had been a couple of days since he’d last eaten. He tightened his coat and hunkered down; he’d found a place to squat down by a wall that stuck out a bit further than the others. It didn’t provide much coverage but it was better than none. He tugged at his beanie.

“I fucking hate this.” He muttered to himself, howling wind picked up, and he rubbed his nose. The headlights of a car came into view, maybe it was his lucky day he thought to himself, but it rolled on past. A Toyota Prius. He sighed and stared at the road.

Hey kid. Gotta light?” A low voice suddenly came from nowhere, he looked around and stood hunched over next to him was a figure of a man all in shadow and black a cigarette punching ivory white out of the shadow. He just sat there. How the hell did this massive slab of a man suddenly appear above him, blocking out the rain he was so huge. 

“Kid you deaf as well as dumb, I asked if you had a light.” The voice was intimidating, all the more intimidating because all he could make out was shadow and a the tip of a cigarette surely there should be a face there somewhere. He gathered himself and rummaged through his pockets.

“Sure, here” his voice wavered. His hand shakily held the lighter up and the figures gloved hand took it from him and then the figure stood up, he could of swore it looked like he was over seven foot tool. He cupped the lighter to his face and sparked it up, as the fire lit up the figure face for a moment he could swear he saw a skull. 

“Cheers kid.” The figure handed back the lighter, turned and strolled off down the road, cane in one hand, cigarette in the other. Was that guy seven foot tall with a skull for a face and blue flames for eyes? He asked himself, then pinched his cheek. 

Consequences

Of late I have been watching a lot of whimsical anime along with a lot of modern magic stuff and once again I’m stuck thinking about folklore and fairy tales and how they could make great settings. Now I know that there is loads of stuff out there already with these kinds of settings but I think there’s a lot of room for great storytelling to be done. As always my mind is abuzz with various different options and scenarios, I think I’ll probably get started by doing some research into British folklore.

“Mahoutsukai no Yome”
A strong theme in most settings is that magic is slowly ebbing out of the world and that any form of magic requires an equivalent exchange. A deal with some mythical entity or giving up something of value to the caster and some kind of friction between magic users who gain their power from spirits or nature and those who use more hermetic or alchemical routes to power.
“Durarara”
Another interesting category is where the mundane and mystical interact and where the mundane may end up being even more monstrous than the supernatural. Durarara is a pretty good example of this where the mundane are thrust into being the exceptional among an eclectic cast of eccentrics and supernatural characters.

A Godless World System Tweaks

Hit Points

Hit points in this setting do not go up with levels, they are set from the begining and can only go up via extraordinary circumstances or by using feats. As such it is based off of the characters constitution statistics.The lowest starting hit point value for a player character is four.

The idea behind this change is to get around how characters become progressively more “bullet spongy” as time goes on, going from so flimsy a light breeze can kill them to indomitable monsters that nothing can harm regardless of character stats or class.

Fatigue Points

Fighting is an exhausting process both physically and mentally,

Constitution Hit Die Number Die modifier
1 1 D4 -2
2 – 5 2 D4 0
6 – 7 2 D6 0
8 – 9 2 D6 +2
10 2 D6 +3
11 3 D6 +2
12 4 D6 +2
13 4 D6 +3
14 4 D8 +3
15 5 D8 +3
16 5 D10 +2
17 5 D10 +3
18 5 D12 +2
19 6 D12 +2
20 6 D12 +3

Melee Damage

To go with the theme melee damage outside of power moves is greatly modified by a player characters strength statistic. Note, weapon notation will be greatly modified to go along with this system.

The idea here is that a monstrous hulking barbarian should do considerably more damage then a spindly barbarian. Also that a broardsword in the hands of said barbarian will do more damage then in the hand of his averagly built bretheren.

Strength Die Number Die modifier
1-5 1 -2
6-8 1 -1
9-10 1 0
11 1 +1
12 1 +2
13 2 +1
14 2 +2
15 3 +1
16 3 +2
17 4 +1
18 5 +1
19 5 +2
20 6 +1

Some weapons will have a maximum damage, this indicates that the character is unable to use their full strength for risk of breaking the weapon, the player may choose to disregard this however they must make a roll to see if the weapon breaks. Roll a d6 1 to 3 it breaks 4 to 6 it doesn't the threshold for breaking increases by one for each extra die beyond the first so 2d above the max damage means the weapon breaks on a 1 to 4.