Welcome to the Screamsheet!

Posted in Site Stuff on January 8, 2014 by Charlie Brooks

Ryoko - Screamsheet icon, space pirate, secret lover...Welcome to the Screamsheet! This place can best be described as a reflection of my weird and fragmented personality. Here you’ll find rants both childish and mature, fiction both published and unpublished, music, videos, and anything else that might wander across my brain.

The Many Faces of Elminster

Posted in Rants, RPG Rants with tags , , on April 18, 2014 by Charlie Brooks

Is he super-competent or super-crazy? You decide.I’m a Forgotten Realms player from my 2nd edition AD&D days, which means I got exposed to the setting right around the time that Elminster the Sage was crammed down players’ throats everywhere. He showed up in the majority of Realms fiction, bothered PCs during official adventure modules, and even showed up to meddle with affairs in the Baldur’s Gate videogames.

I’ve discussed how annoying I found Elminster in those days, and I’ve tried to avoid turning the uber-powerful mage of my own setting into a character with those same flaws. However, I don’t think that Elminster is necessarily bad for the Forgotten Realms setting. It’s just his presentation that tends to be bad.

Here are a few optional takes on Elminster that might make him more interesting. Each of these takes assumes the same Elminster that appears in the 3rd edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting – the 30+ level character with silver fire and a +5 longsword that he has no reason to use. So in each model, he’s a being of demigod-level might who can wreck worlds. But that doesn’t mean he has to be as smug and boring as he appears in official fiction and adventure modules. Continue reading

My Favorite Comics, sans Superheroes

Posted in Comic Books, Rants with tags , , , , on April 16, 2014 by Charlie Brooks

Blacksad is so good it gets shown on this page twice.I spend a lot of time ranting about superhero comics, especially the ones from Marvel and DC. That’s because those comics are usually the most intriguing to me – not only are they a rare example of serial fiction that has lasted for decades on end, but superheroes are one of the most iconic aspects of American society. Characters like Captain America and Wonder Woman are as ingrained in our popular consciousness as folklore legends like Paul Bunyan.

When it comes to sheer quality of storytelling in comics, though, superhero comics usually aren’t the way to go. Not that they are inherently inferior or anything, but they are so continuity-laden, riddled with conflicting interpretations, and driven by corporate agendas that the very best storytelling in comics tends to be divorced from that genre. Luckily, comics are a versatile medium with lots to offer beyond flights and tights. Here’s a look at some of my favorite non-superhero comics. I don’t mention them a lot in rants, but that’s largely because they’re so good that I don’t often have anything to say but, “This is awesome.”

Continue reading

RPG Rants: Diplomacy and Sense Motive

Posted in Pathfinder, Rants, Role-Playing Games, RPG Rants on March 28, 2014 by Charlie Brooks

PZO9207-WhiteDragonWootenI’m in a rare groove in which I’ve been gaming every weekend for more than a month now, so obviously my thoughts are trending more toward RPGs than other hobbies of mine.

Last weekend I continued my Pathfinder Jade Regent game, featuring an encounter with a white dragon. The adventure calls for the dragon to be completely hostile (and with a good reason as to why), but the PCs had just gone through a fairly long combat and the players seemed more interesting in talking than fighting. As a result, I ran the encounter as a parlay rather than a battle. It went fairly well, but it highlighted to me the fact that there are two skills in Pathfinder I don’t like: Diplomacy and Sense Motive.

Continue reading

Meddling Heroes, Chapter 25: Final Crisis

Posted in Fiction, Meddling Heroes, Novels with tags on March 19, 2014 by Charlie Brooks
Picture by PhotoGraham

Picture by PhotoGraham

Previous Chapter

I didn’t want to go down this road again, but I can’t say world domination doesn’t have a certain appeal to it. There are only so many times people have looked at me with the respect I deserve, and almost all of those involved me holding some sort of death ray.

Continue reading

Random Blogness: Breaking my Toys

Posted in Pathfinder, Random Blogness, Role-Playing Games on March 17, 2014 by Charlie Brooks

Dungeons, dragons, and demons. Oh my.In planning for the Pathfinder game I ran this weekend, it occurred to me that my world design is akin to a child building a tower of blocks. I spend a long time carefully constructing the tower, making sure it’s structurally sound, and making it as big and grand as possible, even if the design doesn’t always seem to make sense. Then, when it seems to be just about perfect, I knock it down.

Continue reading

Pathfinder Rogues Gallery: Claude the Clydesdale

Posted in Pathfinder, Rogues Gallery, Role-Playing Games on March 14, 2014 by Charlie Brooks

Somebody in my group actually wanted to play an intelligent horse.Claude was once a beloved steed of the druid adventurer Reynir, who granted the horse intelligence using an awaken spell. Unfortunately, as is the fate of many adventurers, the druid met a fatal end. Claude roamed the land for a time in a depression before being captured and sold on the market. He kept his intelligent nature to himself, biding his time until he found a companion who treated him as well as Reynir did.

Claude was ultimately purchased by the half-elven hero Teranthia Ilphukiir, who dubbed his “Claude Awesome the Clydesdale.” Claude has since taken a liking to Teranthia and now serves her as a loyal and dedicated mount.

Claude himself is a magnificent steed, although he displayed a stubbornness and refusal to bond with riders that lowered his price on the market. Teranthia’s kindness has caused him to open up, and he now looks forward to a life of adventure once more.

Continue reading

Pathfinder Rogues Gallery: Sparrowwood

Posted in Pathfinder, Rogues Gallery, Role-Playing Games on March 13, 2014 by Charlie Brooks
Picture by Desiree Finkbeiner

Picture by Desiree Finkbeiner

Like humans, elves often travel the world in search of new lands and exotic locales. However, once they arrive at such a spot, they are much more likely to remain there. Elves who find a remote spot to their liking can settle down for centuries before getting the urge to leave their little piece of the world.

Sparrowwood grew up in one such area, known as Elensar Island. Isolated from the rest of the world, this tribe of wild elves had a strictly matriarchal structure in which men served as slaves and servants. Like many others on the island, Sparrowwood grew up simple assuming that men were inherently inferior to women. This attitude got reinforced when a predominantly male pirate crew stumbled across the island and was easily driven away by the tribe’s warriors.

Unfortunately, the pirates didn’t retreat permanently. Instead, they came back with reinforcements, determined to pillage the treasures of the exotic isle. The attack caught Sparrowwood’s tribe by surprise, and her sisters were slaughtered almost wholesale. Only Sparrowwood and a handful of others managed to survive, fleeing in a captures pirate ship and vowing that they would one day have their revenge. Sadly, sea travel proved much more dangerous than initially expected and the ship didn’t make it far. When the ship was dashed by a storm miles away from shore, the remainder of Sparrowwod’s tribe perished in the chaos. Only she herself survived, washing ashore a strange world with few supplies and no knowledge of the land she had found herself in.

Sparrowwood was taken in by a man named Invar Tysol, who provided her with healing and some basic training in the world she had found herself in. Unfortunately, Sparrowwood’s own attitude regarding men tended to surface frequently, resulting in a tendency to demean and belittle Invar at every opportunity. Only when Invar left in a rage did Sparrowwood see the error of her ways.

Losing one of her only friends in this new world changed Sparrowwood, and she became more diplomatic in her dealings with strangers. Although she still has a strong preference toward the company of women, she has begrudgingly accepted that men have their uses beyond cheap labor and usually holds her tongue unless enraged.

In battle, it is another story entirely. Sparrowwood usually goes into a rage immediately unless dealing with a clearly inferior foe. She holds nothing back in a fight and lets the rage and grief she feels over the loss of her sisters carry her through most combats.

Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 143 other followers