Dread Month draws to a close! The spookiest of nights, the dawn of the dead, the uh, thing! We shed our shackles and dance in our bones, and tomorrow, go about the business of being people, once again, sloughing out into the drawing heat and the growing, burning, hateful light of a sun that resents us and we celebrate in spite of it. You know, the normal and natural way everyone relates to this time of the year.
Alright, let’s do the Game Pile articles!
- Don’t Go In There, a dice chucker board game made in a charming dice tower
- Backwater, a really interesting TTRPG about a post-apocalyptic vision of the parts of America that are allowed to stay permanently soggy
- Phantom Ink, a hidden information ghosty game in the vein of Mysterium
- Carrion, a video recreation of one of my favourite articles to read aloud from 2020
Then there’s the Story Pile!
- Bloodthirsty Hearts, a fiction podcast about queer girls fighting gargoyle vampires at a convention in which they learn the valuable lessons that all systems of privilege and power aren’t as important as talking to your gay crush.
- The Lighthouse, a black and white movie about what enters you when you take yourself far away from everything and empty yourself.
- Jujutsu Kaisen, spoiler-free, a contextualising post about how a great Shounen Battle Anime with horror elements make the idea of shounen anime nonsense.
- John Carpenter’s Halloween, from 1978, a movie that is both way better than I expected, and full of all sorts of deliberate choices that people seem to replicate for no good reasons.
- Willy’s Wonderland, which is, unironically a Five Nights At Freddies fan movie made by Nicolas Cage in a month and really quite good!
This month also featured a somewhat bumper load of D&D content. First, I did some worldbuilding for Cobrin’Seil, both in revealing a new location, Uxaion, which is a necrocybermagepunk city. It’s an adventure city where you can contend with economic harm and threats, and where you can also just murder your way through cops that only respect the utility of your body as a potential undead – it’s a place for wight privilege. Then I also presented the player backgrounds for characters you could make from the Szudetken province. Along with that, I made an article about Evil Gods, and the antisemitism built into the framework of the D&D Lich, and since I was just in the territory, I made fun of the 4e D&D Vampire character class, even though I think it’s a great idea. Then, in this month’s How To Be article, where I got to hold high Harrowhark Nonagesimus, drowned sad vomiting goth of the Locked Tomb franchise, I also gave a long-form discussion of how to translate a prominent, small-cast character’s vibes in a team based game.
Up here, there’s also room to talk about an OC, Z3R0, and about the ongoing, relentless onslaught of capitalism in the creation of more than half of all valid Commander cards in the past five years.
This being October, I once again did a set of Dread Readings. I know that a lot of my friends have never partaken of a lot of classic, historically important horror media. At first, Dread Readings were Lovecraft Stories, trying to make the difficult readings of his old texts into something more approachable. Then, the year after, I started picking up short stories from other, equally classic horror material that could help – in my opinion – familiarise people with different kinds of horror that you know, didn’t just continue being Lovecraft.
This year, the four Dread Readings are:
- HP Lovecraft’s The Thing On The Doorstep, which I bring up as the time Lovecraft dabbled in issues of gender.
- A chapter excerpt from Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In The Willows, in which Mole and Rat meet the Horned King, a totally normal thing to randomly have in an otherwise pretty Christian book!
- Destiny’s No Rez For The Weary, a lore tab entry from a videogame. I liked it because it’s horror in a science fantasy space that isn’t
- Paul Jenning’s Granddad’s Gifts, a haunting story from an Australian kid’s author. This is a story I really like as an example of horror used to a different romantic effect than just fear.
It wouldn’t be October, the ongoing Dread Month, without some real downer articles. Do you want to read me being a huge downer? No? Okay, well, here are links anyway. I wrote about the Silent Hill Wiki Circumcision Incident, about how we examine the death toll of Chernobyl, about the way we all live the life of Lovecraft’s horror, about the creation of an alternate reality in the form of all media that wants to pretend the Pandemic never happened, and most of all, the horror of a history seeing suicide by immolation become more common. Know what really sucks? Since writing that article I remembered the Arab Spring was kicked off by another one!
Next up, what about this month’s T-Shirt? Since I’ve been watching Jujutsu Kaisen, this horse meme and the narrative of the series came together:
This design was one of those ones where I, with enough work, was able to put together a few variations. Redbubble lets me stick things in collections, and so, here! Have a collection for your consideration of which version looks best to you.
Work-wise, this month is the tail end of semester, which means I have been, I think, marking student work every single day of this month. I’m trying to make sure my students are getting attention they need, and still also provide plans to my cohort of teachers about how we can refine these subjects going forward. This is in addition to my phd work, which…
I’m excited to work more on my phd tomorrow morning. Like I am genuinely thinking about the stuff I stopped working on today and want to pick up tomorrow. There’s a mindset shift on that front that’s been really hard to get my head around. I’m glad of it.
I’m also kind of boiling with game ideas, and without a theme – and with the upcoming no effort november vibes I’m aiming for… we might see more chill vibes going forward!