Tag Archives: The Locked Tomb

T-Shirt: One Flesh One End

I didn’t start this year expecting to be profoundly affected by The Locked Tomb books. As I write this, I have only finished three of them BECAUSE THE FOURTH ONE ISN’T OUT YET, but sometimes, a design haunts the brain and wants to get out. Hey then, here’s a fanart design that I hope doesn’t violate a fanart policy.

And here it is being worn by a digitally stitched-on model

If you want to see this design on things, you can get it here! I would personally recommend, if you are in some way a giant jacked gay lady, that you should get a version of this shirt without sleeves, as it would make Gideon Nav proud (I think).

How To Be: Harrowhark Nonagesimus (In 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

I’ve had this one in the drawer since like April, I didn’t realise just how much I was going to enjoy digging into it two books later.

Oh and hey, sorta-but-not-really spoiler warning? I don’t mean to spoil the books to examine the character, but there is some inextricable hairs that come off with this particular bandaid. Particularly, if you know nothing about the books, there’s a vision of ‘proper’ fandom that says I shouldn’t do anything that gives you any impression of anything in the story, that I should somehow make a hermetically sealable piece of media because someone hypothetically should know nothing about the book when they first engage with it. This is silly. Telling you that, for example, in Harrow The Ninth we get to see that Harrow is a really good necromancer, that shouldn’t be considered as a violence against engagement with the books.

I liked the books, by the way, I think you should check ’em out.

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Who Rules You

I’m not trying to make every consideration of my fundamentalist history this year focus in some way on The Locked Tomb but it’s just very helpful, and since it’s what put it in my mind, I figure it’s what I’m going to be using as my lens. Particularly because as I engage with that fandom I hear people, totally normal and regular people, react to things in the book that reveal to me more ways in which my upbringing was in fact, completely and utterly horseradished.

Let me talk to you of John Gaius, the Emperor Eternal, God with a soft G, and his part in my upbringing.

John Gaius, Jod for short going forward, is a major character in the story of The Locked Tomb. It may constitute a spoiler to inform you that those books feature a character with that name and that title and that he’s, like, a dude who shows up in those books and is kinda a dick, but I don’t think that’s the kind of spoiler for a book series that merits a serious warning. However, in my effort to be nice to people who are big crybaby wenuses about this kind of thing, I will say, here and now, beyond this point, I’m going to talk about a character in a book. I’m going to imply that the guy who became the God-Emperor of Mankind and the Undying Necrolord may have done some fucked up shit.

You will cope.

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Story Pile: Nona the Ninth

Spoiler Warning: I’m going to mention stuff in the book, and by dint of mentioning them it’s going to involve mentioning things in the previous two books that make up the first half of The Locked Tomb trilogy. That is to say, there’s very little talking about Nona The Ninth that isn’t spoilery. Also, I guess there’s a lot of content-warning stuff in this book and also all the others, but I suppose you don’t go into a book promoted as lesbian space necromancer murder mystery thinking you’re about to get something G-rated. Point is if you’re wondering if I liked these books but don’t want to know anything about them before you read them I liked them a lot and this is your warning, your chance to bail.

Let’s talk about girls.

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Reflecting In A Mirror (Writing Advice Stuff)

There’s a nonzero chance that this one is going to be really, really self-indulgent and kind of maudlin and maybe even preachy, in that particular way of a boy who turned forty yelling at young people when he hits a point and feels like he failed at something nobody was ever grading him on. I got a bad grade at being Talen Lee, a thing that’s possible to have and yet, somehow, I always expected.

This has been kicked off in part by reading The Locked Tomb books, and should therefore be seen as an absolute mark in their favour, even if I don’t think you’d ever be able to get out of them what I got out of them.

Here are the lessons in summary form, so you don’t have to read the rest of this mess:

  • Characterisation is story. The way characters approach things, what they look at and how they care about them is part of how you tell the story.
  • Embrace community. Building friendships with people who are interested in your work, and whose work you are interested in, will help you get better at making things.
  • Buy My Book (Don’t Buy My Book). You need to convince people to engage with what you’ve made and that means being willing to share it with them and even ask them to look at it.
  • You Have To Love your Work. The biggest failing all my work has is that I’m embarrassed of it, and horrified by the idea of putting stuff in it that I care about for fear of revolting people around me. Don’t do that, centre the things you care about.
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Story Pile: Harrow The Ninth

Harrow The Ninth is the second book in the four-and-a-half-book-so-far Locked Tomb trilogy by Tamsyn Muir, a New Zealand author, and to get the box blurb copy out of the way early, it’s as intricate as wristbones, multi-layered, wrought out of several kinds of deliberate excellence and also extremely bloody funny. It commands its venaculars and surgical terminology alongside one another to construct a narrative puzzlebox of regrets and rage and guilt and violence and queer shit and I loved it.

There are these healing moments of emotionally satisfying contact between people who you can maybe let your guard down and like because they don’t have to suck just because this situation sucks and maybe that’s the important thing, maybe it’s the friends we made along the way. Or maybe it’s really, really not. You’d have to get to the end of the book to start to find out what you think. I know what I think.

Now, it is a slight problem that Harrow The Ninth is a book that builds directly on the previous book, which is a book with a very distinct conclusion that leaves you wondering ‘okay, now how does this proceed,’ and Harrow The Ninth doesn’t actually give you easy answers. As a matter of simple necessity, then, and in order to discuss ideas in this book and why I love it, I am going to talk – even a bit obliquely – about the stuff in the book. Therefore, if you’re the kind of person who wants them, I put here, a SPOILER WARNING.

And you may think ‘oh come on, it’s a book with a twist, you can talk about stuff around that,’ and like kinda no not really, it’s way more complex than that, and even just telling you that is enough to make the wrong kind of mind leap at shadows thinking every single thing you deal with in the book is The Twist. Good news, though, because in this situation, oh natively paranoid, must-not-be-surprised, solve-it-first readers, you’re right!

Everything in this book is The Twist.

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Story Pile: Gideon The Ninth

Here’s the pitch; it’s a sci-fantasy magi-tech murder mystery story with sword fights and a ripped up muscle lesbian who wears makeup to look like a skull and mirrored sunglasses to look like a skull wearing mirrored sunglasses. Then with that kind of approach you’re left grappling with the question, okay, but how does it pull that off?

And the answer is with bombast and aplomb, two words that I think wouldn’t rate for this book’s love of linguistic particulars.

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