Saturday, July 24, 2010

Idea for a Book, Plus a Social Encounter

So, I had this idea for a book a long time ago, and I still think it’s a good idea, but I’m never going to write it. So I figured I’d put it out onto the interwebs and see if someone else would like to write it instead. I don’t want any money, or even as much as a free copy or anything; I just want to read it.

So Stephanie Meyer wrote a few books that were sort of popular. They made some movies or something. Now, the point of the books was apparently “Sex before marriage is bad,” and “Vampires are actually pretty cuddly, once you get past their asshole first impressions.” I can’t say as I’m really all that familiar with the material. I read the first three or four chapters of the book before literally throwing it across the store. It landed somewhere between my RPG indie shelf and the manga shelves. It’s not that I had an issue with the plot (or lack thereof). I’ve read books that took longer to get to the point. Robert Jordan’s books, for instance, can take upwards of seven hundred pages before something actually happens. I liked (most of) those books.

No, the problem was that Ms. Meyer doesn’t know how to put a sentence together. The quality of the writing itself was so amateurish and semi-literate that I couldn’t force myself to put any more of her words into my brain. So I threw the book in disgust, and it festered on our novel shelves for a while, and I tried to forget about the experience.

There was, however, something deeply insidious about her portrayal of vampires as objects of lust and love, about her exploration of a young girl’s obsession with an older (dead) man, and how she displayed the cuddlier, sweeter side of the whole bloodsucking thing. Her vampires kill the scary bears in the woods and protect their teenage sweethearts from harm. That’s really… tame of them.

Which makes me wonder why she would display these traditionally predatory creatures as fluffy bunny versions of themselves. From what I hear, she tries to leave a little of the danger in them, but it mostly fails because the protagonist is entirely blinded by her ridiculous, sexless love-plot. So why neuter your vampires? Why make them respect religiously-inspired pre-marital celibacy? Why leave your characters as blank, faceless avatars for self-implantation fantasies?

My theory, is Stephanie Meyer works for real vampires. Not the sort who sparkle in sunlight, but the kind that lurk in the shadows and prey on unsuspecting men and women. The sort of vampires who have replaced sexual predation with actual predation. Interview with a Vampire vampires. 30 Days of Night vampires. Those vampires. She was hired by them, maybe with money, maybe with promises of immortality and power.

The job was simple: give the vampire legend a facelift, make them friendlier, objects of romantic interest and sexual obsession. Make. Hunting. Easier. And she’s certainly accomplished that goal. Teenage girls are so desperate for some vampire attention they’re asking their boyfriends to rub ice on their lips to facilitate the fantasy they’re kissing vampire boys. And the boys are desperate enough for female attention they’re actually doing it.

So I’m thinking maybe a Dresden Files book (go ahead, Mr. Butcher; this one’s yours). Or maybe a solid Buffy the Vampire Slayer story, in which Stephanie Meyer is the Big Bad. When it’s published, let me know. I’ll go buy it.


This is, ostensibly, a blog about gaming. So I feel the need to throw in some game notes. Obviously, any plot that would make a good book would probably make a decent game (though for a book like Ulysses, this is obviously less true). Stephanie Meyer would make a solid mini-boss in a Hunter or Vampire game. Whoever hired her is the real evil, but she’d be a solid lieutenant.

More, though, this is a tactic that can be applied to any Evil Thing that would prefer to have a bit friendlier an image. Viral marketing is a thing we’ve been doing for centuries. You write a book, someone loves it and lends it to a friend, then buys a copy of their own (or writes one, pre-printing press, or pirates one, post-interwebs). I mean, you want to find a master of viral marketing, you need look no further than the Bible. Yeshewa ben Yoseph (Jesus) was a fucking carpenter, and now he’s responsible for the salvation of some hundred bazillion souls.

Because this is also, primarily, a D&D4 blog, let’s look at a more Gygaxian example. Goblins have kind of a bum deal in most D&D worlds. Eberron made some allowances for them while it was making allowances for everyone else, but in most campaign worlds goblins are seen as vermin, pests or outright evil depending on who you talk to. Now, I have some issues about racism in D&D, so the idea that an entire species of intelligent creatures being lumped into a single stereotype kind of chafes. But let’s run with the idea that they are irrevocably evil creatures who want nothing but to torment and destroy the “good” species in the world.

But goblins are crafty little bastards, and King Krug is more crafty than most. He has been in contact with the most prominent minstrels and bards in the world, inviting them to come and partake of goblin hospitality. Over a fabulous dinner, he has insinuated that great riches await a bard who can raise the general public’s awareness of the goblins’ more genteel attributes. They are, after all, fine craftsmen and powerful warriors. They are dashing rogues, living on the outskirts of a society that has shunned them. There’s somewhat romantic in the notion, no? Should a minstrel happen to make this more… Accurate view of the goblin peoples’ character the more readily accepted, King Krug would certainly make it worth the bard’s while. And he or she would be praised as a hero to goblins everywhere. Surely this is a noble and worthy goal?

Diplomatic Encounter: King Krug

King Krug

Level 4 Solo Controller

Small natural humanoid

XP 875

HP 196; Bloodied 98

AC 18; Fortitude 16; Reflex 16; Will 17

Speed 6

Saving Throws +5; Action Points 2

Initiative +4

Perception +4



O Hospitality • Aura 5 (social encounter)

Creatures that begin their turn within the aura take 5 damage and 3 ongoing psychic damage (save ends).

Standard Actions

R Used Cart Salesman (charm) • At-Will

Effect: Ranged 10 (All social opponents in burst.); +12 vs. Passive Insight; 2d8 + 4 and the creature is .

C Soothing Voice of Deep Rumbly Doom (thunder) • Encounter

Effect: Close Blast 5 (all social opponents in burst); +8 vs Passive Insight; 1d6 + 5 and the target is weakened until the end of King Krug's next turn. .

M Attack • At-Will

Attack: +9 vs. AC

Hit: 1d10 + 5 damage.

Minor Actions

Summon Goblin Minion • At-Will

Effect: Summon a single Goblin Cutter into a square adjacent to King Krug. The Goblin Cutter's initiative is 1. .

Skills Bluff +11, Insight +9, Intimidate +11, Stealth +9

Str 14 (+4)

Dex 15 (+4)

Wis 14 (+4)

Con 9 (+1)

Int 13 (+3)

Cha 18 (+6)

Alignment      Languages

Equipment jeweled scepter, random crown, fresh-water fish

© 2010 Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved. This formatted statistics block has been generated using the D&D Adventure Tools.


SlurpeeMoney said...

That stat block is fucking hideous. I really need to find a better way to format those from Monster Builder to Blogger...

Nancy said...

Would a screencap work? Can you post images in blogger?

SlurpeeMoney said...

You can, I'm just never sure about picture formatting on screens that aren't mine. I'd like to blocks to look nice for everyone. Though, looking nice for a few people would be a hug step up from looking like crap for everybody...