Wednesday 9 January 2019

alternate universe spidermans

while this list could technically be used with any superhero the authors strongly urge you to only do spidermans

art by james stokoe

Monday 7 January 2019

dinosaur sea

rounding out dino trifecta

A fractal coast of fractured stone, cliffs in white and bright ochre. Everywhere teeming clouds of life. Billowing flocks of pterosaurs peel from the cliffs and dive at improbable shoals of gleaming fish. Plankton bloom and bioluminesce, cut through by basking sharks while ichthyosaurs frolick a swell away. People drag in slabs of bark from the swamp and carve every kind of craft: outriggers and kiteboards, kayaks and surfboards, and playfully tussle with the uncaring sea

Whenever anyone rolls a natural 1 they get bigger fished.

Villages Games 1 Fish 2 Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
1 carved into the cheeks, eyes and jowls of stone faces that spew water into the sea belowdive off cliff, swim to island, steal egg, swim back. maybe sharksa jelly swarm, bobbing in their skirts and twining tentacles together like nervous hungry schoolkids2d4 wolfwhales, throwback orcas with the blunt faces and blunter humour of hyenasfinely feathered mosasaur, regal and curious, all the patience its great belly will afford
2 built around the rim of a blowhole, rooftop nets catch falling chunks of fish and other foodget tied to a rope and used as bait for a fish2d12 dartfish pop out of the water with a flash, tear through the wings of pterosaurs or nail into cliff side climbers and thrash, trying to drag them down1d3 sea scorpions clatter about the cliff sides and surge out of the shoreline mindlessly feeling for food1d100 horseshoe crabs, slowly migrating, their trails plotting lunar arcs through the sand
3 burrowed into the underside of a arching causeway, ropes dangling down to snare fish and haul shipscarefully scripted game of ulama, someone loses an eye or a hand probably20d20 writhing forms the length of your arm, catsharks and dogfish, wobbegongs and sawfish, a tumbling ball mad for blooda motile mass of seaweed, twitching twisting limbs of green grip corpses, food for symbiotic fish2d10 crashing, empty-eyed dunkleosteus, as happy to shatter cliffs as ram their aggressor
4atop huge raft of seaweed and guano, flocked over once a season by pterosaursswim through seacaves into the sweep of a blowhole8d6 somnolent squid regard the surface with detached, benthic wisdom, gather beneath human villages at night to share in their dreams1d6 morays jealously guard their porous home. poke sneering maws from their hiding holes but flee a real threata thousand year old nautilus drifts serenely, slow grow into indestructibility and content with the sagacity of centuries
5 in cave accessible via sump, lit by bioluminescent algae in the poolssurf the wake of a megalodon3d4 fisherfolk, their life completely at the mercy of the sea, totally laid back and relaxed5d10 huge-crested tapejarids, gather once a season on the guano islands to court each otheran algal bloom, a toxic wash that swirls against the current hunting hot life
6nestled into the tall walls of a coral reef, kept dry by an enormous dykeleap onto the back of a pterosaur and ride it down into the water3d4 skull faced, white feathered pterosaurs, like seagulls, or dingos, clamour and cajole and pounce on your backfat, happy amoeba, smaller prey forgotten as it gloops around any new point of contacta tentacle, the furthest tip of some beast bigger than your comprehension

Saturday 5 January 2019


buildings sneak into the city; in reflections, through pictures and adverts, flickering visible in the skyline into conversation then reality, history, memory punched through like a flag in soil

the babbling fates, piss-stained and homeless ratty beards woven together like their voices - sing song prognosticate, jibe and laugh; manic and sad and saner than you

plant rooms bloom on the rooftops, filtering human life: water and air and thin dense streams of data, strained of life to silhouette a ghost, a metal dryad

a million generations of rats little red eyes watching little red deeds soaking in gangsters executions arsons fraud little yellow teeth chewing little yellow wires and no one rat knows quite what it’s doing until you’re electrocuted in the bath

cop cars blacked out windows break the glass and all the shadows stream in the world goes flat and sirens sirens overwhelming your veins pop out like old diagrams of the circulatory system all red and blue blood pounding in you skull in shame and guilt and anxiety until you lash out and once the crime’s committed you’re dead, cop car tyres gleefully crunch your skull

ads sprawl over walls like vines, lcd displays bloom and flyers crawl like lichen, drinking in the light reflected from fixated eyeballs, photosynthesizing attention

dead ends always curving away around another corner you want to keep going but you’re tired and you need to piss why is it taking so long to get back? full of cats they love it here there’s space enough to establish long hierarchy and tradition and there’s always fresh meat

the internet of things

a living bus with a hundred concrete legs wants to smash your bones and slurp your unbroken skinsack into its form but can only see you when you transgress boundaries of politeness - jay-walking, loud swearing, littering, talking with your mouth full

rats in the streets below but pigeons wheel above, eating off the margins and making marginal gains, every swirl of the swarm a prediction, every falling falcon an insider trader, all calculating odds in aggregate and watched fearfully by people hands on their wallets

trains under your feet bind up the streets in a rune and draw you to a station like a spider like a wurm like your own anxiety at wondering where you're going, tunnels draw you in out of the rain but you don’t stop and rest because they have to be walked, trams trail you beg to be ridden but once you sit down you don’t stand up

super markets all twisting corridors of homewares and clothing and tins of food on special there's a frosty jug of milk somewhere in the back and you won't leave without it cause that's what you came here for, isn't it? Like a fey barrow with tight corridors of plasterboard and cheap metal shelving, clacking guardians of unrecycled plastic and the tithe of milk you have to pay before they'll let you out

it's an anglerfish a crocodile a suicide booth flashing LED deals 2 3 4 5 for the price of 1 sitting smug on street corners letting consumers flit in and out until someone touches the wrong twix bar and SNAP it gobbles everyone down and dives under the street to digest

the smell finds you and follows you everywhere like a lost dog, snuggling into garbage bags and exhaust pipes and backed up bathrooms, snuffling up your nose when it’s happy to see you and choking you to death when it’s not

spiralling highways, cars full of skeletons with cold quiet grins their heads turn to you unmoving and watch as the cars grind and bump towards each other dragged into a sinkhole and slow compacted metal and bone splinter and twist but don't break and then rumble up again under garages from tunnels ready to drive again again again into the hole that spawned them


Wednesday 2 January 2019

d50 villains

  1. Crime Slime. Big green ooze in a domino mask and a trenchcoat, holding about fifteen guns in its pseudopods. Talks like Tony Soprano.
  2. Couch Potato. Giant potato with big blue eyes and stumpy little arms that is toted around in a sedan chair by its henchmen. Buries foes in the dirt to feed its little potato babies.
  3. Cardsharp. Gambler with a thin moustache. Has exactly fifty-two razor-sharp throwable playing cards - when the deck runs out, the crime is over.
  4. Diving Belle. Woman in a Victorian diving suit with wetsuited, speargun-toting henchman and a flying submarine that crashes in through walls. Cannot swim.
  5. Saguaro. Big slow half-cactus bruiser who wears a cowboy hat and hugs enemies to death. Spongy flesh is hard to damage. Can heal by planting feet in soil.
  6. The Gecko. Cat burglar who climbs walls with sticky feet. Is constantly licking own eyeballs with long translucent tongue and making weird clicking sounds.
  7. Mancrab. Homeless hermit with crushing claws who steals hollow objects to use as shells. Robs banks just for the vaults. Would like to get big enough to wear the Sydney Opera House.
  8. El Conquistador. Don-Quixote-esque lunatic in steel helmet. Claims the wealth of the banks he robs for the Spanish crown. Underlings dressed as Renaissance musketmen.
  9. Killbug. Rolls into a chitinous ball and barges through town, knocking people over. Is constantly explaining that he is technically an isopod, not a bug.
  10. Stampede. Possessed by the spirit of a dead ecosystem. Has the power to summon a horde of ghost bison that charge down the street, destroying everything in sight.
  11. Parasite Wasp. Venomous ovipositors in her hands. Lays her eggs in important people, and controls their minds, so her babies will have a secure place to grow.
  12. Maid Marionette. Turned to a life of crime after she was fired from the children's TV show she created. Uses dark magic to animate evil puppet versions of pop-culture figures and superheroes.
  13. Flagburner. Hates patriotism and wants to destroy all symbols of America, from the Statue of Liberty to Mount Rushmore. Wears black. Definitely extremely evil.
  14. Joy Buzzer. Prankster with electrical powers. Can imbue seemingly harmless objects with lethal static charges that hurl people across rooms.
  15. Iceberg. Giant carved from craggy ice. Can't be stopped by anything except heat. Gentle at heart and loves to play with his two pet fairy penguins.
  16. Snow Day. Former science teacher who grew to hate school so much that she built a weather-controlling device to bring the city to its knees. Henchmen are delinquent students in turtlenecks.
  17. The X-Terminator. Self-styled hero who pumps poison gas into crooks' apartments and has creepy fascist overtones. Has long-term plan to target George Soros.
  18. Toastmaster. Breakfast-themed, with fried-egg gun and combat spatula. Seems funny until he sprays boiling bacon fat into your eyes.
  19. Pet Peeve. Can speak to all domestic animals and convince them to turn them against their masters. Uses them as a spy network and knows everything that goes on in the city.
  20. Red Scare. Torments capitalists with hallucinogenic fear gas, which mostly gives them nightmares of the working class rising up to reclaim the fruits of their labour.
  21. Red Herring. Traps capitalists in elaborate underwater death labyrinths and forces them to solve riddles to escape. Failures get fed to carnivorous fish.
  22. Loan Shark. Hammerhead shark in a cheap suit who runs a pawnshop and bites the legs off his debtors. Wisecracking remora attached to chest.
  23. Little League. Twelve-year-old baseball prodigy and criminal mastermind who turned to crime when he became too old for the game. Goons wear uniforms and beat people with bats.
  24. Brass Monkey. Monkey in a top hat and goggles, equipped with an array of steampunk gadgets. Hates cold and only works in summer.
  25. Knucklehead. Head is a fist. Fists are also fists. Has a gun that shoots fists. Has trouble working out how to commit fist-themed crimes.
  26. The Mammal. Bit by a radioactive mammal, now has all the powers of every mammal. Tracks prey like a wolf, runs like a cheetah, punches like a gorilla, swims like a dolphin, etc.
  27. Stable Abel. Cat burglar with perfect balance. Can never be knocked over. Spirit-level vision - always knows how close to level any given surface is.
  28. Mister Blister. A slave to the sapient acidic blisters that cover every inch of his skin. Squirts corrosive pus at enemies. Does not enjoy life.
  29. Helen Killer. Deaf-blind assassin who hunts by vibrations in the air. Delivers hilarious Bond-style quips by means of a sign language interpreter that follows her everywhere - she's holding his family hostage.
  30. Turf War. Huge man with enormous pruning shears, wrapped in layers of high-quality lawn turf that muffle all blows. Talks to the grass and takes its advice.
  31. The Luddite. Hates technology, wields a huge hammer. Nothing invented after 1700 works in her vicinity. 
  32. Deathwish. Suicidal guy with luck powers. Does violent crime and gets into dangerous situations in the hope that it'll kill him, but survives by outrageous coincidence.
  33. Wet Willie. Skin is permanently damp and slippery, making him hard to get hold of. Can squeeze through small spaces like he was made of jelly. Likes to sneak up behind you and put his finger in your ear.
  34. The Prickly Pair. Team-Rocket-esque duo of gunslinging outlaws who are constantly taking offence at minor insults. Mascot is a trained, highly-intelligent burrowing owl.
  35. Wireframe. A luminous green video game skeleton that escaped from the computer into reality. Can clip through walls and teleport randomly around the map.
  36. Clickbait. Gets more powerful the more attention is paid to her. A big fan of sexy costumes and controversial political opinions.
  37. The Raw Prawn. Extremely Australian mercenary, known for his brutal honesty and appallingly fishy body odour. Expert in maritime assassination. Fears being whacked on the barbie.
  38. The Dropbear. Big hairy guy in leather who assassinates people by HALO jumping on top of them. Commonly thought to be an urban legend.
  39. Lemon Squeezy. Guy with a squirt gun attached to a big tank of lemon juice on his back. Only move is to squirt lemon juice into your eyes and laugh. Wears yellow.
  40. Spin Cycle. Ex-wrestler dressed like a washing machine. Utility belt contains slippery soap, caustic detergent and deadly tide pods.
  41. Pillowfight. In her hands, pillows and cushions become heavy as lead and unbreakable as adamantium. If she throws them they turn into feather-filled bombs. Prefers to rob IKEAs.
  42. Sargasso. Enormous animated blob of tangled, decaying seaweed that wraps you up and chokes you. Releases sulphurous fumes that rust metal. Lonely.
  43. Hocus POTUS. The American president from another dimension where everyone is magic. Plots to take over the America of this world.
  44. Daily Grind. Golem made from used coffee grounds. Raids cafes to get more grounds to supplement its rotting form. Will suffocate you, but smells great.
  45. Thunderhead. Head is a perpetually-roiling storm cloud. Shoots bolts of lightning when she gets angry. Voice is modulated thunder.
  46. Stunt Double. Capable of being in two places at the same time. One body creates distractions by doing fantastic, death-defying stunts while the other commits sneaky crimes.
  47. Firedamp. Exudes and controls clouds of flammable gas. Wears heavy leather padding to protect them from the inevitable explosions caused by people shooting at them. Henchmen dressed as miners carrying lanterns.
  48. The Oaf. Incredibly stupid, reasonably strong man who, due to a gypsy's blessing, can't be injured or defeated by anybody smarter than he is.
  49. Crookatoo. Flashy gangster who dresses all in white, with a yellow plume in his hat. Cracks open nuts with his teeth and repeats everything said to him.
  50. Stickybeak. Bird guy with a glue gun.