A german literature student just trying to write some interesting short stories.
Blog (german) + English writing portfolio: https://anydelblogs.wordpress.com/
The five Hells
Day 1 Talerna was desperate. Despite her best efforts, she had not been able to find her way back again. She had been wandering through the forest for several hours now, hoping to find a clue somewhere as to where exactly she was and how to find back to the base camp of her unit. The day had started well when she was sent on a simple reconnaissance mission with her crush. They were only to leave the camp for a short time and explore the ruins they had discovered the day before. Spending time with Silvana AND visiting an ancient ruin? A romantic checkpot, that was what it was supposed to be! Why had she briefly lost sight of her? Silvana discovered something, disappeared behind a wall and when Talerna followed her, she was gone. Or was it Talerna who disappeared? She had no idea, she just knew she had been wandering around ever since, not knowing where she was or how to find her way back.
A deal's a deal
In the center of a small frontier village, a woman stood in the shadow of a saloon, patiently waiting for something or someone. People didn't seem to notice her, and she even had to lean against the wall to not be run over by a man walking past her. Her clothes were rather mundane, wearing a duster, trousers, a belt and a shirt. The most unusual piece of her clothing was a hat with a big brim, hiding her face in an unnatural shadow as she looked down at her hands, where she carefully prepared a cigarette as she waited. Very gently, she distributed some tobacco on a piece of paper before she carefully rolled it up. As she grabbed into the inner pockets of her duster to get a match, a revolver in a holster at her belt is visible.
The nervous human
What a nice day. Yes, it's cold and the streets are full with humans going to one of their weird rituals. A lot of humans in funny clothes walk down a big street while the other humans watch and scream and are rather annoying. Little alleys are much more cozy. Better to sleep in after a good breakfast. But what's that? This human looks sad and anxious. They seem to be agitated, reminding me of a mouse being stalked. Maybe this gathering makes them uncomfortable, just like me. I know them, they are often nervous, but not like this. Normally they go into this alley into one of the buildings here. Let's get them to their relaxing place. "Hey, human, here, let's get your spirits up.", I call out to them. They approach me, looking at me, already losing some tension. They reach out to me. Now, normally I dislike being touched by humans, as they seem to see me as some kind of toy and I resent that. Today, I guess, I can make a exception for them. Out of pity for their extreme anxiousness I just let them pet me.
Disco Elysium - An examination
A lot of game now have skill trees and give attribute points and equipment as a means to develop your character, to make them better. Their appeal is obvious: They are measurable stats to show your progress in a game. It is one thing to get told that you are stronger now, but it is another thing to actually see this progress visualized in the game with real consequences. After all, one of the core aspects of a lot of games is this progression. Overcoming an obstacle previously thought to be unbeatable. But this over-reliance on stats and attributes, oftentimes coupled with new, shiny equipment, comes with a cost. After all, if I'm just hunting for numbers, always trying to get higher and higher numbers to become stronger, the game basically gets reduced to an Excel chart with fancy graphics. Now if you look at the picture above, you see the skills and attributes in the game "Disco Elysium". They are… rather unusual, which this text wants to uses as a basis for a further exploration as to how skills and attributes can be more meaningful in a game than just "numbers going higher". In turn, this will provide an insight into how RPG-mechanics actually can be used to analyze identity and personality in a protagonist.
References in medieval writings
When we discuss storytelling and its tools and tropes, we tend to view them from a point of modernity. One can easily forget that a lot of things we find rather "meta", like references and the like, are much older than we presume. One of the more obvious instances are references. They are oftentimes, at least in our time, viewed as a rather blunt method to convey something. Referential humor is a great example of this, for it can easily devolve into just throwing out quotes for a cheap laugh. But just like in our time references have a certain quality to them, those ideas carried many possible values in other times. This short text shall do two things: First, it should illustrated the ways in which medieval authors used references for their works. Second, it hopefully shows that the medieval period was much more nuanced than it gets credit. By providing the ways those authors worked with texts, one can see that they had a certain way with words. This way may be different to ours, but was and is still valid.
The creation of a deity
Mechanika sighed heavily. Another failure. No matter how often or how hard they tried, they didn't get any closer to their goal. They looked at their failed creation lying on their working table. It was a robot, meticulously welded together in the form of a human. Mechanika hoped to make something worth of being blessed with their knowledge and understanding of the world. How could that be so difficult?! "What did we miss? Why won't you work? We miss something… something important!" Mechanika muttered to them self, the voice muzzled by the welding mask they wore. Making a deity (or whatever the creation was in the end) on purpose was way more complicated than even the deity of science and technology ever thought. Mechanika slumped into their chair and looked around in their laboratory, hoping to find some inspiration for their work. It was an enormous room, with huge machinery, bookshelves, computers and research tools as far as the eye can see. Mechanikas look stayed on a huge monitor, depicting the fundamental laws of nature. They were visible throughout their whole domain, always reminding Mechanika of the limits even a deity has to respect somehow. Grabbing a pen in one hand and raising the other hand towards a holographic display, the began frantically writing notes and played around with the hologram, fully focused on their work. They would make this work. Somehow.
A history of "Grimm's fairytales"
A lot of people are familiar with "Grimm's fairytales". They are referenced or retold in a lot of media (certain Disney interpretations spring to mind) or even given a wholly new spin like Disney's "Maleficent" and movies like "Snow white and the huntsman". In modern times we tend to not just retell those stories by the book, but work our own ideals and interests into the source material. Oftentimes one can hear certain buzzwords like "faithful retelling" or "interesting twist" when those stories get reviewed. Those reinterpretations lead to the timelessness of such fairytales. It leads to the interesting observation of a certain mindset: Grimm's fairytales get adopted and changed to fit modern sensibilities, afterwards a backlash starts which accuses the retelling of not being "faithful" and a "cleaned up" version of the original. In this interpretation, fairytales have a definitive form given by their original authors: The Grimm brothers. After all, many of those fairytales are gathered in a book by them and through their collection they made sure that we would have access to the original, true fairytales. But how fair and true is this idea of the "original" fairytale?