Inside the Mind of Kurtis J. Wiebe

A Life's Journey

Month: July, 2012

More Forgotten Realms Content

I’ve always put a lot of effort into my gaming sessions. The actual hours spent at the table are completely freeform but I have an overarching narrative that can grow and change with every action the players take. However, when I have the time, I spend about a half hour writing up a narrative introduction that summarizes the previous session and propels the next session forward with a bit of drive. Because, as all GM/DM’s know, the very start of a game can take awhile to formulate.

I posted the write up I did for my players in the Cliffside campaign a few weeks ago. Here’s the introduction that I wrote for the very first session.

__________________________

Today, like any other day, started with the call from Voon Kruk at the peak of Cliffside tower. All clear, the night safe, start your morning with your assured safety because of the good work I do.

And so, Cliffside rolls into the first hours of the first day of its eleventh year as a community. Unlike most other days, business has been planned, as pressing matters of varying topics are in need of discussion. This chilly fall morning, with its cloudy skies and frigid wind, is ushered in with the gruff, cantankerous growl of Banyon Krae. The last few months, his incessant complaining about the lack of investment and capitalization of the mines has grown from a disgruntled murmur over a pint too many, to what it has become now.

“We agreed to only harvest the mine as a means to improve our town,” he snarls, slamming his fist on the council table. “We all agreed to that those years ago.  And I’m fine with that, but the fact of the matter is that we’re wasting valuable resources by letting the amber mine sit quietly. We have the manpower, let’s increase production.”

“We have only needed the assets in the mine to ensure a steady supply of aide and good relations from Beregost,” Daria Sunbow interjects seconds after. “To increase the output is to invite prying eyes. We’ve managed to avoid drawing attention to the riches of the mines, we’re lucky to have kept our wealth under wraps this long.”

Angry glances are exchanged.

“Do we really have to go through this again?” Hannah Drague says, bored. “I have matters to attend to. If Cristus would be so kind as to go over the annuals, we can end this quicker than last year.”

“What matters could possibly be so urgent?” Banyon cuts in. “The High Priestess of 80 civilians must have quite the queue waiting at the 2 foot tall shrine. We don’t hear you arguing when that amber pays for beautification of Cliffside, but when it comes to actual investment in things that matter, the high cleric of drama has better things to do.”

Soon, the room is filled with shouting, people standing on their toes trying to talk one over the other. It carries on, just like the year before, only this time it’s cut short by the entrance of a herald. A young man, Afiax of Beregost, quietly enters the hall. The room turns to the quiet, unassuming man. He clears his throat.

“An important letter for the Order, sirs and ladies. Urgent delivery, cost paid in full from Beregost. No names given, just the letter.”

Cristus takes the letter in hand and reads it over. A solemn look comes over him.

“Sad news, this day. A letter, from Beregost.”

Friends,

It is with a sad heart I am the bearer of ill news. Our long time friend and associate, Bastille Joon, has passed away not two weeks past. I have forwarded his possessions and his body to the Temple of Lathander in Beregost that he might be rejoined by those he called friend those many years ago. I pray that he has not been lost in your memory, for even shortly before his death, he shared song and story about his great friends from long ago. I pray to the Lord Torm that Bastille’s soul finds peace, even as we suffer with the weight of our secrets. Let his death remind us that even in the passing, we have duties we’ve long neglected.

Your brother in exile,

Fenris Caldir

Silence falls on the room and it’s Banyon that speaks first. “Gather supplies, we make for Beregost at once.”

There is a general murmuring of agreement and Cristus turns to you. “Bastille was a good friend, we must see to his body together. We will leave you, the eldest of our family lines, to watch over the town in our stead. We should return within a fortnight.”

With that, the meeting closes and quiet once again falls upon town hall.

Debris #1 debuts this Wednesday

 

This year has sped by at an unbelievable rate. It feels like only a few weeks ago Jim had green lit this project for July and this is all I had written (yes, this is copy pasted from the actual pitch document.)

Debris (Temporary Title)

Synopsis:

With the world in ruins, humanity struggles to survive in sprawling cities of garbage and debris. Ancient spirits stalk the urban decay, manifesting in the flesh by crafting bodies of the refuse that litters the land. One young warrior woman uncovers the legend of the last source of fresh water in the world and sets out to find it, but a spirit learns of her plan and refuses to let her go it alone. Together they travel the world in search of the last bastion of pure nature.

Debris is a colourful, high action adventure series of Red Sonja meets Transformers, with creative interpretations of mythological monsters blended with modern urban technology and a spunky lead heroine who kicks all kinds of ass.

Debris is a miniseries told in 5 issues.

There are no spoilers, obviously the story has changed quite a lot so nothing has been ruined by reading the above outline. Still, I was a bit overwhelmed when Jim not only moved forward with just the above outline but also gave it a date. I emailed back and said something to the effect of, “Jim, this is just an idea, I haven’t written it yet.”

So, here we are.

Anyway, collected below are some early reviews for the series. I’m excited because it looks like people are very happy with our first issue.

Decapitated Dan: “when I get a chance to cover anything by Wieley, I will. They are a team to be reckoned with, pushing the envelope on great original content, and proving why comics will always be a fun medium. Read Debris, you will not be disappointed.” http://fromthetomb.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/debris-1-review/

Team Hellions: “This world cries out for a hero and her name is Maya.  In one issue we are gifted with a new female icon in comics.  Stronger, faster, smarter than any of her “peers” – if anyone could truly be called an equal.  She is the strongest hero in this world given the seemingly simplest of tasks.” http://teamhellions.com/2012/07/09/debris-1-advanced-review/

Multiversity:  “Maya, our heroine, is really put through the wringer, emerging at the end of the issue as a flinty, independent personality who’s going to do her damnedest to make things right. It’s always heartening to see a strong female character in a comic – and she’s even wearing clothes! – but even without the gender factor, she’s got an arresting air and charisma to burn.” http://multiversitycomics.com/reviews/wiebe-and-rossmo-craft-a-colourful-sci-fi-world-in-debris-review/

Here Be Geeks: “the setting is beautiful, enough weird things are happening, and that Maya herself is quite the fun character to read.” http://www.herebegeeks.com/reviews/comic-preview-debris-1/

Comic Buzz: “It’s clear from the outset that Wiebe is crafting a grand narrative. The future setting and the large garbage monster Colossals give an instant sense of scale, but the focus on Maya makes sure that the
story doesn’t get lost in the setting or set pieces. There are some difficult moments for Maya to deal with in this issue, both physically and mentally-” http://comicbuzz.com/2012/07/review-debris-1/

A Forgotten Realms Campaign

One of my favourite hobbies is a creative one. It’s a joint story telling experience with a lot of hilarity, drama and fun. It is called Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, it’s true. I’m an avid gamer. I am always the narrator, delighting in the reactions of players to my plot twists and character moments. A few years ago I ran one of the most complex games I’d ever devised and for all you DM’s out there, you might find this a very interesting plot.

It eventually became joking referred to as the “Secrets” campaign, and the moniker stuck because when we look back and talk about it now, everyone says, in a hushed whisper, “Secretsssss”

I drafted an elaborate back story, as detailed below, and every player had their choice of a character to pick and once they did, I let them see their special write up. They even had the option of starting at 1st or 4th level, and to my surprise, about half the group chose the former. The 1st level characters were the children of the Cliffside heroes.

The introduction is what I read to every player present. At the very end, I read that section to those who played a character from the disbanded adventuring party.

Hopefully you can get some use out of it and if people are actually interested I can post up the introductions I wrote for each session!

The Order of Iron Hearts

The story is said of the six heroes that peril and death awaited them, but the adversaries of the Order of Iron Hearts were vanquished and balance was restored to the land.

In the year 1360, the Order of Iron Hearts was called upon by town of Murann for assistance against bandits operating out of the Mytharan Wood. The bandits had been organizing raids and capturing weapons and armour shipments coming in from Port Kir to the south.  Under the advice and leadership of Captain Horace Love, the heroes tracked down the villainous leader of the bandit operation, one Villiant Ravenblood. In a mighty battle with his forces, the heroes slew Villiant and captured many of his operatives. As part of the deal, the Order of Iron Hearts received a substantial reward from Captain Love and were gifted a large percentage of the recovered goods.

For some, such adventures would only be the beginning, but the Order had accumulated more wealth than they had ever imagined. After receiving their reward, the Order was officially broken and the heroes retired a few short years after they began.

Friendship won out and together they sold their possessions and founded Cliffside. This small, isolated town on the edge of the Trollbark Forest, proved a valuable investment as in the recesses below the town, deposits of Amber were found. In the ten years since, Cliffside has grown to a collection of families, all seeking a quiet escape from busier towns across the Sword Coast. 80 people call Cliffside home, of all races and cultures, drawn together by the heroic stories of the Order of Iron Hearts and the quiet, unassuming riches the village has to offer.

Cristus Tennison (Human, Male, Warrior Class)

Starting level: 4

Classes Available: Fighter, Barbarian

Alignment Options: Any Non Evil

Starting Equipment: none

Resources: Mayor, Land Owner, 125 GP

Secret: Cristus severely injured or possibly even killed Villiant’s daughter, Bianca, in the battle that ended the man’s life. Bianca was a young teen at the time. Cristus remembers only that his blade cut her head in the heat of the fight as she, for some reason, entered the fray, and it looked to be a mortal wound. Cristus carries this guilt to this day. No one else knows this secret, he guards it with his life.

Hannah Dague (Elf, Female, Priestess)

Starting Level: 4

Classes Available: Bard, Cleric

Alignment Options: Any Non Evil

Starting Equipment: Holy Symbol

Resources:  Religious Leader, Land Owner

Secret: Hannah sought religious redemption after learning the truth about her actions. The Church of Sune in Baldur’s Gate demanded an act of repayment, to return to Murann and build an honourarium for those she played a part in killing. Hannah, afraid to return, never atoned for her crime and as a direct result was banished from the Church. Hannah still has her powers, but is no longer recognized amongst her brothers and sisters. Her shrine is a violation of being excommunicated and she is not ordained to lead others in worship of Sune.

Banyon Krae (Dwarf, Male, Warrior)

Starting Level: 4

Classes Available: Fighter, Barbarian

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: None

Resources: Land Owner, 300gp

Secret: Banyon has hinted to his son, Brom, of the true nature of their ‘heroic’ story, despite the group consensus to remain completely secretive about the events of ten years past. What is more, Banyon is grooming his son and daughter to eventually lead an expedition against Captain Horace Love in an act of vengeance. His reasons for revenge are up to you. While it was agreed that all income received from their ownership in the mine would go back into the town as a means of atonment, Banyon has been skimming for his personal coffers so that eventually he can afford new gear. Until now, he has claimed his daughter, Canyon, requires medicinal assistance from Beregost as a way to cover his tracks. Canyon has played along with his game.

Kettle Brighteyes (Gnome, Male, Arcane Caster)

Starting Level: 4

Classes Available: Sorcerer, Wizard, Bard

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: Ring of Invisibility

Resources: Land Owner

Secret: During the battle with Villiant, Kettle disappeared using his Ring of Invisibility. His actions directly resulted in the death of one of their number. His name was Greyson Thurm, and he was betrothed to Daria Sunbow, who a few months after his death learned she was pregnant with his second child. When confronted, Kettle lied and said that Greyson and he had become separated, and when the battle was over, he had found him dead. They did become separated, exactly why Kettle disappeared and how he feels about his actions are entirely up to you.

Fulstrom Klement (Halfling, Male, Rogue)

Starting Level: 4

Classes Available: Rogue, Bard

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: Bloodfinger (+2 Shortsword)

Bloodfinger – +2 Weapon, beginning of every battle must wound wielder for 1d4. Cursed, cannot be removed. Ask GM for details.

Resources: Land Owner, Bay Bandit Connections (Baldur’s Gate thieving ring)

Secret: Fulstrom was the one who delivered the killing blow to Villiant Ravensblood. In the seconds before his death, Villiant explained how the Order was being used by Captain Love to hasten his ascendancy as ruler of Murann. Fulstrom was the only one to ever hear the story. When asked later by the group, Fulstrom covered up the truth and insisted Villiant never said a word before he was dispatched. Whether or not Fulstrom believed Villiant, whether he killed Villiant accepting or disbelieving the story is entirely up to you. His reasons for killing Villiant should be discussed with the GM. Regardless, the blade that was used to murder Villiant was cursed that day forward. Fulstrom can never be without the blade, and must always use it in battle.

Daria Sunbow

Starting Level: 4

Classes Available: Ranger, Druid, Barbarian

Alignment Options: Any Non Evil

Starting Equipment: Stone of the Dead

Resources: Land Owner, Harper Connected

Secret: Daria has never gotten over the death of her lover, Greyson Thurm. In the years since his death in the battle against Villiant, Daria has become obsessed with speaking with him just one more time. Three years ago, Daria sought out a Necromancer named Xan who provided her a Stone of the Dead for a small amount of gold and a personal debt to the mage, of which she still owes. For years she has tried to contact Greyson, but has never found his spirit.  She carries the Stone with her at all times, hopeful that someday, Greyson will speak with her through it.

Kent, Jemma, or Thursten Tennison (Human)

Starting Level: 1

Classes Available: Any, +2 Diplomacy, +2 Appraise

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: Class Standard

Resources: Mayor’s Son/Daughter

Secret: The Tennison children know the original name of the Order of Iron Hearts to be the Brethren of the Sun. They do not know why their father tells people otherwise.

Vileria or Xander Dague (Elf)

Starting Level: 1

Classes Available: Any, +500 if Cleric (Sune)

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: Class Standard

Resources: Child of a Priestess

Secret: The Dague’s remember changing their name 10 years ago, before moving to Cliffside and settling there. Their mother never explained why.

Brom or Canyon Krae (Dwarf)

Starting Level: 1

Classes Available: Any, +500xp if Fighter

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: Class Standard, 1 free weapon of choice

Resources: Rich Father

Secret: The Krae siblings know a dark secret. Their father has informed them that the heroic tale of the Order of Iron Hearts is a skewed version of reality. On nights of your father’s frequent bouts of drinking, he has informed you that what the Order says happened that day is true, but that Villiant was not the villain of the story, Captain Love was. He has told you nothing more. He is also training you for some reason, in secret, and he murmurs about sweet revenge over a half empty mug.

Amberlee Brighteyes (Gnome, female)

Starting Level: 1

Classes Available: Any, +500 if Sorcerer, Wizard, or Bard

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: Class Standard

Resources: none

Secret: Your father secretly cherishes a Ring of Invisibility. You know exactly where he keeps it, safely hidden beneath his mattress.

Korinita, Dasher, or Hugo Klement (Halfling)

Starting Level: 1

Classes Available: Any, +500 xp if Rogue or Bard

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: Class Standard

Resources: Connected Father

Secret: Your father was once connected to the Bay Bandits in Baldur’s Gate before his time served with the Order. You discovered a letter once, indicating a contact name, Sirus and code word that can be used to get in contact with them.

Falcon, Raven or Hawk Sunbow (Half Elf)

Starting Level: 1

Classes Available: Any, +500 xp if Ranger or Barbarian

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: Class Standard

Resources: Mysterious Uncle

Secret: While visiting Beregost over two years ago, you were secretly approached by a mysterious benefactor who went by the name of Atticus Moonbell, an Elven mage from Mulhurand. Your mother not present, Atticus said if you ever decided to claim your heritage, all you must do is visit your father’s brother in Baldur’s Gate. Atticus supplied all the information on your uncle, one Frey Thurm, as well as promise of a small inheritance. Atticus insisted that Frey would be an invaluable asset if they ever needed assistance, but most important, your mother must never know.

Voon Kruk (Half-Orc, Female, Warrior)

Starting Level: 3

Classes Available: Barbarian, Fighter

Alignment Options: Any

Starting Equipment: Class Standard, Leather Armour +1, Masterwork Weapon of choice

Resources: Guard Captain of Cliffside, Ex-Baldur’s Gate Drillmaster

Secret: You moved to Cliffside 2 years ago, under the pretence of hearing about the town and its recent discovery of Amber. You offered to head up a security detail after living amongst the people for a few months and were readily accepted for the position. You have become fast friends with Cristus, the mayor, and earned his trust. What you are hiding, however, is that you are really here to learn secrets about Cristus, to glean information from him. You are secretly part of an informal information network out of Baldur’s Gate that looks into rumours and proves or disproves them. They are called The First, and are not formally connected to any other faction other than their own. The rumour you are investigating surrounds Cristus, who is supposedly linked to a group called The Brethren of the Sun, a faction that was responsible for the murder of a freelance mercenary captain out of Port Kir.

So far, you have learned nothing.

Brogan Malstar (Elf, Male, Ranger)

Starting Level: 3

Classes Available: Ranger

Alignment Options: Any Non Evil

Starting Equipment: Class Standard, Studded Leather +1, Composite Longbow (mastercraft)

Resources: Harper

Secret: Under the guise of a simple elven wanderer looking for a place to settle down for a short while, you rolled into Cliffside a few months ago. While helping with hunting and gathering of medicinal herbs, you have been looking into the increasingly erratic behaviour of Daria Sunbow, an ex-Harper who cut off communication over 10 years ago. You are to keep your Harper allegiance a secret while you investigate the reason behind her disappearance and also what her connection to the Necromancer Xan is. Xan is a wicked mage who operates near and around Beregost.

The Secret Story

The truth behind the events 10 years passed are much different than the story you concocted. A tale of heroism, glory and honour are woven to create a mask to shield those you love from the truth you have been harbouring for the last decade.

The story has elements of truth. You did work for a man named Captain Horace Love, he actually did hire you to eliminate a mercenary named Villiant Ravenblood, but that is where the fact separates from fiction.

The truth is quite simple: You are the villains of the story.

Captain Love had planned for years a silent coup in the city of Murann, slowly, carefully plodding his plan. When the city council learned, rather by accident, of his plan, they hired a mercenary team out of Port Kir to ambush the weapons shipments that Love had been amassing in secret. The Mercenaries, led by the good hearted Villiant Ravenblood, assisted the councilmen of Murann in their desperate bid to stop Love’s plan on a sole condition: not of financial gain, but of standing. Villiant wanted to be awarded the job of protecting Murann once Love was dealt with.

It was never to be. Love sent word to local adventure guilds about desperate need of assistance and it was your team that answered the call. He manipulated you to believe the city council had a plot to overthrow his regime, stating he stood firm against a growing obsession with northward invasion along the sword coast. He fabricated evidence citing key political players, evidence enough to fool your company, then called the Brethren of the Sun.

With the moral high ground, you investigated and eventually located Villiant’s mercenary company and narrowly escaped with victory. Villiant was killed, along with many of his men, and a handful more were captured and turned over to Captain Love.

It was after the battle his treachery was unveiled. On pain of death, Love ordered you to leave Amn at once and to never again speak of the events of that day. He honoured his word and paid you handsomely, even cutting you in on the spoils of battle.

The treachery fragmented the Brethren. Two members left, forever broken by their actions. Two of their members, the illustrious bard Bastille Joon and the warrior paladin Fenris Caldir, parted company and were never again seen. Another of them, lover to Daria Sunbow, Greyson Thurm, fell in battle.

Together, you forged a story to reclaim your honour, selling all your worldly goods to establish a town. You changed the company name, some even changing your family name to hide away from the shame,
and to forever put your past behind you.
But, the past always has a way of catching up with you…

Short Yarn: Countdown

Jerome peered out the small port window. He had a wonderful view of the planet’s barren surface; Pluto was a desolate, gray wasteland of frozen water and rock. Icicles had formed on the outside of the escape pod but inside it was still warm. 

“Anything?” Malcolm asked. He wasn’t optimistic about the condition of their small, temporary living quarters.Sparkswere always a bad sign. “I don’t trust this hunk of metal to withstand the beating much longer.” 

“Nothing. I can hardly see a thing, though,” Jerome replied, shaking his head at Malcolm. “With our luck the distress beacon is destroyed.” 

Malcolm sighed and sank into his seat. He had been warned about taking the virgin run into uncharted space, but had paid little attention. The black depths of the infinite beyond beckoned him, even if he was only a lowly mechanic. He could picture his wife, hand on her hip, angrily shaking her finger while needling him with “Ah hell no’s” and “I told you so’s.” 

“How many days of oxygen does this bucket of bolts hold?” Jerome asked, tapping at the dial indicating there was no oxygen left to breathe. 

“I don’t know, man, I’m just a mechanic. I didn’t read the manual on escape craft, did you?”

“Nope. Figured you might know… seem like a smart guy.”

 “What gave you that impression?”

 “Uh, the glasses. I always relate the two; smart people and glasses.”

 “I see. What was your job?”

 “Communications,” Jerome replied. He unclipped the nametag from his breast pocket and tossed it to Malcolm. “Specialist in deep space operations.”

You don’t wear glasses,” Malcolm said with a chuckle. “Shouldn’t you be able to tell if the signal beacon is working then?”

“Ever use a computer?”

“Of course.”

“Run a few programs, tinkered with the internet, that sort of thing?”

“Yeah, that would be the extent of my experience. Why?”

“Well, think of my expertise as your familiarity with computers. I know the software, doesn’t mean I know dick about the hardware.”

“You could have just told me that instead of the elaborate example,” Malcolm said, glowering.

“I suppose, but it’s not like we don’t have time.”

“True.”

Silence seemed quieter on the dead surface of an ice world. The constant hum of the pod was broken up by the sharp snap of electrical sparks. It startled Malcolm and Jerome every time.

“It’s getting colder,” Jerome said, rubbing his hands together.

“Yeah, I noticed.”

The two strangers both nodded and tried to act as though the situation were entirely normal. It wasn’t about the awkwardness that ordinarily accompanied meeting new people, but the impending sense of doom that neither wanted to talk about. Malcolm was biting his nails.

That’s a nasty habit you got there, Malcolm. My brother chewed on his nails too, drove me up the damn wall. Made my ma crazy as hell too, but the boy never learned.”

“My wife bought me this clear nail polish that tasted like a dog’s ass. She made me paint my nails with it. It was meant to stop me from biting them, but I couldn’t stop licking it. Tanika figured I was some kind of goddamn masochist.”

“That’s pretty weird, bro,” Jerome said with a quirked brow.

Malcolm peered out the window, ignoring Jerome’s comments. He already had a wife and the communications officer was starting to sound a lot like her.

“You ever watch those old science fiction serials?” Malcolm asked over his shoulder.

“Yeah.”

“When I signed up for this shit I had such a distorted view about the reality of space travel,” Malcolm said with a half grin. “Swear to God I thought I might get myself some alien action when we blew past Jupiter.”

Jerome chuckled.

“I guess I watched too much television,” Malcolm said as he slid back in his seat.

The pod shook and groaned for several seconds, silencing the conversation. The men grabbed the armrests of their seats and gripped them with all the strength they could muster. They both exhaled when the rumbling subsided. Jerome wiped the sweat from his brow.

“Shit,” Malcolm whispered.

“My thoughts exactly.”

“How long have we been down here, anyway?”

“Um, just over four hours,” Jerome replied after checking his watch.

“Do you think anyone else got off of the ship?”

“I don’t know, bro; it broke up pretty fast after the first asteroid plowed through the hull.”

“There’s something I don’t understand, maybe you can enlighten me.”

“Shoot,” Jerome said.

“Didn’t anyone consider asteroids to be a bit of a hazard before sending Expedition so goddamn far from Earth?”

“I would imagine so,” Jerome replied.

“Then why did one measly asteroid rip a stadium sized hole out of it?”

“That’s a good question.”

“Damn right it is, but one that hardly matters now,” Malcolm muttered. “You’ve got icicles growing over your head.”

Jerome looked up to where Malcolm was pointing. It was true; small drips of ice dangled from the ceiling of the pod, growing as the temperature slowly dropped. Jerome rubbed his hands together again.

“I have a feeling running out of oxygen is the least of our worries,” Jerome said with a sigh. “You ever play football, Malcolm?”

“A little bit, mostly backyard scrums with friends.”

“Man, I loved me some football. I was All-State back in ’63, had legs like you wouldn’t believe. I was injured my senior year and that was the end of it. My brother, the nail biter, went on to live my dream and played both college and pro.”

“That’s rough, bro.”

“Not really. Marcus always wanted to be an astronaut, so it worked out in a funny way. I watched this program once when I was a boy, about how in the future, young men like me would be playing football on Pluto thanks to revolutionary leaps in habitation technology. I loved that show.”

“Yeah, I remember that. It had that little penguin that got his ass sacked by a big linebacker wearing a jersey sponsored by Envirotec, right?”

The men both laughed long and hard. When the laughter died, the awkward silence returned. Malcolm faked a cough and stared at the ceiling.

“Yeah, our situation just reminded me of that,” Jerome said, glancing casually out the window. “Damn, my fingers are going numb.”

White clouds of vapour accompanied every breath as the men sat in silence. They tried not to think about the ramifications of sitting on Pluto for too long.

Malcolm thought of his home back on Earth. He loved coiling up in front of the fireplace, sipping on imported coffee with Tanika at his side. She was a warm woman. He wished he had listened to her; Malcolm smiled when he pictured the stern look Tanika often gave him when she was proven right. 

“What does your wife do?”

“Tanika? She’s a doctor,” Malcolm replied with a proud grin.

“Damn, and here I am a single guy living the poor man’s life. I wish I had me a sugar mamma.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Just kidding, bro,” Jerome said, holding up his hands.

The pod groaned again and Malcolm stood to his feet as a low, rumbling sound vibrated somewhere beneath his feet. A shrill crack stung their ears. The temperature started dropping faster.

“Goddamn it!” Malcolm shouted. Shards of electrical light showered down from the ceiling and bounced across the floor before winking out. The pod was coming apart at the seams.

“Can’t you jury rig this thing?” Jerome screamed over the chaos.

“Can’t you send out a more powerful distress signal?” Malcolm retorted.

“Look, this thing’s got to hold together and you’re the mechanic, bro!”

“I need time and tools, of which I have neither. This is it, Jerome, this is your last moment. What are you going to do with it?”

Jerome looked blankly at Malcolm and then punched him in the face. The crack of his fist against the man’s face was drowned by the roar of the disintegrating pod. Icy death slipped through the gaping cracks, sucking life from the heart of it. Malcolm stared up at Jerome through blood covered fingers. It was freezing to his skin.

“I want to feel alive before I die,” Jerome shouted. His limbs seared with white hot pain.

Malcolm balled his fist but struggled to drive his arm forward.

“It’s like Tanika always said…” Malcolm growled with clenched teeth. He stood there, the words flashing in his mind, but his mouth unable to move. Malcolm remembered his hot coffee woman next to the hot fire with hot cocoa in his hand.

Then the world ended.

SDCC 2012

This will be my first SDCC appearance and I’m pretty excited about being at the Image booth all weekend with some of my favourite people and having the opportunity to meet fans and new creators. I’ll be selling copies of Green Wake, both Volume 1 and Volume 2 and I have a handful of Intrepids and my novel, Between Worlds.

I’m also partnering with Fathom Interactive, the creative team behind the upcoming Sky Pirates of Neo Terra video game who I’ve been working with since September. My main task with the company has been world building and web comic writing, and we’ll have some SDCC exclusive ashcans that collect the web comics in print.

Finally, we’ll have a 14 page exclusive B+W comic previewing the newest project that I’ll be developing when I move to Vancouver this September. The goal is a kick ass car combat game set in the near future when America succumbs to civil war and lines are drawn between patriots and rebels. It’s called Buck Shot! and the 14 page comic will be illustrated by Tyler Jenkins. It’ll be a very rare item, so definitely pick it up. Unlettered samples are below.

One final note, I’ll be appearing on the panel below as well as doing a signing with Aluisio Santos, illustrator of Grim Leaper on Friday from 1-3 at the Image Table. Hope to see you there!

Image Comics Presents
Some of Image Comics’ most exciting new creators assemble to talk about their new work and life as independent comics creators. Join these rising star creators for a lively conversation, and discover your favorite new creators and titles! Panelists include: Tim Daniel (Enormous), Jim McCann (Mind the Gap), Sina Grace (Li’l Depressed Boy, Not My Bag), Ales Kot (Wild Children), Michael Moreci (Hoax Hunters), and Kurtis Wiebe (Green Wake, Peter Panzerfaust, Debris).

Moderator: Sarah deLaine
Thursday, 7/12/12, 2:00p.m. – 3:00p.m.
Room: 23ABC