Sunday, July 30, 2023

MOSH: Appendix M-DAN and the Mothership Soundtrack


Kill Six Billion Demons (Tom Parkinson-Morgan)

Cowboy Bebop (dir. Shinichiro Watanabe)

Prophet (Graham, Roy, Dalrymple, Milonogiannis)

Hyperion (Dan Simmons)

Andor (dir. Tony Gilroy)

Dorohedoro (Q Hayashida)

Children of Time (Adrian Tchaikovsky)

Book of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe)

Atomic Rockets (Winchell Chung)

Orion's Arm

SCP wiki, series 1-3

Citizen Sleeper (Jump Over the Edge)


Prospect (dir. Zeek Earl & Chris Caldwell)

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (dir. Kenji Kamiyama)

Delta Green (Glancy, Detwiller, Tynes)

Disco Elysium (ZA/UM)

Signalis (rose-engine)

Hardspace Shipbreaker (Blackbird Interactive)

Halo Reach (Bungie)

Mass Effect (Bioware)

Eclipse Phase (Posthuman Studios)

Seedware, Farcast, H-Rep (Wallace, Derie, Unit Omega)

Mothership the Soundtrack

Unlike with the MSF soundtrack, the majority of these don't have dedicated components or an order, and so I have left out the meta-titles. And also the links because that was a pain and a half the first time.

e. Ivy has very graciously made a spotify playlist of most of all of these.

[1] "Copy that, Oriole, you're cleared for docking on spur 43. Welcome home."

[2] Had to limit myself on the Bebop tracks, otherwise the whole list would have been just that soundtrack.

[3] Same as [2].

[4] Friday night at the ISWU Local #975.

[5] Drinking away your paycheck.

[6] Theme of the Panan Sho syndicate.

[7] This song could be a total hoax and I would not care - it's a great story.

[8] Raid on the deepwell blacksite.

[9] Hans Zimmer has never gotten over this song and has been trying to recapture it for a decade, and has failed continually. Also the theatrical version had to be reconstructed which is bonkers nonsense.

[10] Orbital drop over Sigma Draconis d.

[11] I don't think there's a better exncapsulation of cyberpunk than this song and the scene it is from - nothing short of a dirge for the world.

[12] Clawing ever upward towards liberation.

[13] Many thanks to MickyJim for this rec - I haven't played any of the 343 Halos so the music gets to be only rarely.

[14] The Zeruel sequence is easily my favorite example of cosmic horror in media. The time of Fucking Around is over; now it is the age of Finding Out.

[15] I don't think there's a track in existence that is more poorly served by its accompanying material than this. It deserves some K6BD level magic kung fu bullshit.

[16] Bioware was aiming way higher than their weight class with Sovereign, and boy did that bite them in the blubber later down the line.

[17] A Jovian slingshot followed by a 3G burn. Ramming speed.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Bookpost 13

 Previous installments found here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 , 7, 8, 9, 10 , 11, 12


The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell

DNF 125/497

I tried, I tried, I gave it my best, but this book thwarted me at every turn. Its initial premise is a good solid hook - lone survivor of a Jesuit mission to an inhabited planet around Alpha Centauri returns with horrific injuries and his order attempts to piece together the narrative - and that is immediately thrown out the window by glacial pace, asynchronous chronology, and a focus on the pining and sexual tension of the main cast. By page 125 we have barely spent more than a few sentences talking about the planet, the aliens, or the mission. The sci-fi elements are hardly even there, and the more they are introduced the more things fall apart because Russell clearly either doesn't know or care.

The Death Knell (reading goodreads reviews instead of reading the book) was certainly in effect here, and those reviews revealed elements that would have me grind my teeth to dust if I had actually encountered them without forewarning.

If your book contains a meditation on theodicy, you cannot have your characters go "how can God permit such suffering" when EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING IS YOUR OWN FAULT, BECAUSE YOU ARE STUPID AND MAKE BAD DECISIONS. Someone eats local vegetation and everyone is SHOCKED that the dumb bastard dies! None of the mission members are scientists! They don't have a first contact protocol! They have not a god damned thing that a reasonable mission would have, and somehow this farce is supposed to have a point beyond "you are all dumb stupid assholes and died because of your own fault." The absolute caucasity that is on display here boggles the imagination.

But that's all just what I have gleaned from reviews of the parts that I have not read. The really damning element comes from the interview with Russell tucked in the back of the 20th anniversary edition. Quote:

"The idea came to me in the summer of 1992 as we were celebrating the 500th anniversary of Columbus's arrival in the New World. There was a great deal of historical revisionism going on as we examined the mistakes made by Europeans when they first encountered foreign cultures in the Americas and elsewhere. It seemed unfair to me for people living at the end of the twentieth century to hold those explorers and missionaries to standards of sophistication and tolerance that we hardly manage even today. I wanted to show how very difficult first contact would be, even with the benefit of hindsight. That's when I decided to write a story that put modern, sophisticated, resourceful, well-educated, and well-meaning people in the same position as those early explorers and missionaries — a position of radical ignorance."

> mistakes

> mistakes

> mistakes

> M I S T A K E S

Let's check what ol' Chris had to say on the matter.

"A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand."
Golly gee willickers, Ms. Russel, how many children have to get sold into slavery before it stops being "radical ignorance"? Maybe if you ask their ghosts they can tell you more about those "mistakes".

(It's not even good Columbus apologia! She somehow manages to fail at even supporting her own odious arguments, because the entire content of the book is "this is a bad idea, undertaken by idiots, who never should have gone there in the first place and everything would be better if no one had done anything".)

Also the book has got this weird 90s racial undercurrent of "Japan as a global superpower filled with inscrutable and alien businessmen" and a frankly fucking bizarre character dynamic where one character (a Jew from Turkey) is supposed to have this deep-seated distaste for Fr. Santoz because he's hispanic and has a mustache and therefore must by the spitting image of an inquisitor who expelled Jews from Spain post-Reconquista. Straight-up just says "Yeah you know Jewish folk, they'll hold a grudge for 500 years, that's just common knowledge" and that is a fucking bonkers nonsense thing to say as not-a-joke and doubly so for an author who converted to Judaism.

Border Keeper, Kerstin Hall

A short novel, practically a novella, and another one of those lucky finds in the Tor freebie pile. The descriptions are vibrant, the pace is breakneck, and the concept is good - a witch in the middle of nowhere serves as the keeper and watcher of boundaries between the realms of the 999 demon lords of the spirit world. I was not surprised to see that there's a second novel, as it certainly feels like a setting that has not only more to explore, but a great deal under the surface that just didn't make it into the story. The ending was a bit too abrupt for my liking - maybe an extra 30 pages would have been good - but I will take fast and engaging over slow and ponderous. Additionally there are just a few too many characters with multiple names / important names that only ever exist off-screen for my liking, but concessions need to be made for something that wants to have expansive scope and short length and overall it succeeds. Good book, I recommend it.

A Strange Manuscript Found Inside a Copper Cylinder, James De Mille

DNF 38%

An antarctic lost-world story, following on the tail of Poe's Gordon Pym. Fine enough but there was not much going for it in terms of good material to swipe or steal. It gets one bonus point for not completely abandoning the frame narrative but beyond that it's by-the-numbers.

More interesting is how it, like nearly all other works of the genre, evokes the enormous psychological complex the imperial Anglosphere had about cannibalism and human sacrifice. Find a lost world and there's gonna be cannibalism and human sacrifice, that's just Victorian Science (TM). I find this interesting because of  how close so many of these authors and narratives come to the point of self-realization ("hey we're just projecting the anxieties of our own colonial monstrosity of a civilization onto our victims") and they shy away from it every time. But since they never do, it's monotonous in the extreme because they are either incapable of or have no desire to present any culture with any amount of complexity or nuance.

Medea: Harlan's World, Harlan Ellison et al

DNF 358/528

A compilation of stories set on a very unique alien planet (tidally-locked moon of a brown dwarf inhabited by two sapient species, being centipede-foxes and balloon creatures) and developed round-robin style by some rather big names of the 70s sci-fi scene, all at the behest of Harlan Ellison for a course he was teaching at UCLA in 1975. It's split into four parts:

Part One contains the technical specs of the planet Medea, which had been passed between the first four authors and collected into a booklet for the seminar.

  • Astrophysics & Geology (Hal Clement)
  • Planetology & basic biology (Poul Anderson)
  • Complex biology & sapient beings (Larry Niven)
  • Alien culture & human encounters (Frederick Pohl)

This is easily my favorite part of the book, rushed as it might have been (Ellison apparently gave people less than a day to type up their segments). It's a showcase of some truly great concept sci-fi, of loading up a setting with enough moving parts and novel ideas that it keeps rolling forward under its own momentum.

Part 2 is transcript of a seminar fleshing out Medea and working out elements of what would become the short story collection, with the panel consisting of  Thomas Disch, Frank Herbert, Robert Silverberg and Theodore Sturgeon with Ellison moderating. It is rather entertaining (if exceedingly 70s, we get a racist joke by the second page) - the authors have good rapport with each other and the circles they end up going in are more forgivable when in the format of a transcript of a live recording. Also, a surprising number of references to John Lily, was not expecting that, though given the company of the seminar I certainly should have.

Part 3 is a collection of audience-submitted questions and suggestions, which were collected in writing. Nerds don't change, though in 1975 they were a lot more likely to say "the balloons have telepathy, which is how they can fly, no further explanation."

Part 4 is the short stories, which is where everything falls apart. They did the smart thing and kept them entirely unconnected from each other plot-wise, jumping back and forth across Medea and the lifespan of its human colony, and to that extent provide a good tour of all its fun features.

Unfortunately, the short stories turned out to be mediocre at best, tiresome on the whole, and incredibly boring on occasion. The short reviews are:

  • Farside Station (Jack Williamson) - Fine enough as a story, hated the main character, who was hateable in the rather blase and mundane way of Just A Shitty Dude And While I Think Part of It Was Intentional The Times Have Changed Enough That I Honestly Can't Tell.
  • Flare Time (Larry Niven) - Gave up and skipped this one. Niven has a nigh-supernatural ability to take a concept and bleach it of anything that might potentially be interesting. An absolute bore.
  • With Vergil Oddum at the East Pole (Harlan Ellison) - My favorite of the bunch, thanks to Ellison's prose and the concept (a man exiled to near the glacial wall for unknown crimes meets a mysterious man who wanders out of the frozen wastes). Decent story.
  • Swanilda's Song (Frederik Pohl) - Also known as "70s Sci-Fi Authors Not Being Weird And Creepy About Sex Challenge (Impossible)", a challenge which it handily fails. The shaggy dog ending was mildly amusing but in an eye-rolling way that doesn't make up for the sleaze earlier. It wasn't even good or entertaining sleaze, it's just this filmy grease that I presume everything was coated in during the 70s.
  • Seasoning (Hal Clement) - Skipped. Eyes glazed over immediately, wasn't going to stick around to see if it improved. Can't say anything about it otherwise.
  • Concepts (Thomas Disch) - I could barely keep track of what the fuck was going on in this one, but it does have one of the worst sci-fi inventions I have ever seen in it: interstellar omegle that requires mutual disconnect. With a press of a button, you can lock whoever is on the other end so that they cannot disconnect, and this can go on for weeks at a time. Its userbase does exactly what you expect them to do.

At this point I stopped, leaving the remaining stories - Songs of a Sentient Flute (Frank Herbert), Hunter's Moon, The Promise (Kate Wilhelm), Why Dolphins Don't Bite (Theodore Sturgeon), and Waiting for the Earthquake (Robert Silverberg) unread and thus unable to be commented upon.

There is also art, which I thought was generally nice. I'm more forgiving of the sleaze in the art than the writing, because the art was done more skillfully.

But yeah: overall a much better worldbuilding exercise than a narrative. Ellison certainly has a talent for compiling mediocre-to-bad stories from large numbers of people.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

The Ogdoad


There are nine levels of spells because there are nine levels of the cosmos: the earth, the seven archons of the heptomad, and the numinous realm of the fixed stars beyond. Thus there are nine and no more; nine are the circles of the concentric path, nine the initiations and nine the revelations.

To follow the ninefold path of the mystic is to open the soul to the influence of the divine again and again. As the mystic ascends towards the truth, the balance of their spirit and body will shift towards ever-closer alignment with their god; the spirit grows vast and the self diminishes.

As revelations are granted and the mystic ascends towards the truth, the the illusions cloaking their god will fall away; a new aspect will be revealed,

Below all revelations are those magics derived from the earth-bones, called cantrips or the Craft and so far removed from the divine source that they are more material than spirit. Workings of this most distant emanation belong to no aspect of deity, diffused as they are among the matter of the cosmos. We will concern ourselves no further with them.



The first circle is that of ANTHROPOS and the lay disciple - those who participate in the worship practices of a god but who have not yet been inducted into the mysteries. At this step alone the mystic might turn and walk away to walk a new path - they have had no true knowledge revealed, and thus they are free from its bindings.

The second circle is that of ECCLESIA and the initiated member, who has been shown what lies beyond the publicly-seen aspect of their god. From this point on there is no going back - the mystic might leave the path and abandon their pursuit of revelation, but they are bound to their god forever.

The third circle is that of LOGOS and it resembles the second. They may be called deacons, for they are not full priests yet. They will instruct and guide initiates of the first two circles, as well as lead worship ceremonies, but they cannot officiate advancement initiations on their own. Deacons make up the bulk of the cult's leadership and its connections with the outside.

The fourth circle is that of ZOE and the teacher and priest. A community of the faithful might only have one or two mystics of this circle, and it is their duty to sustain and guide the community as a whole, as well as officiating all advancements within the community.

The fifth revelation is that of NOUS and marks a turning point, where the mystic has no further need of the faith community - all that came before now seems quaint and parochial, a thing that brought joy in one's youth but no longer satisfies. Entry to this circle has no guide, no rite - it is invoked by the god themself. From this point on, the influence of the god is now the greater part of the spirit; the electrochemical reaction of the self will begin to fade.

Still, those of the fifth circle might still be sought out by those of the outer rings looking for aid along the path, and the mystic is not so far along as to be deaf to these pleas. Thus the fifth circle is that of the sage.

The sixth revelation is that ALETHIA and of the adept. Here the god's power is no longer so restrained that it might be guided by the mystic - the adept is swept along in the current of this power.

At the seventh revelation is that of BYTHOS and of the avatar. Here is the last circle where the human spirit might exist in union with its body.

At the eighth revelation is that of SIGE and of the vessel - the body strains under the weight of the numinous. This is the most dangerous circle, for if the mystic's body or spirit fails now the ninth shall never be reached and the accumulated divine spirit will be consumed by spirits of the world and metastasize into a new greater demon.

At the ninth and final revelation, which is that of the PLEUROMA, the mystic has achieved full unity of spirit with the divine. The will is subsumed, ego-death is achieved, the soul has returned to its source and all divisions have been healed. The mystic no longer exists except as a manifestation of their god: The shell of flesh and bone, having served long and well, is put aside. 





 This all came about as a building-upon of Emily Allen's mystic from back in Esoteric Enterprises, which remains a favorite framework of mine for clerics.

Thursday, July 13, 2023


 Planet's on fire again, it's time for the Salties





Jesus Christ it's the fourth one of these.


The selection process is simple. I choose things and my choices are correct.




The United States Food and Drug Administration


This handy-handy prescription granting me the ability to legally purchase and consume small doses of amphetamine salts for the purposes of making my brain work good doesn't do shit if there's no supply, which there isn't, because these jackanapes won't increase production to meet demand.


Break! (Naldo Drinian & Grey Wizard)


What will I use for my jokes now? Monster Overhaul and Hull Breach are nearly delivered physically as well so they're also out of repeated gag territory. 



No Award

Nothing's caught my attention in a special positive way in the previous year, not enough to claim this spot. There are good games coming out, but none that fit this slot.



No Award

As in the previous category, there are definitely good adventures that have come out in the last year, or that i found in the last year. I have not stumbled across one that makes me go "oh yeah, this is special."



Fear and Hunger (Happy Paintings)

I haven't played this. I don't know if I'll ever play it this because this is the sort of game where the content warning comes with its own zip code on top of being extremely difficult. But Super Eyepatch Wolf certainly knows how to sell it and I definitely recommend listening to him about it, and also Worm Girl's story analysis.

Anyway, this game sounds like a horror story about a video game: a great and terrible mystery, the gnawing unknown of something there, lurking past the boundary of the known in that special way that interactive media is capable of achieving. Even now, in the era of (terrible and ad-ridden) fan wikis, secrets remain.

Second place goes to Roadwarden, which is very good but not rabbit-hole good. I can give it an unreserved recommendation though.



Electrum Archive (Emiel Boven)

Mechanically, EA is nice and slick but the part that really sets it apart is the art. It's raw Caves of Qud meets Morrowind vibes, and that alone is worth the slot. Also Emiel regularly releases CC art and that is always, always good.



Beasts of Flesh and Steel (Bruce Cordell and Sean Reynolds)

This is a conversion of Numenera into 5e so I knew entirely what I was getting into, and honestly I'm not going to complain. It might be terribly written, generally useless, and symptomatic of a great many deleterious trends in RPGs, but the art is better than it was in normal Numenera and there is at least an attempt to do something novel. I can be very forgiving with that.



60 Years in Space (Andrew Doull)

There is a space game out there that does or can do what 60 Years tried to do. It is likely not written yet. Damn my scattershot ADHD brain, I don't think I could make it even with meds. But hope springs eternal.



Haunted West (Chris Spivey)

I can't say a thing for the contents of the book (the alternate history elements seemed really cool and interesting, from what I saw on twitter), but I can say that the copies I saw in the store looked like they had eaten several other books and were threatening to eat even more. 



Avatar Legends

Setting new standards for phoning it in, Avatar Legends rises above the other churn-and-burn IP cash-grabs just by the sheer scope of the missed opportunity. The PBTA mechanics are utilized in such a barebones manner that you'd be better off just having a single Move and calling it a day. Most of the art is just stills from the show and all the contents are stuck doing circles in its shadow, terrified to do something new.

The one thing it has going for it is not featuring a bending move, electing instead to have players just describe how they use bending to do something - that feels like something of a necessity to avoid getting choked on crunch. But when you remove the mechanics of the central feature of the show, you gotta do something to justify your own existence. This game does not do that.



The Redacted Reports

I am forever a sucker for good Delta Green material and this AP pays off in spades. The players really work well together, it's got great production values, the Handler has a great grip on how to run the game over a long period of time. Some good scares, some good jokes, and overall well worth the time if you're an AP person. I binged over 100 episodes of this in a few months, that should tell you all you need.


The Classic Explorer Template (Clayton Notestine)

It speaks for itself: a creative-commons template for both versions of Affinity plus indesign, filled with tips and commentary and guides on how to use it. That is above and beyond the call of duty and I can see a whole lot of people getting a whole lot of use out of it: just playing around with it myself has unstuck a couple potential project ideas. Blank pages are intimidating, and this is a great way to conquer them.



Atlas of the Latter Earth (Kevin Crawford)


We do not, as a community or hobby, deserve Kevin's work. The man has gotten this down to a science, so that even this sizable setting gazetteer is an engaging read. Everything, even in the depths of the setting fluff, is oriented around points of interaction. Wars in the distant past shape the current factional conflicts, long-dead civlizations are framed in how you interact with their ruins, and so on. It is a great model to work from, just as Crawford's other games have been.



Atlas of the Latter Earth (Kevin Crawford)


The Fifth Dynastu is just China. Not even weird posthistorical dying earth China, it's just fantasy imperial China. Sticks out like a sore thumb, and that's beyond the handful of other regions that are pretty plain and obvious / have familiar real-world names (hi, Atlantis)


The entire Mothership community

Sean McCoy knows what' s up: if you want a game to succeed, encourage people to make stuff for it. The sheer amount of MoSh material out there is testament to the power of its user-friendly third-party license and its creative community. Light a lighthouse in a storm, it is a beacon of hope to the troubled.



Bubs (RIP)



I miss him :C

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Mother Stole Fire, the Soundtrack

This too entirely too long to finish. But finish it I did!

I've added a title to each track appropriate to how it fits into MSF, and added commentary blurbs in a collapsible at the end of the post. 


The Legend of Ashitaka
(Joe Hiashi, Princess Mononoke OST)

Skylark [1]
(Arnaud Roy, Endless Legend OST)

Endless Skies
(Kumi Tanioka, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles OST)

(Kow Otani, Shadow of the Colossus OST)

To Call Our Own

(Joris de Man, Horizon Zero Dawn OST)

Delver's Hymnal
(Joris de Man, Horizon Zero Dawn OST)

Drums of Poundmaker - Cree Theme

(Geoff Knorr, Civilization 6 OST)

Pōkarekare Ana; Ka Mate - Maori Theme

(Geoff Knorr, Civilization 6 OST)

Hard Times Come Around No More - America Theme

(Geoff Knorr, Civilization 6 OST)

Scotland the Brave - Scotland Theme
(Geoff Knorr, Civilization 6 OST)

(Darren Korb, Pyre OST)

To The Stars
(Darren Korb, Pyre OST)

Surviving Exile
(Darren Korb, Pyre OST)

Path to Glory
(Darren Korb, Pyre OST)

Tatara Women's Work Song

(Joe Hiashi, Princess Mononoke OST)

(Rei Kondoh et al, Okami Ost)



Drinks in a Lilu Dive - Smoldering Corpse Bar + Alternate
(Mark Morgan, Planescape Torment OST)

A Glimpse of Greater Powers - Dread Design [2]

(Darren Korb, Pyre OST) 

Numinous Encounter - Regal Ancestor Spirit
(Tsukasa Saitoh et al, Elden Ring OST)

Ancient Song- Psalm 51 [3]

(Seraphim Bit-Kharibi & choir)

Morning; Workshop District - Fanfare for the Common Man [4]

(Aaron Copland)

The Lioness of Orlei - Lace [5]
(Christopher Larkin, Silksong OST) 

(Nujabes, Luv [sic] Hexology)
Pen & Tam II - Polyhedrons
(British Sea Powerm Disco Elysium OST)
(Claranon remix Andrew Prahlow)

Wizard Business - Flutter Fly 
(Darren Korb, Pyre OST)
Battle of the Wizards I - Mob's Theme v2 
(Kenji Kawai, Mob Psycho s2 OST)
Battle of the Wizards II - Shigeo vs Mogami Rematch 
(Kenji Kawai, Mob Psycho s2 OST)

Ayo's Theme - Damn it
((K)NoW_NAME, Dorohedoro OST)

Theme of Themiskrya - Amestris Military March
(Akira Senju, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OST 3)

The Amazons Arrive - Nikutai Kaizou Bu Sanjou [7]
(Kenji Kawai, Mob Psycho s1 OST)

The Rocket - Ten Wo Tsuke [8]
(Taku Iwasaki, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann OST)

3.2 x 106; or, Aggregate of Our Joy and Suffering - Cloud Atlas End Title [9]
(Tom Twyker et al, Cloud Atlas OST)


The Cycle of Lu

To Catch the Sun Where It Sets - Walo Yamoni
(Christopher Tin, The Drop That Contained the Sea)

In the Court of the Forest King - Deku Palace

(Theophany, Time's End II)

Into Winter - The City Must Survive [10]
(Piotr Musiał, Frostpunk OST)

The Longest Night - One is All, All is One
(Akira Senju, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OST 1)

"Inti, my son..." - Adagio for Strings
 (Samuel Barber, String Quartet, Op. 11)

The Bringer of Day - We are All Guests Upon the Land[11] [12] 
(Austin Wintory, Banner Saga OST)   

Daemonomachy I - My Brother Dragon Slayer 
(Aliceintheskies remix Shiro Sagisu)
Daemonomachy II - Odolwa's Mask
(Theophany, Time's End II)
Deamonomachy III - Isle of Creation [12.5]
(Cris Velasco et al, God of War II OST)

(Geoffrey Day remix Yuka Kitamura)
(Mick Gordon, Doom Eternal OST)
Daemonomachy VI - Oath to Order [13]
(Theophany, Time's End II) 
Daemonomachy VII - Become Death [13.5]
(Christopher Tin, To Shiver the Sky)

Arriving in the Lands of Spring - When You Believe (Multiligual Version) [14]
(Stephan Schwartz, Prince of Egypt OST) 

The Land of Daro I - Iza Ngomso 
(Christopher Tin, Drop That Contained the Sea)
The Land of Daro II - The Sun Rises 
(Rei Kondoh et al, Okami Ost)
The Land of Daro III - Kia Hora Te Marino 
(Christopher Tin, Calling All Dawns)

In the Forging Hall of Tubalkhan - Heyr Himna Smiður [15] [16]

Against the Anaye - The Unseen Ones [17] [18]
(Darren Korb, Hades OST) 

(Hiroyuki Sawano, Attack on Titan S2 OST) 
(Dravonista remix Monster Hunter World: Iceborne OST)
(Star Wars Jibaro remix Greg Bear) 
Unto the Breaking of the Wheel - March of the Giants [22]
(Theophany, Time's End I)

The War of the Bull

On the March - God of War [23]
(Bear McCreary, God of War 2018 OST) 
In the Chapel - Maiden in Black [24]
(Shunsuke Kida, Demon Souls Remake OST) 
March to the Sea - Alicorn 
(Keiki Kobiyashi et al, Ace Combat 7 OST)
The Maid Arrives at the Front - The Intrepid 
(Akira Senju, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OST 3)
The Dark Hour - Abandoned By God 
(Alex Roe, Legacy: Soulsborne Remixed)
By Horse, by Crow, by Runner - For Her Soul (A Swift Horse) [25]
(Alex Roe, Shadow of the Colossus Remix) 
Desperate Charge - Radagon of the Golden Order [26]
(Tsukasa Saitoh et al, Elden Ring OST) 
Breaking Through - Fatalis Proof of a Hero Theme [27]
(Akihiko Narita, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne OST) 
Darvatius Takes to the Field - Burnt Ivory King [28]
(Yuka Kitamura, Dark Souls 2 OST) 
To Stay the Hand of Death - Sealed Vessel  [29]
(Christopher Larkin, Hollow Knight OST)

The Ballad of Molly Ironshanks

Battle of Four Sticks Bridge - Of Our Bones, the Hills 
(Austin Wintory, Banner Saga OST)
Ambush at the Pass - Paths Part 
(Austin Wintory, Banner Saga 2 OST)
Arrival in Yaran - Walls No Man Has Seen 
(Austin Wintory, Banner Saga OST)
Beneath Kulvakh Tower - Snoke 
(John Williams, The Force Awakens OST)
Adrift - Tiger King 
(British Sea Power, Disco Elysium OST)
(Gorillaz, Cracker Island Deluxe)
For Maggie - La Revacholiere 
(British Sea Power, Disco Elysium OST)


(Kenichiro Suehiro, Golden Kamuy OST)
Sisters of the OSM - Nay, the Honor is All Ours! 
(Akihiko Narita, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne OST)
Battle I - Battle B2 
(Kenichi Tsuchiya, Shin Megami Tensei 4 OST)

Battle II - Violin Legionary 
(Coffee -- Cloud, The Chronicles of Tuba)
Battle III - The Demon God 
(Joe Hiashi, Princess Mononoke OST)

Battle III - Magnamalo Theme 
(Satoshi Hori, Monster Hunter Rise OST)
(Masashi Hamauzu et al, FF7 ReMake OST)

Battle V - Silver for Monsters 
(Marcin Przybyłowicz, Witcher 3 OST)

Battle VI - Dark Lord Ganondorf [31]
(Remastered) (Rozen, Sins of Hyrule)
(Hae Chul Shin, Guilty Gear X2 Korean OST)

Battle VIII - The Sluice [32]
(Stuart Chatwood, Darkest Dungeon II OST)

Battle IX - Flamelurker 
(Shunsuke Kida, Demon Souls Remake OST)

Battle X - The Owl 
(Yuka Kitamura, Sekiro OST)
(Yuka Kitamura, Dark Souls 2 OST)
(XxrayX remix Bravely Default II OST)
EXORCIST. ARRIVING. ON THE SCENE. - Precinct 41 Major Crime Unit 
(British Sea Power, Disco Elysium OST)


Crisis in the Commonwealth - Breath of the Wild 2017 Trailer Theme
(Manaka Kataoka et al, Breath of the Wild OST)

Dragon Cultist Ambush - The Rally 
(Jeremy Zuckerman, Legend of Korra OST)
Fortress Raid - Zinogre Theme 
(Satoshi Hori, Monster Hunter Rise OST)
The Counter-Coup - Grandma Destruction 
(Keiichi Okabe, NIER Automata OST)
(Shigeru Umebayashi, Ghost of Tsushima OST)


The Mountain - Varúð 
(Sigur Ros, valtari)
Liberation - Ihojin No Yaiba [33]
(Naoki Satō, Sword of the Stranger OST)



[1] In the grey pre-dawn of Mother's Day, the women of the village will gather at the church. There they will take up an icon or statue of Lu and process out past the edge of town, out through the spirit-gate, to the shrine that is kept for all spirits of the world and its wild places. There they will make offerings of hospitality, and the witches and shoulderwomen will lead the group in renewal of the Compact. The men and boys of the village will remain at home, rising from their beds only when the procession has moved past.

[2] The occasional mention of the Greater Powers will only ever be just that - it defeats their narrative purpose to give them names or faces or any real interaction at all with the human world. I would hesitate to call them Lovecraftian, given the connotations aren't entirely true to how I use them.

[3] Every single upload of the performance for Pope Francis during his 2016 visit to Georgia has a different name and I have FINALLY been able to confirm that it is, indeed, Psalm 51.

[4] It's common for craftspeople of the same trade to pool their resources and share their workspaces, and in cities the principle is just scaled up. I added this to the setting solely so I could have a justification to invoke the image of union men, lunch boxes in hand, making the morning journey to their shop.

[5] Celestine d'Cygnemont is many things, but perhaps the most important is that she is one of the greatest swordmasters alive today. The winner of the yearly Grande Melee is granted the chance to cross sabers with her, to see how long they can last - so far the record is two minues eleven seconds for all three bouts, and seperately managing to score higher in two of five rounds in a single bout.

She bound a sword-demon herself, purposefully keeping the binding just weak enough enough to give the possibility of escape, to use as practice. It's not yet gotten close to breaking free.

[6] I'm very sorry I haven't been able to piece together part two.

[7] Amazons in MSF have one joke. It is the same joke, every time, and I love it.

[8] I've mentioned it before, but MSF does have a narrative end. In about thirty years, give or take, from the nebulous Now there will be a rocket. Maybe Maggie will grow up to be astronaut, and as the column of smoke rises above the ocean Molly will be down on earth screaming "THAT'S MY GIRL!". Whatever the case there must be a rocket. "If but one star in the sky is our friend, then we must go to meet them," it will be said. Onward and upward.

[9] "The living are united with the dead, for the dead once live as we now live. They suffered as we suffer, they had joy as we have joy. Their pains were as ours, their loves as our own, and we will join them in death, join them in silent procession in the halls beneath the earth. And our faces shall pass out of memory, and our names will be forgotten, and generations yet to be born will show their children our graves and say 'they were like us.'May this be our comfort."

[10] Darkness. Cold. The Crown flickers against the blizzard. Starvation. All is lost. And then: Mammoths emerge from the snowfront like the gods of old.

[11] The death of Inti is a crux moment in Mother Stole Fire - if the gods are to be human gods, if they are to be humane gods, they cannot be above human suffering. Otherwise it would make a mockery of both them and us. It can't be fate, it can't be a cosmic punishment, it can't have a prophecy attached. It must be for the gods as it is for us.

[12] Inti's Christ-parallels are pretty on the nose, and intentionally so. But more specifically, I am pulling from Fred Clark's excellent "Holy Saturday" post, though perhaps to different ends than the original author. Inti is dead and buried: he will not come riding in on a white horse with a crown on his head. If Spring is to come, if Spring is even on the table anymore, the task has fallen to us to bring it forward. There is no guarantee. There is only the great work, and the hope that some generation thousands of years hence might see it to completion.  

[12] In perhaps the deepest cut in this entire post, this track is in here purely because of the one AMV from ages past that synced it with TTGL Parallel Works 8.

[13] I deliberately don't invoke the Red Law when talking about the Daemonomachy, because I want to avoid the trope of "oh, the hero has been corrupted by magic ooblek and that's why they're crazy and evil" - Lu's rampage is born of grief, fear, despair and guilt. She's a woman who has reached her breaking point; She's got nothing more to give, no hope left to draw on, left to shoulder the terrible consequences of her past actions. If you go back to the story post, I snuck in a little change; "Let us be free of it!" is now "Let me be free of it!". This is all why her subsequent healing process is long and painful; it has to be, because people do not recover from that instantly. As I said two comments up, the Gods of Man can't be afforded that luxury if they are to remain the Gods of Man.

[13.5] Adding this one months after the fact, because it is just...yeah.

[14] It remains entirely unfair how good Prince of Egypt is.

[15] Bare feet patter on the great flagstones. The hammer rings like a bell. Sacred space.

[16] While I describe Tubalkhan most often as "Neanderthal Odin + Hephaestus", he's got a decent amount of St. Joseph about him via mythic background radiation - the craftsman characterized by his moral character and penchant to stay out of the spotlight.

[17] The Anaye (arriving here via Navajo legend) are a newer generation of demons, formed after the dispersal of humanity into the world beyond the Land of Daro. They are common antagonists of stories involving Lu and Tubalkhan's children, and are central to the Hero Twin story-cycle. 

[18] Alternate title: ONE NIGHT ONLY, KNOSSOS AMPHITHEATER [18a] [18b]

[18a] "O Calliope, O Queen of the Muses who caught the lightning in her lyre - we with callused fingers salute you."

[18b] I describe Calliope as "the emo teen of the family" and "if the Minoans invented death metal", and that just about sums it up.

[19] Man am I glad I dropped AoT when it was revealed that the antagonists were teenagers with superpowers. Dodged a crock of shit, so I've heard.


[21] King of the Monsters is a trainwreck on every level including moral but god damn if this mix doesn't capture the very essence of "the mother of all humanity is here to fight the ogdru-jahad at the end of time", which is more or less a literal description of the underlying what this entire project is all about.

I swear that I am choosing songs with a three-syllable chant entirely by coincidence.

[23] Budâch, chief of the Aisinai, has gathered the greatest teulu Dayr ever known to her banner. Old enemies bury their swords. Warriors from all corners of the north country flock to her column as it marches south.

[24] The shared name was a coincidence, or at least a subconscious borrowing. The same with Orlei, I think there's a place named that in Dragon Age, a series I played one game of and remember very little of.

[25]"I have asked so much of you already, and time and again you have answered the call. But I fear I must come to you one last time, with one final request. One last push. One last march. One final effort. We are so close, my friends. Just a little bit more." [25a]

[25a] I am blatantly invoking "Search for the Last Great Secret", yes.

[26] The whistle screams. Up, up and over! Take the hill! Take the hill, or all is lost! And so they go up; over the trench, into no-man's land; over the trench, into the hail of cannon shot and the streams of machine gun fire. Over the trench; to take the hill; to secure the road; to make way for the cannons, to lay siege to Hell. Up, up and over.

[27] Horns in the distance. Sun glittering on shields and spearheads. Hooves thundering like the earthquake. Ia, Amazonia! Aia, Themiskrya! The Maid rides at their vanguard, banner in hand. [27a]

[27a] Yes, it's repainted ride of the Rohirrim. Steal from the best, eh?

[28] I can't remember if I have mentioned it before, but I have settled on a reason as to why Darvatius waited so long to appear: while no one can really prove it, the suspiscion is that Darvatius only manifested very late in the war - possibly only just before the siege of Dis - and that his appearance was not so much to defend the city, but to kick off a renewed conquest after the Maid's defeat. The image of him walking out of his own temple is very, very fitting, I think.

[29] This is the lone miracle within MSF - the event that cannot happen, and yet does. And like any good miracle, it is not going to entail an easy answer as to what it means.

[30] I have flip-flopped multiple times on exactly what Molly and Zaid's relationship is to be. First they were going to marry, than they weren't, now I am leaning towards it again. While he still owns multiple swords, I don't think life as a warrior fits him. Molly needs someone to serve as an anchor against self-destruction, and I don't think I can really get that if both of them are out fighting.

[31] Far in the frozen north, the Band of the Lioness finds the lost Lord of Hell.

[32] Amelia, belt clenched in her teeth, thrashes in the grips of le grande mal as the bones of the town's dead rise to once again protect their home. Zin's coffin crawls about on too many limbs. Molly shouts orders to the militia over the clang of the church bell and the squealing of the horde. The swine are upon them.

[33] Freedom at last.