Players of the Game Character Spotlight: Durduun

This god of death savors the finer things in life.

Durduun is not as antagonistic to the Brigands as one might expect.  Does he grow in power as more of his unliving cultists join under his banner?  Of course.  Does he enjoy sharing fine wine and good food with interesting company?

Most definitely.

He is a doting brother to his sisters, Suso and Dhalia.  A conflicted onetime lover of ViRauni.  And an uneasy ally of Ashe Stelfire and Welt.  Mainly because they share a common enemy.


Durduun knows the Game and despises it.  He also knows that the threat of Sufrinzon’s Palle Empire will only grow as time elapses, because the Master of the Game secretly backs it.  These foes will one day cross the Ocean of the Lost and encroach on his island’s shores.

So Durduun opts to strike them first with the Brigands.

And perhaps have a few good dinners along the way.

James McGowan Reader Group- The Cost of Magic

Hey there!

We live in a world of magic. 

Planes that can get us across a continent in a few hours.  The personal round-edged rectangles that we all carry around that let us communicate, find info, and put on cat ear filters in limitless permutations.  The laptop that I’m using right now that can do even more.  Unless you’re involved in the technologies that comprise all this wonder, it may as well be magic.

But what is its cost?

There are certainly a lot of macro answers to that.  Waste, carbon emissions, mass social isolation, and on and on.

But what about you as an individual?

Maybe your attention span.  Maybe your ability to empathize with others.  Almost certainly not some physical harm as long as a random fluke or disaster isn’t involved.  And definitely not forgetting how to do a task immediately after performing it, Curse of the Magi AD&D 2nd edition style.

That brings me to my philosophy on magic in my Players of the Game series.

Magic in my story line does indeed have a cost.  It’s the same as any other science-based application.  It requires knowledge, physical conditioning or devices, and the energy to do it.  The same principles that apply to a plasma rifle also apply to a Burning Beam hex.

That’s why I don’t call it magic.  I call it mancy.   Yes, I know mancy is technically another root word for magic.  Yet, uncommon enough that a spell checker thinks it’s not a real word.  

It’s as much a science as physics or chemistry in this fictional universe.

And its cost is the investment in time to master it.  Aligning the practitioner’s body’s connection to etherea, the non-electromagnetic energy source behind all the mancy hexes.  And the caster’s capacity to hold etherea within their own body or an external artifact or device.

It gets mentioned when there’s a story or character-based need to call attention to it.  Otherwise, it’s humming in the background, working reliably and predictably.

Just like any other proven science.
Players of the Game Works in Progress
I have passed two significant and possibly ludicrous milestones with the Game War this month.

I am now on page 716 with 202,900 words.  Last month’s stats had me at page 670 with 189,600 words.

I’ve broken both the 700 page and 200k word thresholds in the same month.  That’s.  A lot.

And I’m still not finished with the first draft. I’m going to cut a bunch of stuff out of the subsequent drafts, but I’ll also be adding other scenes to flesh out the story.  I’m not yet sure if I’ll spit it up into two parts, or just make it an epic tome.

We’ll just have to see what looks best in the end.

Work in Progress Out of Context Quote of the Month:

The horned goddess nodded and then looked over at them through the display, wearing a resolute visage.

Vurg regarded Celsis with a hard-eyed expression, carrying both bemusement and optimism. “It’s odd having her on our side again.”

Vick smirked. “First time for me.”
Recommendation Corner
John Wick Chapter 4

This movie is gloriously ridiculous.  It has all the usual John Wick tropes.

Magic kevlar that requires emptying half a clip pointblank to take down basically anyone.  Zero police presence.  Anywhere.  Ever.  No one recording the spree killing on their smart phones.  Falls from great heights that only knock the wind out of Keenu’s character.  And a really cool subtitle font.

These are features, not bugs.  The stunt work and the direction are fantastic.  Some of the best action scenes I’ve seen in a good long while.  Epic gun-fu that is just a lovely delight.

Watch it in the theater.


This game has been out for a while, but I finally got around to it.

Many of my mental video game buttons are pushed with this frantic masterpiece.  Tactical combat.  Strategic resource management.  A doomsday clock that’s constantly ticking in the background until you get enough of a toehold to postpone it.

I love these kinds of games where outmaneuvering the opponent is more important than twitch skill.  And I fully admit to “save scumming”, saving check points throughout a mission and reloading if something goes awry.  I gotta keep my cool lady sniper alive, after all.

I’ve beaten the Vanilla version, and now I’m working on the War of the Chosen DLC that basically makes it a whole new game, with so many things going on at once that it is blisteringly chaotic, but also strangely freeing.

To paraphrase the words of a certain Jim Carrey character: I-like-it-a-lot.
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That’s all for this time.

Stay smart.  Stay safe.


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