POWERCHORDS is still in the "editing & illustration" phase. I needed to jostle one editor last week because they'd barely started reading the manuscript I'd sent out over two months ago.
Because the book's final cut clocked in at over three times its original size, I needed to commission new illustrations for it. Bryan, Sandi and Ace are doing more pieces, and the results are... wow.
Personally, I've been eyeballs-deep in Mage 20th Anniversary Edition, so time has been slipping away from me. But that's where things are now.
More updates soon.
Dammit. i got wrapped up in what I've been doing again last week and forgot to post a new weekly update. I'm sorry.
Currently in editing, the book is also being illustrated by Bryan and Sandi. I still need to get final chapters off to Ace. The following entry comes from Chapter Eight, and deals with a frightening and often dangerous manifestation: the Horde.
The Horde (Galatean)
Motif: Demonic Violent Groupie Mass
Y’know that audience they say will eat you alive if you suck? That would be the Horde. A collective mass of hostility, they surge through mosh pits and “walls of death”; if and when a band is lame, they’ll tear the place apart, storm the stage, and kick shitty musician ass. In reality, this “they” is actually an “it”; that It is the Horde, and it’s awful to behold.
Where did it come from? Who the fuck knows? Legend has it that the Horde swelled up in the pits of mid-80s hardcore, either as a reaction to Nazi skinhead punks, asshole cops, or (more likely) the poseurs who began infecting the scene. In the close-knit hardcore clubs, no one who saw “them” knew who “they” were; there’d be a few dudes in the pit, and then suddenly there’d be over a dozen strangers thrashing among them – causing fights, groping girls, trashing venues and beating the hell out of bands that couldn’t or wouldn’t appreciate their enthusiasm. Naturally, this “horde” acquired an outlaw sense of cool. Bands were soon judged by whether or not the Horde enjoyed their shows or took its fury out on anyone within reach.
Even more terrifying (or exciting, depending on who you were), this Horde began showing its appreciation for bands it liked by turning gigs into orgies. Backstage (and sometimes onstage), these strangers started rushing in to grab, grope and throw to the floor anyone – male or female – who caught the Horde’s attentions. Given the homophobic tensions in most parts of the hardcore scene, this proved to be far less cool than the beatings had seemed.
As the Horde’s focus shifted from punk to metal in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s (and as the riot grrl, Goth rock and grunge movements brought more women into the scene), the gender of the “entity” shifted from a pack of boys to a mixed-sex mass of flailing bodies, limbs and faces. Soon they began fucking up rap gigs too, “wilding” through the crowds to beat, stab and molest folks unfortunate enough to stand in their way. The Horde’s heyday apparently peaked in the late ‘90s; even now, however, that mass of flailing hate shows up occasionally,
No one’s really able to stop the Horde. A few artists have been able to calm a frenzied audience enough to make the Horde fade away, but that’s a very rare thing. Most artists do the opposite, which just makes the Horde stronger. This entity flings such fury back in people’s faces, meeting violence with even more intense violence. It may have been the Horde that helped turn Woodstock ‘99 into a nightmare for everyone concerned, that poisoned the rap scene, that turns punk, metal and industrial shows into battlegrounds. Some folks who’ve noticed the Horde entity even speculate that it arose at Altamont Speedway in 1969, marking the end of ‘60s idealism in pools of blood and tears.
Despite appearances, this Horde is not a group of individuals; it’s an energetic collective driven by hostile passions. Guided by a rabid hive-mind, it swirls up in places where mystically gifted people (audiences, performers, promoters, or perhaps all three) manifest a furious art. Metaphysically, the Horde manifests unchained aggression, shaped and given form by musical energy. Embodying the passions of artists, sound and audience, it’s an ugly reminder that purgation has a price.
Vocations: The Horde’s really good at only one thing: making a mess. Whether said mess involves a brawl, an orgy, or – most often – something in between, this entity is frighteningly good at bringing about raw chaos. In game terms, the Horde is a single “character” with a rather large “skill” with regards to taking damage and tossing folks around. Oh, and it’s pretty damned scary, too; people trying to calm or face the Horde have a pretty steep task ahead of them.
Powers: A manifestation of rage, the Horde cannot be “beaten down” with force. The more you fight it, the more powerful it becomes. Like a brave soul body-surfing in a pit, a character facing off against the Horde has to surrender to the force and ride it. Opposing aggression with aggression just feeds power to the Horde. That said, this entity is a coward. When confronted, the Horde rallies, bashes its “opponents” to the ground, leaves people in bloody heaps, and then “disappears” – not literally popping out of existence but merging into the crowd or shadows so that the collective can’t be caught.
On camera or to the eye, the Horde appears as a blurry mass of unrecognizable hatred, vaguely human and wearing the “face” of its scene’s extremity; Horde punks look like really hardcore punks, Horde metalheads look like something from Tipper Gore’s nightmares, and hip-hop Hordes like crowds that could turn Snoop Dog white with fear. Folks who’ve recognized the Horde as something more yet less than human speculate that there might be many Hordes, all wearing the guise of the scene that spawned them. Whatever the truth might be, the Horde remains the bane of magically inclined musicians who specialize in lust and rage.
Weaknesses: Peace and calm are the Horde’s antithesis. Should an artist manage to pacify a crowd, the “strangers” fade away. The Horde’s not bright either, which means it can’t communicate but may be tricked by someone who recognizes what it is. Again, it’s cowardly, and tends to “run away” once it has made a significant mess of things. It can’t hurt anything it cannot touch physically, although it’s good at spreading fear and rage.
Most importantly, the Horde depends upon the people manifesting it. It doesn’t appear just anywhere, nor does it absolve artist or audience responsibility for the mess. The Horde is an extension of what’s already going on – a Galatean forged by magic, music and passions unrestrained by reason or care.
Sorry about that. I got so wrapped up in writing Mage that I forgot to post updates last week and the week before.
Revision notes are being input into Powerchords, but are not yet completed.
We do, however, have some really cool character illustration art from Bryan Syme. Enjoy!
Thanks. More to come soon...
I'm almost finished with the revision pass on Powerchords' full manuscript, with just the final chapter left to go. After that, I'll be inputting my changes, going over it a second time, and then handing it off the first of two editors for proofreading.
Meanwhile, Bryan Syme is back in action, sending in wonderful portraits like the one of Keef below. I have six playtest groups working on my Revised Compact System rules, and although those rules won't be in Powerchords per se (the playtest document alone is over 12,000 words), there is an overview of them in the book. Ideally, I'll have a PDF of those rules available by the time Powerchords goes to press.
This week is a Mage 20th Anniversary week, as I need to have that book finished by August. Even so, Powerchords is still being worked on. By the time Mage is done, Powerchords will probably have been released.
Have a good week.