Posts Tagged ‘Maze Warrior’

Tipsy Santa 2019

Writing | Posted by David A Ludwig
Dec 20 2019

I don’t know if it was fatigue from National Novel Writing Month, the general busyness of the holiday season, or something else, but I had a lot of trouble coming up with something for this year’s Tipsy Santa Blog Hop, hosted by Ever Addams–even though the prompt of the writer’s choice of 1 of 4 alcoholic beverages is right up my alley.

Make sure to swing by her site to see the prompts, and in the comments below links to the other entries. Ultimately I decided to revisit a scene from the 34th episode of my super hero series, Maze Warrior, utilizing the Shochu and Baileys’ White Christmas cocktail in 744 words.


The powerful percussion of Sig Sauer shots reverberates through the almost empty shooting range from the center two booths. John Alexandra is a tall steely man with the weight of experience, methodically firing tight clusters for high value. In the twenty years since Reiko Sugiyama last saw him, he’s grown heavier with a distinguished beard bearing most of the grey acquired by his red-brown hair. In the next booth, Reiko is the unstoppable force to his immovable object, just as cool and precise but acutely aware how little her appearance has changed since they were rookies. Both wear safety glasses and earmuffs.

“I was surprised how Inoue-sama has opened up to you.” Reiko observes in her clear confident voice. “He was always very secretive with us.”

As their targets cycle out, John frowns at Reiko’s higher score.  Both prepare their Sigs for the next round with practiced prowess.

“It’s not as open a relationship as you may think! And it took a lot of work to even get this far.”

Their fifth silhouettes for the session come out similarly close to perfect scores, but John edges Reiko out overall. Both reload and decock their pistols before holstering them—John under his leather jacket and Reiko under her suit jacket. She returns her safety gear to the wall of her booth, then takes a moment to tuck loose strands of her ebon hair back into her elegant bun.

“Good shooting, John-kun. You’re even better than I remembered.”

They meet after cleaning their booths. Even in her heels, Reiko looks up to see John’s pale green eyes.

“Beating me is no small accomplishment.” Reiko smiles, feeling John’s eyes on her lips.

“I didn’t beat you by enough to count; that could have gone either way.”

“We’ll have to try again some time then.”

“You still haven’t seen Yasunobu Inoue since coming to the states; shall we head over? He’s usually home.”

Reiko shakes her head too vigorously before containing her surge of terror. The great exorcist is the last person she wants to see.

“No! I mean, I trust your reports.”

John shrugs and pushes open the door to the silent snow dusted parking lot.

“There isn’t much else to do today. Unless you wanted to go out for dinner or something.”

Reiko loops an arm through John’s familiarly.

“Dinner would be magnificent.”

John extricates himself to open the passenger door of his sensible SUV for Reiko.

Twenty minutes later they sit opposite one another in a small crowded downtown sushi bar with frosted windows. They are a few plates into the evening, each with a creamy brown iced drink in a martini glass.

“Now, what did you say these were?” John laughs as he runs a finger up the glass stem.

“Shochu and Bailey’s White Christmas. It’s like a Japanese White Russian; you’ll like it.”

John raises his glass for an appraising sip.

“Moments like this, it’s hard to believe we’re in the middle of a battle for the future of the entire world.”

Reiko sips her own drink while watching John.

“It’s too much to think about all the time. Everyone needs a break sometimes.”

John aspirates his drink and quickly sets it down.

“Twenty years ago, it would have been me telling you that! Why the more relaxed attitude now?”

Reiko runs a finger lightly around the rim of her glass.

“I don’t want to leave this world with any regrets.”


Reiko smiles reassuringly. She didn’t come for sympathy.

“After the Dark Emperor has been handled, I’m going to retire.”

Reiko signals for another round of drinks. John laughs and pats his stomach.

“I hope you’re not trying to get me drunk. It won’t be as easy as it used to be.”

“Challenge accepted.”

Though alcohol no longer affects Reiko at all, John concedes the match with his faculties largely intact. They leave his car behind to walk to her hotel room at the evening’s end.

“Won’t you come in?” Reiko angles herself to show where the top buttons of her blouse are undone.

He looks like he’s been stabbed, lowering his head and shoulders with genuine regret.

“Rei-chan, I can’t…”

“I know…” It’s Reiko’s turn to concede as she touches the gold band on his left ring finger. “She’s a lucky woman.”

Why hadn’t Reiko crossed over when that demon impaled her? Why did she come back if this is all that waited for her? Did she deny death for work?

Andrew into Darkness

Uncategorized | Posted by David A Ludwig
May 02 2011

Andrew level 16 is now up and accessible via the Pages navigation to the right or the main Niar Saga story page (also available to the right or above). Anyone who’s caught up on the posts may have noticed that Vixie’s segment from last week left off on a bit of a cliff-hanger, and part of that is that this week will finish the Descent Into Darkness Phase of Niar Saga, after which is the Versus the Evil God Phase–which will bring us to level 20. Hopefully some of you have ideas about what that could mean.

In other site related news, please consider voting in the current poll. There are no wrong answers, I’m just curious what people think and it’s totally anonymous anyway–even I can’t tell who’s voted let alone what their choices were. Also the square check boxes instead of the circular mean that you’re allowed to select more than one answer since in cases like this the answers aren’t all necessarily mutually exclusive.

Update on the state of things with me in general, I have a triumph and a failure to report. To open with the triumph for a positive upbeat; I finally beat Phantasy Star! I played the Phantasy Star series back on the Sega Genesis and to this day still consider it one of the best RPG (or maybe video-game in general, but I’m biased in favor of RPGs) series I’ve ever played. The Shining Series (particularly Shining Force, not counting that junky excuse for a game Shining Force Neo) is the only RPG series I can think of that I would consider as possibly being better than Phantasy Star (on the topic of junky excuses for games though, I was not impressed with Phantasy Star Online and so my experience and praise are really just for the Genesis era games). But a big hang-up for me was that the Master System was dead and gone by the time I started playing video-games, so I never had access to the original Phantasy Star. And I haven’t had a portable gaming system since the original Gameboy, so when Phantasy Star came out for I don’t remember which Gameboy I couldn’t take advantage of that either. Finally though I got a Wii and Phantasy Star was available for download from the Wii Store. I have to say the game was definitely worth the wait. The graphics, sound and gameplay were all decidedly dated (1988 game), but in spite of all of that it was a really awesome game. It was really clear how it was the foundation for the rest of the original Phantasy Star games, and answered all sorts of questions I had about the setting and story that I hadn’t even expected to be answered (like how you end up with a horse-sized winged cat, or the reason the holy flame is called the Eclipse Torch). I may have to play through the other three again soon, even though the game-play didn’t really get good until IV (before that sooner or later in the first three the random battles started to feel like a real drag).

And then my failure. Last month I committed to writing the script for the strategy/RPG “Yamatai War”, which will tell the story of the legend frequently referenced in my series, “Maze Warrior”… Well as of today I have the scene heading for the first scene written into the script… So, yeah… I did get the whole thing outlined, but ultimately keeping up with the 2 story updates and Wednesday features on this site takes a lot more of my time than I’d expect. And since I can’t very well take time out of my job-search/application process, and find myself perhaps over-attached to my “me time” with games or whatever, I just didn’t get it done. So I no longer have a deadline, but I remain committed to getting the script written. Just kind of embarassing that I fell so far short of a personal goal there.

Hero Machine

Uncategorized | Posted by David A Ludwig
Apr 29 2011

Already the second half of Vixie Level 15 is now up and accessible via the Page navigation to the right or the Niar Saga main story page. Also I encourage people to vote in the current poll (you are allowed to select more than one answer as many are not mutually exclusive) and leave comments letting me know what you do or don’t like on the site or in the story.

In other news my friend Trevor mentioned a website called in his blog a while back–Trevor’s blog is one of the links on my Links page if you want to check it out. The basic idea with the site is that using a very sophisticated paper-doll interface you can create and customize super-heroes.

Illana is a hispanic psychic with dark powers, though she tends to serve as a lackey to more powerful villains her foresight makes her valuable to those she serves.

I tried playing around with it a little bit, and while there was a bit of a learning curve I did eventually manage to represent some of the villains from my Maze Warrior series. I basically found the trade-off was fairly even between how much better Heromachine’s art is than mine, to how much less accurately it portrays my characters to assemble them from pre-generated (if customizable) pieces. So I don’t think I’ll be doing a lot with Heromachine, but it was certainly fun to play with.

The Red Ninja is the acting villain for the first minor story-arc in Maze Warrior. A superlative fighter and strategist, he forges his own path and doesn't play nice even with the other villains.

Death Violet is the sadistic acting villain of the second minor story arc, possessed of innate dark powers and trained in sorcery and ninjutsu.

April Suchness

Uncategorized | Posted by David A Ludwig
Apr 08 2011

Andrew level 12 continued is now up and accessible via the Pages navigation to the right, or the main Niar Saga story page–the latter of which is also slowly accumulating behind the scenes info on the world and characters from my recent Wednesday post series. This concludes The Quest phase of Niar Saga, and on Monday we begin Descent into Darkness. Updates of course continuing before noon on Mondays and Fridays, with fun but non-essential posts on Wednesdays when I get to them.

Then I’m happy to say we got 6 votes on the last poll concerning Favorite Character. Andrew won (with two votes), but I was happy that everyone got at least one vote (including an unspecified side character). I’m not sure if those were 6 unique votes or if anyone voted more than once, but it was nice to see more activity than the last poll either way. The new poll is up and like the others will stay up 2 weeks before moving on to the next one. Until one of these gets at least 10 votes though it probably won’t be worth adding an Archive page for viewing past polls.

About the only other news I have is that I’m pretty sure I heard from one of my friends (whose blog is linked on my links page in fact) that this month was some sort of write 100 pages of script month or something like that. I didn’t officially sign on with it, but in a spirit of solidarity I figured I’d try and hammer out the script for the Strategy RPG detailing the legend to which my super-hero series, Maze Warrior, regularly references. The game is called “Yamatai War” with the possibility of having “Maze Warrior:” attached to the front to clarify the relationship to the series. I have the whole thing outlined now and intend to get writing this weekend. One thing I haven’t totally figured out how I’m going to handle though is the branching paths, player choices and for example just talking to people in town. Seems like video-game scripts could have some key differences from movie/stage/tv scripts I hadn’t fully considered before.