Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: January, 2022

Welcome To Faraday – A Horror Writing RPG

I created a solo writing role playing game called Welcome To Faraday and I think you’re going to dig it.

DOWNLOAD WELCOME TO FARADAY NOW!


Okay, let’s go through a few things you might be thinking:

WHAT’S A SOLO WRITING ROLE PLAYING GAME?

Alright, a solo writing rpg is a “game” you can play by yourself, and by play I mean you end up writing something as you go through the game.

It’s usually a document with a set of prompts that get you to think about what your character does and what might happen along this story/journey that’s loosely laid out and then you fill in all the details – like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but each chapter isn’t written out with a choice at the end, you have to do the writing of each section, and we just help out with the choices/options of what comes next.

I’ve recently fallen down a rabbit hole of solo writing rpgs – you can see I wrote about them here.

I’ve bought and read a whole bunch of them in the past year. Some are great, some are less great – usually it comes down to the general idea/genre/story, and then it’s the ability for the prompts to inspire creativity without being too guided, or too flat and vague.

The best ones create a chance to write a short entry every day where you follow your character through something interesting. The way I see it, if someone sat down with their notebook, pencil, and a d20 and just did one page a day, they’d come out of the process with a little stack of cool moments, ideas, pages, and their brain would be all the better for it. The world, too, if they decided to share it.

This one was created using the Second Guess System by Gamenomicon – which is utterly brilliant in construction – and inspired by their Hard Case game – a brilliant single page of construction and genre. I love that this model/structure was created, and then shared for free, and it really set my brain on fire. It’s about 5 minutes to read, and then you’re ready to go make something awesome!

WHAT’S WELCOME TO FARADAY ABOUT?

Welcome To Faraday is a suburban horror rpg where I position 3 mysteries, and you use this 1 page document to guide you through interactions and moments in your little town of Faraday to solve the mysteries, or not. I don’t provide the solutions, to be clear, you do that. All of the hard lifting is on the side of the player, I just provide the inspiration and general framework.

When thinking about this, I had the following things firmly in my mind: ‘Salem’s Lot, The ‘Burbs, Stranger Things, Suspiria, Home Sick Pilots, Kids with Bikes, and my own childhood in the 80s riding my BMX to the milk bar. This is the vibe, tone, and stuff I’m looking to also inspire.

A mash up of strange and surreal amongst the simplicity of suburban life. But the main horror element is decided by the player. I have set the mysteries, and the prompts, but you get to decide if it’s vampires, or aliens, or a sadistic megacorporation, or werewolves, or whatever you want. I wanted that flavour to be chosen by the player, but the setting and everything else is set up by me.

WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS?

I really want to teach creative writing with these, so I’ve been thinking about them a lot, studying them, and working out what I like best about them. Also, as a writer, I just love the creativity they inspire in my own brain.

I know I’m mostly writing comics, and I bang on enough about that, but I forget sometimes to mention how deeply I love writing of all kinds. I’ve written prose shorts, back up essays in comics, reviews, I edited a whole book of essays about Daredevil [it’s true], and I write a lot of D&D adventures I run at school and with my mates. As I fell further into these journaling games, it became another cog turning in my brain.

The perfect intersection between teaching these and playing these was to be creating these. The creation is just as creatively satisfying for me as playing one, and hopefully then other people get to play something new.

I am also 100% going to use this one in the coming semester’s Suburban Horror unit I’ll be teaching, so there was that motivation to create the exact tool I wanted/needed, also. That’s the reason why this exists and what pushed me the extra step to make this one specifically.

But even beyond that, I just like writing and creating stuff. This is how my brain works. So with no major script due on my desk, and a bit of time sitting at my table over a convention day, I put my brain to use on this.

I absolutely cannot wait to make more. I have some other genres and ideas I’m mentally sketching out and am dying to get to.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THIS?

You should go check the game out and download a copy.

CHECK OUT WELCOME TO FARADAY NOW

I’ve put it up where you can download a copy for free. You can elect to donate money, too, but please don’t feel obligated to do so. I want to get this out there so here’s what I would love:

  • Share the link with people you think will dig it
  • Download a copy for free – I’m sure that’ll help me on some kind of algorithm, right?
  • Maybe have a go at writing something – even if it’s just the first prompt, the first page; I’d love to see what people come up with!

And that’s it.

I love the idea of a one page rpg where you have to write something.

I love suburban horror.

I love creating things.

I love sharing stuff I’ve created.

Welcome To Faraday. Hope you survive the experience.

SPEED REPUBLIC #2 on Preorder

The latest issue of my new series through Mad Cave Studios is in Previews magazine and ready to preorder through your LCS! Come see what Emmanuele Parascandolo and I have created with…

SPEED REPUBLIC #2

Illustrated by Emmanuele Parascandolo

Written by Ryan K Lindsay

Coloured by Michele Monte

Lettered by Joamette Gil

Edited by Chris Sanchez

Choose from one of these two covers!

Cover by Emmanuele Parascandolo – order details here
Cover by Fabian Lelay – order details here

The first issue lands on Feb 02, and this is later in March.

The comic is set in the future where Europoe has formed one nation state, united under the face of The Autocrat – a singular ruler who’s in it for himself, and the few he allows in his periphery. The rest of the nation is slipping into despair and ruin, slowly, painfully, with resources and opportunities few and far between. But once a year the Autocrat runs The Great Race, a kind of gumball rally style epic drive where one winner gets admission to the haven of the 1%.

Sebastian Valencia has entered the race because he’s got little other options left to him. His father is dying, his life very bland, and this is at least a glimmer of hope. Even if the survival rate for drivers is low due to the other racers, and maurauding street gangs, and just the landscape in general, this race is at least a chance for money and safety and life beyond the reach of your arm.

And so we set off on this race, and madness ensues. It’s as much The Running Man as it is Mad Max as it is Speed Racer as it is The Cannonball Run.

Here are some early reviews to help push you across the line to preorder our wild beauty:

4.5/5 on But Why Tho Podcast

4.4/5 on Monkey’s Fighting Robots

Lovely words on The Convention Collective

And more lovely words on Geek Vibes Nation

Good luck choosing which cover you want for issue #2 – they’re both pretty amazing! And I look forward to sharing the first issue in a couple weeks!

What Is Best In Life? – 2021 Edition

Well at least it’ll be better than 2020, we cried into the night, before a few months of 2021, and then we just cried into our cereal.

It’s been an interesting year. We’d come out of Covid and lockdowns and the year started pretty cruisy. Where I live, we had zero cases for months on end and everything genuinely felt fairly back to normal. My teaching game was strong, I was reading plenty, and then Sami Kivela and I had EVERFROST launch at Black Mask and Sebastian Piriz and I had BLACK BEACON launch at Heavy Metal.

Things “looked” good.

Then the Delta variant swept across the nation, slowly but surely, and eventually invaded my ‘hood and we went into another lockdown. When that happens, my teaching load goes through the roof. It wasn’t as bad as 2020, but it was still pretty escalated. My comics kept coming out, I kept teaching, so there was nothing catastrophic.

Then I decided to change up my dayjob a little – I’ve moved from teaching little kids to now teaching English. It’s rad. But it’s taken a lot of mental load and prep to make the transition smoothly, especially as it happened as we came out of lockdown – a strange time to be doing anything, no less starting a new job at a new school.

It did mean I was ‘forced’ to do more reading, though.

I have no clue what 2022 has planned, but looking back on 2021, there’s a lot of good so I’ll spend this space celebrating some of that good stuff. Here goes…

Comics

As always, I manage to find awesome comics to read because people keep making pretty awesome comics.

My brain took in a Joe Hill Double Bill.

PLUNGE was one that stood out for it’s John Carpenter vibes and beautiful Stuart Immonen art. I dug the book, it’s a very fun ride, and does what it says on the tin with its 80s horror flick vibes.

I followed it months later with A BASKETFUL OF HEADS, which was one I didn’t know anything about, and I’ll be honest that the cover was giving me the wrong vibes for it. I thought it was some kind of eerie gothic slasher book, and it’s anything but – open it to find it’s another 80s throwback, maybe even late 70s, honestly, about a young woman defending herself against some escaped criminals, and she randomly uses this axe from a house display, and it’s a mystical blade that doesn’t cause death but instead life. So when she chops someone’s head off, it remains living.

A great premise, and a really enjoyable book!

My mate Paul Allor teamed with another mate Paul Tucker to create HOLLOW HEART and it really was something else to touch your heart. A brilliant tale of love and monsters and captivity. Seeing Paul write the kinds of emotional and esoteric stories I wish I could fills me with joy.

TRESPASSERS from Breena Bard was one my kids picked up, but I instantly devoured. A really fun middle grade romp about a forgotten mystery and some kids who think they’ve got the right thread on the sweater to pull. I really do love stories about kids investigating crimes. There’s just something about it as a kid I always loved, and as an adult it still fills me with joy and inspiration.

DAREDEVIL continues to be a comic I enjoy, but I gotta admit I’m getting lost in the monthly churn with it. There’s a chance I might transition to trades on this soon, as I have with most things, because my monthly buying and reading has gone to guano since these last two lockdowns, and I find myself constantly lost in where I am up to, or what’s been going on and for how long.

If this also means books need to pivot more towards graphic novels, well, I’m all for that, I guess. The more they make them, the more people will buy them when they come out, and then the more stores will sell them, and then we’ll better get into the habit of buying them, and around and around it will go. I hope.

Speaking of people buying graphic novels as they drop: RECKLESS from Sean Phillips and Ed Brubaker dropped another 2 volumes this year. I read the first [which is the second volume] and it suitably kicked ass. I actually have but have not read the 3rd volume, as I’m holding it off as some kind of New Years treat, alongside a few other things, like NOVEMBER Vol. 4 from Elsa Charretier and Matt Fraction. I had to hustle through two different reporting periods, and then I’ve been reading stuff for next year, so these two are waiting for me and I cannot wait.

Transitioning to another Brubaker book, this time with Marcos Martin, I got myself straight into their collaboration with FRIDAY and found myself loving it more and more as each issue slowly wound its way around this very awesome mystery plot. This book is just the definition of beautiful, so I’m looking forward to more.

Novel

Did a cheeky run of rereading and ploughed through DOUBLE INDEMNITY by James M. Cain, FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley, THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEAS by Ernest Hemingway. All good and interesting reads.

I read THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O’Brien that’s a short story collection/exploration of the author’s time in Vietnam during the war and it’s a fascinating study. The circuitous way the stories are constructed and present certain key moments, it’s really quite beautifully done.

Benjamin Percy’s THRILL ME is a collection of his essays on fiction and it’s been instantly added to my mental curriculum list of things you should read if you want to be a writer. It takes a lot of his presentations and essays and makes them easy to digest, with examples, and a really strong and engaging authorial voice.

But it was WARLIGHT by Michael Ondaatje that captured me the most. This brilliant story about two kids after the war in Europe struggling to discover themselves, as well as the truth of their family, is a phenomenally well told narrative. The aspects of duality in life, the two sides we have, the truth we never know, the cause and the effect are all explored and brought to light [and hidden in the dark] in this really thoughtful and gripping read.

I wrote a little about it on my Patreon

TV

TED LASSO dropped a second season. Wherein the first looked at Ted slowly winning everyone over, this season went a whole new route – it’s basically just everyone on a journey to combat their inner demons, or sometimes the outer ones. A season of people trying to kick depression in the nethers sounds…ethereal, but it really built and built. It’s hard to compare against the brilliance and surprise of the first season, but I feel like this one stands alongside it as a perfect companion – not a clone, mined for similar but diminishing success, but a new step into something just as challenging and emotionally true as the first.

I really enjoyed WANDAVISION – a superhero show that kinda made you think. It was unlike most anything else from the MCU, and for that alone I was happy. I’ve watched them all, and found FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER to be fun, but that was about as far down as the show could dig, and LOKI was as charismatic as its lead, and WHAT IF…? definitely scratched an itch for me. Good to have one I could watch with the kids, too.

HAWKEYE was a little up and down, but Hailee Steinfeld really grows into the role for me. Yes, another quippy, snarky superhero, who knew?! But she’s so good in the role, I’m happy to see the entire Marvel film franchise end up in the hands of her, especially when paired with Yelena as their scenes in the show were absolute dynamite for chemistry. Give them the reins of the show alongside Captain Marvel, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Scarlet Witch, and Valkyrie, and whatever other younger heroes I’m forgetting, or they continue to amass.

ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING was a fun crime show whose premise and structure was really well put together. Getting to see Steve Martin, and Martin Short, both get decent roles to play and show they still know how to chew up some scenery was a delight.

Feel like I watched more, but specifics elude me.

Movie

MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES has to be movie of the year, right? I could watch it once a week and still find myself laughing my absolute ass off. So effortlessly constructed and genuinely funny as well as moving. Just a masterpiece of family cinema.

BO BURNHAM: INSIDE was a complete earworm of a show, but I thought it was just the right balance of poignant against the esoteric. I found myself genuinely captivated, which for something shot by one guy in his house is very impressive.

I can’t remember what else I saw this year…

Podcasts

I discovered THE KINGSLINGERS podcast, wherein two fellas started reading THE DARK TOWER books, but one has already read them all, and one is completely new to it. As they go through sections they discuss what the newbie thinks is happening and what certain things mean. It’s a great way to unpack certain elements, and was fun to listen to alongside my reread for the first novel, and then to listen to their thoughts on the second one because it’s probably still my favourite of the series.

They’ve moved onto other King works, so I’m going to listen to the ‘SALEM’S LOT eps while I reread that book this month.

I also discovered SMARTLESS where Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes interview random Hollywood guests and it’s a fun show. I usually get a solid laugh out of it each time.

It’s been a good year for fun stuff to enter my brain. Here’s to 2022 bringing more good entertainment vibes, as well as creative ones. Keep the brain spinning and swimming!

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