Stablehand: Abyssal

Finally got around to drawing a proper picture of an Abyssal.

This is one of those drawings where I drew exactly what I set out to draw, but don't feel like it quite captures what the subject is supposed to be and how it's supposed to "feel". Maybe if I had the energy to colour it with proper darkness/contrast/texture I could make it look better.

Abyssals are supposed to vary in shape some amount, and also, as I tried to show here, churn and shift a lot. This one is supposed to have scattered claws randomly forming out of nothing since as a creature of Nothing, I feel like they should have zero coherent limbs.

Stablehand: I tried

Some miscellaneous creatures that didn't quite work.

Shadow has been a character I've been consistently ambivalent about, and I've had thoughts of either dropping or revamping him a bunch. Remembering another (throwaway) character I'd created once with a vaguely interesting appearance and the fact I didn't exactly have an Esteemed character on the main cast I tried to revamp him to be Esteemed, and it looked pretty cool honestly, but after a little while I scrapped that idea, realising that nope, I just wasn't realising what the main idea of Esteem was before so there actually was one already, and also that this design was a little lacklustre in being too "standardly awesome". So I'm back to square one with him, but at least this misstep made me appreciate him a bit more.

A couple of "traditional" medieval creatures, which I'm not sure if I'll use or not. One was an "ermine" with a heraldic "ermine" pattern, the other was a very literal take on a leucrota (from Pliny the Elder's description).

Leijonœrns. Or, serious attempts at them that didn't quite work. Originally I wanted them to look a lot like hexarts (see: sideways one, stuff at the top), but more recently (many months after I'd drawn the sideways one) I decided it would be more interesting to give them shoulder arms and ground wings and make them visually different from hexarts, and do similar with the other six-limbed creatures. I'm probably going to stick with that, though it's the only thing I solidly liked about these.

Stablehand scrap update: 4/20~10/31

The interval between these only gets longer, but at least this time it's mostly because I've actually been posting things as proper posts instead of in here. Still, there are a few things.

First, the Observers' colour is apparently called "atoll" as I found out on this neat website. Neat bit of trivia. I remember back when all MBs were going to be variations of that colour, a time this post still hasn't gotten out of.

My mind couldn't think of the word "papaya", so it tried to pull out the word "pomegranate", but it couldn't come up with that either, so I accidentally ended up noting that a bunch of "Portent seeds" had spilled all over the floor and for at least five minutes intermittently laughed about it while picking up "Portent seeds".

Then there was the portent seed incident.

I had to settle on appropriate background colours for... shh, a super-secret thing, and went back to my swans to pick them, resulting in a new set of single "official" attribute colours. Later I had to re-pick a couple colours again, partly thanks to Clarity replacing Duplicity.

A number of process pics happened.

And also Fuchsia.

I may as well say a bit about Fuchsia [...]. She's one of a number of side characters that played important roles in Aluma's history; to be a bit more specific she was a superhero of sorts known as The Superpower, and the first of the Superpower archetype. In present times there's at least one comic about "The Superpower" very loosely based on her, but almost everybody forgets it was based on an actual person. Kris, one of the main characters, was greatly influenced by this comic.

I'd had the basic idea for her design with the big poofy wing-shaped hair and the "feathered" cape for some time but then recently I found out about SU and realised it would make way more sense if Kris with her vague mineral theme admired somebody who also had a connection to minerals... so I shamelessly gave her a dark pink topaz stone clasp as a rôle object. :p

(Fun fact: Fuchsia is supposed to represent Faith, so her original name was Fiducia [trust/confidence in Latin], but that sounded like Fuchsia so I decided she'd probably go by that more often, and then fuchsia became the colour of Faith, so her gem is meant to match both her attribute and her name)

[C]haracter logo sketches I plan to vectorise soon. Lance's, Ssiv's, Sleipnir's, and Ariana's in a counterclockwise circle around the Yanha shape I drew to draw markings on but didn't (:p), to be specific. There are also some attempts at Io's logo but I don't really like how any of them came out.

Yeah, the rest of the main character logos are going to be a post some time in the near future. Here's Ssiv's:

Lastly, some chroma scribbles (that post conflated them with genders because it was an early version):

Me quickly scribbling out the gender symbols used for each chroma.

The current version of this particular worldbuilding facet, if you're totally lost right now, is that mystery beings don't have a gender, but have something called a chroma, which is related to their behaviour and general nature and as such people see it as kind of like a gender. People also sometimes identify as "gender Zed" and "gender Xai", etc., sometimes while also identifying as a "traditional" gender, like Flash Karkira who is malezed.

From top left: Xai, Zed, Omega, Omicron. Omega is Zed + Xai, kinda the "Totality attribute" of chromas, and Omicron is sort of the "Nothing attribute" of chromas. If it looks familiar from Ssiv's logo, it’s because Ssiv is more or less gender Omicron. I should have mentioned that. :p

Stablehand: Planestack, Expurgator

Two more MBs! Both of the still semi-new Clarity attribute.

Planestacks are a creature of both Synthesis and Clarity. They aren't well-known at all.

They're made out of many square planes of a strange glassy material, each taking on one of many colours. The stack of planes spirals and slides around dynamically as the creature moves, branching off into four similar but smaller stacks that form the limbs. They have a rather loosely-composed body; I drew the planes right up against each other but they can have varying amounts of space between them.

The Expurgator is a concept I'd had sitting around for a while. Basically I wanted an S-Clarity creature that erased things, and I joked about calling it the Eraser and making it a literal eraser. Well, I did the "literal eraser" part finally, but decided to name it the Expurgator because that sounded cooler.

Expurgators are really mysterious. They don't even have sensors unlike most MBs to sense their surroundings with, just random holes through their form that might somehow accomplish the same thing. Or maybe they just know. Either way, they worm around furtively, sometimes using their correction pen to white-out seemingly random objects, which then disappear, never to be seen again. Well, seemingly. Occasionally, they reappear.

At first I randomly tried to draw the Expurgator as a weird biohazard-symbol-like thing, before I came up with the idea of the correction pen and then decided to go for something different.

(I did indeed write "head look dumb". I am not sure why. Maybe I left it that way because I thought it was funny.)

Lastly here's a "tame" Abyssal I drew. (I forget why I drew it but I think it may have come from the idea of them eating missing socks.) It's difficult to see but its "toes" are supposed to just be a bunch of randomly-placed churning blobs, as is much of the rest of its body.

Stablehand: Orienter, Portensilisk, Cragwing, Wanyanszar

This post was supposed to post some time ago but I never got the Arbiter's design done so it just sat around instead until I had the good sense to take the Arbiter out and put it in a new post.

The Orienter (Synthesis + Desolation) is a kind of living compass, with eight floating arms that each "point" to one of the Directed attributes. It has a great directional sense, and will gladly give directions to whoever wants them, drawing from what seems to be an uncannily great knowledge of the layout of the universe. Despite this, though, it tends to wander around a single, fixed area giving off an odd sense it has no idea where it should be going.

Below their arms they appear to have a strange double armillary sphere. For them, it functions somewhat like an elaborate compass, and interestingly, some human Navigators have mastered the art of using similar spherical compasses to plot their courses.

(New development I didn't tell you about: Nassak and Portent Rider both lean toward the Navigator archetype, a new archetype I just added. Nassak probably doesn't use one of those, but PR has one.)

The Portensilisk is a frightful creature that seems to be able to conjure up dark and terrifying hallucinations just by showing people its eyes. It also has a very limited ability to make such things actually happen, but not to a much greater degree than typical cirque techniques. For instance, it can conjure up small, corrosive waves of darkness-fluid around itself temporarily in a very limited radius, or bend the landscape around it temporarily to make a large structure easier to knock over.

Portensilisks tend to be peaceful and withdrawn most of the time, a lot like ordinary snakes, but unlike ordinary snakes, at times they will seemingly just randomly decide to be destructive. The good news, though, is that they will just as capriciously decide to stop being destructive.

(This is hardly even a concept picture of the Portensilisk, I'll do a real one later)

Cragwings (Fantasy + H-Clarity) are literally just huge chunks of cliff rock with... wings and a tail. That's it. That's all they are. They fly around randomly in the air and seem to thrive in deserted places with a lack of coherent logic, like cloud islands with floating mountains (i.e.: not normal places). They also sort of have a theme song.

Wanyanszars (H-Incongruity) are fluid, springy, vaguely lizard-like beings that appear to be made of some kind of unusually violent and bright energy that tears through their surroundings. They thrive in ambiguous environments, which, apparently, they have the power to warp to their liking, as if certain types of environments inherently had loopholes (e.g.: environment appears to be a lake at night, Wanyanszar jumps onto it and reveals it's actually a tar pit in front of a blue hazy screen; sees sidewalk drawing and jumps onto it, turns fake illusion into actual hundred-foot-tall tower). If one thing's for sure, they definitely don't mind chaos at all, though they don't necessarily delight in inflicting confusion on others. They're just at home in a chaotic environment.

The rounded Wanyanszar would be called a Jianjianszar if/when I use it, but I don't even have any idea what that one would be like yet so... no cool description on that one. Sorry. :p

(The Wanyanszar was from my initial concept drawings before mystery beings were entirely a thing; I forgot to really give it background and a name and integrate it so now I'm finally doing that. I realised it was a lot like a creature named Wanyanxi ("zigzag lizard") I'd made for a parody of Chinese Pokémon bootlegs, so for its name I just took Wanyanxi and mashed it up with -szara, the ending equivalent to "-er/-or" in MB language. It's basically a crazy bootleg name that literally means "Zigzagger" but I'm using to mean "Contorter".)

Stablehand: Observer update

Here we are! I wanted to make a more quality drawing of The Ingenious, and I did, but at the same time I also drew more updated versions of the two more common Observer forms. Those forms are now called the Yunia (Unity) and Vontada (Will) forms, and Ingenious' form is now called the Sinteszia (Synthesis) form; as it's a sort of combination of the two I felt like I needed to have a good reference of the other two to compare it to.

It's good I got to drawing the main two forms again, though, because their design has changed a bunch by now. In particular the Vontada form looks a lot more like a theropod dinosaur by accident; its arms could probably be a bit more substantial actually because I liked the ape-ish look on the colour palette test one. Another, actually intentional design element is that now, all forms' hands have exactly one clawed thumb but the rest of the digits unified into a single unit by default, which separates out into separate fingers (up to 7 counting the thumb) as needed. (That's my sneaky way of obeying the "MBs have either digits or claws reflecting their attribute number" rule while still giving them normal hands.)

Also this time I actually drew the sensors seriously instead of scribbling them, for the very first time. I'm not totally sure I won't change them the next time I have to draw these things but at least I have an actual design for the sensors now. :p

Copyheart: Caring by no longer caring

Okay so, I'd been thinking about what to do about a minor conundrum I've been having. Namely, what to do about stuff on this site I'd created that either mixed hints of non-libre content or that I'm not proud of enough to release formally under the CC-BY-SA. For one thing I wasn't sure what to do about the text of the site; I didn't think anything I'd written apart from Stablehand posts was quite awesome enough to just shout "everything here is a quality resource!", which is what the CC-BY-SA had usually evoked in my mind.

And, well... long story short, the answer I guess is ♡ copyheart.

So what's that? It's a "nicer" variant on the idea of a copyright notice, which instead of reminding readers that the law restricts every use by default, reminds them that the author is fundamentally okay with the diffusion of their ideas. This is my version of it:

♡ 2014 TAKUMI. Copying is an act of love. Please copy, adapt, and share.

Some people might complain that this is the most hippy-dippy "copyright" notice they've ever seen (indeed, I've seen that), and you know what? I absolutely agree. It makes me feel like the biggest dork ever to put that in the footer. But at the same time it makes me feel way less like a hypocrite than writing the "truth" (the gritty truth) that by not taking any action to liberate my stuff, I choose to censor people by leaving all rights reserved. Which would suggest that I'm okay with that, and I'm not.

A really cool thing about copyheart is that it really neatly solves the problem I'd been having with fan art, which is that it seems intuitive to feel one can't liberate it, but on the other hand, I honestly didn't care what happened to it, and felt like there was something especially wrong with "retaining the right to censor" on things that weren't even "mine". Now, without trying to use the CC-BY-SA and open the can of worms of what happens when people have to use a libre licence on fan works, I can communicate my intentions that they be used and that I not act as a second barrier (after the original creator) to using things.

When you stop and think about it, it's really rather elegant for a handful of corny-sounding words without any legal fortifications built up behind them. (Which, by the way is why nothing I've already made CC-BY-SA is going un-CC-BY-SA any time soon, nor am I going to stop using it for my more substantial original things. It's like an extra safeguard for things you really, really want to stay libre.)

Accordingly, I may start bringing some of my fan things back onto Sangkara when I make them and when they're "good enough", particularly stuff for this project called "RESTART" (a spin-off to OFF) that I'm thinking about making.

And by the way, if for whatever reason you need to type copyheart, and you're using Linux like me, it's really easy to add it to your compose key! Find your .XCompose file in your home directory and put in the following line to type copyheart as "o3":

<Multi_key> <o> <3>   : "♡" U2661 # Copyheart

You'll need to have the XCompose file set up first but in my opinion it's the best way to type special characters (you can type practically anything) so it's worth it.