Category Archives: Warning: Mild Literary Faffery

Concerning Minecraft, Faerie Bargains, and an Early Peek into The Doors of Stone.

Okay. There’s a story I’ve been wanting to share here for a couple days, but with all the chaos of the fundraiser, I haven’t been able to manage it.

Sorry it’s taken so long, as it’s related to Book Three, and I know that’s something everyone here is interested in to some degree or other.

So here we go:

Once years and miles away, there was a man who loved books, and games , and stories. He did not consider himself wise, but was still wise enough to know he was happiest when he was being a bit of a fool. He was an odd sort, beset by melancholy, and often felt as if he didn’t fit into the world. He was uncommonly lucky, and uncomfortably honest, and he always kept his word.

All of this taken together led some folk to wonder if his mother had been visited by the sort of odd folk who always seem to be showing up in the dark hours just as children are being born. The sort of people that leave no footprints, and speak oddly, so it’s hard to tell if they’re good oracles, bad poets, or merely self-important busybodies who lack proper jobs and have too much time on their hands.

Other people suspected it had nothing to do with events surrounding his birth. Instead they thought perhaps he had a demon riding in his shadow, or a single drop of faerie blood, or that one of his long-forgotten ancestors had lay down among the Gorse…

His name was Patrick Rothfuss. Those who knew him, knew he enjoyed a good wager. But those who knew him better knew the truth, and that was that he *loved* a wager, especially if it was reckless and unwise….

*     *     *

About a week ago, we fired up our yearly Worldbuilders fundraiser.

It’s going pretty well so far, by the way. As I write this, we’re just on the cusp on unlocking a new chunk of Matching Money….

As you can see from this year’s swank thermometer, it’s not just direct donations that will help us hit that goal. We’re also factoring in bids on our vast array of auction items and all the holiday shopping y’all are doing over in the Worldbuilders Market.

And as many of you know, I’ve been doing a lot of streaming over the last week. Talking about the charity. Playing games and doing various promotional events.

None of that is particularly new, of course. I’ve streamed a lot to promote the charity over the last 5 years.

What *is* different is that this year, I decided to kick off the fundraiser with a Marathon Minecraft Stream (TM) where I vowed to keep playing until I beat the Ender Dragon or my actual human real-world body failed me.

(Fig 1. promotional graphic.)

It was just some goofy fun. I enjoy Minecraft, but I’m not great at it. I’ve never beaten the Ender Dragon, or even made it to the end. I’ve never even found to the Stronghold or made an eye of Ender, now that I’m thinking of it.

And I knew it beating the game would take longer than normal because I’d be pausing to give away prizes and talk about charity. And I hadn’t played Minecraft much in the last six months, so I was pretty rusty….

Even so, I was pretty sure I could do it. I mean, I’ve seen people beat the whole game on youtube in under twenty minutes.

I know I’m no speedrunner, it might take me 8-9 hours. But that’s nothing. I’ve streamed 14 hours straight in previous fundraisers. Plus, I knew that me struggling and sometimes failing would be just as fun for people to watch as me succeeding, if not more so….

Fast forward. Charity is going well. Money coming in. People watching the stream. My Minecraft run was…  unimpressive. I was playing the long game, and making methodical progress. Hadn’t died. But I had no diamonds. No enchanted gear. No real lucky breaks. My base was a haphazard hole in the ground. The opposite of a hobbit hole. My farms were like something Dante would have written about if he wanted to scare cows into being better Christians.

Fast forward. More money. More stream. My boys came in to cheer me on. They brought me water and cuteness and comic relief. Perfect pit crew.

Fast Forward: I read the boys their bedtime story live on the stream (a chapter from Something Wicked This Way Comes). Then I went to tuck them into bed and came back to do charity and search for diamonds. I was fully prepared to play straight through the night until I had to drive them to school in the morning, then come back and keep soldiering on until I finally won or collapsed.

Then came the first wager. In a fit of hubris, I bet the chat that I could beat the Ender Dragon before they raised $100,000 on my team page. I dared them. I taunted and cajoled….

…I told them if they won, I’d read them the prologue of Book Three.

And thus the deal was made.

(Would you buy a used car from this man?)

But life is what happens while you were making other plans. My boys had been vaccinated that day, and over the next 4-5 hours, when I went in to check on them, they were increasingly sweaty and restless. So after 12 hours I bowed out of the stream with the blessing of the chat so I could go be a good dad. Because when you wake up sweaty and sick in the middle of the night, it’s nice to have your dad right there ready to take care of you…

And then, packing lunches, and school, and organizing and promoting the fundraiser, and scheduling events and being a dad…

… and I honestly I forgot about the wager.

But forgetting doesn’t make a wager go away. And, to make a long story short, after picking up my playthrough on my stream two days later, I lost.

So I brought to bear the fullness of my power. I summoned up the fullness of my will and wit, my terrible persuasion. All this and more I focused on the folk who were tuned in to the stream. And thus I spoke:

Yes they’d won wager. I would read them the prologue. Absolutely. They had it. Fairly fought and fairly won.

But a prologue. What is that, really? Just a taste. A tease. A paltry page. It’s barely a bite. A meager morsel for those whose hearts are hungry for a story.

Wouldn’t they like a chance to win… more? To wager what they’d won in hope of greater gain? Wouldn’t they like the chance for More? More secrets? More story?

Thus I offered them a second wager.

Their stakes: the prologue they had fairly won.

My stakes: Three things. Three secrets from Temerant:

  • I’ll read the prologue of The Doors of Stone live on stream.
  • I’ll provide a full, self-contained, spoiler-free chapter of Doors of Stone.
  • I’ll share some early, finished pages of my the comic I’ve been working on for years with Nate: the illustrated version of the Boy That Loved the Moon.

This is what I offered the chat of the livestream. A chance not just to win, but to win so much more….

But only if they raised more money for charity. Only if they got the donations on my team page all the way from $100,000 to $333,0000.

BEFORE I beat the Ender Dragon.

And then we took a vote:

I’ll embiggen the relevant portion myself so you can see…

(As you can see, the folks who follow my stream enjoy a wager too)

And so the deal was struck.

And now, even if you weren’t there, you know the story.

And t’know what? As a gesture of good faith, I’ll give you the first page of the comic right here and now, out of the goodness of my heart…

(Never let it be said I do not bargain in good faith.)

So. If my team page hits $333,333 before I beat the Ender Dragon. You win three things.

If I beat the Ender Dragon first, you lose.

That’s the Wager.

I’ve taken a break off from my playthough to manage the fundraiser and run other events. Also, I promised I wouldn’t continue my run until I’d made the announcement here on my blog to let y’all know the whole story. To let you know what was happening. What the stakes were. And as you all know, I keep my promises.

But I’ve done it now. Shared the news. Told told story.

As soon as I post this, I’m jumping back onto my livestream, and will be heading for the Ender dragon with marked determination. Because I *do* love a wager. But I also always play to win.

So. The clock is ticking.

Here’s the link to my Team Page.

Come at me.

pat

Also posted in Beautiful Games, Book Three, calling on the legions, cool news, graphic novels, hubris, My brilliant ideas, my dumbness, My Iconoclastic Tendencies, Nathan Taylor, side projects, Stories about stories., upcoming publications, video games, Worldbuilders 2021 | By Pat36 Responses

Something Like a Star

Tonight, Oot brought me a penny he’d found on the floor.

“Look,” he said. “It’s burned.”

Say something to us we can learn By heart and when alone repeat. Say something! And it says, 'I burn.'

It wasn’t a bad guess, everything said. A good guess, but wrong. It’s corroded.

For half a moment I thought about correcting him on this, but I didn’t.

Looking back, I could come up with some excuse for *why* I didn’t correct him. I could claim that corrosion is sort of like a slow chemical burning. But that would be bullshittery. The truth was, at that moment, it didn’t feel right to correct my boy. So I didn’t. I went with my gut.

“Maybe it got too close to the sun,” Oot said.

This was another good guess. Though it was probably wrong as well.

What pleased me is that my decision to keep my mouth shut paid such an immediate dividend.

If I’d told my boy the truth right away, he would have nodded and said, “Oh of course!” Or “Oh, I see!” And he would have gained a tiny fact. Namely, that a coin that looks like this is corroded. (Something he could have parroted back to me. But that he wouldn’t have understood in any meaningful way.)

But that’s not what happened. Instead, left to himself. His curiosity was engaged. He asked a question of himself, “How could this have gotten burned?”

Then he came up with an answer: It might have gotten to close to the sun.

This isn’t a bad guess. He knows fire would have to be pretty hot to burn metal. A match isn’t going to do it. What’s hotter than that? The sun.

And here’s the thing. He’s wrong. But the process he’s going though is good. What he’s actually doing, asking questions and attempting to figure out the answers, it’s the roots of rationality. The process he’s undertaking is the core of all true philosophy and science.

He looked at the penny again. “Actually,” He says. “It looks like moss.”

It’s called “verdigris,” I thought. It’s like rust, but it happens on copper instead of iron. Also, interesting fact, it’s mildly poisonous.

I thought that, but I kept my mouth shut.

Why? Because I am occasionally wise.

Because this is not the internet.

(Comic loveliness from the brilliant XKCD, of course.)

Because when a child comes to you in the full flush of discovery, brimming with excitement, correcting them is not the proper thing to do.

Because the truth is, facts can be small, sad things.

But learning to ask questions and guess at answers? That is the beginning of true understanding. Those are the bones of the world.

*     *     *

I have news. I’ll be posting about it as soon as I have internet in my house again. Stay tuned.

Also posted in Oot, The Art of Letting Go | By Pat90 Responses
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