Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

from Austin, TX

  • Activity

    • The History of Webcomics

      3 days ago


      Found this while looking for some old Valentine's Day webcomic nonsense. 

      The history of webcomics is one of those odd things where the evolution is both part of record and experience. I've been so neck-deep in it that reading the timeline is Escheresque. I have to step back to see it, and oh boy do I.

      The full post is here, and has been linked out by some truly talented artist/authors, many of them who were part of the process themselves. Anyone who wants to know how we got from this


      ... to this...


      ... should be interested. 

      I know we have a few aspiring webcomic artists in the community, so let's have a conversation!

      Oh, and a treat, since it's my least favorite day of the year: Ben Fleuter's The Sword Interval is easily one of my favorite on-going comics, full of the believably grim fantasy-meets-modern-day that only a veteran author could pull off. In a recent page, he included an original song to sung over the page. An enterprising fan actually recorded it. Give it a listen!

    • Goodbye, 2017

      1 month ago


      You were not a great year, I'll be honest. I think it's time we see other conceptual entities. 

      So, off you go, to wherever arbitrary linear cycles of time go when we get over them, and...


      As to 2018, I can't say I've got a plan. But that's just fine.


      It's worked so far.


      Fare thee well, friends. You've made a bad year better, and I look forward to meeting a great many of you again this coming year. And just remember, I hate you all the least.

    • Never tell me physicists aren't funny.

      2 months ago


      A Fatal Attraction: Higgs Bosonoception in the Stone Marten

      "These wild-caught weasels can be obtained for the cost of immunizing a single grad student against rabies."

    • The Webcomic Catalogue, Test

      4 months ago


      So... today I inventoried my webcomic bookmarks off my old computer, plus stuff I've found recently.

      Over 260 individual comics.

      So I've been at this game for a while. Since 2002-2003, maybe?

      This body includes some duplicate links, a small handful of webcomic networks like Hiveworks, and a bunch of dead links. (I miss you, Geist Panik. You weren't really great, but you were cute.) But if I include sites like Tapas, I'm still looking at over 250 comics. And about three of them are gaming comics.

      It occurred to me, staring in mild disbelief at the enumerated list, that this doesn't actually approach the list of comics I've read, but didn't look twice at. (The Phoenix Requiem is just too saccharine for my blood.) The total list would be closer to four figures. Probably over that.

      I suppose the upshot of all this is two-fold:

      a) I frakking love my life.
      b) I should really do something with this list.

      Narcissism aside, I really do know a lot of webcomics. A number of authors. And I'd like to share this resource.

      The thing about webcomics is that they are incredibly fragile. They rely both on the author's commitment and time, and on having enough traffic to make the input worth it. More than a few (read: dozens and dozens) have uttered that most terrible word hiatus, and have never been heard from again. Sometimes the site disappears.

      So if, in my hobbies, I can direct a bit more traffic to some authors and artist who beyond the shadow of a doubt deserve the attention - well, that feels like it'd be worth it.

      I don't feel inclined, nor have the time, to set up a proper genre divided ratings list. This would take a week to do to my satisfaction, and the number of comics I really should talk about but aren't on my list... isn't small. Again, just the B List would be triple digit.

      So I put it to you: I have a wealth of knowledge and stories. How would you like to benefit from this, if at all? Suggestions are very, very welcome at this point.

      Worst case scenario - comment below, and ask me what you'd like. What genre. What kind of story. Tell me what you like, and I'll tell you what's similar. Like a Youtube suggestion protocol that doesn't suck at its job.

      - Ratatoskr

    • Half-Life 3 Details Revealed by Marc Laidlaw

      5 months ago


      The news will be all over soon, and I look forward to The Know covering it, but I'll drop the important links here, just for reference.

      The series writer for the much loved Half-Life series of videogames has revealed the plot of this missing Episode 3. After Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was released in 2007, fans have been demanding a conclusion to the story. And we may have it, at long last. 

      Like the man said, "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world."

      Marc Laidlaw's release, with the names changed for legal reasons:


      A translated copy, with all names intact:


    • RTX 2017 Re-Cap (In Progress)

      6 months ago


      I'm going to modify this entry as I go, so as to keep things in one place.

      RTX number 5 for me. Crazy, loud, and completely and unabashedly worth it. Before I go into anything else, a big shout-out to the Guardians this year. In the face of unrestrained chaos and the Texas summer heat, you persevered, you adapted, and you fought over a ficus. Hell of a job this year. Thank you.

      So, as many of you know, I planned on cosplaying Director Church again this year. Unfortunately, my suit was still being repaired through the weekend. So I'll have it next year, at any rate. Still, kit-bashing a recognizable ensemble together out of business cards and safely pins was an experience. Thankfully, actually looking like the Director, and being able to do the accent saved the effort. Still lost my voice this year, just like last. That voice is murder.

      As for my secret project, teased a bit before RTX, let's have a look at the end product, shall we?



      Picture credit: @madmanmoe

      Social Media link

      Yes - that is a real telephone number. There is a surprise if you call. There is also a voicemail! And yes - I really enjoy hearing RT geeks toy with it.

      I brought 150 of these cards, for my signature (apparently) in-character recruitment interviews (link for last year's high-light reel goes here). Counting the ones I handed out to friends, and the ones I had left over, I did over 100 recruitment skits as the Director. 

      Yep, over a hundred cosplayers were given these cards, after being asked if they had any interest in joining Project Freelancer. I didn't have a larynx by Sunday night.

      (to be continued)

      wow, I just left this for three weeks

      More is to be said about RTX, and all the wonderful people there. A stack overflow of friends, semi-anonymous acquaintances, and some guy who came as Jack Sparrow. But instead, I'd like to call out some MVPs. Those who shined.

      - @AgentWashingtub008 Gold Star for this guy. I was in a wheelchair this year, and with Friday's crowds... I was a little overwhelmed. So AW met up with me, saw me eyeing the lines, and decided to make a hole for me. Like a flipping icebreaker.


      Actual video, cross my heart.

      @madmanmoe - for valiantly trying to Skype our forum friends abroad, and inadvertently turning his laptop into a waffle-maker. 

      @Newromancer - for the intellectual lightning round.

      And to everyone I missed, messed with, or taught me to play UNO - see you next year.

    • OCC RPG Collab

      in Forums > OCC RPG Collab | Follow this topic


      Hello, all. Here is where ideas for an Oxford Comma Cafe centered game can be collected. It started as an idle conversation, but who knows where it will go.

      What we need:

      - An organization chart.

      - A medium, or pre-made tools.

      - Art and gameplay design theories. This includes the type of game, its scope, how many people would need to be involved, and what they would do. 

      - People who have some background in game design.

      Some version of RPG Maker is very likely our best bet. It's not expensive, and has a vast library of pre-made resources.

      168 replies

    • Needed: Tech Support for Secret RTX Project

      8 months ago


      Do I have your attention? Perfect.

      I've had something in mind for a while now, and it's time to set it up. What I'm looking for is the following:

      - A system or service that would allow callers (possibly several hundred) to hear a custom automated message. Must be a single unique telephone number. No 'leave a message at the beep' option for callers.

      Any suggestions? I have until RTX to set this up. If it works, I'll post the number on the site, in addition to the project itself, which should make this RTX memorable.

    • Apparently I'm the FU

      8 months ago


      Well, that happened.

      Hello there. Get to know me:

      - I've probably talked your ear off about AI theory at some point.

      - This year will be my fifth RTX, all consecutive.

      - I usually hang out in the Oxford Comma Cafe, the best forum ever. Of all time.

      If you're coming to RTX, and want to know everything useful about Austin, I made a guide. If you're looking to become more involved in the site, read this instead. Actually, read both.

      And, yeah... that's it. Have I mentioned how great you look today?

      - Toskr

    • Graphic Novel Review: The Black Monday Murders, Vol 1 ( Mostly Spoiler-free)

      9 months ago


      Let's change this up, shall we?

      I picked up a copy of Jonathan Hickman's The Black Monday Murders this week, and I was impressed enough to write up a loose review.

      Here's the cover, just so we understand what we're getting into -


      Yes, that is a goat skull, and the name of the trade paperback is: "All hail, God Mammon"

      It is very up front with what's inside.

      The reviews I read called this 'cryto-noir', a phrase that's definitely fitting. It's decidedly noir, all thick shadows and disillusioned characters. As the beginning of a murder mystery, it's got my vote. But it's the crypto- where things get interesting.

      When people use the the term 'Lovecraftian', they usually mean a piece of fiction with an uninteresting doomsday prophesy, and some tentacled horrors. Which is... fine. Keeps the genre alive. 

      But one of the core concepts that Lovecraftian fiction bases itself on, is the idea that the whole world is rotten to the core, and puppeted by vast and uncaring forces. There are no winners, and the Big Bad is never finally defeated, just held back. Cthulhu and associates need not apply. Which makes modern economics a perfect environment for this kind of story. That's right - this is a Wall Street tale, rich in corruption, mystery, and a body-count that would make George R.R. Martin cringe. All wrapped in a thick and leering tapestry of occultism and conspiracy.


      I'd like to say a great deal about the writing, but I hate spoilers with a passion, so here goes: This is a noir murder mystery, spliced with a grand conspiracy of generations. The interlinking connections, grudges, and betrayals form a rich net of deep distrust, one that the reader gets a sense of immediately. There are plots, none of which are fully revealed in this issue, and a sense of real depth. The shifting perspective shows off the world almost effortlessly, not sparing time to explain for the reader. It's a hazard, but it plays well. At times, characters build a bed of lies, half-truths, and hidden traps that are far more visible to the reader than anyone else. In others, it's blunt and efficient, a Darwinian scheme of power and violence made manifest. A trade paperback isn't a full story, or even half of one, so calling full judgement is difficult at best. But when this novel needs to be punchy, it goes for the kill, and it's unsettlingly subtle whenever else.



      Artist Tomm Coker delivers the noir vibe and sensibility even more then the writing. The photo-realistic style and muted, strategic use of color pulls the eye. In contrast with a lot of modern releases, there are only a few truly stand-alone splash pages. Most of the powerful visual moments are quiet, tense, and ultimately threatening. The horrific subject matter isn't on full display, but rather down-beat. At no point does the book ask the reader to stare at a bloody scene for its own sake. Often the darkest of events happens off-screen, or on one memorable case, just to the side. The rich, stark style plays beautifully, and makes every scene utterly believable, relatable. Especially the titular murders.


      What The Black Monday Murders is not is accessible. The excellent and fun Rat Queens tells you who it is from page one. The reader knows instantly what kind of stories will be told. The surpassing Saga does the same, with fever-dream sensibility and brass balls. 

      Here, Hickman jumps into the deep end without a snorkel. Layers are peeled back, little by little, with the help of a plethora of conversation transcripts, maps, and histories to lay a foundation for the madness happening in the pages. This is where The Murders shines, if you can make it there. A great many first volumes in graphic novels dither. They spend a majority of their time setting the scene, and their world-building can really hurt the flow of the story. Hickman asks you to dive, and hopes you'll get a feeling for things on a first read. And that's the appeal. This novel asks, practically demands a second and third read, as the mysterious and rune-splattered organization charts and history clips snap into focus.


      The Black Monday Murders is a dark story, and it makes no apologies. But it has a deep story to deliver, with noir sensibility down to the bones. Volume One impressed me from the first few pages, and lays a concrete foundation for further volumes. It's bloody, haunting, and rich. Like swimming over a continental self, the drop-off is vast and inky. I'm itching, somewhat spasmodically, for Volume Two.

      Note: This is not a comic book. This is an adult graphic novel, intended for people not bothered by mature themes. Don't buy this for your fourteen-year old cousin.

  • Comments (19)

    • Lpokmnj FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold FB 1st, RT Seconder

      7 months ago

      Mr. Tosker,

      You fiendish, unholy bastard.

      When I put forth a casting call for high weirdness, I merely intended some Twilight Zone'esque intrigue and urine. An open call for something weird in the sense of mind-expanding.

      You? You had to laugh maniacally and proffer forth that at which even the most hardened of bastards would give pause.

      I owe you a beer.

      • Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

        7 months ago

        This fell neatly into my wheelhouse.


    • Izayer FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper of Stories

      8 months ago

      Because you are the aficionado of history here on the site. What are some good reads about Ancient Rome, its golden age, and culture? Trying to expand on a idea of mine.

      • Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

        8 months ago

        "Aficionado" - This made me happy.

        Okay, reading order is supremely important:

        - Terry Jones' Barbarians

        This is a very good volume, written from the point of view of everyone the Romans interacted with. It takes the wind out of a lot of revisionist histories. 

        - Tactitus' Agricola and Germania

        Another external history, but an extremely important one for understanding Rome as a whole. Penguin Classic translations are top-notch.

        - Suetonius - The Twelve Cesars

        Suetonius is more involved with rumor than Tacitus, but this is another landmark history. And frankly, the rumors he was working on generally had some basis in fact, X-rated though they may be.

        - The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbons.

        This is a standard text, when studying Roman history. It's old, and sometimes problematic. There is a vein of 'rah-rah' for Rome in a lot of history texts, which distracts from the facts. That said, Gibbons is a classic for a reason.

        - Mary Beard - SPQR

        A widely noted classicist. I've not read it myself, but it highly recommended. There is apparently some revisionism here, but if you've read everything else, you'll know it when you spot it.

        You could always end on Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, but that's less history and culture, than the philosophizing of one Emperor among many.

        This is a good start, but there are others. Maybe ask @Desayjin ?

      • Desayjin FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold RTX Guardian Emeritus

        8 months ago

        @Izayer @Ratatoskr, I'd also add Julius Caesar's own account of the Gallic Wars. It's obviously biased toward Rome, but it was interesting seeing his thoughts of the Gauls through Roman colored lenses. 

    • ArnettV FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Gif Addict

      8 months ago

      Happy happy happy FU day!

    • IronBridge FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper of Knowledge

      8 months ago


    • PhoenixFilms FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold The Lone Few-Austin, TX

      8 months ago

      Happy FU

      • Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

        8 months ago

        Oh, good lord. Nnonononono

      • PhoenixFilms FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold The Lone Few-Austin, TX

        8 months ago

        It occurs to me that you're here in Austin and yet we still haven't met yet.

    • Joron093 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper of The Forges

      1 year ago

      Thanks for the friend request.  It didn't occur to me that this hadn't already been done, what with all the goings on in the OCC.

      • Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

        1 year ago

        Same here! I keep assuming I added everyone.

    • madmanmoe Keeper of Shenanigans

      1 year ago

      So marvel is releasing some kind of free comic for everyone this coming July. Its called Marvel Now. thought you might be interested.

      • Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

        1 year ago

        Worth a look!

      • madmanmoe Keeper of Shenanigans

        1 year ago

        oh yeah!

    • Cinomari FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper of N00bs

      1 year ago

      I'm moving to Austin soon and I'm TERRIFIED HELP ME.

    • spanksthellama FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Silly Little Donut

      1 year ago

      Fellow Austinite!! Woop.

      • Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

        1 year ago


  • Questions answered by Ratatoskr

    I wouldn't? No, that won't do.

    I'd probably move some things around so that the backdrop is all bookshelves. Wherever the camera pans - bookshelves. The trick would be rotating the books, so it's never the same.

    A bag of very crispy fries at the first place, and a Mexican Coke at the next. For a practical limit of infinity as the number of Asian fast food restaurants, there are a practically infinite number of chopsticks, to some power of ten. I assemble these, and make a great bonfire. Fries, Coke, and entertainment.

    A rogue dwarf planet would be fun. See the galaxy, spend eons in the engulfing black between stars. But assuming the science could be taken care of, a the surface of a Wolf-Rayet star would have a certain novelty to it.

    There is a long and arduous path to Keeper-dom. Many are broken along the way. Look within. Look within your skin. Look within your bones. When you see the Taco within, you are that Keeper.

    Didn't get one.

    But you get bonus points for calling me 'lord'.

    Brunch, because I can choose to have it or not.

    I really shouldn't answer this hungry. A Pad Thai, probably. Spicy, delicious goodness.

    Brick and mortar, as land is cheap if you know where to look. I can build a red brick castle, like the Knights Teutonic.

    Every other red light, on the theory that an iPod on shuffle can last for hours.

    *Thinking pose for five minutes. Googles furiously for fifteen.*

    Okay, you got me. Nice one!

    Okay, I carry a pocketknife. Nothing fancy, perfectly utilitarian. What I want is the shape changing scenario-judging weapon from the webcomic Supernormal Step. Move forward a couple pages to see it in action.

    Why? Sometimes you need a knife to open packages. Sometimes you need a keen-edged chef's knife. And sometimes you need a magical liquid metal construct to morph in to fuck-off polearm for you.

    Nice one!