Goals And Goals: My New Tabletop Roleplaying Game!

My creative wheels turn slowly at times, but I don’t think I’ve ever completely stopped developing music, stories, and ideas. One project that has been steadily working its way from a vague concept towards concrete reality is a roleplaying game (TTRPG) based on the theme of football (soccer, if you prefer).

And today, I have finally put together a full rulebook document – it’s a first draft, but I nee people who can actually get together to play it, to try it out and let me know how it works in practice, as opposed to my attempts to simulate the fun and frolics.

The concept I wanted was to focus on all the things that go with being a star, whether local, national or even global. I wanted the game to be like the highlights show version, all the chances, none of the tapping around in midfield for umpteen passes before the ball idly trickles out of play. And if I did that, then I wanted to have something depend on what you achieve on the field. So I’ve given the player characters goals off the field, too: romantic, artistic, financial, causes – just about anything the players might decide to pursue with their new-found fame and glory.

Of course, I immediately started thinking of all the different stories that could be told, and even this first draft “version 0.1.0” document comes with two “quick start” campaign ideas and the NPCs needed to give them a go. First, there’s the Semi-Pro Cup Run with ever increasing difficulty of opposition as the competition progresses, but can you somehow steal the glory against the Top Tier teams? And then there’s a full season of games for a tiny 6-team league, with two of the teams overlapping so you could play both campaigns alongside each other, if you wanted.

I wanted to find some way to talk about the story of developig it, but it really has just been a case of jotting ideas in a notebook as and when they came to me, before knocking them together into enough of a shape where I could run some dice simulations to check the balance.

I kind of feel the real story is starting now, hopefully with some lovely players who’ll let me know what works and what might need improving.

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Slippery Pole (Sexy Writing Prompt)

As a patron on Girl on the Net‘s Patreon page, I am the lucky recipient of a Christmas card with a personalised message. For last Christmas, I asked for some writing prompts and promised I would write a post on each.

This is the first of those posts. So only, what, 6 months overdue? My excuse is that GotN gave me some really thought-provoking prompts and just choosing where to start with them is a challenge!

Pick your favourite sex act (i.e. wanking, oral, etc) and describe the exact sensations of that act in enough detail that someone who has never experienced it before has a precise description.

Choosing a sex act to describe was the first challenge here. My immediate thoughts went to things that most people might not have experienced. That led quickly to “taking an enema”, but I feel like I’ve already done that exercise a few times in my fiction, including in my novel (available on Smashwords – 50% off until 31st July 2021). So I should pick something else.

Most things I could think of seemed either too mundane, or I wasn’t sure I could do justice to the prompt and the sex act.

But one thing I have been doing a lot during lockdown, and that seems just unusual enough that it might be cool to describe, is wanking with lube.

Most of my wanks happen in bed and are pretty functional, “ease the tension and get to sleep” kind of deals. I rarely bother with lube for these unless my hand and cock are feeling particularly dry and raspy. I just conjure some deeply kinky storyline and acts in my mind, and go at it. Some of those stories end up as fiction for you to read, some stay private, and some just get forgotten.

But there is another reason I wank, and that is because I am watching porn. Does that seem back to front to you? It both is and isn’t – porn is certainly a tool to use while wanking, but I have a compulsion to categorise and catalogue everything, and that includes the porn I’ve bought and downloaded. I have a neat little folder tree in my external HD with categories and subcategories so that when I want a particular kind of porn in future, I can find it swiftly and easily.

All of which means that I have to watch through every clip, and scroll through every photoset, to be sure I have catalogued it correctly in my system.

And that means I get seriously turned on because I am watching porn, and that’s when the lube comes out.

Wanking in front of my desktop computer is a very different affair from wanking in bed. I’ve found that my usual wank rags don’t work quite so well for me, and instead have a broad cotton scarf doubled over. It wraps under the keyboard at the top end, and tucks under my butt at the bottom, and presents a capture tray and target for my spurts, and allows me a hands-on approach to pleasuring.

My left hand rests on the hard plastic cover of the mouse – I’m mouse-ambidextrous, which helps immensely with keeping going while choosing other similarly-themed clips to give me the best chance of finishing off, if the current clip isn’t quite long enough. I keep my left hand dry for this purpose.

It doesn’t start off with the intention of wanking. I sit fully clothed at the computer, mind in full analytical mode, coldly and calmly assessing the content of the clips I’ve chosen to catalogue today. But inevitably, as the storyline and eroticism develops on screen, I start to get into it.

The visuals alone are not enough to get me thinking of wanking. I’ll feel the first signs of arousal in my cock: it’s taking up more space in my trousers, I can feel the head nudging against the very top of my thigh right in the groin region as just a gentle reminder that it’s there and interested. It’s not erect, but it’s not as flaccid as before, and there is more of it than there was.

But there’s always more than just visuals. There’s a storyline (of sorts, and varying degrees of complexity), giving context, there’s the vocalisations and (in some cases) dialogue, where the characters start to communicate how they feel. There’s the actions themselves, portrayed in various ways.

The kinkier the actions, and the more extreme the reactions, the hotter it is and the harder my cock gets. Eventually, it always reaches thepoint where I can feel the fabric of my trousers tightly pressed against my cockhead, soft but slightly rough against the stiffening glans, the engorged shaft bent downwards by the pressure of the trousers in an almost painful arch.

It’s time.

I hit pause. I arrange the draped scarf ready. I stand up, waddling slightly due to the erection, and disrobe swiftly, laying the discarded clothes over the back of my chair. As I do so, I notice the dampness of my shirt, arousal sweat already showing how ready my whole body is for this. The ritual of preparation only serves to arouse me further as I seek out the lube bottle from wherever I had it last, grab it, and place it in easy reach before I sit my bare butt on the tail end of the scarf.

I can feel exactly where the scarf ends, the difference between its coarser weave and the smooth cushion below. Its presence, a reminder that I’m about to do something dirty and sexual. A stripe of sensation, straight like a cane welt but without the pain.

My cock stands ready, waiting. My left hand drifts from the mouse to the lube bottle. I flick the spout open and squeeze a large drop onto the top of my cock. The lube is always colder than my cock, by a few degrees, not enough to kill the mood, more like a soothing balm, or feeling someone’s cooler hand against yours.

As soon as the lube is deposited, I bring my right hand down to wrap my fingers from above round the shaft, and smear the lube from tip to base over my erection.

I can feel each ridge and vein, my grip looser to give an even distribution and ensure the lube does its job for the rest ofthe wank. I can feel where the flesh still allows some pressure, and where my cock is so hard it’s like pressing my fingers against the wooden arm of my chair, or the most powerful spring, with no give at all.

My hand loops over the sensitive head, fully exposed now with the foreskin drawn back. From overhand to underhand position, and into place to stroke.

Head up, I hit play, and start to stroke, in the same moment.

The focus of this is the sensations, so forget what the left hand is doing, or what’s going on in my mind as one half continues to process and catalogue, while the other inserts itself into the story and the bodies of the characters, even though what my right hand is doing is rarely in any way connected directly to the actions on screen.

Instead, focus in on what my hand and cock can feel as they glide across each other.

The lube warms up through contact with my skin, the coolness dissipated and replaced with a neutral embrace. My hand feels looser than when I wank in bed, the friction is there but focussed on each finger rubbing against the thicker and narrower bulges and dips of my penis, so the contours stand out even more than usual to me. The arousal builds more steadily, not the frantic race when I masturbate in bed.

Each is like a function of the other: hand on cock, cock in hand. Firm and rough palm on stiff and veined shaft, fingers like broad, curved ridges riding across its length.

As the action advances on screen, my own involvement becomes more focussed on the pleasure, on the advance towards orgasm. Analysis gives way to enjoyment and I lean back, listening and delving deeper into the fantasy presented on screen.

It doesn’t take long from here. The sensations are a continual jumble of the same things over and over until every nerve seems to catch. I lean forwards, aiming my cock into the scarf, in time to feel it pulse in my grip, a throb presaging the final gushing release, the thickness and speed of the cum varies and feels different in my peehole each time, like placing your thumb over a hosepipe and creating different levels of spray with different weight of pressure.

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Sometimes, It Is Just a Friendship

SPOILERS for Lord Of The Rings

There’s a whole genre of meme on queer twitter about how historians will bend over backwards, into pretzels, to ignore or explain away evidence that significant historical figures might have been any other orientation than straight and cissexual. Along the lines of, “These two men shared a bed, called each other ‘love of my life’, and never got married. Clearly, they were just good friends!”

There is also a tendency, and has been for a while, to interpret literary figures – particularly close male friendships – in a similar way. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen people suggest, with varying degrees of (homophobic) humour to (representation-reaching) earnestness, that, “Holmes and Dr Watson were two guys living together – clearly they were more than just good friends.”

Today, I saw reference to a Guardian article headed “Future Lord Of The Rings films should acknowledge the book’s queer leanings.” (To be fair, the subheading added “Why shouldn’t some of Middle-Earth’s denizens be gay?” and there’s no reason why they couldn’t – but it’s disingenuous to claim queer leanings in the original text for that point.)

Again, people seem to latch on to the three main male-male pairings (Frodo and Sam, Legolas and Gimli, and Merry and Pippin) and interpret these as having underlying homosexual indications.

I am immensely in favour of slash fiction pairings along those lines, or any lines the authors of fan works choose. This is not about slash fiction, and people’s choice of sexual fantasies about their favourite fictional characters. Those are totally awesome and hot, or at the very least, fun adventures into the sexier sides of our imagination.

This is about reaching for things that aren’t really there in order to claim validation.

One of the things I loved about LotR was that the protagonists largely had non-sexual motivations and relationships. For example, the scene of four hobbits running naked across a hillside was presented in a non-sexual way, celebratory of freedom and carefree spirits. (That bit didn’t make it to the Peter Jackson movies, alas.) Heterosexuality is acknowledged as the norm with Aragorn’s pairing with Arwen Undomiel, and in the appendices outlining the later timelines of the protagonists where Samwise gets married and has lots of children (I believe Mery and Pippin both sire heirs to their respective hobbit dynasties too), but the most clearly sexual motive that I recall is Eowyn’s desire for Aragorn – and that is because he represents her ideal as a warrior, not as a specifically sexual partner. (Her crossdressing so she can go to war is perhaps the most directly queer representation in the text.) Sexuality is neither here nor there when it comes to the core storyline.

If you want queer fantasy fiction, as numerous tweeters and retweeters of that Guardian story pointed out, there are plenty of actually queer authors writing worlds of their own so why not pay to make those into movies?

But the thought that finally occurred to me with seeing it, was that the insistence on seeing every male relationship as being grounded in sexual desire feels like an attack on my friendships.

I thought back to that queer historians meme about historians ignoring the evidence of gayness in historical figures’ lives.

I considered my relationship with my best friend, and thought about how the queer history meme might look, applied to us. Fair play, I actually am bisexual. But my best friend is straight, and there has never been any sexual “thing” involved. But.

“Look, they went camping together and shared the same tent, and they shared a room many times when they travelled together. They hugged at every meeting. One of them never married, and wrote all kinds of queer stories. Historian: ‘Clearly, they were just good friends’.”

If someone in the future wanted to look at our friendship and claim it as “queer representation”, there would be those kinds of hooks for them to do so, just as there are those kinds of hooks in Lord of the Rings, or Sherlock Holmes, or several other classic fiction works. And yet, it would be to erase the layered realities of my actual queerness on the one hand, and the various ways in which being nonbinary and bisexual do not drive every single interaction I have with other people. It would erase my friend’s actual sexuality as well.

Others have talked in far better and more well-informed ways than I could, about how the tendency to lean towards reading male friendships as “gay” is sometimes a result of Patriarchal masculinity framing genuine affection and closeness as being effeminate or at least, suspect. I feel sure I remember a while back reading someone else concluding that in that sense, close, affectionate male friendships without sexuality, are perhaps already a form of queer representation since they challenge the norms of Patriarchy and gendered roles.

Ultimately, this probably comes down to an appeal for nuance. Sometimes, people are ignoring the obvious signals of queerness in the evidence. Sometimes, the good friends are just good friends.

And above all, if you want queer sci-fi and fantasy movies – PAY QUEER WRITERS.

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STORY: Jenny’s Client

CONTENT NOTE: Deadnaming(? – see note below)

This is at least 50% a wish fulfilment story, in that I would love to have someone who came over to shave all my body hair for me. And I would absolutely love it to be someone as understanding as Jenny (pronounced je-NEE, by the way). This is therefore firmly in the realms of sex fantasy for me. I liked writing Leonora as someone distant from the campaigning and activism and community, but just living her life as best she can.

Writing in character as Jenny, it feels like she would, in narrating this to herself or her diary or whatever, make the note about Leonora’s “official” name (I don’t think Leonora would view it as a deadname, as such). Nevertheless, it bears repeating that in any r/l situation, linking a person’s names the way Jenny does is Not Okay.

The story ended up being very long, so I’ve put a “click to read more” before you get to the really sexy bits.

Jenny’s Client

The name on the card she paid with said Mr Fosserstone, but to me, she’ll always be Leonora.

We saw her regularly during the summer months, back before the pandemic. She booked in to have her back waxed, and always arrived with her make-up looking absolutely on-point, but purple satin trousers and gaudy golden blouse like she’d just fallen through a timewarp from the Seventies.

She was shy about herself, and I could understand. Even some of my colleagues jokes behind her back, but I loved her courage. She was no dummy, I could see she could tell how other people saw her, but she came in anyway. After our first session, she always booked with me. Always the last client of the day, I supposed she finished work, and maybe changed in her car, before taking the time to indulge herself.

I asked her about having her other bits done – down below, round the front. She laughed, a big, booming laugh that fit her broad shoulders and barrel chest.

“Naw, love, I’m a total wuss. I can’t stand t’pain as it is. It’s just the bits I can’t reach meself, that’ll do me. I shave t’rest when I get home.”

And then, the Pandemic happened. The salon closed up, and me and the other girls were chucked out – no furlough, no nothing.

As you know, things started to relax again when summer came around. And like a lot of women with beautician training, I went freelance, doing house calls. Advertised in the local paper.

I was delighted when one of my first calls was from Leonora.

“Oh, you’re a blessing, Jenny,” she said, and she placed the emphasis on the second syllable like I always ask people to do, and they never do, except Leonora did every time. Where was I? Oh, yes, the first booking, all covid-safe. We were both all masked up, I had my gloves, and I waxed her back just like usual, except we were in her living room with mats all around.

Then as September and October came around, there was the second lockdown, and cases in our area were rising fast, so I had to stop, and go sign on again. So I was surprised when Leonora called my business phone.

Continue reading
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Finding My Way In A Changing Landscape Of Pronouns

NB: The following is introspection, not an attempt to say how others should view things. I’m exploring how I feel and where that comes from, and what I can do about it.

For a little while now, I have been seeing people put their pronouns as some form of he/they or they/she or similar, and been unsure how to interpret that. The sensation of times moving and leaving me behind, as a middle-aged genderqueer, is a strange one, but in some ways reassuring that the youngsters are forging new language and continuing the progress that I have absorbed from my generation and before.

So in some ways I was happy to find an answer today, in an article retweeted into my timeline about how commentators in WNBA are adapting (or failing to adapt) to a player, Layshia Clarendon, with multiple pronoun sets, where specifically the pronouns are “alternating pronouns”.

At the same time, I feel that the language and conceptual framework that I have are being criticised.

What is even more confusing or off-putting is that, conceptually, I am sort of halfway there already but the final step causes problems for me.

If I’ve understood the usage explained in the article correctly, there’s two possible ways of using multiple pronoun sets. The first is that “ANY of these pronouns works for me and I will not feel misgendered.” The other is “ALL of these pronouns should be used.”

I’ve written before about how for me, personally, singular they erases the person as in individual, but at the same time I can respect that (as Johnny Chiodini put it when they revealed their pronouns as singular they) it makes the “whole brain light up with a feeling of validation” for those who like singular they to refer to themselves. I can bend my own brain far enough to accommodate that system of reference!

I kind of pre-empted alternating pronouns when I composed my “Language” page, and highlighted the problem I have with it:

if you keep swapping and changing then I won’t know when you’re using them to refer to me and when you’re referring to someone else (and likely, neither will anyone else). The obvious exception being when I deliberately present in a female aspect (identifiable by me being crossdressed, for example, or using a female honorific in a BDSM scene)

I quoted the last sentence because I want to acknowledge that multiple pronouns can and do work for me, on a context-driven basis. Online spaces allow me to be different aspects of myself at different times, and I have both female, male and nonbinary representations (although most male ones are purely administrative/officialdom oriented). If someone who knew me as a “she/her” person, used those pronouns when we met in a different guise, it would be jarring.

(It’s worth noting the article I linked does swap and change pronouns for Clarendon; proximity to the repeated name helped maintain context for me, but I did have to read back to realise the pronouns had alternated. In speech, I feel it would have been much harder to parse correctly)

Ultimately, the difficulty is that in my mind pronouns are used to signify a person, or people, and distinguish between them. To use alternating pronouns for the same person feels like saying that they aren’t a whole person in themselves, or that they continually change who they are.

I was having problems with my Mac recently, a metadata filing system was eating huge amounts of memory and CPU, which caused the computer to freeze (hard reset needed sometimes). It turned out it does this if there’s files changing their content or status frequently (telling the system to ignore those file structures has fixed the issue). What I’m running into is, it’s like alternating pronouns causes a similar problem in my brain.

But language is not only the meaning as experienced by the speaker. It is also the meaning as experienced by the listener (as the Chiodini example illustrates).

I’m stuck on needing a single pronoun set for a single person. I want to get it right for people with multiple/alternating pronouns and the version where “any of these are correct” is a relief to me in handling this.

So the place where I’m at, is wanting to ask which to favour? Is this indicated by the fact that I’ve seen both “he/they”and “they/he” and the “better” option is listed first? Does everyone who lists multiple pronouns want all of them used, or do some do it to say what’s acceptable? (The way I prefer my neologisms Hae/Haem pronouns but am okay with he/him generally speaking.)

I wish there was a comforting or confident or clear way to sign off on this piece. There isn’t. My brain is what it is, and I am where I am. It feels inadequate for acknowledging and affirming those who use alternating pronouns, and yet it’s all I have.

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Ladies And Gentlemen, We Are Rowing In Space

My newest project: build a videogame where you row between the stars!

Just before Christmas, my little sister (who is a fully-grown Millennial as opposed to my elderly Xennial (the kids slightly too young to be Gen-X, but slightly too old to qualify as full-on Millennial) self) was once more pressuring Yours Truly (and our mother) to get more exercise. I talked through the sorts of things that would make exercise more likely to happen – for example, being able to do other things while doing exercising, and it not requiring too much set-up or obligation.

All of which led to her arranging a very high-quality rowing machine to be delivered.

The thing I chose to do while exercising on the rowing machine is… watch Stargate: Atlantis. Which quickly became the joke that I was rowing across the galaxies. Mother Dearest watches youtube videos of first-person perspective rowing on various lakes around the world.

So, when I reached the end of the last season of Stargate:Atlantis, I looked up starscape videos on youtube,with the requirement that they should be backwards-facing (since in a rowing boat you face backwards) and the stars moving away from you. There don’t seem to be many, and the vast majority of starscapes are accompanied by wishy-washy ambient “meditation” music or “get to sleep” sounds. I don’t want to get to sleep! I’m EXERCISING! I want to row my way across the galaxy!

(Eventually, I found some rather fun scifi themed synthwave mixes in the meantime. But the videos don’t really answer what I’m looking for)

So naturally, I decided to try using GameMaker Studio 2 to program my own backwards starscape. Or as I’m calling it, my Interstellar Rowing Simulator. The basic intention of this new project is just to make a display I can capture as a video and play back while doing my rowing machine exercise, with some kind of hyperspatial oar noises hopefully in time with my usual stroke rate so I can pretend I am powering my starship through the cosmos.

I have pretty much got the starscape done now, just need to figure out what to do with the synth voices to make it sound enough like rowing to go with the action, and enough like hyperspace to go with the scenario.

But I can’t help thinking what else I might be able to do with this. In particular, a playable game to build based on the starscape, and looking backwards from your interstellar rowing boat. Such as, being pursued by a starship (meaning I can use the model I made in Blender just for practice!) and matching oar strokes (button presses) with the rhythm of your engines. Maybe have the ability/need to dodge the starship’s torpedoes and beam weapons. Not sure I want to make it a quick time event style thing where you have to catch the right button, although wondering about having different buttons pressed in sequence for the different steps in the oar stroke cycle. However I do it, matching the timings would speed you up (and also speed up the rhythm); missing strokes would slow you down and allow the pursuers to close in on you. And just see how long you survive.

* * *

In other creative news, I am exploring 4-chord loops based on the videos by youtuber 12Tone, and have several half-finished songs to work on, and one actually-finished song to share (currently available to download for my Patreons, or to listen on my youtube channel)

 

 

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I MADE A VIDEO GAME: The Curse Of Breyville House

So one reason I haven’t written as much in the past year and a half is I have been learning how to create video games using visual coding/block style tools. This is so I don’t have to try to make sense of long pages of text symbols, and can turn my ideas for games into actual games. The main tool I’ve been working with so far is called GameMaker Studio 2, which once I got my head around it was very helpful, although I did have to do some actual coding to get the instructions I needed.

I love storytelling in just about every form, and video games create fascinating opportunities for narrative and implied storytelling. Many of the best games captivate and bring you back because the characters have an arc just like in the best novels or fiction. So it was only natural that I would eventually aspire to building my own games, and my own stories in them.

As it happens, The Curse Of Breyville House was a game mechanic in search of a story (or rather, I needed to test out whether I could make the mechanic before trying to apply it to a bigger story I have in mind).

The basic idea involved a 2-d stealth game with a top-down perspective and line-of-sight mechanic. To try it out I started building a haunted house game with ghosts for the player to avoid. A local video game creators social group helped me out with advice and feedback and gradually, the haunted house became a game in its own right,and that meant,in my mind, it needed a story.

It became a horror-mystery to be uncovered by clues in the form of old diary pages and other evidence hidden around the environment. Breyville House has been abandoned for 150 years and rumours say that it’s haunted. The tales say that no one who spends the night there has ever been seen again. Suzie, our protagonist, doesn’t believe in ghosts so she has no trouble accepting a dare from her friends to do just that. Once inside, she discovers ghosts are real, and has to unravel the mystery to break the curse and escape before they drain her life and turn her into one of them.

The tale is one of wickedness, cruelty, revenge and dark magic awakening ancient evil. You can download the game here: The Curse Of Breyville House  

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STORY: Tam’s First Time

Content Note: Gender dysphoria. Age difference.

I feel that in real life, I would have concerns about the power imbalance of age and wealth – but the scene sprang into my head and was too hot not to make into a story. So here it is:

***

Tam And Janine

Tam tugged their tight-fitting Entombed t-shirt down straight, and ran their fingers through their short-short hair – naturally dark, unlike the thick black dye some of their friends wore. Their fingerless gloves sported chrome-coloured studs matching the quadruple rows stitched into their leather belt. Skinny jeans and DM boots completed the look. 18 years old, they would be offended at the accusation of being another typical goth or emo kid, protesting their love of punk, metal and other indie genres. The truth was, the aesthetic was what mattered: androgynous, dark, mysterious and “heavy”. The tight clothes also felt like they flattened their curves, easing the sense of being seen by everyone else as a gender that never perfectly fit.

Dating had been a disappointment. Their peer group was full of boys who misgendered them, and girls who weren’t sure what they wanted from them. Fantasies and desires led Tam into online spaces,and there she met: Janine.

Janine. Twice Tam’s age, but more understanding, seeing Tam as themselves rather than a means to an end. Janine, whose talent for teasing and tantalising had Tam throbbing with arousal night after night from their sexting. Janine, outside whose front door Tam now stood and performed their last-minute grooming.

Tam sent a quick text to a friend to say where they were, and that they’d arrived safely. While the sense of transgression and danger was exciting, even arousing, Tam wasn’t so naive as to meet someone from the internet without a precaution or two. Janine assured them she’d had a negative test recently, and Tam was delighted when their own negative result came back just this morning, meaning that their illicit tryst was on.

Janine’s home was more of a mansion, or possibly a villa. Tam wasn’t sure what the difference was. It was big, fancy, and had along driveway up from the gates onto the street. Janine had buzzed them through so Tam knew the older woman was aware they’d arrived, but the door remained closed. They took a deep breath, and knocked.

“Come in, chuck,” a voice called. A clear soprano but with force and a fullness to the tone that Tam hadn’t expected. “The door’s open.”

Tam touched the handle, and true to Janine’s word, the door swung open, silent on perfectly engineered hinges. Vast expanses of polished marble floor stretched before them.

“Take your boots off and leave them by the door. Your socks, too, or you’ll end up slipping and doing yourself a mischief.” Tam peered into the hallway but couldn’t see Janine anywhere. After a second or two, they shrugged and sat on the doorstep to remove their footwear. Tamleft them in the shoe rack they found inside the door. A pedestal presented a bottle of hand sanitiser, so Tam squirted some and spent 20 seconds thoroughly cleansing her digits.

Their bare feet padded with soft slaps on the smooth, cold stone. A broad staircase curved down from the upper floor to open into the hall on the right, ornate double doors stood to the left. At the far end, smaller passages headed off either side. Tam hurried that way, the chill in their feet hastening their steps in a way that eroded the youthful insouciance they liked to portray.

“This way, chuck. Join me in my study.”

Tam followed the voice. The door stood ajar, and again swung open with the lightest touch to reveal Janine.

Where Tam rejected their curves, Janine seemed to revel in hers. Where Tam wore their air short, Janine styled hers into long, flowing waves. Where Tam embraced their hair’s darkness, Janine had dyed hers blonde, with the roots just starting to show through. Janine wore a blue wraparound dressing gown, her hands on her hips and a coquettish grin on her pink-glossed lips.

The study was as splendid as the entrance hall. Broad windows allowed bright daylight to fill the room, silk drapes adorned the walls and there were period-style couches facing each other either side. Janine stood across the room from Tam, in front of a carved wooden desk set up with a writing lamp and laptop. Behind, there seemed to be an art studio set up with a chaisse longue in a curved bay and an easel to one side.

“Welcome, Tam. I’m so glad you could make it. Good journey?”

“Yes, thanks. It’s so good to finally meet you, too.” Tam’s eyes dipped,and flicked up again, darting from detail to detail of their host’s body.

“You know why we’re here, chuck?” The twinkle in Janine’s eye intensified.

“I’m hoping,” Tam glanced upwards at Janine’s face, “We’re going to fuck.”

Janine shook her head.

“I’m not even going to come close enough to touch you.”

“Then why-?”

Janine cut off Tam’s confusion with a single raised finger. “Everything you will need is in the chest behind the door. Take off your clothes, and bring it here.” Janine pointed at a spot halfway between the door and the desk.

Tam shuffled their feet.

“I’m waiting, chuck.”

Tam’s heart felt like it might just tear their shirt to shreds before they could peel it over their head. They had never liked having their breasts exposed, they felt too obvious and too gendered. They were not exceptional in size or anything, more in keeping with their square-shaped body, but still, noticeable and noticed by others. And yet, the way Janine looked at them, it didn’t feel that way. Janine appreciated them as a part of Tam, not as these sexualised orbs that defined them. Tam could see how Janine’s gaze studied their thick upper arms, their wispy underarm hair, their barely distinguishable waist and their angular shoulders. No one had ever looked at them in such desiring detail before.

It made Tam even more nervous when they moved to unbuckle the studded belt on their jeans. Their fingers fumbled the buckle twice before they could manage it, their relief when the button undid on their first try was like a flood of release. They glanced to Janine and back to what they were doing as the jeans slid over their backside and down their sturdy thighs – eager for confirmation that Janine relished each and every inch of skin being revealed, but needing to concentrate on the job. When it came to teasing the tight denim off, Tam had to look away completely but they somehow knew that even their podgy feet and toes were subject to the same hunger from their hostess.

When Tam stood up again, she saw that Janine’s robe had fallen open, one hand resting on the woman’s inside thigh. The other hand made a turning motion so before they dealt with their bra and panties, Tam turned around to face away from Janine. Or rather, they realised, to show Janine their rear angle. The thought of those devouring eyes scanning their back, their butt, their shoulder blades and their calves, sent hot shivers along their spine and seeping wetness to dampen their crotch. The promised chest sat now in their eyeline, upholstered sides and lid showing it was designed to take a person’s weight. Subtle D-rings on the short legs showing it was designed to keep them there when it did.

But there was no time to linger on that thought. Tam fumbled with the fastening on their bra for several seconds before they managed to ease it down their arms and drop it on top of their jeans and t-shirt. Then it was time to lose their panties.

As soon as they started to push them down, Janine gave a new instruction. “Keep your legs straight, chuck. Bend at the waist like a good little enby.” God, it felt incredible to be called that, instead of – anything else. They couldn’t help but do as they were told, feeling how it presented their arse and pussy to the watching eyes. Tam’s cheeks flushed doubly: from the rush of blood to their head as they bent over, and from the thought of Janine studying their thick, black pubes and puckered anus in equal measure.

Their right hand went to their left wrist, but Janine stopped them. “No, leave the gloves on for now. Bring the box of delights.” Tam straightened themselves and nodded.

When they turned around with the chest in both hands, Tam saw that a large, low Ottoman stool now stood on the spot where Janine had indicated she should bring the box. It glistened,sit was clear Janine had put it there and wiped it down with sanitiser – indeed, Janine was peeling latex gloves from her hands after finishing the task. She must have done it while Tam’s back was turned.

“Put it on the side, chuck, then kneel with your thighs apart.” Tam carried the chest while Janine opened drawers and took out a selection of sex toys, laying them in order on the desk. They placed the chest by the Ottoman then climbed onto the stool on their hands and knees. They hesitated, breathing deeply. This was suddenly more real than they had ever anticipated.

Janine flicked a single finger in the air – left. Then right. Pointed at Tam’s knees. It seemed to them magical how it prompted their obedience, their legs seeming to move without their volition to open and spread their thighs, their knees following the gesture in an urgent shuffle. Their chest rose and fell, mouth hanging open until the same finger made a slow upwards gesture as if stroking someone’s chin. Tam’s chin. As if they felt the pressure physically, Tam closed their mouth, eyes widening in inverse proportion.

“Mirror me.” Janine spread her legs, leaned her butt against the desk, slid her right hand across her thigh to her slit. Tam shivered, but did the same, their left hand stroking from thigh to crotch. Where Tam was natural and hairy, Janine was shaved and bare. Tam was forced to stare at her hostess’s cunt, its sculpted, manicured femininity, while interacting with their own. Or rather, letting Janine interact using their hand. Janine spread her fingers to splay her lips, Tam did the same and felt as though it were Janine, not themselves, who did it. And Janine was staring at their cunt, staring at the way Tam now lewdly showed her their private place.

And then, Janine positioned her middle finger and slid it inside. Tam whimpered as their finger slid inside them. Their hand seemed no longer to belong to them, so focussed they were on their hostess that their awareness of the connection the hand had to their own body receded and its actions seemed automatic, taken without conscious thought. Whatever Janine did to her pussy, Tam echoed on their own cunt.

Janine slid their finger in and out, twisting it round this way and that. Tam bit their lip and whimpered, while Janine performed soft moans. They felt frozen in place, a helpless victim of their own sexuality.

“You can move if you want to, slut.” Janine smiled. And Tam felt released, their hips grinding to masturbation that was tame by their usual needs but now, today, performed under Janine’s command, was almost too hot to bear.

Then Janine slid in a second finger.

Tam let out a small yelp, their right hand clutching hard against the furniture they knelt on. Janine slowed her movements, Tam did the same, cheeks flushed, and stunned at the shame they felt over their wetness, slick and smooth between their fingers. But the mirroring game wasn’t done. Janine’s left hand rose to play with her breast and, after a moment, Tam copied the motion with their right hand. And, once again, conscious thought left the equation. Their right hand became the puppet,the slave, of Janine’s movements. Where Janine squeezed her pneumatic orb, Tam squeezed their smaller boob. Where Janine pinched her puffy nipple, Tam pinched their erect nub, and winced,and moaned. All the while, the fingers in their cunt matching the steady, sensuous strokes Janine gave herself.

Time lost all meaning. Tam’s body thrummed with heat and tension and growing need. The nature of the need only truly apparent when, at last, Janine withdrew her fingers and Tam, bereft, felt their fingers pull out. Their hips continued to hump the air, seeking the penetration they’d just been denied.

Janine lifted her dripping fingers to her mouth, and a beat behind, Tam still mirrored. They knew what was going to be demanded, and it felt so dirty. They’d never tasted themselves before, never seen a reason or desire to, and yet, here, they had no choice. Janine opened her mouth. Tam opened theirs. The wet, juice-covered fingers slid into the mouths, caressed the waiting tongues. Tam watched and copied Janine’s lips close around her fingers, suck and slurp and the fingers mouthfucking in reply. The hot, honey taste of their own slick cunt feeding back and producing more of the same from the source.

Janine wiped her fingers dry on her breast. Tam had to break their gaze to look down and make the same wipe on their breast, but felt Janine’s smouldering eyes drinking in the sight throughout.

“Open the chest.”

Tam twisted at their waist to reach for the chest, but couldn’t help glancing back to Janine every couple of seconds. They lifted the lid. The chest was full of sex, bondage and SM toys of all kinds, sorted into their own compartments. Tam looked at Janine again. Realised that there were deeper, filthier realms than their own kinks had yet explored.

“Choose a dildo, chuck. Make it big and thick. Make me proud.”

Tam peered into the box. From a jumble of vibrators and dongs of all shapes and colours, they found a red monster, not the biggest in the chest but still broader and longer than anything they’d used before. With nervous, hopeful eyes they revealed their choice, looking for Janine’s approval. Janine’s wicked grin was all the feedback they needed.

“Ride it like a slut for me,” Janine’s voice was husky with arousal.

Tam whimpered again, louder than before, as they hurried to push the beast inside them, amazing themselves at how their cunt stretched, how easily the shaft slid, proving how wet their dripping cunt had become.

Janine was already stroking her clit with one hand. “Fuck yourself with it. Let me hear your sloppy cunt, chuck. Show me how much you need sex with me.”

Tam’s whimpers were practically sobs now, the fire burning through their body an inferno of sexual energy with nowhere to go. They thrust the cock back and forth, their hips grinding and forcing down on it, using both hands to drive the base so it pounded into them, over and over. Their whimpers became moans, echoed by Janine who, watching, now had her own plastic cock vibrating in her pussy while her fingers still played with her clit. And yet, Tam knew that the greatest arousal for their hostess was watching their disgraceful, slutty display and that just turned them on even more.

Janine came first. Her back arched and she rose on the balls of her feet and she howled to the ceiling, rattling the desk beneath her buttocks. Tam’s breath caught as they watched. They’d never seen a climax like that before. Never seen someone come because of them.

Janine came down from her peak. Tam’s movements had slowed in awe at their hostess’s orgasm, their attention wholly consumed by the spectacle.

“Take it out.” Tam eased the dong from their crotch, a gasp of intense loss when its absence overtook their cunt.

Janine made the “open the box” gesture again. “Find a bullet or finger vibe, chuck. I’m not done with you yet.”

Tam selected a sparkly violet finger vibe with a shape they’d used before, a curve at the tip that presented a choice of pinpoint vibrations, or using the broader arc to cover their full clit.

Janine smiled at them. “Don’t use it yet. But I want you to have that ready for when I tell you. Now, shuffle as far forwards as you can on the seat, spread those sexy enby thighs and lean back.”

Tam felt how their back arched and presented their breasts, their hips lifted and presented their cunt, they had to bend their head forwards to keep eye contact with Janine. Janine, whose expression was one of wolfish sadism and anticipation. Janine, who bent down, under the desk, and picked up something that had been waiting their outside of Tam’s notice all along.

A pole, 2 metres long with a pink, wobbly, jelly-like attachment on the end. An attachment shaped like a cock.

“Oh, no!” The words escaped Tam’s lips before they even thought about it.

“Oh, yes,” crowed Janine, already advancing with the tip of her weapon lowered and ready to enter. “I’m going to fuck you hard, and deep, and maintaining social distance the whole time.”

Tam bit their lip, not trusting themselves to say the right thing. And then, anything they might have said was irrelevant because they were opening their thighs even further, their hips reaching for that cock, which flexed but found its way home, into their hole. All thoughts of protest vanished.

“Fuck me, Mistress!” Tam’s voice reached its highest register.

Janine was merciless, not just driving the rod back and forth, but twisting it to and fro, varying the angle of attack slightly each time.

“Now use that vibe on your clit, chuck. Drive yourself wild!”

As if Tam didn’t already feel like they’d lost all sense of normality. Their body dripped with sweat, flushed and hungry, riding the remote-fucking cock like they were a beast in heat. They bit their lip and brought the hand holding the vibe round, turned it on, stroked it against their clit. The instant it touched, it felt like electricity jolting from their pelvis to the tip of their head. They lifted their hand away before bringing the vibe back again, slower, ready for it now.

The buzzing filled their ears, the scent of their own sex filled their nostrils, the smooth leather stuck to their quivering thighs, the jelly dildo pounded their cunt and a chill breeze whispered through the room. Only Tam’s vision seemed obscured, blurred and lost in their desperate arousal.

“Please, Mistress! May I come?!”

“Come for me, chuck! Come like the dirty little emo enby you are.”

All at once, the inferno had somewhere to go. Tam screamed and wept, shuddering from toe to fingertip, writhing and spasming, blinded by the tidal wave of ecstasy that went on, and on. They barely noticed Janine take the pole away, or the vibrator slip from their grasp as they needed both hands to keep their balance.

A minute, or a lifetime, later. Tam came down, still naked, curled up on the Ottoman, chest still heaving from their body’s exertion.

Janine knelt on the floor, still maintaining distance.

“Thank you, Tam. You were fantastic. I wish I could come over there and hug you.”

“Thank you, Ma’am. I mean, Janine.”

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Thoughts on the EHRC Report into Anti-Semitism In The Labour Party

Today, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published their report on the allegations of anti-semitism in the Labour Party. Rightwingers have gleefully reported some cherry-picked lines from the conclusions, of course.

I took the time this afternoon to read through the report for myself to find out what the headlines were concealing. What I found was both less damning and more worrying, than the headline statements. It paints to me a picture of an organisation that was blindsided by the accusations and totally ill-equipped to handle them.

The report finds that the Labour Party was “responsible for” two instances of anti-semitic harassment. That’s the headline statement. The report explains further, that under the terms ofthe 2010 Equalities Act, this means that on these occasions, a person acting in their role as an agent (elected official using their official status or communications) acted in a way that “has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”

This is very different from saying that the Labour Party instigated, encouraged or approved the actions of the individuals. It does say that from a legal point of view, the Party can be held accountable for those people’s actions, and is “responsible” for them.

In one of these cases, most of the evidence to me seemed open to interpretation. Which is to say, the anti-semitic language cited could have been referencing a different group of people (i.e. rightwingers in the Labour Party). The catch is, that one or two social media remarks in that case were such that there wasn’t that room for interpretation. That means it’s easy to see why people would feel the rest was also attacking Jewish people.

So in some ways this point makes it look like one or two “bad apples”. The report noted, however, that while these were the only instances where agents of the Labour Party had used anti-semitic tropes or statements, there were several examples in the complaints they looked at that were about ordinary Party members’ behaviour.

The behaviour and language that these cases showed were far less equivocal, and in some cases absolutely disgusting.

This is very worrying and distressing.

The report criticised Labour’s handling of the complaints process, singling out a lack of proper training for those who dealt with complaints and stating that improper political interference from the office of the leadership had created a system where Jewish members faced discrimination, because the system to deal with the complaints was not clear or impartial.

One thing struck me about several of the examples of interference: they were interventions to give theappearance of cracking down on anti-semitism.

The report is absolutely correct to say that there should not have been interference in the process, and that these interventions by members of the leadership office (not Corbyn himself, as leader, as far as I could see) created a situation in which the clarity and impartiality of the complaints procedure were compromised. The report also outlines how the Labour Party has improved (and can still improve) on these points.

The impression I get is, again, of a Party in turmoil and disarray, struggling to deal with a situation it was not properly equipped to handle. The report highlights this lack of preparation as a problem that should have been rectified far sooner. It feels like in some ways, the leadership is being blamed for actions taken to try to satisfy the very vocal anti-Corbyn MPs who were always demanding more severe and more immediate acton on cases – the same people who pushed for this investigation to be carried out. (My recollection is that it was Tom Watson’s interferences that was the most egregious example of this.) As the report makes clear, the appropriate course of action would have been to focus on building a robust reporting and investigating process for dealing with complaints, that was on a par with other complaints processes (the example they repeatedly cite is how Labour deals with sexual harassment) and with information much more easily available to members via the central Party website and rulebook. I hesitate to suggest that there may have been one or two dishonest actors involved who sought to sabotage the leadership’s attempts to do that, but the thought did cross my mind. (It is worth noting that in the terms of the report’s examples even this could be misconstrued as referring to a “conspiracy” or being dismissive of complaints – all it is saying is that it is possible there were some individuals, working as individuals, who had a motive to use the existence of complaints as a way to embarrass the leadership, and for whom a proper complaints process would interfere with that goal.)

The report points out that the Labour Party did badly when it came to implementing recommendations by two previous reports. My belief is that the leadership of the Party did not understand how these accusations were based, or why people might feel degraded or intimidated by language that, to them, had no connection to race or religion but that has a dark history of being used to attack Jewish people. This would have made them less able to understand the nature or urgency of the complaints. That, of course, is a key element of why the lack of adequate training to understand and deal with anti-semitism is highlighted as a problem in the Labour Party’s complaints system.

* * *

The recommendations in the report seem to be largely appropriate and above all, focussed on creating a transparent and easily understood process fordealing with complaints. In terms of the actions being required of the Labour Party, I am comfortable that these are not likely to impede, for example, criticism of Israeli policies (specifically permitted as not anti-semitic, within the report) or prevent general comment on individual members’ experiences (again, language used by the report).

My main concern is that the report seems occasionally to use language intended to spin its findings to be critical of the then-leadership. The phrasing that, “…it is hard not to conclude that antisemitism within the Labour Party could have been tackled more effectively if the leadership had chosen to do so,” makes it sound like this was a clear choice rather than, as I suspect, a situation of confusion and ad hoc reaction to demands that shifted every time the Party tried to deal with the problem.

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Would You Search Through The Lonely Earth For Me? – Second Playthrough

After my last blog post, in which I talked about Michael Whelan and Zoe Delahunty-Light’s solo journalling TTRPG Would You Search Through The Lonely Earth For Me? and the ways I would play differently if I did it again, well, I thought I ought to try out my suggestions.

  • Instead of using a 10-sided die to randomly generate options, I used my idea of playing cards sorted into suits and using one face-card as a “reset”.
  • I deliberately focussed on following the rules more closely in terms of not trying to guess what I was before I reached the end.
  • I treated “How Long?” as being flexible in terms of how much of that time referred to the journey, as opposed to the stay at the destination.

I definitely enjoyed it a lot more this time, so I feel like my recommendations were worth making – and the point where I followed the rules MORE closely was also the right call. I even added a comment on the page about the playing cards idea!

* * *

My first impression was that turning over the playing cards had a much more appropriate tactile sense to this game. It felt like revealing my object’s history, not randomly picking ideas. I hadn’t expected that to be a way of engaging with the game, but it definitely made a difference to how I felt about what I was doing, and how I engaged with the writing part of it.

The second thing I noticed is that, if the “How Long?” is “Moments”, it doesn’t really allow me to include the travel time in that – so I had to be flexible with that modification of the rules and when that card turned up, I simply let the journey be any duration that seemed appropriate. So that modification worked with some sensible interpretation!

As it turned out, I was not able to keep from forming ideas about what form the object might have – but I did try to keep any assumptions about it away from the writing until I reached the end. This had quite a pleasant effect, in that I could compare my impressions along the way with what I eventually decided best fit the evidence presented in my journal.

For the record, my impressions went something like this: “Oh! Probably a dagger or something, then. No, wait, maybe a map, or directions, or a compass, something like that.” – “I’m definitely getting a ‘wearable’ vibe from this. Probably like an amulet or bracelet.” – “I’m writing this bit with the assumption that it’s a bracelet or amulet.”

Narrator’s Voice: It wasn’t a bracelet or amulet.

* * *

In the end, the story I produced this time was slightly shorter this time than I would expect on average. The option to continue is always there when you turn up the “Below the earth” location, but I felt that the combination of options that came up on that turn were such that I had reached a natural end-point.

I did turn up a face card, but it happened on the first turn of the game. Nevertheless, I followed my own rules and reshuffled that pile before drawing a new card, and continued from there. This meant that I never had any recurrence of mood, location, duration or carrier. I found that a very refreshing difference from the first playthrough.

* * *

For those who are curious to know the details of this playthrough, you can unearth my journal by clicking here and visiting the Google Docs page.

Posted in Reviews, Tabletop Games, Writing about writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment