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Category Archives: Horror Genre


In Medias Res Rules for Savage Worlds


For a while I’ve called this a Dramatic Task even though it doesn’t adhere to the SWDE guidelines for a Dramatic Task. I finally decided to give it a name and share it with the Savages community.

I use this as an opening of the gaming session because it begins the game in the middle of the action.

No Bennies for Beginnies.

Unlike a Dramatic Task, the players will be trying to earn Bennies rather than trying to earn a set number of successes on their Trait rolls. Because of this, players will not begin with their typical three Bennies. That’s right, everyone begins with no free Bennies! Characters who have the Luck Edge still start with one Benny, though.

The idea is to perform either Opposed rolls or successfully make Trait rolls that will earn a communal pool of Bennies for the group. After the set number of rounds have been completed, the Bennies may be divided up equitably or drawn from by players as they need to use them during the rest of the gaming session. Note: the GM should still award individuals Bennies for roll playing and such.

Steps to Perform In Medias Res Rules

  1. Determine the number of rounds. Typically, five is a good number.
  2. Decide if the rolls will be Opposed rolls or Trait rolls.
    • If Opposed rolls, decide on which Attributes or Skills everyone will be making. Typically, it will be the same for both friend and foe. Essentially, the TN for the heroes will be derived from the foe’s roll.
    • If Trait rolls, determine which Attributes or Skills each player will be using. Typically, the foe will not be making the same Trait roll for this. The TN will be 4 or a similar set number.
  3. Determine any modifiers that may help or hinder either side. Typically, the range is from -2 to +2.
  4. Deal Action cards to determine order of rolls.
    • For Opposed rolls, the foe will not be dealt Action cards as their rolls will be made immediately after each player’s roll. The cards merely determine order of rolls.
    • For Trait rolls, Action cards are dealt to the foes. This represents their opportunity to attack, harass, or attempt to thwart the heroes’ efforts.
  5. A Success = 1 Benny added to heroes’ communal pot. Failure = 1 Benny added to GM’s pot. Each Raise = +1 Benny.


It should be noted that the characters are guaranteed to succeed; the group is just determining how well they performed during this opening action scene.

Example 1. The Speeder Bike Chase (Opposed Roll)

The action opens with several Troopers chasing the heroes on their Speeder Bikes. Because everyone is piloting their bikes, Opposed rolls of Piloting skills make the most sense here. The GM determines that the forest terrain adds difficulty to the chase, but since both sides face the same terrain, it’s a zero-sum game and ignores the penalty for both sides.

Action cards are dealt to each player to determine the order of the rolls. Each time a player rolls, he or she must decide whether to spend a Benny, should they happen to have one for some reason. They are not likely to have one, though, which makes things go faster. After Player A makes their roll, the GM rolls for the Troopers to determine the TN for Player A. Note: if the Trooper’s roll beats Player A with a Raise, the GM gets 2 Bennies. Ties simply mean that neither side earns a Benny.

Player B goes next and the GM rolls again for the Troopers to set the TN for Player B.

Keep going until five rounds have elapsed.

Example 2. The Pawn Shop Scavenge (Trait Roll)

In this zombie apocalypse setting, the heroes have set up camp on the roof of a building across the street from a pawn shop that is still locked up tight. The GM determines that since one player with Lockpicking skills will be trying to open the pawn shop while the other characters distract a horde of zombies who are milling about the area, that Trait rolls will be best.

The non-Lockpicking characters decide that they will stay on top of the roof and throw rocks, bottles, and other objects down the street to try and keep the zombies distracted.

The GM also decides that the person picking the lock will be dealing with a difficult lock and a high stress situation, so they will be making their rolls at -2. Everyone else will not suffer any penalty.

Action cards are dealt to all players as well as one card for the zombies as a group. On the zombies’ turn, the GM may decide that one zombie doesn’t fall for the ruse and manages to get an attack in. Players on the roof may decide that one of their number shifts from Throwing rocks to Shooting the errant zombie. Common sense should dictate the details, but the result still boils down to whether Bennies are earned and for which pool.

Note, too, that you could add to the task that the Lockpicker must make a set number of successes on top of all the other action to determine whether the pawn shop was accessed or not.

This is a fun way to start a session of Savage Worlds with drama and action rather than just passing out Bennies to everyone as usual.

Inspired by Richard Woolcock’s awesome game Saga of the Goblin Horde, I wrote a One Shot for the setting.

SotGH One Shot The Big Brawl v2


My new album of Cthulhu-esque music is out. On this one, I didn’t utilize so much classical instruments. Instead, I used the guitar in many of the pieces. Everything is still very much brooding and ominous, though!

Igne Natura Renovatur Integra

weird news

You won’t see this on Hoarders

“I saw her three days ago, and I said, ‘Is your mother still with us?’ and she said, ‘Yes,'” Kish said to KPIX. “Delusional? She was still with her. She was. She was still with her.

I am super excited about one of my stories from The Other Side of Despair being featured on the latest podcast episode of Random Transmissions. This podcast is super cool and you should go and check out all the episodes!

Random Transmissions


My story “Shockley House” was published in this year’s Halloween anthology The Yellow Booke.

Hi! If you’ve read any of my blog and my weird writings, please take the time to post a comment about your thoughts and impressions. I’d love to hear what you think!

Also, here is an interview that I just did that delves a little deeper into my artistic vision.

Interview with David Garrett

For those writers and bloggers who have steadfastly followed the last two stories I’ve posted, I would like to say thank you for reading them. After I published my collection of short stories in 2010 I decided to take some time away from writing and figure out a new direction. Finally, I decided to write a novella that was a Lovecraftian, Cthulhu Mythos story – The Scourge of Wetumpka. That took some time to write but turned out quite well. Coming off of that I began writing Psychological Horror short stories. When I use the term Psychological, I am using it in the true sense of the term as having to do with Psychology. I have a Master’s in Psychology and I really enjoy Psychological thrillers with horror or dark fantasy overtones. The first couple of stories were “Alone” and “Shockley House”. I was very pleased with “Shockley House” but wound up re-writing “Alone” in order to make it deliver the right effect. After those two stories, I began to get interested in the use of Symbolism and the techniques used in Impressionism. The last two stories, “The Land of Nod” and “The Murklor”, explore using those techniques in writing weird tales. What makes them really work on a blog is that each day (or every couple of days) a new glimpse or vignette is added to the overall impression of the piece. In “The Land of Nod” I tried to do that by adding more bits of symbolism to the canvass of the story. In “The Murklor”, I tried to do that by adding new vantage points – usually in the form of different writing techniques. Overall, I’m really liking this new direction of Impressionistic Weird Fiction. It’s fun and offers so much freedom.

BTW, I can’t take credit for inventing it. Here’s a really good interview about what I’m trying to achieve in my writing:

The Insomniac Propagandist

One final note – the ciphers in the story “The Murklor” are very much real. They aren’t just thrown together to make the story weirder than it already is. Each one was methodically designed and does have a real solution.

Here is a good article about what this blog is all about!



The cover of the first book I wrote (Intertwined in Limbo) had absolutely nothing to do with any story in the book. The firm that created the cover just used a picture that was “ghostly”. So I decided to write a poem that told her story.



The White Lady


Little Mason Morbid was a melancholy lad

While the other kids were playing, he sat brooding, looking sad

His cloths were black and gray and his heart was a hole

And the only thing ‘twas darker than his mind was his soul


On the thirteenth of the month he would adjourn unto a tomb

In an old forgotten graveyard under darkness of the gloom

He’d commence to crank the handle of a tiny music player

And then the strains of Moonlight Sonata would drift upon the air


Somewhere from the blackness an apparition would appear

A radiant diaphanous figure who was draped in gossamer

She would float about the graves as little Mason Morbid crooned

“White Lady, white lady, tell me of your doom.”


“It was in the dead of winter and the snow was falling down

Like little drops of clouds to form a blanket on the ground.

The people of the village were all huddled with each other

And the young Reverend Smithe had stopped by to pray for Mother.”


“He sat and read his Bible and then he joined us in our meal

Then he told my worried Father how his faith would help her heal.

He was smitten by my beauty and I was taken by his charm

Before I knew what happened, he had lured me to the barn.”


“The passions of the flesh overcame the strictures of the mind

The reverend’s Puritan values gave way to pleasures for a time.

I was left defiled and the guilt would take its toll

Darkness and depression were like weights upon my soul.”


“Consumed by misery and ashamed for being so beguiled

But the real scandal was when I found that I was with child.

And all about the gossip started that descended upon me

The Reverend Smithe could not be charged, it must be sorcery.”


“They drug me through the village with curses that were vile,

Accused me of witchcraft and held a mockery of a trial.

And so it was, betrayed, abused and blighted in the soul,

I was made to pay the reverend’s sin on the rope of the gallows’ pole.”


Little Mason Morbid heaved a heavy sigh of grief

The White Lady’s tragedy was sad beyond belief

He watched her go back to her grave then he mused aloud,

“Life is futile and so unfair, and we are wrapped within her shroud.”