tone milazzo

one monkey, no typewriters

tone milazzo


Picking Up the Ghost
a YA urban fantasy of ghosts, lies, and voodoo

tone milazzo

one monkey, no typewriters

tone milazzo


Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 2
featuring ‘The Ginger Jar’

tone milazzo

one monkey, no typewriters

tone milazzo

one monkey, no typewriters

tone milazzo

one monkey, no typewriters

Receive new posts by email.

Join 867 other subscribers

San Diego writer of speculative fiction in prose and comics. Author of the YA urban fantasy Picking Up the Ghost, the upcoming E.S.P. and espionage novel The Faith Machine, and the upcoming graphic novel Dead Woman.

Open to freelance work punching up stories or homepages, script-doctoring, beta reads, or other opinion vendings. Represented by Cherry Weiner

Stories have been with us since the first hunter told another about the one who got away. Stories are what make us human. Stories lead to understanding. Stories are cooked. Fiction, religion, biographies, gossip, gaming, and history it all goes into the pot and out comes as fiction. To those ends I’ve been around, professionally speaking. Marine, taxi driver, teacher, scientist, and coder. This breath of experience has given me a little knowledge about a lot of things, good and bad.

A good story reaches beyond the scope of its words.

Big Talk/Small Business Podcast

Gabriel Valentin and Gallie, Digital Lizards of Doom

Digital Lizards of Doom is an electronic/alternative rock band/brand from San Diego, CA. The duo consists of Gabriel Valentin (guitar, strings, vocals,) and Gallie (mandolin, keys, vocals,) both singer-songwriters, producers, performers, and composers signed to Noize Cartel Records. They are best known for their worldwide collaborations with other artists, producers and DJs in the electronic and rock music genres, and for their brand’s rising presence in pop culture. Digital Lizards of Doom is releasing a graphic novel at the end of 2018, and their full-length album, Lizards and Labyrinths,debuts September 14.

Digital Lizards of Doom / Spotify / iTunes / Google Play / Beatport / Facebook / YouTube / Instagram

Gabriel Valentin and Gallie, Digital Lizards of Doom
Big Talk/Small Business

 
 
00:00 / 51:52
 
1X

Instagram

Recent Posts

ESPionage – The Faith Machine Role-Playing Game

I’ve been busy working on a world book for the Fate Core role-playing game system. It’s turned into an interesting exercise in world-building. In the process, I accidentally created a series bible.

ESPionage is based on The Faith Machine, my psychic espionage thriller. This body of work consists of a novel, two novel outlines, half a dozen short stories in various stages of completion, and a comic book pitch, not to mention a notebook full of incomplete ideas. I had a lot to draw on. Spilling it out on the page was easy. Organizing and filling that information’s given me a new perspective in the material.

For example; early on I based the spy lingo for psychic phenomena on poker and card expressions. But I hadn’t got further than ‘Card’ means psychic. The glossary of a game book can’t stop at one word. That’s not even a sidebar. So then…a team of Cards, that’s a Hand, clearly. And an agency that operates multiple teams, that’s a Table. Many nations will have more than one Table, like a casino or House. Then the entire psychic espionage community at large, that’s the Strip.

Organization’s the bomb, yo.

And not just details. This goes for themes too. I received a piece of advice at the Writers’ Coffeehouse; At the beginning of a novel make a list of six things the story is, and six things it’s not. This isn’t for the audience. It’s for the author. But it made a good introduction for the game book:

  • ESPionage is stale beer with martini moments, more Jason Borne than James Bond. It takes its queues from John le Carré with an occasional nod to Ian Flemming. A secret world that’s less about good guys verses bad, and more about getting the job done whatever the cost.
  • ESPionage Cards are the most powerful individuals who ever lived, but still have to watch their backs. A bullet to the skull doesn’t care how powerful the brain inside was.
  • ESPionage is about characters with mental disorders living their lives and doing their jobs, without being defined by their conditions.
  • ESPionage is about characters getting their hands dirty in the field. It’s not about rooms full of servers crunching data.
  • ESPionage is about teamwork. A small group of talented agents who depend on each other to accomplish the mission and look out for each other. It’s not about calling Homeland Security for help with a threat. Sometimes, Homeland Security is the threat.
  • ESPionage is about a secret war with many sides. Nations, terrorists, gods, and ghosts pushing forward with their agendas at the cost of anyone who gets in their way. It’s not about safety or working toward retirement. Once you’ve played on the Strip you’re in the game for good.

I’m closing in on a first draft. If everything goes right, I’ll run it online and make a YouTube channel out of it.

Now what am I supposed to do with all these d20s?


Eager to check out a game of Fate Core, I attended two days of Kingdom Con. I’m still planning my Fate Accelerated podcast, but if I dive right into a rule set, I know I’ll make assumptions that will become bad habits. So I was looking to play with an experienced GM, but this wasn’t baseline Fate Core. It was Fate Freeport, incorporating elements from D&D; stats instead of skills and a simplified version of its magic system. But it was the only game in town.

I had Thursday off too, so I figured I’d also check out a game of D&D 5th Edition, having only played a little 4th and a lot of 3rd. Both games designed to simulate fantasy literature.

D&D started out the usual way; a cluster of mercenary 1st level characters with no particular connection to each other. I grabbed a human fighter out of the pre-gens. We might have been in the Forgotten Realms, but it could have been anywhere. Fate used Spelljammer for its setting. D&D in space on flying sea-craft. The pre-gens were the command staff of the ship, and one stowaway. I was invested right away. As the ship’s captain I knew who the engineer, bosun, and stowaway were and how we related to each other. In D&D, I struggled to remember which guy was the cleric. Fate encourages players to create the PCs relationships while they’re creating the PCs, rather than the default group of murder hobos.

D&D took place in an urban setting, but it wasn’t long before we were in an underground tunnel, lined with traps, which lead to a room of monsters. The Fate adventure was a spacefaring journey. Sailing through the ether, we crossed an elvish ship, destroyed and adrift. The few surviving crew driven mad, babbling about a blue asteroid. Reluctantly, we tracked the asteroid and found a mixed fleet of ships docked inside. Each captained by a Beholder who’d enslaved the crew with their minds.

A starting Fate character is more capable. My 1st level fighter could shoot arrows. That’s about it. Oh, and he could heal himself once, which did come in handy. In Fate, my ship’s captain carried two pistols. She could unload both at the target at once, and could Create a Strategy creating a pool of bonuses for the crew. When we boarded an enemy ship, I ordered “sneak up on them.” The bonuses supported our sneak attack.

I enjoyed Fate far more than D&D. Both characters were pre-gens, but I was far more invested in the captain than the human fighter. Part of that was the dynamic of the group, but the system had a lot to do with it. In Fate, you contribute to the story and rarely have to consult the rules. This is what I want out of a game, but I know some people crunch numbers and regurgitate rules for fun. In D&D, the guy playing the bard told me every way he was going to min-max his character all the way up to 7th level. Both systems supposed to simulate fantasy fiction. Fate’s design supports that inspiration. While the books and books of rules in D&D became else.

Contact

5 + 2 =