About

Hello, Mr.Hales here. I write stuff.

A lot of that ends up at my personal website (mrhales.com) but all of those stories take place in the Universe as presented here. If you want more background or history for that fiction, this would a good place to find out, but the potential for spoilers should be pretty evident.

I've been married and had kids and ended up at 40 divorced, crazy, and without a penny to my name. Since that time I've explored both drug and talk therapy and if you are having trouble in your life, you should seek help. It's available and there is still hope. You could visit SAMSHA or contact your local human services. Just don't quit.

I am a just a guy who knows stuff. I know a little about a lot and a lot about a little. I have done a variety of work in my life and met all sorts of people. Insert the traditional line about Jack and his trades.

I have been telling stories for a long, long time and even though nothing in this world is truly original, I like to think I've been at least a touch creative and a bit entertaining.

Photo of yours truly giving two thumbs up.
Guess who has two thumbs and built this website?

Why This Site?

Because I need to get all this crap in order!

As stated, I've been telling stories for a long time. My oldest friend and I began creating our own comic book universe more than 30 years ago. These days you might call it "free form LARP" or even "improv theater" if you caught adults doing it, but as kids we just called it "playing".

In the beginning, there was Tomy. More specifically, there was the Tomy Mighty Men and Monster Maker. I grew up in an era with very strict gender roles so the "girl" version was a fashion design toy. Kind of like paper dolls, but not. What this thing was (you can look it up because mine is long gone and I'm not stealing anyone else's photo) was a set of plates with embossed art you would place in a frame and then do a rubbing. You could then color the resulting reproduction. It came with crayons and a little crayon holder you could use to make the rubbings easier. It had plates for legs, torsos and heads. The backsides of some plates had more art or sometimes a texture. The "girl" version was essentially the same thing, except it was all dresses and tiaras whereas the boys got tentacles and capes.

Slim man in chainmail and studded tunic with ritual scarification on his face and carrying a war hammer with a skull embossed on the side.
A Noddite cleric for Mhr'Azakel.

There were parts that certainly created a theme and obviously originated in the same original artwork, but the mixing and matching was the attraction. Even so, the first "character" we created with this toy was done by putting together one of the matching sets of a dude in a short cape we colored red. We called him "The Crimson Avenger". Whether or not my friend was aware at the time that a character of that name already existed in DC I can't say. That was his character anyway, so it wasn't really my problem. I'm pretty sure I took the alien with the tentacle arms and a mouth that looked like corn on the cob.

And then? Adventure!

We probably put together every possible combination over the course of a few years which was probably close to half my life at that age. I disliked the texture backed plates as I felt it was a bit of a cop-out because where there could have been more character options, there were bubbles or hair. Looking back I think I would appreciate that feature more now, but 8-year-old me certainly did not.

I don't really do it so much these days, but I used to draw fairly constantly. We would come up with an idea for a character and I would sketch it out. I have a lot of half-finished drawings in my files where I was like, "The right side just looks like the left side; let's play already!" I'm not sure my buddy understood that as kids, but being the de facto artist is a real chore sometimes.

All the de facto artists of their own playgroups know exactly what I'm talking about.

Over the years and after many, many Hollywood movies and an untold amount of comics and novels, our storytelling evolved both with the world in which we lived (the main villain was a drug dealer during the crack epidemic of the late 80's/early 90's, for instance) and our maturity level. Heroes eventually became troubled or conflicted or at least a bit deeper than a cardboard cutout, villains had actual motivations not all of which were as questionable as their methods, and suddenly the separation between good and evil smeared from stark black and white to a spectrum of gray.

I also ended stewing on all of this alone for a long time. Too long. All that navel gazing ended up spawning a lot of material, some of it even good. But it's also really, really big now. Too big. It's mighty difficult to hold the entire thing in my mind any more. If that was once ever possible, it certainly isn't now.

And, what's more, I'm now the storyteller for games set in this world so that it tends to Just. Keep. Growing. I'm not upset by that, but I have to get this stuff written down at some point—and that, of course, is the point.

A diagram of a series of spheres or planets that appear to be orbiting a star labeled with paradigm numbers, the Fifth showing a timeline of five epochs.
One result of all that navel gazing.

Not a Soapbox (really)

I'm a White dude who is cis and at least theoretically straight in the Midwestern United States. My pronouns are he/him/his. That makes me pretty privileged and I'm aware of that. I am almost certainly not aware of all of the ways in which I might commit microaggressions against other genders or ethnicities and if you catch me in it, my apologies, please tell me.

In my writing I have chosen to adopt a convention of capitalizing the names of Human races (Black, Asian) and ethnicity. I will be doing the same thing with non-Human sapient species such as beings from other worlds. While race is a political invention and I hope for a better tomorrow, it remains an issue of contention for many people and in an effort to be both sensitive to these issues and equitable to all people, this is the style choice I am making. I will not be capitalizing adjectives regarding a character's sexuality or gender identity. I am happy to discuss this stance.

A Word on Navigation

At the bottom of this and every page you will find buttons that take you about the site in various directions. Sometimes a section heading will have an array of buttons for the pages beneath it. Whenever you see a filled button, it will lead you to the pages before and after the current one like the pages in a book. On occasion where a subpage or a primary section is involved, the filled buttons will remain the "last page-next page" buttons regardless of their position in the postscript array.

In this way you may read the entire site "in order" like reading a printed sourcebook from cover to cover, or you can flip around from section to section however whim may strike you. Along with the main navigation menu at the top of the page (or in the "hamburger" menu on mobile) my hope is that navigation is easy and natural and makes using the website as the primary resource for your gaming session the preferred option.