Author Archives: Ben White

About Ben White

Exists in a constant state of wondering where he put down his tea. Writes a bit. Enjoys things sometimes.

Neon Bug City

Well would you just look at this. Two posts in two days.  Back to back!  I hope this doesn’t establish some sort of unrealistically expectant precedent.

Anyway, it seems like Neon Bug City is live on evil global megacorporation Amazon dot com, and also on friendly socialistic sometimes broken but always happy Gumroad.  It’s probably some weird amount on Amazon because their pricing thing is bonkers.  It’s whatever you feel like paying on Gumroad, including zero dollars (&zero cents).  Get it from wherever you like, and know that I don’t really mind whether you pay for it or not.  If you read it and enjoy it then maybe tell someone, that’d be nice.

Oh, it’s the latest thing set in the Charlotte Powers solar system.  Giant ants.  Sad old mercenary protag.  Quite a bit of action.  Some feelings.  There’s a few gags I’m pretty happy with.  Overall, definitely a book.

I also put a few more things up on Gumroad while I was mucking around, the Resonances are there, and Imogen Shroud, so if you’re in the mood for a big long vaguely post-apocalyptic dark fantasy kids-with-powers thing, (or cosplaying zombies), then go grab ’em.  Episodic fiction experimentios Bright Battle Story and Death Theory and Remember When are also things that exist.

That’s all.  Don’t expect more posts and you won’t be disappointed.

Until next time,

with love,

BJK White
(The Author Person)

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 21, 2017 in Of Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last Girl Standing

So I just hit publish on Neon Bug City, the next book set in the Charlotte Powers galaxy (although she’s had to give over the protagonist reins to Ezekeli “Ellie” Kane, professional sad old arsehole).  It’s about giant ants and depression.  I wasn’t going to put up a post until it was actually available but it turns out I didn’t post about putting out Treasure Guardians, which is weird because I could have sworn I did.

So well anyway. I did a book with my daughters and it turned out pretty okay.  It’s called Treasure Guardians and it’s about a bunch of amnesiac kids fighting monsters for loot.  You can go take a look at it riiiiiight here.  This is my favourite chapter heading illustration from it:

TG - Chapter - 15.gif

The other thing is that I’ve started putting up stuff on Gumroad, which seems like a good sort of distribution bizzo even if the image server breaks every other day.  Everything’s pay what you want starting from zero dollars and there are the first episodes of a couple of serial stories there, SRPG underdog sports story Bright Battle Story: Tactics Heart, horrible deathmurder killnasty Death Theory, and beautiful ugly teenage monster drama Remember When Things Weren’t Broken.  These are being released on an interest system, by which I mean if there’s any interest I’ll keep putting them out.  I’ll also be putting my other stuff on there in a haphazard once-I-get-around-to-it fashion.  If there’s anything in particular you want to see then just tell me.  You’d be astounded just how much influence the most throwaway comment can have on my habits.  Charlotte Powers 5 got finished about three months early because of a random tweet from someone who liked the series.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. See you tomorrowish once Neon Bug City goes live.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 20, 2017 in Of Writing


Tags: , , , , , ,

“Everything Else Is Harder”

The real problem is that once you get out of the habit of publishing it’s very difficult indeed to get back into that habit.  Just writing stuff and then moving on to the next exciting thing is so much more fun.  Probably part of the problem is a lack of audience, it’s not like anyone is clamouring for my next thing.  I get the same feedback from writing something and setting it aside as I do from writing something and releasing it.  This makes it difficult to put energy into publishing.

Energy.  Yes.  I don’t have much of that stuff.  When I do have some, and the choice is between writing and not-writing, generally speaking not-writing doesn’t have much of a chance.

But anyway.  It is important to publish.  To judge a thing finished and release it into the wild.  I’ve got quite a few things ready to shove out of the nest.  Treasure Guardians, Bright Battle Story, Death Theory, this new exciting thing called Remember When Things Weren’t Broken, plus there’s the next book in the Charlotte Powers universe.  It’s about monsters, and also giant ants.

Enough blathering, let’s make some promises.  Seeing as we’re almost in February already I thought that’d be a good month in which to start doing stuff.  I’m not sure how I’ll go about it, but I’ll probably start with the episodic stuff.  Bright Battle Story: Tactics Heart, and Death Theory.  Then probably Treasure Guardians, the book I wrote with my daughters.  It’s pretty good.  They had some wild ideas.  Neon Bug City (the Charlotte Powers thing) needs more time, but maybe March or April for that one.  Could be longer.  Remember When Things Weren’t Broken I’ll probably just put out as I write it, I feel like it’s that sort of story and I need a bit of a shake up in that area.

Okay!  So.  That’s me.  How have you been?

1 Comment

Posted by on January 29, 2017 in Of Writing


Tags: , , , , , , ,

One Girl Army

Let’s just get this out of the way, One Girl Army is not Frog Fractions 2. Not even a little bit. (Or is it?) (No.) (But…?) (No.)

Anyway. One Girl Army. Charlotte Powers 6 (kind of). It’s not a journal story. But it is about Charlotte.

I feel a bit different towards this one. It’s the first book I’ve written where I feel like the thing I started off wanting to make turned out to be the thing I actually made. Usually it gets changed around a lot, or things don’t work out, or whatever, whatever, whatever. Not so in this case. The book I finished writing is the same one that I started writing. And it is finished. So now it’s time to let go. I’ve worked on it for so long, I’ve spent thousands of hours with it, I’ve read through it a dozen times and I still kind of want to read it again.

I really like this book. I’m very happy with it. I hope others enjoy it too.

1 Comment

Posted by on January 13, 2016 in Of Writing


Tags: , , ,

The Land of Do-As-You-Please

Just putting this up because it’s interesting the number of emails I’ve received—given that I don’t sell a lot of books therefore don’t have a lot of readers therefore do not, generally speaking, receive a lot of emails—concerning the evils of Amazon exclusivity and DRM and so on.

None of my books are DRMed, but there is a certain bound-to-Amazon quality about them. I mean you can take them off your Kindle and shove them into whatever else you’ve got, there’s nothing stopping you from doing that, but should my books suddenly and without warning vanish from Amazon, and if your Kindle exploded, and if you had no backup, they’d be gone.

Alternately, you might just have a problem with Amazon. Or not own a Kindle. Or just not have any money. Or have money, but don’t particularly want to spend it on my books.

So, this is me saying that if you ever want any of my books for whatever reason, just ask for them. I can convert to epub fairly easily (although I can’t guarantee the quality, they SEEM fine but I’ve never actually looked at them on an epub device because all I have is an increasingly creaky Kindle 3) (I like buttons) or possibly to other formats? I haven’t looked into it, but if you’ve got something that uses a format other than mobi or epub I’ll certainly investigate the possibility of conversion.

In a soonish kind of timeframe I’ll be putting my books up for download in a centralish kind of location, most likely Until then (and even afterwards) the quickest way to reach me is probably Twitter, @BJKWhite, or you can email me at

So yes. If you want my books, you can buy them on Amazon. Or just ask me for them. Or fairly soon just go and download them. This does mean that I’ve had to take them out of the KDP program, so they’re no longer available to borrow. (In Amazon country you follow Amazon rules.) I’ll also be slapping a creative commons license on them (non-commercial share alike etc etc details to follow) so do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law (although don’t pretend you wrote them or sell them or anything obviously).

One other thing, in light of recent TPPA-ish issues. I’m kind of a big believer in, what to call it, guiltless influence? Freedom of ideas? Like if you read one of my books and you think “That was okay but I could do way more with that concept” then you totally should. Take whatever you want from anything I’ve made. Use it however you like. Ideas are important but only doing matters. You can’t take my finished books and put your name on them or sell them. But you can take the ideas I used and create your own things from them, and put your name on those, and sell them if you want.

So that’s it. Feel free to share my books, pinch anything you like from them for your own stuff, go forth, create, fill the world with stories.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 11, 2015 in Of Writing


Tags: , ,

If you come here, you’ll find me. I promise.

Right yes hello. Hello! Let’s talk about stuff I’m doing.

Bright Battle Story: Tactics Heart, SRPG underdog sports story thing, episodic format, eleven episodes in the first season and then if people like it I’ll write more and if they don’t like it I’ll cry. They’re way too long, the episodes, I think the first one’s like fifteen thousand words, it’s just ridiculous. It’s bonkers! But it’s a pretty neat story and the characters are fun. Maybe a fortnightly release schedule? Read it online or download a mobi or epub or whatever, probably I won’t put every individual episode on Amazon but maybe some kind of bundle. The thing is that I really like how I’ve got the ebook episodes formatted, there’s a little end of episode next episode preview and everything, like in anime! Oh don’t pretend like you haven’t always wanted to do that in a thing you made. I’m not alone in this. (Although it turned out to be impossible to include an ending song. I mean I could’ve put like an ending poem in there at the end of each episode? And indeed tried just that? But it felt wrong.)

Death Theory! Death Theory. Death Theory. Jungle nightmare fantasy survival horror thing. Shaping up kind of nicely? Maybe? One hopes? Probably a similar release schedule to BBS:TH, fortnightly, maybe on alternating Fridays or something. Not sure how long it’ll be, twelve episodes? Maybe? And if it works out I might write more in that particular world. Read online, epub, mobi, etc, etc.

Treasure Guardians! It’s a story I’m writing with my daughters. I wasn’t going to publish it but they insisted, so. Probably better as a novel rather than episodic but I don’t know. Could be fun. Up to ooh I think we’re on chapter sixteen now? We could just keep going forever, the ideas these two girls have are mad.

Charlotte Powers: One Girl Army! It’s so nearly finished but I don’t want to let go. You know, over the past five years and fourteen books I may not have achieved any kind of sales success, but I have gotten really, really good at writing stories that appeal to me. Anyway, a couple more weeks maybe? It really is pretty much done. Charlotte’s life as a freelance social worker in a rebuilding world. Kind of downbeat. Kind of melancholy. Kind of bittersweet. One Girl Army; a story of letting go.

Sales! I sold three books this month, making it officially my worst month for sales ever. I mean you hear about the long tail but this is ridiculous. Still, just the time to try something different, eh chums? You know, sometimes I can’t believe I’ve got fourteen books out there. That’s mad. And they don’t sell, that’s even madder! I must be doing this for love because it sure ain’t for the money.

Until next time, be excellent to yourselves.

And each other.

With love,

The Author Person


Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Of Writing


Tags: , , ,

Mind the gap

So it’s been a while. Years, actually. Charlotte Powers 5 was the last thing I actually published and that was, oh gosh, like December 2013? 2014 the first year in which nothing was published since I started this wacky ol’ author adventure. Of course that’s not to say I haven’t been writing. It’s just that nothing I’ve written felt particularly publishable—not bad, just mostly odd. And when I say mostly odd oh gosh let’s just start this over.

Hello. I am an author person. Over the past two years or so I’ve mostly been working on odd things that don’t translate particularly well to the whole put a thing on Amazon in case people like it system. Episodic stories? Serial novels. I’ve kind of been hanging around in the hopes that someone invents something that makes it really fun and easy to put out a serial episodic thing but y’know, bleh.

The other thing is that a feeling has been building, for years actually, the feeling that I’ve been doing this wrong from the very start. The whole charge a price for a book thing. I don’t know. I just kind of want to write things and then have people read them if they want to. And then maybe give me money if they feel like it? That’d be nice.

So I think probably what’s going to happen is that I’m going to put up all my books for free, in whatever formats people want, and shove a creative commons license on them, and start releasing these episodic things I’ve been doing, and maybe throw a couple of Twine things into the mix because Twine is pretty fun, and maybe possibly start a Patreon. I’m not sure. It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment.

In any case I’ll be releasing a new book soon, a Charlotte Powers story called One Girl Army about her life as a freelance social worker in Harbour City, and all the kinds of trouble a well meaning but auratically unsound Charlotte can get herself into. I’ll also be putting out, in some kind of format, at least two episodic stories. One is Bright Battle Story: Tactics Heart, which I’ve been working on for so long that at this point it’s genuinely embarrassing. I have eleven episodes of it anyway, a decent sort of first series. BBS:TH is an underdog sports story about characters living in an SRPG world. It might have niche appeal? Or the niche it appeals to might be limited to a single author person whose name rhymes with Pen Bright. I honestly have no idea. But I’d like it to be out there. The second is a story I’ve had in my head for, oh, like half a decade now? It’s called Death Theory. It’s the most brutal, violentest, sweariest, ugliest thing I’ve yet written. It’s also written in first person present with like a dozen viewpoint characters, most of whom die horribly in the first few episodes. I like it a lot! Maybe other people will too. So that’ll be coming.

So yes. I’m still writing. I have been writing. New stuff is coming. I’m not sure what form it will take. Maybe a large moving torb, or a giant sloar. Books will remain on Amazon but will also be free. Patreon might be an option.

I remain,

as always,

with love,

The Author Person


Posted by on September 11, 2015 in Of Writing


Tags: , , , ,

Is this slightly awkward? I feel like this might be slightly awkward

I mean sure, I thought “Haven’t posted on the ol’ bjournal in a while, haven’t had a lot to say” but I didn’t realise that it’s been literally years.

I have something to say now.  It’s not a big thing.  It is, in fact, a little thing.  But I want to say it, so I will.

Last night I was checking something in Charlotte Powers 4, for the sake of continuity mostly—

On that subject (to digress briefly) there was an enormous, mortifying continuity error in the Charlotte Powers books that caused me to have an actual catapult nightmare-style reaction/realisation moment.  I wasn’t asleep at the time I realised the error.  I was proofing.  Even so.  Horrifying to the point of actual physical pain.  I fixed it but I’ll always know it was there.

—so I was checking something in Charlotte Powers 4, for the sake of continuity in the new Charlotte Powers book I’m working on, and I noticed something odd.  I’d marked a line, which I often do when proofing, but this wasn’t a proof copy of the book.  This was the actual live published edition.  Why would I mark a line for proofing in a book I’d already published?  Once my books have been released to the wild I can barely stand to look at them, much less proof them again.  So what was this?

It was, in fact, someone else’s highlighted line.  The highlighted line of three distinct someone elses, to be accurate.  Three people out there in this weird world of ours who thought these words I had arranged in this particular order were worth, I don’t know, more than just looking at with their eyes.

I’ve been in this game a while now.  Coming up on six years.  I’ve published fourteen books.  None of them sell.  Even just writing those four words I’ve already bored myself.  My position, as regarding writing, is that I write the stories I want to exist and I make them as good as I’m able to make them, and if other people also want them to exist then fantastic.  Otherwise I don’t much mind. I’m aware that there are things I could maybe do to maybe sell more books and I’m aware that there are changes I could make to maybe make my books more generally appealing, but I’m lazy and stubborn and tired and socially anxious and don’t like being looked at and maybe I actually like being a least-selling author.  It has its perks.

The thing is, though, that writing for yourself and not really selling any books and being largely unread, you’re alone.  You create worlds and characters and you probably have pretty strong feelings about them—I mean, I care about Charlotte.  I care about the world she lives in.  But nobody else in this world does.  It’s not as if it’s a popular series and people talk about it and speculate and write fanfiction and ship the characters and so on.  My books are cold, because stories need readers to make them warm.

These highlighted lines were a flicker of warmth.  They were a connection, an echo, a feeling reflected.  The whole thing hit me pretty hard, to be honest.  I got a bit teary. I felt some emotions.  I smiled and winced and smiled again.  I went through my other books and found other highlighted lines, including one of a gag I always really liked but—until that moment, years after I wrote it—felt fairly alone in doing so.

Like I said, it’s a little thing.  Nothing earth-shattering, nothing important to anyone but me.

But to me, to me, it meant something.

So what I want to say is, thank you.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 26, 2015 in Of Writing


Tags: , ,

So How Are You Doing, Clover Island Publishing?

Aha, pretty good lately? Getting a little better? I mean I can’t say it’s been a great year, in terms of productivity. I hit a low point around the start of the year, sick, tired, no energy, sales were hilariously terrible—in January I sold less than twenty books, in February less than ten—and generally I felt that whatever my personal thoughts about my books, the fact was that not a lot of people were much interested in them. Still, I kept at it, my pace reduced but still trying to do at least something every day, even if that was just reading over draft manuscripts and murmuring “hmm yes what a clever author person I can be sometimes” (we all need a little ego boost from time to time). So it was that I somehow managed to finish off Charlotte Powers 4, and without all that much enthusiasm publish it (the previous month had seen a grand total of zero sales of the first book in that series). To my surprise people actually bought the blessed thing, around thirty in that first month and then another thirty the second month, and then maybe they told their friends about the series or something equally wondrous and splendid because the first book started selling again. Which was lovely! I mean it’s all very well to be all ‘art for art’s sake create for the sake of creation the reward for making something good is having made something good’ but when you’re sharing stories it’s nice when other people are a bit interested in them.

So! I figured that I should do a bit of an update on everything, because it’s only fair to be upfront about where you are with series and such. So here we go:

Oh, I love this series. But nobody else does. In three years the series has sold less than a hundred copies, and in the entirety of this year the grand total of sales is … zero. None. Not one single book sold. On top of this the second book wasn’t well-received even by people who liked the first one, so … I don’t know. I guess it’s one of those things where I’m completely in love with things that other people just don’t care about. Also, writing a Resonance book takes at least twice the effort and planning and time as another book—book two took over eight hundred hours just to write, not even counting planning and research and outlining and most of the edits. That is a hefty chunk of time and energy to put into something that people just aren’t interested in. So I can’t really justify continuing it right now. It’s a shame because I had such big plans for it, but there you go. You don’t get to choose what works and what doesn’t.

Miya Black
Not doing quite as poorly as Resonance, but pretty close. This year I’ve sold about thirty in the series, although in the last few months this has dropped to nothing. The main problem here is that I have the figures showing exactly how many people have bought the fifth book—the latest—and it is a nicely round but not overly large twenty. That means that the potential market for the sixth book is currently twenty people. It’s just not enough to justify putting it out. I mean it’s pretty much written, I’d just have to add a couple of things, put in maybe ten thousand words in the middle, do a bunch of editing and it’d be done. But the real problem is that the sixth book kicks off the next arc of the series and it ends in a way that I’d feel really uncomfortable just to leave hanging. Maybe in the future the series will attract more attention. For now, with the latest arc finished, I think it’s best to set it aside.

Charlotte Powers
Finally, some positivity! This is the one series I’ve written that actually sells. I don’t know why, maybe people like first person, maybe they like journals, maybe it’s the superhero thing, maybe it’s just more accessible. In any case it’s selling about two a day across the series, which is, like, amazing. Not to most authors, sure, people writing in popular genres can brag about dozens or hundreds or even thousands of sales a day, but for me in my comfortable little niche even a single sale a day is just brilliant. I mean, that’s progress! That’s one more copy of one of my books out in the big wide world. If a book isn’t selling at all it’s really hard to get enthusiastic about continuing the series—I know where the story goes, I’m interested, but if nobody else is then, well, what’s the point of writing it? Just keep it in my head, that’s the best place for it. But if people ARE interested in the story and the world and the characters, well, that’s a definite wellspring of motivation.

So anyway. Charlotte Powers is the series that’s selling—the series that people are actually interested in—so Charlotte Powers is the series that I’m focusing on. The fifth and final book is almost finished, and I fully expect to have it out before Christmas. After that, well, I do have an idea. Something I’ve been working on and aiming towards. I’m pretty excited about it, to be honest. But best to keep it under wraps until I have something more solid. For now I’ll just say that while this fifth book will provide a definite (and hopefully satisfying) ending to the series, as with all my stories Life Goes On (except when it doesn’t, on account of people being deaded).

Other Books
I’ve had a pseudo-sequel to The Boy & Little Witch in the back of my mind for years, but haven’t quite summoned the motivation necessary to write it. It’s always been a bit of an odd duck anyway, kind of a throwback thing, aimed basically at a target audience of “me when I was eight”, and there’s not much of a market for kid’s books in any case. Well, not this kind of kid’s book, anyway. Similar situation with Imogen Shroud, have the sequel in the back of my mind, can’t quite get excited about writing it—although partly that’s because I’m just a bit sick of zombies. It’s kind of like, there is so much zombie stuff in the world right now, I almost feel guilty contributing to it. Also the first book occupies an uncomfortable middle ground where people who are really into zombies don’t much like it and people who aren’t really into zombies won’t read it because zombies. For a certain kind of person I think it works really well, but that certain kind of person certainly isn’t in the majority. So. Set aside for now.

Future Projects
I do have a couple of things I want to do. The first is Bright Battle Story: Tactics Heart, my underdog sports story set in a kind of fantasy MMO SRPG, which I’ve been putting off releasing for just ages, literally years. Partly it’s because I know it’s so niche and odd, limited appeal, kind of a bit self-indulgent. Again, that ‘certain people’ minority demographic. Also because I’ll release it as a web serial and kind of keep waiting for a really good easy way to do that. But anyway. I do want to start putting it out there. Maybe a project for the new year, although I said that two years ago and look where that went.

The second project is something that I’m currently calling EndSong, or The Song That Ends The World. It’s a really, stupidly ambitious project that I’m a bit nervous about even starting. Massive story told over multiple series of books, kind of a light novel approach, multiple timeframes, locations, politics, timeskips, oodles of characters. Currently my focus point is another web serial-type series called Death Theory, which would be a very tight, plotty, fast-paced story set in the world but apart from it. Kind of a tester, to see if anyone would even be interested in what I’m doing. Anyway, it’s the kind of thing I have to plan and plan and PLAN and plan so I’m not expecting anything of it any time soon, but who knows.

That’s About It
So that’s where I am right now, and that’s where I’m going. In short, expect more Charlotte Powers, expect less everything else, maybe expect some new stuff sometime.

Just as a final note, kind of out of place but it’s something I’ve wanted to say for a while, if you like something—not even one of my series, just anything really—then dropping a note to the creator is a really good thing to do. Not just for the sake of the artist’s ego, but to pump up motivation and get the next one out sooner. Honestly, there have been a bunch of times where I just did not feel like being remotely creative, but just a little note or something charged me up and got me going again. It’s also a good way to get creators to pay attention to a series they haven’t been thinking about. Just knowing that someone out there is interested is enough to get me to look over my project files and remind me why I love that particular thing.

To get a bit painfully earnest for a moment, if it wasn’t for those brave and splendid few who have mentioned to me that they like my stuff, I might not even still be doing this. Certainly you make it more fun and easier and just generally better. Thank you for being there and for digging my offbeat little stories. I do not have a great quantity of fans, but you make it up in quality.

Okay, that’s it from me for now. Remember, be good to yourselves. And each other.


BJK White

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Of Writing


Tags: , ,

Playing Dungeons & Dragons With A Four Year-Old Is The Best Possible Use Of An Afternoon

I was going to wait. I mean four year olds are pretty good, they can do a lot of stuff, but actual roleplaying? With choices and consequences and the terrifying tension of the Vital Dice Roll? We had a go at Lego Heroica for a while, but the standard rules are so basic and dull and dry that you basically have to lay an entire new RPG system on top to get any fun out of it, and besides which it’s far too combat-focused. I wanted more than that. I wanted to show my daughters the fun and the rush of a proper RPG, of making a story together, of having things spin out of control due to a single wayward toss of the dice. So this afternoon, when Miya came to me with her usual blunt “Now what?” I thought, well, why not? She loves stories, loves games, loves rolling dice, so I suggested we try a new ‘story game’.

She was tidying up the kitchen table before I’d even gotten my dice out.

O! The nostalgia!

O! The nostalgia!

I’d been thinking about this a bit recently, mostly in terms of mechanics, and I felt that simplicity would be best: just one die, with skill rolls to see if actions succeed or fail. Easy actions have low target numbers, harder actions have high target numbers. I let Miya choose what dice she wanted to use, and she went for the twenty-sided. I nodded in approval. (This d20, incidentally, was my very first, from the red Mentzer set of D&D Basic.) I gave her a very brief description of the game—that we were going to make a story together, and that she was going to be the main character in the story. I would tell her what was happening, and she had to tell me what she wanted to do.

Dad: …now the dice is for when what you want to do is a bit tricky. Like if you want to jump across a wide gap, you have to roll the dice to see if you make it.

Miya: *nods seriously because she is an attentive and earnest sort of girl*

Dad: Okay! So the first thing we have to do is make you a character. Maybe it’s good to start with a name—

Miya: Holly.

Dad: Okay, Holly. I’ll write it down here so we don’t forget. Name – Holly. And what kind of character do you want her to be?

Miya: She’s a princess. Princess Holly.

Dad: Okay, but what kind of princess? There are lots of different—

Miya: Gem Princess.

Dad: Wow. So she’s got some kind of—

Miya: Princess Wand.

Dad: With different gems in it? And the gems have different powers?

Miya: *nods*

Dad: So what gems and powers does she have? Maybe she could start with three.

Miya: Ruby, crystal … um …

Dad: Pearl, emerald, opal, topaz, quartz, diamond … do any of those sound good?

Miya: Maybe emerald?

Dad: Okay, ruby, crystal and emerald. What powers should they have? Ruby is red, firey—

Miya: Hmm … sharp roses.

Dad: Ruby sharp roses, okay. I guess that’s a combat ability?

Princess Holly

Miya: Mm-hm. Maybe you can slice with that. Slice, slice.

Dad: Next is crystal, hmm … crystal light?

Miya: *nods*

Dad: And emerald. Green, maybe growing things or natural things—

Miya: Maybe talking to leaves and grass?

Dad: And trees—tree-talk?

Miya: Yes!

Dad: Okay, emerald tree-talk. You’ll get more abilities later but those are good to begin with—

Miya: And Princess Holly has a unicorn. As a pet. Her pet unicorn Gracie.

Dad: Gracie the unicorn. Okay, I’ll put that under ‘stuff’.

[Suddenly a wild LITTLE SISTER appears!]

Little Sister Luna: And don’t forget her princess bag!

Dad: Okay, a princess bag filled with princess things.

Miya: Like lipstick and—

Dad: Well we don’t have to list them all right now. Just if she needs a princess thing she can get it from her bag, and if she finds anything else she can keep it safely in there too. It’s a magic bag so you don’t have to worry about space. It’s got lots.

Miya: Okay.

Dad: Okay, so, you’re a princess—

Miya: Princess Holly.

Dad: —but you’ve been spirited away from your kingdom. You were walking in the woods near your castle one day and found a mysterious portal, glowing with magic energy. Before you knew what was happening the portal sucked you and your pet unicorn Gracie in, and the next thing you knew you were in a strange forest that you didn’t recognise. It’s nearly night time and it’s getting dark, so you better hurry to find a safe place. Looking around you can see three paths. One is wide but there are thick cobwebs everywhere. One is narrow and crowded with trees. And one is very rocky and rough. What do you do?

Miya: I want to climb a tree. Using tree-talk to make it bend down.

Dad: To get a better look at what’s around? Okay, you’re wearing a princess dress which isn’t very practical for climbing, but the tree is helping you which is useful. So you have to roll … six or better.

Miya: *rolls* … eleven!

Dad: The tree lowers its branches for you and helps you climb to the very top. There’s thick forest all around, as far as you can see, but you notice a mysterious glow coming from a nearby stone tower. Maybe that would be a good place to head for.

Miya: Hm. Maybe.

Dad: You can see that the rocky path will lead you to the tower. Do you want to take that one?

Miya: Yes yes.

Dad: It’s getting darker as you walk—

Sudden Little Sister Luna: MAYBE she could use that useful light spell.

Miya: Oh yes my crystal light. Can I use that one?

Dad: Of course! You hold your princess wand up and call out—


Dad: The path is bathed in a warm glow. Everything looks much cheerier now, and you’re much less likely to trip over. You’re also more likely to spot things that are hiding—and speaking of that, as you walk along you feel like something is watching you. Gracie is nervous, tossing her head and whinnying. Just then, something jumps at you from a tree! Roll the dice!

Miya: Why why! What’s happening!

Dad: Something is jumping at you, so you have to see if it gets the drop on you. If you get an eleven or more, it doesn’t surprise you.

Miya: *rolls* … oh no seven!

Dad: Something big and heavy and hairy hits against your back and you fall off Gracie. It’s a giant spider!

Miya: Oh no!

Dad: It leaps at you *rolls* but misses, thudding against a tree. What do you do?

Miya: I don’t know!

Dad: Maybe use one of your abilities?

Miya: But what are they? Oh! Tree-talk!

Dad: You could use that one, maybe ask the trees to grab the spider?

Miya: Yes something like that!

Dad: The trees are happy to help you, these spiders have been invading the forest and putting their sticky webs everywhere. If you roll a six or higher the trees are successful in grabbing the spider.

Miya: *rolls* … seven oh phew!

Dad: The trees’ long branches whip and grab at the spider, stopping it from attacking you—but not forever. It struggles and tries to get free. Just then, Gracie attacks! She lowers her head and charges straight at the spider *roll* oh, natural twenty!

Miya: What’s that?

Dad: Twenty is the highest you can roll on a twenty-sided dice, so it means you’re super-successful at whatever you were trying to do. In this case, Gracie spikes the spider straight in the abdomen with her unicorn horn. There’s a flash of dark energy and the spider vanishes—it seems that it was some kind of shadow-creature!

Miya: *gasp*

Dad: In any case the path is clear and neither you nor Gracie are hurt. Thank goodness.

Miya: Thank goodness.

Dad: You continue on towards the tower, which turns out to be quite strange. There’s no door that you can see, and the only windows are high above. Shining out from them is the mysterious glow you saw earlier.

Miya: Then how can I get in if there’s no door?

Dad: Well, that’s the problem. What do you think?

Miya: Maybe I have to use one of my spells. Hmm. Ruby sharp roses?

Dad: You want to attack the tower?

Miya: Yes!

Dad: Okay, why not. Maybe a fourteen or more, since the tower is pretty solid.

Miya: *rolls* It looks high!

Dad: Seventeen, that is high! Well done!

Miya: Yay!

Dad: Your ruby sharp roses slice the tower’s stone to pieces, revealing a large wooden door—large enough for both you and Gracie to go inside, if you want to. But first, from all your experiences you gained a level! Now you’re a level two gem princess. That means you get another ability. Let’s see, you can get something red and firey from your ruby, something useful from your crystal, maybe an ‘unlocking’ spell, or something greeny from your emerald. Maybe a climbing spell, ‘sticky fingers’. Which one do you want?

*much hemming and hawing here, sticky fingers initially attractive but ultimately discarded in favour of a fire spell*

Miya: Maybe fire … flower?

Dad: Fire flower, good. You can now create a fire flower that you can hold in your hand, or throw like a fireball at enemies.

Miya: *satisfied nod*

Dad: Okay, do you want to go inside now?

Miya: *nodnodnod*

Dad: Inside it’s very dark—


Dad: —until you use your crystal light ability. The tower is a mossy, damp sort of place, all made of stone, with big stone stairs leading up. From above you can hear a loud, snotty snoring.

Miya: *wide eyes*

Dad: What do you want to do?

Miya: I don’t want to go up those stairs!

Dad: That’s where the glow is coming from, though. It might be treasure!

Miya: But what’s that big thing that’s snoring?

Dad: You can’t see it from down here. You’ll have to sneak up if you want a look.

Miya: But it might get me!

Dad: That’s true, but there’s no reward without risk.

Miya: *wide eyes*

Dad: Suddenly, you hear a tiny voice. It says, “Princess Holly! Princess Holly!” It’s not coming from Gracie—she’s a very beautiful and loyal unicorn, but she can’t talk. No, it’s coming from your princess wand!

Miya: Oh! It can talk!

Dad: Your wand says, “Princess Miya, I can—”

Miya: Princess Holly.

Dad: Oh yes. Sorry. “Princess Holly, I can feel a princess gem somewhere close! Maybe at the top of this tower!”

Miya: But there’s something up there!

Dad: “Maybe you could try to sneak past.” Do you want to try?

Miya: …okay. I’ll try.

Dad: It sounds like it’s in a pretty deep sleep, whatever it is. You just have to roll a six or higher to sneak up. Oh, and Gracie has to stay behind because she’s too big to get up the stairs. She’ll just wait for you outside.

Miya: …twelve! Okay!

Dad: You sneeeeak up the stairs and peeeak into the room above. It’s full of broken furniture and rubbish, but mostly it’s filled with an enormous, smelly, sleeping troll, a huge club lying beside him.

Miya: Oh no!

Dad: On the other side of the room, past the troll, you can see a ladder leading up, and there’s a glow coming from the room above. That must be where the princess gem is!

Miya: But how can I get past the troll? Can I do more sneaking?

Dad: You can try, but you’re much closer to the troll now. You’ll need an eleven or higher to succeed.

Miya: Um … maybe some ability then? Maybe … tree-talk?

Dad: There’s not much plants around here, just some moss growing around the place. In fact the troll is using it as a bed. Do you want to talk to it?

Miya: …what’s moss?

Dad: Spongey green stuff growing on the stone. It’s soft and springy.

Miya: Well I’ll talk to it anyway.

Dad: “Hello! We’re some moss! Who are you?”

Miya: I’m Princess Holly.

Dad: “A princess! How exciting! Did you know there’s a princess gem in this tower? The troll stole it and keeps it here. We don’t like the troll much, because he sleeps on us all the time and he’s heavy and sweaty and smelly!”

Miya: Can you help me?

Dad: “We can’t do much because we’re only moss.”

Miya: Maaaaybe you can get the gem for me?

Dad: “But we can’t move! I think the only thing we can do to help you is to try to grab the troll’s feet if he comes after you.”

Miya: Okay! Please do that!

Dad: Well, you’ve got the help of the moss. Do you want to try to sneak now?

Miya: I guess so…

Dad: Roll the dice then. You need eleven or higher.

Miya: …oh no!

Dad: Seven! As you’re sneaking across the room you trip over an empty bottle! It spins across the floor and smashes against a wall, waking the troll!

Miya: Oh no what now!


Miya: AHHHH!

Dad: “Princess Holly, we’ll grab the troll’s feet!” The moss is grabbing on to the troll for you. “ARGH! What’s this moss doing! Let go!” The troll grabs his big club and starts smashing around with it, shaking the whole tower!

Miya: *frozen in shock*

Dad: What will you do?


Dad: Tree-talk? Again? There’s just the moss, though—

Miya: I want it to grow bigger and GRAB the troll’s legs!

Dad: …okay, fair enough. Maybe a twelve or higher, since it’s already trying so hard.

Miya: *rolls* … something high!

Dad: Fourteen, that’s good enough! You use your emerald gem to give power to the moss and it grows bigger and bigger, engulfing the troll’s legs. “LET GO OF ME!” it roars, slamming its club down again and again. The moss has a good hold on it, but the troll is very big and strong, it’ll be able to get free soon!

Miya: I have to hurry! Where’s the gem!

Dad: Up the ladder!

Miya: Up the ladder!

Dad: You climb up as quickly as you can, finding yourself in a small room at the very top of the tower. There are windows all around, and in the middle of the room is a big glowing treasure chest!

Miya: With the gem! I get it!

Dad: You try to open the chest but discover that it’s locked! The troll must have the key!

Miya: *gasp*

Dad: You can hear it downstairs, shouting and smashing with its club. What do you do?

Miya: Maybe the moss can help! It can get the key! Then give it to me!

Dad: … you mean you want to ask the moss to take the key from the troll, then try to throw it up to you?

Miya: *nodnodnod*

Dad: … well, maybe … that’s kind of a big ask, for moss. But it’s worth a try! Since this will be very difficult, you’ll need a sixteen or more to succeed.

Miya: *rolls* … yes! Yes?

Dad: Yes!

Miya: Yes!

Dad: Nineteen is a solid success! Against all expectations the moss manages to grab the key from the troll’s belt, then throw it up through the little hole in the roof. It lands by your feet!

Miya: I can open the chest!

Dad: And inside is a tiny but beautiful pink heartstone gem.

Miya: I can put it in my wand!

Dad: It fits into one of the empty slots on your wand perfectly. You feel a warm, friendly energy from it. Now you can choose an ability! Something friendly, warm, maybe healing or—

Miya: Friends!

Dad: Like a spell to make things be friends?

Miya: *nodnod*

Dad: Okay, called … heartstone friendship?

Miya: Yes, heartstone friendship.

Dad: Okay. You now have a friendship spell. But! That might not be much help to you, trapped in a tower with a rampaging troll in the room below!

Miya: Maybe I have to jump down!

Dad: Maybe! But what are you going to jump down to?

Miya: Well. Actually. I left a cushion down there.

Dad: Did you? You didn’t tell me about that. So I don’t think there’s a cushion at the bottom of the tower. There is, however, your faithful unicorn.

Miya: Gracie!

Dad: It’s quite a long way down, so you’ll need a fourteen or more to land safely.

Miya: *rolls* … oh, one!

Dad: Uh-oh! One! That’s a critical failure!


Dad: It means you fail really badly! You miss Gracie and fall right on your bottom. Ouch, it really really hurts! It hurts so much that the troll is able to get downstairs and smash through the door before you can get up again! “THERE YOU ARE YOU LITTLE THIEF!”


Dad: What will you do?


Dad: There ARE a lot of trees nearby, you want to get them to grab the troll while you and Gracie run for it?


Dad: Ten or more to—


Dad: The trees grab at the troll as you jump on Gracie and ride her down the path, but they only slow him down. You got some distance on him, but he can run fast and he’s still going to catch you. What do you do?

Miya: Um um tree-talk again?

Dad: Okay, one more time—

Miya: Twelve!

Dad: The trees grab at the troll, once more slowing him down. But! Even though you and Gracie got more distance, the troll is still catching up! On top of that the path is very rocky here, one might even call it treacherous! *rolls* So treacherous that Gracie’s hoof catches on a rocky bit of the path, and she trips!

Miya: Oh no!

Dad: Roll ten or more to recover—

Miya: Seven oh no!

Dad: You go flying off Gracie and land ahead of her. The troll’s heavy footsteps come nearer and you hear him roaring at you! He’s getting closer!


Dad: She’s not hurt, but what are you going to do?


Dad: Once more—


Dad: The trees grab at the troll but it’s too angry and big for them to stop! It raises its club then brings it crashing down. *rolls* Uh oh!


Dad: The troll’s huge club is coming straight at you!


Dad: But! Your brave and loyal unicorn jumps in front of you! Gracie blocks the troll’s attack with her body!


Dad: She whinnies and falls, hurt badly by the attack. She can’t help you now, it’s all up to you. WHAT DO YOU DO?

Miya: Something!

Dad: Do you run?

Miya: I have to help Gracie though! I have to use a spell! OH! FIRE FLOWER!

Dad: A beautiful firey flower bursts into life in your hand. “ARGH WHAT’S THAT I HATE FIRE!” the troll roars, stepping away. What luck! Trolls hate fire! What do you do now?

Miya: I have to go forward to get the troll away from Gracie!

Dad: You walk forward, holding the fire flower up. “GET AWAY FROM MY FRIEND!” you cry, as the troll steps back.

Miya: Now tree-talk!

Dad: Maybe to build a wall between you and the troll—

Miya: OH YES

Dad: That’ll be a bit more tricky—


Dad: It IS enough! The trees work together to block the path, making a thick tough wall that even the troll can’t get past. You did it! You rescued Gracie and got away from the troll! For all that effort you deserve to go up another level, now you’re a level three gem princess!

Miya: What’s my new ability!

Dad: Your princess wand talks to you: “Princess Miya—”

Miya: HOLLY.

Dad: “Princess Holly, the heartstone you found has healing magic! You could learn a healing spell from it!”


Dad: “Since your unicorn friend is hurt—”


Dad: Your new magic surrounds Gracie with a soft healing glow. In seconds she’s feeling fine again, and together you ride off away from the troll.

Miya: Phew.

Dad: But! Even though you’ve found one princess gem and defeated a troll, you’re still far from home in an unknown place. Your wand talks to you as you ride along: “Princess Mi—Holly, I’m only half a princess wand. I need eight princess gems to unlock my full potential. If you can find four more gems, maybe I’ll have the power to send you home!” It sounds like you’re going to have to search for more gems in order to return to your kingdom. Do you think you can rise to the challenge?

Miya: *explodes from excited delight*

Dad: This is probably a good place to stop for today. Was that fun?

Miya: Maybe we can do more sometime! Maybe tomorrow?

Since then Miya has talked her little sister into joining in too, as Princess Holly’s little sister Princess Daisy, who will be a ‘Colour Princess’ (AKA Art Princess, Brush Princess, Paint Princess) with a magic brush that she can use to paint things that become real, and also to change things into different colours. I swear those two should be working on a cartoon or something. In any case we had a lot of fun and I felt like the basic rules we used worked well, not too intrusive but adding that essential element of tension and randomness. Level progression felt about right too, one new ability in the middle of the session, one near the end after the big ‘climax’. I’ll have to make sure Princess Holly doesn’t get too many different abilities as that could get too unwieldy and confusing … although on the other hand Miya can recite the transformation sequences of like a dozen different PreCure by heart so maybe that’s not such an issue after all. Kids have actual memories that work, at least for this kind of fun thing. I might also put some restrictions on ability use, maybe a ‘cooldown’, so she can’t just keep using the same thing over and over.

For our next session I might plan things out a bit more, this one was entirely winged. I’ll try to include more non-fighty elements, like helping out people with problems rather than just dealing with nasty monsters. I really like Miya’s inventiveness with her abilities, and how ‘fighting’ isn’t her first response to problems, even hostile ones. It’ll be interesting to see how she and her sister do, playing together and working together. I have a feeling that Luna might get bored quickly, so I’ll try to include things to appeal to her, and problems that only her magic brush can solve.

All in all a successful session, and hopefully the first of many. Huzzah!


NAME: Princess Holly
CLASS: Gem Princess

Ruby: Sharp Roses – Fire Flower
Crystal: Light
Emerald: Tree-Talk
Heartstone: Friendship – Heal

Pet unicorn (Gracie)
Princess bag (filled with princess things)
Princess dress (pink)

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 11, 2013 in Daughters RPG


Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: