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<Snipped quote by Dark Cloud>

I hope so. I feel slightly uncomfortable roleplaying with younger crowds, especially if romance is involved which, let's face it, it's inevitable most times.

At 32 I feel like anyone younger than 30 is a child, idk why. A lot changes when you turn 30 lol


I get that. At 23, most teenagers I know feel incomparable in terms of relatability and life experience. But a lot of the friends I've had here are in their their thirties. I don't think the format necessarily seems attractive to that many youngsters. It felt a little old fashioned when I started here ten years ago.
The Ten Best Things I've Touched
In 2022

Ladies and Gentlemen, it has occurred to me that we're more than halfway through 2022 already. Shocking! I know. So I've taken a minute to compile a list of my favorite things (books, video games, and comics) I've interacted with throughout the year, though not necessarily things from this year. Please feel free to drop your ten favorite things below, too, and lemme know if you've been into any of these. I'd love to get your opinions.

Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is my first proper Castlevania that I've beat front to back. It's a bit lackluster in the intro but the real fun comes from stealing superpowers from the souls of your slain foes and toying with the weapons and armor bits you find around the castle. Unfortunately, the clothes you equip don't change the appearance of your avatar (Soma) but the weapons fortunately do have different sprites and animations.

Crash Bandicoot 4 is the first Crash game I've played in over five years but after ten minutes I was hopelessly addicted to smashing all the boxes and getting gold stars. The way they challenge you with the old school difficulty and reward you with a new costume every time you complete a level really spoke to me to the point that I couldn't really tear myself away from it for a week.

Death or Glory (Rick Remender) is a crime story about a gal whose automotive hijacking exploits bring her in conflict with human traffickers. It's violent and suspenseful, creative and just as much fun as anything else Rick Remender ever put out but it's short page time makes it extraordinarily easy to recommend. Really, I adore Remender's style and the way he depicts his protagonists as ultra slick street rats reminds me of the way I thought of myself when I was a teenager.

God of War is a simple story with immaculate production and crunchy action and great drama. While I didn't really enjoy grinding experience to get through the skill tree, I did adore the parts of the endgame where I'd bounce off of a challenge and experiment with my armor, gems, and moves. Really, it's the first time I've ever appreciated developers dropping RPG elements in my action game.

The Hunter (Richard Stark) is sparse, terse and does things in its own time. That said, things do have a way of happening in an instant and with little ceremony about them. While I don't necessarily like the present day actual plot too terribly much but the way it kept the IV trickle of exposition going really made it a lot more entertaining than it otherwise would've been. I'm aware that Stark wrote a million other books but I'm having a lot of trouble imagining how bad the protagonist Parker's life can get fucked up on a regular basis to keep a steady trickle of books sharing a formula coming out. But that's kind of the cool thing about them being written. I don't have to imagine how it would happen. I just gotta read them.

I Am Not A Serial Killer (Dan Wells) is the bittersweet coming of age tale of John Cleaver, a teenaged sociopath, as he stalks his town's local murderer and comes to appreciate what it means for a man to put other people's concerns ahead of their own in the most surprisingly heartwarming story I've read in years.

The Quarry is both one of the messiest, most spasmodic things I've ever beheld, and one of the most immaculately beautiful games I've ever seen thanks to its stylistic choices that result in a surprising amount of gore. I've played all the Supermassive games and this one is my favorite, even though I played it on launch with all the bugs their games usually have. Its easily worth the sixty dollars for a day with friends and family, by my estimation.

Prince of Thorns (Mark Lawrence) has the distinction of probably being the darkest fantasy book I've ever read. If you're triggered easily by sensitive subject matter, this book isn't for you. But if you want extreme suspense, overwhelming odds, my favorite worldbuilding conceit, and fancy a rat bastard hero whose improvisation is impressive but still basically believable, then the trilogy will serve you well. It's endlessly clever without being pretentious and epic without having a very large scale at all.

Revival (Stephen King) was the first time I read a Stephen King book and thought "I get why this guy is where he is". It's a book about faith, farce, nihilism, and rock n' roll. Having gone through The Shining and Salem's Lot before it, I finally found that I have enough life experience to appreciate the older protagonists of King's classics but this one just felt a lot sharper to me than anything else of his I'd ever touched. I think of it as his version of Frankenstein except there's no animated corpse chimera anywhere in sight, just the tropes of a mad scientist grubbing for a fistful of heaven and finding himself insufficient for his own divinity. After this got done, I immediately scrambled over to The Dead Zone and The Outsider and found two more books that could just as easily take this slot.

The Road (Cormac McCarthy) is basically The Last of Us without zombies. It's just the story of a father, son, and the road they travel down. In spite of basically being a series of unfortunate events, it really makes you appreciate the simple beauty of being able to take a warm bath and having someone to share a can of beans with. I'm really stoked to read Suttree and his other works one of these days.
The simple trick to getting a bullet around impact resistant glass in broad daylight is to walk passed it and throw it as quickly as humanly possible or even quicker if you've got the arm for it. Unfortunately for everyone in attendance that day, they were joined by one man who could do exactly that. So it didn't matter that the state of New York gave Wilson Fisk three heaping helpings of life in prison. He was still getting the death penalty.

"Everyone get down!"

New York's finest flushed into the courtroom like bacon grease sizzling down a drain pipe but The Kingpin's brains were already over easy on the sun baked maple floor. Weapons were drawn but they dared not shoot a single bullet. The last thing they wanted was to be the guy who shot the judge when it came time to ask for their promotion.

Every guard behind Bullseye lay crumpled and dying against the marble walls, reduced to a series of red smears on a failing paper. As the courtroom filled with the fetid tang of shivers and helplessness, the boys in blue collapsed in on themselves like a house of cards built in a pig pen.

"Hey, Foggy!" the marksman mocks through the sobs, "Shouldn't Daredevil be here by now? What's the matter? He hasn't gone yellow again, has he?"

Go away, you psychopath! Foggy imagined shouting. But his short nails only clipped shorter as they sought for the seams in the floorboards to offer him asylum. He held his breath as still as his ribs cradled his heart while biting back the wretched taint of unease.

"Eh, I'm just fuckin' with you. If you ever need someone to do your nephew's birthday party, though, gimme a ring. The economy these days is something else. No such thing as too many sources of income."

And like that, he left the way he'd came, through the backdoor with a trail of bloody footprints. Nelson sat idle until he was photographed, drug out of the room, and badgered for a statement.

"Do you think that supervillain interference with due process should be a major concern for ongoing trials in the city of New York?" a reporter asked, camera crew crowding in.

"I'm sorry, I've had a very long afternoon and need some time to myself."

Some kid with a branding deal cut in, asking "What would you say to Bullseye if he were in front of you right now?"

"Look, Bullseye is nothing special. The only thing that's going to kill me today is sleep deprivation." As Foggy Nelson slinks across the street, briefcase in hand, he thanks heaven for the sheets of rain that came to power wash the paparazzi out of his personal space.

"Hey Nelson!" a pair of lung-shaped cigarette ashtrays roared through the downpour. "Wait up a minute." Ben Urich trotted up with a terrier's gait. "What happened in there? He called you out."

"I guess he was just hoping that our friend would come out and play."

"For your sake, I'm glad he didn't. You know how that guy likes to toy with his food."

Daredevil: The Bar
Prologue
CROSSFIRE


"What did you do?"

It was the first thing she'd said to him all month. Maybe not. But definitely the first thing that mattered.

"You know what I did, mom!" Chris' voice cracks, spilling down Busiek Boulevard like a can of beer. "I got a date tonight. That's what I did."

In the privacy of an empty intersection, he empties a can of Febreze into the back seat. There's no way he was messing this up, not that he could say exactly what this was. Actually, on second thought, it was nice. That's what this was. Really. Freaking. Nice.

When he got to Letitia's driveway, he wasn't sure what to do. He could wait for her and risk waiting forever or he could go up to her door, like a man, and tell her father exactly what he was going to do with her. Which was...

Before he could remember what manner of devilry he'd perform on Letitia's hypothetical father, her silhouette flickered into place as the front door flashed open and shut. The next thing he knew, she was in the passengers seat and had her cool, sleek hand shepherding him into a warm, chaste, cheek kiss.

"Hey Mister Christer, are you ready to have the best night ever?"

He was not.

As she innocently coddled his forearm, he felt an unholy heat festering in all the folds his clothes hid. He couldn't tell if it was sweat or brimstream that boiled out of his pores. But as she awaited his response, looking into his eyes, breathing minty breezes at him, he lost feeling in his fingertips. As she swallowed his exhalations, seeming to flush fresh oxygen right back into his face, the car grew pregnant with promise of a coming plume of smoke and

"Absolutely," he shifted into Drive, processing the first kiss he'd ever received. "I've never been more ready. What do you wanna do when we get there? I don't really go to parties." It was true. The last party he'd gone to, he had accidentally fused a pedophile's nylon waistline into his flesh. Unsurprisingly, he hadn't been invited back. Or if he had, he'd been too busy being in a detention center to notice.

"Welllllll," she started, "I just want to get to know you, really. I've heard a lot about you but I thought it'd be nice to hear the inside story from the man himself. That, and," her pistachio cheeks warmed to a chartreuse shade, "I might think you're kinda cute? Maybe."

"Oh," he struck his thumb against his kneecap like a spent match, "uh, thank you. You're very pretty yourself, Ms. Green." The one thing that definitely needed to happen, he thought as he parked as close to the house as he could, was that he would need to return this car before it turned into a pumpkin. He'd take her home. "I wish we'd gotten here earlier so we could park closer to the house."

"Yeah, it'd be nice to be able to make a quick getaway if cops show up or anything like the other day."

"Last I checked, the town only has four officers to round everyone up on staff tonight. Unless they came back from their mini vacation early on account of The Rock Show the other day but that seems pretty darned far-fetched given that my dad is one of them and hasn't gotten back yet. Besides, at this point, it's not like they could do anything if there was another issue besides wait for the ASA to kill the party. Nothing but--" Chris' rant was cut off at the knees by Letitia's giggle.

"I didn't know you were smart."

"I'm not smart. I'm just a criminal."

"Keep talking like that and you're gonna steal my heart." Chris' cheeks ignited like a gas station in a firestorm. At that, he exploded out of the car, hoping she wouldn't catch sight of his blush, slinking around, and popping her door open. Fizzing out of a blown out stereo down the street, the *now iconic* city-saving remix of Machine Gun buzzed anthemically like a fruit fly in his ears.

"Hey, Henry's playing pong with some skater girl!" Letitia prompted, apparently picking up on the gospel cross-pollinating across the manor. Interesting, Chris though. He wouldn't have imagined that the place could carry a coherent message through the steady percussion of sin and hedonism that stood before him. He'd set a good example by being here. Not drinking. Not doing drugs. Not having sex. Someone had to not do it for others to follow. Letitia held him tight as she drug him right up to the table, in spitting distance of Elle. Ready for the show.

"I believe in you, Henry," Chris said, attempting to fit in before correcting with an "umm, I also believe in you, Elle."
CROSSFIRE


Suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst all teenagers. Chris hadn't had the easiest life, having spent a recent bit of his time twiddling his thumbs in the slammer, but he knew that that wasn't how he was going to go out. Unfortunately, as a mangled mess of imported oil and metal crashed into the asphalt next to him, he had a hard time deciding if his passing would be ruled as a car accident or a homicide.

As the beast turned from him, he turned tail and hightailed his hide out of harm's way, scurrying around the corner and contenting himself to watch. Turns out the guy had fire resistance. That was on Chris. He should've been aware that hellfire never had left the slightest hint of a harm on ol' brimstone. Somebody with skin, though, that he could be useful for. Skin burns and blisters and scars and nobody likes having that done. It just so happens that this here beastie boy was built different from day one.

As the music played, Chris finally broke free from his petrification and shimmied back to the relative safety of a different direction. The way he saw things, he could try using his brimstream to create pressure and make cars explode but the fact of the matter was that he lacked the forthright precision and majesty of force that his lizard companion had. May as well go be useless someplace else, he thought as he stumbled away from the fray, back to the coffee shop while he waited for a better idea to brew. No sense in burning down the neighborhood. The ASA would just love that.
This is happening? Okay
1%

Chris felt the tension in his blood simmer down when he plugged his beloved cellphone into the outlet. The frothy coffee drink in his gullet left an uncertain aftertaste, like some combination of freshly chewed fingernails and dollar bills.

2%

Should he message Letitia? He should probably at least say something, he thought. Or maybe that'd seem a bit desperate. He felt his stomach rumble. Maybe he should've gotten something to eat.

3%

A quick press of the power button brought his phone online and, like that he was off to the races. He fired up his KaZaA collection and blamo, he and his earbuds had a nice little minute to themselves. His stomach rumbled again. But he couldn't really be that hungry, could he?

"Oh," he realized. He wasn't hungry or anything. Someone outside just had their bass cranked up unreasonably high. Their prerogative, he thought before turning up his own volume.

2%

The outlet wasn't feeding him juice fast enough. Fretting with the cable, he tried unplugging it and plugging it back in. The dollar store cables couldn't really be that low quality. Could they?

1%

"Motherfucker," he hissed as he bit into his tongue when a searing wave of salt crashed on his back, coinciding with the alien bass drop. Ripping out his earbuds, he spun around to take a look at whatever klutz had spilled their little snack attack on his back. No klutz at all. That was on purpose!

Chris had barely sorted his earbuds back into his pocket when he saw Henry Olin, a bona fide leviathan, going head to head with a giant rock monster, just like the book of Revelation had foretold, except the feet weren't made of clay and, for that matter, didn't seem to have any feet in the first place, and it didn't have much of anything to do with anything in the book of Revelation.

Dumbfounded, he looked around at everyone hiding under the tables, considering doing so himself, amazed at his own lack of situational awareness. It might be best to just sneak out the back and continue walking home. He didn't have his leopard hunting gear on him, not that he thought it'd do much good, and he didn't really have the sort of strength or durability that Olin did. The last thing he needed was to be interrogated by the ASA for shit he had nothing to do with.

There was, after all, a much more obvious course for him to take, after all. But if he did coat the thing in his blazing hot brimstream, it seemed extremely risky that everyone else might be caught in the
CROSSFIRE™


But standing around while Henry was casually murdered by a rock monster didn't quite sit right with him. He had to do something. Even if it was something stupid. Diving over the Mooncash counter and into the kitchen, he found himself a bag of sugar, unsleeving a stack of cups, and made a thick mess with his brimstream in a process that took an uncomfortably long minute but, after stirring the concoction together, he had fashioned several round bricks full of highly sticky, flammable material. Maybe capable of slowing the stone beast down. Probably not. But accidentally immolating Henry was probably better than watching him die.

Sneaking through Mooncash's shattered front door, Chris crept into the street behind the sluggish melee, as Henry grunted "BUSY. HELP." However, by the time Chris actually made it outside, the beast had made its way towards Saturday Comics, which it disrespected more thoroughly than the people whose regular patronage had kept it afloat. In an attempt to see what would happen, Chris rolled his sugar mix and cast the incendiary cocktail at its feet, igniting it and creating a repugnantly saccharine smokescreen with a fire at its heart, melting asphalt onto the beast's base.
Okay, going to leave this here for 24hrs and hope that it does not conflict or otherwise step on any toes.



Ironically, he's the most easily understood version of Hawkman that there ever was
CROSSFIRE




Pshhhhhhh

Bound up along his waste, practically dripping with pent up energy and begging for a release, Chris got tired of shuffling his flaccid headphones around when he knew that he could enjoy his walk home every bit as much if he just made one quick stop to the dollar store. Right around the corner from Mooncash on Gaiman Way, Chris made the briefest of stops into the joint, finding a path from door to checkout in under two hundred paces, if his count was right. Resentfully eyeballing the cobweb covered cameras, he'd picked up a cheapo usb plug off the shelf and held them in a manner entirely visible to whatever bored worker might be on the other side.

Purchase complete and just dying for the indulgences of his collection of offline Youtube videos that he'd been conveniently able to download thanks to third party front ends on the Apple App Store, he semi-reluctantly stepped into line at the Mooncash next to him. Waiting in line, time was both infinite and meaningless. Every other second, he seemed to find himself in a stare off against the second hand on the wall. All he needed was an excuse to sit in on a stool and plug his phone in. He only needed ten percent of his battery to make it home. That's all he wanted. And he'd need to spend an exorbitant sum for ten ounces of caramel macchiato to make life worth living again.

With the drink in hand, he read the sigils etched in permanent marker along the side of his cup, huffed anticipatorily, took a shallow sip and sat himself at the only visible electrical oasis he could make out.
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