Laidback DM: Free Map – Serial Killer Inn

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get.

This week: Serial Killer Inn

The party stops overnight on the road between adventures. It just so happens this roadside inn is run by a serial killer, who preys on travellers who stay overnight. They kidnap unsuspecting guests during the night and hold them in deep, sound-proof pits in the cellar. They only go after individuals. Looks like each party member will be getting a room to themselves, tonight…  

serial killer inn - laidback dm - stevestillstanding

Above: Just right click and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Happy Gaming!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM posts, click here.

Advertisements

This Maze. A poem.

This maze we walk,
denies a bitter truth.

Our fingers trace its periphery
and yet still we walk in circles.
If escape is what we truly yearn

then perhaps there is
no maze at all.

Or perhaps the maze
is just a labyrinth of pain,
navigated by fools
like me and you.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Writer Interrupted: Young Classics

An excerpt from a response I did for a Uni YA writing course some time ago:

Do you have your own private classics? Name one. Why do you call it a classic? What do you think makes a children’s or adolescents’ classic?

Witches, Ghosts and Goblins, by Ruthanna Long, is an absolutely awesome picture book about a quest by the witch Miranda and two children to find her missing cat. The story is long and quite involved, with the team traipsing around a fantasy world filled with…well, witches, ghosts and goblins. The illustrations, by Paul Durand, are suitably bright and colourful and fascinated me as kid because of the detail (and the fact that certain things, like Miranda’s castle, looked different at the start of the book than it did at the end).

This story is wonderfully imaginative, from the witches’ technological city (where air traffic control and walkie talkies are used for take offs and landings), to the goblin mines, pirates and the giant’s beach. It was a book that stirred my imagination and, along with comics and adult books far beyond my age at the time, stimulated my love of creating, drawing and writing.

What makes a children’s or adolescents’ classic? I think the book needs to have a profound impact on the young person. Sure, there are plenty of books that can be considered classics, due to age or popularity, but I believe it’s the way books influence and promote creativity and imagination, that make them true classics. That’s the case for me, anyway.

Cheers

Steve 😊

Divides. A flash fiction.

This is a short fiction I wrote for a Uni subject I completed a while back. Enjoy!

Cheers

Steve 🙂 

Divides. By Stephen Thompson.

My mother is dusting. The feather duster she uses swishes lightly over the mementoes and photo frames on the shelf, cautiously tracing a path through our family history like a ship through a field of ice. I watch intently as motes of dust shimmer in the light, settling to the carpet, knowing this is only a short pause on their journey.

My father reclines in his chair, reading. The air is pungent with the thick fumes of an unfiltered camel cigarette. This is how I will remember him long after he is gone, like a silhouette left on a wall after a nuclear blast, its form as anonymous as the figure who left it.

My wife sits before me. Her eyes are electric drills and I am the timber. I’m staring at the table before us and my apologies fall to the floor along with our shared lives; wood shavings, waiting to be swept away.

My son is sitting on the lounge before his games console, the light from the TV playing over his intent features. I sit beside him, reading, occasionally glancing up to see the interaction of figures on screen. Between the lounge cushions is a yawning chasm.

My girlfriend sits across the table from me, sipping from her cup. My own mug sits before me untouched, the tan creamer an iceberg on a coffee sea. She smiles and I see our separate shadows painted darkly upon the wall behind her. Dust motes reflect the light as they dance prior to landing. The apologies to come are an abyss I must eventually cross.

The Midnight Hour. A poem.

In the blackest, midnight hour,
wandering perpetual halls,
wondering if you’ll clear
your dreams of demons
and finally get to sleep.

Your trackless thoughts
always return
to her and her alone;
You grasp your hands and suddenly
she’s there—your futile ghost.

Perhaps you’ve lost
your pleading mind,
far from the brink of sane,
until the sun begins to rise
and you Rest In Peace, again.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Poets Loved: Fire and Ice. A poem by Robert Frost.

Fire and Ice. By Robert Frost.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

A poem by Robert Frost. I really like his poetry.

Don’t know him? He’s pretty famous. And he’s a brilliant poet. You can find out more about him by clicking here.

Laidback DM: Free Map – Above and Below

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get.

This week: Above and Below

An interdimensional nexus created by a mad wizard, ‘Above and Below’ features moving corridors and rooms that rise up and down. Rooms that pass near corridors can be seen from the corridor (if the corridor is above) and vice versa. This moveable feast makes for interesting combats and pursuits, say by a few Goristro demons (MM). Of course, the player characters will need to recover several items in order to activate the teleporter in the middle to escape. Oh, did I mention the nexus is unstable, so the construct is collapsing in on itself? The PCs are on a timer, upping the ante and adding another layer of tension…   

above and below - laidback dm - stevestillstanding

Above: Just right click and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Happy Gaming!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM posts, click here.

Seesaw. A short poem.

He who hesitates

                              is lost

                                        upon 

                                                 a

                                                    seesaw

                                                                 of

                                                                      irrevocable doubt

 

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

 

Incontrovertible. A poem.

They say that proof
is not incontrovertible
and that the essence of truth
can be hidden in the words
encapsulating it.

I say I only need you
to touch me and say it, too—
your words punctuate and spell out
my incontrovertible belief
in you.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Underfoot. A haiku.

Much bitter fruit on
the path of our ascension
is crushed underfoot.

What is a haiku? Glad you asked. Click here to find out more.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Laidback DM: Free Map! Giant Mound

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get.

This week: Giant Mound

You can use this map for any kind of giant insect or burrowing animal you like: Giant Ants (KTOB), Burrowlings (KTOB), Thri-kreen (MM), Kruthiks (MTF), Cave Fishers (VGM), Chitines (VGM), Choldrith (VGM), Meenlocks (VGM), Neogi (VGM), Tlincalli (VGM), Dogmoles (KTOB), Millitaurs (KTOB), Ratfolk (KTOB), Giant Rats (MM), Tosculi (KTOB), etc., to name a few.  

Change the scale and suddenly it’s a Purple Worm (MM) breeding mound! Or home to mutant insect/dragon hybrid creatures! The sky (or rather the mound) is the limit!

Giant Insect Mound - Laidback DM - stevestillstanding.jpg

Above: Just right click and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Happy Gaming!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM posts, click here.

Upstart Photographer – Tallship

I take photos. I write poems. ‘Nuff said.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Tallship. A poem.

You have bound me
as no ocean ever could—
wrapped in chains
and woven hemp,
fit to shackle Hercules.

Here I wait, as the wind
cajoles me with memories
of high seas and yesteryear;
my sails furled in impotence,
the waters lapping my bow
like a teasing mistress.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Vegetables. A poem.

All your hallowed dreams
are burned and charred, or
maybe lightly fricasseed;
cast aside like the hopeful rope
to the refugee always seems to be.

(Like vegetables in the pan,
never really what you want,
but always what you need.)

All your incandescent dreams
are tossed, shaken, turned;
dark thoughts that broil and churn
the pressure cooker of your head,
breeding out-of-season recipes.

(For vegetable dishes, no less, you see.)

All your vainglorious dreams
make absent mockery of fate,
your beliefs shipwrecked on reefs
that grate thoughts to Swiss cheese
or vegetables julienned, like these.

(Like vegetables in the pan,
never really what you want,
but always what you need.)

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

 

Rose-Colored Glasses. A poem.

The rose-colored glasses slipped away
and I saw you as you really are,
crowned in wishful thinking and spoilt
disparity of thought, overwrought,
less than I expected and more than I assumed.

I guess I didn’t know what I wanted,
or why you made me blue,
just another misdirected convolution
leading me astray, as always.

Got to get my mind in gear,
stop crunching the shift, driving in reverse,
overcome my hapless fears and get back on course.
And where would that be?
I’m not really sure.

But I am sure I’ll make the same mistake again,
unless I can come up with a way
to rewire my faulty brain.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Beach Birthday. A poem.

Hand in hand,
across a billion pebbled seeds.
A heat frisson
murmuring beneath our feet.
Foaming cerulean
paints the shore in shadow,
while white light
turns supple skin scarlet
and melts concerns away.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Laidback DM: Free Map – Tower and Undertemple

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get.

This week: Tower and Undertemple

Local villagers have been going crazy after visiting a ruined tower on a peak not far from town. Something has been climbing up from the bowels of the earth, infecting them and the denizens of the ruined temple below the tower with madness. The huge cracks lead to the source of the infection, deep down… 

The lowest section of the temple is partially flooded, and a cure for the infection lies in the south-eastern cavern. The PCs need to get past the crazed guardians before they can claim it, and try to stay sane themselves…

Ruined Tower and Undertemple - Laidback DM - stevestillstanding

Above: Just right click and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Happy Gaming!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM posts, click here.

You and I. A sonnet.

I am found: tears and fears and blind,
wandering far from the font of my regrets.
The nurtured pain in me enshrined,
to forgive and finally to forget.

The prisons in which we held ourselves
have run their long and lowly courses;
we languished apart within those hells,
and now, together, walk without pause.

These pale shackles cast to ground,
winsome tales steeped in honesty—
shared more and less, in time unbound,
to shake our guilt and shake the tree.

As obstinate as misguided dogs
with countless tricks to do and learn.
Slim pickings on cajoling bones,
but passion enough to slowly burn.

You and I were destined, it seems to me,
For something greater than a simple fling.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

 

Whitewash. A haiku.

Countries that whitewash
their history will always
repeat their mistakes.

What is a haiku? Glad you asked. Click here to find out more.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

 

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

 

Writer Interrupted: my new Poetry book!

The print proofs are back and the new poetry book is ready!

Today, my second poetry book – Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered is available in print.

Inside, you’ll find 76 poems for various states of mind: happy, infuriated, inebriated, dogmatic, dramatic, smiley, wily, cranky, spunky, overwrought, overworked, sad, lonely and hopelessly endangered.

Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered is available as a print book for $10.00AU by clicking on http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/stevestillstanding

poetry book 2 - stevestillstanding

Please support a literally starving artist, in my quest for truth, justice, meter and rhyme.

Help save me, along with all poets, from extinction. Your donation will go a long way to ensuring these sad and ever-lonely beasts continue to write and work in the most iniquitous and appalling of conditions.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

P.S. …and don’t forget The All or the Nothing, my first poetry book, available in print and ebook formats!

Laidback DM: Free Map – Big Bad Boss Castle

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get.

This week: Big Bad Boss Castle

Yep – there’s always an endgame, and the Big Bad Boss is the dude or dudette at the end of the adventuring horizon. Here’s a castle for them, hovering miles above the world in a patch of magical ocean. Eldritch sigils prevent flying/teleporting, impossibly sheer cliffs prevent scaling – I guess it’s time to grind through high-level beasties from one keep to the next. Every bridge is a new underboss and a new environmental hazard. Taking to the water? Sea Dragons and Water Super-Elementals might make your PCs think twice.   

Big Bad Castle - Laidback DM - stevestillstanding

Above: Just right click and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Happy Gaming!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM posts, click here.

Just Another Day. A poem.

There’s a hush across the savannah
Blinking eyes raised to the dawn
As I find my balance for the day
My first steps are always awkward
Morning coffee jumpstarts my brain
Some cereal, milk and platitudes
Pick up my guitar and strum awhile
As aimless as I feel, so uninspired
Your chair is empty, as it must remain
How I miss you in every way
I’ll have to settle for another day
Just another day.

The All or the Nothing

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first book, available at most online book sellers in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Hypocrisy. A haiku.

We face each other,
dressed in hypocrisy and
shades of irony.

What is a haiku? Glad you asked. Click here to find out more.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

The All or the Nothing

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first book, available at most online book sellers in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

My Depression. A poem.

I thought that you would let me be
But here you come, rapaciously
Slicing me up from inside out
Filling my head with irksome doubt

Your inky fingers in my dreams
Painting landscapes and charcoal scenes
A bottomless parade of hell in sync
With all my loathing and self-contempt

I thought that you would let me go
But to the end you’ll bring me low
You’ve always had your hooks in me
An undivorceable bride-to-be

Held within your gruelling grip
Tortured by each erstwhile trip
Condescension and lethargy
Will finally make a meal of me

My depression, my black dog friend
My darkness and my witless end
My heavy head and my heart’s quagmire
Whose boundless depths never expire

The All or the NothingFor more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first book, available at most online book sellers in print or e-book formats.
Click here to find out how to get your copy.
Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page.

Laidback DM: Free Map – Clifftop Temple

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for D&D adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get.

This week: Clifftop Temple

After climbing all the way to the top of the cliff, the PCs must bypass the Animated Armours (MM), various traps and crazed Zombie (MM) monks to access the inner well. Down the well, past flying Flameskulls (MM) to the undercliff, where a terrifying Draegloth (VGM) stalks those who seek the treasure of the pool. Watch your step, as quicksand, Piercers (MM) and pit traps abound… 

Clifftop Temple - Laidback DM - stevestillstanding

Above: Just right click and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Happy Gaming!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM posts, click here.

Upstart Photographer – Frogs

I take photos. I write poems. Together, they entwine.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Two Frogs. A poem.

A weary twosome,
conjoined by habit
and reckless endangerment.

Jumping jacks
and errant tongues,
arguing like stormy weather.

Home is where the heart is,
and here, two misanthropes
dream in contentment.

The All or the Nothing

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first book, available at most online book sellers in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

The Divide. A poem.

The divide that’s grown between
has widened over time—
the subtle, well-toiled furrow,
now a rift, of deep decline.

When did this passionate divide
become more like a gulf?
And when did our discussions
become a chore, less worthy of?

No enmity in this regret,
just bitter disappointment.
The trials and travails, it seems,
one more source of discontentment.

The divide that’s grown between,
a living end for all our crimes.
The divide that’s grown between,
a border, now defined.

The All or the Nothing

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first book, available at most online book sellers in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: