Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Post
  • Reply
Apr 12, 2006
Seven hundred authors. Seven thousand stories. Nine loving years. Ten. Million. Words. It's Thunderdome, baby!
New year! New thread! Let's get it on!


2021ne? Current prompt? Thunderdome? What is this place?
I'm so glad you asked, my sweet unbloodied child. You've stumbled upon a weekly flash fiction contest. However, this isn't spot where someone's going to hold your hand, kiss your rear end, tell you how good, how brave you are for writing a story! This is a place to write, to die, to write again. Every week is a new prompt. Every prompt is a new opportunity to rise bloody and victorious.

Judging is blind. Critiques are brutal. Bad words and bad stories will be eviscerated and you might just end up with your widdle feelings huwt. But if your ego can take the beating, there are cleansing fires here ready to burn away your lovely habits and leave your writings shiny and chrome.

Join us.

How do I join?
Click that link above. Say "in."

Uhhh is there anything I should know before I join?
First and foremost, read the prompt post. Then read it again. Then read it a third time. This seems unnecessary I'm sure but you'd be stunned how many people can gently caress up something as simple as "reading." The prompt post is going to give you a lot of important information. Such as...
  • The word count. This is a maximum. Don't write a story with more words than the word count. You'll be disqualified.
  • The deadlines. There will be two deadlines. One is for signing up for the week. The other is for submitting. If you sign up after the first deadline, you'll be disqualified. If you submit after the second, you'll be disqualified. Pretty simple.
  • The prompt itself. This varies from week to week. You might be writing in a specific genre. You might be dueling another writer. You might be submitting for publication. Who knows? You will if you read the prompt post. Sometimes additional flash rules will be assigned after sign-up or are available upon request. Again, this varies.
There are, of course, additional things to keep in mind.
  • Do not edit your story after you've posted. Once a story is submitted, that's it, you're done.
  • Do not post your story in a stupid-rear end way. Just put in the thread. Spoiler tags, quotes, or off-site links are no good here. Don't overthink this.
  • Do not respond to crits in thread. You can say thanks if you absolutely have to say something but that's it. Take your judgement on the chin and move on.
  • If you fail to submit, :toxx: the next time you enter. The only thing worse than failing is failing twice. And, honestly, you're only failing yourself. Put your account on the line.
  • No erotica.
  • No fanfiction.
  • No shitposting.
  • If you are disqualified, you can't win but you can still lose.

What happens if I win?
You decide the next prompt. You judge the entries. You give critiques. You continue to the cycle of blood. Click here for help.

What happens if I lose?
You get some harsh words on how to improve. You also get a fancy new avatar for dying historic in the dome.


Okay, I'm sold. How can I enter this violent, delightful arena of blood and gore again?


Apr 12, 2006
PM me or post in the thread for a link.

The Thunderdome Archive
Lovingly created by crabrock, it has everything your heart desires: stories, stats, graphs, dramatic readings, and even a somewhat regularly updated podcast. You need to enter at least once to gain proper access.

Fiction Writing Advice and Discussion
If you want to talk about your story or just writing in general, this is SA's home for it.

Previous threads:
Thunderdome 2012: FYI, I do take big dumps, holla.
Thunderdome 2013: If this were any other thread we'd all be banned by now
Thunderdome 2014teen: Stories from the Abonend Bunker
Thunderdome 2015teen: Weekly Stories with Positive People
Thunderdome 2016teen: Fast Writing, Bad Writing
Thunderdome 2017teen: Prose and Cons
Thunderdome 2018teen: Abonen Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here
Thunderdome 2019teen: Writing Our Wrongs
Thunderdome 2020ty: This Dumb Joke Will Continue Until the Words Improve.

by Sitting Here
    Failure - Neglecting to submit a story at all. More shameful than losing. See also: Toxx
    HM - Honorable mention; a story that was in consideration for the win, or had some notable positive quality.
    DM - Dishonorable mention; a story that was in consideration for the loss, or had some notable negative quality.
    DQ - Disqualification; a disqualified story. Stories that were submitted before judgment, but after submissions close. Also includes stories that went over word count and stories that were edited after posting. Disqualified stories can’t win, but they can lose, which is better than failure. See also: Redemption.
    Flashrule - A sub-prompt given by the judges as part of the main weekly prompt, often serving as an additional challenge or piece of inspiration.
    Hellrule - A particularly unfair flashrule, requested at one’s own risk. Not every judge will issue hellrules.
    Redemption - A disqualified story submitted after judgment has been posted. Better than failure.
    :toxx: - Adding to your signup post indicates that you will forfeit your forums account if you fail to submit. Banned accounts may be unbanned at the owner’s expense.
    FJGJ - Fast Judging, Good Judging. A thing impatient morons begin shouting the moment submissions close.
    Brawl - A duel between two or more writers. Brawls are separate from the weekly prompt. See On Brawling by Sebmojo for a detailed explanation.
    The Archive - A repository of all Thunderdome stories, faithfully maintained by crabrock and Kaishai for several years.
    - Another name for the free avatar given to losers of the weekly contest


    Kayfabe /ˈkeɪfeɪb/ is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true," specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or pre-determined nature. Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this "reality" within the realm of the general public
    Kayfabe - It is the showmanship that makes Thunderdome different from other, similar contests. Kayfabe gives participants the opportunity to show a little swagger, or act out grudges and rivalries within the arena of words. Kayfabe is optional, and it’s meant to be fun, not abusive. Come find out what you’re made of, you unblooded weenies.

2021ne Leaderboards
The past is dead. The future is now.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 16:21 on Jan 10, 2022

Apr 12, 2006
On Brawling, by Sebmojo:

brawling what so someone said something mean and your bottom lip is doing that quivery thing and you feel like you can't go a single second more without punching a motherfucker? thunderdome has just the thing.

you can't fight here it's the Thunderdome when two people hate each other very much, and one of them is you, you get to slap down a challenge. make it big, make it brassy; you're slapping your sex bits down on the bar, try and make 'em bounce a little.

help someone's slapped me with something help accepting brawl challenges isn't required, but if you like to sling the poo poo around (and you should) then failing to back up your bad words with good ones will be remembered. brawl stories are good, being able to beat someone you're mad at is better.

how does it work? once you've thrown down a challenge, and had it accepted, a brawl judge will step up just like that weird bartender in The Shining. they'll give you a prompt, a word count and a deadline. they'll also, and this is real important, state the :toxx: this means if you fail to submit by the deadline then you get banned. the judge doesn't need to give you an extension.

what do you mean banned brawl toxxes are obligatory. if you're actually a literal secret agent and you've just discovered you're parachuting into Syria in two hours time then get on Discord, snivel at your judge and maybe they'll remove the :toxx: from the prompt, but expect that to be a one-time mercy if you gently caress it up.

anything else? don't challenge anyone until you've done a few rounds, good grudges take time to fester, don't step up to judge a brawl unless you've at least got an HM or the participants have asked you to, and declining a random drive-by brawl is more acceptable than one with a grudge behind it. this place runs on words, and hatred, and you gotta fuel the fire. brawl judges, don't grab brawls if you don't have a prompt ready and don't be dicks; what matters is whose story is best, don't gently caress around.

is that it yes, fight well you horrible monsters


sebmojo posted:

there's a Thunderdome gangtag!

there's a Thunderdome gangtag?


what does it look like?


can I have it?


why not

first you need to write ten stories (this week counts) OR get three honourable mentions OR win once

oh sweet I’ve already got 5 hms and a win to go with my 23 dms can I just --

everyone starts from zero


writing a few more won’t hurt you stop whining

ok. ok. so once I’ve done that I send a pm or discord or whatever to CC mods sebmojo or sitting here?


and if i get a gangtag then fail to submit a story in a round does it...

go away? yes. you have to start again to get a free one, or pay the $5 to add it back yourself.

ah, thunderdome

Apr 12, 2006

Apr 12, 2006
den sisters, we
1669 words


Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:47 on Jan 5, 2022

Apr 12, 2006

Well, we made it through 2020. I think that calls for a party. And I don’t know about you but I certainly couldn’t have made it through that shitshow of a year without K-Dramas. And that definitely calls for a K-Drama party.

Here are fifteen common tropes I’ve picked up through hours and hours and hours of fevered watching.
  1. Love triangle
  2. Heir/Heiress
  3. “For my father!”
  4. Secret criminal past
  5. Childhood best friends
  6. Loyal companion
  7. Flashbacks
  8. Memory loss
  9. Overbearing parent
  10. New in town
  11. Family secret
  12. Iconic landmark
  13. Night of revelry
  14. Enemies are foils
  15. Emotional tone swing
This week, you’re going to choose five of those and write a story. You don’t have to set it in Korea. In fact, do so at very grave risk. My very special co-judge this week will not be chill if you gently caress around.

Genre flash rules available upon request!

Woohoo! It’s a party! Have fun!

1500 words
sign ups close friday midnight est
subs close sunday midnight est

Apr 12, 2006
  1. me
  2. little ducky
  3. Sitting Here
  1. flerp :toxx:
  2. sebmojo
  3. Yoruichi
  4. brotherly
  5. Thranguy
  6. Obliterati
  7. MockingQuantum
  8. Simply Simon
  9. Idle Amalgam
  10. Mercedes
  11. Noah
  12. magic cactus
  13. Tree Bucket

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 00:21 on Jan 9, 2021

Apr 12, 2006

sebmojo posted:

I'm down, flash me

First responder revenge

Yoruichi posted:

In. Can you please assign me some tropes and give me a flashrule? I know you like picking things for me because you have so much confidence in me as a writer.

Horror rom com

Love triangle, night of revelry, new in town, overbearing parent, iconic landmark

Thranguy posted:

In, flash

Super power historical

Apr 12, 2006

MockingQuantum posted:

In, flash & trope me

Teen zom com

Iconic landmark, heir/heiress, enemies are foils, loyal companion, new in town

Simply Simon posted:

in I'd like a flash pls, I'll choose the tropes myself.

Also new year new dome wooo, I'm ready to partay

Absurd tragedy. Have fun at the party!

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 16:52 on Jan 5, 2021

Apr 12, 2006

Idle Amalgam posted:

in with a flash please

Time travel rom com

Apr 12, 2006

Mercedes posted:

In. Pick my poo poo for me. I have to measure my laziness

Emotional tone swing, heir/heiress, family secret, enemies are foils, night of revelry

Apr 12, 2006

magic cactus posted:

In flash and trope me i have too much money to do it myself :homebrew:

Virtual reality crime

"For my father!", memory loss, childhood best friends, enemies as foils, family secret

Tree Bucket posted:

I'm going to regret this, but IN.
Flash and trope, please and thankyou

Silly succession

Iconic landmark, emotional tone swing, new in town, overbearing parent, love triangle

Apr 12, 2006
Sign ups are closed

Apr 12, 2006
Submissions closed. Judging will be posted tomorrow night after I confer with my cojudges.

Apr 12, 2006
Big ol' hammy ham sandwiches this week, sure, but everyone wrote something that was charming in its own way. I guess that's a win.

Tree Bucket doesn't win though. They lose.
No dms.
Flerp hms for writing the story that every judge enjoyed the most but that none of us actually understood.
Idle Amalgam hms for writing the most K-Drama-ish story of the bunch.
Sebmojo hms because people just liked it.
Yoruichi wins.

Apr 12, 2006
:siren: c r i t s :siren:

Tree Bucket
My issues here are mostly technical. First, you have a tendency of killing your own jokes. For instance, your early, witty back-and-forths work well-enough but then you pull the rug out when Beloved freezes. Just have her wink. You save words and you quickly characterize her as confident and attractive.

A Thunderdomer (I can’t remember who) once said something along the lines of: “in flash fiction, everything needs to pull double duty.” If you use my wink example above, it develops characterization and the joke doesn’t die. I think jokes in particular have to pull double duty. A joke by itself does nothing. You mention Beloved’s skill in kneeing balls, you spend a whole paragraph on it, you even call it a philosophy of life yet it never comes back up again. So why include it at all? It’s not pulling its weight. Similarly, the blonde uncle is mentioned as rich and evil -- this is good in that you’re setting up the wealth, skiing, dachshunds line later -- but you miss an opportunity to foreshadow your ending. You’ve already got a weird incest issue going on with his proposal. If the main character questions his blondeness in this family of black-haired people, why not have her mention, “well, he’s distant enough on the tree that, legally, we could get married”? Boom. “Shame about him being evil.” Joke. Foreshadowing. Double-duty.

Honey-Lady should probably be more explicitly Rogers’ date. I’m assuming you meant for her to be. Then her and the main character are in the same boat of being awkwardly dumped. Furthermore, I think this story would be well-suited with small, possibly only one sentence description of why Beloved is with the main character. Tell us something like she looks past his monetarily poor family because of the strength of his character but maybe he wonders if thats not enough or he’s concerned he’s just arm candy. Possibly then Honey-Lady pops up with an “Arm candy tonight, too, huh?” comment.

Finally, they’re dating. Why would he tell her that the bridge was going to be “ours.” Seems dickish and uncharacteristic.

Solid opener. A ghost room is unusual and interesting. But then you don’t do anything with it. You need a reason why Mama decided that moment was the moment to reveal the strange existence of magic. You say the family makes money from dye but that doesn’t really have anything to do with anything now does it? So why include it? It’s clearly not important. It should be important! Or whatever the family does should be linked to the ghost.

Why is it important to the ghost for her to lick the orb? It doesn’t seem like he knows what happens. Why doesn’t he know what happens? I’m not asking for a technical answer. I’m asking from the point of creative writing.

Okay these people are committing murder super flippantly. Either Magnolia needs to be, like, super duper poor and Emerald is hella wealthy and that’s why the mom wants to cancel the wedding or else you gotta go way over the top on Emerald just being an absolute loving gem of a girl.

I know Emerald being a stranger was to tick off your “new in town” assignment but the story would have been stronger if she was, like, Magnolia’s childhood bff and Magnolia has always been secretly obsessively in love. So much so that she jumped at the opportunity to have her come live with her post Magnolia-boyfriend break-up or whatever. Maybe throw in a line about how Magnolia knew Geoff was in love with her but couldn’t blame him?

Why doesn’t Geoff just cancel things himself? Maybe make him one of those guys that is incapable of breaking a promise? Idk. Something.

Simply Simon
What is The Point of this? Your weakness here is the meaninglessness of it all. And not in the grand philosophical pessimism of “life is meaningless.” The motivation for these characters’ actions is nonsensical. Karla loves Juan because... why? Evidently her love is tremendous despite Juan calling her by a hated pet name. Does this not indicate quite the negative or, at least, unbalanced relationship? Antonio faked his own death, showed up as a knock-off Zorro to his own funeral, and dueled his son because… why? Because he thought that he might be able to better communicate with his son as a pseudo-dead guy? Because he thought his son shouldn’t spend too much money on a funeral? Because he regretted the nature of their relationship? If you’re going to pitch this idiocy as reasonable then you need to set it up way, way different. Make Antonio eccentric as a motherfucker. Not some rear end in a top hat, business-first, “captain of industry.” Make him batty - either from old age or from being rich so long no one has the balls to tell him no anymore. Hell, have the son realize right away that it’s dad and the whole thing is faked. Now, suddenly, we have an interesting dynamic of poorly attempted well-meaning absolutely nutty behaviour vs a son struggling to find acceptance and forgiveness despite a lifetime of mistreatment. Instead, somehow, what you have, for all its “absurdity,” still feels like a cliche.

Also, honesty, the “his wealth paid for this party” line isn’t offensive. You could say that at a funeral. Depending on the funeral.

If this story is a metaphor, and I believe that it is, I am not confident what it is a metaphor for. I have an idea, an inkling, but I’m not sure. But maybe it isn’t a metaphor at all? There’s a way-to- specific specificity. I don’t know. I like this, I think. Whatever it is.

Smooshed your servant’s what, Mercedes? Five words into your first sentence are you’ve already left something out. “but quickly realized I used to face to stay upright.” To face to? God there’s a lot of sloppiness here. Just all the way throughout this piece. And, like, yeah, it starts with literally how you’ve written the sentences but it extends all the way to the plot and the relationships between characters.

You open with a soon-to-be-crowned king physically abusing his servant for comedic effect. Given the power dynamics at play I’m not loving this. But then it’s revealed that they’re actually really close friends! But then it’s revealed that king couldn’t tell his good friend that he’s not actually going to support a bunch of lovely political positions and was just pretending so he could get himself into power and enact the changes he desires. But that lack of transparency was enough to radicalize the friend to commit murder. But not just one murder - lots of murders. Murders through the use of poison but oh he also has two magic daggers that can also cancel magic but will explode if you bring them together because this is a story with magic and also, evidently, Cabbage Patch Kids… do you see what I mean, yet? Like, if I take any individual section it works but if I look at the story as whole it’s basically nonsense.

And here’s the kicker: I actually really like this a lot! I like the voice. I’m entertained. It’s just so loving sloppy that I can’t overlook the poo poo for the sunrise.

Idle Amalgam
“Crenshaw nearly spilled out of the elevator but instead spilled the contents of his stomach into a nearby azalea.” If you make that the entirety of your opening sentence, it’s the best of the entire week. As is, you have a couple issues. “Drunkenly, Crenshaw nearly.” That sort of doubling up is typically something you want to try and avoid. It’s clunky in general and on top of that, specifically for this story, it’s unnecessary. Based on what follows, I can only assume he’s drunk or sick. Your following sentence can clarify. “drawing the attention and ire of the lobby staff” stutters your writing and raises questions you don’t answer. Clearly, you don’t want to bother writing about the staff’s continued reaction to the vomit so why have them exist at all? Cut.

Moving on from the first sentence… Crenshaw’s a loving loser and I don’t see why he deserves a deus ex machina second chance. He’s fairly anti-social. He’s knowingly a bad and selfish friend. He only shows up to a party because he’s told a girl he likes will be there. Then, when he’s there, he realizes that the girl who told him that the girl he likes is going to be there is actually the girl he likes. But is she really? Or is she just the most recent person to give him attention? What are Crenshaw’s redeeming qualities? What is something about him that makes me, the reader, care about him? Why should I be happy that he gets a second chance to make things right? Why should I care about him at all? You’ve given me zip. This is just a depressed guy’s fantasy: he does nothing to change or better himself while a pretty girl with no motivation drags him upwards. Oh, and she picks him over a rich successful guy because reasons.


The most fascinating bit of this is the blood-ink thing at the end. Which is a cool, if not somewhat predictable given the plot, image. You just don’t have enough to reasonably get me there. I was bored very early on. You meander a lot and I think it’s the flashbacks that are responsible. They don’t enhance. They don’t augment. They muddy. They bog down. And when things slow down things get boring. I think flashbacks are super tricky to use and are best when they sharply reveal something deeper about something specific. Here, they’re general and they take too long. Everything takes too long. Lot of trimming. Lot of places to trim.


I love the idea. Don’t care for the execution. The ending tears the whole thing apart. Which is insane because I love the ending as a concept! Honestly, rather than doing a bunch of perspective flips and time jumps, I’d be much more on board if the whole thing is revealed to be a wedding speech. That’d be fun! “Total and complete” rewrite seems like kind of a dick crit but… the story as is, it’s not doing anything for me. There’s a lot of dead time. Lot of word dumping and explaining rather than showing. Characters are thin. The most interesting bit is that very last section. If you made that spine and re-focused you could have something really fun.

“I was broadly in favour of it to be honest, place was hella ugly for all I’d had some happy times there as a kid, and there was nothing much on the Station House TV that night.” I don’t understand this sentence - specifically the middle part. And this is very damaging because it's so early on and you’re clearly trying to establish a certain tone. Are you trying to say the place was ugly despite the happy memories? That the character is pro-burning because the building is ugly? Why is a firefighter okay with a house fire if nothing is on tv? And this weirdness runs through your whole story. Whatever you were shooting for, I guess kind of an oddball lighthearted casual-toned romp through tragedy, whatever it is, it’s not working for me. The tone isn’t well-established. The characters don’t feel fleshed out. The characters aren’t appealing. This just feels really sloppy.


Apr 12, 2006

Mercedes posted:

I feel like this is too good to not be a week

Win and make it so.

Apr 12, 2006

Casual Encountess posted:


due to number of signups, and the fact that I actually have a real life with poo poo to do, i'm modifying the submit date

You have until Sunday midnight to submit BUT the real submit date is Saturday at midnight. . after which, the legal wordcount will drop by 100 words every 4 hours (800 words if you post at 4am sun). so if you're hitting me at midnight sunday that better be a real fuckin amazing 300 word story.

This is good.

Apr 12, 2006

Apr 12, 2006
wild one
1403 words


Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:38 on Jan 10, 2022

Apr 12, 2006

Apr 12, 2006
1129 words

“And?” Frederick asks.

“I- I kill you,” I sob. “Right in front of the horses.”

My husband smiles and pats his lap with one hand. “A-ha, lovely,” he says. “Horses! Once again, proof of sound investing. I’m rather pleased with my future selves. I do trend well, eh?”

“You die! Murdered! By me!

“It’s not all roses, darling, I’ll admit, sure, but... silver lining and that. You know how I fear I’ll squander the family fortune on frivolous pursuits.”

“I shoot you in the face, Frederick!”

“Gunshot,” he says quietly, nodding and making a note. “And where were we?”

“Uh… T-Texas. United States.” Remembering the future is like remembering a dream. It’s vivid and real until it’s not. And it’s already slipping. The wild eyes of the horses. The gunshot scared them. Frederick’s blood pooling around his body, seep into the crisp, white cloth of his riding breeches. So impractically British in the sweltering heat of the Americas.

“Ghastly,” Frederick says. “Texas. Happy to take that one off the ‘Places in which to move’ list.” He stands and with perfectly spaced, exquisitely legible boarding school trained handwriting adds my vision to the whiteboard. Number thirty-six. I’ve killed him thirty-six times. My god.

It doesn’t matter where we move to, what medications I take, what therapy I undergo, it always ends the same because the problem is a second brain tumor. Inoperable. Frederick doesn’t believe the tumor exists, which I suppose is fair. Doctors won’t find it for another fifteen years. Until it’s too late.

A knife in Avignon. A hammer in Sunningdale. Pistol in New York. Knife again in both Billinghay and Bransby. Rat poison in Washingborough. A pistol in London. London twice…

“Why does the second London say, ‘Roof,’ again?”

“You push me,” he says. “You gave quite the visceral description of my splattering. I hit the street and bounce once and then my corpse is mangled by the wheels of a passing lorry. In front of schoolchildren, no less. And we lost all the money! An apartment’s roof. We were renting! Can you imagine?”

“Yes,” I say. “I grew up poor.”

Frederick purses his lips. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I was aiming for a bit of levity. I would give away everything I own to be with you and have not a single regret.”

I wipe my eyes. He kneels in front of me and takes my hands in his. He kisses my fingers.

“I am envious,” he says.

“Of what?”

“You’ve lived thirty-six lives with me, darling. And I’ll get only the one with you.”

“They all end poorly, Frederick.”

“Life always ends,” he says. “And yours a lot sooner than mine if you don’t go into surgery tomorrow for this tumor.”

He means the first tumor.

I shake my head. I can’t do it. I won’t do it. Better to die now, happy and married and at peace, than in some horrid future where my rationality, my ability to control my emotions, to control my thoughts, to control my self, is eaten away until I commit murder.

And I’m ugly crying. My god.

Frederick wraps his arms around me and nestles my head against chest.

“I know it is frightening,” he says. “But you have to get this surgery. You have to trust me.”

“No!” I sob, pushing him off. “You have to trust me! It isn’t worth it! I don’t want it!”

He presses his palms against his eyes. “Another future then,” he says. “Let’s find one where you don’t kill me.”

“There’s not going to be one,” I say.

“Because of the second tumor that the doctors can’t find?”


“Right,” he says. “Darling, listen, I’m willing to humor you on this-”

Humor me?

“All night!” he says. “We can do this all night. I don’t mind it! But, please, for just a moment, a single moment, try and see this through my eyes. You can’t bring me something from the future other than news of my pasing. You won’t tell me a business to invest in. You won’t-”

It doesn’t work like that! I can only remember the last moments before I come back! Like in a dream. And everything else is so vague and I lose it so quickly...”

“Yes,” he says. “You’ve told me. But, please, darling, put yourself in my shoes. I have a lovely wife with a terrible tumor pressing against her temporal lobe. Of which common symptoms include vivid hallucinations and intense paranoia.”

“You think I’m crazy!”

“I think you’re sick,” he says. “The alternative is that you have an additional medical condition that no doctor can diagnose. A second tumor no doctor can find. And an ability to time travel but only from the future in the moments immediately after you kill me and only back to today. The day before your admittedly quite scary surgery. I believe some skepticism on my part is forgivable, yes?”

I cross my arms.

“It will be okay,” he says. “We’ll be okay. You’re not going to kill me.”

He’s right. I’m going to kill myself. I’ll make a noose out of my bathrobe’s sash and do it after he goes to sleep. It’s the only way to protect him.

Frederick sits back at his desk and scribbles something on a piece of paper. He carefully folds it, dates it, and slides it into the inside pocket of his jacket. He smiles.

“I’ve written you a secret message,” he says. “I will carry it here in my pocket for the rest of my life."

“What’s it say?”

“Oh, darling.” He winks. “You’ll have to kill me first.”

His head makes an awful thumping sound as it hits the stairs. And I’m crying, ugly crying, but I tighten my grip on his ankles and keep dragging his body down into the wine cellar. He moans weakly. He isn’t dead yet. Good. I didn’t hit him too hard with the hammer. Frederick loves wine. That’s how he should die. He should drown in it like an ortolan in Armagnac. His love deserves such a beautiful end. I lay him in front of a cask and cram a funnel into his mouth. I knock his hands away. I sit on his chest to pin him in place as I open the cask of Carménère and let the rich red liquid flow over him. And I’m weeping. He keeps fighting me with his hands but he’s weak. Too weak.

He pulls a letter from his jacket.

It is stained with blood and wine.

I open it.

Whatever the end, our life together was worth it

I open my eyes and Frederick is still sitting at his desk and smiling at me.

“No,” I say. “Our life together isn’t worth that.”

Frederick blinks.

Apr 12, 2006

Apr 12, 2006
capital t truth
999 words


Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:38 on Jan 10, 2022

Apr 12, 2006
The past is dead. The future is now.

Apr 12, 2006
there is a reason why my stories feels familiar 
1031 words


Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:38 on Jan 10, 2022

Apr 12, 2006
In. Cuddlepunk.

Apr 12, 2006
For the ease of archiving, it would be super cool if people could include their punk choice/assignment with their post. Thanks!

Apr 12, 2006
Welcome Friends Open
1799 words, cuddlepunk


Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:38 on Jan 10, 2022

Apr 12, 2006

Apr 12, 2006
the proposal
1754 words


Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:39 on Jan 10, 2022

Apr 12, 2006
So I've been running a weekly super homebrewed, freeform D&D-like game for my partner and our two friends and we recently wrapped up a long, long, long campaign. They’ve now rolled new characters and we’ve starting fresh which is cool but I’m also mentally exhausted. Work is picking up. Covid still sucks. Yadda yadda yadda. Doesn’t matter. By the power of the blood throne, I am declaring this week:

You have 4,000 words to build me a “dungeon.” And I don’t mean a literal, dingy, underground crypt beneath a castle. I mean a self-contained adventure or encounter for me to put my players through. Goblin Punch’s Arthur K. says there are seven things a dungeon needs:

1. Something to Steal
2. Something to be Killed
3. Something to Kill You
4. Different Paths
5. Someone to Talk To
6. Something to Experiment With
7. Something the Players Probably Won't Find

You can read his post in its entirety here. Those seven things aren’t a requirement for the week but I thought they might be helpful to you. Of course, maybe you just want some examples. Here is one by Joe Fatula and two by Joseph Manola of increasing length and complexity:

The Trouble at Mudwater

The Tower of Broken Gears

The Rosefinch Khatun

I'm well aware that Thunderdome is a competition where we write stories. The challenge this week is writing a story for someone else to experience.

Things to Know about Your Setting
A hundred-ish years in the future is the apocalypse. This campaign is a hundred-ish years past that. The exact time frame is unimportant.

There's no magic but things were so advanced when the world ended that any remnant tech might as well be. This makes for fun loot and dangerous and dangerously misused technology. Actual in game example: a spray can that shoots almost instant drying cement instead of paint. It was meant for quick repairs to highways. My players stuck a regenerating raider boss to a wall.

Everything takes place in the Pacific Northwest. The land has been shattered into islands. Anything you write should be island or ocean based. But not tropical. Because Pacific Northwest.

Weaponry has mostly fallen back to melee and bows and arrows. Gunpowder is treasured. Weirder stuff even more so.

Monsters are fine. Mutants are fine. The end of the world came with a lot of genetic fuckery. It doesn't have to make sense. One player has a lobster claw for a leg.

You can include pictures if you want but they're neither expected nor required.

You don't have to stat anything out. You can tell me about a pre-war DJ whose brain is in a semi-immortal cat's body or a massively muscled warlord that uses a stop sign he pulled out of the ground as a mace. I don't need to know the mace is +2 or whatever.

Things to Know about Your Prompt
Signs up close Friday at midnight EST
Submissions close Sunday at midnight EST
You can use up to 4000 words.

Apr 12, 2006

Sitting Here
Barnaby Profane
Idle Amalgam
Black Griffon
Simply Simon
Uranium Phoenix
... you?

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 04:07 on May 29, 2021

Apr 12, 2006
A few people in the discord channel have asked for more information about the player characters so as to better tailor their entries this week to said characters strengths and weaknesses. This is not necessary but it is allowed, as are any other questions you may have about the game. PM me here or there.

Apr 12, 2006

moths posted:

Would you mind reposting the questions and answers here?

You know, I didn't post them above (or in my prompt post) because I was worried that it would confuse people. Specifically in thinking that the player characters needed to be included in the entries this week. Which they shouldn't be. Each "dungeon" is something to be encountered. The player characters are strangers to it. But I'm probably over-estimating goons abilities to gently caress things up, right?



What are the player characters like?
There are three of them:

1. A master fisherman. Pescatarian. Homeschooled and socially awkward. Absolutely massive human being. Towers head and shoulders over others. Kind-hearted and tender. Thinks the best of people, even strangers. Will not initiate combat. Is powerful enough to end combat quickly when provoked. Size makes him a target for better or worse. Uses a trident that can return to his hand like mjolnir when thrown but doesn't know why/how that's possible.

2. A bit of rogue. 75% of him is super good looking. Think Henry Cavil but... with a lobster claw for leg. Charming. Charismatic. Careful and thoughtful but is often led astray by his insatiable curiosity. Throws rebar "spears" he busted out of an old concrete block. So skilled in the art of disguise that it borders on magical.

Also, he's a mutant, if that's not clear. And it is specifically a lobster claw for a leg. Not a lobster leg. He hobbles.

3. The brains. In another time, would have been an incredible scientist/researcher/doctor. Very, very intelligent. Carries a small mobile science kit in a suitcase. Is also a mutant and can, with an appropriate roll, tell if anything is poisonous. Can, with an appropriate roll and appropriate materials, create poison bombs. Is extremely squeamish and will immediately puke at the first sign of blood. Carries rags to collect and turn her own vomit into poison bombs. Fantastic cook.


Why island/oceanic?
First of all, because I thought it would be cool.

Second, it makes it easy to plan for as the DM. I don't have to work to make sure everything is interconnected because islands are easy isolate and to accept as isolated. And if I get stuck on what I want to do with the overarching campaign, I can just slot in a monster-of-the-week type mystery. Not there needs to be a literal monster. A plain mystery is always fun. So are cannibals.


Do the players have a ship?
They do! They have a small vessel called The Inferno. It does not have any fire or flame powers. The players decided they started building it when they were kids*. They, as kids, gave it the most badass name they could come up with.

*As an aside, I've always been irritated by games where everyone is an edgy loner and a whole rear end session has to be spent figuring out "why should I trust you?" As a rule, I tell my players all of their characters are already friends. These characters grew up together in the same isolated island community.

Apr 12, 2006


Does this need to be written for a specific system? 5e or Pathfinder or whatever?

Nahh. If it helps you to write that way, go for it. But, like I said in the prompt post, I don't need stats.

Apr 12, 2006
Sign ups are closed.

Apr 12, 2006
Submissions closed

Apr 12, 2006
Are you the next judge? Wanna prank yourself super loving good? Set your word limit to 4k. It'll be hilarious.

I'm speaking specifically to Yoruichi, by the way, whose entry GET BIGFOOT was very dumb but also very, very good. I'll be implementing it in my campaign in the upcoming weeks. Grats on the win.

Trad Games representative and Thunderdome newcomer moths does their subforum proud by snagging an Honorable Mention. They are joined on the HM podium by Uranium Phoenix, Staggy, Thranguy, Antivehicular, Djeser, Idle Amalgam, Sitting Here, and Mocking Quantum. If you're thinking, poo poo, that's a lot of people... it is! But I'm just pleased as goddamn punch right now. Really sharp stuff this week. Seems like everyone had a lot of fun writing. And I certainly had a lot of fun reading what was written.

No one DMs.

Black Griffon, unfortunately, takes the loss. And not even necessarily for writing bad words. You wrote the least usable thing. I tried to make it very clear that that was the point of the prompt.

As a heads up to everyone, my partner takes a lot of notes during gameplay. If I use your "dungeon," I'll hit you up with a copy so you can see how other people experienced your story. Crits will be posted shortly.

Take it away, Yoru.


Apr 12, 2006
:siren: crits :siren:

The Arcadia Facility
A factory that makes futuristic Disney-ish animatronics is dope. The clown robot thing is a great mental image. You have some fascinating, unique characters like Manyheads. The fact that the player characters might get a delicious meal at the cafeteria is very funny. You have a potential ending where the whole place blows up and the player characters walk away with nothing. Lot of stuff I dig here.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Yeah. Totally. With a little work. What’s missing is a hook. I mean, the big Welcome sign is enough to invite curiosity and I like that there are competing factions but there’s not much of a reason in what’s written for the players to side with one over the other (potential rewards would be cool) nor is there an impetus to explore other than exploration itself. The factions are also in an ancient deadlock. The introduction of a new party will, of course, begin tipping the scales and perhaps you meant for things to already be right at the precipice of conflict but I think this would be improved by being more distinctly at that moment where things are about to kick off in a serious way. Maybe the PC’s hear an explosion in the distance and that’s what leads them over here? What sets off the explosion? One faction attacking the other? The power system finally failing after all these years? I don’t know! I’m just spitballing. Adding urgency in some way would be a solid improvement. Both in hooking the PCs and in motivating the NPC factions.

I might turn this into more of a beached cruise liner for gameplay aesthetics.

But I like this. This is pretty good.


The Citadel of the Cross
Grab some beans and save the people from starving. Simple, easy quest. Lobsterbears are tight. The villagers are creepy. Emphasis on pilgrim is good. The prize being coffee is hilarious. Love it. You also succeed in giving me a story for someone else to experience; not in the way that you wrote this but in creating an active world that is operating and happening regardless of PC influence.

Can I slot this into my campaign? With quite a bit of work. You tell me there are three trials. Two of them are nothing. The third is a lava pit. Lot of lead up for not a lot to do. You give me multiple points of entry but only vague descriptions of why those are dangerous and not much at all on how those paths would change things. I get the impression that this is a rich world you’ve created but that I’m not getting the fullness of your creativity because of the limitations of the narrative structure. Which is a bummer.

Also, how does the farmer know about the beans? Does he regularly send wandering strangers to the Citadel for more? What does he do with them once they’ve succeeded?


Bigfoot? Bigfoot?! Ah, I’m in love. Okay, so, I thoroughly enjoy watching Bigfoot hunting shows because I think they’re just so loving stupid and the people doing it are so loving serious. It’s amazing. They always make me laugh. Taking that idea and cranking it to eleven is great. Personal interest aside: the cult not wanting to find Bigfoot because it ruins their existence is good. Dave deciding he must become Bigfoot is good. Bigfoot wanting to leave is good. Simply calling the place Sasquatch Island is good. Lot of conflicting motivations, lot of interlocking relationships, lot of danger, lot of danger that is as avoidable or encounterable as the player characters decide, and, like the entry before this, you give me a world. A story for someone else to experience.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Yes. Easily. The only thing I wish you’d delved further into is the ritual/bioengineering stuff and what a piece of that juicy tech might be. Other than that, this is sharp. And impressive because you did it in under 2k.


This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: An Adventure for Low-Level Mutants
I kept reading "Filip" as "Flip" and that made me think he was a dolphin and it was very confusing. I decided to go to bed and re-read when I was sober. Everyone should thank you because I'm sure if I had kept going my judge post would have been utterly nonsense

The fact that a major, major part of this is based around a karaoke conflict is dumb and rad. Big fan. Same with the volleyball ending. A major character being a loving octopus hybrid is neat. I like that one whole area is underwater.

Can I slot this into my campaign? I don't know. It's all pretty high tech. Functional high tech. And there are a lot of questions I'm left with post-reading. Who is Filip publishing with? Who is reading? Is peer review still a thing? Is there still an academic system? How expansive is it? How did this place continue operating after the world fell apart? Was it continuous or a concentration revival many years later?


Rod of Mutos
Island as a "natural containment" is a smart way to adhere to the prompt. I enjoyed the twist of the quest giver being the professor.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Yes. I'd probably do some tweaking of your ideas, though. As a personal preference, I find the name "Rod of Mutos" to be a little on the nose. It is an excellent prize, though. I think there are some timeline issues, too, unless the Professor is a couple hundred years old. I haven't decided if that's not a problem or if it would make more sense for him to be a descendent of the original. I'll have to think about it some more.

Overall, pretty decent. And you wrote it quite well both as a story and a module which isn't an easy feat.


The Waystation
Interesting? Yes. Usable? Only with a ton of effort. I like the idea of this force being capable of just destroying whole rear end land masses. And I like what you've written as kind of a lead up to an adventure. But you're leaving me to do a lot of the leg work which doesn't exactly fulfill my gaming homework outsourcing mandate. Still. This is sticky in my brain. How odd. I'm not sure how I should view it.


The Night Howler
Decent and straight forward. I can respect that. I like the ship name. The reward for rescuing the captive is good.

Can I slot this into my campaign. Yeah, pretty much anywhere. And I appreciate your consideration in writing it in such a manner to allow for a flexible, any time introduction. I think you missed an excellent opportunity to get loving weird here, though. Making the crew all so disparately mutated is fine but having each member so distinct in their animal forms is a little… well, boring. It's a wolfman. Sharkman. Eagleman. Etc etc. Pretty standard beastmen type stuff. I think you would have been better served toning down the completeness of the transformations and instead have aspects (possibly all similar aspects so they're more thematically related) like gills or teeth or whatever. Also, not everything should be beneficial. The cougar not wanting to get wet (despite being a pirate) is a fun little addition! They should all have something like that. You got big rear end horns? Cool, until there's a tight doorway. Also, I mentioned that gunpowder is a rarity. They seem to have a lot of it. How? Why? Where did it come from? Also, they have cannons. Let your creativity out for a stroll. There are a million far stranger things you could include in lieu of traditional cannons. Some form of futuristic tech that was never meant to be a weapon that they've fitted into one.


Cascadaria, the Where the Fires Died
"trades in both seeds and wisdom. No other currency means anything to him." That's great. The Worm Merchant is fascinating. In fact, all the characters here are interesting.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Sort of. My only real critique is just how big this feels. I'd love to see what you could do if you focused on just one small part of this world you've built.


The Silent Island
You call it the Silent Island and then fill it with shrooms that make it so you can only sing? Fantastic stuff. The island itself, being raised up, is neat. The bio-info reveal at the end is great. Easy hook for player characters with branching paths to go down. Just solid stuff here.

Can I slot this into my campaign. Yuuup. Honestly, very little I don't like. The weird language alteration will be difficult to DM on the fly but is a fun enough idea for me to spend the time figuring out how to pull it off. This is really good stuff. Excellent work.


The Tomb of Drix
Well, this is just great. Zee is a ridiculous character in the most perfect way. Starbucks is hilarious. The Sasquatch memory thing is, frankly, a genius bit of creativity. I'm all about this.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Easily. I might, might make the celebrities fictitious but that's going to be more of a game time personal preference decision. The choices you made here are great. You crammed a poo poo ton in a very tight word count. I'm impressed. I wonder what you could have done with more words...


In the Shadow of Three Giants
A map? Hell yeah.



Can I slot this into my campaign? No. Because you didn't give me an encounter for one or two sessions. You gave me an entire loving campaign. And you know I'm a sucker for collaboration so I'm all about how you interwove the other entries. I can't imagine the amount of work this took. So much variation. So much creativity. All tied together neatly and thematically. Very nice.


The Curse of Cannery Island
A murder mystery is a strong choice to start. Complicating that with a machine cult and a fussy, deadly AI elevates it even further. I like that you don't state who the killer is and I agree that these things are usually best led by the players themselves and their suspicions.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Why yes, yes I can. A small, small hiccup that I see is in the autopsy. There's a very good chance that the player characters will do that first (and it is written early on) yet the three potential killers all committed the murder in a different way. It would be better if the murder was the same (slit neck, multiple egregious stabbings, etc) but the motivation for getting there is different based on who the killer is. That's me being extremely particular, though, and is something I'm able to focus on because everything else is so tightly written. Very good stuff.


Sanctuary: a Module
Nice intro. I like that there is another "party" but they're just, like, super chill and not antagonistic. I like that there are little rewards (and uniquely strange ones at that!) sprinkled throughout but that there isn't a big payoff treasure at the end: just the knowledge of a tragic history. I like that you've opened up the opportunity for multiple ways of completion.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Sure can. It was an interesting choice to give so many options based off of the kind of game that is being run (sci fi or magical or whatever) since you should have a pretty good understanding of my game based off of the prompt post. But maybe you're writing this with grander goals of publication? I'm not going to fault you for that.


Tides of Change
It's wild that I've gotten this far in the week before someone did something underwater. Or potentially underwater as the case is here. Speaking of which, I'm a big fan of the whole thing sinking into the ocean. The mutants and their specific mutations are horrifying and good. I think a weakness of people writing mutants is the tendency to not give them any weaknesses. Yours are gross and dangerous but also awkward and clumsy. Pretty dope.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Mmhm. I don't know how I want to implement the infection mechanic (either altering it or keep it as is) but it's an interesting non-combat threat which adds urgency. That's always a good thing


The Bread Island Bake-Off
Silly. Fun. With surprisingly serious consequences. I super dig all of your naming conventions. Lots of varied enemies/conflicts which is really cool. And varied both in what they are and what you have to do to get past them. I'm glad you went out of your way to give almost everything a non-combat solution so cleverness is rewarded but brute force can be just as efficient if that's the way players want to play.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Yeah. I do wish you had given me a little bit more explanation as to why the jungle has gotten as weird as it has. The Dairy Cult makes total sense. The intelligent mice are interesting but what made them smart? The giant ants and the giant sugar cube are pretty funny but why are they so big? You need, like, one more thing that can explain this and tie it all together thematically. Even if the player characters won't or can't discover that explanation, it's good for me to know because it has rippling effects throughout the dungeon.


The Titan's Pit
You want to give my player's access to a loving nuke that they can just launch at something? Sweet. The various defenses and remnants of the past inside are neat. I'm particularly fond of the gatling gun with only 20 bullets. The professor is a dick in the best way. I like that you gave me common sayings for the characters. And thank you for specifying that the works if Chuck Tingle are now (potentially) accessible.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Yup. It's not specifically island-y but it's open enough for me to throw pretty much anywhere. It does presuppose the continued or revived existence of academic institutions which is an interesting theme for this week that I didn't foresee. It also means I'm going to need to come up with a university or two. You leave a lot of bullets laying around. I may or may not cut those numbers down. I think you missed an opportunity to leave some weird futuristic tech as loot but, with that being said, you did give the players a nuke. So.


The Flagon's End
Toasting the end of the world is great. I like the unique way you presented the branching pathways of potential action. The ending is tragic.

Can I slot this into my campaign? With work, yes. This isn't so much a one-off dungeon as it is part of a greater narrative that seems to have been built behind the scenes in Discord. I'm not complaining. Also, I'm disgusted by parts of this because you, my most hated and bitterest rival, have written things so close to encounters that I have written and planned out that I feel like my creative genius has been tainted by your gross mediocrity and that I need to take a shower to rid myself of your filth.


The SS Big Old Upside Down Boat
You really can never have enough rope. I'll probably use Captain Bonebeard as a character.


The Library
That's a fun twist! You have got my mind racing! I read this once and then immediately re-read it again.

Can I slot this into my campaign? Uh-huh. Is it distinctively island or oceanic? No. Which you could have done pretty easily. Still. Simple enough to implement wherever I see fit. The ending is loving great. I think I'd toss in a line somewhere foreshadowing it but I'll need some time to think about where it would go or what I would say. I mean, it's more reasonable to be disappointed if the player characters "intentionally" disregarded a request for entertainment, yeah?


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply