Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

Happy New Year from Improbable Island!
Staff2021-01-06 19:36:27 [Permalink]
Christ, what a year. I think we all felt it take a bigger bite out of our lives than years normally do. Here are some of the things I did in 2020 that aged me by at least a decade:
* Grew my hair out. No hairdressers in a pandemic, so I'm a fluffy bloke now. Combined with the 2020 Face Lines I now resemble James May, or possibly James May's embarrassing dad.
* Obtained a table saw. I'm the only person I know who has one of these things under the age of 40. I'm gonna build a shoe rack.
* Learned how to parge a wall and repoint brickwork, and in doing so, convinced Google that I think the moon is a hologram.
* Set up a sprinkler system. The summer being as hot as it was here in Pennsylvania, all my grass died. This was not in itself a problem - the US spends billions of dollars on the ecological catastrophe that is perfectly-green, manicured lawns, and most people don't even want the nicest lawn on their street, they just don't want to have the shittiest lawn, so my now-extra-shitty lawn was providing an important public service by helping to prevent Fancy Lawn Inflation and letting my neighbours calm the fuck down with the whole lawn thing. This is what I was thinking until the next time we had a big rain - having no roots to tie the land together, the earth just straight-up washed down the hill my house sits on. "Heck," thinks I, watching the muddy torrent schlorp around my foundation, "that's gonna be a Problem," so I got some clover seed and set about correcting things before my house decided to march across the street to meet the neighbour - but that's not the worst part. The worst part is that after setting up the sprinklers, I went outside and put my hands on my hips and watched them, like Hank Hill. This is the moment I felt Admin CavemanJoe stretch and yawn and prepare to tag in his replacement, Powertool Beerdad.

Anyway, there are two Monthly Mementos for January, because the Island is now my full time job and only source of income (HINT HINT), and they are the traditional Shiny New Calendar if you donate $10 (which grants one new game day every real-world week) and the Vapourized Remains of 2020 if you donate $20 (you get the Shiny New Calendar too).

The Vapourized Remains of 2020 are similar to 2017's January Memento the Ashes of 2016, except this time the year sucked so much that just burning it wasn't enough, we had to go further and employ a Rocket Mass Heater.

Rocket Mass Heater diagramA Rocket Mass Heater is a device that you can build yourself in a day or so, which employs an old oil drum and a specially-shaped flue and exhaust system. Fuel (sticks, branches or in our case the year 2020) is inserted in the combustion chamber and set aflame, heat at one end and cold at the other creates a through-draft, the fire burns sideways and smoke is drawn into the riser - which is different from a chimney in that instead of letting the smoke out it goes "Fuck that noise, smoke's just surviving fuel that tried to fly away, GET BACK HERE YOU TINY PARTICULATE BASTARDS" and gets so hot that it ignites the smoke and burns the motherfucker again, just like how you can relight a candle by lighting the smoke. By the time the exhaust system gets involved, there's only a bit of steam left to escape. It's one of the most efficient ways of extracting utility from otherwise useless materials, so it seems only fitting that 2020 be commemorated by as complete (and environmentally-friendly) an obliteration as possible.

My new monster editor is now functional enough that I started messing about with the monsters today, beginning with level one, giving some creatures more attack at the cost of defence or hitpoints and vice versa, spicing up variety a bit. Around Christmas time I was reading the traditional annual blog posts about Krampus and the Yule Lads and, having the potential for expanding the Island's monster system on my mind, I went into a rabbithole of Yōkai and Tsukumogami and wondering what sort of mythological beasts the Squats, for example, would tell each other about around their stinking campfires of kebab grease and tyres. Before long I had a nice new list of mythological monsters to implement, a couple for each species on the Island - expect them soon, and expect them to work in ways you might not expect.

Have fun, and let's make some good things happen in 2021,

~CMJ
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