Monday, November 26, 2012

Obscure?

Maybe just a little.

WAY back in 1994 (Let's not go there), White Wolf Publishing created a Storytelling game named Mage: The Ascension, set in the World of Darkness along with the games Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: the Apocalypse. While they later added other games, revised, then restarted the system with new setting, most of the games were accompanied by an anthology of short fictions to give people some of the flavor of the setting. (I read the Vampire one, The Beast Within, and wound up buying the core rulebook the next pay period.)

The Mage anthology, Truth Until Paradox (edited by Stewart Wieck) included two awesome stories; one just being a continuation of the previous. Golden Nutmeg, Silver Pear and Grimm Reminders by James A. Moore and Kevin Andrew Murphy centered around one Penelope Drizkowski and her friend Grimm as they fought off an evil mage. Penelope goes by the nom de Goth Penny Dreadful, and gets the best lines in the entire story.

A few years later, she reappeared in World of Darkness: Outcasts as part of a story about Mages that don't fit in with the rest of Mage society. It also expanded on her clique, some of whom like Spooky Pete had appeared in other lines. (Pete showed up in a few Wraith: the Oblivion stories, since he can see the dead.)

And back in 2004, Kevin Andrew Murphy ended up writing a serialized novel titled Penny Dreadful that went up on White Wolf's website.

I didn't know it existed until a friend mentioned it when I was camping last September. And then it took me until today to find a copy, since it only exists in .pdf format. Found here. Since I do have the Nook now, I spent some time learning how to download and open .pdf files on a tablet.

And oh boy am I happy I did.

I just finished Part 1 of 8, in which our heroine and her talking cat familiar, Mr. Mistoffeles, wind up at a Vampire bar talking to Oscar Wilde, who now goes by the name Sebastian Melmouth. By far the best parts of the narrative are her asides, usually about the absurdity of the situation. (Like going to the powder room and noticing that she committed a faux pas by using the porcelain toilets, something the female vampires don't do.) By the end of the night, she's singing like Molly Brown and leading vampires in a sing-a-long.

To give you an idea of why I love Penny D- so much, I offer up a quote that sums up her character.

"Honestly, I've looked through The Kama Sutra and The Perfumed Garden, and while most of the positions involve persimmons, peaches and pomegranates, Jodi was doing a fine job improvising with pepperoni pizza.

"Yes children, the letter for today is P, and that includes Prostitute, Pulchritude, and Passion.

"However, I'd done what I intended, namely to see if Bimbo Yaga was home, and if so, distract her for a little while. I'd succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, 'cause the way Miss Blake was teasing that poor boy, I was certain she meant to earn her free pizza."

Later on, when confronted by Bimbo Yaga, she asks her if  she found a blackened pair of chicken legs in the ashes of the house.

Yes, I love her. She's the kind of character I'd love to meet and go hang at a bar with.