Thursday, 31 December 2020

The GLOG: A Warning from the Future

Everyone has a homebrew ruleset, and everyone wants to show it to other people, or at [least] slap it around until it's presentable. 

But no one is interested in your fantasy heartbreaker.  This is because everyone is up to their ascending colon in retroclones and besides, they're busy writing their own.

It's like trying to tell other people about your dreams.  No one cares.  Give them content, not another retroclone. 

Arnold Kemp, May 2016
http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-glog.html

I come with a warning from the future, but open with words from the past: you may not have read them before, but you will have felt their effects, for it was the preceding passages that introduced the multiverse to the GLOG: The Goblin Laws of Gaming. It was an event which has shaken reality to its very core, prompting my superiors in the World Emancipation from Implementation of Nasty Goblin Laws: Ultimate Heroes (WEINGLUH) to send me back to 2015 to put a stop to the horror.

That's right: I come from a future where EVERYTHING IS GLOG.

GLOG's mascot, the gretchling...

...and I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen to you.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Sketches for My Sweetheart, The Beyond

The many realms beyond the Here & Now have begun to be rendered in finer detail, first with There, the place of dead spirits and later with Dusk, the Labyrinth of the Twilight of Civilisations. Material exists for Sun and Dawn (to be featured soon), leaving the more ambiguous realms of Moon and The Beyond up in the air (fittingly). 

Beyond the Aquila Rift, truly cosmic horror episode of Love, Death and Robots

I had a few notes for the Beyond which I wanted to share. 

Monday, 28 December 2020

200 POSTS BEFORE 2021 (site index)

UPDATE, August 2021: now at 236 POSTS

When Semiurge did it, there was a feeling of victorious hopelessness:


http://archonsmarchon.blogspot.com/2020/11/index-incomplete.html

Now that I've done it too, it's like an anti-climax that no one was anticipating... a nun's fart?

That's right: Alone in the Labyrinth has hit 200 posts. 

Spot the hidden message!

Obligatory milestone idiosyncratic index below:

UPDATES 

15TH AUGUST 2021 (236)
28TH DECEMBER 2020 (200)

Sunday, 27 December 2020

The Realm of the Dead III: Yet MORE Delving into Death!

So come on in

It ain't no sin

Take off your skin

And dance around your bones

So come along with the Black Rider

We'll have a gay old time...

- The Black Rider, Tom Waits [for no man]

Christopher Lovell, https://www.christopherlovell.com

Before we delve deeper into the realm of the dead, first we must consider where we've already been:


Realm of the Dead II: 
...and next, we must consider how we interact with it.

Saturday, 26 December 2020

The Once Hunted: Three Dangerous Spirits by Pat Eyler

Foot of the Mountain Adventures has made maps for many Best Left Buried adventures. He has a cool Patreon page upon which he shares spells, monsters and play reports mostly connected to his 1st Edition campaign. Recently he walked me through his spell research mini-game which successfully turns the 1e research rules into something more fun and engaging for both player and GM. 

It was, therefore, very exciting to hear that Pat had made a few monsters which he thought would slot nicely into PARIAH .

DISCLAIMER: I AM A PATRON OF FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES!

Dave Kendall's illustration for Laird Barron's story Blackwood's Baby

These creatures are the Once Hunted (Stag of Death), The Greater Wasted Kill; and the Retinue of Wasted Dead

(Pat: I omitted the German names for setting reasons: when you stat them for 1e, I shall link back here and in a new post!).

The original encounters are written up here:
https://www.patreon.com/posts/three-woodland-45467940

Original text by Pat Eyler; original text amended and augmented with permission.

Friday, 25 December 2020

The Dusk Realm: Procedurally Generated Parallel World, more thoughts

This post was posted on Christmas Day 2020. It is unlikely that I will be within reach of anything remotely internet related for the duration of that day, so I'm hastily jotting this down in the last hour of Christmas eve... whatever goes up, goes up!

This is about a realm of alternative consciousness not ordinarily detectable to ordinary human senses. Nonetheless it sits within the reality of the world of PARIAH, and can be explored through the proper usage of the ritual magic or potent entheogens. I started to write about it here:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2020/12/dusk-realm-adventures-in-entheogeneering.html

...and it is in some ways a variation of a concept espoused here:

 https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2020/01/nsr-planescape-labyrinths-of-hod.html

Also I'm re-using the DMT locust image again:

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Jennifers on Quad Bikes

Jennifer aka JFUR is a lapsed farmer, recovering poet, eternal queer witch supreme of the illuminati, and current social work graduate student. One freezing  cold/incredibly mild Monday evening we sat down with one another (on either side of the Atlantic) to talk about aliens from the moon invading 19th Century Europe, Slovenian ski resort inspired Adventures for Electric Bastionland, anthroposophist agricultural communities and... uhh... the weather!

Listen to our conversation here:

https://anchor.fm/alonein-thelabyrinth/episodes/Jennifers-on-Quad-Bikes-eo6m1l


JFur's itch page:

https://jenniferixon.itch.io/


Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Spell Research Mini-Game by Foot of the Mountain Adventures

Recently I mentioned in a post about magical monasteries that I was participating in a spell research mini-game run by Pat Eyler of Foot of the Mountain Adventures. Well, Pat's only gone and written it up!

https://www.patreon.com/posts/45365209

I wanted in inspirational quote from a real magician.
This is much better than anything I found from Crowley...

Thought I'd try a run-through again, using Pat's system which I don't think he has yet published, so I will allude to the rules rather than state them outright! I'll link back here as soon as Mountain Foot finalises them... the playthrough assumes first edition rules or variant thereof.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Gundobad's Settings with Strata

Gundobad Games came to my attention in the OSR reddit group. I was working on an idea for a bronze age setting and, somewhat conveniently, along came this academic of ancient history peddling a selection of character backgrounds. 


As regular readers will know we're fans of step-by-step sandbox/dungeon/worldbuilding procedures at Alone in the Labyrinth, and we like to chuck our own ideas into other people's machinery and see what emerges on the other side. Most recently, I attempted to get something coherent out of Jones' Oracular Dungeon Generator  and I intend to follow up on that at some point in the near future. You can read part one of that experiment here:


Within the same vein (providing a process by which an original campaign setting or adventure site can be produced) Gundobad Games has produced a settings with strata procedure for building history into a campaign world. 

https://gundobadgames.blogspot.com/2019/04/settings-with-strata-quick-design.html

I promised myself I'd give it a go, the following represents the fulfilment of that promise.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Podcast of Session 24

 My summary of the 24th session of PARIAH, in audio form. Actual write up to follow at [PROVIDED LINK].

https://anchor.fm/alonein-thelabyrinth/episodes/Pariah-Session-24-Round-Up-eo1a9j

Roc from Final Fantasy XI apparently.



Sunday, 20 December 2020

Our Man in [the] Moscow [Metropolitan Area]: Interview with Eugene

This post is to share a podcast I recorded on Thursday 17th December 2020 with Eugene, one of the regular players in the PARIAH campaign.

https://anchor.fm/alonein-thelabyrinth/episodes/Our-Man-in-the-Moscow-Metropolitan-Area-Interview-with-Eugene-eo00fe

Up for discussion:

  • ...the Russian-language RPG scene...
  • Eugene's unlucky PARIAH characters... 
  • Eugene's Russian-language PARIAH one-shot... 
  • The joy of Stonehell!

All other music sampled from Никто не в безопасности (No-one is safe) by Supruga:

https://open.spotify.com/track/4FG6YLDTSsnRO0UMZ2upZJ?si=wHZHv4a1RmagKrZ7HLeViQ

Used without permission: fair use in non-commercial context. 

Supruga do not endorse this podcast or PARIAH!

Order the digitally printed edition of PARIAH Vol. 1 distributed by Soul Muppet:

https://soulmuppet-store.co.uk/products/pariah-volume-1

Pariah wilderness supplement available here:

https://atelier-hwei.itch.io/pariah-wilderness-supplement

The mega-dungeon Stonehell by Michael Curtis can be bought from Lulu:

https://www.lulu.com/en/gb/shop/michael-curtis/stonehell-dungeon-down-night-haunted-halls/paperback/product-1v8vy2zz.html

Saturday, 19 December 2020

1d20 PARIAH Plot hooks and Rumours

Jim Parkin of D66 Classless Kobolds asked the Atelier Hwei server for some campaign plot hooks/rumours/ faction tensions. Here's what they came up with in 26 minutes:

1. An evil spirit has hidden a piece of your name/soul in each of the six(?) other worlds, find enough drugs to get them all back. (Semiurge http://archonsmarchon.blogspot.com/)

2. A pariah sorcerer has made league with a pride of lions to usurp the blossoming human civilization, as another pariah this is now your fault/problem. (Semiurge)

 3. The settlement wants to expand, clearing the neighbouring forest to create more arable land. The spirit of the place is powerful: will you destroy it, enslave it, or woo it into contrition? (Sofinho)

4. The spirit of the ocean has fallen in love with the spirit of a mountain, but is separated by the shore. You've been "recruited" to carry messages between them to let their romance flourish. Unfortunately the ocean is a wanker, and so you have to figure out the romancing bit on your own if you don't want a tidal wave coming in. (Semiurge)

5. A new band of humans has arrived from across the sea on canoes and they bring with them a population of  invasive animals unknown to the area that are throwing the local ecosystem into disarray. Pretty much every spirit of the region wants these things gone but the new band of humans rely on them for sustenance (Oisín https://tirnanoggames.blogspot.com/)

Friday, 18 December 2020

The Realm of the Dead II: More Delving into Death

In this post about "There", the Realm of the dead a look is taken into another world, a home to non-human intelligence and as a source of magic. This realm of the dead exists in parallel to the Here and Now (the world detectable to ordinary human sensation) yet is beyond the limits of ordinary perception. Ritual, magic and—most importantly—drugs enable pariahs to alter their perception and explore the world of the dead.


Three randomly generated components determine the experience of a pariah in the realm of the dead. They are:
  • Vignette: a typical scene encountered in the dead realm.
  • Environment: the backdrop against which the vignette is occurring. This will alter the manner in which the PCs perceive the vignette and also the way in which they may interact with it.
  • Ancestor: vignettes are "performed" by dead spirits... in any scene, one of those actors will be a dead spirit known to at least one of the PCs in one way.
Thus from a shortlist which I am attempting to expand (on an almost daily basis help me please God) we can start to build a variety of random scenes to provide unique experiences each time the Realm of the Dead is visited.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Dusk Realm: Adventures in Entheogeneering

This was written at a point in time prior to my mastery of chronomancy. It may refer to things that have not yet happened that I had not yet realised had not yet happened. In any case, this is written as the 17th entry of the self-imposed advent challenge.

In Pariah, Volume 1 seven different realms are described — very briefly — as both a home to non-human intelligence and as a source of magic. One of these seven realms is the Dusk, a world described as "the vespers of knowledge" but also "the twilight of civilisation". It exists in parallel to that of the Here and Now yet beyond the limits of ordinary perception. Ritual, magic and—most importantly—drugs enable pariahs to alter their perception and explore this world.

The entheogen most commonly associated with Dusk is obtained from cactus buttons.

Cactus Buttons by Abigail Lingford

Dusk exist (predictably) as a counterpoint to dawn: in crude terms, it is the  law to the chaos. It aligns with previous work written on the labyrinth of Hod .

Hahah "work..."

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Magiography (Mages are monks, monks are mages)

There's quite a convoluted story as to how I came back to tabletop gaming and how this blog came into being—a story which one day I shall tell. For now you will have to content yourself with the following flake of my life: once, I was attempting to design  a video game using RPG Maker. 

It went through various iterations, but core to all of them was the act of researching and studying magic.

The Alchemist by Erol Otus

It's difficult for me to explain quite why I find this model of the magician (as cloistered academic) so appealing. Perhaps its the fact that my youthful academic promise remains unfulfilled, or that my adult pea-brain is still mystified as to how universities came into being in the first place (against the backdrop of warring church and state... people were just able to swan off and read?). In any case, the "academic magician" is an archetype I've wanted to interrogate more closely for a long time now.

This is explicitly not about Harry Potter.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

The Realm of the Dead: Further Adventures in Entheogeneering

In Pariah, Volume 1 seven different realms are described — very briefly — as both a home to non-human intelligence and as a source of magic. One of these seven realms is the Here and Now of the world understood by human senses, with the other sixth realms existing in parallel to this but beyond the limits of ordinary perception. Ritual, magic and—most importantly—drugs enable pariahs to alter their perception and explore the worlds unfolding before them.

 

Still from Altered States

Though there's clear parallels here with the planar adventures of D&D, I really wanted to capture the otherworldliness somehow, so implored pariah players to come up with alternative approaches to play including swapping character sheets or playing completely different games all together.

Of course, the secret plan was to write an adventure/setting book for each realm, and I alluded to some experiments in a previous pariah post involving a trip to the realm of the dead

Monday, 14 December 2020

SPIRITS IN A SEMI-MATERIAL WORLD: Spells Are Spirits

This is part of an ongoing series of blogs that begin "this is part of an ongoing series".

True, but irrelevant. This is in fact one of many ancient drafts that is being treated to a almost cursory dusting before presentation to the ravenous appetites of the RPG blogosphere.

Its revival was in part inspired by Semiurge's recent post regarding the New Magical Revolution (NMR—patent pending, but soon OGL will be drafted by my legal team so you can join in too for the small price of your soul). That post is here and the phrase New Magical Revolution is not mentioned once so in years to come when you and your friends are rich off of the fruits of my incredible labour perhaps you will recall that fine July morning when you read those three words and thought that it was a side project by Prince but also how cool are follow on sentences and caffeine?

https://archonsmarchon.blogspot.com/2020/07/knowledge-is-power-or-magic-without.html

Actually this is now the fourth time I've tried to write this and I'm totally lost as to how this fits together, so I'm just going to talk a bit about free-form magic. 

Yua performing ritual magic in Netflix series Frontera Verde. Currently available on Netflix.

Sunday, 13 December 2020

PARIAH "ETAU" CAMPAIGN, SESSION 23: High Mountain, Deep Sea

These events continue from the TWENTY-SECOND session. The real world session took place on Saturday 12th December on the Atelier Hwei Discord. Today is the 15th December abut I'm pretending it's actually 13th December so that I can address the backlog of posts I'm supposed to be making every day this ADVENT!

- Eugene  https://twitter.com/eakiselev  as Mercifully-Wasted-from-the-Tribe
- Mister Kent https://twitter.com/MrKentKomiks as Beautiful Other-far-from-the-Lake
- Oisín https://twitter.com/OisinoftheHill playing as Over-Hollow-Hills-Flies-the-Cuckoo
- JFur https://jenniferixon.itch.io/ playing as Fallen-far-from-the-Wind

Mortally-Garnished-of-the-Fallen and Fleet Snailwife were NPCed.

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/p/pariah-proto-neolithc-psychedelic.html 


DAY 25, CROW MOON FINAL QUARTER (continued)

Art by Beautiful Other's player, Mr Kent https://twitter.com/MrKentKomiks

The time had come to make sense of the weird situation in which the pariahs now found themselves, and this called for the (mostly) level head of Fallen-far-from-the-Wind.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Setting up a Proto-Neolithic Sandbox Part 3: Settled & Nomadic Peoples

 A series of posts about building a proto-Neolithic Sandbox for PARIAH:

  1. The Base Map https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2020/11/setting-up-proto-neolithic-sandbox-part.html
  2. Spirits of Place https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2020/11/setting-up-proto-neolithic-sandbox-part_26.html
  3. Settled & nomadic peoples
Yup, this week (month?) we're going to look at setting up human communities to inhabit the campaign map.
The tile-set has been customised to correspond with that used in the Pariah Wilderness Supplement, downloadable (for a fee) at the link below:

https://atelier-hwei.itch.io/pariah-wilderness-supplement

You can claim a free copy by joining the Atelier Hwei Discord server:


The map was also amended with a sliver of southeastern continental coast (definitely NOT France).

NB. If you've arrive at this site because I've packed so many cool images together, please note that I'm not recreating a historically accurate model of proto-Neolithic society. This is for a fantasy roleplaying game.

Now it's time to introduce some human civilisation.

Dawn of Worlds - Actual play, Second Age

Around October/ November of 2019 our initially enthusiastic play-by-post game of Dawn of Worlds on the Garblag Games server fizzled out. I wrote up a fairly comprehensive report of the first age of play about a month later, which you can read here:

End of round 15, 1st Century of the second age.
 
Anyway, part of my "ringing out the old" of this self-imposed advent blogging challenge is revisiting forgotten drafts, including my follow-up report for the second age of that game. As stated, it's been more than a year since this took place so I may be a little vague in parts, but as before the purpose of this post is to "detail the manner in which the game's rules were applied, as inspiration for others intending to run a game of Dawn of Worlds online, and also to initiate some discussion about the game", or so I remarked back in 2019.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

PARIAH "ETAU" CAMPAIGN, SESSION 22: Swims Like a Dolphin Thinks Like a Fish

These events continue from the TWENTY-FIRST session. The real world session took place on Saturday 5th December on the Atelier Hwei Discord. Today is the 8th 14th December and this is my 8th tenth blogpost this month, 8 GOLD RINGS FOUR POSTS BEHIND!

- Eugene  https://twitter.com/eakiselev  as Mercifully-Wasted-from-the-Tribe
- Mister Kent https://twitter.com/MrKentKomiks as Beautiful Other-far-from-the-Lake
- Oisín https://twitter.com/OisinoftheHill playing as Over-Hollow-Hills-Flies-the-Cuckoo
- Semiurge http://archonsmarchon.blogspot.com/ playing as Mortally-Garnished-of-the-Fallen

Fallen-far-from-the-Wind and Fleet Snailwife were NPCed.

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/p/pariah-proto-neolithc-psychedelic.html 



DAY 24, CROW MOON FINAL QUARTER (continued)

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Buttersunk

 Turns out doing a new blog post every day is really difficult if you also have a job and gaming commitments. Whodathunkit?

Luckily I have a podcast to fall back on...


https://anchor.fm/alonein-thelabyrinth/episodes/The-Call-In-Episode--A-Poem-and-a-Song-engedp

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Skills Part 2

I wrote a post prior to this, someone issued legit critique, I threw my rattles out the pram. Apologies to Steveg: it would appear that it is I who is the douche, not you.

Lo! It is here:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2020/12/skills-to-pay-billspart-1.html 

Nonetheless I feel compelled to complete the list. 

Obligatory pretty picture to keep the blog format intact:

These are all "replicas". A replica spear is not quite the same as a replica gun, is it?

Here's another sentence to entice you in before the line break!

Monday, 7 December 2020

FKR — The Friekriegsspiel Revolution

[I think it's actually FREE KRIEGSSPIEL but this way is fun too]

STOP! 

Before you go any further, please read this definition of the FKR

https://d66kobolds.blogspot.com/2020/09/free-kriegsspiel-worlds-not-rules-etc.html

Ok. Gut. Now, vair arr yur papaz? Yur karakter shitz. Ok. Gut.

Burn zem!

(adopts less confrontational Germanic accent... Herman Hesse in the house... or Willem Dafoe?*)

We don't need no sheets where we're going man.

By Jaromir Hrivnac https://www.artstation.com/quintusc

I've made a few podcast recently, you can chase them up here https://anchor.fm/s/132a6328/podcast/rss

However, I've made this post in reference to a conversation I had with Jim Parkin of the aforementioned D66 Classless Kobolds where, among other things, we discuss what this FKR stuff is all about.

https://anchor.fm/alonein-thelabyrinth/episodes/THE-JIMTERVIEW--Interview-with-Jim-Parkin-of-D66-Classless-Kobolds-enfrqm

In light of my meltdown over the mega-crunch post this weekend talk about rules-lite stuff has been a real palate cleanser and I hope to put out a few "kits" soon.

* There's a pub in Stoke Newington, London called the Daniel Defoe, after the famous writer. I knew an educated person who thought it was named after the footballer Jermaine Defoe. Since that bombshell I have a mental block on all 3 individuals.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Skills [to pay the bills]Part 1

 A few weeks ago I sat down with one of the players from the regular PARIAH campaign about why they felt it was time for them to move on.  It was a really valuable experience for me as a GM and a (dare i say it) RPG designer, and I'm very grateful to Alex for not only the conversation but also allowing me to broadcast it.

You can listen to our chat on anchor (and apparently other channels too):

https://anchor.fm/alonein-thelabyrinth/episodes/Breaking-Up-is-Hard-to-Do---a-conversation-with-Alex-emq02i

One of Alex's grievances — alongside the lack of clearly signposted character progression — was the skill system that's used in PARIAH. Part of me is a little reluctant to write this stuff down because I don't REALLY want to established a fully codified skill system. 

Real-world Khoisian bow hunters of the Kalahari, one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer groups.

Nonetheless maybe it can provide a framework for players and GMs to build upon or to be inspired by: in any case, the following should be considered a serving suggestion only. YMMV, T&Cs apply.

Friday, 4 December 2020

PARIAH DISCORD SESSION 21: Are There Eagle-Witches Yet?

These events continue from the TWENTIETH session. The real world session took place on Saturday 28th November on the Atelier Hwei Discord. Today is the 4th December and this is my 4th blogpost this month, a partridge in a pear tree.

- jfur https://jenniferixon.itch.io/ playing as Fallen-far-from-the-Wind
- Mister Kent as Beautiful Other-far-from-the-Lake
- Oisín https://twitter.com/OisinoftheHill playing as Over-Hollow-Hills-Flies-the-Cuckoo
- Semiurge http://archonsmarchon.blogspot.com/ playing as Mortally-Garnished-of-the-Fallen

Mercifully-Wasted-from-the-Tribe and Fleet Snailwife were NPCed.

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/p/pariah-proto-neolithc-psychedelic.html 


DAY 23, HALF CROW MOON WANING

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Save vs. Dragon Breath... but there aren't any dragons...

By Turner Mohan

I'm trying to write a new post for every day of advent... mainly so that I can catch up with Archon's March On.

 The 5 classic saves, going back to pre D&D are:

  • Poison or Death Ray
  • Magic Wand
  • Turned To Stone or Paralysis
  • Dragon Breath
  • Spells or Magic Staves
But what do you do when there's no dragons... and "breath attack" is a rare and unusual feature?

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

PARIAH DISCORD SESSION 20: Isle of the Eagle-Witches?

These events run parallel to those of the NINETEENTH session. The real world session took place on Saturday 21st November on the Atelier Hwei Discord.

- Eugene https://twitter.com/eakiselev playing as Mercifully-Wasted-from-the-Tribe
- jfur https://jenniferixon.itch.io/ playing as Fallen-far-from-the-Wind
- Oisín https://twitter.com/OisinoftheHill playing as Over-Hollow-Hills-Flies-the-Cuckoo
- Semiurge http://archonsmarchon.blogspot.com/ playing as Mortally-Garnished-of-the-Fallen

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/p/pariah-proto-neolithc-psychedelic.html 


 DAY 21, CROW MOON WANING

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Scale & Sublimation

CW: swears

I'm writing this post because I need to and I'm not sure why. I have a feeling that once I reach the end I'll just put a full-stop (Americans: a "period") and leave it at that and press post and never look at it again.

There are still a few posts to be written up concerning the regular PARIAH Saturday sandbox, there's more to come from the guide to building a proto-neolithic psychedelic animist sandbox and I still need to do a follow-on post for my interpretation of Jones' Oracular Dungeon Generator. I'm not even going to mention the number of unpublished drafts (well, I just did) sat on my logger dashboard taunting me each time I come to check in on the spam-commenters.

Nonetheless, after this unnecessarily lengthy intro which none of you asked for, I present this:


Yep, squares and hexes again folks...

(JAUNTY THEME MUSIC STARTS...)