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Ryan Veeder
Works at Plaid Peacock
Attended University of Iowa


Ryan Veeder

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The endgame for this Brick Bounty is, I want to mod it into a spoooooky Ghost Ship. Herein I make a list of what that entails:

- Skeleton sailors
- Custom ragged sails
- Oversized skull figurehead
- Swap out red elements for dark blue (I think?)
- Add proper main deck
---- This entails raising basically everything by 2-3 blocks
- Add forecastle???
- LEDs?????
- Now I'm just enjoying myself
- Special stable for my glow-in-the-dark LEGO skeletal horse
- Fog machine
- Technic pieces make turning the wheel affect the rudder
- Hold below lower deck contains tentacled horror, only viewable by disassembling the rest of the ship
- Technic pieces protect captain's quarters with combination lock
- Replace all pieces with hand-whittled wooden LEGO
Robert Lesmeister's profile photoRyan Veeder's profile photo
Everything below "Now I'm just enjoying myself" is intended as a joke. Nobody should ever whittle lego bricks.

On the other hand, I'm looking into ships people have made with working rudders and apparently it's not completely infeasible.
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I have a Patreon! Classic!

You can pledge to support the games I release in the future, and in return I will give you different types of secrets. It's all over there at the page. Check it out.

I made a video too so make sure you watch that video!
Patreon is empowering a new generation of creators. Support and engage with artists and creators as they live out their passions!
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This new issue of IFography contains an interview with me! This guy!
Hey, if you haven't heard, issue #2 of IFography is now out!  Check out the website!  (It's a magazine for IF enthusiasts!)
The (Tiny) Home of Interactive Fiction
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I just started needle felting! Needle felting is when you get a bunch of strands of wool and poke it with a specialized needle over and over again until the strands all stick to each other and form a shape. It might be the number one art form in the Accidentally Stabbing Yourself category.

The guy I made was supposed to be a kobold (I gotta post pics of these kobolds I made pretty soon!), but its snout ended up looking more like a big nose, so instead of a kobold it's a weird hunched over thing guy. I string-jointed its arms so they are posable!

The parts themselves are mostly not felted good enough, so they are wobblier than they should be and there are loose strands all over the dang place. The parts are also not felted into each other perfectly, so if you yank on any of its extremities they are liable to fall off. Also it tends to fall over a lot.

But this is the first creature and indeed the first thing I made in this medium, so it was important to leave plenty of room for improvement!
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Here, for your convenience and mine, are all the chapters of the journal for the D&D campaign I just finished with my dear friends in the Fallcrest Sanitation Department. It was all incredibly fun and I am stupidly proud of myself for DMing an entire module of my own creation.

Part the 1:
Part the 2:
Part the 3:
Supplement: Director Willowgrave
Part the 4:
Part the 5:
Part the 6:
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I have an issue to raise with the logic of the Harry Potter universe, but my line of thought rests on some assumptions that I'm not really equipped to investigate. If you have evidence to add or you know someone who might, please let me know.

My issue is with Polyjuice Potion.

I don't know whether the text explicitly states why the three Unforgivable Curses are unforgivable. The law attached to them is unique and a little weird: Barty Crouch Jr., Polyjuice-Potioned into the form of Alastor Moody, says that using any of them will "earn you a one-way ticket to Azkaban."

I'll demonstrate what I think is weird about this with a couple of examples:

1a. While enjoying a picnic on a cliff, Neville Longbottom is assaulted by a Dark Arts Wizard. Perceiving that his life is in danger, Neville performs a Push-Guy-Away Charm, sending his attacker over the edge of the cliff to fall to his or her death. The Wizard Justice System investigates the death of the Dark Arts Wizard, arrests Neville, and takes him to trial.

1b. While enjoying a picnic on a cliff, Neville Longbottom is assaulted by a Dark Arts Wizard. Perceiving that his life is in danger, Neville performs the Killing Curse, and the attacker dies instantly—and painlessly, if the Harry Potter Wikia is to be believed. The Wizard Justice System investigates the death of the Dark Arts Wizard, arrests Neville, and takes him to trial.

Now, if the wizarding court system is anything like the muggles', Neville in situation 1a will have a chance to plead self-defense (okay, I guess he'd plead self-"defence"), and depending on the specifics of Wizard Law he may be found innocent, or get a lighter sentence, etc. But there is no such recourse available to the Neville of situation 1b, as his choice of spell was Unforgivable. If the prosecution can prove he used that particular curse, he is going to Azkaban.

It would seem that the Killing Curse is philosophically distinct from the many other spells that could potentially be used to take a life, perhaps because the Killing Curse has no other possible use. I would be interested in learning about other possible justifications, but this isn't the Unforgivable Curse that I'm most interested in.

The one I'm most interested in is the Imperius Curse. Why is it unforgivable? One very strong case is an argument about the potential of the Imperius Curse; with it, you can force a person to do heinous and reprehensible things. Interestingly, this is near the opposite of my proposed justification for the unforgivability of the Killing Curse: While a witch or wizard casting Killing Curse can only have one intention, the mere act of casting the Imperius Curse does not entail any particular intention at all. In fact, it would seem that casting Imperius on a person and then immediately dispelling it, with a net effect of approximately nothing, is as unforgivable as murdering that person.

We might also say that Imperius is unforgivable because it interferes with the target's free will. This argument can be stated several different ways, and each formulation will have its nuances, not all of which can be examined here. In some aspects, the argument is tricky because the victim of Imperius ceases to have the same relationship between mind and body that we muggles assume when considering the idea of being forced to do something. The victim enters a trancelike state, and can be made to perform feats that neither the caster nor the victim could accomplish normally. The victim's self is in an ambiguous position.

(Put one way, the victim's soul is separated from his or her body, and we could compare this very easily to the Killing Curse, although I don't think this leads directly to an understanding of why either is unforgivable.)

But I said my issue was with Polyjuice Potion. My understanding is that the production and use of Polyjuice Potion, while difficult, is entirely legal—but I may understand incorrectly. As I remember, neither Harry, Ron, nor notorious killjoy Hermione had any ethical or moral qualms with using it—but I may remember incorrectly. 

Let me present my problem with another couple of examples:

2a. During a visit to the Ministry of Magic, Lucius Malfoy accidentally forgets his silver snake-headed cane in one of the Forbidden Chambers. Wishing to retrieve it without enduring the bureaucratic red tape that gaining access to the Forbidden Chambers would entail, he prepares a Polyjuice Potion that will allow him to assume the form of a night custodian. As the custodian, he is able to enter the Forbidden Chambers and find his cane with no trouble. To avoid any unpleasant confusion, the real custodian probably needs to be locked up or sedated for the duration.

2b. During a visit to the Ministry of Magic, Lucius Malfoy accidentally forgets his silver snake-headed cane in one of the Forbidden Chambers. Wishing to retrieve it without enduring the bureaucratic red tape that gaining access to the Forbidden Chambers would entail, he casts the Imperius Curse on a night custodian. He commands the custodian to find his cane, which of course the custodian does.

Obviously these stories describe a very tame set of circumstances, but it's important to see how Malfoy's motives and the results of his actions are essentially identical in either case. And, although the magical mechanics of his methods are different in the two examples, the functional facts of those methods are very similar. In both cases, Malfoy appropriates the custodian's body, forcing it to perform actions to which the custodian would object. But in both cases, the custodian is probably unaware of and definitely unable to resist what happens to his body. His mind is functionally removed from the equation.

We can imagine a similar situation unfolding parallel to the fate of Alastor Moody in the books: What if, instead of being locked in a trunk and impersonated by Barty Crouch, Alastor was forced to do everything that he appears to do in book 5 by the effects of an extended Imperius Curse, cast by Barty? The effects would be the same: Crouch has full control over Moody's body, and Moody's mind is (by one means or another) prevented from apprehending the situation or making any decisions.

This is my problem with Polyjuice Potion: It seems to be functionally identical to the Imperius Curse, but it is not unforgivable (or even forbidden, as far as I can tell). Viewed one way, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter suffers under an inconsistent legal system; viewed another way, Ms. Rowling has committed an illogicism of ethics by variously condemning and approving two forms of the same essential crime.

I recognize that the two methods are different in some ways. As I recall, Harry, Ron, and Hermione typically or exclusively used Polyjuice Potion as a reconnaissance method, in ways that would be difficult to imitate with an Imperius curse. Likewise, an Imperius curse can apparently make Neville Longbottom do a bunch of backflips, which I assume a Neville-flavored Polyjuice Potion could only facilitate if it were drunk by a person who could do those backflips already. The ranges of application are not identical, but they do overlap significantly, and I contend that their potentials to be used for evil are equally unlimited, if wielded by a sufficiently evil and creative warlock.

The effects of the Imperius also have a visceral nastiness to them that Polyjuice Potion lacks, at least at first glance. I'm not convinced, however, that their effects are made philosophically distinct by virtue of their differing psychological characters. Furthermore, if you give a certain amount of thought to the idea of Polyjuice Potion—the fact that Hermione can, if she finds just one stray hair of yours, take on your form as her own, and do as she pleases a body that is identical to your body, without your ever being aware of it—it's no longer clear which method is the more abhorrent.

If there is a logical justification for treating them differently, I believe it must rest on interpreting both magicks through some particular conception of what a self is, or of what free will is, or along similar lines. After writing about 1,400 words on the topic, I have only presented this as a problem. I cannot give you a solution. It may be the case that there is none, and the Ministry of Magic and J.K. Rowling simply do not understand that Polyjuice Potion and the Imperius Curse are basically the same thing.
Carl Muckenhoupt's profile photoDavid Welbourn's profile photoRyan Veeder's profile photoHanon Ondricek's profile photo
Um, because it deserves it?*

(*Often some humor, no matter how vague and central only to the joke-teller, will rely on repeating themes and "call-backs" to strengthen the comic effect.")
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I got myself a LEGO pirate ship for my birthday. I didn't know, while I was purchasing it, that it included a rat piece. But once I found out, I knew what I had to do.
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These are probably lousy pictures but BE THAT AS IT MAY. I needlefelted this Creature today. He's about 4.5" tall, he stands up not very well, and having created him I am full of revulsion at my own sacreligious efforts to create Life.
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So if you read all about my D&D campaign then you know that my players' characters were supposed to be sanitation workers but spent most of their time saving some sewer-dwelling kobolds from various problems. At one point +Emily Boegheim said "so when are you going to send us plushies of these kobolds?" and I rose to the challenge.

Well, I rose to the challenge of making the plushies. I have not gotten around to mailing them yet. But you can see here that they are super cute! They are 4-4.5 inches tall, they have posable arms, and they are really good at standing upright. They don't have to lean on their tails for support; their tails are counterweights against the weight of their doglike noses. And you can balance them better by posing their arms. Also, sometimes they do have to lean on their tails for support.

Now I will make some unilateral and indisputably canonical pronouncements about the identities of these kobolds. The guy in gray is Zeke, the owner of the diner. The one in pink is Kasssandra, the khirurgeon, who saved the PCs from fungal diseases so many times. The one in blue is... Oakley, apprentice to the high priest/mayor Hektor, and a character I just made up. He had no role in the story but I hereby retcon his having been around all along.
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Skullbadness's blind right eye goggled and gyred, rattling its damantine cage.

"What is she looking at?" wondered Twenty-Seven.

"Useless to guess," Fifty-Nine Thousand, Forty-Nine grumbled. "Just hope she's gaping in horror at something awful—something that will destroy her once and for all."


Skullbadness composed herself. "What do you want for it?" she whispered.

"I am the steward of Rhoda's Glitter, not its owner," answered the crone. "It awaits its fated wielder, she or he who bears the Name of Rhoda on her or his face. But you hide your face, don't you, Skullbadness? I imagine the mark you wear is not quite so auspicious."

Skullbadness chortled. "I am not ashamed of what was written on my face," she said, pushing aside her bangs, "but of that which was earlier taken from it." Now Skullbadness's full face was revealed, and it was the crone's turn to goggle in shock.

In the place of Skullbadness's right eye were the six runes that spelled the Name of Rhoda, shimmering as Rhoda's Glitter shimmered in its scabbard. The crone clutched at her chest. An unbelieving syllable arose in her lungs, but it never reached her lips.

"It seems your duties are at an end," Skullbadness muttered. She yanked Rhoda's Glitter out of the crone's lifeless hands.

With irreverent haste she pulled the blade from its scabbard. The light that shone forth had dazzled hundreds of thousands of unworthy eyes in centuries past, but Skullbadness's left eye merely wrinkled in a knowing smile.
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Dungeon and Dragon Campaign Journal: Part the 6

When last we saw our heroes, they were banished from the sewer by the drow Patate, and warned that if they returned he would wreck them. But the first five days of the Sanitation Deparment's adventures had constituted a full work week, so it was time for the team to take a break anyway.

The first part of their weekend they spent separately, in quiet contemplation or in meditation, figuring out the new abilities and stuff that a third experience level would bless them with. Fellissiya realized that she was being followed by a creepy quadrupedal fungus which, while creepy, could serve as a useful animal companion. Halros learned how to summon a huge fist of elemental air by focusing his ki. Mirada thought, "Shouldn't I be able to cast more and better spells? Hey, yeah, I should!" And she was. Then they all spent the rest of the weekend playing pool.

On Monday, though, it was back to the old grind. There were still three drains that needed to be opened up, all in the area east of the Temple of Torog—the Forbidden Zone. The team descended to the sewers and made their way to the Torog cultists' territory.

They were stopped by a couple of scrawny guards, one of whom immediately ran back to tell Patate that the hated interlopers had returned. The hated interlopers waited patiently for their audience with Patate, hoping to resolve the situation peacefully and pass through to the Forbidden Zone without creating a disturbance.

Patate had different plans in hand. Over the weekend, he had leveraged his victory over the Sanitation Department to stage a coup, installing himself as the new leader of the Torog cult and sending Malamoot off to parts unknown. Forgiving the hated interlopers would ruin his credibility. He met the Sanitation Department with a small army of guards, whom he commanded to "seize them!" in an extremely villainous manner. His goal was to incapacitate the heroes and offer them as a sacrifice to the sacred alligator Shacklecracker.

However, as it turned out, Patate's guards were incredibly inept. They pounced on Halros with angry spears, but his incredible monk abilities made him nearly impossible to wound or grapple. The Sanitation Department made short work of the guards, and Patate summoned a cloud of darkness in which he could escape the scene.

The battle won, the Sanitation Department set to work healing the cultists they had just finished beating up. They took the time to explain their situation, and the cultists explained theirs, and the two groups reached a mutual understanding to replace Patate's fearmongering. When they entered the cultists' dorms, they found Patate sniffling in his bed, his self-esteem shattered. The cultists did their best to cheer him up while the Sanitation Department exited for the Forbidden Zone.

They passed through the Temple of Torog. They approached the forbidden door. Halros tried to knock it down. That didn't work. Mirada tried knocking on it.

From the other side, as if from a great distance came the voice of Malamoot. He was glad to hear it was the Sanitation Department folks who had come knocking, and not the Torog cultists. He had holed himself up in the Forbidden Zone after being ousted as high priest. Now, hearing that Patate had fallen from power, Malamoot wanted to run back and reclaim his position as high priest. But the party had a job to do.

Malamoot very reluctantly let them finish clearing some of the drains in the Forbidden Zone, but he refused to let them enter one particular room—the Forbidden Room. The party said they were pretty sure there was another drain in there. Malamoot thought it over for a good long time, and then he said he would clear out the drain himself if the party promised they'd stay out. Around this time a lady wearing a towel stuck her head out of the Forbidden Room and asked Malamoot what was taking so long. Malamoot hurried inside, and the sounds of a storm drain being unblocked were heard.

The party accompanied Malamoot to meet up with the Torog cult, where he made an inspiring speech or something along those lines. Rocksy the kobold showed up! She had been dragged into the cult by Patate, back when she thought he was cool, and now she asked the party if she could maybe run back to Kobold Towne with them. Thus she was reunited with her countrymen, and another group hug was hugged.

At the end of the day, everything was back in its proper place, and all of the storm drains were open for business. Director Willowgrave was very pleased to hear of her employees' progress, and she revealed that she had finally lined up a social worker from the Department of Humanoid Services to conduct that census of the sewer that the party had suggested. But it was late, and all that would have to wait for tomorrow.

That night, Fallcrest was hit by a blustering thunderstorm.

It was still raining the next morning, as the team rushed into Willowgrave's office and met their social worker, Melanie Gerdes. Together they ran down into the sewer to make sure all its denizens had survived the night, and hopefully make naturalized Fallcrest citizens of them.

They soon found all the citizens of Kobold Towne: All healthy and none the worse for the storm, but not in Kobold Towne where they were supposed to be. They were sitting around in a nearby chamber, having abandoned Kobold Towne after its giant dragon skull started snorting and champing its teeth. At first, they thought this was awesome, but then it started expelling clouds of spores and pollen from the fungus farm on the other side, and Kobold Towne's air had become so thick with poisonous dust that they had to retreat. The kobolds had been hoping that the Sanitation Department would come back to solve this new problem, and now here they were! Perfect.

The team left Melanie with the kobolds, who started slinging paperwork at them with incredible enthusiasm, and donned their makeshift gas masks. They tramped over channels rushing with rainwater to investigate Kobold Towne.

It was as the kobolds had said: The dragon skull was moving, and it moved more angrily the closer the sanitation workers came. Observing it up close was a losing proposition. They realized they'd have to check it out on the other side, and that meant passing again through Torog territory.

Things had quieted down with the Torog cult, though, as Malamoot had again seized control and put Patate in the Punishment Cage. Malamoot was actually quite glad to have the party around, as their imposing presence made the cultists all the more willing to behave. The party couldn't stick around and act as Malamoot's enforcers, though. They had government work to do.

At the entrance to the fungus forest, the sanitation workers noticed something odd. There were two skeletons standing outside the door. The skeletons were animate skeletons, and when they noticed the party, they attacked. But they were cheap, decrepit skeletons, and they were quickly pulverized by Halros's fists and Mirada's hammer. 

As the team delved into the Mushroom Zone, they found the master of these pathetic skeletons: It was Natalya the necromancer, the lady they had kicked out of the sewer a week ago! She was the one animating the dragon skeleton with fell magics! And she had brought a friend with her: Not her boyfriend, whom Halros had punched in the face so brutally, but Mantzag, the half-orc, the former Sanitation Department employee, who had fallen in battle against Natalya's specter! He was a zombie now!

Natalya was furious that her plans to animate the dragon skull were being interrupted again, and she was especially furious to see Halros, the man who had punched her boyfriend in the face so brutally. She sicced Mantzag's zombie on the party, but Halros summoned his giant fist of elemental air, and for a second time Mantzag was killed more or less immediately.

Natalya was a live person though, though, with class levels, and third-level spell slots, and she wasn't going down without a fight. Desperately she shot all kinds of necromantic energies at the heroes, and teleported around in the form of a swirl of mist, and bestowed temporary hit points upon herself. With a hand wrapped in black magic, she sucked out Halros's life force, knocking him out and giving her a few more moments to attempt her escape.

Then Fellissiya summoned her latent fungus powers, and bade the tendrils and vines of the forest to wrap Natalya up so that the team could rain down bludgeoning and piercing damage upon her. Just as Mirada was about to land a blow with her maul that would break more than Natalya's face, the necromancer finally admitted defeat.

But the dragon skull was still growling and chomping! Mirada and Halros knew a thing or two about dismantling necromantic rituals though, and they did this by knocking over the little piles of rocks and scuffing out the magic runes that Natalya had assembled. Easy peasy: The dragon skull resumed its usual stoicism.

By this time, Melanie Gerdes had finished issuing SSNs to the citizens of Kobold Towne, as well as to the Minister of Rats and his friend Liga (who never ended up doing anything in this story). Halros and Mirada accompanied Melanie to process the members of the Torog cult while Fellissiya carried Natalya off to the police station.

At the end of the day, the Sanitation Department's job was well and truly finished, and now it is time for the epilogue:

- The Minister of Rats eventually met with the City Council to present his proposal to protect the city from further disturbances with a Rat Militia.

- The Cult of Torog has a spot in the Neutral Evil division of Fallcrest's intramural softball league.

- The Sanitation Department couldn't decide what to do with the myconids of the Mushroom Kingdom, but they fear something will have to be done before the fungal biomass starts to impinge on the rest of the sewer.

- Natalya Kishar pled guilty to ten counts of necromancy and attempted necromancy and was sentenced to one year in city jail. Her boyfriend Konstantin visits her all the dang time.

- The mysterious portal to a horrible slime dimension remains mysterious.

- Kobold Towne was made a recognized district of Fallcrest, and is being penciled onto the maps. Some nerds from the historical society are going to investigate the provenance of its humongous dragon skull. Mirada, Halros, and Fellissiya still go down there once in a while to visit their friends and play Human Poker.

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Ryan Veeder

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The protagonist's mom scowled. "I think the sex stuff you do with Mister Gray is weird and gross," she scowled, "and I will never validate your lifestyle choices with my approval."

"I don't care!" the protagonist trembled. "I'm happy with myself. I have interior validation, so I don't need your exterior validation."

The protagonist smiled quietly to herself. But then a noise came from her mom.

The mom said, "I changed my mind. I accept you for who you are."
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I am terrified of everything.
I am a guy who enjoys playing music and fine loungewear and desserts. Somewhere on this page is a link to my Twitter. Is it down there at the bottom?
Bragging rights
I've won a talent show and an IFComp and I have a master's in linguistics. To some I am known as "the guy who made that vampire weekend joke."
  • University of Iowa
    Linguistics, 2006 - 2012
Knifin' Around
  • Plaid Peacock
    fiber artist and art installation person, 2011 - present
  • University of Iowa
    ESL TA, 2010 - 2012
Basic Information
Rudy's is seriously the best restaurant. The people who work there are the best AND the tacos are the best AND they have ice cream AND everything else is the best. If every other restaurant on the planet besides Rudy's Tacos of Waterloo disappeared, I wouldn't even be sad.
Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
This building is just storage for canoeing equipment. It might not even be used for that anymore. You can walk around to the side facing the river, though, and sit on a bench under the little overhang. It's a relatively quiet place from which to look at the river.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
2 reviews