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Dear Santa

I've never done Yuletide before, which...may be readily apparent from my sign-up? I don't know. So probably this is going to be more long and rambly than is likely helpful, because I keep thinking of more things to add, so...uh, sorry about that?

In general, stuff I like: crossovers (Doctor Who can fit into anything, basically); girls being awesome (especially with magic); girl friendships; any kind of longstanding, extremely comfortable and loving relationship, either platonic or romantic, where the people involved really, truly know each other and feel equally okay with sharing painful secrets and good-naturedly teasing each other; worldbuilding, I am such a sucker for awesome worldbuilding, which is one of my favorite things about any fandom, so if you choose to write a fandom that's already got a pretty richly developed world and you can expand on that or make it come alive in ways the original canon doesn't, I will be thrilled; psionics in general because telepathy and telekinesis are just cool; surreal dream sequences; experimental, meta-y things that play with textuality and the power of story or just with stylistic stuff; awesome poetry, like that of Eliot or Edna St. Vincent Millay or somebody, being Important somehow because I heart it; cities in general and urban fantasy and the sort of magic that exists there just by virtue of all this human history and stories packed into one place, and places that are beautiful in their ugliness and grittiness, and decaying abandoned buildings, and the juxtaposition of modern and ancient that takes place in really old cities, and old buildings still being used and awesome little alleys and courtyards and cobblestone streets and...things. Small vignetty fics? Fics with actual Plot (harder in this setting, probably, so don't sweat it)? Both awesome. Develop characters that were underdeveloped in canon? Expand on tantalizing hints we already got? Also awesome. I'm generally happy with genfic--family relationships, whether biological or of the family-we-make type, and friendships seem to be underexplored in fandom--but I do have my favorite pairings, which are always canonical. Angst can be fun if it's not too over-the-top. AU is cool if it's labeled that way--I tend to prefer canon-compliance, although with the actual fandoms I've requested, I guess it's not so much a canon/text as much as a world or premise, so...go wild, seriously. I'm very much into spec-fiction in general, for what that's worth. I love steampunk, urban/contemporary fantasy, science fantasy (don't care for the term "space opera," but I'm not very sciencey either, so I'm not as good with hard SF), some horror. But honestly, I'm quite likely to be happy with almost anything, because...small/rare/nearly nonexistent fandoms! A fic written just for me! That's plenty enough to make me thrilled. (I could also just link to faeriemaiden's Yuletide letter and say "What she said, pretty much, but with different fandoms.") My Tumblr is also a good source for Stuff I Like in general (as is the Tumblr for a novel I'm kind of working on, at least as far as city-aesthetic goes). Also relevant may be theturningworld, my writing journal, and/or my pages at ff.net and AO3, both of which have a lot of favorites bookmarked.

Stuff I don't like: Smut, PWP, explicit sex, whatever you want to call it...I know this makes me an oddity in fandom, but I tend to find it awkward and voyeuristic rather than sexy. Sex itself is fine, I'm just really not that interested in explicit stuff--so, PG-13-level or lower, I suppose. Same goes for kinks--a little is fine, but again, nothing super explicit, please...and if it's too far off mainstream (humiliation, "water sports," dub-con/non-con presented as romantic, that sort of thing), I'm probably gonna be pretty squicked out. Generally prefer gen or het. Otherwise: character-bashing (I mean, unless it's a canonically bad character or something), general meanspiritedness, really excessive gore or language, racism, sexism, anti-religious stuff (I'm a Christian, so...), infidelity...I don't know, stuff that's just gross and/or uncomfortable? Generally speaking I'm happy with almost anything, so yeah.

Threadless T-shirt Designs: Liberty
  • Original prompt: "Liberty" is pretty much my favorite Threadless shirt design ever, and I would love to get a story about it--it's just so rich with possibility. Why was this girl keeping a phoenix (or something, I don't know) in a bird cage? Why is she releasing it now? Why'd she take it to this particular place to do it? Why does she have wings herself? Even her pose, what you can see of her clothes, and the style of her bike raise questions that I'd love to see a story answer. The only thing is that I'd really like actual fantasy (urban fantasy, the small-town equivalent of urban fantasy, whatever) rather than just some kind of "Well the phoenix symbolizes that she's growing up and developing into a woman but her wings aren't fully grown yet which means she isn't sure of herself" or...something. Any references to equally awesome Threadless designs are also totally welcome.
  • A good gimme fandom, obviously, since you don't need to have any familiarity with anything--you just need to go look at this picture.

Bad Romance music video (Lady Gaga)
  • Original prompt: I'm actually not a huge Lady Gaga fan, although I do like this song, but I kind of love this music video. There's some kind of really fascinating dystopian-sci-fi story in there, and I'd love to read it.

Echo Bazaar
  • Original prompt: Honestly, just about anything that takes place in this world and captures the flavor and atmosphere of the game would be fantasic. I especially love Spite, the carnival, the Flit, the Forgotten Quarter; experiences with prisoner's honey or gaoler's honey, the sulky bat ("Where are my sodding crickets?"), the bureaucracy of Hell and the Brass Embassy; the tattooed couriers; the Royal Bethlehem Hotel (especially if anyone calls it Bedlam, because I am a historical nerd); how people deal with being killed multiple times (do some people do it deliberately? Weird way of seeking a high? Super-dangerous sexual stuff? I don't want anything really explicit, but this seems like the sort of thing that would naturally start happening); the Comtessa's story; the Correspondence, the Starveling Cat, any the Masters, one or more of the recurring dreams in a way that makes it fit in with...I dunno, the plot in general, the fate of Fallen London, something. The Fire Sermon in particular seems interesting (especially "A dream about a city"), although recent plot developments seem to be pulling some of these together, so speculation could be fun.
  • link to character page; more interested in the city itself though so really don't need to do anything with my character, especially since I've long wished I'd played as a girl; will love you forever if you work Radio Free Neath in somehow.
  • Aside from the fact that I still don't want anything too explicit, my general feelings about sex in fic kind of go out the window with this one, because...well, it's Fallen London, I think it's been pretty well established that almost anything goes, so it makes sense to talk about it. I'm just not into smut, and...I think there's a place for darkfic in this fandom, so I guess if you go that route, I just wouldn't want to see humiliation-type kinks or dub-con/non-con presented as actually romantic, that sort of thing. Uh, and I'd really prefer no incest, despite a certain Melancholy Curate...
  • Just remembered this highly intriguing sidebar bit: "Nasty, shimmering patches of air float along the streets in the false summers of the Neath. Strange lights sometimes dance in attendance. Far-off places can be glimpsed. Don't walk through these. There are worse places than Fallen London."

Baldur's Gate universe
  • Mostly I love this game (BG II; haven't played the first) because I play a female Bhaalspawn who makes the same decisions I would, except she can back those up with actual magical power, so it lets me have the experience of being a powerful woman. Any fic that deals with that somehow would be awesome. Equally awesome: anything with Minsc that stays true to the loyal, good-hearted, not exactly brilliant but not actually stupid character from the game (especially if he's being all adorably big-brother to the PC, or if it has to do with Boo being his familiar); anything that expands on Valygar's character, since he gets pretty short shrift in the game; just about anything with Solaufein, like angsty Solaufein/Phaere backstory or something about what he does after he leaves Ust Natha; and definitely anything with Spectator the Beholder, because he is HILARIOUS and his part in ToB was way too small. Expanding on little stuff would be great, too, like the apprentices you get in the mage stronghold, or the cat who can apparently call the guards on you in a house in the Docks, or just the general experience of being on the road, staying in inns, eating bad food, etc.
  • I don't have much experience with CRPGs (or tabletop RPGS, for that matter, although I understand Order of the Stick much better after having played Baldur's Gate...), but I fell in love with BG2 pretty quickly because of the richness of the worldbuilding, the awesome characters, and the fascinating plot. I'm playing BG1 now, so I'm reasonably familiar with the backstory (even if a lot of the character interactions in BG1 are fanwritten, apparently). I'm also enjoying the fact that BG1 is better for getting the experience of being a traveler on the road, going through all these backwoods little villages and camping out and getting on each others' last nerve and seeing what the country looks like (as well as the mounting suspense from the dream sequences and Jaheira's hints) and getting a feel for its history and just how long it would take to travel from place to place, although in general BG2 is the better and more enjoyable game.
    I'm nearly at the end of ToB with my first PC so I'm pretty powerful at this point:
    neutral good female mage named Maris, mage level 27, 79 HP, intelligence is highest stat (18) followed by charisma (14) except strength is 19 because I'm weak and I'm wearing the Girdle of Hill Giant Strength. Main weapon is a sling, but obviously tend to use a lot of magic; favorite technique with things like Beholders, Mind Flayers, and other powerful monsters is to keep my party way back, preferably with closed doors between me and nasty monsters and keep summoning stuff to deal with it. Also Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting is my FAVORITE; also really really love Improved Mantle, Dragon's Breath, and Summon Planetar, and how much do I love that my mages can cast Time Stop just like those gorram liches? A LOT. I was really excited when I found a Bag of Holding. Liches and Mind Flayers are my least favorite monsters ever because they're a bitch and a half to beat and they rarely drop any good loot--although Mind Flayers are also probably my favorite conceptually, just because I love the whole psionic thing and I think they're both fascinating and under-utilized. (Not that I want to fight more, I'd just like to learn more about them.) Party reputation is Heroic (18), which Edwin only puts up with thanks to a mod. I've used this image for Maris' portrait in the game, although this--which I picked as my character portrait for my very first actual D&D game my friends and I are going to do at some point--is also pretty well representative of this character: physically very feminine and somewhat delicate, and still totally capable of handing your ass to you. (Although Maris does this with magic, not a sword, because see above re. being a squishy mage.) Also I seriously, seriously want her outfit.
    If you wanted to play with sex a little in BG, too, that could be interesting (considering the drow seem so matriarchal, for instance, you'd think they'd be into f/f, but apparently not, which...).

    I tweet a lot about Baldur's Gate stuff when I'm playing it, so if you really want to know more about my in-game thoughts, you could check my Twitter timeline...although let's be honest, it's probably not very interesting. >_< (Also relevant if you're writing about EBZ, for obvious reasons; all those posts are hashtagged #ebz.)

    Playing Maris, a Neutral Good human mage; nearly done with ToB so pretty powerful at this point, although obviously that developed a lot through the game, and still rely on my party a lot (my percentage of total kills in party is 12%). Currently have Edwin, Minsc, Jaheira, Imoen, and Valygar (with a mod to keep Edwin and Minsc from killing each other). Prefer diplomatic solutions and always take the moral route, but also not above accepting money from evil people or at least listening long enough to pretend I'm going along with them. We're powerful, but not so powerful we can be stupid. Have also had Yoshimo, Aerie, Nalia, Jan, Korgan, Cernd, and Keldorn in my party, for varying lengths of time; personally I find Nalia and Aerie annoying, and Cernd annoying and boring, but if you feel like writing about them and developing their characters so they are likable--go right ahead; that would be awesome. Minsc is easily my favorite major NPC. I don't really like how he's portrayed for most of BG1, though, especially since the fanwritten stuff doesn't seem to mesh with what's in BG2--BG1 presents him as a dumb crazy guy who started believing his hamster could talk after a nasty head wound, while in BG2...well, he may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but he isn't stupid, and considering mages can have familiars, why can't a ranger have a miniature giant space hamster for a familiar? Because Minsc is awesome and I love him and I hate seeing him presented as a head case. (And I just now read his BG2 biography, which I assume is canonical: the loss of Dynaheir "has obviously not strengthened Minsc's hold on reality, as evidenced by his continued dependence on his animal companion 'Boo', a creature that he claims is a miniature giant space hamster. Apparently such things do exist somewhere in the Realms, but Minsc has surely taken too many blows to the head." SHUT UP. I also vastly prefer Imoen's BG2 characterization to BG1, but again, I'm not sure how much of that is actual changes to her character thanks to what happens in Irenicus' dungeon and Spellhold, and how much is just fanwritten dialogue vs. real canon. Her speech patterns and behavior are so different I'm inclined to go with the latter, although if you'd like to explore this, feel free. Valygar could also use a lot more character development--he's interesting and he has angsty backstory, but the writers gave him pretty uneven treatment. You get through his quest, he starts wondering aloud about redemption and how maybe he was wrong about his supposedly evil ancestor, and then...he goes right back to his knee-jerk "zomg magic is TEH EBIL" reaction whenever we run into another magic-user. Oddly enough he seems to have very little problem with Edwin and none with me or Imoen.
    -if you want to do something with BG1, that's also cool--I'm nearly done with that as well (played a modded version), haven't done ToSC, but I do love the city of Baldur's Gate and how BG1 is better at giving the experience of being on the road, even if it's more frustrating from a player's standpoint.

    warriorofshadow good resource for any questions about BG2 since she started me on it, has played it a lot, and loves most of the characters I love (plus I've played a lot of it at her house)