I've been thinking some about my inability to hold myself to a single project - especially lately, I seem to just be bouncing around between ideas without ever really committing to one. But ... for the time being, this isn't a problem. I have to be patient with myself, because my mental and emotional bandwidth is being taken up by a lot of things that I'm sure everyone here is being affected by too. I like having an outlet for creative stuff here, and I'll keep drawing stuff, but I'm not in a place right now where I can work on anything elaborate, and for now that's fine.

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This isn't anyone in particular, but I've been feeling out more jackalope designs lately and trying to get the whole "hare" body type a little more settled. He's crouched over like that because I ran out of room on the page to make his antlers fit, but it made for a nice expressive pose.

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Just another "because I felt like it" sketch, here's a young dragon baseball player. His team, the Wyrmsborough Warriors, are based out of the underground sector of Elseways, a cavernous place built to look like it came out of a fantasy world. There are stone spires, timber-framed houses, lots of archways and stairs, and some of the city's best out-of-the-way restaurants and taverns. It's a good place to live if you're used to avoiding sunlight for whatever reason or if you just like your privacy, and it's big enough to have its own high school.

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Just a simple sketch tonight of Carmina studying an odd little spark of something. It's not cloth, so she can't manipulate it, but it's got a familiar scent of magic to it and she's trying to figure out just what it is.

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Chain is fun to draw. These are pictures of him early on in his story, before the accidents that give him his space-warping abilities. Chain is clumsy and accident-prone and has spent very little time outside his lab, so when someone suggests he head outside to gather the rings he needs for his research, he has no idea how to do anything.

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I'd gotten out of the habit of coloring things, but I found a new technique I wanted to try, so tonight's sketch is just a colored version of Graham. The turquoise housings on his cybernetic legs and spine are there to indicate maintenance hatches; it's common on anyone with cybernetics to mark them out in some distinctive way so medical personnel can tell the difference. In a job like Graham's, that's important.
The extra legs don't let him move much faster than he could anyway, but they're very strong and let him keep his balance even while carrying heavy loads.

There's a very subtle pun in his name that really only works if you pronounce it as in Japanese. Chain the Ringtail can be spelled as:
チェーン・ジ・γƒͺングテール
Drop the "tail" bit off the end, squeeze the spaces and long vowel out, and you get:
チェンジγƒͺング
"Changeling".

What does this mean? I'm not 100% sure yet, but I want to use it somewhere.

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A bit of a break from Xanadu stuff - this is a Sonic fan-character, of all things, because some friends of mine have been designing their own and I figured, well, why not? It's fun. Chain the Ringtail is a scientist, researching how rings work - specifically, the weird pocket dimensions that crop up when the larger ones show up. He's been exposed to enough of their energy that he's developed telekinetic control over rings, able to use them as projectiles, and he can slip through the larger ones to portal through them. If he could stay in "bonus stage world" permanently, he would, but he's never been able to stay longer than a minute or so.

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Hacha is a biote employed by Xanadu Station. She uses female pronouns despite being completely sexless, and her small size, skinny build, high-pitched voice, and general cheerful nature often lead people to assume she's a child. In fact, she's the station's chief maintenance officer; when she was created, it was with a full knowledge of the station's plans and workings, down to the last pipe and conduit. The dark pads on her hands and feet let her cling to walls and ceilings like a gecko, so if something scrambles past on the ceiling like a spider with a toolbox, it's her.
Hacha was one of Neena's creations, and one that the doctor enjoyed making. Hacha is even conscientious enough to give her mom a call sometimes.

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Biotes are artificial life forms, un-aging and grown in cylinders, and custom-built to perform specific tasks (and with a good part of their creators' particular style baked in). The thing that makes a biote isn't their body, though, but their mind; biotes are pre-programmed with all the knowledge they need to do a specific task well (plus the basics of being a person in a society, like how to speak and dress). They are highly specialized and very bad at learning anything else, and many people treat them no better than machines. After all, individuality isn't really something they're designed for. This led to the founding of the Ceres Polyhedron, a station near the asteroids, where biotes are free to live whatever life they're willing and able to.

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"Junkyard" Janice Gray is not part of Xanadu Station's staff, just someone who's been a constant presence there for decades and knows just about all the regulars. She runs a market stand trading in used ship parts - she buys them from salvagers (including a couple she employs for the purpose), fixes any minor problems, and sells them back to people looking for a specific bit of hardware. She's good at hacking together bits and pieces of things; she's made communication devices out of ship instruments.
That's not tobacco she's smoking, but a custom herbal blend she grows on her own. Her ship is home to a little greenhouse with custom grow-lights she also built, and she's fond of gardening in her time off.

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Graham, a silver-pelted centauroid with some cybernetic additions, is Xanadu Station's chief of security. He originally hailed from a fantasy-themed colony full of people who wanted to use high technology to replicate magic, myths, and legends, and even today he speaks with a distinct "ye Olde Fantasy English" accent. He was all-organic when he was born; the extra legs and some of his internals were replaced when he joined up with the criminal syndicate known as Mythos. His time there didn't last long, though, and once he reached the neutral ground of Xanadu where the authorities couldn't follow him, Taylor put him to work - first as a bodyguard, and eventually in the position he now holds.

The Xanadu Station logo is not just a stylized X, but also a reference to aleph-null. The smallest, friendliest, and most natural kind of infinity, which is a good metaphor for the setting.

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Commander Taylor is the nominal leader of Xanadu Station, an outpost far out in the same orbit as Saturn. Whether "Taylor" is his first or last name is unknown, and he'll gently correct anyone who calls him "Captain". It's known that this isn't his original body, but who or what he was before is another secret. His new shape is deliberately innocuous, though - he knows how to play up his cuteness when he needs to, and he's only about four and a half feet tall. Underneath that, though, is the mind of a leader who won't be threatened or bribed. He's got rock-solid integrity about keeping his station neutral and independent.
The Xanadu Station logo is the one on his chest; Kubla, the station AI, is on the monitor behind him in the form she usually takes.

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That's the "ringed planet" emoji, which I'm not sure works on all systems yet (it looks fine in iOS but is still a missing character box on my Windows desktop - ah well). It's the icon I'm using for the new Xanadu Station.
I've gotten a positive enough response to my ideas that I want to keep going this direction. There's a good setting there, but I need to figure a few more things out about it. Not world-building things (it's pretty solid in that regard) but questions like "what kind of stories work well here" and "what kind of roleplaying would be fun in it, and worthy of adding game mechanics to".

The most important thing about this new setting is the sense of scale. A planet is not the size of a city, nor would it ever only have a single culture. Even a small asteroid is still pretty huge. It really can take weeks to cross the solar system, and traveling to another star is out of the question. But that's fine, because there's room for a ton of interesting things here.

rambly worldbuilding (cw for seriously long) 

It would let me finally explain, though, that the Delyria guild badge is actually a person's private encryption key, and the corresponding public key is on the "face cards" you can hand out.

I'm having vague thoughts about combining all of my fictional settings into a single one. I wouldn't even have to change that much; there are already enough parallels to make it all work. Science-fantasy with "sufficiently advanced technology" all the way, but still clear limits on what's possible. Just generous ones.

What I don't have yet is a compelling use for a setting. My intuition is telling me "tabletop roleplaying game", and I'd love to combine all the ideas I had for one of -those- into something too, but that doesn't solve the bigger problem. If I want to get people interested in any kind of media, I have to make them want to be there in the world, and that means there has to be an interesting story that people want to be part of.

If you're trying to write rules for an RPG, are you trying to describe how a world works, or are you trying to make something fun to play? They're both valid goals, but frequently they're at odds with each other. I've usually leaned towards the former, but the latter might be worth trying.

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