Of Mooks and Monsters Episode 31 – Adaptations

(Sir Not Appearing in this Episode, Toshiro Mifune, “The Seven Samurai”)

This week on Of Mooks and Monsters it’s an episode all about adapting other media to use in your games.

No spoilers!

Share and enjoy!

And thanks for listening.

Tenlyres Chapter 38 – Flowering Lyre

Tim here.

Tenlyres: The Complete Serial Edition is out! For five dollars, get the complete story. Buying my ebooks is the best way to support the free content on this blog and help it continue.

At the top of the sidebar on my website there is an email list sign-up form. You can also sign up at this link. Signing up is also a great way to support the serial and show you want to keep seeing it.

Sign up for the mailing list at either location, and you will receive my new short story in the Tenlyres world, Mount Higatha, as well as a copy of Tenlyres II, for free!


Download Tenlyres I for free!

Buy Tenlyres: Complete and read the rest of the story right away!

Previous Chapter

Ilsa, Lemuel, and Tirica go to scout the nearest Lyre to Chogrum. They are looking for Uzan, but what will they find?


If we are to fight for any reason, let us face evil together.


Blooming flowers of every color surrounded the looming form of the Eastern Lyre. Ilsa realized what the Oshomi had told her was true, she understood why they always referred to it as “Flowering.” The plant piles close to the surface here made the name obvious by sending up their stalks for pollination.

She, Lemuel, and Tirica rode through the flowers. A shame their horses left hoof prints in the soil and disturbed the natural beauty. However, the flowers also made it easier to spot if anyone else had been poking around on a steed. Strider and runner prints would be effortless to spot in this field were steppe grass gave way to bright blossoms.

Like the other structures of Tenlyres Ilsa had seen, the easternmost was made of dark-colored stone, raised on a circular base, though this one lacked ramps. Metallic strings gleamed in the afternoon sun.

They left their horses beside the base. The animals could have leaped to reach the top, but they were already strained by the morning ride, and the stress would be unnecessary.

The three of them climbed the meter or so up onto the stone. She knew from what Lemuel had discovered about the lyres that, though the stone seemed still, they vibrated at a subtle frequency that made them impervious to the ravages of time. And they could morph to open up to allow access when the right notes were played on the lyre’s metal strings.

She led the way to the strings and looked up at the flat stone support stretching across the top of the lyre. Lemuel glanced at the broader of the two arms of the lyre, where a gate to the empty upper chamber could be opened. “Looks like part of it is still sealed.”

“Yeah,” said Ilsa. “Let’s keep it that way.”

If the lyre was opened entirely, as the central instrument had been, who could tell how many Uzan would be set free from its hidden chambers.

“I should study the piles around here,” said Lemuel. “See if they can tell us anything about the history.”

“I thought you two had been here before?” said Ilsa.

“We have. But I didn’t know what to look for back then.”

“I suppose it makes sense to check them before we play any notes.”

Tirica nodded. “Don’t want any surprises.”

“Right,” said Ilsa.

Lemuel and Ilsa walked to the edge of the raised base of the lyre. While the two of them climbed down to study the piles, Tirica took up a position by one of the lyre’s arms and began to scan the steppe around them through the scope of her rifle.

Ilsa was grateful to have someone watching, in case of nearby enemies. She was even more grateful she had not been forced to use her weapon bonds for a few weeks.

In that time she could feel the guns joined to her spirit silent, but ready as ever to spill blood and take life.

On the ground, among the flowers, Lemuel retrieved an interface tablet from his pack. He crouched down and jabbed the long needle that unfolded from one end of the screen into the stem of a flower.

The screen flickered into life, activated by the bioelectric battery within it. Information stored by natural plant piles could be difficult to decipher, but if one knew what to look for, one could uncover many things about the area in the vicinity of the pile.

Lemuel’s gaze moved over the stream of data points, mostly numbers with only a few words to label the units and title the columns. The interface translated the pile’s information into simple characters when connected.

“Looks like someone has been around here in the last ten hours. Three someones today,” he said. “One is average height, but low step pressure. Someone lightly built. The other two are a lot bigger.”

“How big?” Ilsa asked, leaning in to look at the screen, though its digits and characters made little sense to her.

“Well, they could be Uzan, but a human the size of someone like Ozleji Sammhar would be about as heavy.”

Ilsa’s blood ran cold for a moment at the thought of Sammhar, though she knew he remained a prisoner of the Vogmem nomads allied with Siuku. She had out-shot him more than once, but it did not ease her completely, as it shouldn’t for any of her father’s apprentices.

“I can’t see anything else out of the ordinary,” said Lemuel. “My guess is, even if there are Uzan around, they haven’t found the way to open up the lyre yet. It would be obvious if they had.”

“Definitely,” said Ilsa. “Is there anything else out here to see about?”

“I doubt it. If one of the piles has information the others don’t, then it would still be like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

The two of them climbed back onto the base of the lyre. Tirica nodded to them. “The plains look clear to me,” she said.

“You ready to have a look inside?” Ilsa asked.

Lemuel folded his little hand into his big one. “It’s funny. Just this spring I couldn’t have imagined ever going inside a lyre. Now, I don’t know how much there is to learn down there.”

“Being trapped in one of them for a week could make anyone nervous,” Ilsa said.

“The smell of days of our own excrement. The threat of death outside.” Lemuel wrinkled his nose. “How could I forget?”

Ilsa took a deep breath and produced one of her pistols from her brand. She took her scroll case from her belt and handed it to Lemuel.

The paper inside carried the instructions to play the notes to open the top chamber of the lyre. Ilsa had written them down during their stay within the Central Lyre. Later, she had added notes on what she suspected other tunes might do after her father used the relic song pistols to open the entire instrument and free its Uzan. She had only had time to think in the evenings on their ride east after escaping the mountains.

Lemuel unrolled the scroll. “Okay, just a few strings to hit.” He related the information Ilsa half-remembered on her own.

She loaded her pistol and took a deep breath. A stray shot could bring out Uzan, but she would not miss. She took aim at the first string. “I’m ready.”

She pulled the trigger. Pivoted. Pulled the trigger again. The strings sounded more like heavy bells than an ordinary lyre, but as she played, the sound came out deep and distinct, even over the sound of Ilsa’s gunshots.

If I’m not going deaf from playing these yet, I will be soon, Ilsa thought. She completed the brief tune and lowered the pistol.

Tirica let her rifle hang in the sling around her shoulders and applauded, then jerked forward, startled by the lyre’s stone moving near her. Lemuel smirked as the wall beside Tirica opened up into a passage leading downward.

“It still amazes me the way this place works,” he said with a note of awe in his voice.

Ilsa nodded to him. They walked toward the passage, side by side. “Tirica,” said Ilsa. “Can you stay out here and keep watch?”

“Can do,” said the girl. “Someone here has to look out for trouble.” She walked a few paces away from the passage and sat down nearby. “Don’t you two distract each other down there.”

“Distract each other?” Lemuel flushed. “Sister, I don’t know—”

“I know what you two have been doing when we camp at night. And it isn’t all making notes and plans in your tent alone.”

Lemuel’s face grew redder than Ilsa had ever seen before. She stifled a laugh with her hand. Tirica did not bother hiding her own mirth.

“Sister, please,” said Lemuel. “It is not polite.”

“Brother, really?” Tirica seemed to choke on her laughter. “I’m happy for you. Besides, Ilsa doesn’t mind. That’s obvious.”

He waved his hands. “Ilsa has more experience with this sort of thing than I do.”

“That is not the sort of thing most men just admit, you know,” said Tirica.

Lemuel froze, suddenly silent, but still red.

“Your brother isn’t most men. He’s an uncommon genius.” Ilsa put a hand on Lemuel’s arm.

Everything from Lemuel’s ears to his chin flushed after that.

Tirica shook her head, then sat back against the lyre’s arm. She adjusted the scope while making a disgusted expression. “Alright, that was more than I needed to know.”

“Shouldn’t have pushed,” mumbled Lemuel. He started down the passage into the lyre. Ilsa followed him with a smile at Tirica as she walked past the girl.

Tirica pulled a disgusted face.

As they descended out of earshot of Tirica, Lemuel took a deep breath and turned to her. “An uncommon genius? Did you really mean that?”

“Of course I did. You figured out more about lyres than anyone since the ancients.”

He started to speak but stopped himself. They continued to follow the dark sloping passage, illuminated by glowing stone streaks along the walls on either side of the five-meter-broad passage.

They emerged into the empty chamber under the base of lyre visible on the surface. It appeared to be identical in structure and dimensions to the one in the Central Lyre.

“Not much to see here,” she said.

“Maybe. Maybe not.” Lemuel followed the glowing lines in the stone along one of the walls. “If the passage above can be opened with a song, there could be other chambers accessible from this one using different notes.”

“Siuku definitely seemed to think so.” Ilsa frowned. “She didn’t know any of those songs, though. just the one that opened the prisons of the Uzan, and the one that got us down here.”

“If we have time, we should experiment with different notes.” He furrowed his brow. “Something tells me there are other passages out from here.”

“Intuition? You?”

“I know, I usually prefer data. But sometimes one has to make a hypothesis and then test it to learn. In this case, the hypothesis of songs is that they can help us learn without also freeing more Uzan.”

“The hypothesis of songs,” said Ilsa. “Sounds pretty poetic.”

“That’s more your field than mine,” he said. “History, information, lyre lore, that’s my skill set. You’re the one with words. I’m glad you’re writing them down now.”

Ilsa followed him along the wall a few more paces then stopped. “I only do that when I think you’re asleep.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t used to do it at all.”

“Cass told me I should, back at the lake.”

“I think she’s right. You’re still a priestess of Hathani, even without your staff.”

“I’m starting to feel that way again,” Ilsa said. “Sometimes I wasn’t all that sure what I really believed.”

“Well.” He turned to face her. He took her free hand in his larger one. “We rely on each other to figure that out. At least, that’s how it seems to me.”

She pulled him close and they shared a kiss hot as summer in the cool chamber.

“I keep counting on you,” she said as they drew apart.

Two gunshots cracked the air. The sounds echoed down the passage to reverberate inside the chamber.

“Shit,” said Ilsa. “Unfriendly company.”

“That was Tirica’s rifle.” He reached for the revolver holstered at his belt.

She turned toward the entrance and raised her pistol. They ran for the surface.


Thanks for reading. Sign up for my mailing list to show your support for Tenlyres. The form is at the top of the sidebar on timniederriter.com. Or, click the mailing list link here.

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Of Mooks and Monsters Episode 30 – Pro Wrestling Actual Play

This week on Of Mooks and Monsters Tim sits down in the player seat and Rob runs an RPG to playtest one of his own systems: A professional wrestling RPG.

So join the Canadian Python, Goliath Kong, and the rest of the federation for a royal rumble… and it’s hilarious aftermath.

Share and enjoy.

Tenlyres Complete Release

My latest book, a little novel called Tenlyres, is out today!

For those who have been reading the serial, this release goes all the way to the end of the story. That is well ahead of the spot where the serial is right now.

It’s been a hard road, writing this book. It’s been worth it. Buy a copy for the price of a cup of coffee and support me and the serial.


Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZDLPIB

Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MZDLPIB

Thanks for reading.

Tenlyres Chapter 37 – Across the Divide

Tim here.

Tenlyres: The Complete Serial Edition is out! For five dollars, get the complete story. Buying my ebooks is the best way to support the free content on this blog and help it continue.

Also, at the top of the sidebar of my website there is an email list sign-up form. You can also sign up at this link. Signing up is also a great way to support the serial and show you want to keep seeing it.

Sign up for the mailing list at either location, and you will receive my new short story in the Tenlyres world, Mount Higatha, as well as a copy of Tenlyres II, for free!

Download Tenlyres I for free!

Buy Tenlyres: Complete and read the rest of the story right away!

Previous Chapter

Some time after the battle of Howling Pass, Ilsa and a small group of allies ride east toward Chogrum.

If we are to ride for any reason, let us ride as one people.


Ilsa rode the dappled gray steppe horse into the Filami village. Over the past month, she had become used to the animal, though it was completely unlike any strider or runner. In a way, that seemed fitting for a ride to Chogrum, a city where she had never been before. Everything became strange at once.

The village was tiny, as were most of the Filami settlements on the plateau of Yr. And like the rest, it was located in an area rich with underground plant piles. Atalem, however, had a dire distinguishing feature. It was the closest settlement of any kind to the Eastern Lyre, the place where Uzan slept closest to Chogrum.

If an attack was going to surprise the Prince of Chogrum, it would come from the lyre south of Atalem. The maps of the Oshomi called it the Flowering Lyre. The nomad warriors who rode with Ilsa assured her she would understand why they did once she saw it.

For the first time in years, she rode without Blue close by. Her friend was with a group of nomads further north, but also on their way eastward. They would reach Heaven’s Lyre, located just a little further west than Ilsa was now, and make certain the Gray Lector and Black Powder did not try to raise another demonic army from it.

Even so, her friend felt close.

Ilsa touched the egg-shaped locket that contained a bit of plant pile and hung from a string around her neck. It had once belonged to Ashnia Haram, but Blue had repurposed it to amplify Ilsa’s sense of spirits, at least as it applied to humans.

She had been skeptical at first but learned that if she focused a little, Ilsa could send a short message to Blue over seemingly any distance. Useful, in keeping their two groups in contact with each other while not sending out radio signals or messengers.

Her horse snorted as they passed a bale of Filami winter root. The hottest part of summer was approaching, but evidently, the people of Atalem still had some of their winter crops left over. Winter root could grow deep within piles and be extracted without damaging the rest of the organism if one knew where to dig.

Ilsa supposed the Filami here had mastered that sort of knowledge long ago. She pulled on the reins to slow her horse. That had taken some adjustment, as opposed to a whisper or flex of posture which would have sufficed to control a strider.

Siuku, the Keeper of Tenlyres, caught up with Ilsa, riding bareback with no reins, and brought her horse to a stop in the center of Atalem’s main street. Villagers emerged from some of the nearby houses with caution. Some even held firearms, though none had the weapons readied.

Ilsa understood their caution. Oshomi like Siuku and the rest of the band riding with Ilsa sometimes raided the Filami villages near them for goods and supplies. Still, she doubted it would come to violence here, and if it did, Ilsa could quickly disarm the Filami without killing them. She doubted any of them had weapon bonds, and she was confident she could out-shoot unbonded marksmen.

Siuku called out to the villagers in the steppe’s trade language. “Do not fear. We are not raiders.”

A murmur ran through the Filami. A few of them came closer to the keeper.

Siuku continued, “I am the Keeper of Tenlyres, and I seek to protect all of Yr from the awakening of Asurdeva.”

More murmurs. One of the Filami elders waved his arm at Siuku. She turned toward him. “What is it?” Her voice lost much of its grandeur. When she lowered the volume it went back to its usual monotone.

“You are Oshomi. When have the Oshomi protected anything?”

“I speak for all Oshomi now, not those of the past. In the coming days, we must all act as one if we are to survive.”

The Filami exchanged glances as more Oshomi from Ilsa’s group rode into the village, and along with them, Lemuel and Tirica Chollush. The scholar Ilsa loved, and his sister made their way toward her on their own horses, having also traded their striders to keep better pace on this ride east. She glanced in their direction.

Lemuel gave her a nod, more confident in their relationship after their time in the mountains. Ilsa felt the same way about things. They had held together under pressure without collapsing inward. She turned and rode to the keeper’s side.

Ilsa raised both her branded hands. “She speaks the truth. I am a priestess of the Unification. I am not Oshomi, and you can trust the keeper’s words.”

Another elder shook her head. “I have heard the Keeper of Tenlyres rides the lands in the center of the steppe. Peaceful or not, why should we believe you are who you say?”

Siuku bowed her veiled head. “I would not ask you to trust me on faith alone. Have you anyone with cuts or wounds among you?”

The second elder’s lined faced pinched into a frown. “The young occasionally cut themselves on the digging blades. What are you suggesting?”

“Bring me anyone with an open wound, and I will heal them.”

After a few minutes of jostling and whispers and then some talk among the elders, a young man with a bandaged forearm walked forward.

Siuku climbed down from her horse and unfastened one side of her veil. She carefully opened up the bandage with deft hands. Then, she touched the exposed wound in front of the crowd of Filami. Light flickered beneath her fingers.

The young man’s eyes went wide and he stared at the smooth skin left behind from Siuku’s touch.

“It’s true,” he exclaimed. “The Keeper of Tenlyres can heal the wounded.”

Siuku held out her hands, fingers streaked with small traces of the young man’s blood. “I have been given this power by the spirits. Please, trust that I will not betray you.”

The villagers crowded closer, their fear abated. A miracle has a way of convincing, Ilsa thought.

She suspected Siuku’s abilities were more similar to the powers of a mind eater or other magus than the keeper herself did, but the evidence was light. For one thing, Siuku’s mind did not seem to cloud with the after effects, which was a difference between her and any type of magi but the ones referred to as mind eaters.

Her powers had physical influence. That meant if she was a magus she should be emanating traces of illusive fog as well when she used them. But that never happened either.

The Keeper of Tenlyres remained mysterious to Ilsa, even after being healed by her more than once.

Siuku healed more wounded villagers. The elders inspected each one and eventually motioned for the other Oshomi to dismount. After that, many of the villagers left to prepare a feast. Others stepped forward to help the Oshomi tend to their tired horses. The band of the keeper was welcomed to Atalem with food from the local stores of crops.

As the meal came to a close a few hours later, and most of the nomads and villagers had finished eating, Ilsa and Lemuel were sitting on a wooden bench facing south, where sunlight spilled down from a cloudless sky. Siuku was talking with the village elders at a table nearby, and Ilsa caught a familiar word one of the Filami said in a soft voice.


Ilsa rose from the bench and looked toward the table, sharpening her ears to better listen in.

“Uzan,” said Siuku. “They can be difficult to detect. But you say they moved about in the night?”

“Yes. South of here, by the field of flowers,” said the elder. “There are not many of them, but there need not be to threaten our village.”

“I understand,” said Siuku. “My people will investigate the place at once.”

“You are generous, Keeper of Tenlyres.”

A rumble of agreement came from the other elders.

“If we are to be friends, we must share what we have. And I have warriors.” Siuku bowed to the elders. When she raised her head, she did not look in Ilsa’s direction, but motioned her closer to the table with one hand, eerily aware of Ilsa’s location.

“Priestess,” said the keeper. “It seems our visit to the Flowering Lyre must be today.”

“It makes sense,” said Ilsa. “I can look into it right away.”

“I will send a few of my warriors with you.”

Lemuel and Tirica approached behind Ilsa. The Chogrumian siblings drew Ilsa and Siuku’s attention.

“With respect, your holiness,” said Lemuel, “But my sister and I have studied this lyre before. We should go as well.”

“A good idea,” said Siuku. “Go now if you can. I will send a group of warriors to join you once I have them readied.”

“Thank you, keeper.” Ilsa glanced at Lemuel and Tirica. “Are you sure? This could be dangerous.”

“You know how to kill Uzan.”

“That doesn’t make it easy. Or safe.”

He shrugged. “Nothing out here is safe. Chogrum will be sending troops to fight Ayoch and Dal any day now. And who knows how many Uzan there will be.”


“You can’t get rid of us that easily,” said Tirica with a grin.

“I know.” A smile tugged at the corners of Ilsa’s lips. “We’ve been across half of Yr together.”

“Damn right,” said Tirica.

They went to retrieve their horses. Once mounted, they rode south toward the place where wild flowers bloomed from the plant piles. The easternmost artifact of Tenlyres.


Thanks for reading. Sign up for my mailing list to show your support for Tenlyres. The form is at the top of the sidebar on timniederriter.com. Or, click the mailing list link here.

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Of Mooks and Monsters Episode 29 – Tenlyres Actual Play Special

We have a big show for you this week, folks.

Tim’s novel, Tenlyres is out for preorder (And paperback) right now, and in honor of that, enjoy this game set in the Tenlyres world. (Amazon)

But that’s not all! This game session features the talents of not only Rob Ward as a player, but also three special guests.

James Silverstein (Author and badass)

Denise Lhamon (Author and Illustrator)

And Dave Robison (@WritersPodcast on twitter, creator of the Roundtable Podcast, as well as many other fabulous things)

Together, we five plunged into this game and for a few hours managed to hold back the tide of war… and had a really good time.

Share and enjoy. Social media links are below.

RPG Making


I have hit my stride over the past couple weeks in designing stuff for this RPG I’ve had on my mind for the last 5 years.

The RPG? A tabletop game based on S. John Ross’ Risus, the Anything RPG.

I call my version of it Risus Hack, but perhaps I should think of a different name because of how much the game has grown from the base I started running as a senior in college.

I think it’s still a simple game, though one with a lot of room for fiddling.

As I get restarted on “Spurring the Beast” (Sequel to last year’s first book, “Hunter and Seed”) I keep having RPGs in the back of my thoughts. That may have something to do with running an RPG podcast every week. And, oh boy. Fans of the Of Mooks and Monsters podcast are in for a treat over the next few weeks.

I have to credit the show with a lot of my recent enthusiasm for games and stories. Turns out, going back to my roots as a game master and player has been good for my brain. Soon, I hope to have a version of Risus Hack available for download. I am not sure if I should charge for it. And if I do charge, how much should I?

I guess I had better get to work.

I’ve put a lot of work into this game. I look forward to sharing it in the near-future.

Thanks for reading.

Tenlyres is still available for Pre-Order. Buy me a cup of coffee and get a full novel in return.


Spell My Name

It has come to my attention over the past few years that I have a difficult author name.

It’s true. I remember as a kid my siblings and I all had a rite of passage. We had to learn to spell our own last name for school.

Having all reached college-level education at this point, we obviously managed it. Despite the hurdle seemed pretty high when I was younger, however. And I don’t blame anyone for having difficulty with such a complicated moniker.

With the release of Tenlyres imminent, I worry (Because I’m a worrier) that the difficult name makes searching tough.

For that reason, I made a little poem here to help people spell “Niederriter.”
Spell Niederriter! (2017)

Start with an “N”
Then put “i” before “e”
Add a “d” and an “e”
Two “r’s” side by side,
With an “i” next…
Fit in one “t”
And with an “e” and an “r” spell out Niederriter!
Pronounced: Need A Writer!
Thanks for reading.

(Picture Texture by sirius_sdz. sirius-sdz.deviantart.com)

Tenlyres Now Available for Preorder

I am not going to beat around the bush.

“Tenlyres: The Complete Serial Novel” is now available for preorder on Amazon.com and Kobo.


*Available in more stores soon.

For those not yet familiar with the story, “Tenlyres” is an epic fantasy with advanced technology, ancient monuments, and plenty of action. Everything is shown from the point of view of the heroin. The pace is quick. Even if you don’t normally read epic fantasy you should give this book a try.

As you can probably tell, I am super excited about this release.

For those who have been following the serial, this volume contains everything that has been serialized so far, as well as the conclusive final part of the novel. All of these parts got another coat of polish and edits to make everything fit together tight. So even if you’re up to date on the serial go buy this version.

I’m very proud of the book. Support me and my writing career by checking it out at the links above.

The book releases officially on February 7th.

Time to ride east.

Thanks for reading.

Of Mooks and Monsters Episode 28 – Intelligence Ramblings

This week on Of Mooks and Monsters, Rob and Tim start out thinking they were only discussing unintelligent characters. Later, we discovered the real subject of this show was character intelligence in general.

And off we go, rambling and storytelling.

Even more than usual, thanks for listening.

Share and enjoy!