"Yay, I'm a Sheep Again! ...Wait."

Sep. 24th, 2017 08:38 am
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
Kihai the Grandiose

I was supposed to run D&D last night but for various reasons (mostly related to insomnia) I hadn't had time to finish prepping. My game is at a particularly lore-intensive moment right now, and while monster encounters and action scenes are fairly easy to run off the cuff, getting the world right requires a little thinking ahead.

Luckily [personal profile] inkblitz stepped in with a fun little side-trip adventure for his game. Following last week's goblin-and-dragon-hunting jaunt, the party was in Greenfork, flush with cash. Kihai, raised in the desert by his semi-nomadic Tabaxi kinfolk and now a wandering monk, had never had as much as a hundred and thirty REAL gold pieces and immediately bought himself a fancy hat, a statue of the Cat Lord (actually just a cat-motif doorstop), and a bunch of other useless junk... most of which his Aunt Graycape immediately forced him to return, although she did insist he keep a platinum earring. (Little did he know that she was using the earring as part of a warding bond spell.)

The otherwise-placid morning was interrupted by... )

It was a fun session! Kihai is such a lovable little doofus that he's just as much fun when he fails at things as when he succeeds, although I still get frustrated at the way the dice tend to hobble things I should be good at. (Kihai has a high Dex and Wis, but rarely rolls higher than 6 or 8 on checks involving those. On the other hand, when asked for Investigation checks, at which he has -1, he rolls 18s. Go fig.) Blitzy has a good eye for a fun scenario, and the group did a little better at working together instead of at cross-purposes this time. The detail of the apprentice recognizing the bear's cloak, which I was just going on about for RP silliness, was a nice touch.

So, good game. :) And, as Blitzy has officially set his campaign in Orbis Leonis, it gave me some fodder for next week's session as well. I'll be back in the DM saddle then, by hook or by crook.

-The Gneech

[1] Immediately mangled to "Sheepbright," because Kihai seems to have difficulty getting people's names right.

[2] "It goes with the hat!"

[3] Kihai, being an elemental monk, can create small flame/air/water/earthy effects, but he has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to arcana, so he just made up a bunch of nonsensical junk. He's also a very bad bluffer. "I am the Great and Powerful Kihai! Kamazotz! Yakka-maraca!" But they never really expected the deception to last. They made it past the guards and got the door open, and that was a success.

[4] Which she actually managed to roll almost the minimum damage on (4d6 for 1, 1, 1, 2), but it was still enough!

Book Review: The Rosie Project

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:13 pm
deckardcanine: (Default)
[personal profile] deckardcanine
My mom likes reading up on Asperger's syndrome, if only because she raised me. When she's recommended such reading to me in the past, my interest has ranged from medium (Daniel Tammet's Born on a Blue Day) to low (John Elder Robison's Be Different), but a fictional story may help. In this case, the first-person narrator, genetics professor Don Tillman, studies up on Asperger's in the first chapter, but only when the Graeme Simsion novel is nearly over does he begin to entertain the idea that he may have it; he'd just assumed he was one of a kind.

Cut for length )

I have not decided what to read next. Maybe Stephen King's The Gunslinger, which is probably better than its new movie version.

As She Is Spoke

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:56 pm
deckardcanine: (Default)
[personal profile] deckardcanine
“Engrish” humor? Yes, I dig it.
Does that mean I am a bigot?
I think not; I recognize
That I have made pathetic tries
At other languages as well.
It’s simply hard for me to tell
How bad non-English errors get,
Despite translations on the Net.
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
Kihai, ready for some do-goodery!

Last night was the second session of [personal profile] inkblitz's D&D "off-game." Set in an out-of-the-way village named Greenfork, the adventure was a fairly straightforward campaign-starter type. Goblins have raided the village and kidnapped the miller's daughter, so a band of off-kilter newbie heroes head off to rescue her. The party consists of:

  • Qiphina, a halfling wizard specializing in divination (but who didn't get the chance to do much divining)

  • Lindhardt McGimm, a dwarf fighter with an axe in one hand and a hammer in the other

  • Kihai, a tabaxi monk made of cheerful

  • Graycape, a tabaxi cleric who is made of the opposite of cheerful and is Kihai's aunt and reluctant guardian angel

  • Sequoia, an unreasonably tall human druid (gonna guess he's played by Liam Neeson), and

  • Ixy the Fantabulous, a gnome bard who loves to strum his lute (not a euphemism) talk about his family


First Session
The first session took us to the goblin lair. On the way we did battle with an ill-tempered water snake and encountered a high-level wizard named Thorn, who entreated us, if we were going to go poking around the goblin hole, to look for a "round stone artifact."

The goblin hole itself... )

That ended the first session, with everyone gaining enough XP to hit second level. A very nice +1 Wisdom helmet recovered from the goblin leader was given to Sequoia, as it bumped his Wis bonus up.

Second Session
The party followed the old forest trail west, heading for the ruins to which the dragon had relocated. Suddenly Thorn popped up out of the trees to check in. The party informed him that his "round artifact" was not recoverable because it had hatched, to which he replied that he'd suspected it would. When they demanded to know why he hadn't mentioned that it was a dragon egg, he replied that he wasn't sure at the time.

They gave him the egg fragments (and the side-eye) and carried on. Further into the woods... ) The party wished the newlyweds dragon and wizard farewell, and escorted the miller's daughter home, with Ixy finally renaming the dragon Scintillax the Multicolored. We were rewarded with gold and enough XP to hit 3rd level.

Loose Ends for Future Tying
There are many questions to be answered, of course. Where is Scintillax from? He's clearly not a normal dragon. Is he a mutation? An experiment? His egg was acquired by the goblins after they wiped out the kobolds who initially occupied the cave, right? Since many kobolds worship dragons, could it be part of some larger kobold plan? Or the Cult of the Dragon? Scintillax's multi-colored nature points towards Tiamat.

Who were the glowy magic guys, and how did they come into existence? They referred to Scintillax as "the master" and were perusing high-level magics. One assumes that they were also the ones leaving notes around and complaining about goblins making off with the mask fragments. What's their deal?

Who the heck is Thorn? We gambled on the hope that he's basically good and that he and Scintillax will happily geek out over each other for the next hundred years, but we don't actually know anything about him except that he isn't exactly the bravest of wizards. He could be a Dragon Cultist himself for all we know.

Blitzy the DM, and Inter-Player Dynamics
For a first-time DM dealing with six particularly headstrong players, Blitzy did a great job! As a long-time DM myself there were spots where I would have handled things differently, but I did my best to keep my mouth shut and not cramp his style. Right now he's leaning quite a bit on the written adventure, but that's to be expected from someone learning the ropes. Given that our plan of "throw Thorn at the dragon" was completely from left field and apparently not addressed in the adventure, he did a good job of taking the narrative ball and running with it instead of just shutting it down because it wasn't "the right answer."

In terms of not cramping someone's style, however, I do need to be better about that in re: [personal profile] laurie_robey's wizard. Out of a desire to do something other than spam ray of frost there were a few times when she wanted to pull out burning hands or something else and Jamie and I both were like, "Save that for the dragon or multiple targets!" I was trying to be helpful, but really I shoulda just shut up and let her play the character the way she wanted. So, I apologize for that. Wizards aren't really her bag, but she ended up the wizard in this game because nobody else had claimed the role.

This particular party hasn't really pulled into a cohesive shape yet. Ixy wants to just go off and do his thing, Graycape wants to go off and do her thing in the opposite direction, Kihai wants to talk to all the things, Lindhardt wants to fight all the things. Qiphina and Sequoia don't seem to have an agenda other than "try to find some way to be useful," but that leads to them being overshadowed by the more aggressive players.

Every group goes through this, and every campaign even within the same group goes through this. It's a normal process, but it can be bumpy.

But the game was a lot of fun, and I am really eager to continue! I'll be back in the DM chair for the next session either way, tho. The characters are rich, and at one of the major dwarven cities of the world. Time for shopping! And backstory-revealing!

-The Gneech

August in Review

Sep. 11th, 2017 08:15 am
rowyn: (Default)
[personal profile] rowyn
Health/Fitness
My weight hasn't changed! Despite not exercising and eating crap. So there's that.

Lut was discharged from the hospital and went to rehab in August, which was actually pretty effective. He's still critically low on energy since he got home, but he is otherwise much closer to normal.

Writing
I set a writing goal for myself partway through the month, of 200 words of new fiction per day. This is a pretty trivial goal, and I still didn't always make it. Still, wrote around 5000 words on Demon Hunter, so that was something. \o/

I also started making some more notes for a different book in yet another setting. We'll see if this one gels.

The Business of Writing
I finished my penultimate editing pass on Scales (or whatever I'm finally calling it). I cut another 17,000 words out of it. It is still longer than A Rational Arrangement, but less than 5% longer now. Only about 3,200 of those removed words were entire scenes. The other 13,800 were entirely a matter of abbreviating scenes and rephrasing things to use fewer words, without changing the substance at all.

I am now doing a final proofreading pass, which is pretty much "check to see if any of those words you chopped out were actually important and you need to put them back" and "find the editing artifacts you introduced by trimming the book down by 8%." I'm on the last 100 pages (as of 9/10) so that'll be done soon. I will do one more read-through, but that's after Alinsa typesets it. That read-through is just to make sure that typesetting it doesn't introduce any new errors.

Art/Other
Nothing in August.

Socializing
I saw Corwyn a couple of times, but spent most of August at work/hospital/nursing facility.

Happiness
It was a hard month. Neither the hospital nor the nursing facility were fun places to be. September is better. Lut is home!

Goals for coming month
  • Finish proofreading Scales
  • Write 5000 words of Demon Hunter
  • Do some art for Scales and/or start editing book 2

One reason I got the Surface 3 was that i wanted to do some incidental art for Scales, and maybe some promotional images. I am not sure I will be happy enough to use anything I come up with, but we'll see! I might do something in the same silhouette style I used for ARA, but with different colors. And more individualized than the TME ones, since I don't need to worry about re-using them for a serial.

I am still pretty unambitious on creative goals (at 200 words per day, I'm going to write 6000 words of Demon Hunter). But a lot of stuff is still going on and I don't know what my new routine will look like.

Cake Wrecks: A Poem

Sep. 11th, 2017 12:12 am
deckardcanine: (Default)
[personal profile] deckardcanine
What defines a “cake wreck”? Well, first, it is a cake.
Most commonly, the decorator made a big mistake.
The message may have typos or be simply hard to read.
The overall design may not be fully as agreed.
The customer’s instructions may get written in the icing.
The form may be too warped for many folks to find enticing.
At times, there’s clearly talent, but it’s kinda gone to waste,
As someone placed an order that’s in questionable taste.
I figure the majority of “wrecks” are fine to eat,
As long as you ignore such shapes as fungus-laden feet,
But some use weird ingredients or toppers that they shouldn’t,
And some look awfully aged. Who’d bite into them? I wouldn’t.
In short, a lot of cakes appear created by a nut.
The good news is, their photos might just make you bust a gut.
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