And I feel the same way about other religions. Shut the f' up!
21 December 2011
And I feel the same way about other religions. Shut the f' up!
15 December 2011
Another big injection of gaming comes from surfing the internet. This site is a goldmine, particularly today's photos. If you're a gamer interested in dungeon delving, you simply must follow this tumblr site.
22 November 2011
Quiz Question: Where was this picture taken? source: AJE
Its not hard to imagine this being Cleveland instead of Cairo.
13 November 2011
Tomorrow starts another early morning as I get up at 6:30 am and am off to the San Francisco to survey the damage of last week's layoff. At least I'll be home at a decent hour and can sleep on the train there and back.
Also, tomorrow starts the induction period for NHE yet again.
10 November 2011
I was in the cab riding to the office. There's a busy intersection right outside the office. Cars, bikes, rickshaws, cows, dogs, pedestrians, motorcycles, scooters, you name it. They all crowd through the intersection all times of day and night.
As we turn through the intersection I notice a young chap and a policeman talking alongside the road. It seemed rather innocuous and I gave it little attention at first. However, for seeming no apparent cause, just as the cab passed the duo the policeman reached out, grabbed the young fellow by the hair, pulled him forward and gave him a hard karate chop across the side of the neck.
The blow nearly knocked the victim over as he tried to pull away. There was absolutely no visible threat from the young man. Pure police brutality. Uncalled for.
For shame India. Shame on you!
07 November 2011
Noisms at Monsters and Manuals things we need to talk more about some stuff.
Book binding. (I can't be the only person who bemoans the way new rulebooks tend to fall apart like a sheaf of dry leaves after about 5 seconds of use).
I'm all digital these days.
"Doing a voice". How many people "do voices"? Should they? How do you get better at "doing a voice" if that's your thing?
I almost never do voices, though when the inspiration for the NPC is someone I've known I often break out into voices.
Breaks. How often do you have breaks within sessions?
We have marathon sessions of 6 hours or more - most often without breaks. Players come and go as their character enter or leave the action. There are frequent scenes where a character is out of the action for one reason or another (we don't generally do underground dungeons), so individuals can take breaks regularly.
There's so much gaming to cram into a session that my descriptions usually have one or two senses described (most often visual or auditory, with the occasional scent or general malaise.) Players' imagination of a scene is much better than I can describe improvisationally.
Oddly, the characters in our games tend to not be murderous cretins most of the time.
Players generally act in concert at our gaming table; but, player-vs-player activity does happen every couple of sessions. Its very much in character when it happens. Perhaps the worst bout was when I was a player and, honor bound by an oath to my king, I challenged another player to single combat. Although wounded, my character triumphed and the other player had to roll up another character.
Improvisational theater with dice.
Players are welcome to consume whatever vice they please so long as they don't disrupt the table. As referee, I can't really do my job well even after a single drink or drag. So I stay sober.
What's acceptable to do to a PC whose player is absent from the session? Is whatever happens their fault for not being there, or are there some limits?
We aim to start and end an adventure all in one sitting. Thus we have marathon sessions. Absent players' characters are also absent. This is true even when the adventure stretches multiple sessions, in which case we simply turn a blind eye to a character not being there for one session but present for another.
04 November 2011
Either way, its terribly rude to wake up everyone at that time of day. I guess I should expect no better from religious idiots. Rude and insufferable to the core! Every last one of them.
01 November 2011
Traffic is still insane here, maybe even worse than Noida. On the 6 lane super-highway between here and the airport there were frequent breaks - as in the highway disappeared and we drove on dirt and rubble for a kilometer or two. There's also the incessant horns and crazy number of animals about. But there isn't the same amount of refuse or rampant homelessness that you find in New Dehli (at least not in the areas I rode through at night.)
The weather is also beautiful here. I'm currently eating breakfast on a veranda over a swimming pool. There's a gentle breeze sifting through palm fronds and fig trees. The ground is a bit muddy and the skies washed clean from last night's thunderstorms.
Unfortunately, the relaxing breakfast will end all too soon as the work is piled high over the next few weeks. I doubt I'll get to see the city much at all, even on the weekend.
31 October 2011
Below are ten possible characters for players to pick up. They are split into four groups:
- A Dark Gothic Party of evil Chaos worshippers.
- A Bright Chaos Party with a sorceress from Melniboné itself.
- A Domain of Man Party trying to bring Balance and Law to a troubled world.
- Random characters that would fit in any of the above three parties.
The characters are purposefully unbalanced, as I think our group can handle that type of situation very well and come up with a good story. Relative power levels (10 = bad ass, 1 = red shirt) are given for each character.
Dark Gothic Party
Play two truly evil characters and worshippers of chaos: a high priest of death and his cousin, a mercenary captain with a dubious past.
Prefect Thule Krin, Governor of Mist Marsh Colony
High Priest of Chardhros (The Reaper of Souls, Lord of Chaos)
Power Level 10
Thule rules over his dank demesne with brooding animosity. Upon dominating the Demon Grishom and invoking Lassa, Ruler of the Open Sky, Thule was acknowledged a master of his craft. The Theocrat, envious and threatened by those who reach such degenerate depths so aptly, could not retaliate boldly without angering Thule’s allies at the Temple of Chaos. So Thule was awarded a prefecture and governorship on a far flung southern colony.
Thule bides his time tithing the miserable swampfolk and watching over white capped waves of the Dragon Sea. He waits for an opportunity to rise in glory and power so that he might return triumphantly to his homeland in Pan Tang.
Pangaarl Krin, Corsair of Pan Tang
Power Level 6
Noble blood in the Theocracy can mean only one thing, fighting. A scion of the House of Krin, Pangaarl chose to escape deadly politics of Hwamgaarl by hiring a ship of cutthroats to ply the Dragon Sea. Pangaarl’s ship was shattered while chasing a merchant cog into the Serpents Teeth, a stretch of coastline noted for treacherous shoals and powerful currents. Bankrupt but alive, Pangaarl found his way south into the shifting sands of the Silent Lands. There he led his few remaining ne’er-do-wells into raids on the weak and impoverished swampfolk who lived in fetid swamps along the northern edge of the sandy dunes.
The Lords of Chaos smiled upon Pangaarl when his cousin, Thule, was appointed governor of Mist Marsh. Pangaarl now works as Prefect Thule’s mercenary captain at the Castle of Tumbling Lotus.
Bright Chaos Party
Play an exotic Melnibonéan enchantress and her bodyguard.
Eralda of Melniboné, Sorceress of the 3rd Circle
Power Level 9
Always hungry to read, Eralda devoured every treatise, book, tome and scrap of paper that could be found in the Mistral Tower. She soon grew bored of the vapid meanderings of her friends’ drug-addled thoughts and sought the deeper knowledge of her ancestors. Eralda cajoled, coerced or stole whatever secrets she could from the decadent Melniboné wizards. She slowly built an impressive grimoire of summonings, bindings and evocations to rival any of those in the Dreaming City. Eralda reckoned herself ready for any challenge.
When a human merchant offered Eralda’s father her uncle’s library, Eralda found the money to purchase the waterlogged books herself. She carefully sifted through them. Disappointed at not actually finding any jewels of sorcerous insight, Eralda nevertheless admired her uncle’s meticulous observations of the chaos tendrils over which he’d built his laboratory. Intrigued and eager for adventure, Eralda hired an Imrryrian pinnace to take her to her uncle’s last abode.
Bek, Eshmir Slave
Power Level 5
Slave and lover to Eralda, Bek is devoted to her mistress. In return, Eralda takes a keen interest in the lithe girl and cares for her as someone might a beloved pet. To please Bek, Eralda ensured Bek was instructed in the use of buckler and short sword. Bek has now twice saved Eralda from worse than death on nighttime escapades: once forcing the Conjurer Abdin-go-Rushi of Shazaar to release a grating nemesis bound to his personal protection; and, and once gutting two Vilmirian guards menacing Eralda in the twisted streets of Old Hrolmar.
Bek stands beside Eralda as the two gaze warily out to sea over the pinnace’s bow.
Domain of Man Party
The only non-chaotic party, this group sets out on a holy quest in service to the Ruler of Elemental Earth and Servitor of Balance.
Isabelle, Jeweler of Belrain
Power Level 8
Isabelle was born into the wealthy family of a jeweler to Duke Belrain. The priests of Grome, Ruler of Earth and Stone, recognized the latent sorcery in her veins. Pressed into worship in the caverns under the central highlands, Isabelle longed for her family and friends along the coastal towns of Belrain. Unable to devote herself fully to Grome, she slowly drifted away from the Deep Mystery. When she found herself pregnant, she left the cult’s warrens and returned home.
Isabelle was crushed when her child was stillborn. Seeking solace, she left again for Grome’s cavern temples. Isabelle found the droning incantations to stone and soil a way to soothingly forget her pain. Though she did not enter the priesthood, she eventually reached the First Depth. As a Shephard, Isabelle learned to care for the luxuriant plants and magical herbs that grew in verdant gardens above the temples.
Isabelle fears the holy quest all devotees must undergo at their reaching of the First Depth. With hesitant hope, she sends word to her lover of old in hopes that he will come to her aid.
Sir Antin Ul-Kurick of Girnoble
Power Level 5
A gallant knight from the land of Vilmir, Sir Antin has family scattered across the many realms of the Young Kingdoms. Before gaining his inheritance he sailed the wide world, eventually making a semi-permanent home in the opulent city of Belrain along the western coast of the Isle of Purple Towns. There he met and fell in love with a common lady of the bourgeoisie, who took herself at times away from the dark inland temples back to her homeland by the sea. Though he could not marry someone of low birth, he treated her well and the two kept a dalliance whenever she returned. Antin was called home when his father fell gravely ill.
Sir Antin put the household in order after his father's death. Then began the slow, drudging days of stewarding the family estate. When word came from his old beloved, Isabelle of Belrain, Antin leapt at her plea for help. He left his sister as steward of the estates, gathered his horse and squire, and hired a vessel out to sea.
Deacon Elga Gonwin
Power Level 5
Dour and efficient, Deacon Elga quickly found her calling in the inland temples. Raised in the soggy highlands of the Isle of Purple Towns, Deacon Elga was naturally drawn to the workshops of Grome. Never one for delicate metalwork or fancy gemstones, Elga preferred to beat out plowshares and horseshoes for her family and village. Her strength slowly grew to rival that of most men, though always others gawked at the bulky woman who toiled at the forge.
Lacking talent to coax the essence of Earth to her bidding, Elga nevertheless took heart in the tranquil silence of worshipping Grome. She grew more devoted to her god. A certain benevolent joy began to pervade her being. She learned to treat the minor pains and discomforts of those around her. In servitude to the Lord of Earth and Stone, Elga accepted the mantle of Deacon of the First Depth.
Elga now calmly faces the trials before her, confident her soul will find the peaceful repose of Earth whatever may happen to her body.
Characters for Any Party
Power Level 1 (or 5, depending on how he’s played)
Fan-Liet’s own opinion of himself matched that of others around him, stupid and weak. Too small to work as a man in the rice fields, Fan-Liet was relegated to the backbreaking work of the planting women. Finding peace by taking his makeshift coracle out upon the rocky sea, he learned to navigate the deadly currents of the Serpents Teeth around his village home. Nobody seemed to miss him when he sailed off alone, so his jaunts began to grow longer and more daring. At times he would spend three or four days away from home, exploring jagged cliffs and deep firths cut into the coastal mountains.
One day Fan-Liet saw a graceful ship sailing briskly through the choppy sea. Thinking the captain foolhardy to use canvas in such wind, Fan-Liet lingered to see what might happen to the vessel. Perhaps when its hull was torn out from beneath it Fan-Liet could salvage some golden trinket and be rich!
Odonata, Myrrhyn Bowman
Power Level 6
The insect-like race of Myrrhyn make most humans’ blood run cold. Few find any compunction against killing Myrrhyn simply due to their alien countenance. Nevertheless Myrrhyn vary as much in demeanor and outlook as any human civilization, though often they feel closest to their goddess Straasha.
Odonata is a poet at heart, traveling the world to witness the colorful variety of life throughout the Young Kingdoms. Though somewhat small and fragile by human standards, Odonata finds many who are willing to pay good bronze for his ability to shoot accurately from on wing.
Dorkara-Bel-Mek, Dreg of Society
Power level 3
A lowly peasant from a decrepit land, Dorkara-Bel-Mek scrounges a living off the efforts of others. The Org were once a powerful race of sorcerers; but, the eons have thinned their blood and addled their brains. Now they are a disreputable lot of hirsute dwarfs cowering beneath the eaves of their tangled forest homes. Some ancient longing in Dorkara’s heart drew her to the excitement of human cities. There she found only the same misery of her homeland. Dorkara knew remorse and pitied herself.
Now Dorkara skulks human lands looking for whatever means she can to survive.
24 October 2011
Occupy Wall Street is not difficult to understand
17 October 2011
14 October 2011
Thereafter miraculous bounties of river fish and crustaceans came. Moreover, thick brambles sprouted from ruined stumps. Some life came back to the naked trees, flittering through burning evening sunlight. The people were saved. By the following summer the fish were gone; but, brambles bore nuts or fruit each according to its kind. Again, Postcombe's peasants fed themselves well.
In time, Ymōraj completely dominated the steward's psyche. The demon mercilessly tormented his captive's tattered soul. Ymōraj longed to display his proud accomplishment and so called for the Lampton Worm, who came crawling on scaled feet to witness for their master. The summoning left satanic scrawl spiraling around Postcombe Chapel. In reward for good service, the Devil granted Ymōraj leave to corrupt the Lord Marshal.
When Ymōraj led a winter hunting expedition to Tarnish Combe each man brought home three stags. Ymōraj, occupying the steward's body, impressed them all by bagging a snowy white hart. He came to be known as the Hero of Postcombe. While the blight spread like a parasite to Lord Marshal Rhodri's other holdings, the peasants of Postcombe where fed by bartered grain and venison all year long.
Ymōraj attended his landlord at the next Good Friday's Horse Race. Ymōraj begged to be made squire to any vassal knight under the commander. Rhodri refused and sent him back to Postcombe. Each year Ymōraj returned and was sent back home disappointed. Yet all the while the demon planted evil seeds in Rhodri's soul. He cultivated a hatred against neighboring Duke Ulfius. Blood spilt between the two great lords.
One day Ulfius and Rhodri faced each other upon the field. Ymōraj made plain the depths of his treachery by fighting against his former lord. Ymōraj attacked from behind while Rhodri held against Duke Ulfius. The Lord Marshal's men overpowered Ulfius and Rhodri turned to Ymōraj. Afterward, the brains of Ymōraj's host were scattered on the grass underneath the old knight's feet. The Hero of Postcombe was no more. What happened to the demon remains unknown.
Ymōraj's stats beneath the fold.
13 October 2011
Those hoping the White House would have the good sense to follow through with an aggressive jobs message should be pleased. Indeed, Obama and his team clearly seem to believe they have a winning message here.
Yes. I wish this would have happened back in Feb'09. Its not like the problem or solution was hard to see then. I guess we had to wait for an election cycle to kick in before the politicians starting doing what the people want.
11 October 2011
Updated: I just realized that the above meme probably came at me as a riff on what James Raggi posted here. - e
08 October 2011
06 October 2011
03 October 2011
First was the Anpanman Museum in Yokohama. Other than the typically bad food and high prices, it was short and the girls were generally well behaved until lunch time. From that point forward it was nothing but whining and temper tantrums until we got on the train home an hour later. My rating: two aspirin.
Second was the Studio Ghibli Museum. This was one that I would have really enjoyed, except that the girls wanted only to play on the Nekobasu and nothing else would do. After making a beeline to the room with the Cat Bus (and dealing with Alisa having a nervous breakdown from fear of the giant stuffed cat), we spent the rest of the time in the cafe dealing with hungry kids who wanted nothing actually on the menu. At least they served beer. My rating: one aspirin.
Today was the penultimate in theme parks, Disneyland. I actually enjoyed myself by the fourth time through "Its a Small World". It was relaxing and we got to sit down - much better than the 80 minute wait to get our picture taken with Mickey Mouse. Still, there probably wasn't a single moment throughout the day when I didn't hear some screaming kid somewhere within earshot. Usually it was one of my kids doing the screaming. Altogether we probably had about three total breakdowns and six or seven good cries from the rides. There were an order of magnitude more laughs and smiles, though. At least it was good exercise having a child in my arms or on my shoulders for 14 hours in a single day. I shouldn't really complain; I'd do it again in a heartbeat and did have fun. My rating: six aspirin spread throughout the day at 6 hour intervals.
28 September 2011
NHE in the US is easy.
27 September 2011
The thing I like most about Japan is the ubiquitous tiny boutique. Everything has a store dedicated to it and every hundred feet has some little shop whose owner toils behind the counter doing all the tasks needed to run the place. Today was a day of shopping for myself while the girls were napping. So I splurged by going by my favorite T-Shirt designer's place and haberdashery, followed by a great little joint that makes splendid pork buns with salted turnips and mushrooms.
Tonight I'm hoping to sneak out with Hirono to the neighborhood shochu (local vodka) joint.
18 September 2011
The story is paramount and I daydream at length in preparation for the next session while exercising or walking home from work. Right now we're 30 sessions (a long time, about a year and half of folks getting around a table with dice regularly) into a campaign that retells the romantic fantasy of King Arthur.
We started with the players as vassal knights, the tanks of the battlefield in chainmail and shield. Uther Pendragon was king. The player knights were with Merlin when Excalibur came from the Lady in the Lake. The years passed and Uther was assassinated, Arthur hidden by Merlin. What followed is a period of destruction as chaos ruled the land and Saxons poured in from the continent. Last session a young Arthur pulled the sword from the stone at the climax of the session. From start to finish it was a roller coaster of courtly intrigue, warlords dominating the battlefield and unbridled passions. Quite a game!
Each year in the game thus far has a theme song that inspired the story for that year. Below is the song list I've used thus far in the campaign, a list of beloved (if not always great) music that conjures a brutal world of the Dark Ages emerging into chivalric knighthood. For those who know the game system, this is The Great Pendragon Campaign for the system King Arthur Pendragon (version 5.1.)
485 AD - Living in a brutal age
486 AD - Recover Excalibur from the Chiltern Witch
487 AD - Scouting the Franks
488 AD - Invasion of Bayeaux
489 AD - Angles Overrun Caer Colun
490 AD - Battle of Lindsey
491 AD - Duke Gorlois Rebels
492 AD - Abduction of Prince Arthur
493 AD - Death in Caer Colun
494 AD - Uther's Illness
495 AD - Death of Uther
496 AD - Anarchy
497 AD - Enemies On All Sides
498 AD - Expansion Into Rydychan
499 AD - On the Brink of Destruction
500 AD - Angles and Their Big Mofo Battle Axes
501 AD - Do or Die
502 AD - Wave After Wave of Saxons
503 AD - Faerie Forest
504 AD - Raven Queen
505 AD - Struggling for Survival
Shut It Tight - by T-Bone Perkins, worth the search on the internet
506 AD - Lost in Faerie
507 AD - Faerie Court
508 AD - All is Lost
509 AD - The Pettiness of Humanity
510 AD - The Sword From the Stone
11 September 2011
01 September 2011
25 August 2011
The story is paramount.
Watch your back! Other players can kill you just as easily as the monsters can.
Players have better ideas than GMs. Go with the flow.
I use published modules as the basis of many adventures.
Lots of improvisation. A published module will be different every time its run.
Disturbing or adult content.
If the dice say you're dead, you're dead.
Character death is likely.
20 August 2011
Now they want to ride their bikes down to the Farmer's Market tomorrow morning. That's probably too much. My worry is that Leia is a speed demon but hasn't learned to look where she's going yet.
19 August 2011
15 August 2011
I do, however, fear that the organization putting this project together will screw it up. My sneaky suspicion is that Americans Elect users will vote for someone far left of center, such as the Socialist party or the like, and then the backers of americanselect.org will get cold feet and pull out of the election or change their policy. Either that or, perhaps, one of the existing political parties will flood the user base.
Let's just see what happens. Go register and at least give it a try.
26 July 2011
19 July 2011
Leia has taken to using the camera. She likes to snap pictures of people and is getting fairly good at it, when she has the patience to try....
Here's a snapshot she took Sunday at the Monterey Bay Acquarium. Not bad for someone who just turned three.
08 July 2011
Anyway, Google or Bing searches are driving me crazy. Whenever I click on an item I'm taken to some random advertisement instead of the actual URL. In order to get at most URLs I have to load the Google cached page and then click back to the original from the cached page. Its truly annoying. Not every search hit gives me this problem, only about 90%.
Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?
06 July 2011
22 June 2011
18 June 2011
Leia's done with diapers - or darned close to it. She still wears them at night; but, during the day is in big kid underpants with few mishaps. Alisa is very close behind. I've promised them we'll go to Disneyland if they can stay in underpants without messing them up. Both of them made huge progress toward this goal yesterday.
Just as big of news, they slept in their own beds last night. Its 7am right now and they're still sound asleep in their own beds.
Oh, happy day!
21 May 2011
14 April 2011
Today while at the dinner table I was trying to teach the girls their letters. I showed them a big pink colored H and E and explained how the letter started Hirono's and my names.
Me: "What letter is this? What does 'Eric' start with?"
Me: "Great! Eraii! What letter does 'Leia' start with?"
04 April 2011
27 March 2011
As I type this blog entry, there is some fool outside with a PA system shouting Jainist entreaties to the general public. He's very loud in the middle of this very public space - at 9:30pm on a Sunday night. Like religious zealots everywhere, he has no sense of decency.
My run in with Islam this weekend was less troublesome. Apparently some big whig imam from Saudi Arabia was in town. A colleague and I went to a restaurant in Old Delhi which happened to be directly across the street from the mosque which the imam visited. So the streets were completely packed. At least the throngs didn't proselytize in the middle of the night over loud speakers.
23 March 2011
13 March 2011
03 March 2011
The girls are regularly using the potty now. First thing in the morning both of them rush to their potties. Usually their diapers are dry or mostly dry in the morning. There is a light at the end of the diaper tunnel.
25 February 2011
19 February 2011
10 February 2011
07 February 2011
02 February 2011
01 February 2011
I've been reading them off-and-on since I started traveling to India frequently. They don't focus on India; but, they do provide an interesting and more informative alternative to Associated Press or BBC. They've really shined in the last month.
28 January 2011
Both Leia and Alisa have their own visual art interest.
For Alisa, she likes to draw. Today her medium of choice was Etch-a-Sketch. Here's a picture of her first recognizable face drawing that I've seen.
For Leia, she's more interested in the camera. Here's a photo from her today of her favorite teddy bear, Scruffy.
10 January 2011
What we have here is an attempted assassination of a politician by an insane crank at a political event, in a state where the political discourse has been an unrelenting howl of eliminationist rhetoric and characterization of anyone to the left of Genghis Khan as a traitor and enemy of the state…and now, when six (including a nine year old girl) lie dead and another fourteen are wounded, now suddenly we're concerned that it is rude and politicizing a tragedy to point out that the right wing has produced a toxic atmosphere that pollutes our politics with hatred and the rhetoric of violence?
04 January 2011
I was on NHE for many years (10 or so) until the girls were born. Taking care of twin infants and toddlers has kept me from eating correctly or exercising regularly. I'm finally back on NHE as my New Year's Resolution. It is day 3 of the induction period and going strong. It is far and above the most effective diet for fat loss and muscle gain I've ever seen. Heartily recommended; but, you really don't need special clubs or programs beyond understanding the science and putting in the effort yourself.
Cheers and Happy New Year to you all.