Monday, December 31, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark - Review

"Rue McClanahan stripping!"

Yes, really.

I'm not kidding.

The Film Crew is a current movie riffing project by former MST3k alumni Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett. The first movie out of the gate they "riffed" was this one (which I got for Christmas). The premise of the host segments is that the three of them have been hired by billionaire "Mr. Honcho" to make sure that all movies in existence have commentaries. No bots and no silhouette theater seats.

Well, in true MST style, this movie is skin-peelingly painful and incredibly bleak. There seems to be several semi-related plot elements, but not really a cohesive plot. For those who know me, this is exactly what I look for in a bad movie. (Yes, I can tell the difference between good and bad movies, it just doesn't have much bearing on whether or not I like it). There is a fair amount of titillating semi-nudity (if you've seen Ed Wood's 'nudie' flicks, you know what to expect). Rue is the hot and sexy female star of the film. I have nothing against Rue, but I think that they should have picked a different hair stylist/makeup artist for her. She had too much of a "Barbara Bush" look for this film (and sadly, we didn't even get to see her breasts).

But, that isn't why you watch this movie. You watch it for the commentary. The commentary is funny after it gets going. I got the impression at the beginning that they were trying to get back into the groove of riffing (or perhaps it was just me). However, it was rather solid and had a number of moments where I laughed out loud (you have to watch it if you want to hear the quips). Much to my surprise, there were MST3k style host segments. Spot on and funny.

I did feel that this could seamlessly be placed in an MST3k marathon, and people would enjoy it. With the voices in question, I could almost close my eyes and imagine that the lines by Bill and Kevin were spoken by Crow and Tom. My only criticism is that while I know they are trying to keep costs down, I think they could use one or two more writers so they have a few more "riffs" to work with when picking out jokes to use. However, this criticism is minor considering the quality of production and that it's a funny as it is. It's only $15 from Amazon, check it out.

The Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark at Amazon
The Film Crew Online

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Name is Bruce

"Bruce Campbell is the greatest actor of his generation!"

Internet Movie Database Link.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

1337 1007 w00t

What did the fat guy give you this year?

Apparently I was a VERY good person this year.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan - Solos, Sessions & Encores
  • The Film Crew - Hollywood After Dark
  • A Red Sweater
  • An Art Book
  • Socks (gotta have socks!)
  • and much much more!
What choice items made their way into YOUR stocking? Leave a comment and tell me!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fantasy and 40000 Armies in the works

The Anger Sharks
Well, I think the Space Marine Army is more or less set in stone. I'll probably look at nerfing it a bit as I get better, but for now it's a good list that most of the people I know think is a good power level.

Lordship of ???????
Those who've chatted with me enough know that I'm working on a Bretonnian Army for Warhammer Fantasy Battles. I'm looking forward to a new game that provides a change of pace. The army I'm building is (in theory) rather nasty. However, I'm actually planning for an army that accurately reflects how Bretonnians WOULD fight. Medieval armies would have conscripted archers and sent off the Knights. If it's too much? Probably a work in a few more bowmen and a trebuchet.
  • Lord on Warhorse
  • Paladin Standard Bearer
  • Damsel of the Lady on Warhorse
  • Damsel of the Lady
  • 8 Knights Errant
  • 8 Knights Errant
  • 8 Knights of the Realm
  • 8 Knights of the Realm
  • 8 Knights of the Realm
  • 3 Pegasus Knights
  • 6 Grail Knights
  • 16 Peasant Bowmen
This ends up being 2248 points. If I need an even 2k, I can drop one of the units of Knights and trim a couple bowmen. The models are almost all collected, I'm just needing to meet up with someone and get the last few things I need. The models I have are almost completely assembled, I just need a few more Knights of the Realm and a unit of Grail Knights, which I plan to buy from Clay. Then I can start painting the bright colours.

The New Army - ELDAR
And so, I've decided to start building another 40k army. Chris is building a Tau Army, and so I think it's probably a good time. As nice as the Space Marines are playing, they just aren't....pretty. I want an army that looks elegant and I can make gorgeous. And so, despite all of the flack I'm getting whenever I say it, I'm looking to build an Eldar army. The Craftworld will be Ulthwe as this colour-scheme worked so well on my Chaplain.

I'm thinking that the best approach will be to create two army lists.

1. The fun list that really shows off how pretty the army can be. Furthermore, this list will reflect the fact that most of Ulthwe's Aspect Warriors have been killed off due to wars. So, there will be Wraithguard and Wraithlords and a fair amount of Guardians (the weaker infantry).

2. The 'competitive' list. If you know Eldar, you know what this list looks like.

So, what is on my shopping list? Thankfully the Apocalypse Boxes will provide a good foundation:
  1. A mess of Eldar Guardians
  2. Eldar Aspect Assault Wave
  3. Eldar Spirit Host
  4. Eldar Cloudstrike Squadron
This should start me with a nice variety of stuff that I can enjoy painting and assembling.

And no, I'm NOT taking Eldrad, I think he's too nasty unless you are doing a pure Guardian mob. Plus, local groups generally don't allow him.

What's after all this? Who knows? It will probably be back to Fantasy (assuming I like it - I haven't actually played it yet) and picking....hrm....Dark Elves? Lizardmen?

Warhammer Podcasts

During the day, I listen to podcasts while I work on MANY different subjects. Today, a podcast showed up that I'd like to recommend. Remember that you do not need an iPod NOR iTunes to listen to podcasts. In fact, if you do not have an iPod, I recommend the software Miro to listen and download them with.


Podhammer is a Warhammer Fantasy Podcast. It is extremely well done and worth a listen. The host is Australian and will cover many topics related to "The Hobby". The most recent one addresses painting tournament armies which I think applies to 40k as well.

The other one I listen to is The Drop Pod Cast. This one is more of an ensemble of Canadian Hosts that covers general Games Workshop news along with info about various video games based on the GW IP. Its not bad, but it's not as good as Podhammer.

Both are available at the Miniatures Wargame Union website.

50 Cent Video

Not game related, but...

If 50 Cent's stuff was more like this regularly, I'd probably enjoy hip-hop more.

Hip-Hop? That sounds like something a rabbit would listen to...

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Ninja Pirate Tournament on 12-16-07

While my game in 40k has been nicely improving, the tourney yesterday was one of my poorer showings.

Round 1:
Cricket is a Tyranid player who hangs out at Ninja Pirate (I've not mentioned it before, but kids today, at least the ones who hang out at NP, have somewhat nonsensical nicknames - The S.S. Pequod considers this BADASS! Kudos to the leaders of tomorrow!) Aaaanyway, as of this weekend, he has gone to Space Marines. He relies very heavily on tactical squads, a las cannon predator, and a Vindicator. I'm actually glad he's doing this, because I finally get a regular "shooty" army that I can run against to practice.

I drew him on round one.

He took turn one and was able to really neuter my forces before I could develop them. I couldn't get my Baals placed correctly, I couldn't get my squads up close enough, and I couldn't easily wrap my head around the scenario. He did very well and walked away with a crushing victory.

What did I learn? I don't think I can rely on deeps striking squads behind the gunlines to kill them.

Round 2:
A 'Bigger' bug list played by Adam. You can see pictures here. I REALLY hated this scenario. It called for the Escalation rules, which means "Infantry only". I run a 100% Jump army with vehicles. So, starting out, I had nothing on the table. ZIP, Zero. I won initiative so I was able to slow him down a round and my 3 Baals came in on Round 2. As we can see with this pic, I did rather well mowing down genestealers.

However, the scenario's secondary objective ended up turning this from a draw into a crushing victory because he'd had a large number of big bugs in the center of the table.

Adam was a hoot to play with as his bugs moved away like Curly, "Woo-Woo-Woo-Woo!"

Round 3:
The advantage of doing poorly, is that I get to play against Chris (just teasing you Chris!!!!). While he is also a Blood Angels player, he is a fun guy to play against. This was a much more straight forward scenario than previous ones. However, I was able to get my Baals where they could be best used first and take out his veteran squad which made my life a great deal easier. Had I realized that there was also an Honor guard, I'd've turned and took that next. However, despite this error, I still managed to take both main objectives and deny him the third objective. This gave me a Victorious Slaughter.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Chapter Master of The Anger Sharks

Firstly, Mike posted the battle results! Read it here.

To come up with the name of the Chapter Master of "The Anger Sharks", I've decided to turn to one of the best lists of names I could.

If you have a suggestion for the name of the General of "The Anger Sharks", please post in the comments.

Extra points are given on what makes me laugh the most.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Death to the Bugs!

On Saturday, I was hanging out at Ninja Pirate with "THE ANGER SHARKS!" hoping to get a game in. Around 8pm, in walks Mike. We decided to go ahead and have a 2000 point game. Mike is an excellent player; he has won first place at every tournament I've seen him play at. He is also a nice guy. I'd played against him twice before and both times I had been killed off of the table by round 3 (here and here). Needless to say, I was expecting a similar showing. He fielded his Tyranid Force which was a version similar to the 1500 point version I'd fought before. I made a quick tweak to throw in a 3rd Baal Pred instead of the Vindicator (a change I'm likely going to permanently make). And so, the battle began.

The Baals performed wonderfully, wiping out a squad of genestealers every round. This meant I didn't have to engage them in close combat where they would have eaten my troops for lunch (literally, since genestealers do that). They each managed to hang on until round 6 when all 3 were finally destroyed. The speeders also did well, managing to wear the shooty bugs down to less than half strength. Also, as in our last battle, Death Company came in and ate a couple of big bugs. Sadly, the Chaplain didn't make it past the first round of close combat. I'll let Mike record the details of the battle, as he will no doubt do it far more eloquently than I.

I did make a couple mistakes in on my side though. It turns out that there were two cases where I forgot to shoot before my squads assaulted the big bugs. This was a major failure in my tactics as it meant that I didn't get plasma pistol and meltagun shots off which would have nicely finished a couple of the big bugs a round quicker.

The short of it is we managed to have a more or less equal amount of points on the table by the end of the battle. We each had about 200 points or so left of the table. The DIFFERENCE was that I managed to truck my speeder deep into his deployment zone in the last round of the game (we were playing cleanse). This thousand point boost was just enough to eek me into the "Crushing Victory" range.

Yes, a "Crushing Victory" against one of the best players I know. O_O

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Name for my Space Marine army

After playing against Chris yesterday at Ninja Pirate, Cliff made a comment that has given a name to my Space Marine Chapter. I've been trying to come up with a name for them for some time, but to no avail....

But now...I present...


Yes, really...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Savage Worlds of Soloman Kane

On Friday night, I was up at the Ninja Pirate and I decided to hop into a game of "The Savage World of Solomon Kane". This is a RPG based upon the Solomon Kane works of Robert Howard. It uses the "Savage Worlds" system.

I've not read the Solomon Kane books. Indeed, I was not even aware of their existence before hearing about this game. The premise of the adventure was that our group was on a journey to the New World (it is 1600) and 'weird stuff' happens. To the GM's credit, this felt like a pulp adventure as I might read in an Edgar Rice Burroughs book (most are not aware that I adore the John Carter series). The scenario was a high action mystery as one would expect of the genre. Kudos to you, Cliff!

As mentioned previously, this game uses Pinnacle Entertainment's Savage Worlds system. This is a game I've heard about quite a bit on Fear the Boot as it is Luke's favored system. It is a rather rules light system that is designed more around fast action and simplicity. The base mechanic is simply rolling a die, and trying to meet a set difficulty number. "Which die?" you ask. All of them. Your character's stats can be any of the common types of dice used in an RPG. For example, Magdalena's stats run thus

Agility - D8
Smarts - D8
Spirit - D6
Strength - D4
Vigor - D4

So, if I need to make a strength check, I'd roll a 4-sided die and try to make the target. If I need to make an Agility check, I'd roll an 8-sided die. The system even has a "critical hit" concept. If you roll the maximum on a specific die, like an 8 on a D8, you reroll and add that value to the original roll.

You also have a concept called "Bennies" that allows you to increase your chance for success. You get 3 Bennies each session. I didn't quite catch how that mechanic worked in practice and I've not read the rules yet, my apologies, dear reader.

Character creation took about 15 minutes and I had enough of the rules to be rolling in about 5 minutes. Yes, it's that simple. However, this simplicity really seemed to work to the games advantage. I'd imagine that it would be very easy to prepare a game for this system since it lends itself to allows the GM to come up with stats off of the top of his head.

I really like the Savage Worlds system. Those players who prefer a crunchier system will not like it as much, but if you prefer a system which permits you to get started in minutes and focus more on the adventure than the NPCs/Monsters, this may be the system for you. It certainly lends itself to the pulp/adventure genre.

Check it out, you might like it.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's beautifully hideous!

I finished my Slayer and various Bonejacks.


I went a little heavy on the Bonejacks, so much so that the rust obscures the colours. However, they look like "exquisite corpses". The Slayer Warjack though. I did a lighter coat on him. He is now the most beautiful model I've ever painted. Under bright lights, you can see the differentiation of colors. The rust effect has the most wonderfully organic quality. I'll need to touch him up a bit, but he is so wonderfully dirty and gross. As soon as I can get a good picture, I'll post it.

The rust method is worth a try.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Painting Status Part 3

I got the two solos and I've started painting my initial box in earnest.

After reading the Brushthrall method, I decided that the colours were too brights for Cryx. However, there are some other interesting things I've found.

I am going to be going with the Brushthrall method for the glowing green vents. However, I ran across a couple of interesting articles that I'm trying out: a Games Workshop Article on Battle Damage and Weathering and this article on creating rust effects.

So, I picked up a Gale Force 9 drill and *GASP* damaged my figures. I've started with the Defilers and the Deathrippers figuring that there would be no big loss if those turn out terrible. I'm going to paint those first as experiments to see if these experiments work out.

I'll be in touch.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Painting Status Part 2

As mentioned previously, local Warhammer players are starting up a Warmachine league. I decided to hop on board this one, and give it a go. I decided to start with the Cryx faction since one of their Warcasters is a hottie.

As of yesterday, I finished assembling and base coating the minis from the initial box and now I'm trying to decide how to do them. I'm thinking that I'll use the Faction Box in 10 Days : Cryx method over at BrushTralls as an exercise. I want these figs to really shine, since I've been doing my Space Marines with the "how fast can I get them to the table" method.

I was dismayed that the initial faction box was missing a couple parts for one of my Bonejacks, so in the short term I picked up a Bonejack blister and shot off an email to Privateer Press. Within 8 hours, they responded with an apology and asked for my address so that they could send me replacement parts. Now THAT is customer service! With me, [i]sometimes[/i] making a bad situation right makes more of an impression than always getting it right, because it shows that the company really does care about it's customers.

So far I have the basic Cryx Battlegroup, a couple extra defilers, and Pirate Queen Skarre (after all, she has a "Great Rack" - read the rules for more). How will I expand the group you ask?

  • Pistol Wraith

  • Skarlock Thrall

  • A few more Deathripper

  • A Satyxis Raiders Unit, or two

  • A few big Helljacks

My thought is to do a themed army of big bots and mean women. Cryx allows this and seems to follow the tactics of hitting fast and hard, which is my playstyle in most games (40k, D&D, City of Heroes). If I can blitzkrieg in a game, I'm a happy camper.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Painting Status

Since I've finally settled on an army list, I can work on getting everything painted and ready. This includes flocking the bases and sealing the mini.

So far:

On the Completed "pile", I have

  • 1 Chaplain
  • 10 Veteran Assault Marines
  • 6 Regular Assault Marines

Currently I'm getting together the following models

  • 4 Regular Assault Marines
  • 10 Legion of the Damned Marines - (I use them for Death Company) Just needs touch up and flocking, really.
  • 1 Speeder (Just needs to be brought into my colour scheme)
  • 1 Librarian (painted, but hideous, may strip and redo)

Started (Half-assed paint job so I don't feel guilty about fielding them):

  • 10 Assault Marines
  • 1 Vindicator


  • 1 Baal Predator
  • 1 Speeder

  • 1 Baal Predator - I'm currently using a regular pred as a proxy.
  • Sunday, November 25, 2007

    40000 Things to Remember

    We all know, I'm still a newer Warhammer 40k player, having only started seriously pursuing it in August. When I've asked other players they've indicated that I need to lose a LOT of games before I can expect to become a more dangerous player (on the order of hundreds of games).

    If you are trying to get better at playing Warhammer 40,000, I've found that it is best to scan and reread the rules on a regular basis. The fact is, the rules are SO complex that you cannot get everything the first time (or even second time) reading.

    For example, over the weekend I found a little tidbit that I could kick myself for missing, as it could have meant fewer losses on my part.

    Warhammer 40k Rulebook - Page 31
      Melta Weapons
      Melta weapons are devastating short ranged 'heat rays'. Melta weapons roll an extra D6 when rolling to penetrate vehicles' Armour Value at half range or under. See the Vehicles rules later for more details on armour penetration.

    I use meltaguns a great deal in my army because they are strong and reliable even though they require a close range (12" - 24"). This means my speeders and veteran assault squad are even nastier than I first thought. Now, I wonder if I can shave 5 points off of my list to fit in a second meltagun on my Assault Squad. The extra punch may be worth it. After all, even if I need to use the veteran assault squad as a close combat squad, the meltas automatically wounding upon hitting AND the powerfists in the group certain won't make it lack for anti-personnel power.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Sealing painted miniatures

    Now that I've decided on colours with which to shade on my figs, I'm finally starting to finish my Stormtrooper Space Marines. However, I've been dismayed that even with 2-3 layers of matte varnish, I could not get a seal that would not scratch. You know how it is, sometimes you are playing, and you drop a fig, or one tips over and slides and whammo - paint needs a touch up. If you prefer pewter, as I do, the problem is even worse. Well, I decided to try something a little stronger so I don't need to keep touching up figs. Perhaps I'm unusually hard on my figs, but still....

    Now, I'm sure that we all know about the "Minwax dip" method of shading painting. While similar, this is not what we are doing.

    It occurred to me that there is polyurethane sealant that does NOT have any type of shading, but is almost completely transparent. As an experiment, I picked up a small can of Minwax Polyurethane Clear Gloss varnish. This is the finish you put on that should not change the colour of what you are finishing.

    I dipped one of my troopers into the goo, shook off the excess and left it for 3 hours. Then I added two coats of GW Matte Varnish.

    What I end up with is a very SOLID finish. The matte sealant kills any glossiness and I have a very tough finish. Furthermore, the shading that I painted is still visible and looks just as good.

    Now, be warned, I've found a minor issue with it. There is the slightest of yellow tints to this. For non-white colours, you likely will not notice this, but I recommend a "sacrifice" to be sure that the army isn't going to be ruined.

    Just thought I'd share.

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    A Victorious Slaughter

    As most people know, I'm one of the worst Warhammer 40k players in Austin. I'm extremely good at City of Heroes and I'm mediocre at playing World of Warcraft. But for Warhammer 40000, I'm LOUSY. Well, I've been playing it a great deal recently and I think some of my efforts have finally been rewarded. On Saturday, I played against the "Imperial Lancers" (also a Blood Angels variant) run by a buddy of mine, named Chris. I managed to Score a solid victory on him in a friendly cleanse mission. Afterward, I headed to Ethereal Council's homeworld for a 2k pointer against the Tau. While I lost very badly, he gave me a few pointers which helped a bit in my thinking of strategies in future.

    Today, was the Ninja Pirate Tournament. There were an insufficient amount of tables, so I ended up getting what is called a "By" which is when you need to sit out a round. I missed the 2nd round. So, the first round was getting badly pummeled against the Tyranid Hordes commanded by bullymike. We had a great deal of fun (even though I had to remove a tank in round one which I accidentally deployed). I'll let him provide a full accounting of our action, since he will no doubt have a more detailed account than I could provide. I got to put a couple of the things I'd learned from The Ethereal Council into action which didn't help a great deal, but certain permitted me a slightly greater control of the situation than I expected.

    The third round presented me with a situation that flatly STUNNED me. I got a Victorious Slaughter against the Forces of Chaos run by a friend of mine. The game ended in round 3 when I finished destroying the last thing on the table. I killed off all 1497 points of his army, while he killed a grand total of 100 points of mine. Now, to be sure, he is NOT a bad player. He is also a very FUN player and a regular up at Ninja Pirate.

    Another local 40k player has talked a bunch of us Ninja Pirate players into giving Warmachine a shot. I figured, what the hell, and so I'm starting to look into it. I figure I'll play the Cryx as they look rather distinctive, especially Skarre the Pirate Queen.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007


    If you are reading this then you either know nothing about Warhammer 40,000 OR you know far more than I do. I use the blog as a sounding board for myself and my learning of various gaming things (as you can see in my early posts about the Statesman Task Force in City of Heroes - I was ahead of the curve there, in 40k I'm still behind the curve). I'm going to talk a bit about 40k in such a way that is probably only appealing to me. Its my blog, deal with it.

    Anyway, I've started studying Codex: Eldar so that I have a better idea what to expect when I face them in Warhammer 40k. My initial observations indicate that they will give me fits in combat.

    I play my Space Marines with the Blood Angels Codex. It lets me use a lot of assault marines and lets me get up close - I've found that I like being in close combat in most games I play. Most Eldar seem to have the same or higher initiative than I do on average. Furthermore, their "Weapon Skill (close combat attack to hit) are the same or higher than mine. Their strength is lower though, so they will be more likely to hit, but less likely to hurt. Eldar saves seem to be all over the board, but I know there are a lot of invulnerable saves.

    Ah, the joys of Space Marines...

    For the most part, I try to stick to a static list because its just easier that way. However, if I play in a campaign in the future, I have an idea how I need to focus my forces. While maximizing on shooting would be better, but it doesn't fit "Blood Angels" style of play. Those who know me, I'm much of a "style over substance" type of person. I'm all about making jokes and having fun.

    Now the HARD part will be dealing with Eldar tanks. Any quick scan of 40k boards reveal that Eldar tanks to be built to be almost unkillable. So, I need to develop some tactics to deal with this situation with the troops I have.

    Next - the Chaos Codex.

    Thursday, November 8, 2007

    Dungeon and Dragons session - Hellenika Campaign - Crystal Critter Cadre part 2

    We estimated that we were on the island for 8 hours so far and were heading toward the stone lizards. We agreed that a wand of healing would be useful, but...oh well. We realized we were getting hungry. We ate the rations that Gal had stowed away as we progressed.

    The land turned to sandy dunes and after running across a few animals that had been turned to stone, Tesla sent his owl Amp up to scout. He located a 'large lizard' which the party progressed toward. Gal scored a critical hit, Kerin hit, and the Giant hit. The basilisk died before it could strike back.

    We make camp.

    The next morning we set out for the lightning lizards. We make our way to a hilly area where we believe that one is to be. Gal shifted into cat form to scout and encountered a "huge" blue lizard with many legs. Tesla immediately charmed the creature only to have a second one appear and attempt to eat him. However, even as combat began, the creature placed Tesla on it's back. This allowed it to attempt to eat Kerin. Tanaqu'el plucked Tesla off of the beasts back and steps away. Kerin cast Balor Nimbus on herself, causing her to emit flames from her body which immediately killed.

    The battle having ended, Tesla asked the charmed one for the indigo crystal. It responded "anything for a brethren" and brought it to the group. The group proceeded to the trash leech.

    We find the trash leech's lair; a cave full of smelly garbage. We dispatched it.

    Thursday, November 1, 2007

    Dungeon and Dragons session - Hellenika Campaign - The Enemy Within

    Dinner that night is served. We rest. When the morning rolls around, breakfast is served. The Castellan arrives bringing our equipment. The Castellan transports us to the island (via his crystal) and we start off trying to find the crystal critter cadre.

    We make our way to the mountains on monster island to the area where the giant (a stone giant) seems to live. We barely managed to defeat the giant (Tanaqa'l), with Gal almost dying even though she shapeshifted into giant from. We talked with the giant afterward who seemed to be ambivalent about helping us. Tanaqa'l observes that he'd be willing to help, but he wanted a mate (because it gets lonely) and points out that being freed would be better than having to listen to the Castellan who gives him his "marching orders."

    Thanaqa'l said that he got leftovers from "the Castellan's secret" in the cave. Gal shifted into a panther and stealthily crept into the cavern. Gal discovered a small army of female orcs doing battledrills (who, unlike the Time Lords - are not vegetarian, but carnivorous). In return for the giant's assistance, we offered to help him and Tesla gave him his Lion of Wonderous power.

    We proceeded to where the "Land Shark" lived. With little warning, the shark (Bulette) erupted from the ground. Gal responded by throwing herself (she was in her normal half-orc form) into the Bulette's mouth. As the battle began, Gal shifted into Stone giant size and started attacking (hence the title of this missive). We made short work of the critter.

    We proceeded to where the Ettins were. We found them beating something that was dead. Buff spells were cast, and Tesla gave the crystal cat to Tanaqa'l. This provided a great burst of speed to Tanaqa'l who ran up with the rest of the group to start fighting.

    We defeated the Ettins.

    Session ended.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    In the not too distant future.....

    One of the biggest influences on me was the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was a show that provided me with so much laughter in my first couple of years after "growing up and moving out". We know that it went from Comedy Central to the Sci-Fi channel to the void.....but.....big news

    I think it's going to be at Cinematic Titanic.

    If this isn't big enough for you, I don't know what is.

    Furthermore, other aspects of movie mocking still live on with 2 projects that Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett are doing...
    And finally, IF you live in the Central Texas Area....

    Sunday, October 28, 2007

    Negative Calories?!?!?!

    As many of you may or may not know, Celery is a vegetable which actually causes the body to burn more calories trying to digest it than it provides. The common yet misleading name for this is "negative calories". However, today I discovery that there are MORE foods that fall into this category. I bring this up, because it turns out that my current favorite snack falls into this category.


    I adore apples. I refrigerate them for a nice, cold, crisp snack. I grew up alternating between Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples. However, my current favorite is Honeycrisp. If you haven't had a Honeycrisp apple, you are missing out. They are in season right now, so you should be able to get one at your local grocery store. Yes, they are $3/lbs. While that may seem like a lot, when you try one, you will understand WHY they are worth it. The flavor is similar to a Pink Lady, only it's a little sharper and more intense. I highly recommend them.

    Other foods with "Negative Calories" include more of my favorites: peas, spinach, peppers (I wonder if this includes my beloved jalepeno and green chile?), blackberry, raspberry, peaches (no mention of variety), Strawberries (OMG!) and Grapefruit (have you noticed a distinct lack of Texas Ruby Reds recently?).

    I'm not someone who chases "fad diets". In fact, I'm very comfortable with my current weight. I feel good and I DON'T need to go to Casual Male Big and Tall. However, when I see some of my favorite foods listed in a category like this, I sit up and take notice. After all, I could make a meal of spinach and strawberries.

    Saturday, October 27, 2007

    Death Company!

    I played a game of Warhammer 40,000 last night when I was up at Ninja Pirate. I played against a friend of mine who also does Space Marines with the Blood Angels Codex. The REALLY cool thing is that his space marines are painted Oregano. Why is this cool? It is the exact same colour as "Army Men".

    Anyway, I FINALLY won a game of Warhammer 40k last night, and it was against him. Most of this success I attribute to my "Death Company". I don't have official models for them so I use my Legion of the Damned models. Here is why they are cool.
    1. You get 1 free Death Company model for each squad you have in your army (Max 10 models).
    2. Furious Charge - You get 1 extra attack and a +1 to Strength when you charge.
    3. Attacks are Rending - if you roll a six on your to-hit, it is an autokill.
    4. Led by a Chaplain with "Litanies of Hate" - Reroll misses when you charge.
    5. Led by a Chaplain who makes his squad "Fearless".
    6. Feel No Pain - Except for exceptionally powerful attacks, you can roll a D6 after every save. On a 4 or better, you shrug off the damage.
    While this may seem really broken to a non-40k player, it isn't quite as broken as you'd think. Every army has some funky sets of powers that makes them "uber". Eldar have their Falcon, Necrons have their Monolith, Tyranids are insane in close combat, Chaos.....are Chaos, etc.

    Anyway, I maxed my Death Company and they pretty much ate EVERYTHING they came in contact with. The fact that they all had jumppacks meant that I could get them where they were most effective quickly.

    Oh, one more thing. Ninja Pirate had the Space Marine "Masters of the Chapter" box. I wasn't originally planning to get it, but they had it in stock.


    I WANT IT!

    Thursday, October 25, 2007

    Dungeon and Dragons session - Hellenika Campaign

    So we had our D&D game on Thursday. Previous campaign notes can be viewed here. Its abbreviated, but it is enough to catch you up.

    • Galathiel - Half-Orc Druid
    • Kerin - Human Cleric
    • Iridanae - Human Ranger
    • Tesla - Elven Sorcerer (my char)
    Last nights sessions went thus. (Note the Doctor Who references :) )

    The Castallan came in and asked us if we wanted to go to "Monster Isle" and collect "The Rainbow" - a series of stones that the timelords use regularly. Realizing that this was the only way that the council of the Time Lords would hear us, we agreed.

    They still didn't have meat for Woof-woof (our half-orc druid's pet). The odd thing was that we knew that meat was loaded on to the ship that we set sail on to get to "Atlan". Kerin seemed to conclude that the Castallan knew about this meat even though he insisted that meat was not imported.

    He gave us a map (nicely colour-coded). We will have 24 hours to collect the various items and then left us to our planning. The Castellan said he would return tomorrow.

    Last night, Lendor (the god of time in this world) visited us and gave us various magic items to assist us. He also advised us that we should try to talk to the Giant (after we beat him up).
    • Lightning Lizard - Indigo
    • Twisted Ettin & Raging Dragonette - Blue
    • Rock Giant - Violet
    • Land Shark & Poison Giant - Red
    • Stone lizard & Sea Snakes - Orange
    • Spidermen - Green
    • Trash Leech & Swamp Thing - Yellow
    After talking to a servant, we found out that there was an "expert" on Ettins (one of the critters we need to defeat). We asked that servant to relay a message to the expert "Glargofage" that we would like to speak to him.

    Glargofage arrived (a short orc who seemed a little dimwitted). However, he seemed to know about the monsters there.
    • Twisted Ettins tend to absorb magic they are hit with. Apparently they've been twisted by magic.
    • Trash Leeches tend to absorb any healing magic in the area. magically altered also.
    • The Raging Dragonettes are small dragons that can go into a "blood frenzy" and can tear one to pieces.
    • Sea Snakes he thinks they are like "Sea Nagas" (we faced those before).
    • Spidermen are also twisted by magic. They are humanoids melded with magic and can fire webbing around. They have poisonous bites and keep huge poisonous spiders as pets.
    • The Swamp Thing is an animated semi-humanoid plant that shambles around swamps.
    • Lightning Lizards are like dragons that breath lightning. They can swallow a person whole.
    • Stone Lizards have a gaze attack that can turn you to stone.
    • Rock Giant is just a normal giant that lives in the mountain.
    • He didn't know about the Poison Giants nor Land Sharks.
    He also told us that "monster island" is just a place that the Time Lords leave their "failed experiments". Though he also indicated that specimens were collected for study and were possibly experiments by other groups. The island is about 20 miles "tip to tip".

    I asked him about the Temporal Sliders. He seemed surprised that we'd been in the timestream. He seemed amazed that we'd actually fought them. Apparently, the council created them millenia ago - one of their successful experiments.

    The session ended early because the GM needed to get early.

    Monday, October 22, 2007


    This past weekend I went to visit my cousin - as seen HERE, HERE, and HERE. I had a very fun weekend with her and her son. The four of us (The Informatician Extraordinaire was there too) be-bopped around Houston. It looks like I may be getting the kiddo hooked on the idea of painting and Warhammer 40,000, he's about the right age to start looking at that. I picked up a little paint starter kit for him. I think it provide a bit more of challenge and learning experience than his Playstation or Yu-Gi-Oh (not that there is anything wrong with those). I also helped him buy Final Fantasy X.

    While there we went to dinner at Lai Lai's Dumpling House in Bel Air. This is a great Chinese restaurant. If you are ever in Houston, I recommend looking it up.

    Friday, October 19, 2007

    Wow that's a lot.

    First up. This lady is my new hero.


    OK, so I have the figs in my Bretonnian Battleforce box assembled and primed, FINALLY. And now they go into the queue of stuff to get painted. Couple this with the new figs I got yesterday and it is apparent that I've got a TON of stuff to paint.

    I've noticed that many people tend to fall into the trap of "more stuff than they can paint", and now I know why. There is a solid case of "Oooo, that is pretty, I want that", which outstrips the time it takes to get them ready. Oh well. The lady friend has an other civil war trip this year, so I'll be home alone for a week. Perhaps I can clear out most of the stuff I want painted by then, including the fig for "Tesla" the Elven sorcerer in the current Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

    So what do I have on tap? In no particular order:

    1. House Escher Necromunda Gang
    2. Sisters of Sigmar Mordheim Gang
    3. Tesla (fig is Celeborn from the Lord of the Rings game by Games Workshop)
    4. Sejana - Paladin (fig is Eowyn from the Lord of the Rings game by Games Workshop)
    5. City of the Spider Queen set of Drow from Wizards of the Coast (I love the Dark Elves).
    6. Bretonnian Battleforce - 16 Men at Arms, 16 Archers, 8 Knights, 3 Pegasus Knights)
    7. Princess of Hell - Scantily clad Demon girl from Reaper Miniatures.
    8. 3 Warrior Nuns - Also Reaper, I'll probably do these with the Sisters of Sigmar
    10. 10 more Assault Squad Space Marines.
    11. Finish off the 10 Scouts I am painting faces on.

    Yeah, that IS a lot.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Pod..errr Netcasts!

    One of the things many do not know about me, is that since getting my iPod, I have been addicted to netcasts (as Leo Laporte calls them because you don't need an iPod) of various types. Its inexpensive entertainment that I can listen to while driving or when I'm caught with nothing to do. While the list of casts I'm subscribed to is FAR too big to list here, here are a few choice casts to which I listen.Just to name a few. I'll go into a little more detail about each netcast I listen to since there are very many good ones out there. The FEW I've listed above I consider some of the cream of the crop. Keep an eye for cool netcasts and drop me a line about them.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Events of the Weekend

    Last Friday, I observed/played a demo of Rackham's AT-43. It is a rather simple miniatures game with some nice pre-painted minis. Apparently, I played it with a bunch of Steve Jackson Games employees who had decended on Battleforge games to give it a try. That was an interesting experience. I didn't care for the static quality of the maps and the rules seemed to be unclear in certain situations, but all-in-all it's a fun game and worth a look. It was also kinda neat to realize that I was playing with people who work in the industry of which I'm a consumer.

    Saturday, I headed back to Battleforge for a Warhammer 40,000 tournament. I like tournaments because I can get 3 games in in a day and I like the random quality of not knowing what mission I'll have nor what person I'm about to play against. As usual, I did get seriously beaten down but I did do better than I had. I've been trying a slightly different Space Marine list using the "Blood Angels" chapter codex. I like the "in your face" close combat quality and the fact that I can use my "Legion of the Damned" squad for Death Company. Of course, while I did come in dead last, I did get a Bretonnian "Damsel of the Lady" blister to add to the Warhammer Fantasy Army I'm building.

    Sunday, I went and hung out at another local gamestore called Ninja Pirate. I was hoping to get another game in, but that ended up being a no-go because of the fact that they'd hosted the 'Ard Boyz tourney the previous day. I like that they stepped up their support with Thor's Hammer (my previous hangout) vanishing. So I chatted with a few people (one of whom I'd not seen for a few years) and worked on my Bretonnian battleforce box. This week, I gotta basecoat them. Then I can get them assembled enough to field and paint at my leisure.

    There has been talk about playing Mordheim and Necromunda recently. I've always wanted to play these games and at the very least wanted to get the minis. Well, I've gone ahead and ordered House Escher (Necromunda) and Sisters of Sigmar (Mordheim) warbands. I've decided that aesthetics should be the primary deciding factor for picking miniatures from now on. Also, because I'm now wanting to make sure my local game stores are supported, I made sure to buy these from Rogue's Gallery instead of ordering them online.

    Now the only problem is that I need to hold off before I can pick up the Dungeons and Dragons Rules Compendium. This looks like it is going to be a useful text for me, so I'm strongly considering picking it up. Every rule listed in Alphabetical Order to make rules easier to find. They also seem to have been edited a little bit for clarity. There is a preview over on the Wizards of the Coast website, click here if you are curious.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    So, where has Rachael been?

    Yes, I admit, I've not been in Paragon much. I've only been lurking around invisibly when I've been on so I can run a mission or two then log off.

    I love City of Heroes, and I like what I know about Issue 11, but I think I let myself get burned out running the morning STFs (the primary reason I created this blog).

    Well, the Stone Goddess has instead travelled to the grim darkness of the far future where there is only war and has been commanding an army of Space Marines in battle playing Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000. This has been a fun change of pace as I've gotten to meet many people in RL and have a new challenge to master (feeling that I've mastered almost everything CoX has to throw at me).

    I've wondered to the disposition of this blog. It was originally meant to be a CoX blog, but I'm figuring I'll expand it to my general gaming experiences. I certainly don't play World of Warcraft enough to warrant listing that here. If I do, I'll certainly keep the "Rachael" identity as I'd prefer to keep my gamer half somewhat divorced from my "tech" half. I've still run into many people who don't get "table-top gaming".

    Wednesday, June 27, 2007

    The New High-Level Rikti TF!

    The Issue 10 Beta has finally gone public, soooo.....

      Rikti Co-op Task Force

      The Rikti Co-Op Task Force is available for both Heroes and Villains. It is for 6 to 8 players, level 45 – 50. The mission is given out by Lady Grey, leader of the Vanguard. Co-operative missions create a new layer of depth and story as heroes and villains work toward a common goal.

    The regular STF team needs to work out a time to do this.

    Let Freedom Ring

    Let Freedom Ring!

    South is one of the STF regulars and a good friend .

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    ISSUE 10!!!!!

    In case you didn't see it: Issue 10 Preview.

    Heroes and Villains teaming up! I think I'll finally be playing Mary Sladen my level 50 villain again.

    The Rikti Crash Site redux looks wonderful. A long while back I'd suggested that they "rework" the hazard zones into real zones. They did this with Faultline. Now, with RCS - level 35-50 content - SQUEEE!

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    Fast STF

    There is discussion on how to do a "fast" Statesman Task Force. To be honest, I actually prefer the "defeat the mobs in your way" method. There is less margin for error and I find it more fun. However, the desire for bragging rights makes me want to figure out a "faster" way of doing it.

    As I think of the TF and what is required to do it faster, I notice the problem that the more corners you cut the less margin of error there is. For example, a lot of people will simply go from mob to mob defeating the "Security Chief?"s until they get the one that gives them a key. However, the problem with this approach is it guarantees 1 ambush for every chief defeated. That can get potentially huge. Certainly doable. However, if you don't have the "dream team" it can get too nasty.

    Its also the reason I don't simply condone zerging the AVs at the end. Yes, you have the potential to get it done faster, but it can cost you if you don't do it right.

    Wednesday, June 6, 2007

    Patch today!


    • Players can now choose a Synthetic Hamidon Enhancement when completing the Statesman’s TF

    Sunday, June 3, 2007


    We've always wondered exactly what the blue tower in the final STF encounter does.

    Oh yes, it IS a speed boost. One of the things speed boost does is improve recharge time. What limits the amount Lord Recluse can summon is the recharge on the summon. After he'd summoned about 50 level 54 bosses, we decided that perhaps we should take down the blue tower.

    Oh yes, it IS fulcrum shift fodder. Yes, I got a LOT of buffs next to me when I footstomped a couple times.

    However, there is a limit to the amount of aggro I can hold. The aggro cap is 16 mobs. After that, they start looking for other targets.

    I think if you have a couple of good debuffers so that the AVs are dropping sufficiently fast enough, you can risk not dropping all the towers. However, if you are taking a while on the AVs, then you will want to play it safe and take out all the towers.

    Friday, June 1, 2007

    Issue 9 Hamidon

    Only people who have done earlier Hamidon Raids will know why this picture is funny.

    Thursday, May 31, 2007

    Double XP Weekend of June 15th!

    Double XP Weekend of June 15th!

    Apologies to team

    I got word that the team I run with couldn't win it this morning. I couldn't be there because of Real Life constraints (ah the joys of work).

    I WILL be back on on Saturday.

    I crack myself up

    Been busy, haven't been able to do much posting.

    I leave you with this.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    Captain Mako

    Sunday set a new record for us at 1 hour and 35 minutes for the STF. Forgot to grab a screenshot, so I don't remember everyone who was on it. You know who you are though: GREAT WORK!

    I was chatting with someone yesterday in the Steel Canyon University and realized something that I found a bit surprising. For many teams running the STF, Ghost Widow is not the problem, Captain Mako is. While we’ve found him difficult, I don’t think he’s ever stopped us. Today, I am going to talk about how to take down Mako.

    The reason Mako is a pain is because when he hits 25% health, he does a “Dreadful Wail” (sonic blast nuke) followed by "Elude" which doesn’t seem to ever drop. For those who don’t know, Elude is the Tier 9 Super Reflexes power. Fully slotted, it will cap your defense so that you take almost no damage because nothing hits you. It makes it seem that his regeneration rate goes into overdrive, but in actuality, it’s just regular AV regeneration that is coupled with not taking damage. If you can maintain DPS, it’s not impossible.

    So, how do you keep hitting something that has a capped defense? (not resist like we are used to, but defense).

    Here are the things you can use to get rid of that last 25% (you don’t need all of them, but you certainly need a few of them).

    • Accuracy Inspirations – when you go through this TF, save them. When Mako pops Elude, burn them.
    • Tactics – the second tier Leadership power. The fastest I’ve ever seen Mako go down was on a team where 6 sets of Tactics were running. Remember, powers STACK by different casters. EVERY Archetype in City of Heroes can use this.
    • Geas of the Kind Ones – this is the badge you get from getting all of the Croatoa related badges. It’s easy to get and when you use it, it provides an excellent To-Hit Buff coupled with a recharge reduction.
    • Fortitude – Not just a defense buff, but a to-hit buff in this power as well. Slot it for recharge and accuracy first if you consistently have problems with Mako. Throw it on your high damage team members.
    • Radiation Infection – Yes, the Radiation Emission powerset isn’t just good for reducing AV regeneration. This power does a defense debuff. The Radiation blasts are also nice for a debuff, but you have to hit for them to work. This is a toggle with a zero percent miss chance.
    • Rage – That Superstrength tank holding that aggro may not realize that HUGE To-Hit buff this power provides. This brings up one side point: If you are running the Statesman Task Force and you are just standing there, you are not helping. You need to be attacking.
    • Focused Accuracy – Both Scrappers and Tankers have access to this Accuracy Buff. It has a HUGE base and so even without slotting for accuracy, it’s useful.
    • Build-up – Your Blasters and Scrappers had better know about this. The almost all have it.
    • Peacebringers – SLOT YOUR POWERS FOR DEFENSE DEBUFF – it’s worth it!

    I’ll let South talk about how to handle –Regen at another time :)

    Friday, May 25, 2007


    Sometimes you run a team and it's just "magical". That was today's STF. Our lineup included.
    • Me
    • Red Tomax
    • St.Dominatrix
    • Xian Xe
    • South Freedom
    • DJ Trizz
    • Juke Joint Jezebel
    • Br0k3n
    I'd never teamed with JJJ nor Br0k3n before, but I knew of them. I'll simply say, having two people who control the power of Kinetics on a team, is just....lovely. And these two REALLY performed well. Furthermore, the team did enough damage that I was able to hold Ghost Widow's attention remotely while the rest of the team entered melee. I don't normally play it this way, because usually we don't do enough damage nor have enough recharge for me to hold her attention to prevent her from using her PBAoE heal. Today, we did. Two speed Boosts, and me being able to run without Granite, AND people who knew to boost their defense before attacking meant that she was almost trivial to defeat. Two tactics and a few radiation blasts meant that Mako wasn't too bad either.

    One of the things I wish people would keep in mind about this TF, you need to be ACTIVELY doing something. Even if you just have ONE attack, USE it. It will make an incredible difference. On this team, EVERYONE was pushing 90 mph.

    Thank you team! This made up for not being able to do this for the past two days.

    Thursday, May 24, 2007

    Nothing Doing

    So I sit down to run this morning

    We will be updating the Live servers to version 14.20070508.2T on the morning of Thursday, May 24th starting at 2 AM Pacific (4 AM Central / 5 AM Eastern). Estimated downtime is 2 hours.

    No CoH today for me. So instead, we bring you an old episode of "THE RACHAEL STORM SHOW!"

    *Pan into a Television Studio. Rachael Storm comes out waving to applause *

    Hiya everyone! In the tradition of Dear Abby, Anne Landers, and The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy, I've decided to help make the world a better place by sharing my knowledge and wisdom. Plus, I decided that if BC in GTR gets an "Ask BC" forum all to herself, I should at least get a lousy thread!

    So, got a question? Need some advice?

    Ask away!

    Our question today is from Alisson
    How do I get Alisson to 51, even though she's always in debt?

    This was something that occurred to me when I was promoted to Security Level 50, thereby becoming Hero of the City! It seemed that no matter how much I tried I just couldn't get recognized for my efforts.

    So, I decided to spend sometime meditating on the subject, hoping to obtain the inner wisdom necessary to accomplish this task. Below are some excerpts from my journal detailing my journey.
    Day 1

    Drank 3 Killer Shrews.

    The Satellite of Love telling how to mix a Killer Shrew
    • Chocolate Ice Cream
    • Cap'n Crunch with crunch berries
    • Peanut M&M's
    • Mrs. Butterworth's
    • Circus Peanuts
    • Mr. Pibb
    • Marshmallow Peeps. Lots of marshmallow peeps
    • Sweet Tarts
    • Vanilla Frosting
    • Good-N-Plenty
    Pour it into giant plastic tulip glass and garnish with a wind-up shrew

    and watched David Lynch Film Festival
    • Eraserhead
    • Blue Velvet
    • Wild at Heart
    Day 3
    Finally stopped screeming. Still no answer to THE question. Must take more drastic measures.

    • Consume 4 pounds of Ginseng
    • 3 pots of coffee
    • in addition to items on day 1
    Day 5
    Is it warm in here? Ned to find answer to queshuns.
    • Take a bath in ice water
    • eat a whole box of cough drops
    • in addition to times on day 3 and day 1
    Day 6
    Walls won't stop talking to meh. Still no solushun to porblems repssented
    • do all that stuff again, but this time attach battery cables to ears
    This has goitta work

    Day 9
    Plolice brung meh home. The were very nise. But I stil don have teh anser to teh kweschun. M
    4, OK 6 stuff...(battery cables fun) so u do that and then take aspirin.

    Day 12
    meep meep meep

    Paragon Psychiatric Ward Records
    Patient: Rachael Storm
    Status: Getting Better
    Description: Patient was found running through Siren's Call naked and screaming "Ur t3h n00b. I kil U! Im t3h ub3r." Was finally brought down by a team of Longbow. I'm confident that she will make a full recovery.

    Well Alisson, I hope that you can learn from my experiences.

    Now...where are those battery cables?

    Rachael Storm

    Got a question? Post it here!

    Tuesday, May 22, 2007


    Needless to say, today's STF Rocked!!!!!!!

    Our AVs weren't defeated as fast as I would have liked, but we got it done. South was unable to participate today, and the lack of regeneration debuff showed. However, I got the above reward. For you non-CoH playing reader, this is a VERY good reward.

    One other thing of note, I forgot to mention yesterday. On Sunday night, Demon Hunter Yurei ran a Statesman Task Force with Paragon University Archaeology Department. We blew through it very fast and with minimal effort. Even my friend, Dr. Opie, was able to participate. However, the REAL surprise came when she exited the mission.

    05-20-2007 20:03:21 Neutro Lad has defeated Bane Spider Executioner
    05-20-2007 20:03:21 D-Shift has defeated Bane Spider Executioner
    05-20-2007 20:03:21 Charisma has defeated Lord Recluse
    05-20-2007 20:03:21 [NPC]Lord Recluse: This...
    05-20-2007 20:03:23 [NPC]Lord Recluse: Is...
    05-20-2007 20:03:25 [NPC]Lord Recluse: Impossible. . .
    05-20-2007 20:03:48 [Team]Dr. Opie: yes.
    05-20-2007 20:03:48 [Team]Neutro Lad: gj all
    05-20-2007 20:03:54 [Team]Charisma: Nice work, team
    05-20-2007 20:04:04 [Team]D-Shift: Excellent!
    05-20-2007 20:04:18 [Team]Charisma: I got Positron's Blast Dam/Acc/End - anyone looking for it?
    05-20-2007 20:04:19 Entering Bell Point.
    05-20-2007 20:04:34 [PUAD] Rachael Storm: [50:Demon Hunter Yurei] Bolt, I award you the title - Honorary Stone Tank
    05-20-2007 20:04:44 Team task completed.
    05-20-2007 20:04:49 [Team]Dr. Opie: thanks for having me along
    05-20-2007 20:04:52 [Local]Rei Ki: Demon Hunter Yurei...
    05-20-2007 20:04:55 [Team]Neutro Lad: later all
    05-20-2007 20:05:01 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: yes?
    05-20-2007 20:05:03 [Team]Charisma: thanks for coming, Opie and Neutro
    05-20-2007 20:05:16 [Team]Neutro Lad: np thx for having me take care
    05-20-2007 20:05:17 [Local]Rei Ki: When you've finished you TF...PCSAR would like a word. :)
    05-20-2007 20:05:24 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: that would be now
    05-20-2007 20:05:32 [Local]House Call: He told you!
    05-20-2007 20:05:48 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: told me?
    05-20-2007 20:05:48 [Local]Gear Lock:What do you want?
    05-20-2007 20:05:59 [Local]House Call: No, told Rei
    05-20-2007 20:06:09 [Local]Rei Ki: You're amazing patience in sheparding our members through said TF has not gone unnoticed. :)
    05-20-2007 20:06:20 [Local]Mr. Strong: OMG whats skrong wearing?!
    05-20-2007 20:06:35 [Local]House Call: Strong, please scoot a bit, good sir
    05-20-2007 20:06:44 [Local]House Call: Thankee. ;)
    05-20-2007 20:06:47 [Local]Rei Ki: Would you consent to join PCSAR, Demon Hunter Yurei?
    05-20-2007 20:06:49 [Local]Mr. Strong: :-P np bro
    05-20-2007 20:06:52 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: I would
    05-20-2007 20:06:56 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: :)
    05-20-2007 20:07:10 Neutro Lad has quit the team
    05-20-2007 20:07:16 You have quit your team
    05-20-2007 20:08:00 Demon Hunter Yurei is now a member of Paragon City Search and Rescue!
    05-20-2007 20:08:06 [SuperGroup]Demon Hunter Yurei: YIPPY SKIPPY!
    05-20-2007 20:08:07 [Local]House Call: Woohoo!
    05-20-2007 20:08:10 [Local]Charisma: WOO HOO! Congrats, Yurei!
    05-20-2007 20:08:15 [Local]Bolt Crank: hey house call
    05-20-2007 20:08:20 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: thank you!
    05-20-2007 20:08:25 [Tell]Dr. Opie: there ya go!
    05-20-2007 20:08:32 [Broadcast]Rei Ki: Paragon City Search and Rescue is proud to welcome it's newest member, Demon Hunter Yurei!
    05-20-2007 20:08:43 [Local]Panthro: I'm touched
    05-20-2007 20:09:01 [Broadcast]Demon Hunter Yurei: *swoon*
    05-20-2007 20:09:04 [Local]Bolt Crank: Aha! not you have to be an EMT!
    05-20-2007 20:09:06 [Local]Rei Ki: Well, shoot, we all know that Panthro :)
    05-20-2007 20:09:09 [Local]Bolt Crank: And see peoples guts and stuff
    05-20-2007 20:09:12 [Local]House Call: Wow ... all the big Profs running the TF with ya tonight!
    05-20-2007 20:09:13 [Local]Bolt Crank: and save peoples lives
    05-20-2007 20:09:19 House Call lowdrum
    05-20-2007 20:09:49 Demon Hunter Yurei has joined the team
    05-20-2007 20:09:50 [Local]Bolt Crank: Yup!
    05-20-2007 20:09:53 [Team]Demon Hunter Yurei: HI!
    05-20-2007 20:10:03 [Team]Archon of Hope: Welcome! :)
    05-20-2007 20:10:05 [Team]Slick Zero: hey hey
    05-20-2007 20:10:09 [Team]House Call: Heya!
    05-20-2007 20:10:15 [Local]Rei Ki: Wow..some seriously famous names here :)
    05-20-2007 20:10:17 [Local]Panthro: sooo, where is the doughnuts
    05-20-2007 20:10:18 [Local]D-Shift: Congtratulations Yurei, well done.
    05-20-2007 20:10:20 [Local]Bolt Crank: I live in shame
    05-20-2007 20:10:33 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: yes, bolt, But Rachael still awards you the title of Honorary Stone Tank
    05-20-2007 20:10:34 [Local]Dr. Opie: it was all DHY's fault ...
    05-20-2007 20:10:34 [Local]Bolt Crank: Well one time it was for the good of vengence..
    05-20-2007 20:10:36 [Local]Panthro: yeah, congrats, fine group PCSAR is
    05-20-2007 20:10:47 [Local]House Call: I know! PUAD leadership, DD leadership ... it's the best of the best STF group!
    05-20-2007 20:11:00 [Local]House Call: Oops! SotSM over there, too!
    05-20-2007 20:11:01 [Local]Bolt Crank: Yeah it was really nasty
    05-20-2007 20:11:05 [Local]Panthro: i can't take any credit, i just logged on
    05-20-2007 20:11:06 [Local]Dr. Opie: yep
    05-20-2007 20:11:06 [Local]Bolt Crank: We kicked some serious tail
    05-20-2007 20:11:14 [Local]Rei Ki: I got to finish it with Rachael yesterday morning :) On one of her 3 runs.
    05-20-2007 20:11:44 [Local]Bolt Crank: Bolt Crank and Gear Lock... we look sexy together
    05-20-2007 20:11:52 [Local]Bolt Crank: Golem POWER!
    05-20-2007 20:12:02 [Team]Demon Hunter Yurei: Excellent!
    05-20-2007 20:12:16 [Local]Slick Zero: Welcome Demon Hunter Yurei....Now go heal sump'n
    05-20-2007 20:12:17 [Local]House Call: Statesman is so smug over there, like he doesnt even know we're having a grand ole time behind him
    05-20-2007 20:12:30 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: fixed.
    05-20-2007 20:12:31 [Local]Bolt Crank: Yeah he doesn't get it.. all he does is get captured by himself
    05-20-2007 20:12:32 [Local]Rei Ki: meh, he's a killjoy anyway
    05-20-2007 20:12:38 [Local]Bolt Crank: We do all the hero work in this town ;)
    05-20-2007 20:12:45 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: there you go
    05-20-2007 20:12:46 [Local]D-Shift: He is too old for fun apparantly...I guess it runs out after 80 years.
    05-20-2007 20:12:47 [Local]Bayushi Hiroshi: i do half the villain work!
    05-20-2007 20:12:48 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: go take damage
    05-20-2007 20:12:50 [Local]Slick Zero: :)
    05-20-2007 20:13:07 [Local]D-Shift: Hey there Bayushi
    05-20-2007 20:13:09 [Local]Bayushi Hiroshi: hah!
    05-20-2007 20:13:18 [Local]Demon Hunter Yurei: there..should be room
    05-20-2007 20:13:18 [Local]Bayushi Hiroshi: thanks. only two more to go now.
    05-20-2007 20:13:18 [Local]Gear Lock: Alright Bolt, D, see you in class.
    05-20-2007 20:13:21 [Local]Bolt Crank: Alright, time to go play Cthulu
    05-20-2007 20:13:23 [Local]Bayushi Hiroshi: hola d.
    05-20-2007 20:13:30 [Local]Bayushi Hiroshi: yep, zachary is picking me up.
    05-20-2007 20:13:31 [Local]Bolt Crank: CTHULU FA'THAGAN!
    05-20-2007 20:13:33 [Local]House Call: DANG IT
    05-20-2007 20:13:33 [Local]D-Shift: Just checking....Black Scorpion isn't um....*wearing black pajamas* under his armor?
    05-20-2007 20:13:36 [Local]Charisma: have fun, Bolt! Thanks for a fun run again
    05-20-2007 20:13:37 [Local]House Call: I died off the boat. lol
    05-20-2007 20:13:45 [Local]Rei Ki: Ah geez...House is dead again
    05-20-2007 20:13:47 [Local]House Call: Im such an idjit
    05-20-2007 20:13:47 [Local]Charisma: see ya, all!
    05-20-2007 20:14:01 [Local]House Call: Yay!
    05-20-2007 20:14:04 [Local]Dr. Opie: yeah, bolt ... anytime you need a blaster, just look me up. fine leading

    I am honored and humbled to join such a well respected organization.


    Monday, May 21, 2007

    Ghost Widow pwns

    Well, today Ghost Widow was tricky, but we got her. Go team.

    • Me
    • South Freedom
    • Noxheraldis
    • Xian Xe
    • Solar Knight
    • St. Black Swan
    • Queen of Flame
    • Tanaka Hiromoto - His first STF!
    I'm of two minds on Ghost Widow.

    Firstly, she is the hardest AV in City of Heroes/Villains. On top of her insanely high regeneration rate, she has 2 to 3 heals - the worst of which is a heal that targets everything in melee. One bad player, can make that encounter completely impossible. The team needs to have a coherent and consistent plan to taker her down. We have a good track record of defeating her, but still...

      Dressing up in a costume takes a very extreme personality, and the chances of eight such personalities getting along were about seventy-eleven million to one against.
    - Alan Moore, The Watchmen

    This is, of course, true here. In fact, at level 54, she is probably over powered for any encounter simply because of the amount of coordination it takes to deal with her coupled with the focus to do your job to the best of your abilities.

    HOWEVER, I think that there is a place for this encounter, mainly for the reasons I just mentioned. It teaches teamwork and forces people to use a strategy rather than just "bull rush and hope for the best".

    On Sunday morning, we ran the Statesman Task Force. That is, we TRIED to. When Ghost Widow hit 25% of her health, she started healing herself. At this point, the blaster we had on our team (someone we'd never met) decided to jump in an melee her. This permitted her to heal back up to full health. I told him repeatedly to back off and attempted to teleport him away. His response, "Go Away". I've decided, if I ever get a team member like that again, I'm simply going to kick him from the team.

    We ended up stalemating when I called "Run Away".

    So, the big lesson for this, TEAMWORK; or as my significant other says, "There is no "I" in SHUT THE **** UP!"

    Friday, May 18, 2007

    The Adventures of Stan and Lou

    First of all, grats to the team that stomped the STF today.

    Me - Rachael Storm (Stone/Superstrength Tank)
    South Freedom (Dark/Dark Defender)
    Auburn Angel (Energy/Energy Blaster)
    Solar Knight (Invulnerability/Fire Tank)
    Noxheraldis (Energy/Fire blaster)
    Quantum Plumber (Kinetics/Radiation Defender)
    Amber De'Ville (Fire/Ice Tank) <-- Newbie to the STF
    Brent Hamer (Illusion/Kinetics Controller) <-- Said he was always picked last and often passed over on team invites.

    To those who say that "Illusion/Kinetics" is bad for the STF, I say you don't know what you are talking about. The fact is, what you need is a balanced team of people who follow instructions. In that case, almost any team will be able to face this if they are prepared. You don't need a "Perfect Team Build". You just need a balanced team of heroes who pay attention.

    Now, today's entertainment is The Adventures of Stan and Lou a fun bit of City of Heroes humour.

    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    STF Forming - PST for Invite.

    This morning, we laid smackdown upon Lord Recluse again. The end part was quite easy this time.

    Our team was:
    • Me (Stone/SS Tank)
    • South Freedom (Dark/Dark/Dark Defender)
    • Queen of Flame (Fire/Rad Controller)
    • St.Black Swan (Fire/Kin Controller)
    • Asymptot (Inv/SS Tank)
    • Xian Xi (MA/SR Scrapper)
    • DJTrizz (Electric/Energy Blaster)
    • Targo Faile (Ma/SR Scrapper)

    GO TEAM!

    I'm sure however, Recluse will again try to take over the world.

    We soundly defeated Ghost Widow. Her heal could not hit Xian nor Targo.

    When we tried to attack Scirraco, all the villains came at us. I managed to keep Black Scorpion and Captain Mako occupied until everyone manage to take Scirraco down.

    All and all it was a good run.

    I did note - Black Scorpion has TAUNT. We've never seen him use it before, but he used it today.

    (Moving out of Character)

    As it is well known, every morning I run the Statesman TF (4:30 am to 8:00 am Central Time - Infinity Server). This is a Task Force that is reviled as much as it is liked. So, presumably, the question of "Why does Rachael like it?" come up.

    To be honest, a big part is that I like high level teaming. I got to Security Level 50 because I LIKE being the Big Bad Boulder Babe. THIS gives me a reason to. I never got into Hamidon Raids because of when they occurred (usually spending evenings with the family). So, I never got to be the uber powered, HOed character that most of my teammates are. The STF offers either an HO (although that is currently bugged) or a Rare Recipe (go go crafting). So, the idea is (if they hurry up and fix the HO bug), I have something that I can do that will give me the high end reward.

    That was my initial reason.

    Now, honestly, I do it for fun. I find it a nice challenging TF. I pushes me to my limit and requires real tactics and coordination. It gives me a daily 8-person team outlet. I LOVE it.

    The reward is high enough to get people interested in doing this - especially the high end players.

    If other people don't like it, that is fine. I'm not asking people to like it as much as I do. However, don't deny me my level 50 team.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    A Librarian in Grandville

    A big round of applause goes to the team I was on this morning.
    • South Freedom - Dark/Dark Defender
    • Psi Force - Radiation/Psionic Defender
    • Noxheraldis - Energy/Fire Blaster
    • InvincibleFlame - Fire/Fire Tank
    • Bleak Forecast - Ice/Storm Controller
    • CHIKAE - Katana/Regeneration Scrapper
    • Flame-Huntress - Fire/Fire Blaster
    In Independance Port, Statesman had given us a major task: To uncover Lord Recluse's plans and defeat him. If possible, I try to run this Task Force every day. It is a fun task force, and it is a reason to play my level 50 (I played 50 levels of the char, I *must* enjoy it).

    Before I go any further I'll say this - I think any build AT is useful on this thing. I was merely outlining the strategies I've found running a stone tank. I know there are invulns who have successfully tanked Recluse - I just don't know their strategies.

    I usually start the STF with NO inspirations. However, as I go through and I collect them I slowly weed through them.

    Ideally by the time we hit Grandville, I have 12 Healing Inspirations and 8 Accuracy Inspirations. If I cannot manage to collect that I try to fill the gap with Defense Inspirations. In other words, if you get any insp other than Green, Yellow or Purple - burn it. When you are full on insps, don't let yourself get more than 8 Accuracies.
    Today I managed to have the full 20 healing inspirations by the time we got to Grandville. I ended up using every last one of them and needed more (which the team was able to provide).

    The Statesman Task Force is rather straightforward until you get to the last mission. In this last one, you need to defeat: Ghost Widow, Scirraco, Captain Mako, and Black Scorpion. After that we tend to Lord Recluse himself. Usually, when we run with Noxheraldis, he pulls each of the four minion AVs in turn so we take them one at a time. If more than one AV comes, I tank the other AV and we take them down in the order I mention above.

    Ghost Widow: I think she is the hardest AV of the bunch. She has a mez that is so powerful that it can drop me out of Rooted+Granite if it hits. It detoggles you and does about 400 points of negative energy damage per second for about 10 seconds. Even with my 2326.2 hitpoints, that is enough to drop me. However, having just that is too easy. She also has a self-heal that heals her for between 400 and 800 points for every person who is in melee with her that she can hit. This includes all pets except for "Phantom Army". On top of all of this, she has the insane AV regen. Here are the tactics we normally use to deal with her.
    1. South Freedom runs Shadow Fall. If you are within Shadow Fall when she hits with the hold, the damage is almost entirely mitigated. You will likely survive.
    2. Bleak Forecast's Hurricane debuffs her accuracy so she can't hit with the self heal.
    3. We only allow people in melee if they can cap their defense, again so she can't hit with the self heal.
    4. South Freedom uses Howling Twilight. While this is a resurrection power, it also provides a debuff to Ghost Widows regeneration rate so she cannot heal as fast. From City of Data:
      "-500% Regeneration to Target for 30 seconds if (target = critter) [Ignores Enhancements & Buffs]"
    5. If I tank Ghost Widow, I do it from range. I stand next to South Freedom so I can take advantage of her heals. I run through the attack chain: Taunt, Hurl, Nemesis Staff.
    Next up is Scirraco. While he is MUCH easier than Ghost Widow, he has his own problems to overcome. He does endurance sapping, Knockback, and a -Perception whirlwind attack that causes you to lose target.
    1. Granite only is not sufficient to resist his knockback. I need to run Granite + Rooted. Of course, if you have Acrobatics, you are completely immune to knockback (check out City of Data on Red Tomax's Site for proof).
    2. That -Perception is nicely countered with Focused Accuracy.
    3. Rooted and Storm's O2 Boost counter sapping attacks.
    Black Scorpion is a pussycat. He is a standard "Hit hard and soak damage" AV.

    Finally, Captain Mako needs his butt kicked. However, he has the wrinkle of popping "perma elude" when he hits 25% health. This is often accompanied with a nuke.
    1. Throughout the TF, collect Accuracy Inspirations. Burn them when you get to him.
    2. If you have Geas of the Kind Ones, burn it at that time.
    3. I use both Focused Accuracy and Rage to further increase my to-hit buff.
    After this, you get a cut scene where the big bad Lord Recluse himself tells you that you are to late. Thankfully you aren't REALLY too late. However, this encounter is rather annoying. There are four towers that heavily buff him that must be destroyed if you are to complete the TF. They will need to be defeated in the following order: Red, Yellow, Green, and finally Blue.
    • Red provides an incredible Damage Buff
    • Yellow provides an accuracy buff.
    • Green provides a +3000 HP heal ever 10 seconds (and has an annoying noise)
    • Blue does some sort of Endurance buff. It probably isn't necessary to drop it, but we do anyway.
    On top of all of this you have the "Arachnos Flier" patrolling the map. If possible, ignore it. It will respawn after defeat. South and I have seen it respawn within 10 seconds of being defeated. However, it will terrorize the team hitting the towers. It was very troublesome this morning.

    So, to set up, I charge in and Taunt Lord Recluse. Then I run to the far NE corner of the map. This means I am not near the Arachnos Flier if it comes near. It also means that for that first tower (that gives Recluse a fearsome damage bonus) I'm very close to the team for the buffs as necessary.

    When tanking Recluse, run Rooted, Granite, and Mudpots. I know that seems obvious, but it bears mentioning.

    Granite - Mitigates damage
    Rooted - Heals
    Mudpots - Holds aggro and keeps Lord Recluse from spawning hundreds of Arachnos Bosses.

    At this time Mudpots is adequate to hold Recluse's attention, but I recommend supplementing with Taunt.As I'm tanking Recluse I burn a green every time I get to 50% health if I can't hit Earth's Embrace.
    Well, Invuln has *another* problem against Recluse.

    Through Granite, without buffs or debuffs, Recluse DOES hurt and it takes a lot for me to tank him. Unstoppable is slightly better, *but* note what I say about the mudpots.

    The fact is that PBAoE damage is just enough to keep Recluse from summoning minions. When I've seen Invulnerability do it, they end up with about 30 or 40 (not exaggerating) level 54 Bane Spider Executioners swinging. If Rachael drops, the tower mob only has to deal with Recluse. If an invuln drops, the tower mob has to deal with an AV and a TON of level 54 bosses.

    Sadly, the smashing resists of Increase Density doesn't help that much compaired to something like the debuff that Darkest Night Provides. Usually South Drops this on LR and I can tank him.

    When the team is taking down the towers, Arachnos Repairmen come to fix it. Defeat them, don't just knock them away.
    On a previous TF, one of the Arachnos Repairmen on the last tower got Knocked away. He landed near the defeated Red Tower. So, he stood up, and turned it back on. Those repairmen repair the tower they are nearest to. Be careful when using Knockback on them.

    When the towers are down, we hit Lord Recluse with everything we got. He'll spawn level 54 mobs while you fight him. If you have your Stormie there, you are all set because they can't get to you.

    Our record for finsihing this Task Force is 1 hour and 40 minutes. We didn't do that today, but we did finish it in just over 2 hours. Not bad at all.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007


    Hello out there in interwebs land!

    For those who don't know me, I'm Rachael Storm, the Avenging Librarian. "Avenging" you say? Yes, I live in Paragon City, Rhode Island: THE CITY OF HEROES! Yes, this blog is a little bit of posting to cover my exploits and answer questions from the community.

      OK, breaking the 4th wall for a moment. This is a fansite for the game City of Heroes. It is to cover the exploits of my characters, the news of the day, and general "funness". I will offer advise (but be warned, it's not serious by any means) and observations/experiences on game play. I'll also occasionally be posting bits of fanfic I come up with. Hope you enjoy your stay!

      Rachael lives on the Infinity Server of City of Heroes and has since August 2004. My current playtime is between 4:30 am and 8:00 am Central Time. Some of the posts will be in the character of Rachael and some will be "OOC". I'll try to make it clear whenever possible which is which.

      Feel free to leave any comments you wish.

      Anyway, back to "virtual reality".

    Today, I helped save the Paragon City Nuclear Reactor from an attack by the Rikti. The Rikti are a group of aliens who invaded Paragon a few years ago. While we stopped the invasion, there are still some lurking about.

    Thankfully, we managed to defeat them. Our team was comprised of myself, Noxheraldis (Energy/Fire Blaster), InvincibleFlame (Fire/Fire Tank), and DJTrizz (Electrical/Energy Blaster). The reactor was saved and a good time was had by all. My friend the "perky goth" South Freedom had hoped to join us, but ran out of sunblock. I don't know why she is so obsessed with that.

    Oh well.

    For those who don't know, being a superhero is a rather trying experience. You find yourself traveling all over trying to "Save the World" but rarely get thanks for it. ANYWAY, I was doing some work in the Rogue Isle. Yes, it's true, even I venture there from time to time. There is a certain 'gentlemen' there named Hard Case. He's not the most up and up type, but he does mean well. He is a "Demon Hunter" and is currently trying to deal with a group called the "Wailer Demons". They are rather nasty and have a ghostly howl that cuts through even the toughest of armor. I've been trying to track down the head of this group for him in hopes of saving St. Martial. Most recently, I've been tasked with finding the "true name" of their leader, "Silver tongue". Lets hope it all goes well.