Thursday, June 26, 2008

Marcia Ball

I went to Blues on the Green last night and saw Marcia Ball.

She rocked!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Way to Eden

I watched the Star Trek episode The Way to Eden this morning and I have a few things to say.

1. Space Hippies piss me off.

2. Herbert, you're gonna look pretty funny tryin' to eat corn on the cob with no f***in' teeth!

3. "Dr. Sevron is insane". Gotta love the 60's. None of this DSM IV stuff, just "he's insane". Simple and clean.

4. So, when Mr. Spock "has a session" with the space hippies they use a standard 3-chord 12-bar blues progression for their music, but with 'futuristic' sounding instruments. It's nice to know that the perfect musical construct lasts until the 23rd century. I guess the modern blues master 'T-Bone T'pel of Vulcan' is quite influential. After all, notice when the music is playing Spock nods in approval.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My stance on 4E

I have played Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition.

As many people know, I started playing D&D with 3rd Edition. I didn't like 1st and 2nd Eds - but I do have familiarity with those editions. Now, Wizards of the Coast has given us 4E. What do I think?

I don't like 4E.

To be clear, Fourth Edition seems to be a good system. From what I've seen it looks like it has been balanced and it doesn't have some of the idiosyncrasies that previous editions have (A low level wizard running out of things to do, except hide because they cannot take ANY damage). So, it DOES work.

But, to me it doesn't FEEL like D&D. those idiosyncrasies are things that made D&D what it is. For example, I was never fond of the Vancian magic system, but I think the current 'infinite shots' of a power goes a little too far the other way. I hope it brings new gamers to the hobby, and I sincerely hope it is successful. BUT, I see me going back to my pre-3rd ed stance and not being a D&D player.

SO, what is there for me?

Paizo is preparing to release THIS.

The Pathfinder RPG is basically a refinement of 3.5 that tries not to invalidate the HUGE 3.5/3.0 library you (if you are like me) have. I've not yet gotten my grubby hands on a playtest copy yet, but I have high hopes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dungeons and Dragons Session - Hellenika Campaign - Sometimes I think I do to much Rogue-ishness

The performer comes out on stage and plays. Food and drink are good. The clientelle appears wealthy (merchants). The party sees one of the people Gal spied upon (a corpulent fellow with many women). Iridinae recognizes him from her past - the queen's father. This arouses the party's suspicions as to what he is doing here.

After hearing about the curse from other patrons, Tesla asks what is the nature of the curse. No one can agree on what it is. The party returns to the inn of the Golden Sunbeam. The night passes uneventfully.

Morning arrives.

Kerin announces that we have a message from Fred (via sending) telling us to "Keep him there. Tell him to go on to the king and ask him for..." Relnik says he was coming down to set up diplomatic relations with Hellenika. Kerin sends a response indicating that he ran out of words.

The party heads over to the inn of the Brilliant Bard.

The waitstaff there takes the party to Arion's office. After a few minutes, he comes in. Arion asks further of about the gate that they know will be forming in the Inn. The party tells him what they know. Arion suggests a deal.

Arion tells the story. He had been part of an adventuring group until he was cursed and forced them to be separated. Arion starts getting vague. He talks about a contest that they had cheated on, hence the curse. It becomes apparent that the curse is preventing him from performing (which makes it difficult for him to rely the story).

With assistance from Tesla the story becomes apparent...

After the war with Aphryggia, Callisto had bragged that she and Arion were superior to the twin gods in skill. The gods (in human form) challenged them to a contest. However, Callisto bribed the judges. The gods found out and they were cursed.

Arion is unable to perform and is lame. Further, he can only operate during the day
Callisto is only able to hunt and appears to be undead. Further, she can only operate during the night.

To break the curse, the group must bring the two together, so that he can serenade her while holding her horn (which can control undead).

He asks the party to bring them together.

The party agrees to help. They decide to find her first before facing the Aries worshiper.

Arion provides Kerin with a comb with which she can attempt to scry for Callisto.

The party splits up.

Tesla attempts to find information regarding "bad hunting". A young urchin approaches him saying that someone at the "Priapic Stallion" wants to speak with him. While wary, Tesla follows. He is led to a corner booth where a young man is sitting. The young man identifies himself as "Valnos" and that he needs assistance from the "Rogue who does not hide." It quickly becomes apparent that this person is not who he seems. Tesla finally recognizes him as the King's Companion. Stephanos asks him to break into the castle and leave a note. Tesla tells him he will render a decision tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Iridinae takes Woof-Woof out to the countryside for running and hunting. Irinidae returns to the city and purchases a small piglet for the sacrifice for entering the city. As she enters a man runs up and offers to wipe down her horse. She recognizes a cloth that he has (similar to what she has) and asks him where it came from. He says he had it for a long time.

Meanwhile Meanwhile, Kerin goes to procure the font and holy water for the divination to find Callisto. As she leaves the temple district, she sees Pirithuous going to the temple of Aries. She casts clairvoyance to attempt to determine what he is doing. She 'sees' that he walks into the temple which is appropriately decorated as a temple to Aries. He walks up to a cleric of Aries who is talking to someone. Pirithuous shoves the civilian off to the side. The civilian and Pirithuous each draw weapons. The cleric yells and gesticulates. Pirithuous relaxes and the civilian is cowed and leaves. The cleric and Pirithuous talk to each other. They move into another room as the spell ends.

Meanwhile Meanwhile Meanwhile, Gal changes into a hawk and flies out to scout the Northeast area where they believe Callisto is. She flies over a wooded area with a thick canopy. She notices there is much less game that she'd normally expect in this area. There are definitely areas where a large pack has come through trampling brush. Gal attempts to follow the trail. She concludes the pack is three dozen strong. There is also signs of hoof prints. She follows the trail to a hilly area. It appears that the pack has entered a cave. She returns.

The party gathers back at the Inn and shares information.

The party enjoys dinner at the Golden Sunbeam and formulates plans.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dungeon and Dragons session - Hellenika Campaign - MASSIVE UPDATE!

Boxo returned the party to Hellenika, dropping them off behind the Inn of the Brilliant Bard in Pytho. There they encountered a cat which Tesla dispeled, returning Relnic to his natural form. He explained how Fred sent him to be an ambassador to Hellenika soon after Fred returned to reality, but he was captured by Allyrians, turned into a cat, infected with a plague, and released in Hellenika to start the great plague. He at one point briefly became human again but soon transformed back. The party took rooms at the nearby Inn of the Golden Sunbeam. They discovered a note in Woof-Woof’s collar leading them to the former inn’s stables where they found their horses, Kerin’s gold from Lendor, and pink armor for Gal from her “grandfather.”

The next day the party split up to investigate the town. Gal investigated the Inn of the Brilliant Bard as a cat and discovered closed-off upstairs rooms, one with strange smells. As a snake, he laid in wait and saw prostitutes and later a man come out of the other room. Kerin and Relnic bought clothes and discovered at the Temple of Athena that Tesla was wanted for heresy. Tesla discovered the same when he paid his magic item fee at the Mage Guild. Iridinae visited the Temple of Artemis and learned that the King’s Companion Stephanos is missing. She also found out that a couple of embassies have been sent to the Land of Fred but haven’t been heard from. At lunch the party observed a rude, evil customer named Pirithoos who is a regular at the Golden Sunbeam.

Kerin tried to scan the strange room at the Brilliant Bard but failed. She sent a message to Fred that Relnic had been found. Gal followed Pirithoos around town, leaving him at the Temple of Ares. Gal returned to the Brilliant Bard as a rat and warped the wood to the door to peer in. She sensed creatures inside but as she was investigating she heard someone coming up the stairs and so darted into the room where she ran into something.

Meanwhile, the party was back at the inn of the Golden Sunbeam while gal was in rat form and running into a creature under the bed as someone was coming up the stairs.

In fact, a few of these small creatures (who appeared to be humanoid) were in the room, and chased Gal out with cries of "Dinner!". Gal managed to escape and return to the Inn to meet with the party and relay the story.

At this point, a man comes in and starts talking to talks to a man working on some bookkeeping.

Kerin casts claireaudience. The man and the bookkeeper are having a discussion about a complaint of a "rat infestation". The other person apparently works at the Brilliant Bard and is named "Arion". The guest who complained is "Well connected" and "secretive". The 'special guest' took out the room a couple months ago and has the room paid up a year in advance. He does not permit any entry into the room, not even for cleaning. Apparently, the guest is rude to the guests and has an "uncle" who lives on the premise.

Arion walks by the table and "falls". Gal manages to catch him. Arion recognizes the party as "Adventurers" and invites the party to dinner at the inn of the Brilliant Bard. He is surprised that the group assents as the Inn of the Brilliant Bard has a bad reputation amongst clergy, and clergy will not dine there.

After he leaves, the party discusses about what the "humanoids" Gal encountered were. They decide to go to a temple of Apollo for information on what it was. A woman at the temple of Apollo helps and after some research Gal determines that the critter was a "Redcap".

They return to the Golden Sunbeam inn when Kerin casts divinations on the Pirithoos. She notes that she has magic items, but doesn't get a great more detail.

That afternoon, the party investigates why the Inn of the Brilliant Bard has a bad reputation. We find out that the "Twin Gods" cursed it. (Apollo and Artemis) cursed him and his sister as they were angered at them (Arion and Callisto).

The party buys clothes for the dinner, and then heads out dinner.

Arion comes out to greet them and invites them to sit near the stage. Arion concludes that they are from another plane.

Arion reveals that he and his sister "erred" and the deities "corrected" them.

The party tells Arion about the Aries worshipper. Arion reveals that he does not recognize the race of Gal. (Gal is in human form). The party tells Arion about the plot of Garm. Arion leaves.