Monday, January 24, 2011

Sharn - The Cauldron - Episode 6

The party gathers around where they maintained vigilance on the Cathedral of the Cleansing Flame. Rexton offers to maintain vigilance on the Cathedral after Talen suggests that the rest of the group follows up with Councilman Hruit.

On the way down to Broken Arch, Talen updates Kal on the situation with Terrem at the Lantern Way Orphanage. Councilman Hruit’s home is a rather large home with beautifully sculpted trees surrounding the outside. The trees and other greenery conceal the walls.

They knock on the door and are greeted by Kadmus, Hruit’s butler. Despite Talen’s cheery disposition, Kadmus is somewhat bemused at their presence. The party pushes past him and indicates that they are here to speak with Hruit about a job.

Kadmus leads them to Hruit’s drawing room and asks that they wait. The door opens and the party sees Hruit’s eyeshine, marking him as a shifter, before the light reveals his face.

Hruit says, “I understand that you have dealt with Gast of Indenture Hall. Gast’s brother, Linech, is also a small-time gangster. He is a man of little consequence, but more successful than Gast. He has, however, crossed us in the past, and now he’s up to something new. He’s hiring adventurers. He’s never done that before. At the very least, we want to know what he’s doing. We might also want put a stop to it. His actions indicate a sudden influx of resources, when we thought he was already overextended.” Hruit then explains, “Linech is a drug smuggler. He has a small operation on some island to the north where his people manufacture dreamily. He brings it in on ships. Something bad happened on the island recently, however, and we believed he was finished. Now, it appears otherwise. He is putting out requests in the adventurer quarters, primarily Deathsgate.”

Hruit offers them each of them 100 gp to go to Linech and take whatever job he’s offering, so that they can find out what it is and report back. “Do well on this, and you’ll be invited to return.”

Hruit says, “First, I want this done – much of the City Watch in this district is only interested in the money in their purses. Second, because I fight my own battles and accomplish my own deeds. I am not having him killed outright as he may have powerful friends and the power vacuum would invite someone who I don’t know. Rest assured, if you run afoul of the city guard, give them my name, and I will bring my power to bear to try to protect you.”

Hruit gives them half of the total payment (150 gold) to start the investigation.

The group departs and proceeds down to Deathsgate. They head to a tough a bar called “The Goat.”

The Goat has a sign over the entrance stating “Trespassers will be killed,” with a crude, faded painting of a goat on the stone wall next to it. It’s a small pub known as a quiet place that Deathsgate adventurers and mercenaries go to get drunk quickly. The drinks are hard and moderately priced. There are no minstrels or other entertainments, merely toughs drinking.

Bah looks to find a dreamily dealer and asks him about where he gets his supply from. The dealer indicates that his connection is a man in the Bazaar named “Kahrlohse”. Talen starts asking around and speaks to a monk named “Ember” (offering her sweet rice cakes) about people hiring. Bah asks the bartender the same thing. They are both directed man standing in the corner quietly drinking a stein of ale.

They approach the name, named Belgeon, and start talking to him about employment possibilities and let him know that they were referred to him by Kharlohse. Belgeon tells them to head to Linech’s place in Center Bridge the next day and provides them with an address.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sharn - The Cauldron - Episode 5

This post isn't up to my usual standards - I apologize and will try to take better notes.

Our trio continues to take turns watching the Cathedral waiting for someone who resembles Fabitor to appear. Rexton watches at night, Talen in the morning, and Kal in the evening.

While the party waits and watches, Talen gets ingredients for Tea Cakes – he makes tea cakes and returns. He makes notes of routines of people walking in and out of the Cathedral (gets idea of who works there and regular visitors – watching for irregularities) he notes nothing.

On the way to his shift, Rexton speaks with Mazin who informs him that Gretchen, the head of the Lantern Way Orphanage wanted to extend thanks and had something she wanted to talk to them about. He didn’t know the exact details.

Meanwhile, Kal takes a sky coach to the graveyard, where he lives, and back to verify there are no problems there.

Talen casts “change self” and with a copy of the Silver Flame holy book, sits in the cathedral disguised as a supplicant. He looks like a pudgy and short haired “magewrite.” Afterward, he returns to Coldflame Keep and asks Mazin about hiring an Inquisitive. Mazin refers him to a contact that may be able to help. Meanwhile, he asks about the meeting with Gretchen. Rexton never told him about it.

Talen goes down to the cogs to talk to his contact. He enters the tavern Shamukaar in Khyber’s Gate. He is immediately recognized as a member of the group that terrorized a number of the patrons previously.

Talen encounters a half-orc druid named Bah and almost comes to blows with him due to a misunderstanding. Talen diffuses the situation with the patrons and Bah and discusses the situation about Phon and her unborn infant. Talen offers Bah Phon’s scarf and Bah detects the scent of 2 other people. He is very troubled by the observation that an abberations may be involed. Talen hires him.

They head back up, stopping at the latern way orphanage as Bah is very concerned about the Mind Flayer. Terrem remembers that the party saved him.

Talen asks Gretchen to keep an eye on him and notify them of any information about people meeting with him. She tells him that Terrem was brought back an hour earlier than the rest.
Bah goes to meet with the Gatekeepers to exchange information. They advise him to stay vigilant.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Last Diet

As you may be aware, I've been busting my butt since October trying to get thinner AND fitter. I've been calling this "My Last Diet" because this is the one that will work (and IS working) and the one I'm going to be on for the rest of my life. I'm also going to need to watch what I eat. Some people can get away with not thinking about it, but I'm not one of them.

I've always said (even at my fattest) that the real key to losing weight is to eat right and exercise. I still maintain this. The trick is that if you are trying to do that, and it isn't working, you aren't trying HARD enough.

I am now working hard enough. Aside from doing Y-Extreme Fit at the local YMCA I've also been counting calories. Calorie counting works. Need proof? See Tyler and Matt. And soo, you will see ME.

Yes, I did loose a ton of weight after gastric bypass surgery - however, I do not recommend it! There are complications, you don't feel well, and it screws up a lot of things about your life. Worst of all, there is NO guarantee you will keep it off. I know - my weight started creeping back up. So, I said to my gut in my best Gandalf voice, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!"

Today, I'm eating right, counting calories, and exercising. I FEEL GREAT!

So I decided to share what I'm doing with regard to eating in hopes of helping out the 3 of you who read my blog!

Eating Plan:

My total calories each day are less than 2200. I always infuse protein immediately following my workout (usually skim milk + a scoop of whey powder). I TRY to design my weekday breakfast and lunch as follows:
Obviously, I do not always hit these guidelines; that's OK, it's a target to aim for.

I should also note, that after doing this a while, I've been breaking up my meals. While I may go grab my Favorite Chipotle Salad for lunch (I'll post on that later) I usually eat about half of it at lunch time, and then the rest a couple hours later. I'm starting to do the same with dinner.

Yes, my weight has been coming off. My clothes are fitting better. I have enough energy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011!

It's that time again - New Year's resolution!

"First Day of the Rest of My Life" in 2010 worked out fairly well I think. I faultered at first, but I finally created the habits (with the help of 2008's "Better Living through Technology") necessary to move toward the person I want to be. Admittedly, 2009 failed on the resolution front, but still I take the resolution seriously and try to really use them to be a better person.

I think the foundation is built for my sweetie and me to start living better!

So, what of 2011? When creating resolutions, or any type of lofty goal, it's important to identify specific actions that you will need to do in order to accomplish those goals. That being said, here is what I've come up with so far.
Resolution 1 - Make sure I'm spending quality time with my sweetie
    To support this goal, every Monday is Date Night - Whether a 5-star restaurant followed by the symphony or chicken wings on the couch watching a Netflix movie - this is a sacred time for us. If it needs to be cancelled one week, it should be rescheduled. DVRed shows don't count - its not 'special'.
Resolution 2 - Be more active and get rid of the last of my weight
    I've done very well so far on this by doing Crossfit and generally eating right. I think I'm far enough along to kick this up a notch....bam. Starting January, I'm taking swimming lessons - I am a poor swimmer at best (odd since both of my parents were divers). Starting at the beginning of this year, I'll be learning at the local YMCA. When April rolls around, I'll be doing Triathlon training as well. No, I'm not competing in one, I'm just doing the training. I'll be doing this WITH my sweetie, so it also supports resolution #1 of spending more time with her.
    I also intend to do some adventure races this year to support this and make it fun!
Resolution 3 - Play more games
    I AM a gamer nerd among other things. I feel like I've not been playing enough games to scratch that itch. So, I'll play more board games with my sweetie (see Resolution #1), make sure RPGs and miniature wargaming is on a schedule, along with more computer gaming. RPG and Wargaming is currently scheduled and should stay that way. I need to nail this down to some more specific tasks, but I have a good start.
Resolution 4 - Be more social
    We need to regularly have people over or go out with friends to keep in touch. It is a joy of life that we should partake in.
I think I've got a good foundation here, and I'll be identifying and adding tasks to support these goals as time goes on. We shall see how it goes!

Got any resolutions? A sure way to help achieve them is to share them with people. What's yours? Comment away!