Feb. 12th, 2019 10:19 am
marsden_online: (skull)
Some mornings I wake up and everything kinda hurts and I just can't.

I am aware that for many of my friends this is a daily occurrence with "really" in place of "kinda", and I don't envy you one bit :(
marsden_online: (camera2)
New Years at the Pink Palace
marsden_online: (camera2)
The lady is not a myth
marsden_online: (Kea)

Produced 343 units
Exported 131 units (@ 9.2c/unit)
Used 212 units (saving 22.2065c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $59.12


The solar installation was removed Nov 19 and will be re-emplaced once the new garage is built, at this stage I expect them to be back up by March.

Produced 278 units
Exported 185 units (@ 9.2c/unit)
Used 93 units (saving 22.2065c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $37.67
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
My last general update was wayyy back in April. Since then I have had difficultly finding the combination of time and energy to write. I'm not convinced it is what I would best be doing right now, but I'm in a bit of a down patch and need to get some stuff out.
Dear diary )
marsden_online: (camera2)
Second Halloween party of the weekend
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 278 units
Exported 82 units (@ 9.2c/unit)
Used 196 units (saving 22.2065c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $51.11
marsden_online: (camera2)
Annual 48 hour party
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 183 units
Exported 17 units (@ 9.2c/unit)
Used 166 units (saving 22.2065c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $40.17
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Kiera)
... my dreams last night were epic on a scale I haven't experienced in some time. This may or may not be related to my complete exhaustion on multiple levels. Some notes for future gaming reference.

- A hero bearing a spear tipped with light appearing at various times throughout history,
- actually different members of a secret society founded and led by members of a race of immortals (do not age, susceptible to violence variety), dedicated to ensuring than an ancient fortress literally thrown/torn down after a murder of passion followed by a bloody schism never rises again to trigger the fulfillment of a prophecy.
- The world has changed so much in the centuries since though that some of the senior members are starting to wonder if it actually matters any more, or if they were being too literal and there is more to be gained by letting the younger races continue their growth on the site.
- There are a number of such weapons but only one more will be made, the person it is made for must then kill the one who can make them before and demon possessing them and invoked in the process can escape (per prophecy)
- The "king" of the immortals and father of the murderer prevented from taking his revenge on the (legitimate) killer of his son by law and the other nobles, secretly plotting his revenge on basically the entire planet from the immortals' home city in the sky/spaceship, which has been basically isolated since the body was returned.
- immortals included Batman, Wonder Woman and possibly Dr Strange analogs as well as other characters I do not recognise a source for.
- There was a self propelled stone battle wagon occupied/controlled by the soul of an immortal woman who had stolen the secrets to power it from the city, kind of in a
- "Of those who travelled north only those who had previously travelled south survived" or "the key to surviving the north lies in the south."
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 146 units
Exported 16 units (@ 9.2c/unit)
Used 130 units (saving 22.2065c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $28.96
marsden_online: (camera2)
Annual 48 Hour funds raising event
marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
D "+ Guest" was invited to a very special wedding in Auckland, so last weekend I paid my first visit to this city which was not purely contained to passing though the airport.

My lasting impression was of the number of rainbows we saw, and much closer than I am used to encountering in Christchurch (at one point it seemed we were about to drive through the base of one). D was unimpressed, I guess they just become part of the background colour if you have lived in the city.

I am grateful that we did not encounter heavy traffic at any time during our visit. Even with the assistance of google maps unfamiliarity with the motorway system, and exits meant I was changing lanes at short notice more than I would have liked, sometimes in less-than optimal driving conditions.

The visit was a bit of a whirlwind, what with delayed flights it was almost exactly 36 hours between boarding at Christchurch airport and getting home. In that time we

- flew up
- found our rental car
- stopped for a slow-to-arrive lunch at a Sylvia Park eating establishment
- found our motel
- changed
- found the wedding venue (a short drive north of Auckland)
- enjoyed the wedding (with bonus cheese), at which I encountered an old acquaintance and met a few new people without embarrassing myself or D.
- it was rather a change to be the unknown partner rather than the well-known member on one of the social groups. Not an unpleasant one.
- returned to the motel via one of D's old flats to pick up some things which had been accidentally left there when she departed. Fortunately these took up almost the same space coming back as the wedding present had travelling up.
- dragged ourselves away from the motel by the 10am checkout time
- dropped D's chef knives off at her sharpener of preference (who couriered them back later in the week)
- spent some time sitting in the hothouse winter gardens.
- Met up with a friend of D's for lunch
- I was thanked for making D seem happier than she had been in a long time :)
- visited the butterflies, geckos and crocs at Butterfly Creek (the kiwis were being shy)
- returned the car unscathed
- resisted the entreaties of the saleswoman in the airport jewellery store and hung out in the departure lounge while our flight was delayed & delayed (but several others (to smaller centres) were announced as cancelled while we waited, so could have been worse).
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 91 units
Exported 5 units (@ 9.2c/unit)
Used 86 units (saving 22.2065c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $19.59

June was a bit of a gloomy month, with fewer sunshine hours than usual for the time of year.
marsden_online: (write)
Over at The Spinoff, Toby Morris has illustrated some of the proof that "Tough on crime" has failed.
Crime rates are low but reoffending rates are very high. 'Tough on crime' hasn't helped victims, has been damaging to families and communitiesand hasn't helped Māori who are still grossly overrepresented.
'Tough on Crime' has been proven to have the opposite effect to what it hopes to achieve. In 2018 it's like arguing for free cigarettes for hospital patients or that we should build healthy homes with asbestos.

Anyway this sparked some shower thoughts about why I am uncomfortable with the very phrase "tough on crime". And I think it's because the posture it adopts is one of a bully. The big kid on the block isn't a gentle giant out to help people, oh no, mess with him and he's going to bust you up. "Tough on crime" doesn't care if it is fair or just.

It is the language of oppression, and that's not what I want to hear from the apparatus of the state in "my" country. I would like to think I live in a country with run by representitves who care about the people they are reresenting, all of them.

And note how it's tough on crime, not tough on the causes of crime, for example poverty, disenfrachisement. Real ambulance (or police car) at the bottom of the cliff stuff here. Crime itself is good for business; if your someone who is in the business of building & staffing prisons, or other aspects of an overloaded justice system.
Look at the growth in spending: Law and Order is growing at almost twice tehe rate of governement spending, and three times faster than GDP

You could make a real difference in a lot of peoples lives with that money, people who wouldn't then find themselves trapped in a life where crime is a practical, least-worst option. But, and no need to pardon my cynicism, those aren't the sort of people who get to donate to political parties and rub shoulders with the people who make the rules. They're not "people like us". They are "other". They can be beaten on with impunity.

[deep breaths]

I think I would be more comfortable with a word like "firm". The concept of firmness is not tied to the implication of the use of force in the same way that "tough" is in this context. It allows for a wider range of options, as any parent can probably tell you. "Firm but fair" has the association of someone you don't want to mess with, but retains the association of justice (fairness) that "tough on crime" lacks.
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 142 units
Exported 29 units (@ 9.2c/unit)
Used 113 units (saving 22.2065c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $27.76
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)
Arcana Evolved states that
Most items from Chapter Seven in the DMG are available ... with a few exceptions based on some simple guidelines
5. Any item whose main feature is an effect that does not appear in [AE] in any way,or that appears in a different version. The easiest thing to do is convert these effected to [AE] effects ... some effects ... do not appear in [AE], but you could incorporate them into the the game as special magic-item only powers."

AU/E also use a different set of item crafting feats. Most Wondrous Items, previously craftable by a 3rd level spellcaster if they had the aid of a suitably levelled caster or an appropriate item, now require a 12th level caster to take the Craft Constant Item feat. (See my Artificer class for one means of pulling this back the other way a bit).

Until recently I had not thought to sit down and calculate how much this might change the cost of some items, until I needed to know just how much of a discount the PCs might be getting through influence and prestige. A few oddities immediately appeared among relatively common items.

A very simple example is the Amulet of Natural Armor. In D&D3.x the pre-requisite is the Barkskin spell (Lvl 2, caster level 3 but that doesn't come into it) and the price for one of these is calculated as Bonus[squared] x 2000gp (DMG p285). 2000, 8000, 16000, 32000, 64000.
In AU the equation is spell level of the appropriate Beast Skin spell x caster level x 2000gp. 2000, 12000, 20000, 40000, 90000.

I'm having to fudge here a little too ... the rule is that The character can cast a spell at a lower caster level than normal, but the caster level must be high enough for her to cast the spell in question...., but there is no clarification of how this applies to diminished versions of the spell. Is it the caster level required to /prepare/ the normal version of the spell, or the caster level required to /have available/ a spell slot of the lower level used to cast it? I'm using the latter, or the +1 amulet would cost 6000gp (caster level 3) (the same as it presumably would if Craft Wondrous Item used caster level). For that you could upgrade your Ring of Protection +1 to a Ring +2 and have the additional +1 apply against more things. So I have gone with the latter interpretation.

Speaking of the Ring of Protection. The prerequisite spell for this in D&D3.x is Shield of Faith (a Cleric only spell, which means all those rings out there had a divine caster/ deity involved in their making ...), a first level spell granting a short-lived +2 to AC.

There is no equivalent in Arcana Unearthed. In fact deflection bonuses are few and far between in the spell lists, exactly 3 spells, Magic Circle (Complex, 3), Energy Sheath (Exotic, 6) and Telekinetic Shield (Complex, 8). And Magic Armour 9a flat +1 or +2 heightened) doesn't really cut it as a replacement (apart from explicitly being unable to be incorporated in a constant item).
There are a couple of other deflection effects available to lowish level classes, specifically the Mage Blade's Shimmering Shield (at 4th level) and the Wind Witchery Wind Blade (could be chosen at 1st, 5th or 10th level before you can get the CCI feat at 12th).

So for now Rings of Protection remain one of those things, and at some point I will formally make Shield of Faith available as a 1st level complex spell granting +1 AC (+1 per n caster levels) for a period of minutes/level, diminished +1 to AC for a period of rounds/level, heightened lasting for a period of 10 minutes/level. I think that will be balanced against the AU version of Magic Armor. It will likely change the price of the ring in a similar manner to the amulet above, but not as drastically.

Another challenging item is the Ring of [Energy/Element] Resistance (or for that matter armour of this type). The D&D 3.5 Resist Energy spell (Level 2, grants between 10 points and 30 points DR against the specific energy depending on caster level) does not exist in AU in favour of the diminished versions of Protection from Elements and Protection from Energy (Simple, 3 & Complex, 4 respectively, absorbs damage from elemental attacks of the specified type up to a caster-level determined limit).

These spells /can/ be placed in permanent items, but if we consider the spell to be cast on the wearer every round the simplest of these rings created at minimum caster level would protect against 30 points of damage every round. (Which might or might not be preferable to protection of 10 points from every elemental attack depending on the situation.) My feel is that is overpowered.

A slightly more interesting take is that the ring recasts the spell whenever the existing protection expires, leaving a narrow window where some damage might actually sneak through, or has to be reactivated as an action like for example the Ring of Invisibility. As a uses-per-day item of course it works fine.

It is a trivial solution here to say that the prerequisite becomes the diminished spell and the effect when placed in an item differs, although there's still the matter of while Rings of Elemental Resistance now have the same caster level as D&D3.x, Rings of Energy Resistance (excluding Fire, for which one would use the cheaper spell) now have a higher caster level and could be expected to have a commisurately higher cost.

The easy solution is simply to say something like "there are recipes for these common items, and they use the DMG costs" but it all leaves me wondering how far through the possible issues Monte Cook and his team thought when they developed the AU/E and why they did not spend what could have been just a line or two of text to provide clarification.
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 203 units
Exported 64 units (@ 9.2c/unit)
Used 139 units (saving 22.2065c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $36.76

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