marsden_online: (neverwinter)
Two and a half years
13 levels, + a few more lost to Raise Dead & the like
Finding the cure to a supernatural plague through to taking on the Yuan-ti Sorceress Lich Queen in her pocket dimension, killing her, then killing her again after her life force animated a colossal statue

One of the best campaigns I've ever concluded, it's been a ride to DM and I'm really grateful that I had some great players to share it with.

And another great thing is is that this one is completely reusable. In a few years time I look forward to running it again, modified and improved based on what I learnt this time.
marsden_online: (Evil GM)
Neverwinter last night was mostly 'hang on to the locomotive while the GM narrates', but we've missed two sessions and I decided to do away with the trap-laden dungeon crawl. The Word of Protection (now in the PCs possession, where it more or less wants to be) has both more direct and more subtle methods anyway.

The PCs received their rewards for this arc, and the players will be happy shopping over the coming week. I've decided to let them have a significant power boost so they can start facing off with some big opponents over the last few months of the campaign.

This afternoon was the SAGA board games afternoon, which was well attended. I played one game of Ticket to Ride, one of Hunters & Gatherers and two of Pandemic (1 overrun by the black plague, 1 win). I was so engrossed in the games I forgot to take any photos despite deliberately taking my camera along.

This has left me a little peopled out.

Finally located a photo of myself from the SteamPunk party in March, yay Jen.

snip )
marsden_online: (Evil GM)
Wednesday - had a really good evening being social at Creative Space. Didn't actually get much project work done and what I did was mostly a do-over of Sunday - but it clicked this time!

Thursday - A session long battle against the BBG which gave everyone at the table some nervous moments - including me as the party managed to drop his immunity to mental effects and Feeblemind him - leaving him reactively and defensively casting only his Divine spells until they did enough damage that Contingency kicked in and whisked him away.

That will definitely act as a delayer to the Cult's plans and has gained the PCs a valuable catch-up on the timeline. Meanwhile they continue this day of the adventure down a large amount of their spell power. Eeeexcellent....

Nearly lost a PC - until I realised I'd cocked something up in an earlier session and she should have had more HP to start with. The encounter could have been a TPK had I opened with a bigger spell, so I think I played it about right.

This morning has mostly been eaten catching up with Emma's Are we there yet? thread over on Public Address, but I have taken some time to revisit my power tracking / comparison with PowerShop spreadsheet for the past 12 months (ie pre solar).

It turns out that on my current Meridian Night & Day plan my average cost per unit is lower than anything offered at Powershop such that most months even had I bought most of my units early at the best price I've seen from PS I was still better off with Meridian by ~$20/month . That including the fixed charge and before the prompt-payment discount (so add a bit more).

Of course competition is relatively tight in the Christchurch residential power market, so I'm not surprised if we get some of the best prices in the country. I will be very interested to see how the numbers change over the next 12 months now that I'm theoretically using less of the cheaper night rate. It'll also give a chance to show how often PS deals like the $50 free power of March turn up, which could be a balancing factor.


May. 8th, 2009 10:44 am
marsden_online: (skull)
Hot Water
I may have been compulsively checking the temperatures at frequent intervals to see what's going on. I hope that running the electric pump which moves the water to/from the solar collector is a lot more efficient than heating the water directly by element because otherwise all I've done is moved a lot of night-rate energy usage to day-rate.

I de-legalised the system yesterday - legally required there's a hot/cold mixer near the tank which is supposed to make sure that the water reaching the tap isn't more than 50something degC. But on a low-pressure system like I have here a significant amount of the pressure at-the-tap (or shower head!) comes from adding in cold at that point to bring the temperature down. So the effective water pressure suddenly started sucking.

Easily resolved by adjusting the mixer to let more hot through :)

The party managed to trigger the whole complex into one big fight and made it through pretty much unscathed. I was very disappointed (but the players were happy). It didn't help that all the biggest spells I threw at them were countered by the Heroes Feast they'd eaten the previous session. I agree with a previous acquaintance that large-scale blanket immunities are as broken as Save-or-Die spells, and I think there will be some houseruling of spells going on before the next D&D campaign I run.

Work-related angst
I have multiple substantial projects on the go but I've been dealing (or rather, not) with a fair amount of angst over the fact that nothing I'm doing is really directed at bringing in paying work. It's not that I don't think I could bring value to - well, pretty much anything - or that I don't believe in what the web can do for a business, it's that I don't believe I have any more right to try and sell (effectively) random strangers of this value that the religious proselytisers that turn up on my doorstep every so often.

It's the exact same reason I lurk in online forums rather than posting - I don't believe that my opinion is any less valid or weaker than anyone else's but it's my opinion and I have absolutely no interest in trying to convince anyone else of its validity or the wrongness of theirs (on the rare occasion I actually think someone is 'wrong' rather than holding a valid alternative viewpoint).
marsden_online: (Ghostfighter)
It was a beautiful day yesterday to combine a work and family trip to Ashburton. It still feels strange, interacting with my parent's generation of relatives as a equal adult.

I have got to figure out my limits and learn to pace myself more. For all I've done this 'week' the flake was starting to show on Wednesday, but yesterday afternoon my brain pretty much gave out.

Feeling only 1/4 of an effective DM and down one player I made the decision not to run NeverWinter. Instead there was a little administration and shopping, and then we played a shortened but fun game of Puerto Rico which I scraped a win from by one point.

I really appreciate the players I have at the moment. They make it easy to have fun.

I'm having trouble remembering it's Friday and planning accordingly, keeps feeling like Saturday. Trying for a low-impact day - of course this means already done the laundry, caught up on yesterday's reading (but avoiding a couple of substantive articles) and currently making multiple copies of the next compilation CD.

Off for a sunny walk down to the bakery for supplies next.
marsden_online: (Ghostfighter)
What I ought to do is line up a video to dub and then go and do the dishes or somesuch. Right after I make a pointless post :)

An emotional afternoon yesterday didn't leave me in top for for gaming, and the session suffered. It was however a lesson in just how potent highish (11th) level casters can be against an army of mooks - who would have thought a large air elemental can hoover up and spit out 42 medium creatures a round? The opposing orc horde didn't get within 20' of the fortifications supported by the PCs, although some of that was due to me forgetting stuff. I also should have had a better idea of the visibility (or lack thereof) and used that - the fact it was night was sort of handwaved.

The hill giants soaked up a few fireballs, but the orc general being dropped to his death from 200' in the air pretty much ended things.

So D&D unstructured mass combats - it's not necessarily how many casters you have on your side (the orcs had a number of 5th level clerics), but who can cast the biggest spells soonest which makes the advantage. A more disciplined force might have pulled back and waited for the short-duration spells to expire before renewing the assault.

Racky update - front lump is also a 'benign' tumour.
marsden_online: (Kea)
Apropos of everything, instead of making 3+ separate posts
day off, BumpTop )
cat )
neverwinter )
SOEs )
marsden_online: (Evil GM)
With the runny nose and the sneezing and the congested lungs (at least the chesty cough seems to have passed) and the interrupted sleep and the furry brain.

Today is going to be a day of not doing very much, and naps, and finding little reasons to be out in the sunshine and fresh air. I think it might be a good day to do some video capture.

There have been 3 sessions of Neverwinter this year and they have all been good, which pleases me. Despite one-shotting a PC in the first session (those wyverns - nasty sting in the tail) which was resolved in a drama encouraging manner (heh heh heh....)

I'm willing to be be a little more railroady this year, to avoid slowdowns like were faced last year, but the players have taken the bit between their teeth and are forging ahead along the most obvious path. This lead to all 5 PCs + animal companion being teleported into a 10x10 cell buck naked at the beginning of last nights session.

Monks really come into their own when the PCs lose all their gear. Druids too (wildshaping into a form small & flexible enough to get out through the grill, invisible thanks to the sorceress). And wimpy little shadows are suddenly a real threat again when the party has no magic weapons or spell components and the cleric doesn't have his holy symbol for Turning (mass Cure Moderate Wounds was pretty effective though).

The party did eventually get their gear back, and have picked up an NPC. Found the portal room and instructions (untested) to teleport back to the surface, but not the artifact they are looking for. A Sepia Snake Sigil concealed in the inventory of a wizard's storeroom got the druid and cost the cleric 8 spell slots (split either side of a rest period) before it was dispelled (did I mention that all spells cost an extra slot to cast in this place?)

We also discovered that a Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds is of no use against the cursed wounds inflicted by a clay golem, because there's no way a 5th level caster (wand creator) could make the DC 26 caster level check).

I'm having fun, and I think the players are as well :D
marsden_online: (neverwinter)
Wrapped up Neverwinter for the year last night, with the party taking on Maugrim and Aribeth in the Archmage's chambers in the Host Tower.

They managed to take down Aribeth, before Maugrim teleported away with her body. It was a very frustrating and anticlimactic battle though, as most of the party were trapped in Evard's Black Tentacles and unable to do more than roll futile escape checks on their turns.

Next year will conclude the campaign, scouring the warring North to beat Maugrim's agents to the artifacts he is searching for and then (barring disaster/TPK) taking on the ancient awakening serpentine power he (and now Aribeth) serves.

Hopefully I've learnt some lessons from the problems this year which I can apply to making next years game run more smoothly and more fun for all.
marsden_online: (Ghostfighter)
Ran into a bit of a bottleneck at work, so took the afternoon off and spent some hours redesigning my own website
- it's not ready yet. Generating content is hard.
Had a small lotto win off the weekend's draw - enough to almost cover the cost of the previous three losing tickets :-/

Was very sleepy for some reason, but actually more awake at board games in the evening than I have been the past few weeks.

Everything ws going well until about 3pm, when I decided to clean up one little job before leaving work earlyish and getting game prep done. A frustrating hour & a half later ...

Another posture assessment in the morning.
comparative thermographs )

Did get some game prep done over lunch. Not enough really. However I think the session ran OK. There's only a few more sessions worth of NeverWinter this year, and only a few weeks left gaming at Uni.

I think I may have caught something - my appetite is lacking. Or maybe I'm just a bit depressed over various things.
There's plenty that needs done here at home, I'll get to it eventually.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
I made a hard decision to call off tonights Neverwinter session despite everybody being there. I wasn't convinced enough of us were awake enough that the session wouldn't suffer too much - especially since it's likely to be a talky session rather than a rolly session.

I feel bad for the guys who were there and ready to play. I feel less bad for those who have taken to showing up around seven apparently just because that's when the expected latish player shows, a trait I find very demotivating as I'm left sitting there for half an hour wondering if we're going to reach critical mass (another contributing factor to tonights decision). With everyone else there we can at least get set up and possibly even started, depending on where we left off.

I think I was correct as my effective brainpower continued to decrease through the evening. I did poorly in the games of Family Business and Munckin Impossible we played instead.

I, I ,I. bleh.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
To recap:

Monday: Colour of Magic & cat chunder.

Tuesday: SAGA AGM eventually managed to scrape together quorum, but then a lack of candidates and a UCSA double-booking snafu resulted in two of the committee positions and all the general business being put off until an SGM sometime in October.

Wednesday: Hosted board games for [ profile] glissom and friends. Managed to come a close second-equal in Vinci.

Thursday: Work suddenly had multiple urgent jobs that had to be finished/perfect beofre I left for my long weekend. This resulted in a) mistakes and b) my leaving work an hour later than planned which was spent with the boss breathing down my neck. This in turn meant that I was unable to complete the prep I had planned for the nights game, and indeed I was sufficiently mind-fucked that I turned up to the holiday venue instead of the term-time venue.

Fortunately the residents were a) home and b) didn't rib me too mercilessly. The game ran OK once the party actually came to some agreement about what course of action they were going to take, and came up with a plan other than a frontal assault through the chaff.

Friday: Took the day off work to attend [ profile] tatianitska and [ profile] glissom's wedding. managed to sleep in by an hour, which was probably good for me but meant some chores I had planned didn't get done. Took photos, ate good food, chatted a bit to various people I don't see very often/haven't seen in over a decade.

Attended the impromtu BBQ at J & T's afterwards, a smaller affair. Left reasonably early to get to bed.

Slept in Failed to get up by two hours....
Short list:
155 RS articles/email digests +links
Neverwinter Prep

(Gaming Tuesday Wednesday Thursday is really screwing with my schedule in a whole bunch of ways.)


Slightly longer list for the weekend:
Try to clean lounge ceiling
Kitchen floor
Blog Post
Process wedding photos
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
I'm in one of those 'Dear Ghod let there be something on TV that I want to watch tonight so I don't have to decide how to entertain myself" frames of mind. This week - the last few weeks really - has been solid.

At the weekend I did a (literal) truckload of pruning and suchlike. Don't recall Monday - went to work, did Neverwinter prep in the evening? Tuesday evening bought losing at boardgames but was otherwise OK. Wenesday left work at 3 to visit grandmother - who fluctuated between remembering who I was, introducing me to the staff as her brother, and I think confusing me with my cousin - and get bills/chores dealt with. The Wednesday 4E game was cancelled, which gave me time to actually wash the dishes and (almost) finish prepping for Neverwinter.

Thursday a late 'simple' feature request kept me later than I wanted to be there and didn't leave me in a good frame of mind for gaming. Managed to avoid a TPK by literally interpreting the BBGs instruction to his golem, but practically killed the monk again. My one gleaming moment of evil joy was the Baleful Polymorph going off successfully (and the Fear was partially successful), other than that there were a lot of saves made by one or two points which frustrated my villain's abilities.

Today - well, my Flist can read my lunchtime rant. Work has generally been 'slog it out' this week. Due in no small part to differing standards for little things like application security and futureproofing between myself and the boss.

No gaming tomorrow is a small mercy - I've patched in tonight for 'find some way to blob' and the weekend as a whole for 'try and take it easy'. How successful that will be remains to be seen.

Sorry Dndnites - I saw the post for your big weekend on the partylist today - one week out is not enough time for me to consider a trip down, especially when there is a significant party on up here as well. Hopefully I'll find another excuse to get down at some point this year.

Can anyone recommend a good FreeView installer in Christchurch? I'm going to need a new aerial to get the really good stuff. It's a shame my TV isn't HDMI compatible - I'll just have to make do with components.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
I have been having a very clumsy day. From repeatedly opening the wrong cupboards in the kitchen while sorting out breakfast/making lunch through losing my place on the keyboard to spilling dinner on the floor.

Invoiced more than I had expected to this week so I spent up a little and purchased an extra G of RAM for the tablet this afternoon - I had only been going to price but it was cheaper than I expected. That said, I've overspent a little this week and hope I'm paid tonight.

With that out of the way the next treat is definitely a Freeview decoder - maybe even this month.

NeverWinter went well last night I thought - the party successfully divided the opposition (if not quite in the way they anticipated) and captured the assasain they were after. Now the interrogation - under the supervision of the Church of Tyr so the possiblities for nastiness are ... limited :->

The game should rapidly progress to the next sub-act now. I have more than a little prep to do.

I wonder if I go to bed stupidly early I can convince myself to get up early and get something productive done?
marsden_online: (Evil GM)
A new item, courtesy of the Sunday game

Charging Elephant Bow

This powerful composite bow is made of elephant bone, hide and sinew

Always at least a +4 strength bow, on a critical hit this bow summons an elephant which immediately charges in the direction of the wielder's target a full move or until it hits something it can't trample before disappearing.

The best of these bows actually summon the elephant at a point both within charge range of the target and between the archer and the target, rather than immediatly in front of the archer.

Cursed Elephant Bow

This bow appears identical to a properly functioning elephant bow, and unlike many cursed weapons provides all it's usual magical bonuses. On a critical hit it summons a particularly flatulant elephant immediately in front of the archer which emits an effect very similar to a Stinking Cloud (how similar depends on how evil the GM is feeling when he places the bow) in a 15' cone behind it, then makes up to a single move in a random direction, avoiding obstacles as best it can. The elephant remains and continues these actions for 1d3 further rounds before disappearing.

Lesser Bows

Those without the strength to draw an Elephant Bow may be interested in the similarly functioning Stampeding Wildebeast bow, Raging Boar bow, or Avenging Rodent/Mustelid bows.

Neverwinter got off to a bit of a slow start ('accounting', but their stocks of healing and otheruseful stuff now replenished) on Thursday, but then made rapid progress with nary a to-hit roll in the session. At the end of the session the party was about to start negotiations with the 'giant' Dergiab, but Lia may be more interested in reclaiming 'her' property which he is wearing.

Brought in a new player, with some dwarven cheese this time.
marsden_online: (dragon)
I'm losing the war against flu that I've been waging for the past few weeks. Not helped I'm sure by this week's early starts/late nights/long days.

I was meaning to take it easy today, but I wound up pushing through a full day at work to get the functionality I'd hoped to have in place yesterday done.

My eyes hurt - I need to find something to do with my evening which doesn't involve staring at text or a monitor. I suspect as usual that will turn out to be a very early night.

Although the campaign I was in has fallen over it was good to note 3 games running plus 6+ boardgamers (including myself) at SAGA.

With that campaign over and the Saturday game drawing to a close it's a good thing I've landed a place in [ profile] zakzahn's upcoming D&D4 mini-campaign, or I'd be back to not playing at all.

It occurs to me that people who try to recreate their youth are missing the point. It's a lot less effort just to be young in the now, whatever your biological age. (And who really wants to repeat all those mistakes anyway?)

Of course this is coming from someone who spent far too much of his 20's feeling 40, and didn't otherwise have much of a youth worth recreating.

Tagged on to see Prince Caspian on Wednesday evening - led to a midnight bedtime. Watching the movie I just couldn't remember ever reading the book - perhaps I somehow missed it.

Had a talking to at the Neverwinter group at the end of the session. It was a bit more one-sided that I'd planned -I'd also planned to have it at the start of the session when everyone was in a more equitable state of mind. The campaign has felt morassed for a while now, and a number of the players have spoken to me about issues they're having over the past couple of weeks. Looks like we'll be losing another player which is a great pity*. This time I will have to source a replacement.

They b-team did manage to recover all the bodies -although I started the session worried about another TPK. Once character opted for reincarnation over raising/resurrection and came back as ... an elf. So we now have two elves, a half-elf, a halfling and a token round-ear ( ;-p ).

And they know one of their most potent magical items has fallen into the hands of the bad guys. [Evil DM cackle]

*This is not a guilt trip. Quit it you :p

I'm very grateful to have a property with good drainage - except the top of the driveway/front of the garage which have subsided slightly at some point in the past.The area does drain into a hole in the garden but the soil reaches saturation too quickly. I now have plans to bury a large pipe with holes in the bottom from that point down alongside the driveway.
marsden_online: (Default)
[ profile] trashpants' recipe garnered a couple more compliments at [ profile] littlel's dessert evening last night, but wasn't alone in being mostly uneaten at the end of the night. I think everyone catered for at least 50% of the number there, with obvious results.

I was unable to make respectable inroads, due to having still-too-heavy light meal about 5:30, to tide me over if dessert consumption started too late (I have a very demanding metabolism) :(

Neverwinter this week was a bit ho-hum, due to the PCs doing the exact opposite of what I had expected near the beginning of the session, followed by several mook encounters speedbumps. I called it early - with only half an hour of the evening left as they were about to charge into the next big fight (crosses fingers). Hopefully there will be a full compliment of players next week.

Mike if you're reading this - it's been over a week since you got the Fey Wand so it had recharged before last session - you have two uses left.

Tuesday game didn't happen again, Saturday game is off again, Sunday game may be the same - need to get hold of people to sort that out next - this is frustrating me.

It is a beautiful day outside. I may see if I can arrange to go visiting, or alternatively do some gardening, or both.

Update: Yep, game off, visiting may happen tomorrow unless someone I haven't considered wants to request the dubious pleasure of my company, gardening here I come.
marsden_online: (Default)
Even in Chch. But, still murk out there - not immediately where I am, but looking in either direction.

Entertaining session of Neverwinter last night despite being two players down, the remainder split up some loot, attempted to interrogate two corpses (limited by the fact that one made it's saving throw and I decided that the other was still affected by the pixie memory-loss arrows - Speak with Dead is not the wish/miracle level magic required to recover from those), and then went and slaughtered a small horde of goblins (Level 8 PCs vs (mostly) standard goblins - no challenge at all but fun for them to face insignificant opponents once in a while :D )

Vistaprint (the outfit I get my 'business cards' from) are keen to inform me that they are having big promotions. They even sent me my own personal link so I can help my friends get discounts (and get further discounts for myself of course).

I think they are good value, if you have the time and mental fortitude to wade through all the attempts to upsell on the way through checkout :D

Have to take the car back to the panelbeaters this afternoon - apparently they were waiting on a part and didn't put it in before giving the car back. Only the rear window-washer pump -I'm OK with that but they could have mentioned it earlier.


May. 2nd, 2008 10:16 am
marsden_online: (Default)
The good - I now have my own copy of the office key in stead of having to retrieve and return the only other copy each time.

The bad - the paintless dent removal guy came and took a look and said it's too deep. It'll have to be a panelbeater job after all :(

Which since the paint isn't broken means it's not a priority and I'll probably get it done after winter or next time the car acquires a significant scrape.

The ugly - one-shotting the absent player's PC. If I'd remembered to apply all the damage bonuses it would have been a proper one-shot - not just full health to dying in one criticaling, rending round. (He stabilised then got healed. Eventually).


I have a plan. It involves moving furniture.
I also have a lot of other things on the to-do list, none of which are related to work.
I'm at work, and not feeling very enthusiastic (can you smell the procrastination?).


Apr. 18th, 2008 08:21 am
marsden_online: (Evil GM)
I had my 3-week posture assessment at chiro yesterday. I'm standing much better apparently - my shoulders and hips have pretty much evened up and I'm getting that straight line down the side.

Thermo has improved a little - still all blue down the bottom but the angry red of my upper back is receding.

I've been given a traction device (large solid semicircle of foam) to lie over backwards with my shoulders etc off the floor for 30 seconds longer each day until I reach 17 minutes, continue thereafter for 14 days, then add bungee (which I haven't been given yet so I don't know what that entails). This will require scheduling, unlike the rest of the exercises which I perform intermittently througout the day.

I also have a complimentary gift certificate for a checkup - which is to say discounted to $77 from the usual $225 (including x-rays). Probably only really useful if you also have a few K to spend on treatment if they find anything wrong. It expires 17 May, any takers?

Came dangerously close to a TPK last night in Neverwinter as what should have been a challenging encounter turned into a very challenging encounter with the PCs widely spread out across the battlefield and unable to come to each others aid.

There was also some good roleplaying in the session, after two of the PCs failed will saves at the beginning and woke up in the morning opposed to the current goals of the party.

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