marsden_online: (camera2)
3 days of gaming
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Arthur)
Over the weekend a young acquaintance mentioned his desire to play a (D&D3) minotaur paladin, and some resistance he had met to the idea. I took the time to explain that the resistance was probably not to the idea as such, but the extra work that would be required to align the DM's world such that any minotaur character and their companions would not be confronted by torch-and-pitchfork wielding mobs / local adventurers / bounty hunters / heroes of the realm in every dominion and at every outpost of civilisation.

By the time the conversation had finished however my worldbuilders brain had come up with an outline for how a larger race with a reliable number of relatively peaceable members would probably be incorporated into a fantasy society without ending up in charge. I present a minotaur version of that below as a plug-in suitable for dropping into a fantasy world, but first would like to take off on a couple of tangents.

chaaanges )

availability )

balance )

Place in civilisation )
marsden_online: (Default)
Reading back over my LJ and FB it looks like I started the year in much the same place emotionally as I am right now, there were quite a lot of individual good days in the company of friends but also some pretty bad patches - May, July, October through now ... I may have made some progress on identifying some of the puzzle pieces ...

My regular Sunday and Monday games were regular high points, other gaming was mixed. Recorded some good games; know I didn't bother griping about many not-so-good ones.

My muse turned on a few times, mostly in February and March but there are a few other substantial opinion posts througout the year.

I'm confident that I made a positive difference in the lives of a number of people over the year; less confident that I didn't impact negatively on anyone.

Politically the world seemed to continue to go to shit, both in NZ and overseas.

Notable events:

February: substantial aftershock just a few days short of the 5th anniversary of the 2011 quake brought everything flooding back for a lot of people.

April: Family reunion in the high country, returned to find an acquaintance had passed to cancer.

June: Buckets of Dice (mixed)
: combined having to get the drains replaced due earthquake damage with getting some substantial garden alterations done above ground, a very expensive month which nevertheless crossed two major projects off the list.

August: Hosted the KAOS 48 Hour Party despite being plagued myself during the weekend.

September: started a new drug/supplement, which didn't seem to help. Discontinued at the end of the 3-month course (wasn't subsidised)

November: SAGA's 48 hour charity event
: "Kaikoura" earthquakes (ongoing)

This year I didn't spend anything on my family for Xmas and instead focused on friends and other acquaintances whom I knew needed some nice things in their lives.

Had the family lunch not been at my relatively close parents I would not have attended that for the first time ever; this was something I was doing for myself as I did not feel up to the effectively full day of travel otherwise would have entailed. I did then end up appearing (and eating) at 3 different socials among friends in Christchurch and was quite exhausted by the end of the day but overall it felt lower-key.

I do appear to have completely exhausted myself physically* (gardening/housework) and mostly exhausted myself emotionally so I am hoping for a good KAOS New Years party tomorrow night to pick me up. Historically this is against the odds.

* My stamina seems to have plummeted over the year. I went to the Dr concerned a few weeks ago and he sent me off for a raft of blood tests, which I haven't heard back from yet.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
Most people are probably aware that over the past going on 24 hours NZ has been hit by another series of major earthquakes starting at very just after midnight Sunday/Monday. I had not long gone to bed when it hit so after about 10 seconds of "aftershock" and then ~ 1:20 minutes of "nope, crap, that's a BIG quake inland just getting here" and some minutes on FB checking that no-one in Christchurch itself was reporting major issues I went off to sleep, thus not seeing the tsunami warning and evacuation notices (which didn't affect me anyway) until checking again during a wake around 4am. I figured if anyone needed transport or to shelter at my place I would get a message or txt directly so I slept for another few hours, starting the day feeling not significantly tireder than usual. That wasn't to last.

Fortunately I had already booked the day off work to recover from attending a 48 hour charity event over the weekend (more on that below). The first hour or so I spent touching base with various people by FB and phone before starting on my pre-existing chores list. I didn't get through as much of this as hoped - a somewhat overdue cleaning of the bathroom leaving me physically exhausted and attempting to set the ball rolling on a safety inspection of the Hall further soaked up energy. I eventually spent 2-3 hours napping - in part to shut down some nervous energy and generalised anxiety - before setting out to help a friend with transport and hugs, do the grocery shopping and after a simple dinner deliver some care packages. (One of which had already been on my to-do list but which under the circumstances I bulked up a bit more ;) ) I could tell that I probably shouldn't be driving well before I got home, and if I wasn't waiting for a better time to take my meds I would be back in bed already.

Friday / Saturday I spent about 24 hours total at SAGA's now-annual 48-hour gaming event to raise money for charity (this year AVIVA). I'll just copy and paste from my FB statuses here ...

Saturday 4:30pm
Plays so far:
Colony Wars (obliterated by Daniel Starky's base spam strategy)
Thurn & Taxis (resounding win)
Dominion w. Prosperity (barely last but a long way from the winner)
Broken Eagle the Learned Nano who Combines Words of Power is about to set out into the world of Numenera in search of greater knowledge.

Saturday 10:50pm
After Numenera finished off for the day with a game of Tiny Kingdoms. Didn't do particularly well but probably OK for a first time.
I'd liked to have stayed longer but it is patently obvious that it would be a very bad Idea. If I can get a good sleep tonight I may be able to stay later tomorrow night.

Sunday 3:20am
Didn't get to games until after 2pm but then stayed somewhat longer than expected. Still 3am is no later than I get home from a good party. Cat seems unimpressed by my long absence.
Plays today (pretty sure I have forgotten something)
Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Settlers of Catan
DC Heroes
Colony Wars
Zombie Dice
Seven Wonders
Istanbul (new)

... preliminary reports are that we raised well over $1000 if everyone comes through on their pledges. I enjoyed myself - overly much so without really realising it, on the Friday in particular which left me stuck in bed until much later than I had planned on Saturday. I did spend more time and energy than I had hoped taking the lead in deciding on and teaching games; the teaching not so much of a problem (I was actually recommended, to my face, and later even messaged thanks for the fun time someone had as a result). I also made sure one person who probably otherwise would not have made it but I knew would benefit greatly from getting out of the house got both there and home.

As always I experienced more downtime between games than I would have liked, but I had gone prepared for that also with things to do.

Sunday afternoon (you noticed the status update at 3:20AM above?) was spent on a few chores and Sunday evening instead of my usual game we chilled and watched Guardians of the Galaxy which a couple of our members had missed at the theatre. (I am really enjoying the new projector.) I actually went to bed feeling uncommonly relaxed and happy ... and then the quake hit.

That has filled in the time nicely; shortly I will be abed and hopefully will feel much better in the morning. Because otherwise I am /not/ looking forward to work tomorrow.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Kiera)
There are a few leftovers from the previous couple of posts on healing in D&D3E that I wanted to express.

A quirk of abstraction )
Variant damage system )
Alchemical/herbal healing items )
marsden_online: (Ghostfighter)
On Tuesday evening I had the opportunity to play in a one-shot of Numenera with a group of people I don't have the pleasure of gaming with very often. I've heard about the system on-and-off and I was suitably impressed with it in play; immediately encouraging of a descriptive style of play, very simple mechanic, setting deals neatly and explicitly with the natural player tendency to "now-ise" everything. Would pick up and run.

Busana the Intelligent Glaive who Explores Dark Places* and her two companions Roderick the Foolish Glaive who Stands Like A Bastion and Future Steve 17 the ? Nano who Exists Slightly Out of Phase were drawn into a "game" wherein an inimical race were plotting a public massacre of several locals.
* Recreation of the character I am currently playing on Wednesdays in an Arcana Unearthed campaign - system which was coincidentally also authored by Monte Cook.

Things I Have Not Done Before in a game included
- discretely emptying a "love poison" potion around the roots of a plantlike creature acting as a receptionist to gain her favour and expedited access to the Aon Priest we hoped had information which would help us.

- persuading an NPC that the reason his husband was lying on the floor goaning and bleeding out his ears was because he was going to imbibe too much "counterwise wine" at the event he had received an invitation to.

- having to dodge an "Instant Boat" being created in the air above the final combat (and special mention to Roderick who "stood like a bastion" and caught one end of said boat as it fell to give myself and Future Steve 17 a better chance of getting out of the way).

The final battle was a nail-biting and near-thing as our characters were underpowered for the scenario, and more than once it looked like we were doomed to lose. We only managed to interrupt and limit the massacre rather than prevent it completely, and Busana nearly perished but after the final opponent was subdued Future Steve 17 was able to make use of a convenient first aid kit to restore sufficient health that she was able to limp tail-and-ears-high out to the cheering crowds.

On the way home from the game I nearly ran over a bunny just around the corner from home - a pale tan mini-lop with dark brown ears which ran straight at the car. A grey smush-faced companion hopped out of a nearby drive while I was trying to earn the first's trust enough to catch it so I was able to go and bang on the door (just before midnight) until the owners came out to herd them back to their hutch.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Author's note: it has been some months since the campaign ended, but life. So I am presenting the remaining highlights in two posts.
From the city to the castle )

An Anthony in the basement )

Some easy successes )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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The Fleet )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)
A few items my Sunday Broken Kingdoms group have just come across, for their reference.

Wand of Lesser Transfer Wounds
This slim wand is made of a pale wood carved to resemble a forearm ending in an outstretched hand.

Wand of Touch of Disruption
This slim wand is made of a dark wood carved to resemble a forearm ending in a clenched hand with one finger extended.

Leather Coat of Sneaking
This magical leather coat was removed from the burnt corpse of the undead named Esolith. It is filthy (with chunks of his flesh still adhering in places) and will need a /very/ good clean and minor repair before it is again fit for use by the living.
(Leather Coat +1, +5 to Sneak skill)

Ring of Ramming (modified Ring of the Ram)
This heavy iron ring is carved with the head of one of the massive mountain sheep the hill tribes use as livestock and mounts.

"The wearer can command the ring to give forth a ramlike force, manifested as a vaguely discernible shape that resembles the head of a ram or a goat. This force strikes a single target, dealing 1d6 points of damage if 1 charge is expended, 2d6 points if 3 charges are used, or 3d6 points if 3 charges (the maximum) are used. Treat this as a ranged attack with a 50-foot maximum range and no penalties for distance. The ring has 5 charges per day.

The force of the blow is considerable, and those struck by the ring are subject to a bull rush if within 30 feet of the ring-wearer. (The ram has Strength 25 and is Large.) The ram gains a +1 bonus on the bull rush attempt if 2 charges are expended, or +2 if 3 charges are expended.

In addition to its attack mode, the ring of the ram also has the power to open doors as if it were a character with Strength 25. If 2 charges are expended, the effect is equivalent to a character with Strength 27. If 3 charges are expended, the effect is that of a character with Strength 29."

Boots of Stomping (from the Magic Item Compendium)
"When you stomp your feet and activate boots of stomping, you generate a 15-foot-long cone-shaped burst of psychokinetic force that travels along the ground, toppling creatures and loose objects. The shock wave affects only creatures standing on the ground within the area. Creatures that fail a DC 13 Reflex save are thrown to the ground, prone, and take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage.

Boots of stomping function three times per day."

About 200 pairs of these boots were originally commissioned by an Old Kingdom Duke for the front rank of his army. The range and vigour of the effect is said to be increased for each adjacent pair being activated. Unfortunately many were lost or destroyed when in the midst of a major battle the vibrations caused by their use attracted a terrible worm-like beast from deep underground which proceeded to crush or consume the bulk of the forces present.
A number of prototypes and attempts-at-duplication are known to exist - the effect of these may include but are not limited to
- affecting also (or only) the wearer.
- creating their effect in a random direction relative to the wearer
- Creating a Muddy Ground spell effect centred on the wearer
- One particularly powerful pair known as "The Boots of Earthquakes" generated a strong enough force to demolish small buildings nearby and could be felt for some distance ... these were lost when a crack in the earth opened beneath the user and closed over again moments later.

Viper bolts
These 10 +1 crossbow bolts came carefully wrapped in soft leather and are fashioned in an extremely fine likeness of a tiny snake from the tail at the point to the head at the butt. On a hit they transform into a tiny viper which makes one attack on the target struck before falling to the ground and wriggling off (100% non-recoverable).

Tiny Viper +5 To Hit, 1 point of damage, Poison DC 10 1d6 CON Primary, 1d6 CON Secondary.

On the event of a natural 1 being rolled to hit the bolt animates before it is fired and attacks the wielder of the crossbow instead.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
The vague blog-silence has not, this time been because things have been going well. Rather it is because mornings have pretty much been ceded to the depression. Although my mood is generally OK I am now consistently spending 10-11 hours a night/morning in bed, generally only finding the impetus to emerge about 10am (consistently, which is something). This has resulted in a massive reduction in the amount of time I have available to do anything, with
- work getting all the weekday afternoons (and sometimes as far as evenings when I have no other commitments),
- gaming three evenings plus prep time (you will have noticed that the logs are on hiatus ...),
- the Hall a few hours even on a quiet week (and we haven't had one of those for a wee while, even though our number of sensors as been further reduced the incidence of alarms is up /and/ there are a steady stream of photography requests)
- the essentials of living, keeping up with the world and social events squeezed in around the edges.

A fairly substantial head cold last week during which I worked from home*, when I could brain to, certainly has not help. I'm still shaking off / coughing up the dregs.
* made my minimum hours without burning my last half-day of sick leave; through the joy of statutory holidays.
Despite this I have managed to make small progress on a couple of ongoing "projects" and not take on any new ones (that come to mind) although there is one which is definitely noted down for later exploration.

Against that, positive things which my FB wall tells me have happened over the past month:
... Not a lot really. It's mostly a stream of links; many about what could be fixed in the world; some about more positive happenings.

Some definite wins in gaming especially in the Sunday game where the PCs accidentally released "Duke Vlad of Dracul" (completely mummified fellow with an interesting dental condition) from centuries imprisonment in a sealed catacombs. (Players' expressions totally worth it.)

Less of a win my first-in-all-my-years-gaming in-campaign attempt to kill another PC (but he deserved it).

Going to be an uncle again, youngest sister and her husband.

Contact from ECan after a submission I made, soliciting another one on a different plan. Nice to feel wrote something worthwhile.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Upon returning to Murdered Bow Markos made good his promise to the ki-rin and removed the last of the metal bindings. Sa paid a visit to the baker's widow discovering that business had not been good since the death of her husband; something he remedied by buying a round for everyone in a local drinking house and pronouncing the greatness of her wares. The word of such a great hero soon had people flocking to the bakery.

Zenon had been busy in the intervening time and presented the other members if the party with a number of useful one-shot items such as tokens of Obscuring Mist and powder of See the Invisible.

The treasure ships were investigated for an item of power suitable for a new member of the party and Val chose to replace one of her bladed gauntlets with the one name Mageslayer - a bleak, black iron piece with a taste for the blood of spellcasters. Markos replaced some of the blades on her other gauntlet with ones of meteoric iron; the better to face Anthony's never-ending creations.

Back to the caverns )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Honourable deal )

Honourable? duel )

Hostage situation )

Party and aftermath )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Author's note: something like 5-6 sessions behind on logs again
old fashioned dungeon crawl part 2 )
The many-headed Anthony )
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
I was planning to spend this evening writing. I have a backlog 4 or 5 gaming-related posts in mental draft. This is none of those posts but is the one I have found the energy to write.

My journal has been quiet lately but life has been busy. I am now in 3 games a week (DMing a new story in my Broken Kingdoms setting as well as playing in the two campaigns I am journalling). Russian lessons have resumed. Work has started back busy and for the most part I have been putting in numbers of hours which I consider good. This week I started training a new hire straight out of study - this is somewhat of a new (and learning) experience.

I have literally been cleaning house - freed up much space in the hallway wardrobe by by taking the accumulation of obsolete appliances (VCRs, CRTs etc) away for recycling and last weekend I finally hired a truck and cleared the 20+ years of accumulated junk out of the garage and back shed. They feel ... kind of empty, but in a good way I guess.

This included the washing machine which blew its circuit board (again) at the end of January. It was only 10 months since the last time and I had the money "spare" so I bit the bullet and purchased a new one (ex-display, commercial model, good power and water efficiency ratings (for a washing machine)). Spent more than I intended to but expect it to have a long life under domestic conditions. I also replaced the lounge suite which while in as-new condition when it came with the house 20 years ago had seen hard use by gamers over the years, with several broken springs and other metal poky bits where the covering had worn through at the corners. I have replaced that with a cheap trade-in 2x2 + 1 suite as a bit of an experiment in space usage that I can flick on with no remorse if it doesn't work out.

It was a pretty big effort coming off the back of a very full work-and-other-things week (very grateful that D. turned up to help out) and I've been paying for that this week I guess. Emotionally I'm feeling pretty shattered and weak right now. Other contributions to this include hall dramas and stepping up as emotional support for various friends.

This coming weekend I am in Wellington for a wedding - flights mean it looks like I'm going to have a lot of downtime (like maybe all of Sunday). I am taking my Russian notes with me and maybe I will find the inspiration to actually start those other posts.
marsden_online: Lochlan Springheel avatar (Springheel)

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/ 4

B'fore any treas'r the keep we wus head'n f'r turn'd out t'be full o' 'obgoblins. T'boss stuck a Silence on'e dwarf's 'elm t'stop the clank'n and we snuck in past t'guards at dawn.

Gett'n d'nstairs past the barra'ks were a bit tricky'r. Takir disguised 'isself as an 'obbo 'n pretend'd I were 'is prison'r as a d'stract'n fr'm one door while t'others popped up an 'llus'ry wall 'tween t'other door 'n t'stairs.

Bottom 'o stairs surpris'd a pair of 'obbos, bit tougher th'n 'ey looked but we took 'em. Found some rooms then a s'cr't door straight to the 'obbos boss, wizard call'd Scarr'd.

/ 5

W th' advant'ge o' the silence 'n Takir bluffin' guards out o' the fight made short work o' the wizard. 'Ad some nice stuff on 'im, got some magic bracers. T' tiefing found a very nice dagg'r which she's become suspic' protective of.

Note t'boss likes to get big [Enlarge person] when 'e scrums w' that chain o' 'is.

/ 6

Found a way deeper down w'out any more 'obbos. Incubus wuz feel'n a bit poorly so we left 'im to watch the stairs & amuse 'imself w' and hobbo's 'oo migth follow.

Searchin' the basement di'nt turn up anythin' but some rats and an entry to some caves. Caves 'ad a drow 'untin' party but a peaceful partin' o the ways were negotiat'd.

Caves also 'ad an 'ydra [6] 'oo coul'nt follow us back into the tunnel so we lef' it alone. Back t'other way were some bears *big* bears t'boss decid'd we coul' take, mebbe get'a fur rug. Turn'd out they w'r chained up, coulda backed off 'n jus' blasted 'em, di'nt seem like a far fight so I blasted the pillars jus' a lit'l w' acid.

T'boss had made a misjudgem'nt. Even b'fore break'n loose the bears 'ad th' dwarf as chow (one fer one). didn't manage t'get t'wand o' Cure Light work'n prop'ly 'uff t'get 'im alive 'n t'boss back on is feet b'fore bear got me, last thin' I saw were Killarah 'ightail'n 't outta th're chased by a bear.

/ 7

Seems Killarah manag'd t' outrun th' bear 'n fetch Takir, 'n 'e manag'd to keep th' bears attent'n [flying out of their reach] while she pour'd healin' potions 'nta t'boss 'n me. Poor dwarf were already 'alf eaten. Will miss th' tin can.

R'treat'd back into th' basem'nt 'n rest'd up f'r a day or double.

/ 8

Goin' back prepared made short work of th' two left bears, I led one ona chase around th' loop so only one at a time. Just led it back wh'n this insecty devil thing [ooc: Thri-Keen Psychic warrior] pops out o' nowhere 'n rips into th' bear - real famish'd 'ppar'ntly. Been 'eld prison'r on t'other ide of t' 'llus'ry wall th' bears w'r guard'n. Name's Kik Kik Kik or sump'n.

Poked around back there a b't, found anoth'r demon pris'n like th' one und'r t'inn but empty, th'n a big 'all, interest'n library, alchemy lab (don' know much 'bout alchemy but t'boss got all excited ov'r some sorta "aboleth spit") then big copper do 'n lo! five godsforsak'n mind flayers in th' middle of summon'n something. Don' know what exactly, but I could see they weren't tak'n any chances w' the bind'n circle.

Honest, thought we wuz gon'rs. Th' shark's'd eat our brains f'sure. Made ready t' blast th' book one 'ad, seem'd importn't, but tiefling threw t' aboleth spit inta th' circle 'n all the magic 'n the summonin' jus' blew up. When m'head stopped ringin' the 'llith'ds were toast.

They 'ad some nice stuff tho', 'n we found 'n 'ole 'oard in a secr't room. Load'n up 'n getting out o' there b'fore any o' th'r cobb'rs arrive.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Sanctuary and conspiracy )

A plan and an ambush )

Homecoming )

At this point we bid a sad farewell to Aiu's player whose real-world adventures are taking her from us. Aiu will continue on as personal speechwriter and counsel to the Prince but the rest of the party are taking their leave of him to once again challenge the multi-headed monster which are the Anthonys and the resources they might lend to the usurper Quinten.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Dramatic Escape )

Author's note: still a session and a bit behind.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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A very short entry, for reasons which will become apparent.

Betrayal )

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