amethyst73: (Default)
We had a blast this weekend at the gaming con hosted by our local buddies [livejournal.com profile] orichalcum  and [livejournal.com profile] cerebralpaladin .  I thoroughly enjoyed all three games that I played in, I think mostly because the characters that I played were so entertaining. 

Friday night, I was Mary Poppins in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's Gentlemen, where several famous servants/butlers (including myself, Passepartout, Arthur (butler of Bruce Wayne), Jeeves, Lurch, and Pepper Potts) accompanied their masters to the Winchester Mansion (now the Winchester Mystery House).  The masters spent their time trying to figure out how to get into a series of vaults to extricate a superweapon developed by the Winchesters, we spent our time trying to figure out why the servants kept getting murdered - inevitably about thirty seconds after we'd talked to them.

Saturday afternoon, I played a warped version of my professional self: a mad scientist/geneticist, who modified organisms to extents rather outside those prescribed by law, in a Traveler game.  The plot of the game involved investigating a new religion that had popped up at the Galactic rim.  And since virtually every plot detail beyond that would be a spoiler and I don't know whether [livejournal.com profile] cerebralpaladin  plans on reusing the module, I will say no more on that point.  It was very cool and very fun, though I doubt I amused anyone but myself muttering about what restriction enzyme to use on a sample: "EcoRI?  EcoRV?  Hmmm.. maybe EcoRVII!"  (The last one does not yet exist, but I figured it would by the time this adventure took place.)

Finally, Sunday afternoon, I played a very young dragon who was about the equivalent of a human between 5 and 7 - curious as anything, kind of hyperactive, no sense of danger, wants STORIES STORIES STORIES from everyone.  Plus, my character had been brought up by cat-people, so had some distinctly curious behavior traits, probably the most amusing one of which was the execution of his acid breath weapon.  It looked like a baby dragon coughing up a hairball.  As most of you know, I have several cats and so was able to do a plausible impression of it when the breath weapon was called for.  The story was well paced and well written, albeit a little short.  As I *know* that GT plans to run it in the future (with additional encounters), I will say no more besides the fact that I really enjoyed it.

The unfortunate part is that Friday I'd had a bit of a scratchy throat which I'd attributed to allergies.  It was quite clear by Sunday that it was much more than that, and I am now home nursing a cold.  I sincerely hope that I managed to not pass it on to anyone, and apologize profusely to anyone that I did.

Oh dear.

May. 2nd, 2010 09:38 pm
amethyst73: (D&D)
Lady Karen's family is messed up.  She'd always heard vague rumors of a curse surrounding the Margravines (rulers of the March); some died young, and her mother the current Margravine seems to be having paranoia issues.  (Arrested her husband out of the blue on charges of treason and adultery.  The adultery part may be true, but not the treason part.  And she sees plots against her everywhere.)

The players studied Lady Karen's family tree and noticed an odd thing: starting with the second Margravine, all Margravines have reliably had two daughters.  As the March rulership is passed to the eldest female child, this means that the March has stayed in the main family for several generations now, with "an heir and a spare" every single time. 

Our warlock thought this was kind of odd, and that it sounded like the kind of benefit one might get from an Infernal Pact.  Oh noes!  Lady Karen, the Lawful Good paladin, comes from a family that dealt in Infernal Pacts?  The horror!  Worse, when our bard (a cousin of Lady Karen's with an eye towards getting himself landed) did a kind of arcane scan on Lady Karen, he found some sort of subtle magic centered on... Lady K's ovaries.  Eeek!  Lady Karen never did any deals with any devils!  How the heck do you inherit an Infernal Pact, especially without ever having been told about it???!??

We think we now know what infernal individual the pact was originally made with (a Duchess of Hell, so waaaaaaaayyy powerful), and the ancestor who made the pact.  What we don't know: the exact terms of the pact (e.g. what benefit does the devil involved get for ensuring two female children to every Margravine?) and, naturally, how to get rid of the dratted thing.  The theory is, if we can break it, the current Margravine *might* regain her senses (we really don't know), take her husband off of Death Row, and, um, Lady K's ovaries would quit glowing like that!

Meanwhile, Lady Karen gets to be emo while trying to figure out what the heck to do.  She's good at the emo part, anyway!
amethyst73: (D&D)
Played D&D last night.  With some effort (and some uncertainty - those people were tough!), we have destroyed Gail the slaver and her coterie of leaders.  And found (and destroyed) a 7000-gp IOU that had somehow found its way from my hand to hers.  This means, for interested parties, that the ~3500 gold we got from the goblin caves is now Party Treasure.  Michael is figuring out how to divvy up treasure in some reasonable way.

Some stuff remains to be done in the slave compound - there are underground beasties guarding the slave pen, and automatic crossbows also guarding the slave pen, which Lady Karen will somehow not be around for (her player will almost undoubtedly not be around next session).  The palisade/compound effectively belongs to the party now if we want it, which is kind of cool.  And after some more information-gathering, we might be able to bring down slavery entirely in this part of the world.  Good session!

PS - Anyone out there with probably the Adventurers' Vault book willing to look up the description of an Opportunistic Longsword?
amethyst73: (D&D)
I will try to keep this short, in the interests of not taking the rest of this week to write up one post.  But we had a really nice 3-day-weekend.

Saturday, we played with our D&D group.  We finished mopping up the goblin caves, and Lady Karen accidentally got pulled into a mystical pool that a wizard had asked us to check out.  Stuff happened; mostly through luck, I ended up doing what needed to be done.  Because other members of the group may see this entry before we play again next weekend, that's about all I can safely say about it, excepting that the blue tattoo-like mark on Lady Karen's arm was a result of doing stuff in the pool.  Oh, and Lady Karen likes the tattoo mark - her eyes can flash blue now!

Sunday, we went to see Avatar 3D.  I have not been so completely enthralled by a nearly 3-hour movie in a long long time.  (I think the last time was probably when I went to see Fellowship of the Ring.)  And it's similarly rare for me to want to go back in and watch a movie a second time immediately after seeing it.  Sure, the story has been done and the biology is more than a little silly.  But that doesn't get in the way of (1) the visual pretties, and (2) the sweep of the story.  I got completely caught up in it, never paying any attention to my water bottle or granola bar. 

Monday, we went to see the King Tutankhamun exhibit.  Stuff about the exhibit. )

Monday evening, I played with Inkwell Ideas' free online version Coat of Arms Design Studio to implement a coat of arms for Lady Karen, heir-apparent to the March of Schwartzburg.  I'd had a moderately clear idea of what I wanted ever since our GM [livejournal.com profile] cerebralpaladin  told me I could design it myself, but had to make allowances for the label of heir (the upturned crown up top).  Anyway, the userpic today is the result, which I'm really pretty pleased with. 

Off to a busy work week!
amethyst73: (Default)
We've had a great last few days.  It started with my younger brother arriving Friday night after a work conference the previous few days in San Francisco.  We picked up [livejournal.com profile] nezumiko  and went for Japanese/sushi for dinner, then came back to our place and hung out for a while.  Kiddo spent the night on the futon with a couple of our indoor cats. 

Saturday was - amazingly - bright and sunny and fairly warm.  He took a look at our can't-be-turned-on lawnmower, replaced the spark plug, and exhorted me to get a new container of fuel plus some fuel stabilizer.  We went for a walk around the neighborhood so he could enjoy the lovely January sun and warmth, had lunch, and then went to see Sherlock Holmes with [livejournal.com profile] nezumiko , which was fun.  I found the plot kind of silly but pretty well constructed, and really enjoyed the interplay among Holmes, Watson, and Irene.  Any chemists out there who could tell me whether the science-ish explanation of How It Was All Done made sense?  (I do know that Holmes must have gotten his hands on a Rod of Lightning Bolt, 'cuz ain't no way you're getting three zaps out of a standard piece of metal after only one charge!)  We went back, chilled, had dinner, and I took Kiddo to the airport for his overnight flight.

Today I went to church in the morning, and then our D&D group met at our house.  The session was remarkably streamlined, as we had four (count 'em, four) combat encounters, where we've normally had two at best.  And boy, did we whup some goblin backside!  We've recovered the bulk of the gold that the goblins had, plus a handful more, and a handful of magic items.  Now we need someone short who can wear nice magicked chainmail (better than 'standard' +1 stuff), and someone who can use a nice magicked battleaxe (also nicer than +1).  And we killed a lot of goblins, including getting the goblin king to surrender (after whacking on him for a while) and the goblin high priest (whom the king was willing to trick into the room, allowing us to kill him, in exchange for his and his favorites' freedom). 

After the session, we went out to dinner with our GM [livejournal.com profile] cerebralpaladin , his wife [livejournal.com profile] orichalcum , and their two boys, which was also pleasant.  We are now, however, entirely ready to be quiet for a while and then head to bed.  Yay weekend!
amethyst73: (Default)
Our themostat is having issues... We set it to turn on when the temp dropped to around 63 last night, and it failed to turn on. The house was about 57 when we woke up! The heat turned on when I turned the themostat off and on again, but clearly this is something that Needs To Be Looked Into.

In other news, had a fun D&D game last night. My noble paladin is horrendously embarrased at having been captured by goblins and having to be ransomed by - of all things - a slaver. Her mom, who's the ruler of a bordering region to where we are, is going to be FURIOUS at having to pay the slaver as much gold as Lady Karen has given her a writ for.
amethyst73: (Default)
Like [livejournal.com profile] ladybird97 , I haven't posted anything of substance in a while.  So, I post!

Work has been going along in a mixed-to-reasonable fashion.  We've got positive expression for enough of our genes to make it worthwhile to start on The Big Interactome Project.  One thing stands in our way: the ELISA that we're figuring on using to detect interactions isn't working.  Again.  We plan to work on the problem next week.  But meantime, just about everything else is ready for launch.

We had a fantastic time over the holiday weekend at the giant gaming party hosted by cerebralpaladin and orichalcum.  We saw a number of people that we hadn't seen in quite some time, and met some new - and of course cool - people.  I played two D&D games: one set in ancient Babylon, in which my thief character helped figure out why it was raining on the Jewish Quarter and nowhere else (everyone else in town was blaming the Jews for stealing their rain - turns out that basically, they were right!), and one in which all the PCs were members of a theatrical troupe.  The troupe put on plays of heroic adventures, and in this one-shot, we had to basically *become* adventurers to get our hands on a kidnapped playwright who'd promised he'd write us a play.  The last game that I played was in a system called "Dogs in the Vineyard," in which the PCs were essentially lawgivers of the One True Faith in something like mid-1800s Mormon Utah.  You can get a sense of the mechanics of conflict resolution from this Wikipedia article and the character creation and gameplay from this review.  It is significantly more freewheeling than any game system than I've ever played before (not that that's very many).  The traits and relationships that you use to define your character have essentially no limits on them in terms of their definitions: "sense truth", "skeptic", "healer", and "joyful celebration" were some of the traits in our group.  Having played a session, I can pretty definitely say that the more vague you can be in your traits and relationships, the better - it means that you can more easily bring the die values of those traits and relationships into conflicts.  It was fun, and I wouldn't at all mind playing in the system again.

We had our first choir rehearsal of the season a couple of nights ago.  We have two new people: a strong bass and a strong soprano.  Having two whole basses to our name makes a huge difference, as does having a soprano who can actually generate volume on Wednesday nights.  I'm really excited about choir this year - we're gonna be goooooooood...... :D

And next weekend we're going to see Spamalot and Yellow Face, both should be good pieces of theater.  I'll be interested in hearing what y'all think of the movie 9; it's on my 'hmm, could be interesting' list.
amethyst73: (Default)
D&D: Rolling a natural 20 on a Move Silently roll while invisible = teh awesome

Being a male dwarf who plays a female gnome as part of a traveling group of players = amusing.  Fantastic PC interaction.  

Chibi-Okami for the DS: Um, okay... let's see how this pans out!

amethyst73: (Default)
I'm very excited about this weekend: [livejournal.com profile] orichalcum  and [livejournal.com profile] cerebralpaladin  are hosting a gaming weekend, and Huz and I are going!  For one campaign, set in ancient Roman times, I've been putting together a character (D&D 3.5).  I've spent several days poring over the Player's Guide and the Dungeon Master's Guide, and I think I've finally finished the character creation process.  Long.  Kinda exhausting - I've probably spent 6 or more hours reading and stuff.  But lots of fun - my rogue is ready to go!

amethyst73: (Default)
For the gamers:  Not that I have a Windows machine, but even if I did, I sure wouldn't buy a copy of Jericho.  (GWJ scathing review here.)

For the programmers: Want to learn a new coding language?  How about LOLCode?

For the movie-goers: Why in the name of heaven did they do basically CG stuff for the human characters in Beowulf as well as the monsters??

For the rest of us: May brainless (or brain-ful, depending on your preference) happiness be yours - enjoy the weekend!
amethyst73: (Default)
The huz and I just finished listening to two audiobooks available at Librivox, both by H.G. Wells, and both on a subject that I would not have expected him to write about: games.

Floor Games is a brief (45 minutes) essay about the games Mr. Wells played with his sons on a large cork floor.  They use boards, toy soldiers and animals, and common household objects to create islands, cities, parks, and other inhabited landscapes.  Then the imagination of the boys, both old and young, is let loose to create events and act them out.  It's a droll, well-written set of general instructions on how to have fun with your kids.

Little Wars is a slightly longer (1 hour 45 minutes) booklet which should be of interest to anyone who's ever played a turn-based tabletop-style combat strategy game.  While I haven't done the research to make sure, I rather think that Mr. Wells' 1913 publication may be the first time that someone had published rules for a game that would eventually evolve into the tabletop games we know today.  The writing is clear and often amusing.  The instructions themselves are fairly brief, and much of the work is a detailed description of a short campaign between himself and another middle-aged gentleman of his acquaintance.  Wells devotes a brief section at the end to thoughtfully commenting on the connections between Little Wars and what he terms Great War - the wars that humanity fights out in the real world.

Both works are narrated by one of my favorite readers on Librivox, Mark Smith.  He has a great sense for the text and for making the most out of the drama and humor in both works without overdoing either aspect.  I recommend both books to people who like to play games of every sort.  :)

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