Work related posts have been moved.

9 November, 2010

My work and computing related posts are now at

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Oi! Muscles!

20 October, 2014

The party stepped through the door.

There was a room. It was filled with cats. A hundred or more. One dead one. Beneath it, a note. And two people who, somehow, they knew instinctively that they were not supposed to attack.

Bevis and Morgs were back this week, playing a bard and a rogue.

Introductions were made. A key recovered.

The party stepped through the door.

A small wooden shed, the floor littered with notes on slips of paper, each one a love letter. The shelves lined with empty bottles. Outside, it was clear that they were on some sort of promontory surrounded by sea.

At the end of the promontory, a lighthouse. Within, a man; outside, a hag making protestations of love, while the man vainly warned her away.

The party attacked. The hag and her squid companions eventually were driven back into the sea.

The lighthouse-keeper told his story: sending out messages in a bootle, until one day they were answered. The party rested the night in the lighthouse, the keeper returning to his shed. The looted the place thoroughly, the rogue visiting the shed and robbing the keeper. In the morning, they found that a key fitted the inside of the lighthouse door.

The party stepped through the door.

Beyond was another underground structure. Through a door, a kitchen staffed with goblins. The party attacked. All we killed, except one. Before he died, the alchemist goblin called out in orcish, “Muscles! Help!”. The half-orc inquisitor flung open the door. Beyond, a mess or feasting hall full of orcs. “Oi! Muscles!”, he challenged, “Come here and get fucked up!”

I suppose it was inevitable that Brus would wind up channeling Korgul. Maybe Brus has a bit of a split personality – talking orc brings out the happy-go-lucky headkicker and temporarily leaves the emo human inquisitor of Yog-Sothoth to mope in the corner. Could work.

Chaos Begins

11 October, 2014

C͞h҉a̴os͢ ̶̷͝b͜ȩ҉gi̕͠͠n̴͝s̨̛͢.̛̕
̸C̶̶͟h̢́a͜o͘͟s a͞҉l͏͝wa̷̴͟y͝s̴͝ ̢h̸̡̀a҉ş̨ ҉͢b̧̛e͏̴e̡͡͏ǹ̸.
̧C̴̵h̷̛a̧os͠͞ ͠í̧̕s̸͠ ̕a̷͘l̵l̀́͢ ̶t͡͠h̢e̷̶r̸̀e͝ ͞͏҉į̕s.̧͘҉
͡

If you stare long enough into the void, something stares back. I learned this, one spring evening long ago. Staring up, staring out, staring down into the void. I clutched the ground to keep myself from falling, but it was too late.

The tapestry is deep. Deeper than comprehension. There is no life, or place, or home. There is only limitless, bottomless dark. The world is nothing. The gods are nothing. We, we are less than nothing.

All I can do is witness the truth of it, and then one day be gone.

Goddammit – I have made yet another dark character. This is becoming a habit. I’ll have to inject a little more YOLO – the elder gods will consume us all, so let’s have another beer! I’ll rethink this intro.

All ends in decay. One day, dread Cthulhu will rise from the deep and consume all, but even that is not the end. The end is the boundless, immeasurable heaven drawn in to become part of the Great Attractor. All shall be one.

Until then, there is the word to spread. All must know that all is futile. Vanity of vanity, all is vanity.

Mixing my metaphors there. This – this just ain’t working. Oh well. Science joke, also, for those that missed it.

Today the chaos has taken me along a new direction. It happened quickly, as disaster tends to do. A marketplace, a priest of Azathoth, the first. Angelborn and a congenial soul, I hoped – most of the crowd stepping around, avoiding facing the truth as they always do. With him, a deep gnome. A convert? Perhaps.

Brett told us that this would be an infinite dungeon game, so we have all picked races with darkvision. An assimar cleric of Azathoth, a snerflebin brawler, and my half-orc inquisitor. The other players are away this week for various reasons, so Brett introed the game with just the three players.

We had barely begun talking, when the plaza was attacked by a fearsome dragon. It scattered the people, it tor down one of the towers. This concerned neither myself nor the priest, as that tower was always destined to fall, anyway.

A figure called us, beckoned us into a doorway. We followed, because – why not? Today was not our day to die. He gave us a key on a keyring, and sent us below, into a wine cellar. Beyond, the cellar opened out into a room with a fine view of the void in which these islands float. But again, we had barely a moment. Three people teleported in – not understanding the danger to their souls and their sanity, for my god is the key and the door. We attempted peaceful contact, but one sounded a horn, and the old woman went for her spell component pouch, so naturally I attacked. At the sound of the horn, the dragon outside began to attack – the roof began to buckle. We killed one, two, three of them – then over a bridge.

We are already beginning to sort out how we do combat. Andrew’s brawler is probably a better fighter, but he has a move of 20′. My dude has 40′ move thanks to having travel domain (All hail Yog-Sothoth! Not that he cares.). In one fun moment of rules-lawyering, Andrew’s character was between me and a dude I wanted to charge. Not a problem! I overran the snerflebin – the rules state that you can overrun as part of a charge, and that a creature being overrun can always opt to just step aside and not attempt a combat manoeuvre check to halt the movement.

Anyway. My half-orc inquisitor with a falchion totally murdered two – possibly all three. Top of the list for Andrew’s character is some boots of striding and springing.

On the bridge was a figure made of metal. I forget what the deal was. Then we faced a door. Naturally, we went through.

On the other side, was a mine tunnel. Clearly a mine tunnel. The snerflebin (Say! Can the snerlflebin be blue? I have a couple of minis of a “blue”, which is a goblinoid, but we can say it’s a deep gnome and shorten it to “smurf”). We noticed that the keyring we were given seemed to indicate a direction, and so we followed.

A trifle Deus Ex Machina, but we can roll with it.

There were doors. We investigated. This was a sealed-off mine – some sort of collapse or cave-in. No exit, no hope for escape. The stone was unsuitable for mining, but dwarves are greedy. We met and fought their undead remains.

The key took us to one of the doors. On the other side, a small indentation. The key fit. I turned it and we stepped through …

So.

  • Dave is still working on his character concept a bit. Azathoth is the blind idiot god. The cleric’s thing is that he has no knowledge religion at all – he is simply making it up. His character’s domains are madness and chaos.
  • Writing this has clarified my dude’s motivations. He worships Yog-Sothoth – the key and the door – and has travel domain, so a dungeon crawl where we teleport from one place to another via magic doors suits him down to the ground. He wants to find the next door and open it. Brett won’t have any trouble supplying motivation for my character :)
  • Andrew’s character didn’t get to do a lot in the first combat because I beat him to the punch. This will become less the case going forward, as my character will be spending time casting spells. Being an inquisitor, he will also be stacking on the teamwork feats. If Andrew wants go go there, there could be some synergy. In the zombie combat, he was the main damage-dealer – which is as it should be.

We have three other guys playing – it’s a big group and six is a big table. It was good to introduce things with a smaller group, but it will be cool to se what the other guys have built and how it will work.

DM’s page is here.

Shout-out to http://www.eeemo.net/

Brus Reckoner

10 October, 2014

Ok! Brett’s game is happenning. I have built an inquisitor, using Bhodi’s Guide. We have a cleric of Azathoth, so in keeping with the theme I have made Brus an inquisitor of Yog-Sothoth – the space between the stars. Inquisitor because I haven’t played one yet. We have one front-line fighter, and I believe an inquisitor makes a good second fighter. Although I picked Yog-Sothoth to be thematic, it turns out that this gives you access to the Travel domain, which is awesome. +10 base speed, ignore difficult terrain 6rds/day, and a minor teleport ability at 8th level. What’s not to like?

Brus Reckoner
Half-orc inquisitor of Yog-Sothoth 2 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide 38)
N Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +7


Defense


AC 17, touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+7 armor)
hp 22 (2d8+6)
Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +6
Defensive Abilities orc ferocity


Offense


Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk falchion +6 (2d4+6/18-20)
Ranged composite shortbow +1 (1d6/×3)
Special Attacks judgment 1/day
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 2nd; concentration +0)
   At will—detect alignment
Inquisitor Spells Known (CL 2nd; concentration +5):
   1st (3/day)—divine favor, fallback strategy, wrathAPG
   0 (at will)—brandAPG (DC 13), create water, detect magic, guidance, read magic
   Domain Travel


Statistics


Str 18, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 7
Base Atk +1; CMB +5; CMD 15
Feats Armor Proficiency (heavy)
Traits armor expert, brute (orc)
Skills Climb +4, Heal +7, Intimidate +1, Knowledge (arcana) +3, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +3, Knowledge (planes) +3, Knowledge (religion) +3, Perception +7, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +0, Survival +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate
Languages Common, Orc
SQ agile feet (6/day), monster lore +3, orc blood, weapon familiarity, stern gaze +1, track +1
Other Gear mwk banded mail, arrows (20), composite shortbow, mwk falchion, backpack, bedroll, belt pouch, flint and steel, iron spike (2), piton (2), hemp rope (100 ft.), torch (10), iron unholy symbol, waterskin, 137 gp, 7 sp, 4 cp


Special Abilities


Agile Feet (6/day) (Su) For 1 rd, you ignore difficult terrain.
Armor Expert -1 Armor check penalty.
Brute (Orc) Whenever you score a critical threat, you add (but not multiply, in the case of a confirmed critical hit) an amount of damage equal to your weapon’s critical modifier.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Detect Alignment (At will) (Sp) Detect chaos, evil, good, or law at will.
Inquisitor Domain (Travel) Granted Powers: You are an explorer and find enlightenment in the simple joy of travel, be it by foot or conveyance or magic. Increase your base speed by 10 feet.
Judgment (1/day) (Su) Variable bonuses increase as the combat continues.
Monster Lore +3 (Ex) +3 to Knowledge checks when identifying the weaknessess of creatures.
Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Orc Ferocity (1/day) If brought below 0 Hp, can act as though disabled for 1 rd.
Track +1 Add the listed bonus to survival checks made to track.

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Something for everyone!

24 September, 2014

Meh – not writing in-character this time.

Something for everyone this week! A fight that was a complete clusterfuck – fun for the DM; and a boss fight that did not go at all well for the BBEG – fun for the players.

We fought our way through the giants, Xavier was low on spells – as was everyone. Oh, and he’s been socked by some sort of permanent Reduce Person effect which actually does not gimp a sorcerer at all. If anything, it works out quite nicely thank you very much. Extra AC, extra to-hit. What’s not to like? Slower speed, but Xavier packs Expeditious Retreat so it’s not really a thing.

I tried to make Xavier a blasty sort of caster, but it’s simply not how I play. For the boss fight, my moves were:

  1. Dispelling a Solid Fog
  2. Bringing down a Wall of Force with a Disintegrate
  3. Counterspelling a Dimension Door
  4. Counterspelling a Disintegrate

And that’s all he did. The rest of the work was our ranger lobbing several grand worth of giant-bane arrows and the barbarian doing the usual with the axe. Healing from Aeona; triceratops from Vik; and Zoran, sadly, spent much of his time retching from a Stinking Cloud but came good at the end.

Countering the Dimension Door was key. It kept the dude in pounding range of the barbarian and stopped him dropping more AoE spells. Xavier packs a Headband of Counterspelling and Improved Counterspell.

The game forces you to make a choice, because Charisma-boosting items may only be in the headband slot. Using that prime real-estate for that headband is quite a commitment as to how you are going to play. But it was a good choice – having Xavier there completely gimped the high-level caster we were up against. The big thing about that headband is the once-per-day power:

Furthermore, once per day the wearer can attempt to counter a spell by casting the appropriate spell as an immediate action instead of doing so with a readied action.

It puts you in “caster duel” mode, effectively winning that first initiative roll.

Anyway. The DM is off for a while, so we’ll be playing something else for a bit. When we come back, we will be level 14. Xavier will be rocking – ohh, I dunno. Limited Wish, perhaps? It’s the ultimate in versatility. Pathfinder doesn’t have that pesky XP price, and arguably Limited Wish+Improved Counterspell will let you counterspell anything 6th level and below, at the cost of burning a 7th level spell slot. Heck – even without the feat, arguably, but with the feat probably definitely.

You still have to provide material components, but Xavier is packing Blood Money. In an emergency, Xavier has most things covered – particularly since Limited Wish lets you duplicate metamagiced spells up to 6th-level equivalent. Protection from Evil (Communal), for instance.

Yep – it’s the way to go.


Friendly fire

1 September, 2014

A halfling walks into a bar …

Well – maybe not a bar. Certainly, beverages are being served. But the bill of fare was a trifle more varied than that. Perhaps the best word would be “establishment”. A halfling walks into an establishment. He walks painfully, chewing on something medicinal-smelling. A blood-soaked pad of cloth around a broken-off arrow shaft protruded from his shoulder. Human sized. And for those observant types with a bit of an interest in the subject (and there were a few such at this particular establishment), a tell-tale white and blue chequered band near the head.

He steps up to the counter (literally – steps put there for the purpose). The – shall we say – barman looks at the shaft, and asks “Well then! What would you be looking for today?” The halfling replies in the time-worn phrase, “I’m just looking for a friend” and drops two large heptagonal copper coins in the tip jar. After a beat, the barman says “Well, you’d be looking for Old Bob then. Over there in the corner. Hands shake like the devil when he’s on the sauce, but he’s only just got started today. You’re in luck.”

Old Bob looks up from his rum and water and sees a customer – no! A patient! It’s important to remember these things. He sees a patient approach. They do not exchange words. Old Bob glances briefly at the arrow shaft, and motions the halfling upstairs. A flight of steps, an unmarked door, and they arrive at a cramped but functional surgery and office.

Once in private, the halfling breaks the silence first. “Got it two hours ago doc. How much to fix it?” “It’s pretty deep”, replies Old Bob, “extraction, stitches, you’ll need some painkillers – say 15 silver the lot. If you can’t afford the lot now, you can borrow down at the bar.

“Right”, says the halfling, and the glamer altering his features ripples away, leaving in it’s place – well – a slightly different halfling. “Practising medicine without a license are we, Doctor Old Bob? Tsk tsk.”

Doctor Old Bob says nothing, although his face says a great deal. Mainly “Shit.” After a second, he asks – “And you would be?” “Flatfoot”, replies the halfling, “that’s Officer Flatfoot to you. EIS.”, and flips open some ID. “EIS? What the hell does EIS want with me?”

“You know, doc, I have nothing against you. Not a problem. Sure it’s illegal, you being an old drunk and all, but even if the locals found out about you – I reckon they’d be good enough accept a bribe. In fact, I reckon they’d insist on it. A pretty considerable one. Frequently.” He let that sink in for a second. “I’m looking for a human or elf. Wizard. Powerful. Old. Probably wearing nice duds, too. One Acid Arrow to the head – right side, I think, and a real beauty right on the liver. About two hours ago. He’ll want to keep it quiet.”

“Sorry Officer, I can’t help you.”

“Sure, doc. Wasn’t expecting it right away. If he does come in, take his money, overcharge him as much as you usually would, patch him up and then call it it. Oh – and even if you don’t normally take advice from the likes of me, you should take this: I think he’s the kind to tie up loose ends. Call it in, and don’t mention me. If we don’t catch him, he’ll take care of you at some point in the future.”

“Sure officer. No problem. Anything else? I could extract that arrow on the house.”

The halfling barked a laugh. “Not a chance, doc. But I do need a sign of you bona fides. I need two second opinions. Two names, doc, or I’ll arrest you right now.”

Old Bob considered his options for a second. “Jeff Cutter, Arm and hammer; and there’s a pox doc out back of the Bearded Clam, does some surgery. Ladies things, mostly. Ex-Gyno, got himself in a bit of trouble. Lost his balls and his license.”

“Thanks doc. Already know about one of them, but good enough. Take my advice about the wizard.”

And with that, the halfling recast his glamer and let himself out.

Old Bob went downstairs. Ordered a mug and two gallon jugs of watered rum. “Guess you won’t be seeing any more patients today, doc”, said the barman with a smirk. “That’s the idea”, thought Old Bob to himself. He sat down at his usual table, and began drinking like a man whose life might depend on it.


Stupidity strikes Rotherham

30 August, 2014

Oh Noes! Child abuse! Sex! Pakistanis!

It seems that in the town of Rotherham, in Britain, 1400 girls have been … well, I’m not sure what. But it’s all part of the worldwide paedophile nightmare.

There was an element of “not again”, of yet another chapter of the United Kingdom’s still-unfolding paedophile nightmare. But this was something else. It had sheer scale, scope, the length and breadth of the evil unfolded, the malice of the perpetrators and the close-eyed, back-turned, passive immorality of those who let it continue.

One thousand, four hundred children, said the report by Professor Alexis Jay, a former chief inspector of social work in Scotland. That number, wrote Professor Jay, was “our conservative estimate” of the victim count in Rotherham from 1997 to 2013.

In Rotherham, the majority of known perpetrators were of Pakistani heritage. There was a widespread perception at the council and within police that the ethnic dimension was to be “downplayed”.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/rotherham-child-abuse-scandal-a-nation-in-disgrace-20140829-109u9m.html#ixzz3Bqsar2zV

Oh … kay.

Rotherham is a town of 240k.
Rotherham has a median age of 40.
Rotherham is about 1.1% pakistani.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotherham

http://localstats.qpzm.co.uk/stats/england/yorkshire-and-the-humber/rotherham

With a median age of 40, let’s say 1/5th of the Rothers are between 10 and 18. 50k. Half are boys. 25k. 99% are not Pakistani. 250. Double it because we are talking about a 15 year period. 500. So out of 500 suitably-aged Pakistani girls living and growing up in Rotherham over the past 15 years, 1400 of them have been abused by some sort of pedophile ring.

To put it another way, one in every 35 girls in Rotherdam was sexually abused and trafficked by Pakistani men. Wicked, evil, brown-coloured Pakistani men. You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about Muslims.

How bad was the abuse?

“It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.”
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/rotherham-child-abuse-scandal-a-nation-in-disgrace-20140829-109u9m.html#ixzz3BqwvkgJC

Yeah, and when kids tell these sorts of stories after prompting by social service workers, they are always to be believed. How many of those kids were kidnapped from their homes by these SJWs, and cooperated with their captors so they could see their families again? Doesn’t anyone remember the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic of the 80s?

“Large numbers of perpetrators.” As always, these stories become ridiculous once you work out just how many Johns would be required to keep the industry going. 1400 girls. Regularly gang-raped. Say, five at a time. Say, once a week. (The hysterics typically give figures far, far in excess of this – straight facedly reporting that there are multiple rapes every night). That’s 7000 Johns a week participating in gang rapes of underage pakistani girls. In a town of 240k. Oh hang on – they were “trafficked”. But the other towns surely would have their own Pakis trafficking right on back, surely, so it evens out.

240k people. 120k males. Say, one in three rapist-aged males makes 80k. That’s one in eleven men in Rotherdam gang-raping an underaged Pakistani girl every week. If they were only going for a gang rape once a fortnight, it would have to be one in five. “Large numbers of perpetrators” doesn’t even begin to cover it! The whole town must have been in on it. The place was a pædophillic Royston-Vasey, with underaged muslim girls for “Special Stuff”.

And no-one even suspected it until Professor Alexis Jay blew the lid on the whole sordid business.

The thing is just how incredibly easy it was to do this sort of back-of-the-envelope calculation, how available the information is, how transparently ludicrous the numbers being thrown about by sex-trafficking hysterics are.

So what’s going on? Well – racism, of course. I have two theories:

Theory 1: “abuse” ≠ “sexual abuse”. Someone noticed that Pakistanis smack their kids when they deserve it (perhaps because their homes are not fatherless like most are), cried “Child abuse!” and someone else decided to play chinese whispers and began yelling “OMG! Child abuse! Peedoes! Get out the pitchforks and torches!”

Theory 2: someone decided that arranged marriages are rape, and that arranging a future marriage for an 11-year-old girl is therefore “grooming”.

or simply:

Theory 3: this is what feminists honestly think men are like. If you are a male – old or young – this is what they think of you. They are your political enemies because they hate you, and they hate you for excellent reason. You raping, child-abusing, pig.


Xavier blows (a bubble)

22 August, 2014

We continued on. Our plan was to find where the tunnels led, then to teleport out. We decided to send a scout – Zoran, the obvious choice, cannot see in the dark, and so I went under cover of invisibility.

I came after a short distance to a partially worked cavern, full of carefully sorted and classified junk. There was a Kobold there, and I took the risk that it might be able to be reasoned with. Sadly, it attacked without provocation and I was forced to Dimension Door away, back to the party.

That’s not quite how it happened, but Xavier is telling the story.

We proceeded forward. Gorlax has a permanent Enlarge spell on him. While this makes sense when fighting giants, it’s a great nuisance when attempting to get through squeezy little tunnels. It so happened that Zoran and Bahlek were the first two out, and the kobold attacked them. The little creature turned out to be a savage fighter, and at home amongst it’s piled of junk.

Difficult terrain, and we forgot that most of us had FOM.

It in swift order managed to nearly kill Zoran and Bahlek. Vik summoned an anklyosaur, and Aeona teleported Gorlax into the room. But it was too close – I cast Resilient Sphere around the Kobold to give us time to regroup.

First time ever using that spell – it worked great.

While the Kobold frothed at the mouth in a rage and pounded at the sphere, we healed the worst of the damage. Then boulders started being lobbed into the chamber from beyond, the first of them hitting Thumpy the Dinosaur, of whom we have all become somewhat fond.

Zoran, Bahlek, and Gorlax went to deal with the giants. I wandered along at my own pace, as I was nearly out of spells, and really these three do not need a great deal of help. I was in time to see Bahlek down a giant with a flurry of five arrows, and Zoran slice up a rather bigger and better dressed giant a treat. This one eventually consumed a potion of Gaseous Form (I assume) and retreated.

OMG, so many crits! Both Bevis and Andrew managed to roll and confirm three crits in a single round. The regular giant just went down in a hail of arrows. The tougher guy has a splendid ‘Z’ carved into him.

We returned to the Kobold. Vik, frankly, has gotten mostly nowhere attempting to reason with it via the subtle art of mime, and so we surrounded it and I dismissed the sphere. It lasted about ten seconds.

Then we thoroughly looted the place. After carefully surveying the chamber, (I also fixing the place in my mind), Vik conveyed us to Magnimar.

It has been two days. Aeona mostly healing, and the rest of us shopping. For myself, I have prevailed on certain local mages permission to scribe into my spellbook certain useful spells – divinations, mostly. Oh, and Darkvision, which I can transfer into my ring should we need to spend time underground. Also Teleport, which I can cast from the book twice a day. This should relive some of the burden from Vik. And Invisibility Sphere, as there will almost certainly be a welcome waiting for us when we teleport back in.

A wand (perhaps two?) of Infernal Healing, one of Gravity Bow for Bahlek, one of Reduce Person for Gorlax, and a wand of Eagle’s Splendour for myself (I am not willing to give up my headband of counterspelling, and so I must resort to the spell).

Ah – and a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Widen Spell. Not cheap, but multiple times I have been able to get only two giants in a fireball. This should even things up a little.

We should return as soon as we may.


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