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9 November, 2010

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Xavier speaks!

25 July, 2014

Magic! Ahh, magic! So subtle, mysterious, fragile and yet powerful. She must be wooed, persuaded, tempted!

But forgive me, I must introduce myself.

I am Xavier, the sorcerer, most beautiful man in creation! Who better to move the strands of The Weave?

Forgive me my conceit. And my appearance. Of my family I will not speak, but as for my race – I will satisfy your curiosity. Humans are an adaptive lot, perhaps most adaptive of all the species. We have settled everywhere in the multiverse, on every plane of existence. Including the Plane of Shadow – even there, there are enclaves. And as with the various other races of human, over time we come to adapt. Thus my skin, my hair, my admittedly stunning eyes, and most of all my fabulous beard. Yes, the dwarves pride themselves on their facial extrusions, but they go for mere volume! Can any of them match the luster? The softness? Yes of course you may feel it! Go right ahead, and tell your grandchildren the story of the day you ran your fingers through a beard the like of which you never saw again in this life!

I think Xavier may be channelling Edwin, from the Baldur’s Gate games

Of course, my appearance excludes me from most company. But not all. I speak, of course, of Adventurers! Those whose profession it is to have adventures! Quite the euphemism, I assure you, but neverthless so it is, and I count myself among them. Once you Fireball a pursuing pack of giant wolves, they really don’t care where you come from. I have travelled alone and with companions for many years, and now find myself in the Illustrious company of the Heroes of Sandpoint.

How so? Well, the matter is simple. I made the error of passing through Sandpoint on the day that it was raided by an assortment of giants – a mere scouting party according to them, but dangerous. Being the man of action I am, I saved several of the townsfolk (I will not boast or inflate the tale, they were a mere dozen or so). The most serious part of the fight was dealt with by these aforementioned heroes. Having saved some myself, it was assumed that I was one of their number, and after some confusion they and I were introduced.

It seems they had information to the effect that the giants were massing up in the mountains, above the Storval Stairs. Again, modesty forbids me to say they begged me to join up with them, but they were pleased to have me and I pleased to join. I am not averse to doing good deeds for the mere sake of it, the rigours of travelling rough bother me not a bit, the finger pointing and whisperings of the common people in cities tends to grow tiresome after a bit, and there was sure to be loot and good company. And if that seems to you to not be reason enough, well – it is reason enough for me.

So, to the Storval Stairs!


The journey was uneventful, as they say. At a guess, every living thing the entire region is hiding underground to avoid being clubbed by giants, or has already been so clubbed. The stairs themselves are not, as one might suppose, a natural scarp or trail but are indeed a literal flight of stairs. Giant-sized, of course. We climbed all day and eventually came into the view of a gatehouse. We were immediately assailed by boulders, thrown and bouncing down the stairs – a sensible way to deal with intruders, in all truth.

Happily, I was able to step briefly into the etheral plane and to bring some of the fighters with me, while

Who does teleport? Aeona or Vik? I think it’s Vik.

Vik teleported the rest, depositing ourselves on top of the gatehouse. Our combatants charged (one of us has a permanent enlarge on him, and cuts quite the figure), and we spellcasters unleashed our various power. Mine are a ball of fire, and a cone of cold. Vik is a summonner, it seems, and Aeona – is difficult to categorise. Godkin, I think, and quite genuinely beautiful but in a weird nonsexual way and we have none of that sort of roleplaying in our group, thank you very much.

Ahem.

Giants began coming out of the rear of the gatehouse, and so I raised a Wall of Force to deal with boulders from that direction. And there is not much more to tell, aside from that these “Heroes of Sandpoint” do seem to live up to their reputation: cleaning up perhaps a half-dozen giants with really no difficulty at all.

We have six players, rather than four, and bypassing the boulders crashing down the stairs made the encounter far less dangerous.

We proceeded on into the mountains.


I personally prefer to ride a Phantom Steed when Shadow Walking is not feasible. It is not a spell that comes naturally to me, instead I have a most marvelous (and terribly expensive) ring into which the patterns of it are put. And where from, you may ask? Well – fancy myself something a student of the arcane, even if I do not work the weave by memorising the formulas as some do, and so I keep a book of spells. Mainly the odd and out-of-the-way sorts of things. One of the other spells in my book is one that conjures up a secure shelter from whatever comes to hand. I – foolishly, and keen to demonstrate my skill to my new companions – conjured up a shelter for us to camp in, and they – also foolishly – permitted themselves to be persuaded to sleep in it. After all, we had been untroubled all day.

Of course, the reason we were untroubled is that the entire plateau is currently being patrolled regularly by giants. We were, of course, found (giants and their pet wolves, if you must know). Worse still – one of them got away. There are other spells that permit one to safely camp in hostile territory, I simply must scribe one into my book at earliest opportunity.

Be that as it may, we are discovered. The next few days will prove to be diverting, if nothing else.


Xavier lives!

25 July, 2014

Just as I reprised Zack Jackson for PFS, I am reprising Xavier the Sorcerer (pronounced Xavier, the Sorcerer, most beautiful man in creation!) for our home game. We are swapping out Father Whatshisname, leaving Brett’s character back in the role of primary healbot.

I built Xavier as a drow, to which the DM – when I brought him to the table – basically said “Fuck, no!”. Ok, then. Rebuilt him as a Fetchling which is almost the same thing, but without that annoying SR.

I’m trying to distance him from being another Switch. That said, it’s pretty hard to beat “Go invisible, fly, and blatt things” as a tactic. I’ve given him AOE spells and Selective Spell metamagic feat. Aside from blasting, his secondary line is counterspelling and getting himself out of trouble.

(Trigger warning: rules lawyering!)

He has the Arcane bloodline, and carries a spellbook. Now, although he cannot prepare the spells in that book, nevertheless he knows and can read them – he has plenty of spellcraft, Read Magic and whatnot. So his bonded item (bloodline feature) will let him cast one of them per day. He is also rocking a mnemonic vestment and two rings of Spell Knowledge. The spellbook contains spells that are situational, rather than things you always need. Unhappily, the description of the Ring of Spell Knowledge does not tell you how often you can teach it a different spell, so I am playing it as a once-per-day thing.

I have tricked him out with 82k of items, standard for a 11th-level character. The rings take up most of it, +3 cloak of resistance, a metamagic rod (reach spell), and sundry crap.

Just the one game night. I might write it up as a separate post.


Treasure Generator

21 July, 2014

Been a while since I posted anything on wordpress.

A while ago, I used to play in the Die With Honour campaign, which runs at various cons as well as having some home games. 3.5 DnD, with the “Complete” series of splatbooks permitted. Great fun, except for one thing: they were using the Magic Item Compendium treasure generator to dole out loot, and it just took forever.

So I implemented it in JavaScript – a single, stand-alone HTML page that generated loot with a click. You can run it in an iPad, you can run it in an iPhone , if you must. You can save the page and use it without an internet connection. You can see it at GitHub. If you are up against a CR 6 monster, two CR 4 sidekicks, and four CR 1 mooks, just click those buttons. Job done. It speeds play up quite a bit.

“But”, you cry, “What about Pathfinder”? Fear not, the Ultimate Equipment Treasure Generator is here! Same deal. Frankly, I don’t much like their method of doing it, and the generated treasure seems a bit low-value. It all adds up, but it’s still kinda meh. Nevertheless, if you ever looked at those tables in the back of UE and thought “you know, there ought to be an automatic spreadsheet or something for this”, well now you have one.

Go nuts.


New PFS Character

15 June, 2014

Well, I have played Azureban a couple of times and meh. Happily, I can redo the whole character and keep the sheets.

New character is Father Ezekiel Wood. Human cleric of Saranrae. He’s old (not using the ageing rules, because PFS doesn’t allow them). He’s a little deaf. He’s a little blind. He’s faking it and is actually pretty sharp.

“What’s that, sonny? Speak up! Orcs, you say?” I’m looking forward to calling VC Sheila Hiedmarch “girlie”.

A minmaxed healbot – Str and Dex of 8 (roleplaying his age). Traits give him an extra channel per day, and Perception as a class skill. Wis/Cha of 17/16, Con 14 because I simply cannot imagine any circumstance when a character with less Con than that would be viable. Int 12. Selective Channel and Alignment Channel (Evil). At this level, alignment channel is pointless, but I’d like to set the theme.

I’ve given him lamellar leather and a dagger, because a Scimitar would put him over the light load limit. But I fully expect him to have to be carried like baggage so he can perform his healing duties.

“What? Climb up that rope? You must be mad! Do I look like I galivant about climbing ropes at my age?”

Fun times.


Pheno ’14

10 June, 2014

Massive weekend at Pheno. Zack Jackson is level 9, and I have decided to slow-play him. He’s such a good character and so good for PFS, I’ll be sad they day I finally level him up to 12 and can’t play him anymore.

For those of you with Hero Lab, his POR file is on dropbox. I have not put his consumables into Hero Lab. He has a Handy Haversack filled with all kinds of crap – scrolls for all those spells that you don’t want to learn, but are invaluable in the right circumstances, a few potions, all kinds of alchemical consumables. Still haven’t actually used the alchemical cement, but give it time.

The procedure is simple. If we have an adventure, and at any point I go “crap, I really need a scroll or potion of X”, I buy one. When the adventure is over, I restock as a matter of priority. And if I use all my potions of X, then I restock and buy one more than I had previously.

Zack Jackson does no damage. His weapon is a small rapier, which does 1d4-1. His only offensive spells are Confusion, Cacophanous Call, Glitterdust, Charm Person, and Grease. It doesn’t matter. Damage is what dudes with swords are for. Instead, he is a skill money and social dude. “Vagabond Child” trait gives him Disable Device, which is the only thing that an Archaeologist is really missing.

SPOILERS FOLLOW!

These are just some random snippets of memory:

Day 1 session 1 – The Waking Rune

Holy crap! We are up against the runelord of Sloth! tl;dr: we disabled all nine runes, but the bbeg escaped.

The encounter with the devil was bad, bad news. Fighters do not handle Int drain – we had one guy dropped to comatose and needing a full Restoration.

The puzzle was built to have something for every character to do: one of the runes could be defeated with a Disable Device, a couple of them could simply be bashed. But most of it needed various kinds of magic to defeat. Three of the runes could be broken with “negative energy, or 2 points of ability damage from disease or poison”. We were at a loss for a moment, but since we had a summoner in the party, I/Zack suggested that he just summon some spiders. After a bit of general hilarity, that’s exactly what we did. The DM made some rulings on the spot, but a Summoner gets a lot of spiders. Eventually, they made the check.

And finally, big fight. We were playing down, so the runelord summoned three huge Anklyosaurs – enough to threaten the entire chamber. But “big & dumb” is what Cacophanous Call is made for. Little halfling who does 1d4-1 with a rapier took one of those bastards out of the fight.

Stuff happened, fights were fought. Can I just say that Cloudkill is an absolute mofo? God damn! We ran out of the room. Mind you – it didn’t do his anklyosaurs any good, either. He started teleporting about the complex. ZJ used scroll of Locate Object on his Rod of Very Fun to track him, but at the end we just ran out of time and the DM called it.

So sad. We failed. But: no-one died. And Zack hit level 9.

Shadows of the Everwar

Bruce ran all four sessions of Shadows of the Everwar, which is a big commitment and a lot of work.

Day 1, Session 2 – The Prisoner of Skull Hill

Here is how big the weekend was. I forget. I am just drawing a blank about this mod. No – wait! There was a fort on a hill. That’s right! A chelaxian spypost, and our man inside had gone quiet. Turns out, the whole place had been done over by an army of orcs. Zack got a chance to be diplomatic with the head orc:

“What you here for? (Grrr!)”
“Oh scary one, we had heard that the hated humans of tribe Cheliax had been defeated by an army of mighty warriors, and we came to see if it was true!”

Fun times! Dude had nothing much to say, but we searched the place in peace. Found our dude (dead, sadly), and found the entrance to the underground cavey bit. There was fight, which Zack sat out. Then there was “loot the nests of the cave/fly/bat things”. Zack used his new rogue/ninja trick “Wall Climber” to good effect.

Finally another sinkhole, and a damn giant bloody plant that ate people. ZJ has Liberating Command, and popped about five of those bastards just getting people out of the plant, one round after the next. Earned his pay in that encounter doing nothing but that (oh, and a Haste, but he was late getting to that point).

We recovered a wand and a ring. And a corpse, which we jammed into my backpack.

Day 2, Session 1 – The Watcher of the Ages

Another ruin. Fight some Barghests – I think Zack sat that one out, too. Then cellar, and a big Xorn. A little diplomacy, a little 100gp gem, and the Xorn was good enough to dig us a tunnel down to the sealed-up well. (There were clues for those who choose to fight the Xorn that they need to dig).

Down to some salt cave. Morlocks. Fight.

Then this weird shit – a big silvery dome of artifact-level magic energy. Bones of various creatures. After some dicking about, Zack and Dude go through the dome, taking some damage. (oh – part of the dicking about involved Zack drinking a vial of purple worm poison, which he had failed to identify).

Weird-ass nonhuman dude inside. Some story which I will not go into, even though I know that no-one who has read this far will be playing the module. Ok, fuck it – he was a roper, ok? Put there by the aboleth to watch webcams. TL;DR: a bit more diplomacy and he is happy to let us take the staff, ring, and corpse.

Day 2, Session 2 – Terror at Whisledown

ZACK JACKSON, VAMPIRE SLAYER! FUCK YEAH!

A town of gnomes with terror stalking the square at night. By “town”, I mean “hamlet”. Two vampire spawn, and a morgh. Shit – where there’s vampire spawn …

We tracked the skiff they had arrived on to a dude. Dude was a recluse. Not happy to talk to visitors. Spellsong to conceal casting, then Charm Person. Dude now perfectly happy to talk. Seems he is a smuggler, keeps the contraband on an island in the lake, had to leg it recently because of all the damn vampire spawn.

Out to the island in the middle of the lake. I have a damn phobia of water travel, and it was borne out by the optional encounter. Bloody giant, swimming, constrictor snakes. Did I mention that ZJ is a halfling? Into the drink. Happily, Mr Big’n’violent was packing a Touch of the Sea potion and basically took care of them. Next time, ZJ is climbing the mast and staying there.

Onto the island. Down the well. Underground chamber. Corpse and ring, but no sword. Fight some more vampire spawn, and archer gets dominated. Cacophanous Call takes him down for long enough to tie him up. We are one character down, and proceed onwards.

A vampire. Honest-to-god, full vampire. With a very nice falchion. Fight fight fight, Greater Invis. Shit. ZJ prepares to cast glitterdust “next time he reveals his location”. Scorching Ray from the dude, and he is glitterdusted. Before he can go gaseous, the fighters step up and murder his ass.

The gas goes into a crack in the wall. I ask the DM “could a tiny creature squeeze in?” and he’s “yeah, sure”. ZJ pops a potion of Reduce Person, then goes into the secret chamber. From inside, calls out in helium voice “A stake! A stake! For the love of god, a stake! Chop up a torch, break the head off an arrow, anything!”

Vampire is staked by a size T reduced halfling. Then the dwarf spends a few hours chopping his way into the chamber with an adamantine mace, finally beheading and fully killing the vampire.

Captured townsfolk are v. happy, and we head back to Sothis. ZJ is level 9.

Day 3, Session 1 – The Faithless Dead

Back at Sothis. It’s the final day of Pheno, and we have three players and a pregen cleric. Pregen cleric has several of her spell picks replaced by something more sensible.

Big funeral for the three corpses. Yay!

Pathfinder lodge is attacked! Boo!

We run in, deal with some cultists who seem to think that we are helping out BBEG perform bad ritual with the three rings we found. We rescue the VC from being burned, but don’t rescue the Important Documents. Oops.

VC tells us to go talk to the sphinx over at the necropolis. We wait for dawn.

Sphinx asks some riddles, but we are good. Legend Lore is cast. The three chickybabes informa us that BBEG is a bad guy, and they would please like to possess us. ZJ is instantly, 100% in favour of the notion. Other guys cautiously agree. We get useful buffs for the big fight.

Down to tomb. Traps, secret doors. We have rangers, ZJ, and more than enough perception. Mummies pour out of sarcophagi, but ZJ has initiative and runs the fuck out of there without taking an AAO. Sheer luck. Fighter begins fighting. Fails one will save vs fear and is paralysed, but ZJ has Remove Fear. The cleric was also packing Remove Paralysis (because I had redone her spell picks), but DM rules that the paralysis was caused by the fear so the Remove Fear was enough.

Onto the final fight. It was mainly fighters FTSU. Bad guys shrugged off the Confusion, so ZJ’s only contribution was to Vanish the cleric so she could go in and healbot. Kyra is a very fine healer: 30hp with a cure crit. Oh – and the Haste, of course. Fighters just love the Haste.

Dude gets properly killed. We fail to ID the priest of badness doing the reanimation, so having failed 2 of 3 sub missions we lose one PP.

But, everyone is alive, and mission accomplished.

Then I went home and crashed – it has been a long weekend. Yay Pheno! Yay PFS!

And again – a very big thankyou to Bruce. (Oh, I owe him fifteen bucks. Must remember it.)


New PFS character

25 May, 2014

Ok! I have my new PFS character: Azureban Wikileak! Tiefling inquisitor. Charisma 5, but with class features that mean that he uses Wis instead of Cha for social stuff. Str and Wis 16. He’ll be front line with some buffs.

Working for Asmodeus, fighting the good fight. It’s Year of The Demon, and the Blood War is being fought up at the Worldwound. Realistically, I won’t be able to level him up fast enough to fight high levels this year, but I can play the YoTD modules later.


Arena fight!

20 May, 2014

One of the things which I think we all recognise and appreciate is how much work Andrew puts into the game. He does story for all of the characters. We each have two characters, which is a lot, and yet he’s given Rapha my hobgoblin more work than I have.

Tonight we started off with a bit of story, a bit of a cutscene, but then Andrew dropped us into an arena fight. And it was just great. Three waves of enemies. First, we fought team B. Then, Durian the size L dwarf/goliath champion decided that we were worthy and crashed the party. We dropped him in one round :) . Then OMG! Zombies! Shit just got real.

It was great to have a long combat. Most of our fights have been a few rounds then win or run away, and they have mainly been there to drive plot. Not that that’s a bad thing – nothing duller than a “here are some monsters, fight them” campaign. But goddamn it – you build these characters, you want to try them out! It was cool to do that, and everyone got a feel for what their own characters and all the other characters could do.

And this is not to say there was no plot. Alix’s warlock and Durian are due a rematch, for starters.

For me, Blackfen is a bad guy, which really I personally can’t play forever. He’s definitely an alter-ego. Blackfen is a bit of an a-hole, so new people who have only played with me as Blackfen can’t help but see me in those terms. Him becoming a revenant gives me scope to edit his personality a bit, but he’ll still be pretty dark. Playing my other dude – who has a couple of heals and buffs – it was good to take a break. Support caster (“controller”, in 4th ed parlance) is where I am most comfortable.

And I continued my usual “screw up the DM’s encounter” modus operandi. Everyone was already beaten up when the zombies came out. Rapha had one heal, which he dropped into – Durian! “Durian! Durian! Wake up! Zombies!” Andrew is like “Didn’t think of that…”, but handled it with aplomb, as always. Durian took care of the minions, but Andrew made us do the BBEG.

We are all looking forward to meeting Handsome Hank, whatever his incarnation in this campaign. God, he’s a dick.


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