Kingmaker – commies and magic mushrooms

25 October, 2010


We got commies! Commies, I tells ya!

Well, we did have. At our end of year celebrations, we had a number of bards around and one of them was stirring up the people – saying that we were purloining the treasury, which is ridiculous as a) we haven’t and b) it’s ours. Never mind that all the money goes to public works.

We spied on him, and with a little divination determined – as we suspected – that he was working for someone. So we arrested him: he was a spy, after all. We held him overnight (mainly so we could prepare some spells) and our guards are useless – he charmed the lot of them. He nearly escaped, but I had the foresight to place an alarm spell on the exit from the dungeon (I suppose that’s what you have to call it. It’s rather humane, as dungeons go.)

Well, he was in the taproom, which well – it’s a bad look, you know? On account of him being a prisoner? He tried to give us the slip, so we caught him and beat him up. When I say we – I mean the baron and Rainor. And by “caught him and beat him up”, I mean we gave him every opportunity to quietly go back to his cell, but nothing doing.

Next morning we winkled out of him (with a Detect Thoughts) who he was working for. And we banished him and had the sootscales escort him to the northern border. No good deed goes unpunished, of course, so I’m sure we will have cause to regret not killing him (remember: he was a spy and saboteur of a foreign power) – but it’s just not how we roll. I hope he remembers the mercy and forgives the beating, but the man stuck me as a horrible little coward, so most likely not.

We finally chased up that map that I made out of the troll hide. It led to a swamp with some extremely interesting mushrooms. Which was guarded by an extremely interesting guardian. A treant of some sort – some kind of plant crature, anyway. I dropped a couple of Scorching Rays into it, which will do for most things made out of wood. Then we began to search for the troll’s treasure. We didn’t notice that the tree thing was regrowing. It attacked us a second time, and paralysed his lordship. I was out of spells, and it was not looking good – all I could do was pop arrows into the thing, and it wans’t accomplishing much. But Morgana cursed it, and it spent the next the next several seconds doing nothing – long enough for Jope to recover. Once recovered, he made short work of it.

We burned it with some alchemical fire (it would have been good to have remembered earlier that Rainor was carrying some), and resumed searching. Eventually we decided that the mushrooms themselves were the trolls treasure (the map indicated where, not what). I hope they are worth it – we’ll se what our potioneer makes of them.

As for the unrest formented by the bard, it took a month or two to calm things down. We built some housing, and – ahem – dealt with the worst of the discontented elements. The kingdom is growing, and getting harder to manage. We are saving our pennies for the next big project: a Cathederal for Erastil. A variety of benefits will be had, although it will gut our treasury. And we were doing so well there for a while.

Stay well. My best to the family.
Your sister-in-exile,

Challenge to the New Atheists

25 October, 2010

Re: What Do New Atheists Actually Believe?

Well, here’s my answers anyway:

1) Why is there anything? & 2) What caused the Universe?

Our normal everyday notions of cause an effect are based on our experiences of things and events in the universe. The universe itself is not a thingin the sense of things that we are accustomed to dealing with. It’s perfectly obvious that existence cannot have a cause in the conventional (efficient) sense, as a cause must precede its effect.

3) Why is there regularity (Law) in nature?

Because nature is made up of a large number of simple and perfectly identical things – subatomic particles.

4) Of the Four Causes in nature proposed by Aristotle (material, formal, efficient, and final), which of them are real? Do final causes exist?

Causes, in this sense, are possible answers to the question “why?”. Whenever a person asks that question, they are asking to be told a story, a narrative explaining something. Thus, causes are about our perception, they are about how we make sense of the world.

So “real” becomes a little problematic. Certainly, final causes exist when people do stuff.

5) Why do we have subjective experience, and not merely objective existence?

Not sure. When you bend a plank of wood, the fibres within it undergo strain. Is it reasonable to talk of the wood’s “experience” of that strain?

6) Why is the human mind intentional, in the technical philosophical sense of aboutness, which is the referral to something besides itself? How can mental states be about something?

I don’t see the difficulty. Why shouldn’t they be?

7) Does Moral Law exist in itself, or is it an artifact of nature (natural selection, etc.)

It’s an artifact of nature. In particular – of human nature. We are social mammals. We see moral law in dogs, chimpanzees, all sorts of things. Moral law is that set of instincts and drives that have resulted in societies.

8) Why is there evil?

We use “evil” to describe two kinds of things: things that arouse our fear and things that arouse our disgust. We are capable of fear because we are frail and mortal.


18 October, 2010


Nothing much to tell, this month. We explored more of the borders of our kingdom, and finally pushed the road through all the way to Oleg’s in the north, joining the main trade road. Yay! We have gone from “middle of the wilderness” to “backwater”. And Oleg has made it from “trader” to “mayor”.

We dealt with that goblin incursion. His Baronship decided to run forward into battle (with magical haste) and get himself surrounded, and then criticised me for not being able to run in and help until I’d cast a few enchantments. Half a mile away, surrounded by a small army, and I’m supposed to dive in without some basic protectives. All I ask is thirty seconds, but no it’s out of the question – there’s no point my doing anything until I have some way to hide myself in broad daylight, and until I’ve magically improved my bow. What’s more, the goblins were in tall grass, so it was a bit of a hit-or-miss business shooting them. Their bard wasn’t, though – he was riding a Boar, majestic as you please sitting on top of it, so I incinerated him. At least that way there was a better than even chance of my not wasting the spell.

Anyway. The battle was not going all that well – we would have prevailed eventually – but not well. Not a convincing win. Morgana used a Glitterdust spell and it worked wonderfully, but there were just rather too many goblins to kill when you have to do it one at a time. I’d love to be able to do a fireball, but I’m not really spending all my attention on magic – I’m spending effort on stealth and fieldcraft. There must be some way to combine the two, I feel it. I’ve been experimenting. [One more level of Rogue, and Switch will qualify for Arcane Trickster. I hope it’s worth it – a low-level multiclassed character s even worse than a low-level monk.]

Then kobolds showed up and that was that. We gave them the goblin’s equipment as loot (rather a lot, in retrospect). In return, they gave us some extra food production which was just as well as rats had gotten into the stores. I think it’s good that the garrison troops (all four of them) saw the kobolds in action. Oh – that reminds me – we’ll have to put up some signs on the highway explaining that the kobolds are staff and not to be killed.

Oh! That’s right – the goblins were working for one of the other groups sent out by Restov. Seems our little barony already has enemies.

What else? We scouted the boundary of – well, not our kingdom yet, but probably as far as we are looking at expanding. We ran into a trio of Griggs, so I had a chance to practise my Sylvan. It’s drawing near time when we just have to grasp the nettle and venture further south. The land is wilder down there and more dangerous. Actually, we are all a bit frightened. But it has to be done.

Your sister-in-exile,