Kingmaker

19 December, 2010

Michael

Well, we’ve dealt with most of the outstanding problems. I rather feel that we have come to the end of a chapter, of sorts, what with His Lordship’s imminent elevation. But first I’ll tell you what happened with the owlbear.

The city was in an uproar, of course. After a brief discussion amongst ourselves, we decided that nothing was to be gained by waiting around. I gave His Lordship a little boost in the Lordliness [Eagle’s Splendour] as usual, and he addressed the crowd. We would pursue the monster forthwith and – of course – bring back its head. The crowd were much cheered: we judged that we could depart and leave them for a few days, at least. If we should return reasonably promptly, then we should not have to face unrest and discontent.

More exactly: we had six days.

Tracking the beast proved no difficulty whatever – a trail of destruction led back to what was unmistakably its lair. We cast our spells, and ventured in.

The first chamber had exits in three directions – the exit ahead of us clearly being the primary one. We decided to clear out whatever might be lurking beyond the two smaller ones so that we might not be attacked from the rear. But among the fungi in the cave, we spotted a pair of shriekers. We decided to shoot them from outside the cave mouth so as to be out of the range of the effect of their noise. Rainor dealt with the first quite handily – it let out only a peep before expiring. I shot the second, but did not dispatch it, and it let out its alarm. Rainor dealt with it immediately, but the damage was done.

In retrospect, I utterly screwed the pooch in this encounter. a) we could have just left them alone while we dealt with what was in each side chamber, and b) if I hadn’t shot that second one with a measly 1d8+1 damage and instead waited for Brett’s/Rainor’s next turn, we could have gakked it quietly.

We entered the cave again, and His Lordship proceeded to the smaller entrance to the right. Within was a Shambling Mound, and they commenced to do battle. But as they did, a half-dozen giant spiders emerged from the entrance to the left. And among the mushrooms in the chamber itself were a few myconid – violet fungi. We were attacked on two fronts – His Lordship and Rainor battling the mound, while the rest of us were picking off spiders and fungi with magic and weapons. We were making progress, when finally the monster itself – the giant owlbear, 15 foot high at the shoulder [about a storey and a half, maybe two] – emerged from the central passage.

And I was standing in exactly the wrong spot.

It swiped me with its enormous claws and flung me aside. I cast Vanish and side-stepped, but it tracked me by smell. Meanwhile, His Lordship had fallen, or nearly so, dealing with the shambling mound. But Morgana saved the day, for the nonce, using her slumberous hex on the owlbear. Someone gave a potion of healing to His Lordship, the last of the spiders was dealt with, and finally the shambling mound slain. But as it was, a nest of spiders emerged from it and proceeded to attack – going after the ranger’s wolf. We decided to flee before the monster awoke (Morgana’s hex lasts only a brief time), for His Lordship was still badly hurt. We would run from the owlbear on our horses, the respite allowing us to use Morgana’s wand of healing.

I screwed the pooch again with how I played Morgana. Luckily, didn’t get her killed.

Once outside, Morgana immediately took to the air. The rest of us ran for the horses and proceeded to gallop away, Rainor firing at the monster as he rode, hitting it as often as not. But Morgana cannot fly as fast as a horse can gallop, and began to fall behind. Nevertheless, she again saved the day, cursing the owlbear as it thundered past. We reined in somewhat so as not to abandon her. But this allowed the owlbear to catch up with us, and … and it caught up with Dobby and clawed her terribly, flinging her to the side. Poor Dobby! No battlehorse, she! She died almost immediately, I but managed to keep my feet falling from her.

Then the monster came for me! It swiped at me, but blessedly missed – I think solely because of my Blur spell. I cast Invisibility from a scroll, and tried to follow Morgana’s lead, using Levitation to get out of the thing’s reach, but flubbed the spell badly for fear [Rolled a 1 on the concentration check.] as the thing sniffed me out and followed the sound of my spellcasting. Rainor continued to fill the monster full of arrows from a sensible distance, and His Lordship – restored at the price of many potions and spells – rejoined the fray.

Eventually it monster went down, I believe to a final shot fired by Rainor, cursed by Morgana, covered with rents from His Lordship’s sword and skewered by a score of war arrows. I did nothing but distract it for a little while, but I am content simply to be alive.


A search of the cave uncovered a thing or two. In the shambling mound’s room, we found a wand of Lightning Bolt wielded, no doubt, by some poor fool who did not know that lightning heals such things rather than harms them. In the beast’s chamber, we uncovered a Ring of Animal Friendship. On close inspection, there was a curse on it: after a while, an animal that you befriend with its power will turn upon you in a rage.

But there are deeper mysteries. Owlbears – of any size – do not take it upon themselves to attack cities with walled castles. And those shriekers were in such a perfect place to act as sentinels that I have no doubt they were planted specifically. Come to that, trolls do not generally settle in dwarf ruins and wear armour, and we know from interrogation that the goblin army and the bard were specifically sent by an enemy of our little steading.

On second thought, no mystery at all, really. The only question is whether we face one enemy or several working independently. And who that enemy might be. And why they oppose our civilising of the Stolen Lands. Okay, so that’s three mysteries.

We returned to Fort Tuskwater with – of course – the monster’s head, and there was much rejoicing. We organised the reconstruction of the ruined buildings, and the annexation of a little more land, and then His Lordship and his privvy council (us) were called to Restov. The word is that His Lordship will be created a duke, and our lands a duchy. We shall have to rename our capital: Port Tuskwater, or Tuskwater City, perhaps.

Rainor’s vision quest calls him onwards, and Morgana, too, has had some kind of vision. For my part, Mother has written me with regard to certain family business. She prepared a scroll or two for me, I think as much as anything to remind me of what I have abandoned by choosing the path I have chosen – works of art and power that I doubt I will ever attain.

No doubt the Swordlords will lay another mission on His Lordship, and so we each go our separate ways. But I am loath to break our party – I still feel that we are fated to travel together. And I doubt that I can run mother’s little errand on my own.

I will spend a few days collecting supplies for the wands I intend to make. And tomorrow I will find out what tomorrow has in store.

Your sister-in-exile,
Seldryn.


Kingmaker

16 December, 2010

God, what a meat-grinder! The adventure as written was tough, but we are a group of very experienced players, so the DM bumped it up a notch. There was enough XP in the dungeon to get us from 6th to 7th all by itself. I burned through a lot of consumables, as did Morgan (I’m speaking as me, so Morgan is himself in this blockquote :)).

Tripping is über in pathfinder. Then again … maybe that’s accurate. Once you are down, life gets tricky. Andrew (aka Jope, His Lordship) made a full round attack with haste – trip (fail), trip (succeeed), ordinary hit. Large troll tries to stand up – aao/trip. Large troll tries to stand up again – aao/trip.

On the other hand – even while prone you can still do full round attacks with reach. So, ok, take the AC penalty and just lay about with those big arms of yours. If that troll had just ignored being on the floor, the fight might have gone differently.

I’d make a couple of rule changes:
* AAOs are an immediate action. They consume your next swift action.
* Combat Reflexes allows you to make multiple AAOs all as part of the one swift action.
* Being prone reduces your reach to half, rounded down. A prone human does not threaten adjacent squares. A prone big-ass troll does.
* While prone, you can only attack with small or natural weapons (as per being grappled). No swinging about halberds or using martial forms when prone. Unless you have the “mat fighting” feat.

Sundering, also, is über. All that work and money into a flaming halberd, and now His Lordship owns a stick. Well – two sticks.

Michael,

Before I begin, I must unsay some of my words about Larien. During an attack on our town while we were absent, he conducted himself entirely as a Verdant ought. By all accounts, he fought with ferocity and intelligence [it’s elvish – an idiomatic encomium], and won respect for himself and our house.

But more of that later.

After the fight in the guardroom, we ventured further into the complex. We decided to “blitz” (a dwarvish word for lightning) in order not to lose our short-duration magic. The next room contained an interesting sight – a troll that had been neatly bisected with a nearby axe, and which was regenerating into two new trolls. We fought it/them, and another one and it’s trollhound. But there was nothing much more in that area.

Back the way we came, a crude earthen tunnel lead down. I scouted forward and saw two more trolls in a large chamber. Big ones. I called for backup and disabled one of them with a Hypontic Pattern (I realised later that stealth was almost useless – the trolls have an excellent sense of smell). We engaged. One of us (Rainor, probably) noticed an odd troll-shaped rock in a chamber off to the left. Morgana hexed it with her “sleep” power.

The thing is – trolls take a long time to kill, even if things are going well. From beyond the large chamber we were in appeared another two big trolls, wearing some sort of chieftainly outfit. One of them had two heads. At this, our chances began to look bad. we began to stage a retreat. One of the two new trolls launched a fireball at as (from a necklace) and suddenly things were looking really grim. [Necklace of Fireballs with an 8d6 bead. Ow.]

I think by this stage one of the two original trolls was dead, and the chief cooked the other, but that troll-shaped-rock turned out to be a rock troll and followed our retreat up the corridor. Unlike regular trolls, it was mostly immune to fire. We blocked the corridor as well as we could with Grease – not much, but all we had. Luckilly, the chief and his two-headed offsider elected not to follow us.

[The rock troll and the ettin troll were thrown in by Dave to spice things up a little. If he’d thrown them at us regardless, we would have had some character fatalities.]

All we could do was have His Lordship drop the thing, then I used my Acid Splash cantrip until it stopped regenerating.

Then there was a lull – a bit of a stand-off. I think the two remaining trolls did not wish to fight in the dwarf chambers at the top of the earthen tunnel, as it was a trifle cramped for them. We healed and restored our enchantments (at the cost of several hundred worth of scrolls). We decided to press the attack, as we would only have to return and who knows what they might prepare for us when we did?

I remember little of the final fight. I sent my dancing lights down the tunnel – perhaps a foolish gesture, but I meant it as a signal that the fight was back on. The two trolls were there and we joined combat. Jope swung his fiery halberd, which the two-headed one broke. He continued on with his fists and spiked gauntlet. Rainor shot, Morgana and I used our spells (Flaming Sphere mainly). Eventually we downed one, and then the other, and then with fire and conjured acid we destroyed them.

(Tragically, however, we were not able to do so before Minion – His Lordship’s brave shield-bearer – fell in battle. Although we never spoke despite spending the last two or so years adventuring together, I almost feel like I knew him. Actually, no – he was pretty colourless. But brave. Definitely brave. And dead, now. But there you go. It’s not such a tragedy for humans, because they don’t live all that long anyway.)

We rested for a moment, and then we proceeded to thoroughly loot the entire complex. Honestly, I forget what we turned up. The point is, we have broken the hol of the trolls on the south. Without their chief, they will no longer attack in organised parties. In all likelihood, for the next few years they will mainly spend their time attacking one another, until each individual has a more usual territory.


Regrettably, this bit of storytelling didn’t happen all that well on the night. Dave was keen to deliver the cutscene before the christmas break, but it was nearly midnight and the non-nightowls among us were keen just to get out and go home to bed. It’s bad for the DM when your players bustle about while you are trying to deliver plot; but some people *cough* Andrew *cough* simply don’t function after the clock strikes 23 and that’s the way it is. Meh. Christmas.

We returned to find Fort Tuskwater in chaos! Our town (city?) had been attacked! Larien met us first and gave us the news: an owlbear, twelve foot high at the shoulder, had torn up buildings, killed dozens of townsfolk – rampaged through the town, basically. We have only had the most preliminary of reports. Our cousin was at the fore in the group of archers that pursued it to the edge of town and drove it off.

We are going to have to track it, and slay it.


Level 7! A feat, and my first level of Arcane Trickster. I have taken a Pathfinder trait that gives me +2 CL if I multiclass, so I have the spell list of a 4th-level wizard but am CL 6. No third-level spells, yet, but with a good Int and being a specialist caster, I have enough slots that I am not burning scrolls all the time.

Speaking of which – I have taken to using actual little post-it notes for my scrolls. Much easier to organise than scribbling and crossing-out in pencil.

Oh – and I also get two new spells without having to pay for them. Yay! Acid Arrow is better than Scorching Ray now that I am CL 6 – 6d6 acid over 3 rounds, plus sneak attack. Apart from that … 2nd level spells are pretty much tapped out. I could complete the suite of stat buffs (only Str, Dex, and Int).

In other news: I think I’ve managed to find my own personal way with magic. Nothing that anyone back home would approve of, I think, but I have gotten good with Mage Hand – achieving very fine control.

I intend to study Giantish – I’m pretty sure that some of the inscriptions we’ve been seeing are giantish.

I think I’ll hit the workshop when we have some time and try my hand at creating wands. Some spells I just use over and over, and a wand is far cheaper and more convenient than a stack of scrolls. A wand of Mage Armour will cost me about 325 gold – the equivalent in scrolls twice as much. A wand of Scorching Ray 2250 – that’s about 3750 in scrolls.

Morgana is keen for a wand of Scorching Ray (which she cannot cast) … but frankly I’ve seen her shoot and I don’t think it’s all that good an idea: you have to aim that particular spell. Magic missile will be more the go, but it will cost about 375, 1125, or 1875 depending on how many missiles she wants. Or there’s the New Lore: Hydraulic Push, Flame Breath.

Alternatively, I could do her a wand of Enlarge Person and free her from having to keep it memorised for His Lordship. A wand of Bull’s Strength will cost more, but Rainor gets the benefit from it too via his mighty longbow. Choices, choices.

Regardless: it all costs, and we are short of fluid funds. His Lordship feels that its time we redirected some of the public moneys into personal kit – although to be fair we are amply kitted out in most respects. He’s been putting funds into monuments to himself so as to reduce some of the unrest when we do. We’ll see how that goes down.


I think me and Mike are through

11 December, 2010

It all began like this:
Day 0: txt

Hi, it’s Mike. Could you pls do me a massive favour?

Probably

Stuck in [place] w/ no $s (long story). Got to get to [place] before [time] 4 [job]. Can you put [let’s call it $150, ok?] on my [account] asap & i repay sun nite?

I don’t know if I made it clear, but Mike runs a small business. Well – sole proprietorship really. He does roof resealing (he is not affiliated with any roofing franchise that may run charmingly regional ads on tv). It’s often a cash business, and we all get caught short occasionally. $150 is not a lot of money – the resealing job would more than cover it – so no probs.

Well. Here’s the thing.

You see, Mike does my roof occasionally. A bit of tar, some flashing, replaces a few tiles (you know, from all the hail). Definitely does a great job – no question. Charges me [let’s pretend it’s] $100, which is more than fair. Absolutely – no problems there. But over the past while, well, I’ve been making less use of Mike’s business than previously. My roof is well and truly middle aged, these days, and aside from the occasional service mostly has all the waterproofing it needs. Even the other jobs around the house – for which I have seen other tradesmen – need doing less often than when the house was new.

Other thing is this: on prior occasions, Mike has been proactive in reminding me that my roof was due. For myself, I feel that it’s my roof, and I decide when it needs a fresh layer of tar, not someone else. On those occasions I’ve wussed out and agreed … but, I think it might have been obvious that I wasn’t 100% happy about the salesmanship being directed at me, and not as proud and pleased to have a nice watertight roof. Yes, I understand that the man has a business, and I am a customer. But still. If anyone has relatives that sell Amway, you know what I mean.

So. A hundred fifty bucks. Obviously, Mike would prefer to repay me in kind. Frankly, I didn’t like the idea. While I’m happy to lend a dollar to a mate in temporary trouble, if I lend him some cash, and he pays me back by doing the roof, well – what’s the difference between that and simply paying in advance for a service which I may or may not require? Furthermore, it’s very unlikely that Mike would do the roof for the usual hundred and give me the additional fifty – it’s be awkward, you know? So not only am I (effectively) paying in advance, but there’s a 50% rate hike as well. Sure – it’d be a premium service, but my roof – I decide.

And … where does it end? “Oh mate, I need to borrow another $150, I’ll do the roof again, ok? Oh mate, you’ll never believe it, I need $500 – I will completely redo your roof, no worries. Oh mate, mate, can you spare a couple of grand? I’ll pay you back [in roofing work].” Pretty soon you’ve spent ten grand and maybe have the tightest roof in town, but it’s ten grand that you’d perhaps rather have spent on other things, simply because you were too gutless to say “Why no, Mike, I would prefer not to be your go-to guy for spare cash this month.” It’s a bit like domestic violence: you have to move out the very first time your partner strikes you, or wind up a battered wife. Boundaries, people – boundaries.

But hey – maybe I’m blowing it all out of proportion. Maybe I’m being paranoid. Maybe I’m being ridiculous.

So here’s the question: is Mike borrowing emergency cash from a mate? Or is he trying to milk a client for spare change? Which am I, to Mike? A mate, or a customer?

Well, nothing could be easier than to find out. It’s simply down to whether or not Mike paid me back like he said he would.


Sunday night came and went. And the next week or two. I did not contact Mike, nor have any work done. Turns out that the house doesn’t really need all that much maintenance, and for the little bit of occasional DIY there’s instructions on the internet.

Anyway.
Day 20: facebook

Dude, I’ll come over and do the roof this weekend! Pay you back.

Any chance of just doing it as cash?

Is there some kind of problem?

Now, to be fair to Mike I hadn’t told him or even suggested that I would not be happy having the roof done as repayment, or why.

(I’m not writing this post in sequence, so there’s a bit of “Pulp Fiction” narrative choppyness to deal with. Looking back through our correspondence, here’s where it really started to go wrong. I did not reply to the actual issue “is there some kind of problem?” for a week. Perhaps if I had, things would be different now.)

Day 20: facebook

Dude? Hello?

Day 21: facebook

[Some bullshit excuse for not replying]

Day 22: facebook

Talk to me. dude. Spill it.

Finally, I got around to being a trifle more up-front about the issues (you know, dredging up these messages has left me not looking as good as I thought it would.)

Day 28: email

Dude,
The issue is – I would like you to pay me back in cash. Yes, you’ll get it back from me in the fullness of time. But I’d like to keep the “lending you money because you were in trouble and asked for an emergency loan” separate from the “paying for services” thing. I’d also like to feel that it is not always true that if you lend money to a roofing contractor, you never see it again. At least not in your case.

Regardless of how much it goes against the grain for you to hand cash to me, that’s kinda where things stand.

You have my number, *****, we can do coffee any day.

Ok, so dredging up the tired old stereotype of the money-sucking roofing contractor was low. And looking back on it now, a bit out of left field for poor old Mike – I hadn’t mentioned a thing about it up till now.

But I was “pissed”, as the americans say. Piqued. I’d worked myself into a righteous lather. First it’s, like, “Dude, I’ll pay you back Sunday!”, I hear nothing for three weeks, and when I suggest “Umm, I’d kinda like the money, really” it’s like “Dude, you have some sort of problem?” Although in all fairness – I did, and looking back on the correspondence that’s not quite the way it happened.

To continue: I got this back. In 24-point font, by the way, although I’m sure that was inadvertent.

Day 30: email

Oh right. Roofing contractor = doesn’t repay debts. You read that in Wikipedia?

You obviously have some issue with me that you haven’t mentioned. I’ll pay you off in installments. What’s yr bank account?

Now to be fair, he was right about un-dealt-with issues simmering below the surface of our amity. Some of them not his fault at all. I had discovered recently that I will simply never get for my house the price I want, no matter how leak-free the roof. And I lent my car to a dude who – last we spoke – agreed that paying rego was fair if he’s going to borrow it for months on end; but I haven’t heard anything from him recently, either. I’m in Tuggeranong tomorrow, with luck I’ll be able to deal with it then.

Neverthless. The situation now is “I’ll pay you back $150 in installments“, when he thought nothing of texting me “Shit, bro, I need $150 within the next 2 hours, can you spot me the cash?”.

Riiiiight.

I also misinterpreted “You haven’t followed up this other gulf that lies between us” as “you haven’t chased up this loan”. So I began chasing it up. Once a fortnight.

Day 32: email

Ta, that will be fine. Bank account is *****.

t would be good if you could let me know when you make a transfer, otherwise I’ll have to scan my account regularly to find out.

Day 47: email

Hi, me again. I thought I might pester you about this again, as it’s been a couple of weeks, so here’s an email.

Day 62: email

Hi again. It’s been another fortnight. Hope your business is going great, and looking forward to the return of our little loan.

You see the – rather funny, in retrospect – warning signs: the messages getting just a little bit less civil with each passing fortnight.

Anyway, by day 77 and not a word from Mike, not a peep about this “massive favour” I had done him, I had about fucking had enough. And so I spewed:

Day 77: email

Well, once again I write to remind you about the loan of $150 that I made to your business, over six weeks ago. It’s surprising and a little alarming that your business doesn’t manage to clear 25 bucks a week. Perhaps a regular job might be the go. A little nine to five, hmm?

The alternative, I suppose, is that paying back people who help you out when you ring them and tell them that you urgently need help – as in “OMG can you spot me some cash within the hour” – is not a big priority for you. You’re a family man, of course, and so always have a ready excuse for treating people shabbily. It does, however, put a fresh perspective on those stories you have told me about all the terrible users and deadbeats around you, and how dreadful they are, and how you are the responsible and – dare I say it – honourable one. It also puts a fascinating slant on your outrage at my reply to your accusation that I have some sort of problem with you:

“Oh right. Roofing contractor = doesn’t repay debts. You read that in Wikipedia?”

Wikipedia or not, you have given me no reason to doubt it.

So rather than explaining and justifying yourself, rather than getting all outraged, rather than accusing me of having some kind of problem, how’s about you just pay back a loan of a hundred and fifty bucks? It’s amazing that I have to point this out, but: I am not the bad guy here.

Cheers dude.


And so begins the terminal stage of this regrettable saga. Because that did, finally, get a response.


Actually, I can’t be bothered to go through the whole business any further – it was weeks ago now and care-factor near zero. Mike un-friended me on facebook. I just got a txt indicating that he may be leaving town, but I’m pretty sure it was a bulk mailout to all his clients and I accidentally happen to be on the list in his phone.

Mike, obviously, is a woman. And the thing about women is: they will peg you as having some particular role in their life pretty much as soon as they meet you, and it doesn’t change (unless your name is Darcy and she later finds out that you are worth a fortune). To “Mike”, I was a source of money. An income stream. When that is the case, the money only ever goes in one direction.

I suspected, I knew, that Mike would never, never pay me back. Oh there’d be protest, there’d be argument, there’d be drama, there’d be all manner of smokescreen, but the one thing there would never be is a return of a loan of a hundred fifty bucks as a smallish wad of folding stuff handed for her to me. Nuts, right? She’d get it all back almost immediately. And if not, well – it’s no more than paying back a smallish emergency loan. Why the big deal? Why the problem?

Because for her, that act – the act of dipping her hand into her purse, pulling out some notes, and handing them to me – would be anathema. It would feel to her to be deeply, deeply almost morally wrong to do such a thing. Worse than incest.

You see: it’s not that a roofing contractor does not pay his debts. They can be excellent businesspersons. It’s that a roofing contractor never, never gives money to a client: never gives a refund, begrudges even handing over change (what, you never heard of a tip?). Money goes to the franchise owner, but never to the client. And a client is what I always was.

Oh, I’ve had a series of mails and txts, all saying “Ok, I’ll pay you back, you total bastard!”, but it isn’t going to happen. I’ve been told that I think a hundred fifty bucks is worth more than our friendship. Hilarious, I know – isn’t that exactly what Mike herself had decided? There’s none so blind as they who will not see. I have apologised for the way I have expressed myself, but Mike reckons it’s not a real apology. I suspect the only apology she is likely to accept is one involving my saying “Look, forget about the $150” – which I just will not do.

At the end of the day, despite all her protestations, she has behaved precisely as I guessed she would. She remains flabbergasted that I could take a stand about how I am being treated. I think that what galls Ms People-Person, Ms Cynical and Perceptive, Ms Self-Aware Self-Motivated business woman who though that she could maneuver me into patronising her business by pleading mateship is this: I was right about her; and she was wrong about me.

Three people in my life over the past six months or so. Mike has not done the right thing by me. Adrian has, despite us having had a personal falling-out a couple of years back. I think it’s a guy thing: I owed money to D&D (a couple I knew) years ago, and there were personal issues, a big blow-up. But I paid them back, simply because I owed them, despite my feelings. I also did not want to cheapen my (rather silly) righteous anger by using it as an excuse to keep my cash.

The remaining person has undertaken to return my car to me on the 21st. We’ll see, although I am pretty confident about that one.


Update: car was returned, no worries. I suppose it leaves Jeff in the lurch, a bit, but the man had six months to arrange something for himself, and an additional 28 days from the time I said “Dude – car. 21st.” I won’t feel bad about it.

Day 135: email

Well, I was all prepared to pay your [$150] Paul, regardless of what you may think. I had even gone to the trouble of sorting the fifties out with the windows matching in one corner. THEN… I made the mistake of reading your blog.

Well, well, well… what an eye-opener THAT was!

Instead of reinforcing all the good things about you, it simply concurred with your initially voiced true opinion of me, which you have since tried to limply deny. I don’t think I need to say anything further regarding it, or the reasons why I am NOT going to pay your [$150] now. Far be it for me to dispel one of your entrenched belief systems about women and [roofing contractors]. God forbid… I think your head might actually become unscrewed.

Sigh. More of the same. Only one thing really matters: “I am NOT going to pay your [$150] now”. Why not? Especially when she’d gone to all the trouble of lining up the bills? My feeling is that a necessary and sufficient condition for repaying someone money that you owe is that you owe them. But here we have some weird inside out justification for not doing it – no, I don’t understand the “reasons” for it. Unless I do, in fact, understand perfectly well.

No wonder she was reduced to asking for a loan from me – a mere acquaintance and client – when that’s how she treats people who do her a “massive favour”. All she ever had to do was say “Paul! Here’s your $150, ta, thank you – it really helped me out when I was in a difficult spot.” But no: denials, delays, drama, and finally “Ah ha! Now I have the excuse I was looking for!” Cross one more person off the list of people willing to do you a favour when you ring them out of the blue on a Saturday morning, Mike. That list must be getting hellish short.

On receiving her last email, I resisted the mild temptation to reply: “Yes, Mike, I know. I knew it right from the very beginning.” I have not attempted to contact her since.


Kingmaker

9 December, 2010

To whom it may concern:
Please convey this message to Michael of family Verdant, Kyonin.

Michael,

Just a quick note, as I only have a few seconds. Some people might think it’s a little unwise to sit down and write a note while we are in the middle of a troll lair, but I have never been accused of having wisdom.

As I mentioned, we are hunting down a troll infestation. At the moment, we are in some sort of defense complex built into a hillside – watchtowers, that sort of thing – which our ranger tracked the trolls back to. We have just killed four of them (and another one on the way, so that makes five) and have a moment before the rest of them come pouring through the door.

Trolls will recover from any injury except acid or fire. But we seem to have our tactics worked out: Jope and Rainor drop the trolls, and then Morgana and I destroy them with fire and acid. Although we have just downed four of them, it’s still very dangerous. Anything could yet go wrong.

I am still mainly using that Acid Splash cantrip – it’s effective and I don’t need anything more flashy. [As a player, I enjoy using low-level spells – it’s surprising how useful Levitate, or Rope Trick can be, if you use it right.].

As for everyone else, we took a couple of weeks off before this assault. We attended to kingdom business and did some crafting and shopping. His Lordship imbued Rainor’s bow with magical fire. Moraga purchased a magical campfire – useless as a weapon, but once the trolls are unconcious his lordship simply deposits them into the flames until they roast and die.

A difficulty is that the fire cannot be moved without extinguishing it, and once extinguished it takes a while before it can be used again. But I just had a brainwave: Floating Disk. It lasts ages, and (of course) I have a scroll. We’ll put the magical campfire on the floating disk (You know the spell? A force effect – quite impervious to fire) and just tow it along behind us. There’ll be no stealth, of course, but the alarm is raised, so it’s not an issue.

Enough! We are nowhere near done. Hopefully, I will be able to write more anon.

Seldryn of family Verdant of Kyonin.