Coming along

30 November, 2013

Durak is coming along nicely. I hero-labbed him up to level 10, just to see. I’ll be taking Great Cleave and the improved surprise-cleave thingy. Enlarged and with a Bull’s Strength Durak will make a DM sad, which is the whole idea. He’ll take the remove fatigue mercy, which will take care of the main problem that a stalwart defender has. Next level he gets a small celestial earth elemental as a companion, and that dude will earn his living as a scout. A scout that can earth glide through solid stone. A sleepless sentry with tremorsense. With the runelord’s fondness for underground complexes, it could break some of the modules.

Sadly, although a paldin’s mount levels up as a druid’s companion, as I read the rules the stonelord “Stone Servant” class feature replaces the paladin “Divine Bond” and therefore the elemental does not get the additional fun that a druid’s animal companion gets. But there’s always bling. I wonder if an earth elemental can wear dwarven stone armour? Or if we could have it use Ioun Stones by swallowing them.

Andrew wrapped up Burnt Offerings and commenced on the Skinsaw Murders last night. There was a sanatorium.

It was interesting to see how a party of PCs can simply roll over regular humans without class levels. We ignored the mooks, taking the AAOs, and chased the bad guy and confronted the bigger bad guy basically without breaking sweat. Helped by the fact that we did not waste time on the mooks and did not give the main BG time to buff/summon. A necromancer without at least a few undead meatshields is in a bad situation.

Bevis is running a swashbuckler, which relies on panache points that you get from kill stealing. Need to be more careful to weaken dudes without killing them so Bevis can power up. Interestingly, Durak using cleave synergises well. By its mechanic, it spreads damage over foes rather than taking out one at a time. The swashbuckler’s combat reflexes and high dex were brutal against the human mooks.

Playing a paladin of any sort is always rife with moral dilemmas. I’m simplifying things by taking the attitude that given that a paladin’s Detect Evil detects supernatural evil, not simply evil alignment, Durak can without hesitation whack someone who detects. This necromancer is not simply a bad guy, he is someone who has opened a gateway to supernatural nastiness. It would be morally wrong to let him live, aka: for evil to thrive, all that needs happen is for good men to do nothing. His apprentice does not radiate badness – he’s redeemable. But the necromancer has made his choices, and he is going to die for it.

I need to re-think Durak’s role-playing flaw. The ‘afraid of water’ doesn’t cut it. Perhaps his black-and-white view of the world is his flaw.

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The Last Dark

6 November, 2013

Finished Stephen Donaldson’s ‘The Last Dark’. The first Tomas Covenant was out 30 years ago, so it’s been a while to wait.

Didn’t like the ending.

I’m so dissapointment. I didn’t like the ending.

The resolution to the She Who Must Not Be Named plot thread was white-bread american individualism. I would like to have seen it more integrated into the fundamental theme of the whole series, which is Love. She ought to have recognised that the Creator didn’t turn his back on her – she left him (at the connivance of the ever-oily Lord Foul) and shoofed back into eternity to bump divine uglies with her long-lost true love and birth more worlds. Instead we got a “I am woman! Don’t need me nobody but me!” and off she went – a declaration as close to despite (in the sense that the word is used in the book) as you could wish.

As for Lord Foul himself, the solution was that TC had to accept and integrate his dark side – a solution startlingly identical to that at the end of the Ultima series of computer games.

What I would like to have seen is Jerimiah build a prison for him and Tomas and Linden throw the bastard into it. As Kasyeyn pointed out: with the White Gold it is possible to build a construct that is perfect. More than that, insofar as the earth was built as a prison for LF, TC is his warden. His jailor. And finally, the talisman of the Wild Magic (“that destroys peace”) is a pair of wedding rings – symbolising love, and being eternally bound by it.

It all fits beautifully: LF wearing the White Gold (like he always wanted) as manacles, thrown into an oubliette forever.

Instead we got “You just got to learn to love and accept yourself”.

Feh.

Sorry Stephen. I have looked forward to that book for years, and I feel let down. I mean, I bet you’re copping all kinds of shit over it, and I’m just one in a million. Maybe even literally. Be that as it may: didn’t like it.