Sundry information, thoughts and links to sort us out

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Derek!

Today is our nephew's third birthday. There was a big party in Toledo yesterday. Although we couldn't be there, we sent a gift -- we got Derek his very own lightsaber (the Yoda model). He likes it very much. He told us so when we talked to him today.

Happy birthday, dear nephew, we love you!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Dwarven Friend is Lawful Stupid!

Katy and Ken, about their characters stats: Unfortunately, you can't change those numbers. - Watch me!
Cathy, describing the basics of the dungeon: It's unworked stone, simple wooden doors, blah blah blah.
Katy, about where they were on the area map: Where are we now? Area 51?
Bruce, after the party discussed their alignments: Our Dwarven friend is Lawful Stupid!
Bruce and Katy, as the party entered a difficult space: The trap doors close on both ends! Poison fills the chamber! We all die! - Great! Let's have dessert!
Ken, singing about his roll: I think I missed, tra-la-la la-la.

Anaka looked over the bloody dagger she'd picked off the first Derro they encountered and realized it was a masterwork dagger. She saw Asteriskes looking over the axe he'd picked up and peeked over his shoulder. "That's a masterwork piece, too," she told him. When they'd finished sorting through the loot they'd been toting about, the adventurers discussed where to go next. They decided to explore the tunnel opposite the one the Derro had been guarding, as this would allow them to cover a portion of the complex they realized they had inadvertantly missed previously.

As they entered the long and narrow section of the cavern, they were met with the glittering of silver and a horrible odor. They immediately saw the desiccated corpse of a Duregar warrior, badly mauled, sitting propped up against the cavern wall at the end of the elongated tunnel. Next to the body was a small, shiny pile of silver coins.

Anaka rushed towards the pile of coins with Asteriskes close behind. "Don't go any closer to the body! Look up!" called Felan, stopping in his tracks with Admiral Barky beside him. Above them the party saw a spider swarm skittering about the ceiling. The spiders retreated into the darkness of the cavern's ceiling.

When they were gone, the thief resumed her pursuit of the money. The spiders did not move. Searching for traps revealed nothing, so she pocketed the 18 sp. She didn't find anything on the body although she could tell that it was wearing studded leather armor. Taking the armor, and with the spiders cowering along the ceiling, the group decided to head further up the corridor.

In this part of the cavern was a body of a humanoid creature hanging from a rope, wrapped in in tatters of bloody cloth. The body was swaying from side to side, just a few feet from the cavern floor. The frayed rope suspending it ascended from the body toward the darkness of the ceiling above, where it was securely tied to an immense stalactite. Just past the body was an entrance to a long, winding tunnel, heading northeast.

Searching for traps, Anaka realized that the body was a dummy with fragile jars of stuff in it. When she told her companions they all quickly looked around. Felan noticed the trip-wires and pulley system attached to the body. The druid counseled retreat to avoid the trap and suggested they see what was back on the far side of the room where they'd met the singing Derro.

This cavern showed signs of frequent use. Scores of footprints crisscrossed the dusty floor, going from the tunnel entrances to a pile of crates against the western wall and back again. A burning brazier in the southwest corner provided the cavern with dim light; several of the footprints led to and from it as well.

Felan looked more closely at the tracks and realized that many of them were recent. He moved a little closer into the room and looked into the alcove next to him, he saw a large boulder, but couldn't see past it to see what else might be in the room. Anaka searched the alcove and the rock started to roll towards her, but she moved quickly and tumbled out of the way. The boulder rolled into the main cavern and bumped to a stop against the column in the center of the room.

Anaka went to the next nearest alcove and looked over the crates. Picking the locks, she revealed a weapons cache. Felan eagerly grabbed the 24 short spears.

In the next alcove, none of the crates were trapped and they were all unlocked. These were supplies. Asteriskes and Anaka each took the opportunity to replenish their rations, while Felan was willing to rely on his hunting skills.

Realizing they'd reached a dead end, the party returned to the room with the hanging dummy. The thief was able to disable the trap. There was nothing else in the room. They crossed the cavern and entered the winding tunnel heading north.

Anaka scouted ahead. The narrow, winding tunnels finally opened into a wide cavern filled with a myriad of long, needle-like stalactites and stalagmites - each no more than a few inches in diameter. Fragments of the stone formations were scattered all over the cavern floor. They were extremely brittle and shattered easily. The thief returned to tell her companions what she'd seen. They devised a plan and set out to take strategic positions in the shadows, waiting to strike the guards when they came out from behind the column.

Dwarf Sentry-1 saw the adventurers, drew his crossbow, and targeted Asteriskes, hitting for 6; Admiral Barky rushed up to Dwarf Sentry-1, but missed with his bite; Asteriskes drew his longbow and targeted Dwarf Sentry-2, but missed; Anaka moved into range, and attacked Dwarf Sentry-2, hitting for 5; Dwarf Sentry-2 retreated behind the column for protection, then targeted Felan with his bow, but missed; Felan closed with Dwarf Sentry-1 and attacked, hitting for 1, although the Sentry Saved against his Touch of Golden Ice.

Dwarf Sentry-1 retreated the other way around the column, provoking attacks of opportunity from Admiral Barky, who hit for 5, and Felan, who missed, when he reached cover, Dwarf Sentry-1 shot Asteriskes, hitting for 8; Admiral Barky ran behind the column and attacked Dwarf Sentry-2, biting for 9, and taking the guard down; Asteriskes closed with Dwarf Sentry-1 and attacked, but missed; Anaka closed with Dwarf Sentry-1, hitting for 8 points and taking him out.

Asteriskes performed coups de gras on both sentries. Then the party looted the bodies.

Anaka scouted east and saw a large spacious cavern, which was empty except for a wooden door in the north and a bound and gagged humanoid figure lying by the door. She returned and told her friends what she found. They decided to go check out the room, especially since they bound figure might need aid.

They entered the room and checked the body. It moved a bit during Anaka's search. It was male Drow. Anaka removed his gag.

"Thank you so much for freeing me. I could be a great service to you. I know these caverns like the back of my hand, I could be a guide, I could really help you. I know all about the treasures hidden here. I know all about the leader of the group, Cyvorak. There's a weapon he's looking for -- it's called the Blood Conciliator -- it's hidden around here somewhere, but he doesn't know where it is. This guy, Cyvorak, is trying to drill a tunnel towards Montrill to take over the Silver Mountain region." the Drow said in all in a rush.

"Why'd they just tie you up and leave you here?" Felan asked.

"This half-Dragon is half mad. Who knows why he does anything?" the Drow replied.

Felan Sensed the Drow's Motive was to get free and that he was holding back, not telling the real reason why he was let live. "What can you tell us about this Blood Conciliator?"

"It's a longsword that belonged to the legendary Duregar warriors. The gems in the hilt are what give it its magical power," replied the captive.

"Well, he's given us some information, if we let him go he's going to betray us...aren't you?" Felan asked, leadingly.

"No! I'd never do that!" said the Drow.

The druid's Sense Motive showed that the captive was not exactly lying, but that he certainly wouldn't be above stealing their stuff while they were otherwise occupied. Anaka searched him, and found nothing on him other than his clothes. Meanwhile, Felan listened at the door in front of which the captive lay. He heard nothing. The thief re-gagged the Drow, who tried to bite her. When she attempted to knock him out by hitting him with the pommel of her dagger, he wiggled so much that she missed and whopped herself severely in the leg. Her second effort did the trick.

They opened the door and peered through. The small cave had been hewn into crude living quarters. Piles of rubble and rock filled the northwest corner, possibly covering a doorway or tunnel exiting the room. A pair of bookshelves lined the eastern wall, filled with dusty books. Four dusty bottles of wine sat on a small table. A spartan cot, looking most unused, was next to the northern wall and a wooden chest sat in the center of the room. Above the chest there was a small black area on the ceiling, sort of shiny and leathery looking, about 1 foot square.

Asteriskes shot at the spot, hitting it for 5.

Anaka threw a dagger at it and hit for 6, knocking it to the ground. When she retrieved her dagger, she performed a coup de gras. The dead creature was an Executioner's Hood. "Oh-ho! 'Hood hates nasty purple wine!'" said Asteriskes, remembering the note they'd found on one of the dead Derros they'd come across upon entering this complex.

Meanwhile, the thief headed over to check out the chest. It opened easily revealing 4 ivory scroll tubes containing various scrolls and a note. Felan was able to determine that one of the scrolls was a Jump spell. The note talked about the "mighty citadel of Cyvorak" and made reference to the Blood Conciliator, the weapon supposedly being sought by the gang of thieves inhabiting the complex, as well as talking about legendary battles and a secret vault.

Searching the bookshelves revealed 4 exceeding rare books: The Ascension of Xhitigal, Draconis Rex, The Hammer of Twilight, and The Iron Laws of C'Bogyg Cyvorak. Nobody could figure out the value of the bottles of wine. Lastly, Anaka found a false panel in the floor behind the chest. She told her friends who agreed that she should lift it out. Below the panel was a crawl space heading west.

Lead by Asteriskes, the party crawled slowly through the small tunnel. Suddenly, the Dwarf came face to face with a rat. "Hey, druid! Come talk to this rat!" Asteriskes called.

Rat attacked, but missed; Asteriskes drew his dagger and retaliated, hitting for 4.

Rat responded, but missed again; Asteriskes struck back and also missed.

Rat attacked, hitting for 3; Asteriskes hit the rat, doing 3 points.

Rat attacked, but missed; Asteriskes hit for 4, killing the rat.

The adventurers continued through and reached the far end of the crawl space, emerging into a hallway just beyond the rubble. Felan checked the area and noticed a net on the ceiling above, about 10 feet away. Anaka had to work at it, but was finally able to disarm the trap. The rest of the hallway had rubble scattered about, but not enough to impede passage.

The wide, roughly circular cavern was approximately 50 feet in diameter. Broken blocks of white marble were scattered across the cavern floor and pieces of ordinary rubble tumbled out of the mouth of tunnel whence the party had come. This had obviously once been a workshop for stone masonry. "An 'undying garden' could be a sculpture garden," said Felan, referring to another clue left in the note they'd found in the scroll cases.

Searching the room yielded nothing other than the blocks of marble. After a quick discussion, Anaka was dispatched to return and close the door next to the Drow captive, thus covering their tracks. She snuck quietly around the longer passage, rather than returning through the crawl space. When she got there, the Drow was still unconscious so she slit his throat with her dagger before closing the door and returning to her friends.

They continued north. The walls of the next cavern were lined with crude wooden bunks and iron chests. Mundane items such as pots, pans, and bedrolls were strewn carelessly about the bunks. The remnants of a large campfire still burned in the center of the room, the embers still glowing a bright orange as wisps of smoke drifted toward the cavern ceiling.

Felan did not see any signs of danger. Anaka headed straight for the chests and searched through them, finding 200sp and 2 daggers, which turned out to be masterwork items. A search of the rest of the room revealed a secret passage. Felan heard nothing so the party formed up to go on.

They came out of the passage at the top of a cliff, nearly 100 feet above a relentless cascade of dark water splashing into a gigantic pool which filled most of the cavern, flanked by towering stone cliffs. A black marble pathway led to the base of the thundering waterfall. The path cut directly across the pool and was elevated just a few feet above the water's surface.

There was a Derro on the ledge next to them, with his crossbow drawn.

Admiral Barky attacked the Derro, but missed; Asteriskes attacked and missed; Felan pulled a short spear out of his haversack and threw it at the Derro, but missed; Anaka threw a dagger, hitting for 5; Derro drew his short sword and attacked Asteriskes, but missed.

Admiral Barky attacked, but missed; Asteriskes attacked and hit for 17, taking the Derro down; a crossbow bolt flew across the pond and struck Asteriskes for 6; Felan retreated into the tunnel; Anaka searched the Derro's body.

Admiral Barky followed Felan into the tunnel; Asteriskes retreated into the tunnel; a bolt whizzed by Anaka and bounced off the cavern wall; Anaka retreated into the tunnel.

Realizing how late it was, the adventurers held a quick conference and decided to find a safe place to rest for the night. They decided that the safest room would be where they had fought the Executioner's Hood, since they could close themselves in. They were able to reach the room without meeting any adversaries, and quickly settled themselves in for the night.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What's Your Marching Order? - In Place!

So here begins the new campaign! This time, Cathy is our DM and Bruce is playing. Katy is actually NOT playing an Elf or a ranger character. Ken is NOT playing a magic user character. It's fun to change things up now and then.

Ken and Cathy, about the king: Oh, no the king is asking us to come into his parlor! - He's not a spider. - Do we know that?
Cathy, Katy, Bruce, and Ken, about the party's adversary: He's a half-dragon. - He's only got one wing. - He flies around in circles. - That's why they're always able to catch him!
Cathy and Ken, about a particular of gameplay: What's your marching order? - In place!
Cathy and Bruce, as the party reached a fork in the road: Do you want to stop here or go on? - Let us stop here ... and die!
Bruce, about the search rolls the party made: I thought I was searching the body, but actually I just tripped over it.
Cathy and Ken, about the difficult terrain: Well, I didn't let you charge. - Nope, cash only.

The party had previously come to the attention of the king and he was most pleased with them. So it wasn't too surprising when King Reginald sent a summons to the threesome asking them to come to Montrill where he was picking up his annual addition to the Crown Jewels. The newest royal scepter - masterwork of platinum studded with peridots and diamonds - had been stolen. The suspect was a well-known jewel thief named Robie, a Half-Dragon who lived in the mountains north of Montrill. He tended to stash stolen goods in caves and come back for them later. He never wandered far from Montrill and was a master of disguise as well as the use of poison. He was spotted near a cave three days from Montrill; it was not known whether he had followers or accomplices.

The king's messenger handed the adventurers each a small purse containing 30,000gp for supplies. His majesty's letter promised additional payment when the scepter was returned. It closed with, "Don't delay, but make every effort to arrive here unharmed." His task completed, the royal messenger bowed to the group, remounted his horse, and rode away.

The adventurers knew that the road they would have to travel was plagued by a large band of highwaymen. These renegades attacked travelers going between the capitol city of Nodnol and Woodside, whence the party would embark. However, there was also a caravan which traveled the same route the group must take. It followed a routine, continuous circuit from Nodnol to Montrill and back again, stopping at each city along the way. Anyone was welcome to book passage with the caravan (free, including board) as long as they also served as guards. Thus the caravan was very safe. It was also currently in Woodside.

So, Asteriskes Brassclanger the Dwarven fighter, Anaka Smythe the Human thief, and Felan Darragh the Human druid headed up the street to get supplies. When they were satisfied with their purchases they went to meet up with the caravan leader to book passage to Montrill. They were welcomed by the caravan leader who told them to return at dawn the next day when they would get on the road to Westhaven. It was an easy day's ride and they arrived safely, making camp just outside the fortress-town's walls. The caravan spent 6 days encamped. It was rather like a summer faire, with booths of wares and performers at every turn. Anaka spent an afternoon fulfilling her familial obligations by visiting her parents.

Eventually, its business concluded, the caravan got on the road to Montrill. Ten days of travel, with all the group members taking their turns on guard duty, passed uneventfully. They had barely arrived in town when a servant of the king sought them out. "Come with me to the mayor's house. His Majesty intends to meet you there."

When they reached the mayor's house, the messenger showed them in to chambers which had been prepared for them. "These rooms are reserved for you, please make yourself comfortable. His Honor the Mayor is expecting you and deems you his guests. Dinner is at 7, the mayor will join you then." With that, King Reginald's servant left and shortly thereafter a household servant knocked an entered to inform the adventurers that the bathhouse was at their disposal. They were also encouraged to exchange their traveling clothes for the dinner dress outfits set out for them. The party readily took advantage of the opportunity to clean up after long days on the road, and were also happy to know that the mayor's laundress would willingly wash their clothes.

At 7pm they were escorted to the dining hall where a sumptuous feast was laid. King Reginald rose from his seat at the head of the table to welcome the adventurers. Anaka curtsied while Felan and Asteriskes bowed. The king waved such formalities aside and beckoned the group to their seats, where he greeted them warmly. After a delightful meal accompanied by casual conversation, King Reginald got down to business.

"We have learned that the thief, Robie, is really named Itharnos Cyvorak. It also happens that he has a group of fanatical followers. Under his leadership, they hope to gain control of the Silver Mountains and its riches," the king said. "We don't believe that he, and they, can do this, but he could be a nuisance and could possibly disrupt our mining operations. We can give you directions to his last known location. We want to nip this in the bud."

When the party nodded, King Reginald went on to say that he would send a guide to them in the morning to lead them to a good starting point in their search.

After an uneventful and relaxing night, the party woke, breakfasted, and were greeted by the king's servant who lead them towards the mines. As they left town, they saw King Reginald himself riding off in the other direction on an early-morning hunt. The rest of their ride was easy and they reached the base of the mine area just about noon. They paused to eat. After their quick meal, the royal servant gave them directions to the last-known siting of the thief Robie, then headed back to town.

The group made some progress before making camp for the night. Felan took the first watch. It passed uneventfully. As did both Asteriskes' and Anaka's. Morning arrived and the adventurers broke their fast. Then they continued along the path, encountering nothing, until nightfall. Establishing camp once again. Felan used his Survival skills and caught enough "food" to make a meal for the whole group.

The next morning they again set out, paying close attention to their surroundings as they knew they were near the cave the king had mentioned. Asteriskes was in the lead, followed by Felan, and Anaka. Just as the Dwarf noticed the ground shaking, but before he could mention a possible earthquake to the others, a tremor shook the entire path. The adventurers lost their footing and fell as the ground beneath them collapsed, sending them tumbling into an underground cave.

When the deafening noise subsided and the dust cleared, they saw that they were in a rather desperate situation. Unending piles of gigantic boulders walled off both the path ahead of and behind them, effectively trapping them in an underground tomb. With few options left, they began to dig. After hours of excavation, however, they managed to uncover the entrance to a small, narrow tunnel. A faint, flickering light shone somewhere at the tunnel's end. The party carefully picked their way towards the light.

Eventually, they reached the source of the glow - a still-burning torch, lying at the feet of a dead, dwarf-like creature, partially covered by rubble. The creature had a thick, black, tangled beard and wore studded leather armor. He had apparently died horribly just prior to the cave-in, judging from the many bloody wounds on his chest and face. He still held his blood-stained axe. Approximately 20 feet away from this corpse was another one. Like its companion, this dwarf-like being apparently died in battle just before the cave-in. He also still clutched his weapon - a bloody dagger.

The Dwarf recognized the bodies as Derros -- insane, distant relatives of Dwarves. They were degenerate creatures of the underground, created from Dwarf and Human stock by some nameless deity of darkness and madness. Incredibly cruel and mercilessly insane, Derros enjoyed taking slaves and torturing surface-dwellers to death. It was probably good for the group that these two were already dead. The cavern itself was massive. Roughly circular in shape, it measured approximately 90 feet in diameter with a 20 foot wide column of stone rising from floor to ceiling in the center. There were two tunnels, besides the one which had collapsed on the party, exiting the room. Other than the dagger and the axe the Derros were holding, the adventurers did not find anything of interest in their search of the area. They took the weapons and then threw the bodies into the collapsed walkway through which they themselves had entered the room. As they were moving the bodies, a note fell out of one of the corpses' pockets.

"Don't forget! Gortug sez - hood hate nasty purple wine! Makes hood drinkz purple wine if hood gets mad. Otherwise derro turn purple too!! And DIE!! SO!!! DON'T FORGET!!!"

Looking for "purple wine," Anaka searched that corpse more closely and found 6gp in a pocket. She searched the other one, but found nothing. Felan checked that corpse, too, and found 6 more gp. They searched the room more closely and found nothing but rubble.

Felan headed to the nearest path out of the room and listened, but heard nothing. He went to the next one and listened, still hearing nothing. At the last branch, he also heard nothing. After a brief discussion, the party decided to continue on, looking for a safer place to camp. They chose the first tunnel, which branched off due west, primarily from a decision to follow the left-hand wall.

Thousands of razor-sharp stalactites hung from the ceiling of the immense cavern, which was at least 60 feet wide and 80 feet long. As they entered the room, they heard the sound of boots scraping against the stone and saw a Dwarven warrior staring angrily at them. He was clad in rusted, worn chainmail armor. He lifted his warhammer above his head and, with a sharp cry, charged the party.

Anaka entered the room and closed with the adversary, she threw her dagger, but missed; Admiral Barky, Felan's animal companion, rushed into the room and barked loudly; Asteriskes drew his longbow and shot, but missed; Dwarf Sentry closed with Anaka, missing his attack; Felan closed with Dwarf Sentry and attacked, but missed.

Anaka struck Dwarf Sentry, hitting for 4; Admiral Barky flanked Dwarf Sentry, but missed; Asteriskes closed and attacked, hitting for 20 points, knocking the Dwarf Sentry down, and subsequently covering him in frost; Felan performed the coup de gras with a bare-handed twist of the Dwarf Sentry's neck.

After looting the body, they proceeded to search the cavern. They came across a smaller cavern, in which they found an unlocked chest. Anaka checked it for traps and found none, so they opened it. Realizing it was late, and weary from their travails, the group decided to settle in for the night, sheltering in the closet-like cave. They dragged the sentry's body into the cave to cover their tracks, and then set up camp. As they hid the body in the cave, Asteriskes mentioned that the sentry was a Duregar. When they were ready, Felan took the first watch, followed by Asteriskes, and Anaka. The night passed uneventfully.

In the morning they headed out into the main cave and continued following the left wall. They were now heading north.

As they entered this part of the caverns, they immediately saw a large, shallow pool of water, roughly 20 feet wide and 40 feet long. Although the water appeared clear and cool, the ground immediately surround the pool was muddy and smelled awful. Toward the south, they saw what appeared to be a small, natural alcove - which was filled with bones and refuse.

Felan deduced that the mud was comprised of bat and scorpion droppings, which accounted for the smell. Anaka searched the room, but found nothing. She looked at the pile of bones, but couldn't figure out what they were about, so Felan came to search them. Two small, monstrous Scorpions, disturbed by the Druid's poking, came out of the pile of bones which was their lair.

Asteriskes attacked a Scorpion, hitting and taking it out; Anaka moved 5 feet, and threw her dagger, striking the other Scorpion and killing it. After retrieving her dagger, she searched the area, but found nothing.

Looking about the room again, and thinking about the portion of the complex they'd explored so far, the party decided to forego following the left wall and take the path which lead them more into the center. This would allow them to see what they may have missed, simply by skirting by it before. After a bit of walking they ended up in.

This V-shaped section of the cavern was covered with many short, sharp stalagmites -- which glinted with flecks of silver and gold, making the room look like a sweeping field of stone and sparkling metals. At the northwest end of the chamber was a dour-looking Dwarf, dressed in a gray cloak and chainmail armor. He had a crossbow at the ready as he stood by one of the tunnels which exited the room.

Asteriskes drew his bow, but missed; Anaka moved 30' into the room and threw her dagger, hitting for 6; Dwarf Sentry targeted Felan, but missed; Felan moved 30' into the room, drew his sling, and attacked, but missed; Admiral Barky moved up next to Felan.

Asteriskes moved 20' into the room and shot, but missed; Anaka moved 30' further and threw another dagger, but missed; Dwarf Sentry targeted Felan, hitting for 2; Felan advanced another 30' feet and again swung his sling, scoring a critical hit for 6 and taking him down.

With combat over, Anaka went to the sentry and slit his throat. She fumbled through his clothes, but didn't find anything. Felan and Asteriskes both came over and searched the corpse and found quite a bit of stuff. Next they turned their attention to the flecks in the stalagmites and stalactites. The Dwarf's keen knowledge of such things told him it was only pyrite. Looking over the rest of the room yielded nothing.

Retracing their steps a bit, the group headed into what they estimated to be the center of the complex. This part of the cavern had several dirty straw mattresses lying near the eastern cavern wall. They were dangerously close to the dying embers of a campfire. A wooden chest, reinforced with steel bands, sat atop a small pile of rubble to the north.

Anaka headed straight for the chest. It was not trapped, it was locked, however, so she picked the lock. Inside were 50 bolts, 2 short swords, a bullseye lantern, some flasks of oil, parchment, and quills -- in short, a supply chest for whoever camped here. Next Anaka turned her attention to the rubble on which the chest sat, she found a trap therein and went to work on it immediately. While at work on it, she discovered that it would be set off by lifting the chest off the pile. She continued to work at it until she was able to disarm it. As she worked, Felan and Asteriskes searched the area around the campfire, but found nothing.

They left the room and continued north. The tunnel lead them to a vast, open cavern which stretched well over 60 feet long and 100 feet wide. They heard the odd sound of singing. "Hey, ho, don't you know, please don't eat the yellow...." Standing near a tunnel entrance in the northern portion of the cavern was an extremely short Dwarf with a long, tangled beard. He twirled his gleaming short sword , deftly, in one hand. In between spins, he admired his reflection in the shiny blade. He had a crossbow strapped to his back. "Well, hello, my lovelies! Come for a spot of tea? ... Or blood?!" Cackled the Derro, spotting the adventurers.

The Derro whipped his crossbow over his shoulder and fired upon the party, targeting Asteriskes, but missing.

Anaka moved up and threw a dagger, but missed; Felan closed and punched the Derro, but missed; Admiral Barky flanked and attacked, biting for 8; Asteriskes moved into melee range; Derro drew his scimitar and attacked Felan, but missed.

Anaka closed and attacked, but missed; Felan punched the Derro, hitting critically for 12 and knocking him down.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

D&D Back-Tracking

Our friend Ana has been posting the story of her group's gaming runs. It is such a fascinating -- and well told! -- adventure that I didn't even realize it was a gaming run until she mentioned it in a different post on her blog. That was also when I realized that I needed to get caught up on posting the adventures of our group...especially since we're about to start a new campaign! So, for those regular readers who follow our escapades, look for stuff labeled D and D or search back through the older posts because I am going to back-date the adventures to the dates we actually played. After I go read what Ana's group has been up to, that is!

UPDATE (as of September 19): I have posted the last four runs of the Adventures of Fnord, Hagbarde, Maeve, and Friends. They can be read here, here, here, and here. Our new campaign (with new characters!) hits the road tomorrow.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Meeting An Idol

As anyone who knows me, reads this blog, or maybe even has just met me in the street knows -- Styx is my all-time favorite band. For those one or two people who might have missed it, I have been a fan since I was 13 years old and first saw them on the newly-launched (at that time) MTV. I immediately went out and spent my allowance and baby-sitting money to buy their albums and continued my pursuit over the years until I owned them all. I have the entire original run on vinyl as well as CD and am still collecting, having acquired the new releases, too. My favorite song is "Come Sail Away," preferably the live version, my favorite album is Cornerstone, and I could go on to tell which song is my favorite on which album, but that's not really the point.

The point is that my station ran the concert The Music of Styx - Live with Symphony Orchestra this past Monday night...and Dennis DeYoung (lead singer, founding member) was live in our studio pledging with our staff! Can you imagine what a moment this was for me?! For 27 years they have been my favorite band, I still listen to their music, I have a Styx-specific playlist in iTunes and a Styx channel on Pandora; I still love the stuff, the songs have held up really well and are still just awesome jams.

So, even though I work the day shift, I stuck around late on Monday -- wearing my Return to the Paradise Theatre 1996 tour t-shirt -- just to meet Dennis DeYoung. Shannon, my anchorwoman, who is about my age, was just as excited as I was; we talked about what a big deal this concert is for folks of our generation. When Dennis had arrived, had make-up, and was settled in the green room to prep for the night, Shannon pulled me in and introduced me. Dennis in turn introduced me to his wife, Suzanne, who was here with him. They are both incredibly nice, down-home, fun people.

Amazingly, I managed to speak coherently, too! I told Dennis how I have been a fan for 27 years and counting, and thanked him for all that his music has meant to me. He noted my tour t-shirt, and I said that I had also seen him in Dayton in 2002. He remembered that show right away -- the second half got rained out -- and I got to share how that is one of my favorite memories, being among the several hundred folks who stuck it out through the storm and stood under blankets in the pouring rain singing "Come Sail Away" at the top of our lungs (miss you, Al and Tom!) before they decided they had to cancel the rest of the show. Shortly after that, prep for the live studio segments began in earnest so I had to get out of the way, but my friends on the crew insisted that I stick around a little longer.

After the first live studio segment was finished, one of my coworkers and I headed down to the studio and I was able to get my picture taken with Dennis and Suzanne. Dennis also noticed that I had brought in one of my albums (Pieces of Eight, pressed on gold vinyl no less -- thanks, Patrick!) and asked me if I'd like him to sign it. I said I would love that and handed him the Sharpie off my ID lanyard (don't all directors carry Sharpies?). I also took the opportunity to show him that the album was on gold vinyl. He joked that it had "yellowed over the years" and I replied that I keep it in the basement (of course, I don't really!). Anyway, he signed my album and I thanked him again for everything. Then I went home and watched the last half of the concert on TV. It was awesome and so was he -- definitely a wonderful moment in my life, one I will remember for a long, long time.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Toy No Food

A couple of weeks ago we took in Star Wars: The Clone Wars -- of course we did, you can't keep us away from a Star Wars film! It's not bad, as long as you realize that it's a kids' movie, and a cartoon at that. Only three of the original voice talents perform in this movie which is set in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The plot is very basic, and the acting is just okay, but it was fun overall.

Afterward, we headed to McDonald's because there's a cross-promotion going on and we wanted to get in on it. The clerk told us they wouldn't have any of the Happy Meal toys until the next day. So, we ended up having double cheeseburgers several times that weekend -- you don't have to buy Happy Meals to get the toys, you just have to buy them. We've got 4 of the toys -- three pull-back racers and the talking Vader. The title of this post is what was printed on our receipt, sounds sort of like a Star Wars Fortune cookie, doesn't it?

Monday, September 1, 2008


As regular readers are already aware, I am bilingual, speaking both English and French. My mother, a language teacher, began speaking French with me earlier than I can even remember and we have been speaking it together ever since. I lived and studied in France for six months during my junior term overseas. I have not kept up my French as much as I would like, but you will still catch me speaking it -- in fact, there are some things I say more automatically in French than in English! Such as:

Quelle heure est? -- What time is it?
Qu'est-ce que c'est? -- What is that?
Qu'est-ce qui ce passe? -- What's happening?
Quel jour! -- What a day!
On y va! -- Off we go! (or, often when I am in heavy traffic: let's GO!)