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Trip's Life (Recent episodes)

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2015-02-19:  "Things" by Jeremy
2015-02-14:  "Kiss" by Avalon
2015-02-11:  "combat against individual pigeons" by marith
2015-02-06:  "Karen Memory" by Trip
2015-02-06:  "Karen Memory" by marithlizard

20 February 2015 - Friday

[ . . . ]

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19 February 2015 - Thursday

My, tumblr really is full of things.

Things by Jeremy (Sat Feb 28 18:30:47 2015)

Sure 'nuff!

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18 February 2015 - Wednesday

I don't think this week's game went as well as last week's, even though there was combat. Specifically, I don't think I handled the Secret Joint Emperor-High Druid Project right. Even though no one official told them anything, they should have been able to grill the workers, or have someone from one side or the other contact them to try to defect/smuggle out a message/sell mysterious artifacts. Bah!

I should have made the hellhole more terrifying too, even though it was really more of a hell-pimple. Double bah!

Twelve paws!

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17 February 2015 - Tuesday

Magical Burst is more or less Puella Magi Madoka Magica the RPG (a superset, really). Magical Fury is sort of a light version of that, in both rules and tone, although it is definitely still possible for magical girls and/or their world to be doomed. Just not as completely doomed as Madoka.

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16 February 2015 - Monday

The Ninth World Guidebook is a pile of new setting stuff for Numenera, along the same lines as what's in the core book but about surrounding (or otherwise adjacent) regions. Weird sites, weird NPCs, weird monsters, weird artifacts.

Tales from the Strange vol 1 (Bruce R Cordell, Monte Cook, Shanna Germain) is just that, a few short stories in the setting of The Strange. They are not overwhelmingly outstanding, but one makes it a little more clear what that Spark percentage in the recursion writeups means.

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15 February 2015 - Sunday

No gaming today, only lethargy

I finished Maoyu, which sadly does not have a great ending, but was good up until that point. I feel sorry for the princess of the fire dragon people, but I'm sure things will work out.

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14 February 2015 - Saturday

I finally read all five volumes of Paradise Kiss (Yazawa Ai), since we have failed to watch all the anime. The ending was not really surprising after what we have watched, though. Also it seems very 90s shoujo, because well.

But we are watching anime!

  • Martian Successor Nadesico 1-2: I hadn't remembered how they leap right into the wackiness, but they do.
  • Tiger & Bunny 21: A traditional tactic for that kind of supervillain, but very effective.
  • Okamikakushi 1-2: Look, an isolated town with a dreadful secret! But it does not appear to be a Higurashi imitation, as some feared.
  • Chihayafuru 20: Train! Train like the wind!

Kiss by Avalon (Thu Feb 26 17:57:28 2015)

I have never seen that but I have some idea about paradise kissing... =)

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13 February 2015 - Friday

Hey, cool, it's Friday!

Broken Mirrors and Broken Lords (AF Dery) are fantasy romance, although a little odd. The male lead is an extremely ugly mutant and has a [SPOILER] in the basement, the female lead has the magic(?) power of taking other people's pain but there is no overt BDSM element (or any overt sexy bits, really), there is a random talking pig. Drama and political intrigue ensue.

Twelve paws!

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12 February 2015 - Thursday

Two Necromancers, a Bureaucrat, and an Elf (LG Estrella) is pretty much what it says on the tin. The elf is a homicidal maniac, one of the necromancers is ten, and the bureaucrat is a high-level wizard, but what did you expect?

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11 February 2015 - Wednesday

Apparently I still suck at making D&D adventures, because the only combat tonight was against individual pigeons. ("Pigeon-Tackler", a deed-name for the ages.) They did manage to get to the point of being ready to ambush the ambushers, at least.

In Stranded on Haven (William Zellmann), a random schmoe who is the only survivor of a sabotaged starship is stranded at a low-tech-level colony and tries to improve things without either being mugged for his starship or taking over the planet. He is awfully competent for a random schmoe, but he does do sensible things, like accept that an entire planet of really smart people are going to be trying to swipe his starship and he probably can't outwit all of them, so he must plan accordingly. There are many hot babes.

Sunbolt (Intisar Khanani) is not super-original fantasy, but it's at least (mostly) non-European fantasy, and has a Masked Avenger.

combat against individual pigeons by marith (Mon Feb 23 21:32:52 2015)

You realize that a Hatoful Boyfriend combat system is just waiting for you to invent it, don't you.

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10 February 2015 - Tuesday

The Burn Zone and Fallout (James K Decker) are pretty much cyberpunk in China, plus helpful friendly shipwrecked aliens that an unfortunate window-washer finds out are more alien than they appear. Maybe even more alien than that.

The Skyscrape is a third-party Numenera adventure/site for exploration. It is okay, and there is some weirdness, but the technological remains of the flying city are a little too comprehensible for proper Numenera, I feel.

Hot Lead, Cold Iron (Ari Marmell) is a PI vs gangsters in the depths of Prohibition-era Chicago, except this PI is an exile from the Seelie Court. He seems limited to mind and luck magic (IE, completely deniable) but the villains are not so limited. Life is hard when you're a PI in gangtown.

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9 February 2015 - Monday

Yucky yucky Monday.

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8 February 2015 - Sunday

I think we disappointed Earl by not trying to mug the... perfected True Neutral hag creature? for her magic item of knowledge, but she was too scary. It seemed pretty clear she could drop us into the lake under her Icy Labyrinth of Doom and pop the ice back over us, and at second level we can neither survive drowning and freezing nor teleport through solid ice. She did give up a few clues about Damson's discovery of a way to connect people with their "other selves", but mostly we were too scared to bargain for information. I think I probably played that wrong.

When the bandit leader showed up to retrieve his stolen cloth, we defeated him and his giant fire-resistant puppet El Monstro (where by "we" I mean "the members of the party who hit and do more than minimum damage") and were able to swap his head for a little more information about the Remembered Tomb.

Next time, the dungeon crawl for sure! And then we'll be able to use our 3rd-level powers to get the Ioun Disco Ball of Knowledge.

Hurray, Avalon!

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7 February 2015 - Saturday

Reduced anime because we were so slow getting started. But we think the lost art of conversation went that way!

  • Chihayafuru 18-19: Crushed! Like a bug!
  • Tiger & Bunny 20: Insidious villainy is the best kind!
  • Legend of Korra season II 11-12: Virtue triumphs again! And surely blowing up the spirit prison won't have any repercussions.

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6 February 2015 - Friday

Karen Memory (Elizabeth Bear) is steampunk Wild West, without dwelling on the technology. It's not like it's unusual to the protagonist that the "sewing machine" in the back room is a powered exoskeleton. (I say "protagonist" because there are quite a few characters who qualify as heroines, and a couple more who count as heroes.) The protagonist is a prostitute, but there is not really anything prurient in the book; certainly not the romance subplot. However, villainy is thwarted, and smooches are had.

Karen Memory by marithlizard (Thu Feb 19 09:38:34 2015)

Oh I read the excerpt of that along with its Big Idea column, but forgot to mention it to you. But you read it anyways!

(It seems well-written and entertaining and I like the protagonist's voice, but then I got a bit depressed thinking about how much I want killer robots with flamethrowers.)

Karen Memory by Trip (Mon Feb 23 11:19:45 2015)

It did not actually make me want flamethrowers. Single-target attacks would have sufficed. 8)

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5 February 2015 - Thursday

Prophecy (Ellen Oh) is set in fantasy-faux-Korea, with a heroine whose demon-slaying powers make her way too butch for her society. Unfortunately it also has an Ancient Prophecy, which has pretty much been done, even the variations like "maybe it's not talking about who you think".

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4 February 2015 - Wednesday

Finally we made our daring escape from Ken's horrible living dungeon (which was not that bad as living dungeons go), which involved fighting through a mosh pit of undead while the corridor collapsed behind them and then running back through all the traps they montaged through on the way down. Surely the spider-minotaur that came out with them will not return as an enemy in future episodes.

Since we did not use all our plot tokens to control the Seething Sphere of Ancient Energy, it turned out that some of the stuff we brought out was magic items! In addition to the amulet that lets her pretend nothing happened if she makes a surprise attack and misses, Anwe now has a belt that lets her fit into any normal social situation. It's almost like she has things that would be useful for a professional spy.

Graveyard Sparrow (Kayla Bashe) has a plot, something about Victorian psychometry and medical ethics and serial killers, but it is not well-written enough to have any point except the girl-smooches.

In Hero Years... I'm Dead (Michael A Stackpole) is prose superheroics, or maybe just heroics, since a lot of the costumed crusaders are well-trained normals. The protagonist is back in town after being away for twenty years, and finds that almost nothing has improved. (Apparently this is where Revenant, from PS238, comes from.)

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3 February 2015 - Tuesday

Tales from the Nightside (Simon R Green) is exactly what it says on the tin. Aside from sometimes being from other PoVs, Nightside short stories are very much like Nightside novels, only shorter.

Dark Intelligence (Neal Asher) follows on pretty directly from The Technician, but with more of the terrifying AI Penny Royal and its transcendant maneuverings. Also, horrifying transformations, memory alteration, and disgusting bug monsters.

Numerous paws!

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2 February 2015 - Monday

Blah, work. At least I am not being flogged daily like Avalon (or flogging myself daily like Marith).

I like Jonathan L Howard's "Johannes Cabal" books quite a bit, but Katya's World and Katya's War were only okay. Perhaps he is just better suited to comic fantasy than to serious YA space adventure, even with submarine pirates.

February Thaw (Tanya Huff) is a collection of short pieces, none of which really stood out much to me.

Warship (Joshua Dalzelle) starts with a disgraced captain being given the oldest, crappiest ship in the fleet, which also happens to be the only one with anything resembling weapons because in the Dark Future of Warship, There is Only Peace™. Then aliens attack and it all goes downhill from there. I don't think the author really grasps space combat velocities and energies, though.

Earl recommended Poor Man's Fight (Elliott Kay) as being okay, and indeed, it was okay military SF of the "young human with no prospects joins the Space Navy and becomes a hero" type. With space pirates! (In fact, a lot of the book is from the PoV of a somewhat similar young human who becomes a space pirate, so we can appreciate the democratic villainy.) The protagonist is pretty badass, but I think that's meant to show how poor the pirates are at anything except terrorizing hapless civilians.

hey now by marith (Thu Feb 12 14:30:00 2015)

You make me sound like Judge Turpin, or as though I'm in a rather different sort of profession :)

Your Xmas present just arrived! Muhahaha!

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1 February 2015 - Sunday

Today I did pretty much nothing at all.

In The Severed Streets (Paul Cornell), the coppers from London Falling discover many more things in the course of thwarting evil magic, include what can only be described as an Appalling Secret.

Any time two people get shanked in London, there has to be a Jack the Ripper tie-in, but it was reasonably well-done this time. Also, Neil Gaiman stars as a secondary character, which is just weird.

Twelve paws!

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31 January 2015 - Saturday

There was no way small children could make the trip, so Ayse had to stay home with them and I went with Ken to his favorite grandfather's memorial service in Santa Barbara for moral support (against the parts of his family he would rather be attending a funeral for).

Santa Barbara is farther away than expected, so we had to make a quick In-N-Out stop in the Greater Pismo Beach Metropolitan Area instead of getting a real lunch, but we did make it to the service on time, and Ken was able to mostly only interact with his non-horrible relatives.

Trying to meet up with Ken's old friend for dinner fell through, so we just took off. On the way back, we stopped at a honkytonk shack in the woods for tri-tip sandwiches. (Yes, today is the day of eating cow meat, but letting Ken pick the food is fine today. (Actually, it rarely turns out poorly.)) Some drunk chick cat-called us, but I'm pretty sure she was looking at Ken.

Having skipped a sit-down dinner, we made it home at a reasonable hour. That was a lot of sitting in a car, but I think it did help Ken to not explode.

Trips and Trips by Ken (Wed Feb 11 14:58:12 2015)

It was very helpful, thank you. And I will point out, as I did then, that she spoke in the plural.

Re: Trips and Trips by Trip (Thu Feb 12 11:27:37 2015)

But only one of us has hair!

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30 January 2015 - Friday

And now, Avalon again! Three times in one week! Hurray! But mostly there was a lot of worrying, because tomorrow I have to do the thing. At least I have clothes to do the thing in.

I vaguely knew that Delia Marshall Turner books other than Nameless Magery existed, but I had never seen one until Powell's yielded up the The Ways of Magic omnibus, which contains not only Nameless Magery but the next book, Of Swords and Spells. It's not a sequel, exactly, but OSaS meets the very end of NM about ¾ of the way through. We get to see the society which sent the Enforcers to annoy the heroine of the first book, and their Sufficiently Advanced Magic, through another peculiar heroine with more strange power than people expect and limited tolerance for parochial customs.

London Falling (Paul Cornell) is sort of in the same genre as the "Rivers of London" books, except that that instead of the London coppers going, "Cool, magic teach me more!" they go "Crap, magic, please don't eat me!". Some of this is because they are starting from scratch both technically and organizationally, but some of it is because magic is a lot less neutral than in "Rivers of London" and may actually be intrinsically malevolent.

You look especially by Avalon (Tue Feb 10 18:37:00 2015)

great in those clothes. Although I hope there are not many occasions to wear them. =)

Re: You look especially by Trip (Thu Feb 12 11:30:46 2015)

Well, a plain black shirt and/or slacks are useful in many situations. Just not summertime in California!

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29 January 2015 - Thursday

But today, no Avalon.

The Dirty Streets of Heaven, Happy Hour in Hell, and Sleeping Late on Judgement Day (Tad Williams) are celestial noir. The protagonist is more of a lawyer angel than a PI, but an incorrigibly nosy one, so he gets beat up chasing mysteries that his superiors tell him to leave alone, that his enemies tell him to leave alone, that even his friends tell him to leave alone. At the end, perhaps he knows more than when he started, but maybe not. In any case, the dame is trouble.

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlepig is a heartwarming Christmas novella about the same protagonist, with some of the heartwarming replaced by Nazis.

A Plain-Dealing Villain is the fourth book in Craig Schaefer's series about a criminal magician in Las Vegas (or from Las Vegas, since this is the road trip episode). It does have the obligatory cut scene in which we learn that the plot thwarted over the course of the last three books is just a side project of the villains'. Besides Chicago, this episode has theft, betrayal, necromancy, demons, mind control, and a heist.

Winter's Reach is also by Craig Schaefer, but is more tradional secondary-world fantasy, in something like the Italian city-states, complete with papal succession fights. Magic seems to be based entirely on blood sacrifice, which might be why people hate and fear it.

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