Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 March 2002 - Sunday

I swear, I just looked at the tome, and then it was two hours later and I had shadowy fragments of unwholesome knowledge seething in the bottom of my mind!

After this incident of mythos-related time slippage, I had to scurry quickly to get my grocery shopping done before heading over to the garden (well, backyard) party for Chrisberday (observed). Chrisber was picked on, yummy food bits and tea bits were consumed, the weather was admired, and a replica of the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica was presented. Overall, casualties were light.

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30 March 2002 - Saturday

Every time I tried to go to sleep, the NOC called to tell me that Babelfish sucks. Since I already knew this, I couldn't really do anything except automate what they were doing to nurse it along, but that took up enough time that I became a very lazy parasite this morning. I did, however, get up and become functional in time to go see FotR with Marith. We saw the Two Towers trailer! There were many orcs! And Wormtongue and many of the characters I don't remember at all and Eowyn and some other chick who might be Arwen but we're not sure! And an ent! And if any of this is a spoiler, sheesh!

Then we lay around my parasitelair reading until we felt hungry enough to go to Chef Chu's and eat pot stickers and Mandarin beef sticks and Hong Kong style crispy panfried noodles and sautéed prawns with snow peas! Yummy! I think the staff thought I had a date, instead of my sister, but oh well. I guess that means the blazing neon sign flashing "LOSER ... LOSER ... LOSER"1 on my forehead doesn't show up well under indoor lighting.

1: Admire my restraint in not using an actual <blink> tag.

My fortune cookie says:

You will have gold pieces by the bushel.

I must save it for AQoJ!

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29 March 2002 - Friday

Yesterday I said I was sleepy, but really I was just bored and lethargic.

Today, I am sleepy.

Also bored and lethargic, but mostly sleepy.

* * *

But at least I have written a bit of AotBS!

Make a comment!

28 March 2002 - Thursday

Sleepy parasite.

Accomplishments today:

  • Picked seven of the 100? comics I'm currently subscribed to unsubscribe to.
  • Bonded with my group (squad?) over pretty good Mexican food
  • That work thing (in moderation)
  • Walked very quickly to Whisman Station anime and then very quickly back home again

Nazca's timeslot has been taken over by Those Who Hunt Elves, a series which really makes no sense whatsoever. But it has a tank!

tanks! by kitlings (Fri Mar 29 20:56:33 2002)

Tanks are good! o.o

Kitlings in tanks by Trip (Sat Mar 30 23:11:09 2002)


in tanks! by kitlings (Mon Apr 1 11:58:24 2002)


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27 March 2002 - Wednesday

My shoulder still hurts. Unfair! Hopefully TBG and comics will distract me.

But Flit is a bigger freak than I am! See! See!

* * *

Cool, I managed to avoid a meeting by doing real work. And as expected, very little information was conveyed in the meeting (according to later reports).

* * *

My shoulder hurts a little less. And I have blithered some more.

* * *

Yay, comics! Lots of comics!

* * *

Boo, oncall! Lots of oncall!

I had to bother my boss, and tried but failed to bother another cow orker, but finally I learned the Very Simple Trick to make it all okay, and went back to bed.

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26 March 2002 - Tuesday

My shoulder hurts. I think I slept on it wrong or something, but it is getting more hurty as the day goes on, not less. This makes me very sad.

* * *

Useless parasite.

owie! by keeeeet (Wed Mar 27 09:43:37 2002)

Trips shouldn't hurt themselves! I say so!

Re: owie! by Trip (Wed Mar 27 09:46:34 2002)

I certainly didn't mean to!

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25 March 2002 - Monday

I think the reaction between the allegedly mouth-acid-neutralizing mint and the acid from Diet Dr Pepper produced lye or something. Ow.

But I have reached a solution to the problem of AotBS lumps! Check out the Age of the Black Sun blog! Now I can just put pointers here when I make new entries there.

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24 March 2002 - Sunday

Still some lethargy, but I made it to 11:00 brunch without begging a ride, which is about an eight-hour improvement over yesterday. Go me.

In Sovereign Powers, my character got to investigate strange events related to one of his special effects, but then made a grievous tactical mistake in attempting to close the trap on the villains who object to red hair-like sensillae growing on trees, people, or really just about anything, and got kidnapped for "decontamination". Hopefully his friends will rescue him before he gets skinned alive or worse.

Then I watched more Outlaw Star. I am saddened that the catgirl is not becoming any cooler. Sniff.

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23 March 2002 - Saturday

You thought I was lethargic and useless last weekend? Hah! Today I didn't get up until 17:00! Admittedly, two late nights in a row meant I could use some extra sleep, but this seems just slightly excessive. :(

* * *

Today's dilemma: what to do with the big chunks of Age of the Black Sun text that plop themselves into the middle of my daily entries. The problem I perceive is that since I put them in at the point in the day when I think of them, they may obscure later parts of the entry. It would be very sad if the AotBS lump kept people from reading about the Parasiteday party last night!

I could leave things as they are because no one is ever put off by the AotBS stuff, or always move the AotBS stuff to the end of the entry, or implement something like the LJ-cut feature, or just put all the AotBS stuff on a different page or set of pages and put in regular links, or explode into millions of parasitefragments. Or something else entirely.

* * *

Oh oh oh! That is the other thing I must write! Marith has been printed in the latest Strangers in Paradise! It's the last letter, the one signed "Dennis" (because she opened with "Dear Mr Moore"; don't look at me, I don't understand either). Yay Marith!

* * *

TV watched tonight: 2 episodes of Angel, 1 of Buffy. No spoilers, but wow, extra doom!

journals by gconnor (Sun Mar 24 15:14:16 2002)

You might consider adding new material at the top of the day instead of at the bottom, since the most recent day is on top, but the day itself currently runs from top to bottom. But rearranging the day would only make sense if you have time stamps, like Faerie does or LJ does. This helps if readers check in mid-day and then come back later and might not see easily where the "new" material is.

I like reading the aotbs material, it's cool. Something like the cut feature would help in cases where readers want to hear some things and not others, but I'm the type to click on the details links all the time anyway.

AoTBS by Carl (Sun Mar 24 20:53:55 2002)

An advantage to putting all the AotBS material on its on page and linking to it is that then its all conveniently located together. It matters not to me where you put it, since I'll read it anywhere. I will read it in a box. I will read it with a fox. I will read it here, or there, I will read it anywhere! Supply your own additional verses, as required.

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22 March 2002 - Friday

As might be expected, given last night's entry, I am quite sleepy. Maybe Blake will be knocked out early in the first fight or something.

* * *


Character creation is still hard, so I'll leave it on the table and instead make up a city!

Scattered across the region are a number of "ward circles", circular walls of hard charcoal-grey stone, of unknown antiquity. Ward circles come in four1 sizes: a full league in diameter, 1/3 league (1000 yards), 1/9 league, and 1/27 league. The wall is 1/10 the circle's radius in height, 1/10 that thick, and not perfectly vertical, but slightly bowed outward at the midpoint: a slice from the equator of a sphere, rather than a simple cylinder. In the exact center of the circle is a "ward engine", a construction of the same stone in a complex shape like a three-dimensional glyph a yard or two in each direction.

1: One three-league circle is known, but it is broken or incomplete, uninhabited, and probably haunted.

What distinguishes a ward circle from any of the other bits of ancient cyclopean architecture littering Gea is the invisible barrier that blocks passage across the surface of the sphere defined by the outer face of the wall. Only someone with an implanted key can get through or take other people or objects through.

The largest ward circles almost always appear in isolation, and the smaller ones in pairs or trios at most, except for one grouping of three one-league circles and four 1/3-league ones and a few smaller ones, in which some enterprising Geans have built a city.

Living in a city based on ward circles makes keys rather important to the residents. The pertinent facts about keys are:

  • Each key is specific to a circle, and no one can have more than two
  • Getting a key requires access to the ward engine and a living person already keyed to that circle
  • Someone with a key can, given time, let an unlimited number of people into or out of the circle

For obvious reasons, only persons of high standing or good repute are legitimately given keys to even one circle apiece, and stringent precautions are taken to prevent keys being obtained without official approval. This works every bit as well as one would expect.

It may be possible to break through the barrier or forge a key, but no one has admitted to or displayed such knowledge.

The three large circles contain rows of troughs filled with water and alchemical elixirs, in which grow five sorts of plants edible in almost every part and found nowhere else. Since the elixirs are not nearly as healthy for Geans as for plants, the farms are worked by convicts and slaves. Although cultivated at much less than their maximum yield, the three agricultural circles feed their nine thousand farmers and the fifty thousand citizens in the residential circles, and produce plenty of food for export as well.

Of the four 1/3-league residential circles, one contains two 1/9-leage circles, which are the citadels of the nobility and the civil service, and another seven 1/27-league circles, which are the temples of the major faiths/philosophies. Most of the temples are whitewashed or painted domes supported by the sphere of the wards, but the citadels have everything safely inside the wards.

The five 1/27-league circles scattered around the line of three and the clump of four are used as barracks/armories/forts.

The other ward circles, scattered as they are over the tall-grassed prairies, are used as forts, fortified villages, caravansaries, and the like. Most roads go from one ward circle to another, so that travellers can spend as many nights as possible safe from the gruagachs and other hazards of the wild. Because these safe refuges are available, patrols of the countryside are not as vigorous as they could be, which makes the refuges even more important, and so on. Travellers should consider themselves warned.


* * *

More Neon Genesis Evangelion today! Still in stuff I've seen, alas.

* * *


Yay! Two prophets have agreed to help me uncurse my artifact, and the one that doesn't like me and doesn't answer his mail is unnecessary because I got enough favor from an adventure! Yay me!


* * *

More Parasiteday loot! Adam got me Life's Devices, an improving book on biology! I can enlarge my brain!

* * *

Eeep! No Knights of Atlantis for me!

Instead, there was a surprise Parasiteday party! With hugs and edamame and mushrooms and sea bugs and SURPRISE SMUG FRIENDS! And sugar-free cake and parasite-decorated TBG-joke cake and hugs and more loot!

I got a new hat, which is brown and has a small feather in the band, from Chrisber and Christy! And an architectural drawing of a building in Rome from Rebecca! And a Psychic Octopus and a Disco Moose from Angie! And a photo album of the adventures my stuffed animals had while visting with Ayse's stuffed animals (about which I shall have to write more later) from Ayse and Marith and Christy! And we watched the Unfortunate Fish Video and the Tomato Zombie Video from Ayse's collection of Chinese Top 20 tapes, and The Curse of Fatal Death, which stars Rowan Atkinson, some other guy, yet another guy, Hugh Grant, and Joanna Lumley as Doctors 10-14. Need I say more?

After much searching for the lost art of conversation, I finally crept home, beneath the brilliant flashes of cloud-to-cloud lightning or alien bombardment or something, and discovered that the problem with my new hat is that its stylishly dished brim accumulates rain. Well, serves me right for not taking an umbrella!

But hurray for Christy and Chrisber and Marith and Ayse and Jim and Angie and Rebecca and Harold and Al and Dave! I have the best friends ever!

Doctor Who? by tamago (Sat Mar 23 23:14:13 2002)

"...Rowan Atkinson, some other guy, yet another guy, Hugh Grant, and Joanna Lumley as Doctors 10-14."

For those of you playing along at home, "some other guy" was Richard E. Grant and "yet another guy" was Jim Broadbent. Trip also forgot to mention Jonathan Pryce as The Master. Bloody brilliant, that was. grin

Just a parasite! by Trip (Sun Mar 24 18:38:31 2002)

I told you I had already digested my own brain! Anyway, remembering the names of four out of six actors is much better than I usually do.

But yes, the Master was great! Even in the actor interviews in the "Making of" segment!

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21 March 2002 - Thursday

It's Parasiteday! Give me your brains!

* * *

Now that we have stopped using the obnoxious beta version of the JDK, frontend software releases are no longer a hell of manually restarting jillions of machines. Yay!

Also, my brain has been enlarged by a one-hour presentation on how queries work and how we attempt to determine how pages should be ranked. It's pretty cool, but I can't tell you. Neener neener.

* * *

The problem with Whisman Station Anime is that it runs 'til almost 23, and then there is almost an hour of walking home, which together are almost entirely unlike going to bed at 22:00.

On the other hand, there was anime! We finished Nazca which sadly continued to feel like six episodes of plot and characterization stretched to fill twelve. I continue to enjoy Martian Successor Nadesico despite Chris Siebenmann's bad reviews, and Sorcerer Hunters and Bubblegum Crisis are still very much what they are.

Next week, Those Who Hunt Elves!

brains by tamago (Thu Mar 21 10:46:28 2002)

Sure. Here you go. Wasn't using it anyway.

Re: brains by Trip (Thu Mar 21 10:53:43 2002)

Thanks! I've never gotten anything quite like it before!

parasiteday! by mony (Thu Mar 21 14:58:03 2002)

Happy Parasiteday!

You can have my brain, too! by Liralen (Thu Mar 21 17:55:53 2002)

It's just pretty stuffed with fatigue poisons at the moment, and my stupid review thingy got stretched another week, so it would be a fine favor to me if you did take it and eat it up, yum!

Happy Tripday!! Happy Tripday!

Parasiteday! by Silkie (Thu Mar 21 18:28:41 2002)

Happy Parasiteday! And many happy returns!

Day by gconnor (Thu Mar 21 21:10:10 2002)

Yes, Happy Day!

Happy Parasiteday! by Lynx (Thu Mar 21 21:52:52 2002)

Here, have some of my co-workers' brains, I'm sure they're not using them! ('gryn)

Thanks! by Trip (Fri Mar 22 08:41:55 2002)

Yum, brains! But Liralen doesn't have to give me her brain, because she gave me the first DVD of Escaflowne! Which arrived right on my birthday, because Liralen is Just That Cool!

Hoorah!! by Liralen (Fri Mar 22 12:24:49 2002)

Yay! I'm Just That Cooool!

Such cool luck. I'm glad it arrived!! Hoorah! Trip! Hoorah!

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20 March 2002 - Wednesday

Now I have to go to an all-hands pep rally, and when I get back, TooMUSH will be down! Sniff! But at least this will not impact my TBG turn.

* * *


Tribune again, because I'm younger than my opposition. I need to figure out how to make his taking credit for the president being nice to newbies less appealing.

Maintain, maintain! Adventure, adventure! Hope desperately that Lady Black, who could eat me like a tiny, nutritious bug, has no motivation to do so. Make faces at people who can't read.


* * *


That magic requires vitae has interesting implications for the D&D vertebra that is magic items. To wit, you can't make a magic item that works on its own, and to function for anyone who doesn't have Vitae Control, it has to be able to actively suck vitae (which probably makes it more expensive). Magical creatures are fine, though.

Hm. Well, if a magic item also stores vitae, instead of just drawing it at need, presumably a friend with a healing spell or some other vitae-redistribution power could fill it up. In typical use, this would cause it to run dry just as you got to the bottom of trouble and were looking for a way out.

Since Gea is a living entity, in theory I suppose you should be able to get vitae from her to heal people or power magic items or whatever, but in practice, no one is able to do it. The indications are that Gea isn't very happy with her sapient inhabitants, given how unfriendly wilderness areas are. (Not that this stops some of them from abetting or joining in expanding those wilderness areas, of course.)

Returning to the question of exotic species available as PCs, this gives us an answer right off (they didn't break the sun, so they don't get the full effect of wilderness regions). A subtler effect is this: Certainly, in the Age of the White Sun, whenever two species competed for a resource, they didn't stop until one had eliminated all competitors (whether by driving them to extinction or merely displacing them), and over the long Ages, these conflicts had plenty of time to run to completion. In the later Ages, that vitality has waned, and such conflicts are likely to stalemate, or waver inconclusively. Eventually, one side will win by default, being the last to succumb to extinction through other causes, but in the stable environment of the Age of the Red Sun, that could be an extremely long wait.

Therefore, it is perfectly plausible for exotic sophonts to exist along side the standard Gean races. Now I just have to er make them up.

And, of course, figure out how to modify current spell-casting classes to work with the new system.

And invent thousands of new feats dealing with vitae.


* * *

Yum! Fish in a vat!

Gea as the ultimate hive mind by gconnor (Thu Mar 21 21:09:12 2002)

You wrote:
Since Gea is a living entity, in theory I suppose you should be able to get vitae from her to heal people or power magic items or whatever, but in practice, no one is able to do it. The indications are that Gea isn't very happy with her sapient inhabitants, given how unfriendly wilderness areas are.

I'm assuming Gea is the name of the biosphere here. One way to approach it might be if Gea is alive, not in the way an organism is alive, but in the way a colony or hive is alive. This might explain why you can't draw vitae from Her, either its center is not close enough, or not close by, or too diffuse, like trying to scoop a fog into your bowl. But, you can target nearby living things, maybe, and maybe harming a creature harms Gea in a small way, like a mosquito to an elephant only more so.

There might be special magicks that allow non-localized life force to be used, tapping every living thing in a very small incremental way. But this would only be with the approval of the hive mind. Who knows, maybe the Lamps work this way? But if normal humans try to prick Gea, She probably doesn't bleed for them, not without a really good reason She can perceive. They should pick on someone their own size.

Anyway, perhaps this is useful blather, or perhaps if the idea doesn't fit your world I can recycle it for one of mine. :-)

Re: Gea by Trip (Fri Mar 22 08:40:45 2002)

Yah, this is along the lines I was thinking, although that shouldn't stop you from using the ideas yourself!

I think the physical structure of the planet is alive and part of Gea too, but responds only on long time scales; it's her bones, if you will. So possibly drawing vitae from that is like trying to scoop well solid stone into your bowl: if you wait long enough for it to weather to pebbles and sand, okay, but on a human timescale, not so useful.

Gea is both a single entity and a composite one, and probably other things that humans can't (can no longer?) understand. The phrase I'm using is "The mind of a world has room for many thoughts'> :) So yah, it's very difficult to interact with Gea directly; you can interact with individual living things or small colonies pretty easily, but the extent to which they're Gea as opposed to just themselves (not that those are opposed concepts, really) is pretty small.

Something that gets downplayed a lot in modern conceptions of the world-being is that humans really are part of/children of it. This might be more comforting if nature had even the slightest trace of sentiment. :)

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19 March 2002 - Tuesday

Finally, Angie's Evangelion DVDs, reclaimed from CZR, have been returned to her, so she can lend them to us for work-anime. Except now Ken's DVDs have been delivered, so Angie is superfluous. But er she has very blue hair! And a vinyl top!

* * *


Okay, back to magic.

The basis of magic is "life force," which needs a better name. In game terms, it's Vitality (and Wound Points) but that sounds kind of cheesy. "Life force" or "life energy" is too long, "chi" might carry the wrong connotations... enh, we'll just call it vitae for now, and make faces at the Brits who confuse it with a résumé.

There are a lot of things you can use vitae for. Obviously, you use it (and use it up) not getting clobbered, or at least not going down, when people beat on you. This is pretty autonomic; the rules for Vitality damage already cover it.

You can also use up vitae to exceed your normal limits. Usually, this takes a Wis roll, but lets you boost your Str or movement by some amount (+2 or +4 Str, +5' or +10' move?) in exchange for vitae.

If you are extra cool, you can take the feat Vitae Control, which lets you spend vitae to boost your stats at will. It also lets you make a save (or make a better save?) when something tries to suck vitae out of you. You don't have to make the save if it's for a good cause, of course; we'll get to that in a moment. Other feats (which have Vitae Control as a prerequisite) will let you use vitae to do special cool things like toughen your skin or stop breathing for extended periods of time.

Spell-casting also requires vitae, either large amounts to produce the magical effect or relatively smaller amounts to tap another source of energy. This suggests mages should be extra-buff, but that idea properly belongs to the AotBS/Feng Shui crossover (almost certainly not forthcoming). Instead, mages store some of the vitae their bodies produce in talismans and fetishes (or in some cases, in their own bones). Black magicians can sacrifice people to get large amounts of power at once, but we'll assume you don't do things like that.

If you run out of stored vitae for spells, you can use your innate energy; if you run out of that too, you can spend Wound Points as vitae, but you won't enjoy it.

Since magic is powered by vitae, it can't create vitae, or the world would explode in a positive feedback loop. Healing spells can only move vitae from one living thing to another (remember what we said about good causes?) or from a living thing to itself, in the case of using the patient's own vitae to repair physical damage (at the rate of 5 vitae per Wound Point healed), and even then not with perfect efficiency.

More later.


* * *

Finished watching the Vampire Princess Miyu OAVs, which are still much creepier than the TV series. Creepier art, somewhat creepier protagonist, creepier minion/love-interest (in the TV series, Larva takes off his mask! And talks! Sheesh!). The fourth and last OAV does exposit extensively on Miyu's origin story, which is pretty creepy; I wonder if the TV series will do something similar, and if so, how much they'll change.

Vampire Princess Miyu by Flit (Wed Mar 20 10:54:42 2002)

Drool drool drool drool. Wanna see this.

Re: Vampire Princess Miyu by Trip (Wed Mar 20 13:36:03 2002)

Well, having watched the OAV tapes, I can lend them out. :) Ditto the TV series DVDs, except I only have the first three, and at least six are planned (and probably more if it's a full season or multiple seasons).

But now you live far far away, and I bet Moose is big enough to swallow a videotape whole anyway!

Make a comment!

18 March 2002 - Monday

Whee, Monday. Can I go back to sleep now?

* * *

Apparently not. Oh well. Angie gave me a Seafood Watch card, which I can carry with me to figure out which seafood should not be purchased (until I put it all on my external brain, anyway), and Gretchen said nice things about Age of the Black Sun, so it's an okay Monday morning.

* * *


There seems to be a block of voters who alternate voting for Majestik Moose and not, so we alternate being Tribune. I guess I will just have to ignore the vote and continue with the great work. Pblt.

Boring turn, sitting at a nowhere star to repair and maintain and do an adventure, but that's still better than a turn that's exciting in the bad way.


* * *

Well, if Gretchen (who is pretty picky) likes AotBS, I guess I should keep working on it!

Character design is still fermenting (although I got some useful idea-reflection from Carl on the 3e channel) so I will continue to leave in the compost heap in the back. Today's digression: the Gean sky!

The most significant object in the sky is of course the nearest Lamp (or Lamps, in regions of overlap). Lamps remain fixed in the sky, atop their 200-league pillars, shedding a yellow-white glow over the domain below. During the day, this light is bright enough to nourish plants and warm the land over most of the domain (and brighter still at the very center); at night, it still allows reasonable vision for most Geans. Even at night, though, the point-source of a Lamp is too bright to look at directly; during the day, it can cause permanent eye damage remarkably quickly.

All the Lamps on Gea follow the same cycle of day and night, which averages 12 hours of each but varies from 14 day/10 night to 10 day/14 night and back over the course of 360 days. This cycle no longer corresponds to the astronomical motions of the cosmos, but few people know this and fewer care.

The Black Sun actually appears as a faint purple blotch in the day sky, or an orb the color of hot iron in the night sky, except when some flicker of energy heats part of it orange-hot, or cracks it open to reveal the yellow glare of the inside, or an eruption flares briefly blue-white. Its cycle is no longer synchronized with that of the lamps; it traverses the heavens 15 times in 16 Lamp-days.

The Moon (sometimes called Seelen) shines only by that fraction of the Lamps' light that Gea reflects upward, making it completely invisible during the day and smaller and dimmer (but otherwise similar) at night, its complex topography visible only as a faint mottling. Seelen is the world of the dead, where souls go to be purified and whence come ghosts and other undead energies.

Also visible by Gea-light are a few small objects, little more than points of light, which seem to circle the world in a few days; an exact determination is difficult because they fade in and out of view. Similar wandering stars precede and trail the moon by a sixth of its circuit, more steady but with less detail.

The seven other worlds of the cosmos are also visible in the sky, at least intermittently.

Eremis, the innermost world, can be seen as a faint red spark near the sun, when it is not transiting or occulted by the solar disk, and occasionally glows brighter when a solar eruption passes beneath it. Eremis is the lucky star for travellers, merchants, and thieves -- if there's a difference.

Pherodye, the planet of lovers, rakes, and fops, shines with a green-tinged white light, brighter than the moon or any other planet.

Firey red-orange Rees is second only to Pherodye. It governs war and murder, but also courage and fortitude.

Great Ezue, planet of kings and generals, often glows with a blue light, bright or dim, but sometimes vanishes entirely, changing its luminosity two or three times an hour.

The keenest eyes can resolve the white dot of Patichon into an enlongated shape with a narrow waist, not unlike an hourglass, which is undoubtedly why it is the planet associated with time and age.

Ranisue's faint violet light illuminates scholars and intellectuals, and those who preserve the knowledge of ages past.

The outermost planet, Oseiron, only becomes visible at certain points along its multi-century orbit, but then, and for some months or years thereafter, it flickers with many colors, brightening and dimming according to no known pattern.

Beyond all the planets lie the numberless stars, each the sun of its own cosmos.

* * *

Perhaps Millbrae was more useful today than last fortnight. Perhaps not. Time will tell.

I did, however, get the Seafood Watch card into my external brain, so now I can emit it at people who have a) external brains and b) a taste for seafood.

Make a comment!

17 March 2002 - Sunday

Less sluggish a-nest lying today, although not a lot less. Grocery shopping, Chef Chu's for dinner, more grocery shopping, admiring GregC's helpful comments on Japanese language.

And, finally unwrapping and watching my tapes of the Vampire Princess Miyu OAVs, which someone (Tara? Rebecca? Geni?) gave me for my birthday like five years ago. Indeed, the art is higher quality, or at least more detailed, but the biggest difference is that the OAVs are a lot creepier. And Miyu is so much less sympathetic! I think it's the faintly insane giggling while she explains that she couldn't care less what happens to humans, and Himiko should just go home and pretend none of this ever happened, before Miyu has to eat her.

Okay, and the catfight over the really cute teenage boy was pretty disturbing too. I'll just be over here, inside this magic circle.

Vampire Princess Miyu by mony (Mon Mar 18 22:42:23 2002)

They were from Geni and I :)

Re: Vampire Princess Miyu by Trip (Tue Mar 19 09:51:20 2002)

That's what I thought, but I couldn't remember for sure, and Rebecca thought she might have been in on it, but of course her memory is not what it was before the ritual torture, so confusion abounded. Yay tiggiegifts!

Perhaps tonight I will watch the other tape, and go "Eeeee!" some more.

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16 March 2002 - Saturday

Amber High School today! And er that's about it, because I lay sluggishly a-nest until the last plausible moment before going over to Dave's, and then lay sluggishly a-floor until going back to my nest. But we did finally get to Xocolotl, and Marith's character did explode (and had to be tackled by twenty Jaguar Knights), and then we had sushi, and then I finished watching what I have of the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series. Want more!

Oh, and laundry. Do I know how to spend a Saturday evening or what?

Make a comment!

15 March 2002 - Friday

Happy Ambarday!

* * *

After languishing on hold for 295729352 minutes, I finally got through to someone at the post office who promised to have me helped. I hope they do not fail me a second time.

* * *

No Evangelion for us! Since Angie promised to fetch us DVDs, but failed, I think she should have to stand in front of the projector making shadow animals for an hour, but this seems unlikely to be approved.

* * *


Woot! I managed to pry a fighter of my tech level off the fish before it exploded! And I have been reinstated as Tribune of the People since my main opponent lost five votes. And I have gotten endorsements from the powerful and fearsome, so perhaps I will continue to keep the position! And perhaps the stupid annoying person who hates me for speaking out against piracy against newbies will be eaten by the heavily armed newbies, and then life will be good!


* * *

The USPS did not fail me twice! And, indeed, my mail included a sturdy cardboard box, much tougher than any leverage I could possibly exert with a little mailbox key (and, since it wasn't visibly dented, it was probably right up under the lock bar, so I wasn't even gouging it with a corner). Yay! Now I have a DVD of Oh My Goddess!!

Also, it is a weekend!

* * *

Okay, more stuff about Age of the Black Sun characters!

If it wasn't obvious, all Geans have their highest-leveled class as their favored class, like book humans.

Which leads, of course, to the question of classes! Since, of the eleven D&D base classes, seven are spell-casters of some type and another has supernatural if not explicitly magical abilities, this leads directly to the question of magic.


Even though this is explicitly a fantasy game, and even though book D&D magic is swiped directly from Vance's Dying Earth books, it still doesn't seem right for AotBS. I'm not sure what does seem right, though. Perhaps more item-based magic? But elves should probably be able to cast spells outright as well as make magic items. I think. Um!

Okay, semi-digression: I think AotBS will use Vitality and Wound Points, like Star Wars d20, rather than D&D's hit points. The special effect for Vitality is that it's life energy, "chi" if you like (though I hope to avoid falling into wuxia wackiness). Well, okay, so is WP, but Vitality is chi above and beyond what you need to just keep your heart pumping and your brain ticking over. Which sounds like exactly what a magician should be using to power spells, doesn't it? (Okay, or at least using to reach the sources of power that can actually fuel flaming death spheres.) So Vitality is both Champions Stun and CoC POW.

Told you it was only a semi-digression!

So, instead of having random numbers of spells per day, magicians can do as much as they like until they run out of Vitality (or longer, if they don't mind taking WP). Balance issues abound, of course, especially since there are now two parameters: Vitality cost of spells, and Vitality recovery rate. But that's okay. Or something.

Having to cough up your own personal life force to work magic does say something about the tone, but not everything. I still like the idea of heavily item-based magic, so perhaps items can hold Vitality for specific spells, or amplify Vitality provided by the user.

Oops, I haven't even considered divine magic! Well, sun priests are obviously SOL (er, so to speak), but Gea and mortal endeavors (war, love, trade, theft, art) are still going strong. Hm. Gea (and presumably the other worlds) are living entities, so a divine magician could get Gea to do things without using much if any of his own Vitality, but mortal endeavors are trickier. Possibly everyone who engages in such an endeavor contributes some Vitality to a nonlocalized pool (held by Gea, maybe?) which clerics can draw on, so the more popular the activity is, the more power clerics can get.

Okay, I obviously don't have enough thought here yet. More later.

Make a comment!

14 March 2002 - Thursday

In one week I will be 040! (Or 0x20 for those of you who prefer hex, but that's not nearly as dramatic.) For those who would like to offer pre-emptive bribes to escape my senile maunderings, my Amazon wishlist is a good place to start (and will probably continue to be updated as I think of more things I would accept). Also, a new hat would be good, as my current one is getting quite elderly, but I don't have anything to cover my cranium while getting it rejuvenated.

More demands later, after I take hostages.

* * *

Hm, I will be at anime on the night of my birthday, and at Knights of Atlantis (take three) the night after. I wonder if this will matter at all.

* * *

Grr! When I got home and tried to get my mail, the lock would only turn a couple of degrees! I suspect that the carrier jammed something into the box so skillfully that it completely jams the lock (which just has an exposed bar on the inside). Last time this happened, only a corner of the package was in the way and I was able to eventually mangle it enough to get the box open. But apparently the carrier has refined his technique. Grr!

* * *

No more Haunted Junction for us! The anti- faction has triumphed! But in its place we get Martian Sucessor Nadesico, which is pretty entertaining. I like the ditzy captain, who was picked because she aced all the military science simulations she ever took, being actually competent, and not in the accidental way that female anime characters often are.

Raymond (our host) gave White Day choco to another man's fiancee! Shock! Scandal!

* * *

Kit wrote! Two new chapters of her novel! Now I feel bad for only writing lame things. I should write more Transmundane or Heaven Help Hiaku! or, really, anything that is actually challenging.

But, unless I am mishearing, 'hiaku' is Japanese for 'hurry', which seems like it should have some sort of implication for HHH!. Maybe Hiaku will just be fast. :)

KoA by tamago (Fri Mar 15 10:02:41 2002)

Well, at least I will be able to see you at KoA. Rehearsals mean I won't see you on your actual birthday. Bummer. :(

Cranium size by Trip (Fri Mar 15 14:18:50 2002)

My current hat is marked M, but is somewhat too large for me. However, the S I tried on was slightly too small. I have no idea what this translates to in numeric hat sizes. There was one pretty cool hat, though, that had a slighty elastic, tapered inside band, so it fit a wide range of sizes. (Well, the technical design was cool, but the style was not so stylin', which is why I have the hat I do.)

Cranium Size by Tamago (Fri Mar 15 18:25:19 2002)

Take a measuring tape. Wrap it around your head where you would like your hatband to rest. Measure that. Tell us how many inches and/or centimeters it is. This will help. Do you need a tape measure?

hiaku, hayaku by gconnor (Sat Mar 16 03:03:08 2002)

The online dictionary doesn't list 'hiaku' as a word (hee-ah-ku). Here are some close ones though: hi-aku (hee-ah-ku) prefix "hi-" (not) + aku (evil) = not evil "hi" means "not" and is a prefix like UN- in English (def) "aku" has lots of homonyms, evil, bad luck, bad influence, plague, ill feeling (def) hiyaku (hee-yah-ku) leaping/jumping (def) such as ronri-no-hiyaku logical leap hiyaku (hee-yah-ku) secret medicine/specific remedy (def)

The word you're probably hearing is "hayaku" (hah-yah-ku) which typically means fast or hurry...

We now return you to your regularly scheduled journal... /gconnor

Hiaku by Trip (Sun Mar 17 16:12:34 2002)

Okay, I was mishearing. I blame it on my American upbringing. "What do you mean there are more than two vowels?" :)

But "Hi-aku", for any or all of the meanings you give for "aku", seems like a fine name for a monk!

Luuucky! :)

Re: Cranium size by Trip (Sun Mar 17 16:13:28 2002)

Chrisber measured my cranium and came up with, I think, 22".

Make a comment!

13 March 2002 - Wednesday

Time for Even More Age of the Black Sun blithering! This time, as promised, peoples of Gea. (No extra level of indentation, since this is rules spoo, not description.)

Starting with the base D&D PC races, even if they seem unworthy of association with my genius, it seems pretty clear that the ancient peoples who broke the sun and conquered other worlds and all were elves (although probably more on the Tolkein/Celtic model of tall, beautiful, nigh-immortal, and possessed of almost enough magical power to justify their arrogance). The original stock is extinct by now, but humans (in game terms, half-elves, half-orcs, and maybe orcs) are their degenerate descendents.

After this many aeons, though, having only three (or four, if orcs are viable PCs) descendant races is certainly justifiable (they can't interbreed, so they remain distinct, and the rest of the lines died out) but maybe it would be more interesting to have a spectrum.

Okay! Mix'n'match traits! Combining everything found in humans, half-elves, and half-orcs, and editing to taste, we get this list. A race (not a species, since they can all interbreed if they really want) gets to pick four points worth of traits from the list; point costs are given in []. In theory, only the GM should be making up races, but in practice, the players can probably mix uptheir own trait combos and say their PCs are Damn Foreigners. Races made using this table are collectively referred to simply as Geans.

  • [ 0] Long Lifespan (use half-elf aging table, can't have Frail or Fast Learner)
  • [ 0] Short Lifespan (use half-orc aging table)
  • [ 1] Nighteyes (x2 Lowlight Vision, big eyes)
  • [ 1] Observant (free Search roll when within 5' of something secret)
  • [ 1] Reduced Sleep (only need half the regular hours of sleep)
  • [ 1] Sharp Senses (+2 Spot, +2 Listen)
  • [ 2] Cave-eyes (x4 Lowlight Vision plus 5' Blindsight, great big eyes)
  • [ 2] Fast Learner (+4 skill points at level 1, +1 skill point/level after)
  • [ 2] Hardy (+2 Constitution)
  • [ 2] Lithe (+2 Dexterity)
  • [ 2] Strong (+2 Strength, probably pretty big)
  • [ 2] Versatile (1 bonus feat at level 1)
  • [-1] Clumsy (-2 Dexterity)
  • [-1] Devolved Mentality (-2 Intelligence)
  • [-1] Frail (-2 Constitution)
  • [-1] Savage (-2 Charisma, play up being violent)
  • [-1] Weak (-2 Strength, probably either not very big or pretty fat)

So a 'half-elf' would be Nighteyes, Observant, Sharp Senses, and Reduced sleep; a 'human' would be Fast Learner and Versatile; and a 'half-orc' would be Strong, Hardy, Cave-eyes, Devolved Mentality, and Savage; for four points each. Close enough to the book.

Halflings are human-like enough that we can claim they're an offshoot, either engineered for survivability and low resource usage in the distant past, or shrunken and with good saving throws from aeons of harsh conditions (read, persecution).

I'm not sure what to do about dwarves and gnomes, but I've never cared that much for dwarves, and gnomes are kind of freaky with their spell-like abilities and groundhog speech and all, so I don't feel bad leaving them out at least for now.

But if this is to be an exotic setting, there should be exotic races, right? Possible sources for additional sapient races: descendents of non-elven sophonts from the past, uplifted animals, other modified Geans (like halfings), artificial creatures (either hybrids or made from scratch), and creatures from other worlds or other cosmoi (possibly uplifted/modified/hybridized). So, plenty of opportunities for alienness! However, since the processes that made or imported these bizarre races ceased a long time ago, any that are around have had aeons to come to equilibrium with the ecology, which sort of suggests that if they were better than Geans (have more than 0 ECL) they would have taken over by now, and if they were wimpier, they would have gone extinct by now. The one obvious way to get around this is creatures that can only live (or at least only breed) in extreme conditions; it's hard to take over the world when you have to return to an active volcano to have kids, or when you can only survive at the bottom of the ocean. That reduces the possibilities for exoticness, but on the other hand, it keeps them exotic, so that's okay.

Maybe one or two exotic PC races would be okay, but I'll have to think.

As always, comment me!

* * *

It is probably wrong of me to notice that Vampire Princess Miyu has a remarkably low cheesecake quotient. But I will make up for that flaw by praising both the opening and closing music!

Seven episodes down, four more until I run out of published DVDs, sniff!

Make a comment!

12 March 2002 - Tuesday


Our Admin of Infinite Power is a falconer when she isn't busy saving AV from its own incompetence, and this morning she brought one of her birds by, a young male red-tailed hawk (less than a year old, so his tail won't really be red until after the year's molt). I wimped out on holding him, but got to pet him while a cow orker held him. Wow. Predators are pretty much always cool, but raptors have a particularly high predation-to-weight ratio: the Hawk With No Name had just been weighed at 840g, but was the volume of a 1.5-2kg cat.

I liked the way its spread tail and half-folded wings formed a complete cloak of feathers; it's the sort of thing one reads about, but it doesn't seem realistic until one sees it. And my was that a specialized flesh-ripping beak and prey-seizing set of talons. (I was amused but not surprised to learn that hawks have the same combat maneuvers as other pouncers: grab hold, go for the spine or throat.) And that hawks are pretty much useful only as hunting partners; they can be trained, but not domesticated (which makes sense; they have no social instincts to subvert for humanity's own ends).

Okay, perhaps I have read too much biology to have a properly emotional reaction, but Angie was there to provide bouncing and squeaking. Anyway, it was a darn cool hawk.

[Late-breaking update: hawk pictures! (courtesy of Dave Brandi)]

* * *

More Age of the Black Sun blithering:

With stunning originality, we'll call this world Gea (with a hard G).

Gea divides naturally into domains according to the distribution of the Lamps, and within each domain, into rings of temperature1: unlivably hot at the base of the Lamppost, but progressively cooler as one moves outward and the Lamp is both more distant and lower to the horizon. At the edges of a domain, the Lamp is so low in the sky that rough terrain forms regions of perpetual darkness (possibly alleviated by Lamp of the neighboring domain, if that's not blocked as well). In fact, the borderlands often are more mountainous than the central regions, as though Gea were cupping her hands around the warmth of the Lamps, leaving the interstitial regions dark and barren.

Much of Gea is covered in ocean, where the reverse seems to hold true: the seafloor rises in the central and middle reaches of a domain, to support islands, and falls off into the abyssal darkness in the interstices. There are plenty of islands of all sizes, but the oceanic domains still support much smaller populations than the dry-land ones.

1: Since the Lamps are evenly distributed over the whole world, latitude is inconsequential and mostly forgotten

(Trigonometry aside: If the Lampposts are 200 leagues high, and each is just on the horizon at the far corners of its triangular domain, then the distance to that far corner is 1613 leagues, and the domain is 2794 leagues along each side. Gea as a whole is 6673 leagues in radius, or 13346 leagues in diameter. If these are short leagues, equal to about 3km, then Gea is three times the diameter of the Earth, and has nine times the surface area.)

The Lampposts are about half a league around, made of something similar to glass but apparently indestructible, and seem to be completely immobile relative to one another. Over the course of the Age of the Red Sun, many of them developed valleys or lakes at their bases as the moving earth split itself open on the adamant Lampposts.

Since plants like extra sun more than people do, the best regions for farming are not the best regions for living in comfort, which makes Gea a world of absentee landlords and reinforces any class structure that might otherwise exist.

Next, actual citizenry! Or at least population! Er, not that PCs will know more than a small fraction of any of this unless they are Highly Educated, but.

* * *

Useless parasite.

Make a comment!

11 March 2002 - Monday

I had a brief fit of hyperness this morning, but soon settled down into Monday lethargy... just in time for the easy front-end reconfiguration that I did all the setup for on Friday to go horribly, terribly wrong!

Okay, it wasn't that bad; service wasn't interrupted, and beating the few wayward machines into submission was pretty easy once I got the hang of it, but still, it was more excitement than I really wanted from that ticket.

* * *


I have been ousted as Tribune of the People by the slimy politician Majestik Moose, hmph! But perhaps after he does nothing actually useful for a few turns, people will stop voting for him.

For reasons that are not clear, the Fish ship that I thought would immediately explode instead tried to close range, giving me time to shoot it into little pieces and eat the pieces (including an artifact, which has curses out the wazoo, but gives me actual stargate keys!). This round, I go for the cutting-edge Fish ship, which is actually one tech level higher than my average! I think I can take 'em, or at least trim off enough that I won't die when it selfdestructs.


* * *

Over the weekend I considered how to combine the ancient Earth thing with the general clamor for D&D3e, but I was too lame to even update my journal on my pathetic doings, never mind extra bonus blithering. Now, however, I have extra Diet Dr Pepper to fuel my blithering about...

The Age of the Black Sun

The Age of the White Sun ended when the Sun itself was mortally wounded. No more than that is know, for the Age of the White Sun is now legend, or perhaps only myth.

The age that followed, that of the Golden Sun, was a time of great deeds that we can no longer reproduce, or even fully comprehend. Civilization reaching its highest peaks of power and knowledge, extending to the other worlds of this cosmos, and even other cosmoi. Despite the power they wielded, though, the people of this age could not heal the fading sun, nor even free themselves from it: no other-worldly or extra-cosmic colony flourished, although some still survived when the last travellers crawled back to their home cosmos.

Denied escape from the dying sun, the people of the Age of the Orange Sun were forced to turn all their energies to reviving it, rising to heights of greatness and stooping to pits of infamy in the process. Perhaps they slowed its decline, perhaps they hastened it; certainly they did not manage to reverse it. What they did accomplish was the salvage of a few scraps of uncontaminated sunfire, which they hung on pillars two hundred leagues tall, as lamps to light the world.

In the Age of the Red Sun, the glories and horrors of the past were gradually destroyed, forgotten, or simply left to decay through neglect, but at least the future of life was assured.

Until the first Lamp went out.

Now it is only a question of how long until the last Lamp fails. The sun is a barely visible purple blotch in the daytime sky or a sullen red disk at night, intermittently marred by orange cracks or brilliant flares, and when the Lamps are gone it will be of no help in warding off the final night.

Life is tenacious, though, and those peoples prone to accepting death as part of the eternal cycle have long since passed from existance. Grand works are rare, and insignificant in comparison to those of ages past, but crops are still sown and reaped, cities still built and razed, kingdoms built up and brought low.

So does this add up to D&D? Well, it's got a primitive society, but with ancient wonders to stumble across and be eaten by, lost wisdom from a time when gods issued press releases, and a populace that in general isn't prone to rocking the sinking boat, making adventurers big freaks. And, if the campaign gets that high-level, there's an overwhelming threat the whole world needs to be saved from. How can you go wrong?

But no more blithering now, because I must go watch more Vampire Princess Miyu!

Comment me, baby!

* * *

On the other hand, a TV series has more room for subplots in addition to the mandatory Threat of the Week. Continuing characters, that sort of thing.

I think a lot of the apparent simplicity comes from the simpler art; artists can't get as obsessively detailed when they have to put out an episode every week.

Great campaign idea by Carl (Tue Mar 12 08:56:32 2002)

Sounds like a great campaign idea, go for it!

More Age of the Black Sun blithering by Trip (Tue Mar 12 13:07:58 2002)

Look for it in an upcoming entry!

Make a comment!

10 March 2002 - Sunday

I was up and laundered and dressed and lunched and leaving for grocery shopping by the hour at which I crawled from my parasitenest yesterday, which is certainly a step in the right direction! Unfortunately, I followed up on my early diligence by doing more or less nothing the rest of the day. Finally I went to dinner and did more grocery shopping (Trader Joe's, yum!) and then Kit told me I should watch some of the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series that Marith and Tamago got me for Christmas, so I did!

IIRC, the OAVs were only a half-hour each, but the TV episodes1 still seem a lot shallower (but not lighter, as I almost typed): Problem manifests, problem is revealed, Miyu kills problem. But the obligatory "cute" "animal" companion is sufficiently creepy.

1: Okay, the two I've seen so far.

Pokethulhu by Carl (Tue Mar 12 08:55:19 2002)

I haven't seen Miyu. What's creepy about the cute animal companion?

Re: Pokéthulhu by Trip (Tue Mar 12 12:43:16 2002)

One expects lines like "So? They're just humans" from an immense ravening demon, or even a slinky vampiric femme fatale, but it's more disturbing when they're delivered by a small, vaguely amorphous, vaguely rabbit-like creature, with one ear flopped over one eye. Plus, sometimes it unflops the ear, revealing a HUGE YELLOW BLOODSHOT EYE that has second sight or something.

Make a comment!

9 March 2002 - Saturday

Inert parasite! I didn't get up until almost 14, because I am a big chitinous lump. Splut.

After that, things improved slightly. Okay, very slightly. But I did read Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering, and now recommend it highly to everyone! Well, okay, mostly to people who GM or intend to GM someday, but it might be worthwhile for people who merely intend to play in games with GMs.

Since the whole thing is only 33 pages (counting the ToC, not counting the ads) I can't review it too extensively without getting close to retyping it, but the basic thesis is "If you and your players are having fun, you are a good GM". Since it's easy for the GM to base her game around whatever folds her particular ferret, and Laws-sensei knows this, the bulk of the book is about how to most effectively pander to one's players: how to identify the common types of players and what each of them is likely to want from various aspects of campaign and adventure design, the proper use of Crunchy Bits, how get players to pay attention, and like matters. Plus, how to prepare for spontaneity, and the ever-popular two-random-GURPS-worldbooks method for seeding world design.

* * *

In the evening, I finally got around to watching the first DVD of Love Hina. Another impulse buy, admittedly, but at least this was something I had heard other real people1 speak well of. I was not disappointed! It is fairly silly, but not in a surreal way like Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko or Haunted Junction, being set in the modern world with no added fantastic elements except the main character's ability to withstand physical abuse (okay, and the energy blast vs PD, OAF shinai). The opening theme is strange, but I think it's growing on me. People who want male eye candy or object to female eye candy may not like Love Hina as much as I do, but pblt to them!

And yes, Love Hina is a lot like Megatokyo, only without Mecharentazilla and vampires. So far.

1: As opposed to the twisted subterranean gnome-like creatures that write cover blurbs.

Make a comment!

8 March 2002 - Friday

Woot! My TBG ship is now all bloated from all-you-can-eat sushi! Sadly, the next Fish ship will just explode straight off, so I won't get anything from it, and will probably even lose a couple of the modules I got last time, but that's okay. Nothing I actually care about will be damaged.

Some excitement trying to convert some of the front ends from one sub-version of the JDK to another, but no one died and service wasn't even interrupted. So there!

We did get to see more Neon Genesis Evangelion at lunchtime. We are still watching episodes I've seen, but I think we're approaching the end of them. Soon, all-new brainwarping!

* * *

Finally, I get to read this week's comics!

Make a comment!

7 March 2002 - Thursday

Just me and Bruce here keeping AltaVista running, whee. But nothing is going wrong, so we probably aren't doomed.

As a corollary, no work-anime. Sniff!

* * *

Whisman Station Anime went off without noticeable hitch, though. I felt so guilty for riding the bus from my place to California that I walked the rest of the way (and found a better way than I used before), which was cold but virtuous. No new serieses tonight, although there was talk of watching Martian Successor Nadesico, and also of dropping Haunted Junction. I am Sufficiently Amused by Haunted Junction but maybe that's because we watch it at 21:30, when my brain is shutting down and doesn't want anything requiring thought, but slackers like Kirby are just waking up and want intellectual stimulation.

Walking all the way home was equally cold, but I had Dave to bibble at me, which made it much more enjoyable than walking alone.

Make a comment!

6 March 2002 - Wednesday

I successfully seized a bunch of easy tickets yesterday just before going home, and knocked them all off this morning. Now I struggle with Apache authentication wombats.

"Ow!" I say, "Not in the face! Not in the face!"

* * *

However, in TBG I seem to be about to eat a Fish ship, by cruelly taunting it with the prospect of being able to close to adjacent and self-destruct to maximum effect on each combat round until I destroy it utterly. Hopefully, I will destroy it utterly before it successfully closes, or else there will be much pain.

* * *

Marith and Christy are the best friends ever! They gave me three DVDs of the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series, which I have never seen but wanted to get! Yay!

Then we played Unexploded Cow, and I won by exploding all my cows even though Jim saved the best towns! And there was much Fluxx but only one blank card was made into a real card. We had ideas for many more, though!

Jim has a job (contract-to-perm at Skymoon Ventures), but is such a feeb he hasn't put it in his LiveJournal!

Ayse spent the evening sitting in the hallway because the signal from her wireless hub next door wouldn't reach all the way into the Bertani-Youngs' livingroom and she wanted to work on MP3 stuff of some kind. But we like her anyway!

Make a comment!

4 March 2002 - Monday

I had a bookstore accident. Only $35, but I don't need more books! I am falling farther and farther behind! Obviously I need to give up on those other timesinks, like sleep and employment...

* * *

Warning! Heavy D&D3e geekery! Flee now if this interests you not!

Okay, that's got rid of them.

I was thinking about sorcerers, and how they are really very much like wizards, which is for good reasons, but sort of loses the unique sorcerish flavor. So how might the sorcerer class be seasoned?

As an extremely rough draft, do this:

Relabel the Spells Known table as "Powers Available", but leave the numbers the same. Relabel the Spells per Day table as "Total Uses per Day" and double the numbers. Powers Available are selected as sorcerers select spells, but each new Use per Day gained has to be permanently assigned to one power. The uses can be divided evenly among all powers of the level, put all into one power and none into the others, or any other arrangement desired. These powers are Spell-like Abilities, not spells, so no components are required. As a corollary, levels in sorcerer don't count as spell-caster levels (although the sorcerer's class level is used to determine any aspect of his powers that depends on caster level) so neither item creation feats nor metamagic feats apply.

Any powers that would require a costly material component require the sorcerer to perform some sort of ritual act with materials of equal cost every week, or lose the power until the ritual can be performed. Powers that require XP expenditure still require it.

Ditch familiars. Raise hit die to d6; sorcerers are not as bookish as wizards. Raise skill points per level to 4+Int_Mod. Adjust class skills as needed.

This is very very rough, as I said, but indicates the line of my thought: truly innate power, not just wizardry without spellbooks, and in significant quantities, but much less flexible.

Writing up the new sorcerer for real, I'd probably shift the gains in Uses per Day to more closely follow the gain in Powers Available (or, mostly equivalently, permit some uses to be deferred until a later level), so the sorcerer doesn't get stuck with 6+Cha_bonus uses in the first power he takes at a given level, and only 6 more total to divide among the 2-3 other powers of that level. If something beyond spells seemed called for (ie, playtesting determined that a new sorcerer is noncompetitive), possibly a Special Sorcerer Power could be gained every N levels, something like internalizing a power to be a supernatural instead of spell-like ability, or converting a power with uses_per_day + Cha_bonus >= 10 to one usable at will, or gaining small amounts of energy resistance. Depending on just how bad the deficiency is, this may or may not call for a reduction in Total Uses per Day.

You may now mock me.

New Improved Sorcerer by Trip (Tue Mar 5 13:28:18 2002)

Discussion on the 3E channel on Too suggests that even with twice the total uses per day of an old sorcerer, the new version is weaker because the reduction in flexibility is so great. Which means the Special Sorcerer Feats are go!

If you couldn't tell, the sorcerer feats are to a) provide more variation in powers without giving more powers, and b) let the sorcerer become more like the magic-using critter from which he is descended. An industrious GM could make up lists of allowed powers and feats depending on the ancestral creature.

Other sorcerer ideas by Image (Thu Mar 7 14:01:30 2002)

I like this starting point. My thoughts...

First, critiques.

- If a tenth level wizard really wants to cast forty magic missiles, he can, because he can prepare magic missile in any spell slot from first level on up.

- Sorcerers, in vanilla D&D3E, can use wizard wands and scrolls and probably use them more than wizards do. It overcomes much of the sorcerer's limited spell repertoire limitation. It's worth it to consider how this new sorcererthing reacts to wands and scrolls and other spell-storage fu.

- The bard already gets d6s, no familiar, and 4+INT per level. Clearly the intent of the sorcerer was to be something different (the sorcerer flavor text obviously has very little to do with what the class writeup is actually like).

Now, some additional options.

- There's a feat in the wiz/sorc splatbook that lets you turn a spell into a spell-like ability, usable once per round as a standard action, forever -- but requires that you give up a spell per day eight levels higher. Use that as a starting point to make sorcerers able to do some low-level spell effects at will without per-day limits, maybe?

- Some work with sorcerers online has done such things as 'chain spells' -- identify spell progressions (obscuring mist, fog cloud, acid cloud, stinking cloud, cloudkill, or monster summoning I-IX, or whatever) that permit the sorcerer to move a single spell slot upwards over time, so the 15th-level sorcerer is not forever stuck with monster summoning I.

- One might also expand sorcerers' potential spell lists to be any spell in the book, but limit each sorcerer to a couple of schools, or make those spells not from the favored schools cost double. It always struck me that the true specialists should be sorcerers (so that not every sorcerer winds up with the same set of third-level spells -- haste, fly, fireball).

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3 March 2002 - Sunday

Adam is cursed! His car didn't start, he lost the stylus to his external brain, and the computer on which his Champions character was stored went down. However, he was able to obtain a rental car quickly and easily, he found his spare stylus, and he was able to reconstruct his character while I finished mine. We even got seated at Hobee's after a 0-minute wait, at 11:30 on Sunday!

After (re)finishing characters, we played a quick battle against whatever was ripping open tanker cars full of corn syrup and sucking them dry. When Earl plopped the wind-up bumblebee onto the battlemap and it trundled, buzzing, right onto the railroad car where half the team was lurking, play could not continue for several minutes.

We mostly triumphed, although there was some sadness that the bee had to be put down, and the villain who had stolen it from the secret beekeeper lair did escape. No team members were caught taking drugs, which is actually a pretty good trick.

* * *

I successfully shopped for groceries.

Yay for triumphs! by liralen (Tue Mar 5 09:25:58 2002)

Hoorah for the triumph!

Sadness about having to put down the bee. That's very cool that it bumbled in such an entertaining manner! Yay!

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2 March 2002 - Saturday

Today, we watched more Ceres, which would have caught us all up except that I got another DVD this past week and Rebecca had to take off early. I continue to believe that my hypothesis is correct, but it would be a spoiler, so I won't tell you what it is. Neener neener!

I also started to make a character for tomorrow's Champions game, but lost enthusiasm or inspiration half-way through, because I suck. I am also pretty rusty at Champions (I mean, how can you just forget that 60 x 4/7 is 34, and have to work it out? Using a calculator!)

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1 March 2002 - Friday

Well, no AQoJ for us! Earl has to minister to Cat, who is full of strep germs and may or may not have donated some to Earl, and Aberdeen is full of unspecified germs (but probably is keeping them all to herself). I guess that answers the question of when we could possibly watch Ceres. And I can work on a character for Earl's game which was going to be on Sunday and now um dunno, but I'll be ready!

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