Previously, in Trip's Life...

28 February 2005 - Monday

Still employed! That's good, right?

* * *

Since Bertaniland is right on my way home from work, I stayed an extra half hour and then rode the bus right there. Aren't I clever?

Well, no, since that mean I had my gaming bag, which was not the bag I had stuffed my badge in. Oops.

* * *

I realized that the opening to my adventure-like thing was too slow and lame and required me to roleplay and stuff, so instead there were Panda Demons. Dozens of them! With chains! Well, cleavers, anyway. Now I just need to figure out what the heck they're doing, and how to deal with not having made sure Christy's character didn't have a way bigger attack than everyone else.

In other gossip: it turns out the Bertanis' house is not being purchased after all. Also, Christy impugned my roleplaying ability, but that's not really surprising or undeserved.

Impugning Your Role Playing Ability by Christy (Thu Mar 3 23:12:35 2005)

I did? I'm sorry. It's probably not true. What do I know? I don't even do my own math.

Re: Impugning Your Role Playing Ability by Trip (Fri Mar 4 08:43:30 2005)

You made snide comments about guys who play female characters, badly, and I resemble that remark!

Re: Re: Impugning Your Role Playing Ability by Christy (Fri Mar 4 10:10:39 2005)

I was not thinking of you. It would be impolite to say who I was thinking of, but it wasn't you. I rather enjoyed your starlet character in Homefront. She was everything she ought to be.

Re: Re: Re: Impugning Your Role Playing Ability by Trip (Sat Mar 5 12:57:47 2005)

Oh, well, okay then.

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27 February 2005 - Sunday

This morning's reading: Masamune Shirow's Orion, and the first volume of the manga version of SuperGALS. Orion is just as weird as I remembered, and even more incomprehensibly dense. I think the best comparison is to the bit in any reasonably hard SF where the physics of the New Cool Thing is explained -- except that this is a completely made-up "physics", and the whole thing is like that (interspersed with sorcerous action and sentient otyughs).

Maybe Sun, Moon, Stars would suck less if it were more like that? Nah, it's beyond hope.

GALS is (so far) much like the anime, although with more translated slang and less subtitled slang. It is cute.

* * *

Argh, still can't kill Nodens, Lord of the Great Abyss! This time I tried using Wraith Form, which makes me almost immune to his attacks (about 95% damage reduction) so I don't have to waste actions healing myself, but between the 38% failure rate of my good attack spell and the actions required to refill my mana, I can't do damage faster than he can heal himself. Bah.

* * *

The 20' by 20' Room has a pointer to a very interesting discussion of the concept of bricolage as manifest in gaming. It's kind of heavy on the social theory, but not so much so that I couldn't understand it (which is by no means guaranteed to be the case in this sort of thread!). Anyway, while reading it, I kept going, "Yah, that matches my experience of gaming". Plus, it describes Champions as exceptional!

Hm. I think this may tie back into my thought about making a system out of nothing but rules for making new tables. Endless room for fiddling! Each local variant guaranteed to become opaque to newcomers almost immediately!

* * *

Hm. Apparently, despite having been cast into the Hell of Real Estate, the Bertanis are up for gaming tomorrow. I wonder if I can still interpret my adventure notes.

* * *

Ayse was again too flat to do anything, so instead of D&D, I watched some more Buffy with Marith. The Mayor is excellently creepy.

At this rate, my character will never get ignominiously slaughtered by low-level riffraff!

* * *

Paranoia Agent is somewhere in the Lain/Boogypop Phantom part of anime space, not just in the "Please advise" nature of the plot, but also in the visuals, although I can't quantify just how.

bricolage by Dave (Tue Mar 1 11:51:56 2005)

Very interesting article. Many of the respondents didn't seem to fully grasp the idea, though.

re: bricolage by Trip (Tue Mar 1 14:58:57 2005)

True, but one has to expect that on the Net.

Mind you, I'm not sure what to do with this knowledge.

Make a comment!

26 February 2005 - Saturday

Slimy lump of a parasite! I did go shopping, at least, and make some dinner. Due to intemperate use of corn starch, the green curry chicken went from watery to gelatinous, but it still tasted fine.

* * *

As expected, Ayse was too flattened by teaching to want to do anything, so Marith and I watched the first few episodes of Buffy season three (thanks to Carl!). I think the bits of LA in the first episode are what I picture the environment of the Monday night game as. Maybe narrower streets.

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25 February 2005 - Friday

Work work workity work! I am still not fully l33t in the ways of     , but still, I make progress.

* * *

No lobster vanilla curry for lunch today, but they have tea-smoked duck breast, so I forgive them.

* * *

When I was oriented, I was told that I wouldn't get to go to the Friday afternoon all-handses, but apparently this week it's purely social, so I get to go.

Very loud, but shrimps with cocktail sauce make up for a lot. Plus, many geeks! And, interestingly (for some definition of the word), a fair number of attractive femmes. I think I'll stay over here under this rock.

* * *

Nothing very exciting happened tonight, but when I went over to lend Ayse a mouse, she passed on to me some stuff from Carl: Kiddy Grade discs 7-8, and Season Three of Buffy! Carl is the greatest!

* * *

I finished the first disc of Shrine of the Morning Mist. Hrm. Well, perhaps I will get to the second disc sooner or later.

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24 February 2005 - Thursday

Sometimes all I need is some pre-existing weasels and a can of spraypaint; sometimes I need to leap through some hoops; and sometimes I need to build hoops to precise specifications and then leap through them; but nevertheless I am producing      to some people's satisfaction. Go me!

* * *

Yay! My very first paycheck for work done at Google! Not quit enough to pay rent, mind you (grrr week-long delay grrr), but still, it is money!

* * *

Finally a day when I do not have to do anything at any particular time when I get off work! Tud!

Hm. I seem to be using this free time to play Nanaca Crash!!. Still, my record is 4389.97m! Beat that if you can!

* * *

I started watching Shrine of the Morning Mist on Carl's recommendation; he described it as "like Azumanga Miko", which was good enough for me! It is pretty amusing, and I can see the visual and character similarities, but it's not up to the standard of Azumanga Daioh (though really, what is?), and what's with this plot stuff? And male characters?!

coding by marith (Thu Feb 24 23:06:19 2005)

I bet you can build a really good ___ with pre-existing weasels and a can of spraypaint! Is a barrel of monkeys involved for really complex projects?

Nanaca Crash by Jeremy (Fri Feb 25 08:50:45 2005)

749.something, and extreme confusion. Is it a good thing when the impact kills people?

I prefer games that have an intuitively obvious storyline, like warthog

Nanaca Crash by Trip (Fri Feb 25 19:02:42 2005)

I'm not sure if killing people in Nanaca Crash is a good thing, exactly, but it doesn't seem to be bad. I mean, look at the beginning of the game!

Warthog is pretty entertaining. I thought a Warthog was an airplane, though...

Re: coding by Trip (Fri Feb 25 19:03:12 2005)

My supervisor makes monkey noises sometimes. Does that count?

monkey by gconnor (Mon Feb 28 16:10:33 2005)

I bet his monkey noises don't compare to mine. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's strange noises.

monkeys by marith (Mon Feb 28 22:23:43 2005)

Clearly gconnor should be promoted to supervisor!

Male characters by Flit (Thu Mar 3 13:35:27 2005)

There's a male character in Azumanga Daioh!

(Brr)

Re: Male characters by Trip (Thu Mar 3 19:00:36 2005)

It's true, but he's not protagonisty at all. He's more like a wandering monster. :)

Make a comment!

23 February 2005 - Wednesday

Okay, I think I'm getting the hang of this      stuff. Either that, or I'm missing something terribly important. However, James (who I now take orders from) seems happy with my output, so I will assume success until disillusioned.

* * *

My having a real actual income has impressed Lee enough that he agreed to not throw away my comics! Yay! Victory!

* * *

This session of Hounds of Balazar was not nearly as dramatic as last fortnight's, although at one point it looked almost as doomed. Fortunately, we Demoralized the biggest dragonnewts and that managed to get them to go away and leave us alone. Then we wandered around confused until we found some newtlings (not related to dragonnewts, so far as we know) and their river, which is keeping an important part of our quest hostage. Obviously we are going to need to be extremely clever here.

* * *

Rereading Maskerade (Terry Pratchett) which sadly is not as cool as I remembered it. Ah well. One can only read a book for the first time once, barring advanced mind-sculpting techniques.

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22 February 2005 - Tuesday

Today I got my new task, which should be interesting, because I've never done anything with <     before.

* * *

Not dead yet! Kind of stupid, but not dead! This <     stuff isn't really so hard, although I'm having trouble finding really good docs written for people of my limited experience and mentality.

* * *

First episode of Gunsmith Cats tonight! It is still pretty entertaining, but I think I have more or less or different taste than when I first saw it a decade ago. Or maybe it's that I reread the manga recently.

Last Exile draws closer to its finale, but I have cruelly put the last two episodes off until next week, because I like to see my guests suffer.

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21 February 2005 - Monday

Today we sing the song of No Work! La la la!

We went to the coffee shop and talked lots about stuff and then came back and collected Dave and watched Iron Chef America (the new good one, not the old bad one) "Battle Duck" while eating tasty pasta Ken made (which sadly did not turn into duck at any point during the evening) and bread dipped in olive oil and vinegar. Then we watched Firefly and talked about the teaching of IMPACT and how Dogbert is very useful therein and finally everyone crept to their lairs. Tud!

(There might have been make-up D&D, but Ayse was too flat from teaching.)

* * *

Rereading Hellboy. Whine. Why am I not that cool?

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20 February 2005 - Sunday

No Adventures of Jehanne & Alazaïs today, because Ayse is still flat from teaching. But instead, Rurouni Kenshin! Sadly, it is not as good.

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19 February 2005 - Saturday

To celebrate not working I er stayed in bed until after noon. But at least I wasn't sleeping: I was rereading piles of Super Manga Blast!, with a break to read all of Cannon God Exaxxion that was published as individual issues before they folded it into SMB!. It is pretty good, although I am dubious about gravitational deflection of lasers without any visual distortion.

* * *

Yay! I have finally finished the AQoJ writeup! Maybe now Sherilyn will not hate me!

Also some work on entries for the past week, although I'm not quite finished yet.

* * *

I've had this rolling around in the bottom of my skull for a while, so I'll sploot it out and get rid of the annoying thumping noise every time I shake my head.

One of the 3.0 splatbooks has the metamagic feat Energy Substitution, which lets a spellcaster take a spell that does fire, cold, electrical, acid, or sonic damage and do a different sort of damage from that list, without raising the spell level. This seems sort of fair, except that it turns out almost no monsters have resistance to sonic damage. Also, it morally offends me that spells converted to sonic damage don't cause deafness like the real sonic-damage spells do. Oh, and Melf's Sonic Arrow doesn't make a whole lot of sense. So, I made better rules! (Thus proving that I am a Real DM, or something.)

Fire, cold, and electricity are all pretty comparable, so they don't special interconversion rules. They are the standard damage types.

Damage that happens again (and perhaps again, and again...) is obviously more useful than damage that happens only once per casting, so to convert a standard damage spell into one that does continuing damage (ie, acid damage), you need to reduce the damage. Specifically, if the spell is to do full damage for an additional one round, you need to reduce the damage by two steps, and if it does full damage for one additional round per three caster levels, you need to reduce the damage by three steps.

"But what is a step?" you ask? I shall enlighten you!

Damage per level:
[1d6/3 lvls] <=> [1d6/2 lvls] <=> [1d8/2 lvls] <=> [1d6/lvl] <=> [1d8/lvl] <=> [1d10/lvl]

Fixed Damage:
[1d2] <=> [1d3] <=> [1d4] <=> [1d6] <=> [1d8] <=> [1d10] <=> [2d6]

So, Melf's Acid Fireball, which does its full damage for CL/3 additional rounds, would do not 1d6 per caster level, but 1d6 per 3 caster levels. If it only did damage on the round after casting, it would do 1d6 per 2 caster levels.

Converting the other way works the same in reverse, so Melf's Icy Arrow would do 2d10 cold damage (3 steps up from 2d4), but no continuing damage. (For wacky continuing-damage spells that don't fit either category, figure out whether they do a total of 1 or fewer rounds of equivalent full damage (eg, half damage for two rounds), or more than that. If duration varies with caster level, figure the continuing damage at caster level 10.)

Likewise, when converting to sonic damage, which not only hurts but deafens the target, you reduce the damage by two steps but add the effect of 1d6 rounds deafness plus 1 round per 2 caster levels. If the spell had a save for half damage, the save is now a Fortitude save for half damage and no deafness. If it didn't have a saving throw before (like a ray), the target gets a Fortitude save to avoid the deafness only. Finally, crystalline or otherwise brittle objects or creatures take double damage.

Converting from sonic to something else is more of a pain, since the few sonic spells in the book are not very consistent, but shouldn't come up much.

To convert between acid and sonic, you first convert to standard damage and then to the other type: Melf's Sonic Arrow, normally 2d4 continuing for CL/3 rounds, converts to 2d10 standard damage, then to 2d6 sonic damage plus 1d6 + CL/2 rounds deafness, with a Fortitude save to avoid being deafened.

Right? Right.

* * *

Yay more Rurouni Kenshin! Maybe someday Greencine will send me more DVDs!

Elements! by Flit (Thu Mar 3 13:40:31 2005)

They sidestepped the sonic substitution issue in the 3.5 splatbook by making it only acid/cold/fire/electricity, which is far more balanced. They also have a lot of orb spells, including sonic each one has a secondary side effect... which uses a step-down in die size! Ding ding ding! You win the prescient prize! There's a line sonic spell that uses d4s instead of d6s like the similarly formed lightning bolt.

They don't do anything as cool as the conversion of secondary effects (acid swapping to damage over time, etc.)

Re: Elements! by Trip (Thu Mar 3 20:00:02 2005)

It just goes to show that human minds can be almost as clever as a parasite if they try!

(Actually, it shows that I don't feel a need to make my mechanics simple enough for the average beginning gamer, because I know I will never be an influential game designer.)

Make a comment!

18 February 2005 - Friday

HAPPY HAPPY ANGIEDAY!!

* * *

Friday has a lot more meaning now that I have to work for a living! (As opposed to not working for not a living, I guess.)

* * *

Nick seem impressed with what I made for him; I guess it didn't suck as much as most people's first foray into     . (Also, I commented the heck out of it, which can't hurt.) However, his project has been deemed Low Priority, so first thing next week I am to be swapped to another group, which desperately needs more strong fingers and weak minds to get      working. Hopefully my code is not so pathetic that Nick will not be able to use it for evil after I finish polishing it this afternoon.

* * *

Wheee! An entire week, and a submitted time sheet! Only for one week, because of the slip in start date, but it's still an awful lot like being a productive member of society!

* * *

This is an alternate Friday, but instead of Sailor Moon, we watched the last disc of Strawberry Eggs, because Ayse is nervous about teaching IMPACT tomorrow and wanted to see anime about heroic PE teachers. Everyone agreed that it was a satisfying end to the series, so I will stop worrying that I liked it out of proportion to its actual merits. Wum!

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17 February 2005 - Thursday

Well, the week's more than half over, and I'm not dead yet! That's got to count for something, right?

I spent today working on the project Nick gave me, to add the functionality he hadn't had time for. This involved some rewriting, as I realized that I had done things in a less-than-clever way, but these things happen. I did produce some sample output by the end of the day, so I'm going to claim it was a successful day. or something like that.

* * *

Finally Marith was not dead, so we got to watch some Rurouni Kenshin, thus freeing up one of my Greencine slots so perhaps I can watch more anime someday!

This disc was the end of the Christian Wackos plotline, and then some fairly silly episodes.

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16 February 2005 - Wednesday

HAPPY HAPPY MONYDAY!

* * *

Yes, definitely getting the hang of navigating around my little corner of my floor in my building. The rest of the place, maybe not so much.

* * *

The thing I did has passed all the tests we could think of, so now I've been given something to work on by Nick. I think I'll reimplement it in the same language as a learning exercise.

* * *

Now I have met my Taos staff manager! Also I have assured her that Google is not flogging me more than I deserve, and so forth.

* * *

Oog. Some famous celebrity TV chef is signing autographs in the cafeteria, so the lines are ginormous, and they have thunderous taiko drummers to prevent all conversation or cognition. Oh well.

* * *

Oh, good, the taiko drummers have left for a while!

* * *

Okay, that was more successful that I expected! At midmorning I had never written a line of     , and by closing time I had replicated much of the functionality of Nick's original script. It's almost as though I were clever, or something.

* * *

Tonight's socialization that I barely made it to on time was Ken's Exalted Dragonblooded game, which surprisingly includes Mike Mittmann! In this session, our characters were individually assigned to go tromp around in the boonies in search of stuff, and ended up meeting for the first time. Besides my Corrupt Bureaucrat, the group includes an Elegant Sorceress, a Snotty Sorceress, a Legion Engineer, a Woodsman, a Young Hero, and a Lapsed Monk (not that the characters necessarily know this about everyone). The Woodsman wants to live in the jungles of the ruined city we're going to loot investigate and avoid the natives, the Legion Engineer wants to build a road to the site and wipe out the local savages, and the rest are somewhere between these two poles. I forsee great conflict, at least until we assort ourselves into factions.

birthday by mony (Sun Feb 20 06:22:57 2005)

Thank you!

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15 February 2005 - Tuesday

Since Alan and his minions work 10-18:00, so must I (more or less; being paid hourly, I don't get to bill for lunch), which means I don't have to get up early. However, it does reduce the amount of time in the evenings before my usual 19:00 socialization weasels, which is sad. Oh well.

* * *

Apparently I misunderstood parts of what I was doing, so flailing dimly at it took all of today, but by going-home-time, I had a first draft ready for testing.

* * *

I think I am finally beginning to learn the layout of this place, although I still keep automatically turning right when I leave my cube, which is not the shortest way to the free food. (So doomed.)

* * *

Everyone is still nice. Also, I have not been exposed as an unworthy imposter and flung from the roof.

* * *

Despite a small error in public transit usage, I was able to fill my living room with anime-watching weirdos and show them the excitingly surreal conclusion of FLCL! Also some Chobits, one episode of Last Exile (neener neener!), and some Azumanga Daioh that made me want to wrap Sakaki up in a warm blanket and put her on Ayse's couch so she could pet Jinian. (Soft-hearted? Me?)

Splut.

Jinian & Sakaki by Ayse (Sat Feb 19 20:20:59 2005)

I suspect Jinian would like that very much, although she might have to do some mandatory nibbling on Sakaki's thumbs.

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14 February 2005 - Monday

I failed my commute roll, but only by a little, and arrived at 9:03 to be whisked into Google's intake process. Neither of the prophesied Taos people was there, so a little later I emerged from the process and was handed over to some guy named Alan, without ever being quite sure what was going on.

Since I signed pages and pages of forms swearing that I would never tell anyone anything, and then had that reinforced by observation of the corporate culture ("Don't talk about Google Club," as it were), I shan't say anything about the assignment Alan gave me except that it hurt my tiny little brain because I don't know      very well and didn't know the Google setup at all.

* * *

Wow, even contractor weasels, although being distinctly second-class citizens in many ways (wow, security; I didn't know any companies actually implemented that!) get to partake of the All Free Food All The Time! This includes a cafeteria with about half a dozen different genres of food, as well as the stocks of munchies and drinks on every floor of every building. I am so doomed.

* * *

I can't say anything about the work, but I can probably talk about my cow orkers a little. I take my orders from Alan, who reminds me a little of Greg N from AV in face and a little in personality, but is much more laid-back. Also in Alan's end of the large cube-like region are Jason, who looks a little like Fire but is infinitely less serious, and Matt, who is the closest thing I've yet seen to a Grumpy Employee (you Netcom veterans know what I mean) and that isn't very close at all. Across the corridor and around the free-standing whiteboard -- no, the other free-standing whiteboard -- is Nick, who doesn't remind me of anyone in particular. There are many other people around, of course, but although I've been told their names, I don't remember them. Anyway, they all seem to be simultaneously nice, gung-ho, and laid-back. And geeky. Did I mention the geekiness? It is Good.

* * *

Now I have a badge and a workstation (before I was just working on a test server), just as though I work here!

* * *

Whew! Not dead! Probably a good thing I don't have anything to do tonight, though, since working for a living takes lots of spoons.

I did get the first part of the AQoJ writeup done, but then ran out of steam and had to die in a pit. I'm not sure when I'm going to get to the rest of it, either.

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13 February 2005 - Sunday

Adam was busy getting girl germs today, but everyone else showed up for Red Room to learn more about the Homozygous Clone Army and protect a megalomaniac homozygous clone from a serial killer homozygous clone and her elasticated boyfriend. It was a good session.

* * *

Augh! I have to go to work tomorrow! Augh! I have to get up by 8:00! Augh! It's Google! Augh! Someone who rejected my resume will see my nametag and have to kill me! Augh!

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12 February 2005 - Saturday

Marith slept through her alarm, but fortunately my brilliant plan had allowed for the possibility, so we zoomed expeditiously to Roseville and were not late at all! (Sadly, Ken was not with us, as he was too sick or engaged or something to travel.)

Sherilyn, who is that cool, gave us all hand-crafted icosahedral dice boxes of cunning design to hold the dice we were about to use to play...

Amazon Quartet of Justice IXa: "The Dragon and the Virgins"

Having finally resolved the political situation in Pelagos to their liking, the Amazons waste no time in teleporting themselves and Ambassador Barr back to Rati with a copy of the treaty signed by Queen Ditte. As soon as the king of Rati has added his signature, it's off to King Penn's fleet where, after waiting for the king to finish up with a few of his paramours, they inform him that he is leading a fleet to support his allies in saving the world. No one asks what he was doing before receiving the message, but response among the fleet captains is distinctly mixed.

Satisfied that any bloodshed between Rati and Pelagos will not be their fault, Our Heroines attempt to locate Princess Lisbet's friend Kalida in the desert land of Karral. Unfortunately, Kalida is a very common name in Karral, and they don't have much other identifying information for her, so they end up teleporting to a small encampment in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately they have no men with them, so they are able to ask directions of the alarmed nomads. Unfortunately, the nomads don't know which Kalida the Amazons are looking for either, but at least they're in the right country.

Suddenly, the nomads begin frantically concealing their tents and hiding within! As the ominous dot in the sky grows larger, the Quartet can see that it is a winged giant, probably the offspring of a fire giant and a blue dragon. In any case, it is large and fearsome, immune to fire and lightning, and not nearly a match for the Amazons.

The deeply impressed nomads offer their hospitality for the night, and tell tales of the horrible monsters that have been raiding out of the mountains lately. The Amazons still have no idea where to find the right Kalida, but they are pretty certain where they're going to end up going afterwards.

During breakfast the next morning, the encampment is alarmed by the approach of more flying creatures. The Quartet reconnoiter, and find that one of the fliers is their friend Leo (an androsphinx who they rescued from necrotheologians), beset by half a dozen heiracosphinxes. The cause of the fight isn't clear -- Leo is yelling something about getting revenge for what the hieracosphinxes did to "her" -- but the Amazons know which side they're on!

Amaryllis gives all the Amazons the power of flight, but they are still outnumbered, and hampered by having to try to save Leo, who is badly wounded but refuses to retire from the field. In the end, all the hieracosphinxes are slain, but not before Leo plummets to his death as well.

Leo's spirit is eager to return from the afterlife, since after all Elsa, the most beautiful gynosphinx in the world, isn't there to be rescued from a band of wicked hieracosphinxes and their half-blue-dragon leader. Thus apprised of the situation, the Amazons head off with Leo for the sphinxes' mountain lair.

After study of the cave mouth and the two hieracosphinxes guarding it, a ninja-style assault is ruled out, so Our Heroines (and Leo) fall back on magic to sneak past the guards. Passing ethereally through the mountain, they emerge in a cavern with several more sphinxes, including one particularly large and blue specimen, but also with several barred cells containing an assortment of young women and a gynosphinx.

Battle is joined! Leo rends one of the hieracosphinxes limb from limb immediately in honor of his lady love, and despite the half-dragon sphinx's ferocity, things seem to be going well on other fronts... until the huge sapphire-scaled dragon rises from beneath the sands!

Few can withstand such a sight, and Elsa's rescuers are sadly no exception. Gabrielle teleports herself and Alyra out of the dragon's lair, and Amaryllis takes Leo to the mountaintop as well. With no capacity to spare for Fresa, they have to leave her behind, but she encases herself in a bubble of stone which resists the blue sphinx's claws long enough for Amaryllis to return for her. The dragon rushes from the cave to intercept those foolish enough to invade its lair, but even with magical quickness the long way around is slow enough that it arrives just as Amaryllis is bundling everyone into the pocket dimension and closing the gate. It makes one strafing run before she vanishes, but her magical protections absorb the lightning bolt harmlessly, and she thumbs her nose at it.

No fool, the dragon dives back to its cave and slithers in, but again is not quite fast enough: Elsa refuses to leave without her friend Kalida, so in a frantic flurry of magic and lock-picking, the Amazons gather up all the captives into their pocket dimension and teleport away moments before the dragon reaches them.

In the common room of Amaryllis's favorite inn in Tigris, the patrons are quite astonished to see a beautiful halfling appear out of thin air and open a magical doorway from which several other moderately attractive females and one very lucky male tumble.

After a few stiff drinks, things get sorted out. It seems that the dragon was collecting virgins to go with its treasure (although there is some doubt as to its discernment). Leo finally manages to introduce himself to the beauteous Elsa, who is not overly impressed with his prowess but has to admit that he did bring heroines to rescue her, and flies off with him to find someplace to stay outside the smelly human city. Kalida, warlord of Karral, and her fellow Karralians, want to return home as soon as possible, but are willing to wait a day or two for Kalida to meet with Princess Lisbet.

Sadly, Lisbet is no longer much in favor with her siblings, so she sends a messenger to summon Kalida (with Amaryllis and Alyra as escort) to a midnight meeting. Kalida agrees to help save the world, so plans for her departure are moved up a bit. Anyway, the Amazons strongly suspect they will need to find and excavate the lost city buried beneath Karral's sands to continue gathering the five artifacts of prophecy, and may have to eliminate the dragon as well.

* * *

Notes to self:

  • Next time people need to be scooped into the dimension of camping, keep one of them outside to open and close the gate so Amaryllis can devote her actions to spell-casting
  • Rent apartments in every city we've been to, so Amaryllis has somewhere to teleport to without making the locals spill their drinks
  • If Fresa can't find boots of striding and springing, at least get her some potions of Expeditious Retreat
  • Stock up on potions and scrolls for the new Heward's Handy Haversack, which holds 120 pounds of stuff and always has what you need on top

* * *

After allowing Al and Sherilyn to stuff us even more full of tasty food, we scuttled back to Mountain View without incident.

AQoJ by marith (Fri Feb 18 09:47:52 2005)

Somehow I can tell that Amaryllis wrote the writeup for this one. :)

Re: AQoJ by Trip (Fri Feb 18 18:09:18 2005)

It's not my fault you don't want to do writeups!

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11 February 2005 - Friday

I now have a place, time, and person for Monday, so I am going to at least tentatively assume that I will really get work. However, the first 45 minutes of my time there are scheduled for filling out nondisclosure agreements, so I probably won't be able to tell anyone what I do. ("I uh wrote a script. It runs on a computer. Probably.")

* * *

Still no luck killing stupid stupid Nodens. Grr.

* * *

The Oh My Goddess! movie is still very pretty, although the plot might be a little simple. I hadn't realized before how late in the series it must take place, though, given all the characters that are in it.

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10 February 2005 - Thursday

Today's great accomplishment: killing the Destroyer in zangband. This took a huge pile of *Healing* potions and mana restoration, but otherwise was straight forward, because the Destroyer is not very smart. However, now I have to kill Nodens, Lord of the Great Abyss, who is smart enough to heal himself, and teleport away if I start making progress on his huge wad of hit points. Bah.

* * *

Millennium Actress is quite good, although rather postmodern. I was told that it is very sad, but really it is only somewhat sad.

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9 February 2005 - Wednesday

Lee's will keep accumulating my comics until the end of the month. Hopefully that will be enough, although with the sudden reduction in job between now and then, I'm not sure it will. Grr.

* * *

Tonight I attempted the difficult feat of preparing a meal with more than one distinct dish! This is trickier than it sounds, since I only have one pan, but I did manage to make mojito chicken and garlicky onion-pepper stuff and even eat it! So, er, yay me. Or something.

* * *

Woot! Hounds of Balazar two fortnights in a row! Perhaps we have escaped the doom of the holiday season and its aftermath of illness and lethargy!

This session, we learned that the mess we're stumbling around in has a definite shape, and that in the end, we're going to have to perform a ritual at this cave with the skeletal griffin, travel to various sites around Balazar and perform the appropriate actions, and then return to the cave with the fire goddess Firshala, or at least an avatar of her. Fortunately, we already know several of the sites and actions, and have a pretty good idea of another, so really we just need to find out what the relation between Firshala and Foundchild is (besides grandchild and grandparent) and what site is associated with that. We think.

Anyway, after favorably inclining the king of Trilus toward us with gifts of Lunar "military surplus" armor and weapons, learning some new spells, and boggling our pet Lhankor Mhy priest with the stuff we got off the Lunar sorceress, we are now heading out to talk to the griffins, which we have been meaning to do for seasons and seasons!

* * *

Hee hee! More Futurama! I particularly liked the one about Dr Zoidburg and his strange alien customs.

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8 February 2005 - Tuesday

Another useless day since, well, I don't have any work to do. Grr.

* * *

I finished rereading my collection of Oh My Goddess! (kawaii!) and now think that Nobilis might be the right system to run a game like that. (Obviously none of the background would apply, but that can probably be disentangled and pruned away.)

* * *

Reading this Forge thread about people making up rules to OD&D because they misunderstood the books made me all nostalgic. It also made me wonder if you could make an RPG with the only rules being how to make up tables. I think it could work, although I'm not sure exactly how. You'd probably need a set of primitive or axiomatic tables to serve both as defaults and as examples to establish the paradigm, and that would be a lot of work. Probably not worth it.

* * *

Finally, FLCL that I haven't seen multiple times! Only one episode left, though.

Also, Dave claims that this is all the Chobits he's seen, so people who watched it with him might want to consider showing up.

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7 February 2005 - Monday

ARGH! Google has decided that they need to redo everything Taos has done, or something wacky like that[1], so my start date has been pushed back to the 14th. There is no word on whether it will end up being pushed back further.

1: I don't know the details, so I can't be snide, just grouchy.

* * *

Since there is no Monday Night Gaming (and I don't know when there will be again), Marith and I finished watching the Rurouni Kenshin that I have. Religious fruitcakes vs the Meiji government!

* * *

Now I have finished Miamai Guns. It was very silly to the end, but did have some moments of melodrama.

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6 February 2005 - Sunday

I tried to get Marith to come finish watching the disc of Rurouni Kenshin, but she was dead or something, so instead I went grocery shopping and levelled up my character for Ken's D&D game. I'm not sure if the Paladin of Sune prestige class is really worthwhile, but on the other hand, perhaps that means it's not unbalanced?

* * *

When I rule the world, I will appoint Ken to make enchiladas for me.

* * *

Sadly, the Wolf Brothers and the Dire Cataphractoi did not do each other in and leave us in possession of the Stick of Mass Combat. However, we got the next-best outcome and only one of us died, so it definitely counts as a victory. The bards will sing of our cleverness in blinding three of the group who get stronger as each one dies, so that only up through the fourth-to-last really got to fight us!

Then Alazaïs and Jehane had to take Tobias's body back to the city to get raised while Father William guided the Elite Special Exorcism Team to the ancient pagan temple of Eeeevil, and met some bandits on the way. Ayse and I got mocked for being annoyed at the human/half-elven/halfling bandits and rousting out some troops to chase them down when we had cut the goblins so much slack, but we nevertheless maintain it was perfectly justified, even if we can't articulate why. By that point it was 23:00, though, so the actual bandit-squashing will have to wait for next session.

Jehanne & Alazais by Ayse (Wed Feb 9 15:54:28 2005)

Goblins are cute, kind of like 3 year olds, and they were smart enough to understand that we were actually able to crush them. I didn't even mind them attacking us, since it was clearly ritual combat to prove that we were as tough as we said!

But these people were just rude. And annoying. And did not tremble in fear of us even a little bit! Trying to extort money from the officials after you find out they're all official is really not so charming.

Re: Jehanne & Alazaïs by Trip (Thu Feb 10 14:04:45 2005)

Yah. The goblins at least gave the impression[1] that they didn't know how things worked in human territory but might be willing to learn, so we tried to enlighten them. This set of bandits made it clear that they did know the difference between right and wrong, but didn't care.

1: Yes, this was probably due to Squib's great cleverness, but he has since proven to be someone we can make deals with, if not entirely trust, so there hasn't been much reason to go back and reconsider our decision.

bandits by Ken (Thu Feb 10 16:05:37 2005)

What, they're part of the local economy! Totally! And, umm, if you don't think so, well then Suggestion giving them money to go away is a really great idea!

Umm, that didn't work? Cheese it!

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5 February 2005 - Saturday

For once, I got up enough before Amber High School to run errands. Now I can pay rent!

* * *

Today's Amber High School trauma (for some): training for the track & field competition coming up in two weeks. Of course Tia was great at almost all the events, because she comes from a place where people don't do everything sitting down. Sadly this worked against her when Caine took the Family History students to a deserted dry lakebed and let them practice driving. (Actually, she was sort of getting the hang of it by the end of the afternoon, but that didn't nearly make up for seeing Justice grab the wheel and zoom around. Hmph.)

* * *

Yum, home-made Reubens!

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4 February 2005 - Friday

When I discover who is responsible for the information leak, cephalothoraxes will roll!

* * *

Hm, apparently I will be starting on Tuesday, not Monday. This is sad, but not horribly traumatic.

* * *

Ack. I have to print out paperwork in Word format and fax it back to Taos. I guess it's time for Kinko's.

* * *

Make that two Kinko's runs, since of course the crappy little lobotomized PCs they have there can't do anything except HTTP, so I had to go back home and make the Word file web-accessible, then go back to Kinko's and actually download, print, and fax it. Blargh! However, this is allegedly the last set of hoops between me and real employment. Cross tentacles!

* * *

For no particular reason, we didn't watch Sailor Moon tonight. Instead, we watched the penultimate (ie, third) disc of Strawberry Eggs. Everyone still likes it! I feel all vindicated and stuff.

information leak by kit (Sat Feb 5 12:06:51 2005)

LAUGH! That's SO AWESOME!

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3 February 2005 - Thursday

Marith came over after she was done being QAed I mean doing QA, and we watched some more Ruroni Kenshin. Doom, all the doom! But now I can send back a DVD.

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2 February 2005 - Wednesday

In between being useless and going grocery shopping, I did work on a character some. The point-based part was fairly easy, hampered only a little by the division of points into several non-interchangable types and the non-uniform cost curves. Oh, and having the skill descriptions in a different book than the character-creation table was also sub-optimal. However, then I got to the point where I had to look through several different books to see if any of the hundreds of options provided by the game designers were to my liking, so I gave up in despair and made dinner.

* * *

Other people also had unfinished characters, so it was mostly okay. I ended up just buying the first one or two charms for those of my skills that had good ones, and Illustrious GM Ken told me most of the artifacts I should get. He also didn't let me get the Twinkiest Hearthstone EVER or the Second Twinkiest Hearthstone Ever, but that was okay.

However, then the two finished characters had a dream-sequence duel, and I just about snorted my character sheet through my nose: one of them can do THIRTY DICE of damage, and the other one can take that hit and keep going! If there is any combat, my character is going to have to either hide in a bunker far away, or expire messily. Maybe both.

Oh well. I am assured that this will not be a problem, no, really. I guess we'll see.

The whole exercise has reminded me that Hero is in fact the best system, though, and I have even come up with a couple of analogies to explain why.

The humanities analogy: Exalted is like ideographic writing; Hero is like having an alphabet.

The math analogy: Hero is like having three sets of ten items, so that you can make a thousand combinations just by picking one from each; Exalted requires you to have five hundred individual items, and you still only get half the range.

(Of course, Anithero will be better still. Someday.)

* * *

I have now rewatched all the Kiddy Grade I have, and it does veer as sharply left as I remembered in disc 6. Gwack.

Ideographic writing by Ken (Fri Feb 4 17:57:56 2005)

Ideographic writing rules! And if you say otherwise, well, all I have to say is Bird StalkOfWheat Bird GiantEye GuyDoingThatSidewaysWalk.

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1 February 2005 - Tuesday

I went in to the office to sign paperwork saying that Taos can tell Google that I don't have a criminal record, which ended up taking quite a while because I couldn't find the person I needed to get the paperwork from. On the upside, this meant I got to salivate at talk to the woman in the cube next to her a couple of times.

Stupid wireless network kept cutting out, though. I suspect it was on the other side of a microwave from me, or something.

* * *

I have finally put a schedule for Tuesday Night Anime up on the web! Perhaps someday I will be almost as cool as Ray!

* * *

Instead of making a character for tomorrow, I have spent much of the afternoon making a random name generator (well, the input file; I had the code already handy). Sadly the output is not that great, but perhaps if I grab names from some more Exalted books, it will improve.

* * *

And now we have actually watched Tuesday Night Anime, so yay us. Or er something.

Salivating at people by Del from Philly (Mon Feb 7 12:21:09 2005)

Sounds like maybe you should eat before going into Taos. Sounds like she has a delectable braincase.

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