Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 July 2014 - Thursday

Wait, where did July go?!


Lady of Devices, Her Own Devices, Magnificant Devices, and Brilliant Devices (Shelley Adina) are fairly short steampunk books about a young woman who has to become a criminal gadgeteer and adopt a bunch of urchins when her family's fortunes are ruined by the inexplicable failure of the internal combustion engine to become popular. I'm not going to say they're good, but they're entertaining, and are pure steampunk (airships, goggles, no vampires, no wizards).

The fifth and sixth books, A Lady of Resources and A Lady of Spirit, follow the two girl urchins in their teenage years as they find their birth families and deal with complicated and horrible backstory (and explosions).

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30 July 2014 - Wednesday

If it's Wednesday, this must be Barsaive!

The PCs ransomed the crazy elementalist back to the hippies for an additional 150% of elemental fire and went back to the city, where they were visited by the great Theran hero Hero-Slayer. He explained his theory about how killing killable Horrors just opened up ecological niches for unkillable Horrors, and let Name-givers breed and be happy, which lures Horrors, which means that moral adepts should refrain from killing Horrors or trying to free slaves and help people have better lives. Oh, and give him the Horror-tainted magic item of great hero-destroying power. This went over like the proverbial lead airboat, but he invited them to challenge him anyway, instead of running off to continue destroying the world.

About this time, swarms of Theran airships appeared on the horizon, so Tom had to leave off working on the ship, palm the primary injection talisman so Hank and Bites-Gristle couldn't abandon them, and fetch everyone else from the hotel. The mobsters who said Hank owed them money were not even a speed bump.

Tharkas shot Hero-Slayer as the ship soared over the challenge grounds, which didn't even scratch his armor but counted as coup. Theran sky sailors and the hero No-Nose tried to board the ship, but were fended off despite their use of Taunt, the PCs (and their not-very-trustworthy chartered pilots) swooped away in the direction of Throal or Parlainth or somewhere, and Mike yielded up the GM Hat.


The Antaran Codex (Stephen Renneberg) is pretty middle-of-the-road space opera. It has modern trappings (cyberware, Alcubierre warps), but also tramp space freighters, random funny-looking aliens, and the galactic league that won't let humans join until they grow up.

On the Imperium's Secret Service (Christopher Nuttall) is also middle-of-the-road space opera, although with humans on the other side of the whip. It still has tramp freighters, and also decadent space nobles.

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29 July 2014 - Tuesday

The Midnight Witch (Paula Brackston) gets a couple of points for being Edwardian (and WWI-era) instead of Victorian, and having good-aligned necromancers, but otherwise is meh. Too much introspecting for camera.

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28 July 2014 - Monday

Boo, Monday.

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27 July 2014 - Sunday

No gaming today: Jeremy and Rachel are ransoming their daughter from the faerie queen.

Blblblblbl++.


Earl was talking about running D&D5 so I read through the freely downloadable basic rules. (They are pretty basic, with only the four classic classes and one option (cleric domain, etc) for each, a limited number of backgrounds, and an abbreviated list of spells.)

It's pretty much D&D, though, except that instead of running from +0 to +20, the plusses only run from +2 to +6 and are always the same: whatever your level is, you get the corresponding proficiency bonus on everything your class is good at. There are attribute bonuses and probably magic item bonuses that might increase with level, but the curve is still much flatter than previous editions. Hit points still increase linearly, though, so high-level fights probably take a long time. Also, there are no longer situational modifiers: if you have the advantage, you roll 2d20 and take the better, and if you're at a disadvantage, you take the worse.

I see no reason why it should not be playable, but it's not nearly as inspiring as 13th Age.

Speaking of which, I also read the 13th Age Book of Loot. 13th Age magic items have fairly minor effects, even less than D&D4e, so there's not the sense of "as soon as my GM allows these, I will RULE THE WORLD" that comes from older loot books, but they all seem cool and storyriffic.

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26 July 2014 - Saturday

HAPPY HAPPY RACHEL-DAY (OBSERVED)!!


Fortunately, I do not need a brain to watch random anime on Crunchyroll!

Kamigami no Asobi and Diabolik Lovers are both reverse-harem, but where the gods in KnA are merely obnoxious gits, the vampires in DL are anthropophages and probably rapists.


Rachel's party was full of people who are cooler than me and have more interesting lives, but this is true of all parties.


  • Princess Tutu 19: This is kind of like the opposite of the monster-of-the-week phase in Sailor Moon.
  • Sherlock S3 1: I don't know if it entirely holds together, but it was entertaining, and I am glad Mary got to be competent.
  • Shakugan no Shana season 3 23-24: The end! I have to admit that I had lost track of everything that was going on, but it seemed to be a happy ending. I also really liked the design of the tower to paradise, for no apparent reason.

The Scroll of Years (Chris Willrich) is somewhat odd fantasy. It reminds me a bit of the Morlock Ambrose books by James Enge, although the setting is not quite as unearthly and not quite as grim. There is plenty of random strangeness with dragons and mages with stuff in their brains and western adventurers exposed to wuxia battles, though.

You by Avalon (Mon Aug 4 21:06:43 2014)

Rachel's party was full of people who are cooler than me and have more interesting lives, but this is true of all parties.

When you make statements like that it is hard to know what to say. =) In a way I want to argue with you that you are cool because on my scale of coolness, you are very cool. If you mean hipster not really except everyone who lives in the SF Bay area is sort of automatically more ahead. Maybe not as far ahead as Helsinki...=)

But mostly I am trying to figure out what that means really because I feel like it puts me as a reader in a position of having to judge coolness which (despite what people might think about my job is not my job about people, maybe rarely about things if by coolness someone means 'worth editorial space) is not something I would want to do, I may be 17 but it is not my thing anyway. Really the question is, what would make you feel just as a "Rachel's party person" because...you already are, you were there!

what Avalon said! by marith (Mon Aug 4 23:55:40 2014)

This coolth and lack thereof exists mostly in your own head, you know.

Admittedly, if one frames it differently as "the people at Rachel's party all seem to doing very interesting things with their time and I wish I could figure out how to do that too" then I am right there with you! You should tell Avalon about the formidable crafting exploits of the locals :)

You are ganging up on me! by Trip (Tue Aug 5 21:16:39 2014)

Well of course I was a Rachel's party person. I had an invitation and everything! I just do not do anything nearly as cool as the other Rachel's party people, because I hardly do anything at all, ever. (Except sometimes go to Rachel's parties, but that's like eight hours out of the year.)

You do not need to judge my coolness. I can do that perfectly well on my own.

Also, hmph!

Cool *things* by Avalon (Sun Aug 10 08:50:49 2014)

Well then time to figure out how to do some cool things. I will help! =)

Re: Cool *things* by Trip (Thu Aug 14 13:21:32 2014)

Doing things is hard!

Not that hard... by Avalon (Thu Aug 14 18:46:53 2014)

...apparently!! XOXOXOX

Not that hard? by Trip (Thu Aug 14 18:50:52 2014)

I haven't actually done anything yet! Also I need to get a good stylus.

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25 July 2014 - Friday

Yay! Not on call anymore!


Dance in the Vampire Bund: The Memories of Sledgehammer vol 1-2 (Nozomu Tamaki) is more vampiric political intrigue, but with many flashbacks to Hama's distressing past.


Redemption Song (Craig Schaefer) is the sequel to The Long Way Down, more modern magic noir in Las Vegas. This one is more of a heist book, complete with explanation at the end. We get to see more home life of demons and the humans who love them , which is way too normal. I'm pretty sure it will turn out to have all been a horrible snare.

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24 July 2014 - Thursday

I managed to escape the team-building activity by hiding in my cube until everyone left. Whew.


Stardogs (Dave Freer) has too much blood and slavery to be humorous SF, but it's certainly not completely serious.

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23 July 2014 - Wednesday

Blblblblbl.


Volume 1 of Rocket Girl (Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder) makes very little sense in many respects, but it has a cute teenaged girl travelling through time and flying a jetpack, which may or may not make up for it.


The Hydra Protocol (David Wellington) was shelved in SF, which was legit for the previous book in the series but not this one. It has an unusual villain group for a modern spy adventure, at least.

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22 July 2014 - Tuesday

Ayse is busy tomorrow, so we played Earthdawn tonight instead, thus confusing me utterly as to what day of the week it was.

The PCs went off into the boonies to buy get some elemental fire that had fallen off the back of a salamander, to fix the airship of the guy who said he would fly them to Parlainth if they helped fix his ship. (Aspersions were cast on Lonely Hank's reliability, but only by people who wanted money from him, so he probably won't drop the PCs into a swamp halfway there.) The hippies with the fire to sell had a hot tub and free love, which nice, but at least some of them (including the crazy one who seduced Isidari with elemental debauchery) also had a bad case of banditry. They broke out in bear elementals and electric shields, but Isidari's mighty Taunt power overcame them in the end.

The Dread Hammer and Hepen the Watcher (Linda Nagata) are pretty much one story in two volumes, about an extremely antiheroic spirit of ass-kicking in a pre-medieval setting (so, oaths are a valid excuse for committing atrocities), and people who are unfortunate enough to fall into his orbit. Some of them even survive, and the patriarchy gets kicked in the teeth.

Skye Object 3270A (also Linda Nagata) is a YA story in the same setting as Deception Well, and in fact on (kinda) the planet Deception Well. It has obnoxious adults, feats of daring, romance, and ginormous space squids FTW.

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21 July 2014 - Monday

Once more unto the SPLAT!


I did not know C S Friedman wrote YA, but Dreamwalker (C S Friedman) definitely is (of the "Surprise! You have a hunted! Oh, you'll find out where the points went... eventually." subvariety). It seems to be the first of a series.

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20 July 2014 - Sunday

No gaming, only Zuul. And Avalon in the evening!

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19 July 2014 - Saturday

The customers did not call today. Wumwumwumwumwumwum.


  • Princess Tutu 17-18: Evil Monster has poor parenting sk1llz.
  • Slayers Evolution-R 12-13: And then the monster from the first season ate them. (Not really.) The end!
  • Shakugan no Shana season 3 22: Almost the end, and major (or at least long-running) characters are starting to die off. Will anyone at all survive?
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 58: Getting near the end here too, but characters have been kicking the bucket all along, so getting sucked into the Phantom Zone is only a bit of escalation.

Look, it's Avalon!

Avalon!

The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Steadfast (Jack Campbell) has some alien strangeness, some space combat, and a lot of political intrigue which culminates in something that I thought was completely telegraphed. I'm not sure someone of a more recent vintage would have caught all the clues, but it would probably still have been enough.

Yikes by Avalon (Fri Jul 25 19:12:12 2014)

That is a very fuzzy one. =)

Re: Yikes by Trip (Fri Jul 25 19:36:51 2014)

Well, camera phone!

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18 July 2014 - Friday

Boo, I'm on call again! Well, gaming has been cancelled, so I guess it's a good weekend for it. Now I just need to exert my vast psychic powers to put the customers into a coma until Monday.


Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, and White Heart of Justice (Jill Archer) are set in a world where Armageddon happened and the demons won, but both leaders were killed. Two thousand years later, demons have the position of pagan gods (patron of this city, that river, these activities); humans and angels (pretty similar in most respects) have formed a remarkably modern civilization based at least partly on the general spellcasting ability of angels and the life or death magic a few humans have. Only women have life/healing magic, and only men have death/fire magic — except the main character, who is Very Unhappy and in denial about being a death mage (well, and her twin brother, but he seems okay with being a healer, possibly because it means hanging with the other healers who are all women or possibly because he's just not as high-strung). College and hijinx ensue.

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17 July 2014 - Thursday

Gaming makes me sleepy. Bah.


The Forever Watch (David Ramirez) reminds me of Eclipse Phase with the cyberware and repression and psionic powers, although it's not similar in detail. The horrendous secrets of the generation ship are indeed horrendous, but sadly I do not get the impression that anyone in the setting ever tried very hard to deal with them in any except the most obvious (and difficult, repressive, and wasteful) way. So, it's not really an idiot plot, but it doesn't make me think the humans deserved much better than they got.

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16 July 2014 - Wednesday

HAPPY HAPPY AVALON-DAY!!!


Today, Earthdawn.

Isidari and Kamakani got mixed up in a star-crossed secret love affair that was foundering on confusion over whether half a dead antelope left in someone's room was like a horse's head in the bed, or like half a mouse dragged in by a cat. In the end it all worked out, though, and Kamakani was able to make off with the ancestral shield of shininess (to add to its luster with further great deeds, of course). Isidari made contact with the skyship captain who Beatrice was manipulated (by dragons! dragons, I tells ya!) into encountering, so next week we can try to get a ride to Parlainth without any... Imperial entanglements.

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15 July 2014 - Tuesday

Way #923475623990 in which current Boss S is incalculable orders of magnitude better than old boss G3: she knocks before coming into my cube!


It seems like Two Serpents Rise just came out, but here is Full Fathom Five (Max Gladstone) already! This time, it's the Carribean-analog, for offshore banking with ill-gotten gods. It turns out that gods raise even more moral questions than banks. Characters from the previous two books are involved, because international finance theology is a tangled web.

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14 July 2014 - Monday

Boss S is in this office this week, instead of down in the San Diego area as is her usual habit. I'll have to try extra-hard to not burn the building down, I guess.


The heroine of The Glass Sentence (S E Grove) lives in a world that has shattered into regions from various past and future ages, so it's not surprising she can't keep track of time, but one so rarely thinks of dissociation as a superpower.


Truth and Fear (Peter Higgins) is the sequel to Wolfhound Century, set in the same cognate of early-C20 Russia with a technological revolution based on scavenging the dead shoggoths angels that fall to Earth. From about a third of the way into the book, it is clear what the epic doom of the climax is going to be, but it is so Epic there will have to be another book to hold all the fallout.

The hardcover edition of this book, being the second in a series, helpfully has the number 2 on the spine. Why do more publishers not do this? (Rhetorical question: I already know it's because the publishing industry hates me personally.)

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13 July 2014 - Sunday

This is an Immortal Empire week, so I trundled up to Palo Alto instead of down to San Jose.

Dave and I both have plots that involve anomolous geothermal activity in the capital, so we should probably come up with some way for them to fit together into one huge pile of flaming truffid-infested doom. With bunyips and catgirl ninjas on top. (But not bunyip ninjas, because that would be Silly.)

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12 July 2014 - Saturday

Sort of conscious. I guess. Vaguely. Enough to watch terrible anime.


Also, I watch good anime! And order pizza which everyone falls upon even though mere minutes ago they were saying they didn't need anything.

  • Princess Tutu 15-16: I guess it's good that Lilie is like that with everyone, not just Ahiru?
  • Slayers Evolution-R 10-11: Pokota is brave, at least.
  • Shakugan no Shana season 3 21: Subvert the dominant paradigm incantation!
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 57: It seems oddly appropriate that someone so horrible should be nameless.

Hinterkind (Ian Edginton, Francesco Trifogli) is remarkably low-magic for a post-faerie-apocalypse setting. It's mostly post-apocalypse, although the cities are overgrown rather than blasted.

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11 July 2014 - Friday

And then my brain fell out and I spent most of the day as non-interactive cat furniture. I fail at working.


Volume 2 of UQ Holder! (Ken Akamatsu) remains shounen and mostly cheery, although the naked girl count is much lower than in Negima!.

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10 July 2014 - Thursday

I ended up staying up until after midnight doing a thing, or at least shepherding the sequelae of the thing. After gaming last night. Glurgh.


Dance in the Vampire Bund: Forgotten Tales (Nozomu Tamaki, Tikurakuran, Gemma, et al) is doujinshi by the original creator. It seems like there should be a word for that.


The print version of 13 True Ways won't be out for a while, but Pelgrane makes the PDF available with the pre-order (if they can send it to the printer, they can send it to gamers!). Muahahaha.

Unlike a typical supplement, this is just more of everything that is in the main books: more classes, more monsters, more magic items, more setting description. (Not more icons, though.)

The new classes are Chaos Mage (for those who thought Sorcerers were too predictable), Commander (build up command points on your turn, spend them to make your comrades more effective on their turns), Druid (more choices than you can shake a shillelagh at: spells, melee, different spells, pet, healer, shapeshifter, ...), Monk (same wire-fu and 3-round sequences as in the playtest released a while back), Necromancer (not just a spell list any more), and Occultist (the artwork has an amorphous monster, but the powers are all fate magic). Also, you can now multiclass, or technically dual-class, since you only get two classes, and are effectively a level behind in both (plus you have to split your allotment of talents and stuff between them).

New monsters include devils, which may or may not be just cleverer demons (there are 13 ways to include them in your campaign, plus 3 bonus ones), and metallic dragons (which may or may not be good, but in neither case are they sure about you, murderhobo). Several of the major cities of the Empire and associated lands are described, for them to rampage around in.

For the GM, there are seed descriptions for 13 dungeons and 13 flying realms, a somewhat more detailed description of one flying dungeon, and four NPCs contributed by Kickstarter backers.

Now I want to run 13th Age, but most of my gamers are in San Jose. Bah!


I didn't see any of the previous ones, but the fourth draft of Magical Burst is pretty swell. It has all the important elements for a game based on Puella Magi Madoka Magica, like [SPOILER] and [SPOILER] and horrible creepy [SPOILER], and also DOOOOOOM.

It's by the same person who did Dragon World, so it's not surprising that the mechanics are powered by a cousin of the apocalypse, but there are plenty of mechanics for additional magical DOOOOOOM.

I would like to be able to run this, but since every GM has to come up with the dark secrets for their own campaign, I'm not sure I would ever be able to.

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9 July 2014 - Wednesday

Look, more work. Look, less brain.


The Earthdawn PCs finally returned to civilization, which has baths and training for 6th circle and nosy reporters and baths.

Squabbling over loot is indeed not heroic.


I didn't think I remembered all the backreferences in The Apocalypse Codex, so I reread The Fuller Memorandum. Oh, the doom!

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8 July 2014 - Tuesday

Bah, work.


Finally, in volume 7, Sankarea (Mitsuru Hattori) has gotten to the Zombology Underground!


After reading The Rhesus Files, I realized I didn't remember everything that happened in The Apocalypse Codex, so I went back and reread it. Biology is so horrible. It's great.


Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (J L Murray) is uninspired urban fantasy, Christian mythology subspecies.

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7 July 2014 - Monday

I am so clever that I scheduled a day off to recover from my vacation. Thus, I accomplished nothing of utility.


Avalon is going to Helsinki tomorrow.


As of volume 1, Gakuen Polizi (Milk Morinaga) promises yuri-smooches but delivers nothing like sense.

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6 July 2014 - Sunday

Despite small-child drama, we left Roseville in good order and more or less on schedule. They have only driven us off temporarily, however!


All paws are still fuzzy and accounted for, thanks to Marith checking on them!


Since we got home at a reasonable time, there was enough brain to play Fading Suns! The PCs delved into the bowels of the ancient complex of terraforming mystery, which contained unexpected red-hot crystals (Vau tech?), an alarming killer robot, an easily-cowed junior priest, and a somewhat dubious but possibly well-intentioned archbishop.

Playing a smart character is really hard and I suck at it.

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5 July 2014 - Saturday

Happy happy Josh Day!!

Al and Sherilyn's house is now tuned to the Teenager Channel, with extra splashing.


Winner of History of the World: Me!

Winner of Munchkin Pathfinder: not me.

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4 July 2014 - Friday

I did not ever get around to going swimming today, but many other people did. Indoors, we played History of the World very slowly and chillaxed.


Other people probably don't pass long car rides by recounting the Iliad. This is because they are not as cool as us.


I hadn't seen fireworks in a few years. I forgot how pretty they are.


Al and Sherilyn grilled me about Avalon, but I wasn't sure at the time if it was okay to spill the beans about her being someone in a multiple system, and only 17, and stuff. But it is okay! For some definition of "okay" that probably means "arguments on the Internet".

Anyway, she is still adorable.

me =) by Avalon (Tue Jul 15 17:38:52 2014)

I am happy to be grilled or answer questions if anyone does have those things, people here have been through rounds of coming out. =)

Avalon! by Trip (Wed Jul 16 08:08:32 2014)

That is just a small part of why you are adorable.

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3 July 2014 - Thursday

Indeed, I did not go to Roseville naked, for which Ken and Dave were probably very grateful. Wearing a swimsuit was bad enough, at least in terms of radiation exposure.

Jus (fka Ja Baby) is getting quite good at swimming, although she still uses floaties.

There was grilled food after swimming, and some Dungeon World.

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2 July 2014 - Wednesday

Even when it's only virtual Friday, I spend my Friday evenings doing exciting things like laundry. But I'm pretty sure no one wants me to go to Roseville naked. Probably not even Avalon.


The Shadow Throne (Django Wexler) is the sequel to The Thousand Names, in which the maguffin of the previous book has almost no impact on a French-like urban revolution. There will probably be a lot more doom in the next book, when the streams inevitably cross.


Fifth in the "Laundry" series (Charles Stross), The Rhesus Files leaves the Earth-scouring doom of The Apocalypse Codex to fester for a bit and concentrates on people annoying Bob in the office. This goes poorly for many, as one might expect.

Only by Avalon (Sun Jul 13 17:45:26 2014)

if I am in the car. =)

xoxo!

Re: Only by Trip (Mon Jul 14 09:12:04 2014)

I think you may be silly.

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1 July 2014 - Tuesday

I only have one more day of work this week, which makes this Thursday, right? But the library still thinks it's Tuesday.

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