Previously, in Trip's Life...

25 March 2015 - Wednesday

[ . . . ]

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24 March 2015 - Tuesday

Fragment (Warren Fahy) is about a mysterious island of horrifying terror, and what the people unfortunate enough to encounter it do. Just because an isolated ecosystem is fragile as a whole doesn't mean the individual monsters won't kick your ass. (Stomatopods FTW!)

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23 March 2015 - Monday

Just in the first chapter or so of The Pyramids of London (Andrea K Höst), we have Egyptian vampires, Roman power crystals, killer robots, economically-colonized Britain, and a murder mystery. It gets better from there.

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22 March 2015 - Sunday

Jeremy also made me low-sugar chocolate cream pie. I have so much pie now. Muahahahahaha!

Last fortnight, D&D5e broke after defeating the master villain but before cleaning up the rest of the dungeon. As it turns out, the Stone of Dream Writing is also pretty villainous, but although it makes a good try at crushing people without moving, and turning random cultist mooks into ever-changing dream monsters, it is eventually gravelled. Then, although the ever-changing undead are still around, it is deemed time to grab the prisoners and scarper into the light of the now-waning moon.

After a long rest and some interrogation, the prisoners, Beryl, and a no longer mind-controlled but unrepentant Damson are packed off to New Ort and possibly thence to civilization. The PCs go back into the dungeon to look for more clues and also to clean up the ever-changing undead, which might otherwise roam the countryside eating civilians.

The Remembered Tomb is remarkably tidy inside for someplace that saw a huge fight and general massacre less than 24 hours ago, but free of monsters until, past the room where all the dead bodies from last night have been stuffed into niches, they find what's buried in the tomb, and what was buried to guard it. In fact, they find twice as much as that, since the undead are flickering back and forth between the two possibilities: a half-ogre or a halfling, served by skeletons or zombies. This makes things twice as hairy, but the PCs kite the servitors to a place where they have to queue up to get smashed by The Frederick and everyone else can provide fire support on that front and fend off the primary corpse when it comes in the other side. Victory!

As far as anyone can tell, the tomb from the other timeline is the one that ended up materialized, but surely there is no way that could have corrosive effects on reality that will annoy the PCs in their future adventures.

Hurray for Avalon!

After rereading the first two volumes, I have finally finished Whispered Words (Takeshi Ikeda). It is cute, although it sure takes a long time for those two to stop being wimps. (Easy to say from my advanced years, I know.)

Noragami (Adachitoka) is fairly standard invisible-supernatural-in-the-modern-day shounen adventure, with wacky kami (wackami?) and not much cheesecake. It's got a good excuse for the female lead to be sort of a catgirl, though.

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21 March 2015 - Saturday


I am now a hundred million years old.

Celebratory sushi foundered on the rock of disease, but Ken made me sugar-free chocolate cream pie, and also fish, so it all worked out!

  • Chihayafuru 2 1-2: It's recruitment drive time! Good thing they have a hunk to pull in the freshmen.
  • Sword Art Online 3: None of us can figure out how this fits into the chronology of what came before.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico 7: Oh the tragic backstory!
  • Okamikakushi 7: Huh, maybe it is contagious.

Happy happy Tripday! by marithlizard (Tue Mar 31 08:46:28 2015)

Your parasitic excellence only continues to grow with each passing year! Soon you will smother the parent oak of civilization with your flourishing tentac - um, wait, never mind. :)

Trip-day by Avalon (Tue Mar 31 17:45:34 2015)

That you were born is THE BEST THING. Lovelovelove!

Re: Trip-day by Trip (Wed Apr 1 07:14:45 2015)

Pink parasite! With smothering tentacles!

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20 March 2015 - Friday

No work today, because I need to bleed off some vacation time. Of course, I then spent half the day running errands, because I don't understand what "vacation" means, but whatever. All cats: check! Space parasite: check!

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19 March 2015 - Thursday

Last to Rise (Francis Knight) is the end of the urban secondary-world fantasy trilogy that started with Fade to Black and Before The Fall. The protagonist does experience personal growth, or maybe just gets character built through suffering &emdash; being a pain-mage and having your city change regimes while under siege will do that. It is not what I would call a happy ending.

Prudence (Gail Carriger) is much lighter and in fact outright silly, being a spin-off from Carriger's "Parasol Protectorate" series and starring the protagonist's daughter (who is surprisingly poor at keeping her clothes on for a Victorian noblewoman). Indian adventure and discovery ensues.

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18 March 2015 - Wednesday

I think we had four P1s at the same time. Gah. But at least they all cleared up by the end of the day, more or less.

The 13th Age PCs managed to get the Green Water Tong to accept San Sobretto as a priest of their patron non-Euclidian squid god and ferry them almost all the way to their destination before the inevitable betrayal with tentacles and seaweed zombies. Once that was foiled, they left the cowed ship crew awaiting their return and plunged into a montage of deadly traps in the catacombs beneath the Necropolis (some of which Ktang's knew by name). We had to break after they defeated the bone spiders (not undead, just a fashion statement) at the point where the path they had the map for was blocked off. Next session, up the manhole into the city of the dead!

Ken was too busy all week to read the changes I made my character class, but since I can't roll dice worth beans, it mostly didn't matter.

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17 March 2015 - Tuesday

I quite liked The Diabolical Miss Hyde (Viola Carr), although I'm not sure it's actually outstanding in any way. Still: mad science, hidden desires, brutally surpressed magic, serial killers, and more mad science.

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16 March 2015 - Monday


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15 March 2015 - Sunday


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14 March 2015 - Saturday

No anime, because everyone from Monkeycat Towers has gone to Roseville so Jus can attend Elyssa's birthday party.

The Broken Isles (Mark Charan Newton) is the fourth and apparently last book in the "Legend of the Red Sun" series. Things are indeed wrapped up, although not to everyone's satisfaction, and civilization can continue in an only slightly altered form for the survivors.

Castaway Planet (Eric Flint, Ryk E Spoor) is pretty much what it says on the tin: inexplicable hyperdrive accident, shuttle with a family of humans and one allied nonhuman (this is a sequel of sorts to Boundary/Threshold/Portal), habitable but not exactly welcoming planet. Fortunately, they were on their way to a colony, so they all have useful skills and smartphone apps. However, they do not have actual survey gear, so they can be surprised by the peculiarities of the planet. In case you were wondering, it is not the sort of book in which everyone dies of nutritional incompatibility in the first chapter.

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13 March 2015 - Friday

Quite Contrary (Richard Roberts) is not completely dissimilar to Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Teeth, but not as good (and not just because its title isn't a Eurhythics reference). Fairy tales as physical places and things, and the power of story, are not that uncommon, and I think it pulls its punches on some of the potential horribleness.

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12 March 2015 - Thursday

Twelve paws!

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11 March 2015 - Wednesday

No gaming, because Mike is Doing Something, and Jacob is swotting up for one of the famous Google Interviews. At least I have some Avalon!

Anti-Hero (Jonathan Wood) is third in the series about a British cop who gets sucked into the secret and extremely underfunded government agency responsible for saving the world from extra-dimensional horrors. Or, sometimes, from themselves. Like the previous books, the emphasis is on the emotional impact of the world-saving action sequences.

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10 March 2015 - Tuesday

The Book of Transformations (Mark Charan Newton) is the third in the "Legends of the Red Sun" series. This time, a trans character, superheroes (which actually works surprisingly well, since Villjamur's half-remembered supertech is a lot like the way superheroes traditionally get made), and something that might be real magic or might be excessively advanced. Also, smooches.

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9 March 2015 - Monday

Monday, my ancient enemy, we meet again.

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8 March 2015 - Sunday

The D&D5e PCs now have all five of the Scales of Texting! The manticore who ate the remaining kobolds came to annoy them, and they beat the crap out of it until it threw them the scale and fled. Hardly any of them were even mortally wounded!

After that, they tried to come up with a plan to break into the Remembered Tomb and rescue Beryl and/or take down Damson. Since the leader's spellcasting stat is Cha, they ended up mugging a couple of cultist war-moth patrols for their mounts so that they could fly down the pit from the hilltop over the tomb, while the cultists were helpless in their religious ecstasies.

(Somewhere in there, Dain gave in to tempation and discovered that his alternate form is a devil dwarf duergar, with all his spells reversed from helpful to harmful, and a bottomless store of rage. Also, it had been the full moon for something like five days, although there was some disagreement as to exactly how long.)

The plan worked well until the PCs actually executed it, at which point they found Damson and her lieutenants (and prizes, including Beryl) were literally overseeing the drug madness on the main rave floor, rather than being bombed out of their skulls. A huge fight ensued. In no particular order: Ella turned into a faerie dragon with euphoria breath to help the cultists who had to skip the party to be on guard; Dain got mind-controlled by Damson to smash the Stone of Blankness Ever-Changing Text and, due to his duergar form's enlarge self power, almost succeeded; the undead were set loose; Beryl shot up Zacharias with magic missile on multiple occasions because she "could not go against Damson's orders"; the actual cult priestess was murderized; numerous cultists were wounded by falling objects/monsters from above; things were set on fire; Zacharias jacked a war moth. Finally, Damson (in her lamia form) was brought down!

That's about when the rest of the cult started sobering up.

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7 March 2015 - Saturday

I went with Ayse and Jus to a cat show at the county fairground, and it was full of cats. So many beautiful friendly cats. It was very hard not to return with any additional felines!

Jus was going to enter Cally in the plush cat competition, but the kids had to go up and get asked questions by the judge, so she decided she was too shy. Cally will have to wait for her moment of glory, but she cannot languish in obscurity forever!

I am really quite dubious about Balinese, which seem to me like the border collies of the cat world with their freakishly-shaped heads, but I guess they are not as definitively victims of genetic crime as Persians. Ayse likes British Shorthairs, which have superdense plushy fur. Everyone likes silver tabby Maine Coons, which are exceptionally beautiful and also the size of small bulldozers. You know, it's not like anyone comes around to count how many cats I have in my apartment...

  • Martian Successor Nadesico 6: No, that's not okay, not even when a woman does it to a man.
  • Sword Art Online 1-2: Ah, the perils of proprietary technology and lack of regulatory oversight.
  • Okamikakushi 6: Why yes, she is completely crazy.
  • Chihayafuru 24-25: Admittedly, I'm not an expert in the genre, but I cannot think of any other sports anime which has had quite this kind of climactic conflict. And not much on TV at all that passed by such an opportunity for body-shaming.

Witchcraft Works (Ryu Mizunagi) is basically a modern fantasy shounen series with the gender roles reversed. The female lead is a head taller than the male lead, deadpan, possessed of powerful combat magic, and prone to carrying him in her arms; the male lead is apparently unexceptional but has the key to vast magical power within him. Bizarre witches ensue.

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6 March 2015 - Friday

Flex (Ferrett Steinmetz) doesn't exactly have the same magic system as Unknown Armies, but it's pretty close. Obsession FTW brings vast magical power, even if what you're obsessed with is as unmagical as paperwork or as abstract as societal change. In fact, bureaucromancy is pretty terrifying, not that we see much magic that isn't. It's not to see why normal people fear magicians, even without continents accidentally being laid waste.

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5 March 2015 - Thursday

In Wild Children (Richard Roberts), sometimes kids in the range of about 10-14 assume animal characteristics and stop aging. There seem to be several ways this happens, none of them as well-understood as people want to think, and several different ways people treat the Wild Children, few of them as enlightened as one might hope. (Unsurprisingly, the worst are the monotheistic church; how well the hereditary nobility do in the rankings depends on whether you think a beautiful teenage kemonomimi's duties extend beyond serving tea while posing in a zillion crowns of silk finery &emdash; the text is very uninformative.) It is very very fairytale-tastic, anyway!

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4 March 2015 - Wednesday

Mike has failed to keep up his propitiary sacrifices to Malia, but we were able to play 13th Age anyway, by asserting the existence of a gratuitous magical barrier that kept his character out of the dungeon. Then we fought a vrock, or the other PCs fought a vrock while Anwë was completely useless. (There was right about a 1/6 chance of her missing five attacks in a row against that AC, so it wasn't unbelievable uselessness, but sheesh. I think I may need to fix up her build some so she has more than one possible action in combat.) Having successfully recovered the mummified corpse of the only other person known to have pulled off the infiltration we planned, we handwaved a scene with Ktangs interrogating the corpse and skipped straight to Shadowport, where we looked for a ship that could get us to the island with the secret passage into the Necropolis without sinking or eating us or otherwise proving to be an even worse plan than we thought. The only one we came across is in hock to the Green Water Tong (not just a criminal organization, but also a fish cult), so next week we will have to deal with them.

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Teeth (Richard Roberts) is sort of like heartwarming horror, I guess? There's no question that it's horror for the NPCs, but to themselves, the nightmares are just creatures of instinct, or dedicated professionals, albeit ones with a strange society and peculiar ways of showing romantic love. (The demons and demiurges are a little more philosophically complex.)

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3 March 2015 - Tuesday

No brain, straight up.

Pocket Apocalypse (Seanan McGuire) is the fourth "Incryptids" book, and is the Australia Field Trip episode. Amazing as it initially seems to the protagonist, cryptids can in fact make Australia even more dangerous, although the local cryptozoologists are still the leading threat.

PA was pretty good, but I am still looking forward to the series getting to Antimony, the sibling who is all about roller derby and high explosives.

Doll Bones (Holly Black) is the story of three middle-schoolers who get a creepy possibly-haunted doll mixed up in their otherwise fun-sounding paracosmic* game and wind up running away from home going on a quest across the Eastern US.

*Thanks, Marith!

Twelve paws!

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2 March 2015 - Monday

No weekend, no brain!

The title of Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up The Moon (Richard Roberts) is a little misleading, but that is a minor quibble about an otherwise excellent superpowered space adventure with multiple kinds of disturbing aliens and bizarre spaceships and craziness and plans and deathtraps. (Space is, in fact, an ideal environment for a gadgeteer, even one in middle school.) Why do I not write books this cool?

Thumbing through stuff in my bedroom while winding down for bed eventually lead to having reread tremulus. Why do I not create games this cool? Why can I not even run games this cool?

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1 March 2015 - Sunday

No gaming, no brain!

Starshine (GS Jennsen) is fairly generic SF adventure/romance, not very well written.

When Carl recommended Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain (Richard Roberts), I turned out I already had it in my Magic Box of Infinite Books, but I bumped it up the list based on his recommendation and was completely correct to do so. Four-color tropes FTW! Middle school gadgeteer FTW! This is the sort of gadgeteering that is definitely a power, not skills, which of course makes it even more exciting for the gadgeteer and less of a pain for the GM (unlike No Master Plan Here).

I was a terrible player for Force 10, but this book made me miss it anyway. Maybe I need to be running Champions on the non-D&D5 Sundays. (Or Marvel or something. Everything is better with the Dwarf Lords of Sumatra.)

Complete Correctness by Carl (Fri Jun 26 20:50:07 2015)

Glad you liked Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain and the sequel. I will be sorely disappointed if the series doesn't eventually lead up to Please Don't Tell My Parents I Took Over The World.

I miss Force 10 and World of the 400 too sometimes, and you were fine as Tesla Girl, I mean Spike.

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