Previously, in Trip's Life...
31 May 2015 - Sunday
Work. Also, customers. And brainlessness.
I made the 13th
Age PCs wander through some more concretely-described dungeon locations
and undead and hungry stars to get to the climactic confrontation with the
creepy person in the dark. I think it went okay, even though I killed
hardly any of them very much and had to push off the actual fight to
we had no Dave because he ran off to Yosemite with Marith, but I ran his
character in the fights. The PCs found the correct Cow Lady (stupid
squirrels and their inability to distinguish humanoids) just as the
Equalists did and helped her defeat the Equalist squad and the oldest
Daughter of the Revolution with her robot pony and magic butterflies, but
The Frederick was trapped on the Ethereal Plane when Rose retreated.
Fortunately he had his Stone of Texting, and was able to take selfies of
himself climbing the chains that led from every major tree to the giant
mechanism in the city and thence to the moon, so Zach did not have to
actually strangle him. He also met Kamala, Zach's erstwhile Hot Librarian
fling, who was revealed to be an inspiration-eating succubus last episode,
but this time claimed to also be a daughter of the king's cursed bastard
daughter -- princesses all around!
Zach's Charisma is way higher than either his Wis or his Int, so he was
able to talk the Hera-Touched priestess out of the password to the river
elemental, get all hopped on moon dust without Kamala around to steal his
good ideas, and come up with the plan of getting the local mutant beavers
to divert the river and cut off the city's moondust supply. The Frederick,
in disguise as a stinky person of strong back and slow mind, went with the
Equalist response party, but even when he attacked from behind with the
Terror of Sword-Dancing, his future flame Amaryllis the hobgoblin officer
and the middle Revolutionary Daughter Amethyst were able stomp the PCs. (It
was all my fault because I rolled three consecutive failures on an easy Con
save for Dain to get unparalyzed and heal someone before we all got
flattened.) Next session, they can wake up in chains and get ranted at by
high-level Equalist NPCs!
That is all you are cleared for.
The middle-aged geek hero of Polychrome (Ryk E Spoor) seems
a little too obviously a stand-in for the author, but hey, who
doesn't want to save Oz from evil mages and smooch a rainbow
Earl recommended Zero Sum Gam and Half Life
(SL Huang) a while back, but I was inexplicably not competent enough to
read them until now. Why did I wait? Everything is better with
cognition-based superpowers, even if it's antiheroes and supervillains all
the way down. Bonus points for [SPOILER] and [SPOILER], and where is the
The eponymous heroine of Atlanta Burns (Chuck Wendig) starts
the book with the reputation "used a shotgun to castrate a guy trying to
rape her", which gives other semi-sane teenagers in the gay-bashing,
animal-torturing, Nazi-infested, redneck hell of central Pennsylvania an
impression of her abilities that she thinks is inflated. But, as it
turns out, she does get things done despite self-medicating her PTSD and
having to parent her mother. Allegedly the first book of a series, and hope
The City's Son (Tom Pollock) is a YA example of the "secret
magical London" trope that is common enough to be its own subgenre these
days. I blame Neil Gaiman. Anyway, this is relatively interesting magic
and adversaries, but the next books better give the WoC sidekick
something better to do than get abused, or ninjas may have to visit the
I liked The Burning Dark (Adam Christopher) well enough,
but despite being a fairly direct sequel, The Machine Awakes
was just not as creepy. The mean-free-path-length of the PCs between
horror encounters was too long.
I suppose in many ways The Ancient Magus' Bride vol 1 (Kore
Yamazaki) is fairly standard manga of the "young Japanese girl cast among
magical foreigners" subgenre, but how often do you see a potential romantic
hero with a giant monster skull for a head? Also, the heroine is a lot like
the hero of Natsume's Book of Friends, except she doesn't have
any relatives who aren't complete bastards. Plus, although it is nominally
set in modern England, the Cats of Ulthar!
I picked up The Grendel Affair (Lisa Shearin) from the
library because the author is a friend of Kit's, but like the work of other
friends of Kit (hi!), it Iz Not So Grate. At least, the multi-page
infodump of the heroine's backstory at the very beginning was not well
done. The rest was pretty standard urban fantasy action.
Atlanta Burns by Carl (Fri Jun 26 20:31:09 2015)
Have you read Shotgun Gravy novella and Bait Dog novel about Atlanta Burns, by Chuck Wendig?
Re: Atlanta Burns by Trip (Mon Jun 29 11:26:30 2015)
I believe those are the first two sections of the novel.
Make a comment!
25 May 2015 - Monday
Memorial Day! This weekend, Ken was at Kublacon running Dungeon
World and 13th
Age, but I was not cool enough, so I went to Roseville with Ayse and
Jus and Nonni and Dave. Everyone else in the Bay Area wanted to go toward
Sacramento too, but according to the Internets we still had a better time
of it than the population of Sacramento (who all wanted to go to the Bay
Without Ken, we couldn't play existing campaigns, and didn't have
critical mass to start any new ones, but we tried out Dominion:
Adventures (attack cards still suck) and 7 Wonders
(I still suck) and ate grilled food and Chinese food and sought the lost
art of conversation and swam. Also, kidshriekens.
There was also no gaming on Wednesday, because Ken was
anniverserating with Ayse and/or stressing about running con games, and
Mike had the plague.
Two Serpents Rise and Full Fathom Five (Max
Gladstone) are indeed not quite as over-the-top as Three Parts
Dead, but quite awesome nevertheless.
I had forgotten about the sudden switch from comedy to splatterpunk and
marital discord at the end of The Rhesus Chart (Charles
Stross). Oh the doom. And the other doom. And the violin-based doom. Why is
the next book not out yet?!
Robopocalypse (Daniel H Wilson) is at a much lower tech
level than Eclipse
Phase, just a few years ahead of now, but otherwise seems a lot like
the rise of the TITANs would have been. I was not impressed by the
superintelligent AI in the end, though.
Flight of the Godkin Griffin and The Godson's Triumph
Griffin (MCA Hogarth) are fantasy with an excuse for multiple
interfertile races that is not exactly what it seems, and also great
personal hardship for the heroine, to go with her unwanted great magical
and temporal power. Overall she deals pretty well, though, and only
exterminates the truly deserving.
Spots the Space Marine (also MCA Hogarth) is the story of a
not-even-slightly hapless mother who gets called up as a reservist for
the war against insectile aliens, and irrevocably alters history with
her moral suasion and non-military common sense.
Make a comment!
17 May 2015 - Sunday
Weekly summary time!
My boss was understanding about the thing taking forever to debug,
and the customer will do a stop-gap thing until it is ready.
went okay, although the players may be confused more by the incoherence
of my backstory than by any legitimate mystery. They only got as far as
the Giant Pit of Bottomless Doom, so we'll have to conclude next
No anime, because Ken is sick and Marith cannot afford to risk
illness at any time she is working for her current employers.
because Earl is sick.
I have been reading MCA Hogarth books, which I kind of like even
though I'm not sure anyone else would. They have definite flaws as SF,
but lots of angst. Also, catgirls.
I reread Three Parts Dead (Max Gladstone), and it is
still awesome, although knowing the twist ahead of time does detract a
little. It seems much more over-the-top than the later ones, almost as
though the author had to clean up the worldbuilding a bit, but maybe I
am misremembering. There is only one way to find out!
I have not been spending quite as much time sitting in my bedroom
watching Crunchyroll, but I have
been watching Re-Kan!, which is mostly comedy, about a girl
who can see spirits. It's not clear if it will turn out to be yuri,
although some of the secondary characters have clearly formed opinions
Yay by Avalon (Mon May 25 19:10:15 2015)
Make a comment!
13 May 2015 - Wednesday
I ran 13th
Age again, and still did not kill all the PCs to open the Wednesday
night slot for a Changeling
campaign. This should not be taken to mean that I ran well, of course. The
fights were boring, and the mystery did not eat enough people. We should
finish next week, which gives me time to tune up the remaining monsters and
traps for a TPK.
Make a comment!
10 May 2015 - Sunday
I don't seem to be keeping up with this when it's supposed to be
daily. Maybe a weekly summary will succeed.
Did some work. Ended up having to do some work on Saturday, but I was
saved by needing the help of my colleagues, who were not working on
Saturday. I was glad at the time, but it would be nice to be done with
this stupid thing.
At work, I have been listening to a
Pandora station seeded from
Lindsey Stirling, which
produces some interesting things, like "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This"
covered by a string quartet.
Today was Earl's PAD&D5 game. The PCs managed to talk to the three Fairy
Godmothers and escape with their lives and souls, but were not able to
persuade them to stop either meddling in mortal affairs or replacing the
forest with mechanisms. Ella's impassioned speech in favor of organic
nature got her seven blood-seeking antifamily butterflies as recompense for
the forest already replaced, which would be useful if she wanted to collect
the FGs' bounty on princes. Further upstream (after an enounter with
ettercaps and a dead prince at the burned hunting lodge where everything
started), they found the place where the river had jumped its banks and was
busy eroding a deposit of moon rock, and littered with bones for some
reason. Legwork among the local squirrels revealed that the stretch of
river was now carnivorous, ever since the lady with a cow's head visited
it. Since cows are sacred to Hera, this seemed like it might tie in with
the queen, but in fact it was just an Equalist hero with a horned helmet
and some mooks who wanted to arrest the "White Dragon".
Things I have read recently:
Nekropolis, Dead Streets, and Dark
War (Tim Waggoner) are kind of like Simon Green's "Nightside" books,
but less hyperbolic and I think funnier. The zombie PI is really a zombie
(requires regular maintenance to not decay, no sense of touch or smell,
etc) and the city of horror really contains only monsters (who fled Earth
when humanity started getting too obnoxious with their flamethrowers and
global communications and stuff).
Rolling in the Deep is as awesome as Mira Grant (Seanan
McGuire) usually is, and another example of why horror writers should
read lots of biology. Oh, the doom.
The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep (Brenda
Cooper) are about a singer/songwriter repeatedly saving the crew of her
starship, sometimes from themselves. The second one reminds me a lot of
Mike's Earthdawn character, as people from a small closed society are
thrust into cutthroat capitalism.
The Croning and The Light is the Darkness
(Laird Barron) are not particularly related, except that they both show how
getting mixed up in the Mythos is a bad bad thing. One is about a hapless
academic who marries into the wrong family, the other is about a mutated
scion of a wrong family, but neither mental nor physical stats help.
"Gods and Monsters" is a modern fantasy duology by two authors, composed
of Unclean Spirits (Chuck Wendig) and Mythbreaker
(Stephen Blackmoore). The second introduces some interesting concepts
beyond the gods coming down to mess with people, but I found the ending
anticlimactic. Once the hero got his mojo, he didn't have to struggle
I can't tell exactly what time period is The Midnight Queen
(Sylvia Izzo Hunter) is supposed to be set in the cognate of — 18th
century? early 19th? definitely not Victorian — but it's nice
historical intrigue and romance in a magic-based alternate Britain.
PAD&D5 write-up by Jeremy (Wed May 13 21:06:39 2015)
Here, I'll help out with content. When last we visited our heroes, The Frederick totally rocked, and the other characters did other stuff involving talking and thinking and casting spells. There was less sword dancing than usual. ...That more or less covers it, yah?
Re: PAD&D5 write-up by Trip (Thu May 14 09:31:53 2015)
I have to mention the Blood-Seeking Anti-Family Butterflies, even though they haven't been used on The Frederick yet.
Blood-Seeking Anti-Family Butterflies by marithlizard (Thu May 14 10:12:14 2015)
Wow! I can imagine it now: each one as big as my hand, some with rainbow-tinted wings, some splotched with pink triangles, some with overlapping circles and arrows and crosses, and here and there one with pure white or black wings. They flutter menacingly as they home in on Antonin Scalia's jugular...
Re: Blood-Seeking Anti-Family Butterflies by Trip (Thu May 14 10:17:47 2015)
And then, having tasted his blood, they can hunt down his kin to the Nth degree!
(Actually the butterflies themselves don't do any damage, they just whisper advice on where to hit people to let the blood out.)
Make a comment!
6 May 2015 - Wednesday
This week, I took over running 13th Age again.
The PCs are now in a ruined temple of a forgotten (or at least severely
neglected) goddess that surfaced in the Queen's Wood and sent death-crazed
mutant kobolds rampaging around. Now that they are in the mysteries, I need
to come up with appropriate solutions, which is always the hard part.
Make a comment!