Previously, in Trip's Life...
28 June 2015 - Sunday
Surprisingly, the PAD&D5
party did not die after being defeated for the second time in two
They wake up in a half-mechanical forest, being encouraged to
move along by the local cyberdryad who doesn't want them to get her in
trouble with the Rectifiers. While tromping through someone else's part of
the creepy forest, Zach discovers that he can communicate with the trees
via thought-glyph, and gets a description of a landscape that resembles
where they were, at least for the parts with trees: the ocean and the
place that they expect to be Azogaraz city are blank. Eventually cyberdwarves
come to bust them for unathorized communication with trees, but charm
person and a cooperative attitude get them escorted to the nearest
town instead of arrested as Naturist rebels.
Eavesdropping and buying people drinks in the town bar allows the party
to piece together the history that the locals believe they are
participating in: two hundred and fifty years ago, the titans drove the
gods back to Olympus, and the mortal races have thunderbolts to keep them
from causing any more trouble. In fact, the place that is not Azogaraz is
one of the bases where the thunderbolts are kept ready. Zach uses the power
of non-Euclidian mathematics to prove that this is so divergent from their
own history because they are now in the dream of a titan, probably
Prometheus, but it is not clear how this came to be, or how to get out of
The important location they don't know anything about is (the cognate
of) the island temple of Hera, so they buy a coracle of fine locally-grown
naugahyde and set off for the cursed island of no return. The ruined
temple is guarded by the skeletons of the two-headed peavelociraptors of Hera,
but unlike the locals, the PCs are willing and able to disarm them by
performing a proper divine sacrifice. In the process of cleaning up the
temple, they find a mosaic which Dain's mysterious keepsake tile
completes, showing all of them (minus Zach, who cannot be seen by the
gods) getting into the conical top of a white tower, which then flies into
the sky and is seized by the hand of a god.
The town outside Thunderbolt Base is pretty much what one would expect
of a town supported entirely by soldiers on leave, so a motley band of
lunatics can easily sneak in and admire the packs of enhanced feral
children mugging the unwary for candy money, but the primarily dwarven and
well-guarded military base is a different story. After lurking for a
while, the party hears that the "candy" is coming downstream from Hag End.
Maybe the hags will have knowledge or loot that can help break into the
- Re-kan! 13: The end! There was very little on-screen yuri
action, but plenty of room for fanfic.
- Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? 13: The
end! I think, anyway. There certainly could be more, since there is
still unresolved plot, never mind romantic subplots, but if there are
more than 13 episodes, it's news to Wikipedia.
- Chihayafuru 2.17-2.18: Poor Ayse, oppressed by our
insistence on watching only two episodes per week!
- Martian Successor Nadesico 22-23: Once again, the crew of
the Nadesico has been relegated to civilian life, but we know
the climax is coming up!
- Sword Art Online 18: Well, Asuna is trying to
rescue herself, but I bet it will still take Kirito to actually get her
out. Curse you, writers!
- Natsume's Book of Friends 3.8: Aww, fox cub is back!
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24 June 2015 - Wednesday
For a change, Anwë was not useless in combat! I actually rolled
perfectly respectably on a d20 multiple times, although critting on
initiative was kind of a waste. The orcs that tried to start a conversation
by taking hostages and issuing demands were all crushed, although Goblin
Bond disappeared despite being knocked out and poisoned with his own
nightmare. Apparently they thought the PCs know how to control or at least
repel the infamous living dungeon of Doooooom. For some reason.
Deadly Shores (Taylor Anderson) is nowhere near wrapping up
the "Destroyermen" series, but it's the latest one available to date. The
theme of this volume seems to be "commanders sacrificing their troops for
the greater good".
Despite the title, Trailer Park Fae (Lilith Saintcrow) is
not at all humorous. These are the sort of fae where the only difference
between Seelie and Unseelie is how long they draw out playing with their
food, and faerie intrigue leaves bodies littering the landscape. Also,
Robin Goodfellow is an asshole.
Deep Navigation (Alastair Reynolds) is a collection of
stories of varying shortness. They also vary in completeness: some seem
like little more than vignettes. But they are all pretty interesting.
Food Wars! vol 1 (Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki) is about
cooking, so maybe it's appropriate that it has lots of cheesecake? No,
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21 June 2015 - Sunday
Avalon is free! Her horrible job finally laid her off, with plenty of
severance (just because it's a horrible dysfunctional company doesn't
mean it's not in a semi-civilized country) so now she can rest up and
regain SAN points for a while before looking for a satisfying job.
Still no PAD&D5,
but this is an off week anyway. Next week, for sure!
Or maybe our lameness will just result in all the PCs being murderized
and Earl will have to run Dungeon
I have to wonder how much agreement there would be in any game I'm part
of if everyone filled out the Same
Page tool individually. For extra discord, fill it out twice, once for
how the game actually is and once for how it should be.
The next er five books in the "Destroyermen" series (Taylor Anderson),
Rising Tides, Firestorm, Iron Gray
Sea, Storm Surge, and Deadly Shores, add
more doom on more fronts, but don't actually resolve any of them. I guess
world conquest takes more than three thousand pages. (So why not spend a
few more of them on half-naked catgirls? Hmph.)
Volumes 3-4 UQ Holder! (Ken Akamatsu) tie in more of the
Negima! backstory but also introduce new obnoxious characters.
The hero continues to be an idiot, but not a nebbish, which is certainly
better than some previous Akamatsu characters at this stage of the
Sort-of-plenty by Avalon (Thu Jun 25 18:04:20 2015)
=) I cannot talk about that!!
Re: liberation of Avalon by marithlizard (Fri Jun 26 20:59:23 2015)
Congratulations on your freedom! May your next company be sane, profitable and enjoyable to work for!
Thanks Marith! by Avalon (Sun Jun 28 18:18:36 2015)
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18 June 2015 - Thursday
Just because, I read through all the Dungeon
World questions at stackexchange, and now I want to
World using all this new knowledge! The most important advice I saw was
to remember that the GM's section of the DW rules is not GMing advice: it's
rules just like the playbooks and basic moves. Distant second is, when
someone tries to bring something goofy into the game, keep asking questions
until either the goofy thing is rendered palatable, or the perpetrator
withdraws it in embarrassment. No, that's third; second is just "ask more
questions about everything".
Children may be adorable, but they spend a long time being the opposite
In the evening, when children are recharging their impossibility
reserves, we can play 13th Age! This
week, we got assigned to find out what was up with the living dungeon that
ate the town of mobile trees. Ostensibly in pursuit of this goal, we went
to the temple of Sylphore, and ended up in a senseless brawl with a knight
of the Crusader who was there to make sure the rescued goddess was buttered
on the correct (IE, dark) side. Anwë found out almost nothing more
about the mysterious green draconic monster with memory-stealing powers,
but at least her imaginary dragon tail is +1 now.
Taylor Anderson's "Destroyermen" series (first four books: Into
The Storm, Crusade, Maelstrom,
Distant Thunders) is in the venerable "heroic US military
units sucked into an alternate dimension must bring civilization and
combined-arms tactics to the backwards natives" sub-genre. This time,
the heroic Americans are in two WWI-era destroyers in the early days of WWII,
between SE Asia and Australia, and the backwards natives are cat-people
(really lemurs, but they look like cats to most people) and possibly
only semi-sapient velociraptor guys. IMHO, at least 10% of the low-tech
naval warfare and infrastructure building could be swapped out for more
Twenty Trillion Leagues Under The Sea (Adam Roberts)
is kind of a weird book. It starts with a Cold War French nuclear sub
going astray on a simple test sail, and then spends two thirds of the
book with the cast of a dozen freaking out and arguing and stabbing each
other and going completely mad, before we start finding out anything at
all about why they are are in such a bizarre place. Then, everything is
explained and wrapped up in what seems like just a few pages.
I haven't seen the anime of Panty & Stocking With
Garterbelt, but the manga (GAINAX, Tagro) is pretty crazed. It makes
even less sense than FLCL, and has at least 782% more lust and
gluttony. It's sort of like R-rated Dirty Pair with fallen
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14 June 2015 - Sunday
We finally completed the interminable dungeon crawl in
with a climactic battle against the boss's final form on the god plane,
and leveled to 4th. Then Anwë got to present the crown of the
Wizard King (with attached lich head) to the Elf Queen, and got not only
recognized as still being a high elf, but given a boon. There may have
Next time, finally, Ken runs!
Hadoop Summit was this week, so most of the office was at the convention
center Tue-Wed-Thu to crew the booth, and Arcadia Data has officially broken
Superior Cow Orker D from Teradata was in town for the Summit,
although due to my ineptness at keeping track of my official (as opposed
to personal) Gmail account, we didn't manage to get together until Saturday
lunch right before he had to catch his plane. He is doing well, although
he admits Hadoop is taking over and Teradata is doomed. 8)
Restaurant in Santana Row had
really good salmon. Three tentacles up!
Sword Art Online has switched to a completely different
MMORPG, with an obvious marketing advantage. Also, doooooom.
Natsume's Book of Friends has switched back to showing
us what the most horrible and frightening creatures in existence really
are, which is always nice. I liked the surprise youkai hug from last
only Zuul. I mean, Gollubvacation. But I did come up with a plan for maybe
being able to take down small groups of very weak opponents if we survive
long enough to reach 5th level.
Corsair (James L Cambias) should probably have a trigger
warning for Lunar He3 Mining, but on the other hand it has no
stealth in space and space pirates do their dirty deeds from offices full
of monitors. And, shockingly, people who have the best intentions still get
in trouble for breaking the law. Still, space piracy!
As expected, The Architect of Aeons (John C Wright) does
okay when it explores the setting full of the works of higher-order
sapiences ("sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from
nature"), but less well when it comes to the allegedly posthuman main
characters. Some of their problems are self-generated due to emotional
up-screwedness, as is traditional, but they also make mistakes that I
wouldn't expect of even reasonably bright humans. They do, however, seem to
have pushed humanity into a state where it's capable of pointing out that
they're both jerks, which I guess is an accomplishment? There are also
slight indications that the author is softening on "heterosexual Christian
monogamy uber alles", but only slight. I guess we'll see what happens in
the next book.
No Game No Life vol 1 (Yuu Kamiyua) is a translated light
novel that I think is also an anime series now, about a brother-sister pair
of NEETs who get sucked into another dimension, where the gods have decreed
there is no violence, only games. Good thing the protagonists are famous
for never having lost a game of anything, ever, and have vaguely transhuman
skillz. Like most light novels, it is extremely silly and also full of
In an experiment in further dead-tree reduction, I made Amazon kindle
me up some manga. For some reason, I ended up with mostly terrible
cheesecake manga. I wonder why?
- Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon?
(Fujino Omori) vol 1: Although the events are the same, the
anime is more about girls trying to pick up the hero in a dungeon while
he obliviously works at becoming more heroic, which I prefer.
- So, I Can't Play H! (Pan Tachibana, Yoshiaki
Katsurai) vol 1: Also an anime that I've seen, and the
manga is also similar, but in this case raunchier.
- Trinity Seven (Kenji Saito) vol 1: The
first volume doesn't make a huge amount of sense, but it has an
unflappable hero, at least seven babes, and machinations.
- Gou-dere Sora Nagihara (Suu Minazuki) vol 1:
Raunchiest of all. "Look at these nubile concubines I have captured
from the local neighborhood!"
Tokyo Ghoul (Sui Ishida) is not cheesecake (although since
it is about obligately anthropophagous monsters, some kind of human
body/foodstuff metaphor should go there). Although the plight of the main
character is moving, I don't really buy how he got into that plight. The
physiologies are just too different for trained physicians to do that
without realizing. Also, what is up with the trope of mysterious coffee
shops in Tokyo? (This is me not going to TVTropes because I would like to get some
work done this week.)
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12 June 2015 - Friday
The Most Dangerous Game: Twenty.
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7 June 2015 - Sunday
after escaping imprisonment from our defeat last session, we took the
king's decapitated body to the queen-in-exile, loaded up on potions, and
tried to mug a Daughter of the Revolution to get The Frederick's magic
sword back. Because we are possibly the worst-designed party ever, and
possibly also because our motivation was to get XP and loot, we wiped
completely again. It didn't help that the DoR who beat us last time
unexpectedly handed off the sword to her more-powerful sister, but mostly
we just suck.
The Cormorant (Chuck Wendig) is the third book in the
Miriam Black series, in which someone from an earlier book who
is too clever by half uses the protagonist's death sight against her.
However, just because she's cursed doesn't mean she doesn't also have
superpowers that she's not afraid to use...
When I read the setup for The Fold (Peter Clines), I
thought it was going to be a ripoff of The Infinitive of Go
(John Brunner, 1980), but although I suppose with enough compression they
could be mistaken for each other, The Fold is definitely in
the horror genre. The hero is kind of ridiculously over the top, though
— he's supposed to be extremely smart, but he's on almost the same
level as the protagonist of Zero Sum Game and Half
Life, whose mind powers are a major plot element.
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4 June 2015 - Thursday
Mid-week update! No reason.
I completely messed up the climactic fight by wimping on out being
cruel to the PCs. I need to work on being a harsh and vicious GM who
will relentlessly crush all who dare enter my world! Or at least one who
will stick to the plan and say, "You can't do anything except try to escape
the Vine of Evil and take damage when you fail muahahahahahahah".
Strangely, though, people seemed pleased with the session as a whole,
probably because they got to plan out a symbolic journey to find/aid a
goddess of journeys, and each give up something to symbolize overcoming
the trials Sylphore had to overcome on her journey. Hurray for player
The Mad Apprentice (Django Wexler) is the sequel to
The Forbidden Library. We learn some more about certain
enslaved magical creatures and the mages who enslave them (and the poor
expendable schmoes they take as apprentices), but not really much more
about the system. The heroine's tragic backstory gets some more
development, though, and suggests that the next book will be full of
Nemesis Games (James SA Corey) zooms in from the
socially-disruptive interstellar land rush to see what disaffected
elements in the Solar System are doing in response to society being
disrupted. (No bonus points if you guessed, "disrupt society further".)
Also, we get to see the female lead's dark past, which no one sane can
blame her for fleeing. Next book is probably back to the gates and the
Blades and Bitter Apples (MCA Hogarth) is a short
collection of short fantasy stories, none of which really wowed me. I'm not
even sure what the unicorn one was about — I must have missed
something at the end.
The Dragon Conspiracy (Lisa Shearin), is the sequel to
The Grendel Affair, which I read because I had it right there.
It doesn't have the infolump at the beginning, and it does have multiple
villainous plans intersecting, but is still not that exciting.
The second volume of Stories of the Raksura (Martha Wells)
has a story about some other people in the Three Worlds, but mostly Wells
has a bunch of characters who are always getting mixed up in the weird
stuff their world is filled with, and also sometimes have to freak out
about having kids and stuff, so she is never going to lack for material for
entertaining short stories.
Reading graphic novels on Kindle actually works pretty well, at least
for ones with a simple, cartoony art style like Nimona (Noelle
Stevenson). Shapeshifting is the best superpower ever, naturally, even
for villains. (Anyone who opposes a Hero must be a villain, right?)
Blackbirds and The Mockingbirds (Chuck Wendig)
are full of doom beyond most doomed books I read, because the protagonist
unstoppably sees the death of anyone she makes even the slightest skin
contact with. The question of whether the deaths themselves are
unstoppable, and if not, how, just makes her smoking, drinking, cussing,
and general failure to be socially acceptable, more understandable.
"Call The Ships To Port" by Covenant still reliably makes my hair
stand on end.
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