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We celebrated Australia Day in the traditional fashion, by sleeping in followed by an afternoon of D&D.

In which we are surprisingly efficient. )
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At the end of our last D&D game, our party had been reduced to three after an unfortunate run-in with a will-o-wisp. On the bright side, Jordan had quite a lot of money and no known next of kin, so the survivors did quite well out of it. We also had a mysterious coded message taken from the bandits we'd fought earlier.

During downtime, my half-orc Alessandro managed to crack the code (he's brighter than he looks) and found it had directions to where the bandits had hidden their ill-gotten gains. We decided to stop in town to heal up and resupply before going back for the loot.

On the way to town we ran into a rather poorly-mannered halfling named Indra, and shortly afterwards met a bunch of nixies who asked for a donation towards the costs of maintaining the path through the swamp. Indra was VERY RUDE to the nixies and nearly got into a fight with them. Afterwards she told us that they'd used some sort of a charm spell on us, which was obvious nonsense - they were nice and it seemed entirely reasonable to give them some money.

In town we met Kauri and Drustos, two of the original founding members of the party - sadly due to a couple of deaths, only one of our party members knew them. We decided to go back and loot the treasure together, but first we had to deal with Kauri's embarrassing lunar problem.

The last time we had to deal with this issue, it required a very clever plan that involved putting the dwarf in an old sack smelling of rotting cabbages, whacking him with a stick until he turned into an otter, and then turning into an octopus to tow him across a river.

This time, we discovered that being competent and being liked in a town has advantages (I don't think we've ever been in that situation before). Since our heroes had previously saved the mayor's wife from slavers, he helped us with getting Kauri cured, and we set off back to the treasure.

Last time we'd been that way (before we realised the treasure was there) we'd met a hag, so we were expecting trouble. This time, her two sisters had shown up, all three of them standing around a cauldron stirring it.

Kauri and Meg (the two high-charisma members of the party) flattered the hags and told them we'd brought a gift of mithril... unfortunately we only had one gift, so we'd have to give it to the wisest of the three. They suggested that the hags all tell tales so that we could see who was wisest, and then we'd award the prize.

Kauri and Meg managed to drag this out for several hours while Alessandro excused himself and went off to the nearby riverbank to do a spot of digging. The message wasn't too specific about exactly where to find the treasure, but eventually he managed to unearth a large chest and stash it away in his magical haversack before returning to the group.

At that point we made our apologies to the hags and said we had to be going. Kauri said that we were unable to tell which was the wisest of them - they were all very clever - so we'd have to leave the prize with them and let the three of them agree on who deserved it.

That got us a VERY long head start...

It's a lovely feeling when we actually manage to do something competent and solve things by cunning instead of brute force. Not one I'm used to, alas!
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Decided that with the time I spend painting Warhammer 40K figures, I might as well learn to play the game some time, so I headed down to the local Games Workshop after work. Since there were several others looking for a game, the staff set us up all together with three players a side.

I ended up on a team with a girl of about ten years old (she was deeply offended that her Orcs would have to fight on the same side as my Space Marines, because "That Makes No Sense!") and her younger brother. On the other team were two people I forget, and...

...okay, you know the Cat Piss Man stereotype? Not a myth. He ticked pretty much all the boxes, up to and including "gaming figures STUCK IN HIS BEARD". I think he was the only experienced player there, give or take Orc Girl, and we ended up facing one another while the other players fought on the other side of the board.

He spent a lot of the set-up time and the first half of the game gloating about how foolish I was to set up opposite him, because his Necrons would "barbecue" my assault squad and "destroy the very MOLECULES of their bodies" with their great big energy guns. "Just wait until it's my turn to shoot and I will OBLITERATE YOU!"

Meanwhile, I spent the first half of the game moving my guys towards him, using cover to make sure he didn't get a clear shot. When I got close enough to charge, it turned into a Halloween episode of "Will It Blend?"

Final tally: seven Necrons dispatched (about half the total force, and things weren't looking good for the other half) with zero Marine casualties. I was kinda glad when the staff called time; he looked like he was about to throw a tantrum. From what one of the staff said later, he'd been banned before and only recently allowed back in.

So, I had fun and I'll probably go back, but not in a hurry to play with that particular guy again. I guess I've just been spoiled by all the lovely gamers I know who have social skills AND know what soap is for.


Oct. 9th, 2011 11:53 am
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My father-in-law got a new camera and gave us his old one, so at last I have something with a decent macro mode. I've created a new Flickr account (since I got locked out of the old one) and have posted up some pics of gaming miniatures.


Unfortunately many of them are still blurry in close-up (not the camera's fault - more to do with lighting and absence of tripod + my shaky hands). But some turned out better than I'd expected.

Squigs, dryads, Genestealers, and Sir Stephen )
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Three moments of self-discovery while painting wargaming stuff:

- I always feel guilty about drybrushing. It's a useful Lazy Painter technique (probably my second favourite, after inking, and it looks good) but I can't quite forget that the brush I'm destroying used to be a good one. It's sort of a "the crack-voiced lush begging in the street used to be the leading lady of her day" vibe, only with paintbrushes. Erm.
- As much as I fear trying to draw symbols freehand, I dislike using waterslide decals even more. They wrinkle something awful when applied to a curved surface (which it almost always is), and they fall off at the slightest touch.
- When forced to draw freehand, I'm not actually as awful as I think I am. It's not perfect, but I think the not-quite-flatness of the decals looks worse than the imperfections in my freehand.

And, miracle of miracles, in the last month-ish I've actually painted ten more figures than I've bought. (OK, discounting a bunch I bought to use for parts, since I don't intend to paint them as-is.)


Sep. 16th, 2011 09:44 am
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I have a bit of a prejudice against limited-use magic items (scrolls, potions, wands) - it feels like I'm wasting money when I could be using something renewable. But I'm learning that Scribe Scroll can be really useful for occasional contingencies: spells that I wouldn't normally include in my daily loadout, but can be lifesavers just once in a while.

Like, when you're surrounded by four hungry sharks and a smallish dragon, and the entire party has 20HP between them, a Darkness spell can be really useful for Plan Run Awaaaaay. Which seems appropriate for a character who's a Mythos cleric.

Also: why is it always sewers? Why is it never "oh the only possible way to where you need to be is through M. Royale's House Of Boutique Cheeses And Tasteful Furnishings"?
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After several rounds of "that would look lovely *paint paint paint* NO IT'S RUBBISH" I finally seem to have hit on a colour scheme for my Tyranids. Posting this mostly for my own benefit:

So I can remember how to replicate it. )

*In theory, I'd like to actually use these guys for a game of 40K one day. In practice, it takes longer for me to assemble a small portion of a 40K army than it does for Games Workshop to put out a new edition of the rules. By the time I have either my Tyranids or my Raven Guard anywhere near complete, it'll probably be Warhammer 45K or so.

**Canonically, the 'nids have both. I like this idea, so I emphasise it by making the two look very different - chitin for the exoskeleton, more of a bone look for the endo-.
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Yesterday, I flocked my squigs.

Don't judge me.
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Yesterday our D&D group actually did something competent!

Read more... )


Nov. 16th, 2010 11:05 pm
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So, it turns out that the disreputable old lady who told us to go dig in the graveyard was in fact leading us into a trap, as expected. Which we triggered, as expected. One of our few combat-competent characters managed to get hit by a petrifaction curse and two wights jumped the rest of us... not good.

I stood back and spent most of the fight trying unsuccessfully to turn them. Well, not so much 'turn' as 'that other thing some clerics do that uses pretty much the same rules'. I then tried to hit them with sticks. In the end, I did not actually manage to affect the outcome of the combat in any way, which is something of a first even by my standards. I did, however, share in the 'wight' jokes that were flying thick and fast:

"What are these wights wearing?"
"Old, rotted robes, they would have been valuable once."
"Are they the sort of thing chivalry would wear?"
"Well, are they wights in knight satin?"

Fortunately, we'd enlisted the services of a barbarian with a big scythe (is it just me, or are barbarians overcompensating?) and he managed to chop up the wights, while the rest of the party nickel-and-dime-d them with 1-point attacks. Go us!

Then we freed the ranger from the curse, and made plans to go back to town and 'express our gratitude' to the lady who set us up for this*. But we did get a valuable plot token out of the deal, hooray!

*Hyadis is a very nice person, on the whole, but given sufficient provocation her ideas of justice tend to drift into "for the love of God, Montresor!" territory.
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After several weeks' break, we managed to get a quorum for our D&D group again. (Octavia and Brother Mosley are never seen at the same time. Hmmmmm.)

We are on the track of a young lady kidnapped by slavers, and for once we actually managed to remember this and not get distracted by a potential side-quest that would have taken us a couple of days.

We got to Large Town and found a reputable tavern (nobody tried to kill us during the night and the stew doesn't, as far as we know, contain bits of travellers). Kauri tried to seduce the lady who owned the place, and was rather confused when he succeeded. She was very helpful: apparently there are four main factions:

- Forces of Law and Order
- New religion (the one whose 'pilgrims' tried to kill us as we slept last time)
- Thieves (associated with people going missing)
- Assassins (associated with people showing up dead)

Also, the mother-in-law of the thieves' boss, Granny Something, is mixed up in their shady business and might have useful information.

We went off to talk to the mayor, whose daughter's fiance went missing a year ago (lot of that going round, probably linked to the slave trade). Apparently she gave him a ring and can only be married with the ring (one of those 'seemed like a good idea when they created the tradition' things) so even if he's dead, she wants the ring back.

We didn't want to tip the slavers off as to our real object, so this seemed like a good excuse. We went off to see the Evil Granny, and Hyadis spun her a Spanish Prisoner story: my distant uncle died, and my cousin is the heir to his fortune, but he went missing a year ago, and so we need to find him so Kauri and Hyadis can get married (Kauri looked a bit startled at this point) and everybody, Evil Granny included, can be rich. She told us we might find something of interest if we looked in one of the graves outside town (probably a setup for an ambush or something, but since when have we passed up an excuse to dig up a grave?)

So while Drustos was interrogating a local loonie, Hyadis, Kauri, and Octavia went out to the graveyard. Unfortunately one of the guards got a bit suspicious, and Hyadis told them we were looking for her cousin. Should probably have checked details more carefully, since it turns out the deceased in question was actually a gnome, but Hyadis is pretty short, and she claimed it ran in the family (at this point Kauri was invoked as a cousin, which seemed like a way to add verisimilitude but in hindsight I should probably have remembered that he's black so it just confused the guard more). I think he bought it, sort of, but looks like we'll need to come back at night and loot the grave then. The good news is, the guards don't go there at night. The bad news is the reason why they don't go there... which undoubtedly we will discover next session.

(I think Hyadis also managed to get engaged to Kauri's sister. Oh well. But nobody will let me perform ceremonies. *sniffle*)
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Back when I played in the SCA, I learned to loathe a particular sort of tag-team 'debate' about what things should be included. It went something like this:

A: Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we did $THING?
B: It's not historically accurate.
A: Actually, it's pretty close to historically accurate... a lot more so than that knight you guys all love who deliberately painted his armour to make him look like a Ninja Turtle.
C: It's not just about history. It's about celebrating a particular sort of myth, and it's not part of that myth as spelled out in Mallory.
A: But we already pick and choose. We don't include the bits of chivalric myth where it's okay for knights to rape women or get into knife-fights with their romantic rivals, we pick the bits that make it more enjoyable for people to play. And a whole lot of us would enjoy $THING, and it's not like it stops you from having your fun. Also, if you actually read the myths, it is mentioned in there.
B: Well, it's not historically accurate.
A: ...

I didn't have much patience for those people then (it was a big part of why I burned out of SCA), and I don't have much patience for them now, either.

(Context: John Kovalic makes the observation that maybe it would be nice if the new Warhammer Fantasy rulebook had more than zero non-white humans in there. Inevitable racefail ensues in the comments.)


Jul. 20th, 2010 10:46 pm
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Things our D&D group did today:

- Fought some goblins. When they surrendered, I was nice and introduced them to religion! I'm not quite sure where my PC got all those copies of The King In Yellow to hand out.
- Got attacked by a dragon. And by 'attacked' I mean 'it stole Kauri's hat'.
- Failed just about every Balance check in the entire session. Silverblue managed to roll 5 successive 1s, which has to be some kind of record.
- Discussed what would happen if Old Spice Guy went to Gor. I think Silverblue volunteered to write this up.
- Botched most of our attack rolls, leading to multiple instances of friendly fire.
- Broke open a tomb and learned entirely the wrong lesson from it (i.e. that my second-level PC can single-handedly vanquish two ghouls by lucky rolls on Rebuke Undead).

Despite all my efforts to play Hyadis as a madwoman with feeble stats and no sense of self-preservation, she keeps muddling through by rolling 19s and 20s when she needs them most. Yay!


May. 25th, 2010 10:12 pm
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I haven't been very good at keeping up with my D&D summaries lately. The problem is that from Hyadis' perspective, every game seems to end up with "...and I don't remember what happened after that, until I woke up with a headache and covered in blood."

(Today Hyadis managed to turn an orc inside-out, and terrify a goblin into surrendering to her. Unfortunately for the goblin, Hyadis had pretty much exhausted her daily SAN pool by then. But nobody on our side died, and we may yet end up rescuing the kidnapped lady one of these days when we get around to it!)
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At the map scale we're using, the Turkish delights we're currently eating are exactly the right size and shape for gelatinous cubes.
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One of the things I like about Settlers/Cities & Knights of Catan is that dealing with randomness is a big part of the strategy (as opposed to things like Fluxx, where you can't really plan ahead past the next turn or so). I'm quite fond of prob-theory, so that works nicely for me.

I'm probably overanalysing this game... )

Fun stuff

Apr. 6th, 2010 11:52 pm
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I had a good Easter break. Rey and I picnicked at the Organ Pipes National Park, which has some nifty-weird volcanic formations*, and [personal profile] 17catherines led us in a reading of Romeo and Juliet. Rey made marzipan thumbs specially for the occasion!

Tonight, Rey and I went to see Tripod and Elana Stone in 'Tripod versus the Dragon', a D&D-based musical. This was one of the nerdiest evenings of my life, which if you know me is saying something. It was also really good; lots of laughs and some beautiful songs mixed in with the comedy. Very strongly recommended if you're in Melbourne or Sydney.

Also, I discovered that YouTube has lots of Monsterpiece Theater. Cookie Monster makes me happy.

...and one of these days I will post a gaming update, and the monstrosity Rey has commanded me to write. When I get around to finishing them. But for now, bedtime.

*I found Rey a book about volcanic activity in Victoria. We will never again want for ideas on where to picnic.
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This seems like an appropriate medium for Hyadis' ramblings...

Some sort of backstory. )

On the road again... still backstory at this stage. )


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