News: April 20, 2004 to May 16, 2004
had an interesting HackMaster game last night. Turned out the dwarf
I had bought my +3 Daggers of Vital Organ Seeking from was a charlatan
(they were only +2 Daggers). Well, he got his; we used Goldaff and
Anyat to sneak into his room at an oppulent inn, disable the bedwarmers
(the preferred term in Farzy for "ladies of the night"),
and tie the bugger up (threw him in Goldaff's pocket of holding).
Then we totally looted his room (got an Amulet of Life Protection,
a Crossbow of Doom +3, an Everfull Quiver of bolts, eight Bolts
of Horrendous Pain, and a Ring of Hefty Damage).
2004 (Sun); Post #478
Also, we were attacked at The Drooping Stormy Ring by six gnome
titans, one of whom was an eighth level fighter with a Mace +4,
a Shortsword +5 (which I managed to snag for 3,825 gps), gnome-sized
Chainmail +3, and a Helm of See Invisible. Incidentally, I landed
the killing blow on him. Also took out one of the fighters unassisted
with my Dagger +2 and my new Dagger of Interrogation +5. Anyway,
that was after Justin's new character (yet another elf assassin)
poisoned me with Withering Red. Managed to get the antidote in time
though. Oh yeah, he also had me robbed by a gang of thieves (they
stole my backpack; I did kill one though). This led to me being
captured by the thieves' guild (fortunately they only held me for
What else? Oh, we bought an inn near the thieves' guild. 1,200 gps.
Each party member owns 11% and Bobo, my hireling, paid 400 gps for
a 33% share. And Phill, Drew, and myself went to school (the university
in Farzy, got classes with the master scout). Drew and I were privately
tutored for two weeks to learn the Double Backstab skill (normally
only available as a talent; also got two other new skills: Appraising
and Mocking Jig). Oh, and due to the truly massive amount of gold
I recieved this session, plus my various exciting adventures and
conquests, I made it to seventh level (63,835 experience so far;
so I need to go to school again next session).
IRL, I figured out what was wrong with the system I was building.
The problem had seemed to be a bad HD, but it was actually that
the 1st IDE channel was bad. So now the CD-ROM and HD run off IDE2.
Oh well. Installing Win 2K Pro on it right now. I really like the
case I used for this machine... it's this $24 Apex
mid-tower. Can't say much for the motherboard though, obviously.
Downloaded all of the currently available Gantz episodes (1-5).
Also grabbed the 350 mB Frasier finale AVI. Really good show.
BTW, I typed up the party charter (the way it was written in pen
was difficult to read and too cluttered). If anyone wants a personal
copy, here it is:
[23.0 kB; MS Word DOC]
We really need to amend this thing; it's too ambiguous on certain
been making a lot of additional forms for my HackMaster character
record to keep track of stuff. I really prefer them to the default
two-page record (and figured others might as well) so I collected
all of them and the original PC record PDF on this new HackMaster
Resources page (link added to the Gaming
2004 (Fri); Post #477
We had a sealed-deck Magic: The Gathering tournament tonight. It
wasn't much, just JD, Drew, Matt Tomsinski, and myself. One Onslaught
starter, two Eighth Edition boosters. No prizes. But it was fun
(despite JD's constant cheating kidding, kidding!).
Drew won the whole thing, I came in second. He played a white/green/black
deck, I played a white/red/green. All the matches were for the best
two out of three games. Here's what the ladder looked like (it was
Arcade had a coloring
contest last week that I entered. Of course, my
submission [129 kB JPG] was nothing compared to the "honorable
mentions" (scroll to the bottom of the linked page), but I
didn't think it was too bad. Tycho even replied to my e-mail personally
and said (quote): "Looks pretty good to me." There's been
idle talk about some of us possibly going to the PA
Expo in Bellevue this August. Sounds like fun, would be another
chance to get sushi if nothing else. And I could get my Year One
Started watching this anime, Gantz, that looks promising. The first
two episodes are very kafkaesque, which might annoy some people
but really hooked me.
Most of you have probably already heard about this stuff, but just
Half-Life 2 E3 2004 demo video (700 mB, available at FilePlanet
or via BitTorrent).
I really need to go to bed.
(DS) gameboy, announced at E3. (There's a funny image comparing
it to Nintendo's old "Game and Watch" [175 kB JPG]
Tom's Hardware Guide's "Modding
The Xbox Into The Ultimate Multimedia Center" article
Slashdot post). Neat stuff.
Maddox's new "You're
not Dave Chapelle" rant.
vs Blue Mother's Day PSA video.
Nominees announced. (SJ Games got nine nominations, KenzerCo
Metal Alchemist just got licensed in the US... by Cartoon Network,
no less. This means that, aside from them screwing up the series
by editing out the gore/violence and employing bad voice actors,
FMA episodes will no longer be fansubbed and released as torrents.
I managed to pull down all of episode 31 before ANBU
yanked the tracker though. Argh.
2004 (Tue); Post #476
Our last two HackMaster sessions have been pretty exciting (well,
for the thief-types anyway). We had one Friday night and another
late Saturday night. On Friday, we explored some old ruins (apparently,
it was once an orcish temple for a demon-god) where my thief, Sheshko,
found a pair of Hip Waders +1 and, unassisted, killed a giant spider
in a single blow (used his Dagger of Venom +1). On the way back
to Frandor's Keep, the party found more pack apes. Goldaff assassinated
one, two were fought, then we looped back and backstabbed/fought
three more. Made 250 gp per head and got free boarding for life
at the stables in the middle bailey.
Justin's character (whose name I can't remember) and mine had found
a chest near the pack apes filled with women's clothing. Inside
it, there was a hidden compartment with a small trap. Sheshko, at
great risk to himself, removed the trap and retrieved the contents:
a gold bracelet covered in runes. Of course, he warned Justin's
character repeatedly not to put it on. What did the fool do? Put
it on. Turned out it was cursed: a Bracelet of Gender Change. So
now the fighter owes my character half its value (estimated to be
about 3,000 gp).
After that, the party met with Harkas who said to come back in one
week. At some point, my character saw a man being pilloried. Asking
why he was there, he learned that the guy had been found inside
the keep's most guarded warehouse (supposedly impenetrable to thieves).
Sheshko paid the guy to tell him his secret (i.e. there are tunnels
that run under the river and falls and emerge inside the warehouse
in a fake crate) and bribed the guards to whip him less. Then Sheshko
hit the Burning Dog (a bar which is actually a thieves hangout)
and was lucky enough to buy a map of the warehouse interior (ran
something like 1,000 gold plus 10% of the take, IIRC) and a vial
of sleeping gas extract.
So Goldaff, Te'Pal, and Sheshko infiltrated the warehouse while
Justin's character, Kherami, and Anyat distracted the outside guards
(using their feminine wiles and my Fascination Egg). Goldaff assassinated
three guards and hid the bodies. Then Sheshko disabled an alarm
(attached to a tripwire) and we looted the treasure room. My character
actually died when a poison trap shot four darts at him and he failed
his poison save, but Drew lent me a "Free Mulligan" coupon
and he lived. So the party killed all the ppl who might know about
the crime, got a heavily trapped armoire opened, and got out of
Saturday's session mainly consisted of us traveling to Farzy (killing
eight orcs who were planning to ambush us on the way), getting stuff
identified, and selling things. Next session, a bunch of us are
going to school so we can raise our stats/thief abilities/skills
since we leveled. (Sheshko's currently 6th level and only 6,000
EPs from 7th.) In Farzy, my character picked up two Daggers of Vital
Organ Seeking +3 (traded in my old +1's). Notable loot we got from
the warehouse raid: a portable hole, Boots of Elvenkind, a Dark
Cloak, a Ring of Improved Invisibility (Goldaff's), a Ring of Pass
Through Walls (Te'Pal's), an Ioun Stone that regenerates 1 hp/turn,
Gauntlets of Wuss Slapping, a Switchblade +2, and a scroll of Limited
Besides HackMaster, I've been playing Knights of the Old Republic
for the PC (got it from Drew). It's okay, but I'm always a little
annoyed by how linear (predetermined?) these types of games are.
Want to kill that guard? Not an option. Want to tell this crime
lord he sucks? Too bad, it's not on your response list.
playing this flash game, Spaced
Penguin, a lot. So far, my high score is 553,442. Downloaded
episode #1 of Kyou Kara Maou. I won't know till I see one or two
more eps, but it looks kind of good. Then again, [sic] Chrno Crusade
looked awesome in ep 1. About finished with Reaper Man. Will
prolly finish it tonight. Lately, it's been getting a little too
Xanth-y for my tastes. The Death/Bill Door and Fresh Start Club
story lines were very entertaining, but the whole wizards/snowglobes
thing was just kind of annoying.
2004 (Thu); Post #475
has been featuring some Fifth
Dawn card previews... neat stuff. Can't wait for June 4th; Drew
and I are definitely going to pick up a box each.
On May 11th, the Invader
Zim Vol. 1 DVD comes out. Oh, and Sealab
2021 - Season 1 comes out July 20th. Anyway, I just ordered
of Belleville (and pre-ordered Invader Zim to get the free shipping).
Got a test in CS230 (chapters 5, 6, & 7) tomorrow. Planning
on going to IF afterwards (hopefully Dan will have my Walking Dead
TPB). Heard Justin's scrapping his magic user in the Hackmaster
game so he can play a fighter instead. Drew's pushing for a Friday
night session since he has to work pretty much all day Saturday.
Okay, time for bed.
Some orchard I saw in Yakima yesterday while looking for a 2,250
sq. ft. single story with 504 sq. ft. attached garage.
Working lots lately. Yesterday, I set up a Dell system for a home
user, then today I cleaned out and backed up a point-of-sale system
for a business in Kennewick (nasty stuff; 470 objects found by Adaware,
plus a Blaster worm variant). Tomorrow, I have to go photograph
four homes in Yakima for that Moses Lake real estate company. Got
three homework assignments due tomorrow too. Argh.
2004 (Mon); Post #474
Finished Guards! Guards! a while ago; now I'm reading Reaper
Man. Very engrossing. I was up till five this morning reading
Planetes #25 came out Saturday night. Incredible episode. I won't
say any more about it since pretty much any further comment would
be a big spoiler. Can't imagine what's going to happen in #26 (which
is the series finale). This is definitely my favorite anime series
yet; I'd even rank it ahead of Cowboy Bebop. Full Metal Alchemist
#30 came out on Sunday... just grabbed the AVI about an hour ago.
Came down at 105 KB/s. Haven't seen it yet, but I'm almost current
(watched #29 during lunch).
Played my second session of Hackmaster on Saturday. It was fun,
but three of our players missed hours of the game. Plus a couple
have a fairly tenuous grasp of the rules. Oh, and Hanwool's forbidden
from doing anything on weekends now I guess. Anyway, it was cool.
We robbed a merchant (got 14 spyglasses, 2 suits of full plate,
etc.), wiped out a gnomish jeweler's shop (Drew/Goldaf assassinated
him while he was appraising my black pearl), learned a dirty secret
about the currency at Frandor Keep, fought two huge pack apes, and
stole a 56,000 GP ruby from a mad hermit. And my character actually
met his patron gawd (you have to spell it that way in HM),
Rigel, face to face (he healed my dwarf pack bearer hireling and
destroyed our gem). Hopefully next session we'll get to do some
more dungeon crawl adventuring. Module B2: Little Keep on the Borderlands
Something funny I grabbed off pics.bbzzdd last week.
a big dust storm outside. Weather.com says the winds are
only 25 MPH, but things look awfully grisly out there. The sky's
a very solid wheat* color.
2004 (Tue); Post #473
Yesterday, Drew and I made backup Hackmaster characters. He made
a gnome titan fighter with just about every quirk and flaw possible
(but astronomically high stats) and I made a dwarf cleric (WIS 20,
woo). Then I beat him repeatedly with various Magic decks.
BitTorrent is awesome. I've already downloaded this week's new Frasier,
Law & Order: SVU, and That '70s Show episodes before they've
even aired. Couldn't find tonight's Scrubs (3x21) though.
BTW, I just read that a GURPS Girl Genius book is in the works (being
written by Kaja Foglio) and will probably be coming out around Q2
*When it comes to colors, my vocabulary is pretty
limited. So I tend to refer to charts like this
one to name the proper shade. Granted, it doesn't sound especially
manly, but at least one can be accurate. And typing out the RGB
code instead would be a little too nerdy, even for me.
Bill Vol. 2 was pretty good. I was surprised just how different
it seemed from the first movie. Things were less "fakey"
(remember how hokey the plane flying into Tokyo looked in the first
one? Most everything is slicker, like modern films, in the second.),
the soundtrack was less impressive (and far less memorable), and
there were fewer surprises. It was still fun though. The "Bill"
character was pretty cool, but it was hard for me to not concentrate
on his slightly-comical lisp. The child-actor who played The Bride's
daughter was surprisingly good. Incidentally, I think all of us
who've seen the movie were wondering why Uma's character's real
name was bleeped out until a certain point in Vol. 2... I did some
Google searches and turned this up:
2004 (Mon); Post #472
QUESTION: WHY DID YOU CHOSE TO BLEEP OUT THE NAME OF THE BRIDE?
TARANTINO: Well, I guess that the main reason is that I want you
to think of her as the bride. Alright, I wanted to strip her name
out of it, but you're going to find that out towards the end of
Volume II, but I just wanted her to be the bride, but I didn't
want to have to do any artificial gymnastics of why they never
mentioned her name. So, I wanted to be true to any given scene,
but still have her known only as the bride.
we had the GURPS Upsidaisium/Steampunk game on Saturday. Hanwool's
parents aren't letting him leave the motel on weekends now, so
he couldn't come and Akna was run as an NPC. Everyone made the
trip across the Atlantic to London via zeppelin with a ten day
layover at Midpoint (a ½ sq. mile aerial base with a strong
RAF presence). Sarone was nearly killed in an explosion while
attempting to assassinate the Mad Monk of Canterbury (who turned
out to be an older spark-turned-archdiocese who worked for General
Etheric in the late 1850s). It was the quick reaction of the rest
of the party (though not their bravery; none of them could bring
themselves to charge into the burning building) that saved the
servant of Moloch. Justin had to use his "one" and still
came very, very close to pushing up daisies (he ended up with
disfiguring burns and had to spend 6 weeks in the hospital).
When Sarone was released, he convinced the team to travel north
of Manchester to explore some ruins that were to be torn down
by a coal mining operation. Seems a "historic society"
team had already combed the area though. Around this time, everyone
was getting a little tired of following Sarone around trying to
summon his demon-god, so the party had a discussion about travel
plans and decided to visit India by way of Germany (Punabi and
Tom were collaborating). Well, somewhere over Hastings Sarone
decided to off a teammate (in service to his master, of course).
The unfortunate soul? Akna. A short contest of ST later, the Inuit
fell 5,000 feet to his death.
Later that evening, Punabi, having learned of Akna's "accident,"
sent his rope into Sarone's room to neutralize him. After a struggle,
Sarone found his hands bound. He managed to escape with his newest
power Specter form. He turned insubstantial and floated
through the walls of his cabin to Punabi's quarters. A fight ensued.
Punabi slashed at Sarone with his scimitar a few times successfully,
nearly defeating the Virginian, but was later incapacitated (and
then, killed) by a lightning blast from Sarone. At some point,
Tom rushed in with his pistol and was knocked unconscious. Kai,
fearing the dirigible was going down, collected everyone on the
flying carpet in the hallway.
Amazingly, the three remaining PCs survived the fall, crashing
into a forest near the coast. The tumultuous ride through the
trees left everyone bruised and beaten though. Sarone was so injured
and exhausted (his powers fatigue him severely) he could only
lie against a fir while Kai and Tom debated murdering him. While
they argued, he made a desperate plea to Moloch for strength and
protection. Against all odds, his request was granted. He became
insubstantial and revitalized, but was surrounded by a very substantial
aura of annihilating heat. He used this ability to chase down
and kill Tom, setting many fires in the process. Unfortunately
for him, the effect was only temporary. After two minutes, he
materialized and fell onto the ground (which had transformed into
a pool of molten slag by virtue of his proximity). He managed
to claw his way out of the lava, but later died in the fire. Kai
ran away, the only survivor of the party.
It was a very exciting session. Ryan was awarded 20 CPs and allowed
a chance to recover his attributes lost to character deaths because
of the curse. He had a 1 in 3 chance of recovering each point
and managed to regain 5 out of 6 of them. We decided that the
campaign would be picked up at some indefinite point in the future
(IRL). In-game, 10 years will have passed (making the next campaign
starting date August, 1890). Next week, we'll probably be playing
Ryan's Hackmaster game.
Speaking of Hackmaster, I bought the Garweeze Wurld Gazetteer
and the Garweeze Wurld Atlas at KenzerCo's
web site. For some reason, they're only available as PDFs;
no real world books exist. While the detail and quality are very
high, the makers neglect to mention a crucial detail about the
Atlas: it only covers a 2,000 by 1,000-mile chunk of the setting
(sections D7 and E7). That was unpleasant to discover.
I double checked the web site too... they never say the Atlas
is incomplete or only part of a series. Anyway. I'm looking forward
to running my level 4 thief some more. This evening, I wrote the
beginning of a background for him so I'd have a better feel for
his motives and personality. Basically, he used to live in Maur-Haud'Feem,
the elven nation, but was exiled (bringing Great Dishonor to his
family) for dealing with trespassing Barcenoran timber cutters.
After that, he lived as a recluse in the woods east of the Arkrudaisin
Mountains for nearly fifty years.
(I'm still working on it.)
I made this Thief Abilities & Treasure sheet for Hackmaster
(it makes it easier to calculate the thief ability percentage
scores and has sections for the different types of coinage and
gems). Here it is if anyone else wants to use it:
[26.5 kB; MS Word document]
frickin' Magic tournament got canceled. Not enough ppl signed up.
The evening wasn't wasted though, since Jones invited me to a Hackmaster
game (he GMed). It was awesome; we played through the Quest for
the Unknown module. In Hackmaster, you don't get to pick where
your stat rolls go, so you usually choose a class after rolling
4d6 (drop the lowest) for the seven attributes. I got a 12 STR,
14 CON, 17 DEX, 9 INT, 11 WIS, 15 CHA, and 17 COM, so I made a Sylvan
Elf thief. I then dropped CHA by 4 to raise my DEX to 19. Definitely
worth it. Anyway, we totally pwned a gelatinous cube, a troglodyte,
and some lizard men. I made out with 5,738 gold-pieces worth of
coinage (249 platinum, 1000 silver, etc.) and 1,905 experience points.
This was enough to bump me up to 4th level (I started at level 3).
Can't wait to get my magic loot identified (I got this bluish-green
dagger with dwarf runes and a very nice helm that seems enchanted...
oh, and a rock shaped like an egg that seems to Fascinate ppl).
Thanks to a magical outcropping of mica in tunnel #9, my Comeliness
increased by 25 percentile points and my HP went up by 6 (both effects
2004 (Sat); Post #471
Anyway, Drew and I are going to go see Kill Bill Vol. 2 before the
GURPS game tomorrow. Bought some MTG packs at the mall... got a
foil Wirewood Channeler, an Akroma, Angel of Wrath, and some good
zombie and goblin cards. Went through and boxed most of my decks.
Also revised the goblin and burn decks (I was going to play my burn
deck in the tourney tonight). Earlier this week, JD and I split
a box of Scourge, then a box of Onslaught.
Crap, I gotta go to bed.
The Hackmaster PHB.
wanted to remind my players that at last week's Upsidaisium game
I requested digital copies of everyone's characters. I'd appreciate
it if you'd all ('cept Justin, who already did it) e-mail me ()
the GCA/PDF/TXT files of your character sheets.*
2004 (Wed); Post #470
Additionally, everyone who submits a digital copy of their character's
current inventory will receive a 1 CP bonus. Be sure to annotate
the locations of your property properly. "Loose" items
will be wherever the GM chooses to assume they will be.**
BTW, I signed up to play in that Type 1 tournament at Northwest
Cards & Comics on Friday. I think the entry fee is just a pack
of Mirrodin (~$3.50) or something like that. I'm thinking about
playing my burn deck.
Took my CS230 chapters 1-4 test today; think I did well. Polyphonic
Spree - Light & Day is a good song. Actually have to go to CS213
(12:40 pm) tomorrow. Argh.
*Failure to comply with this request prior to
April 24, 2004 will result in a one to three, inclusive, character
point penalty. Should your character lack the necessary free points
to pay this fine, the Game Master (hereafter, "GM") shall
be free to deduct the points from existing advantages, attributes,
or skills, possibly rendering them nonfunctional.
**For example, vials of strychnine without a proper container/location
annotation can be assumed to be kept in a vest pocket. Aheheh.
up Guards! Guards! and Reaper Man at Barnes &
Noble today. Started reading Guards! Guards!. It's pretty
good. Actually, all the Discworld books are pretty good, except
Moving Pictures and Eric, IMHO. Those kinda sucked.
Eric more so than Moving Pictures.
2004 (Tue); Post #469
Just got back from doing some tech work for some ppl in Pasco. Gotta
go to CS231 in about 10 minutes.
Yesterday, when we were driving by the railroad bridge in Kennewick,
JD told me this story about his dad that was pretty entertaining.
Apparently, his dad used to jump into the river from that bridge
for fun. Well, one time he was out doing this and hit something
a few feet under the water that he couldn't see. Turned out it was
a cow. A very, very dead cow. Anyway, he had jumped in feet
first and ended up going through the corpse. When he surfaced,
he was already puking and had no idea why.
Cute anecdote, right?
Since I prolly won't build that storm-combo deck I mentioned last
night, I was tinkering with some other ideas. The stuff I'm looking
at now centers on Shifting Sky plus CoP: Red and Blue Elemental
Blast (throw in a bunch of cheap white or blue creatures with protection
from red) or possibly a deck with Braids plus Soul Foundry (continually
force your opponent to sacrifice land/ artifacts/ creatures; you
could also throw in Muscle Slivers and other creatures with cool
"when ~ comes into play" abilities).
Okay, time for CS231.
the GURPS game on Saturday. The party mostly hung out in Webster
Springs, but ended up in Washington after traveling with a wagon
train. Sarone and Punabi exchanged barbs, then blows... later, Sarone
got arrested for beating Punabi and leaving him bound and bleeding
on the floor of his hotel room. Anyway, the team had to go bust
him out from his new life as an indentured servant... this resulted
in the death of a farmer, a shotgun wound for Tom, and the razing
of a farmhouse. Everyone found out a little more about how the curse
works: after 9 hours of separation from the group, a person has
to make a Will -1 check once per hour; failure equals death. Oh,
and Punabi, Kai, and Akna spent a night in the livery drinking all
the tonics they stole from the traveling salesman (two of them nearly
died, one gained psychic powers for a couple minutes). Also, Sarone
nearly died from strychnine poisoning.
2004 (Tue); Post #468
I designed a storm-combo deck
which I had planned on building IRL, but it turned out to be a little
more expensive than I thought it would be and I'm having some problems
with my two preferred card sites (CardHaus
is out of stock on a lot of stuff I want, CardKingdom's
shopping cart is FUBAR'd). JD and I went to Best Bett and this place
in Richland (can't remember the name; everyone calls it "lotion"
though). The Richland place had a ton of MTG ppl there just playing
matches. I want to go sometime this week and try my favorite decks
on some new ppl (Pariah, Burn, Super Time Warp, my new Fast Black
Pumper deck). The guy at the counter told me they might be having
an unsanctioned Type 1 tournament there this Friday. Might try that.
Full Metal Alchemist #28 is out. Still no Planetes #25 though. I
bought a 6 DVD Cowboy Bebop box set on eBay for $20. Looking forward
to that. No, the seller doesn't live in the Philippines. Finished
Book One. It's okay; I'll pick up volume 2 when Dan gets it.
The story got really good right at the end. The term "science-hero"
is starting to bug me. It was quaint in Tom Strong, in Promethea
it just seems dumb.
Everyone (well, Drew and JD) seems to be reading Discworld. I used
to be really into that setting. Since I'm out of stuff to read,
I think I'll try to pick up something in that series at Barnes &
Need to go do laundry and sleep.
Promethea holding the caduceus.
world is my lobster." Henry J. Tillman