Saturday, April 26, 2014

Water (as a destructive force)

This will make the third time I’ve tried to write this post, and the third day of working on it. Though, yesterday was F*** It Friday, so I hadn’t planned on working on it then anyway. What I’ll do now, I suppose, is try to create some semblance of a post that makes sense in one fashion or another.

Water, H2O, is the most important liquid on the planet. The human body is composed of two-thirds water, our blood is salt water (also called saline) while protein thrown into the mix. The earth’s surface is two-thirds sea/ocean to one third solid landmass. Water also happens to be the number one most corrosive liquid on the planet as 100% of things placed in water will dissolve into nothing given enough time. It is also considered one of the most important ingredients in life. Life as we know it began in the sea billions of years ago, and in astronomy the number one goal in finding earth-like planets is finding planets with water on them.

Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons is covered in a thick layer of ice, and scientists believe that down past that ice is a water ocean, and possibly life. God only knows how long it will be before we can test that theory though. Our space program is moving at a crawling pace, and faster than light travel is still decades, if not centuries, beyond our capabilities. Though, according to Star Trek, we’ll have achieved faster than light travel (or Warp Speed, which is a way of bending space time and not necessarily moving faster than the speed of light) by the year 2063. That is also supposed to be the year first contact takes place in the early part of April (I forget which day), and that’s something I’m looking forward too. Lol. Even though the Vulcan’s are dicks and won’t allow us information to a reasonable warp speed for a century or more. I mean seriously, do you know how SLOW warp one is? Just play STO for a few hours and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

And, none of that has anything to do with water. Or how water is a destructive force. I think I might have started in that direction, but God only knows.

Anyway, things I think of when I think of the destructive power of water can pretty much be summed up in one word: Atlantis.

Yup, the mightiest of civilizations wiped off the face of the planet in three days and three nights. Tidal waves, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, yup Atlantis pretty much had it all.


The most powerful cutting tool on the planet, called a waterjet, is a hyper pressurized jet of water. I think. Pretty sure it can cut through a three inch thick piece of steel in less than a minute. But, I’m not sure. Again, I didn’t check Google.

And, that’s enough from me today.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Shovel of Truth

The Shovel of Truth (pictured above) is a +5 golden holy shovel of lie smiting and depression bane. Its use is designed solely to clear away all the nasty crap one's mind comes up with at the worst of times. Like when you think that nobody cares about the things you do.

It's not true.

It never has been, and it never will be. Somebody will always care about the things you are doing. And, sometimes you won't even realize those people are there.

I've been feeling that way recently. I've been kind of in the dumps about a lot of things, and one of those things happened to be my blogging and the results I didn't think I was getting.

Well, I had a real long drawn out chat with a friend of mine and she was telling me about how depression is just one great big lie. It's your mind working against you, telling you things, hateful things that aren't true. It's the voice that whispers about how you messed up that job interview. It's the voice that tells you you're worthless, that everything you've done up to this point has been meaningless.

After a while, those lies get heavy, and I told my friend about how I am. I told her that all I wanted to do was collapse beneath them, let them run me over, just so I could get a little rest. I told her I wanted to give in, and give up. Then I told her what giving up meant to me (and that's not something I'll repeat here), and she told me that I didn't strike her as the type of person who just gave up.

I believe that.

There have been so many points, so many places in my life where I've just wanted to give up. I've wanted to lay in bed and wallow in my grief and self-pity. I've believed the things depression's been telling me. But, I didn't give up.

I kept moving. And, it hasn't always been my own will that's got me going. More than once it's been my wonderful Cupcake pulling me up out of the muck and getting me to start moving again. And, I thank her for that. She like's to say she's a flashlight for me, to help me find my way in the dark. I like to think of her more as a lighthouse, one that shines as bright as any star, and let's me see the world for miles and miles.

And, now I have a shovel to help that lighthouse. Lol. Poor analogy, but I think you get what I mean. I now have a weapon to use to beat that depression back. I have the truth to back me up.

The lie: Nobody cares about my blog/writing.

The truth:

Blogger- On average I get between 20 and 30 hits a day, with one official follower. One of my stories has 59 favorites, 107 alerts, is featured in 2 communities, and is just shy of 50,000 views.

Hubpages- I have 10 followers, and I haven't posted a Hub in the last three months or so.

People care. The proof is there, and I just need to be patient to get the numbers I want.

So, I'm going to take my Shovel o' Truth, and I'm going to go beat some depression/lie zombies to death. Later.


Thursday, April 10, 2014


You got a purty mouth. Heh. Heh. Heh.

Big ugly green monsters without too much going on inside their noggin, and most of them have the ability to regenerate. That’s probably all you really need to know about trolls. But, cutting the post off there would be kind of lame. So, I’ll see what else I can weasel out of these critters.

Trolls, in Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder, are just shy of being a giant in height (nix that, they are giants) topping off between seven and eight feet tall and weighing anywhere between three and eight hundred pounds. If they have hair it’s greasy and limp and their noses often look like it’s been broken one too many times. They favor swamps, bogs, and moors as their homes. Trolls, like I mentioned above, have the ability to regenerate hit points over time and re-grow limbs and such. It’s not a fun thing to come up against, especially if you’re lacking a torch, or a campfire, or a weapon with a flame enchantment on it.

Another interesting thing to note is the lack of gender among trolls (at least from my point of view and my house rules) as they reproduce asexually. To make more trolls you cut a piece of an existing one off and a new troll, minus a few points of intelligence from the base troll, will grow in 3d6 days. This makes it really nasty for adventurers who hack and slash their way through a whole troop of trolls and don’t take the precaution of burning the bits and pieces after the fight. What that group gets is an army of pissed off trolls tracking them down later in the week.

And, one fun thing that comes along with this is making a smart troll.

According to 3.5 stats for a troll the average intelligence is a 6. This means the troll gets a -2 modifier to anything that requires the use of intelligence. And, if you’re making a troll PC you take a -4 racial adjustment to whatever you rolled for intelligence. The statistic block even goes so far as to state that 3 is the lowest a trolls intelligence can drop.

So, how do you make a smart troll?

First, you bring a little malevolent pixie named Damien Trollbringer (he’s been mentioned on the blog before) into the picture.

Second, you pick up as many wondrous items as you can that give bonuses to intelligence.

Third, you let Damien go at applying all of these magic items, ointments, potions, and what have you, and then use a Wish spell to bind all of the items to the troll as if they were a natural part of his body.

Not Revenire the Troll King, but I can't draw so he's close enough.

The result is Revenire the Troll King. Revenire (the last time I looked at the character sheet) has an intelligence of 35 giving him a +12 to any intelligence related skill. He used this intellect to escape Damien and went about creating an army of super trolls. He used his own fingers to spawn the first ten of his army, those are his generals, each with an intelligence of 30, the subsequent generations, after the fourth, is back to having average troll intelligence.

I would do the math on that, but it seems like it would be a lot. At a random guess, I’d say you’d have around 100,000 trolls, assuming that each general cut off all ten fingers, and then the next generation did the same, and so on and so forth.

Yeah, that’s an epic level adventure waiting to happen J

Anywho, I’m off.

Later kids.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Relationships in Dungeons and Dragons Part 2

If you missed it, here’s a link to Part 1.

I should have finished writing this yesterday instead of waiting. I don’t mean writing it all and posting it on one post, I just mean write out both parts of the post. I mainly wish that because I don’t know what to do right now, or how I should continue on with the topic. In fact, it’s very tempting to pick another topic and just skip over the rest of this one.

I don’t know why.

I’m tired is probably a poor excuse since I’ve taken like three naps today. and, me sitting here and thinking of reasons as to why I don’t want to write on this topic is just stalling.

I’m going to write it.

So, get on with it.

Yesterday we talked about how a relationship might work between a PC and an NPC. Today, I wanted to talk about PC to PC interactions.

This is a lot more complex than the former, as the number of added variables is almost infinite. While the interaction with an NPC is mechanical, the interaction between PCs is very fluid it’s literally one person interacting with another. (God, I use the word interacting a lot in that paragraph.)

Now, don’t get me wrong, the same rules that govern a NPC’s actions apply to PC interactions. So, let’s go back to our rogue.

The rogue has blamed the royal vizier for the theft of the crown jewels and got the man sentenced to death while the rogue sells the jewels on the black market. But, the rogue’s friend and fellow adventurer, a paladin in service to Sol, questions the rogue about the jewels.
Not the image I wanted, but my drawing skills are kind of lame. Lol. So, yeah, totally not my art work.

The rules at this point would once again pit the rogue’s bluff skill against the paladin’s sense motive skill, plus any truth spells the paladin might have in effect. A d20 roll would be used to settle the matter, and if it was an NPC thing the d20 roll would be it.

However, we’re talking about people here, sitting around a table. The paladin and the rogue are sitting at the table, and the paladin’s player knows that the rogue stole the jewels and is now selling them. So, we run into an impasse.

What should happen is the players follow along with what the rolls gave them: if the paladin rolled higher a higher score than the rogue spills, if the rogue rolled higher the paladin will know about as much as the king did. And, in my experience this is what happens, thankfully.

The other thing that could happen is an argument that spills out of the game and into reality, with players using their out of game knowledge to choose how their characters act and react. This is called metagaming and this is often a negative thing that DMs hate.

It really ruins the fun of the game for everybody.

And, my brain is stopping there.


PS: There might be more to the topic, I just can’t think right now. So, yeah… don’t know where I’m going.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Relationships in Dungeons and Dragons Part 1

This is an interesting and vague topic for a blog post. And, I’m sure if I really wanted too, I could let this topic spill out across the blog until it was novel length. That’s how in depth one could get with this topic. It would work as both a psychological and sociological study and would be a beautiful topic when it comes to the development of fictional characters and worlds and how all of that works in tandem with the Dungeon Master’s world. And, I think I lost where I was going with this topic already.

I don't know these people, but yeah, that's pretty much what our gaming space looks like.

These people in the doctor’s office are giving me a headache. They’re talking to one another right over top of my head, and they’re across the room from one another. This is making me stabby… very very stabby.

I probably shouldn’t be talking about that in a public forum, but the absolute discourtesy these people are showing for those around them is disgusting.

Things are sort of quiet now. So, we can get back to the topic at hand. Any Dungeons and Dragons setting, even if it’s set in our modern world, is a fictional setting. All of the people that make up its populace are fictional (yes, even if Abraham Lincoln or some other historical figure is featured in it, they are fictional as well). This is because the world exists solely in the Dungeon Master’s mind and once or twice a week that world exists in the minds of his players. The relationships there are based on fictional events and fictional lives and… I don’t know where I’m going with this.

Either way… a relationship between a player character and an NPC is based on the way both act and react as well as the way the dice rolls. Say a rogue is trying to convince a king that he wasn’t responsible for the theft of the crown jewels, and even takes it so far as to blame the theft on somebody close to the king. This is a tense relationship moment (and would be one where it would be heavy on the roll-playing) and the result of the encounter would fall to the dice. The rogue’s bluff skill versus the king’s sense motive: they would roll a d20 and add their skill modifier to the roll and the highest would win. That’s a mechanical way of determining things.

Another way to see how that relationship works would be through pure role-playing. The rogue’s player would have to put on a convincing enough song and dance to get the king (the Dungeon Master) to go along with what the rogue is saying.

And, I'll blame this one on the royal vizier.

We actually had an incident like this in our last game session. A drow sorcerer was trying to convince a troop of drow soldiers that he was a priestess and that they should submit to him and let him and his friends pass. He had the bluff and disguise skill to pull it off, but he was kind of stuttering in the role-play. (The player’s new to D&D so I kind of expected it, though he did better than I did my first time trying to outwit somebody.) He didn’t pick up on the fact that drow women have no respect for males of any race, including their own. They’re a matriarchal society, and the priestesses are belligerent when it comes to ordering males around.

When he picked up on that it was kind of awesome. I enjoyed seeing that look of triumph on his face when the drow guards bowed before him and split the column in two to let him and the party pass.

Kneel before me in terror, infidel!!!

And, there’s more to cover than that, but I’ve reached the limit of what I feel is appropriate to put into a blog post. So, to be continued…



Here's part two for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Not to be confused with the movie Skinwalkers. That was a fairly shitty movie about werewolf like vampires or something like that. But, like I implied, that’s totally not the point of this post.

A skinwalker in Native American folklore (this is me speaking without referring to Google, so I could be wrong) is a sort of shaman or holy man that has the ability, through a ritual, to assume the shape of a wild animal and move about as that animal. I’m not sure on any of the particulars. I don’t know if it’s a metaphorical transformation that takes place during a spirit quest with lots of peyote dumped on the fire. I don’t know if it talks about a literal transformation, as it would be in the case of werewolves. I don’t know if it’s a spiritual transformation where the skinwalkers spirit takes the form of an animal and walks across the astral plane for one reason or another.

I don’t know.

I could Google it, but I’m almost positive I’d find evidence relating to all three of the examples, and each one would be as valid as the last. (Depending on the sources of course.)

So, I’m going to take a step away from the folklore and look at something I do know a pretty good deal about; Dungeons and Dragons.

Skinwalkers bring to mind two core classes that relate directly to the skinwalkers ability to shape shift. First is the druid, which as far as I know is the official “skinwalker” class. Why? The druid has the ability to take on what’s called a wild shape, meaning it can transform into an animal of its choosing and use that animal’s body however it sees fit.

The other class that comes to mind is the shaman. Like the druid the shaman is able to assume the form of its guiding spirit, which is generally an animal but not always.

I personally feel that the shaman is the more likely of the two classes to become a skinwalker.

And, I totally lost where I was going with this post as it was supposed to have been written three or four days ago. I don’t know. So, I suppose what I’m going to do now is move on to the end of the post.

Guess what happens there.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Cupcake

My topic for today was supposed to be skinwalkers, and while I have that post half written I think I’ll wait and post it tomorrow. I’ve got something else to talk about today. Something that I feel is quite inspirational.

Let me see if I can set the stage for it, so you can feel the same way about it.

I think off and on (a dangerous prospect) about what I’ve accomplished in my life and all the potential I feel has been wasted. When I think about these things I get quite morose, and one of the number one subject I think about is school.

I messed up in college. I really did. I know most of the blame for that falls at the feet of a diseased I will mention no further, but I still feel the fault is mine. I could have fought back and worked towards the potential I thought I had. Well, the potential I know I had. Don’t get me wrong, I accomplished a lot. I graduated, and I have a bachelor’s degree at my house waiting to be framed and put on the wall in my office. But, it wasn’t bachelor’s degree I wanted. It wasn’t any of the degrees I wanted.

And, that’s what I was thinking about last night. I was missing being in school, knowing I could do better, especially now with all the steps forward I’ve taken. I was thinking about the degree programs I could apply myself to now with the same discipline and energy I put towards keeping up with my daily goals. I thought of several.

I want an associate’s degree in forensic psychology and addiction counseling because of my interest in the field of psychology.

I want an associate’s degree in software and web design because my sister inspired me to go for that field. And, I made a promise to a friend that I would design a program that made a DM’s life a just a little easier. He’s gone now, but I’m going to keep that promise.

I want to finish all the bachelor’s programs I started. The history and English focuses in literature and writing. And, I want to get a bachelor’s in psychology for the same reason I want the associates.

There are even two master’s programs I want to go through. I want an MFA in creative writing, focusing in particular on writing novels. And, I want a master’s psychology, again, that’s because of the same reason I want the associate’s and the bachelor’s.

Those wants and desires right there require one thing above even the determination I could put into those programs. They require money, a literal mountain of money.

And, that kind of brings us around to the point I wanted to say about my cupcake. She came into my writing room and stood beside me and asked why I was down. I told her about the school thing and about how much it was cost, and she looked at me and said two words: Then Write.

Then write.

Like the answer was as plain as the nose on her face, so much was said in those two words; so many feelings that I don’t even know how to describe them, but she knew the answer as she always does. I doubted myself, and my ability to make a career out of writing. But, she doesn’t doubt it. And, I don’t think she ever has.

Then write.

Words really can the world, and now that mine’s been changed, I need to get to work.

Thank you Cupcake, for everything you’ve done and everything you will ever do for me. Thank you for being able to see that little flickering flame inside of me, and knowing exactly how to feed it. I will write, and I will make you proud of me, and that one thing is what will make me happiest in this world. I love you.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014


So, I’ve been on the naughty list for the last couple of days. Yes, I’ve been writing and posting my blog posts, but I haven’t been doing it the way I should be. Take today’s post for example. Cupcake gave me the topic, mutants, yesterday after I posted my discussion on April Fool’s Day. But, I’m just now (at 8:13 pm) sitting down to write today’s post. This means I’m going to be behind on getting my stats posted and that will mean a wide number of other things which I really don’t want to talk about here. It’s all just prattle.

Anyway, the topic is mutants, and I suppose I should be able to come up with a fairly decent post about mutants, mainly because I feel like one half of the time. Lol.

Cupcake was watching an episode of Face Off (SyFy reality tv show about practical effects make up and design) and the topic of the contest for that episode was mutants. Each of the contestants designed their own mutants and so on and so forth, the rest doesn’t matter so far as I’m concerned. What does is the concept, the question the challenge raises: What is a mutant and what does that mean to you?

It’s kind of a double question, but a good one none the less.

There are a couple of things that come to mind when I hear the word mutant. Most of those are pop culture references, and I think maybe one of them comes from scientific fact. That’s the one I want to talk about first.

As far as I can tell (and this is without me checking Google) a mutation is often an irregularity or abnormality n the genetic sequence. This irregularity often causes problems with the individual born with that mutation. An example of this could be a deer born with five legs, or it may have three eyes. And, there are other more common mutations. People are born blind, or they’re born with Down syndrome or something similar. This is and isn’t a mutation, it’s more like a birth defect caused by an irregularity in the genetic sequence… which is exactly what I just said to define a mutation…


Mutations are also highly useful when it comes to evolution. First, there were a lot of brown bears, because there were a lot of temperate forests between ice ages. But, when the world got cold again, the ice caps spread and a lot more of the earth became white. Brown bears had trouble with getting food because their prey could see them miles away and get the hell out. Then there was a mutation. A bear was born with white fur (technically a polar bear’s fur is clear because it lacks any sort of pigment) and was better suited to sneaking up on its prey. This made the bears with white fur continue to survive and breed and be born, and the brown bears in the polar area slowly died out. (And, yes, I totally just stole that example from Cosmos.)

Now, the other references I can think of are right up Face Off’s alley. It’s the X-men from Marvel Comics. And, the mutant bug movies of the 1950’s. And, I’ll leave you with what I think is the most famous pop culture mutant of all time:



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool’s Day

I thought about writing a post entitled Cupcake’s Pregnant, but I ditched the idea. The joke became a little to real for me, digging down into that place where all our fears lie in wait.

What fears are those?

They’re something I’d rather not talk about. Today has been too glorious a day for dark feelings and depression. The sun is out riding high in the sky and the temps have swarmed up to 80 degrees, at least that’s where it was when I got out of my car. The skies were blue, and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. And, if this is Mother Nature’s way of saying April Fools and dumping a foot of snow on us tomorrow, I’m going to find a way to split the earth in two.

Going to have to do some research there, find Tesla’s plans for his death ray, and adapt it into a railgun-esq contraption… And, there goes that train of thought.

Anyway, where did April Fool’s Day come from?

I bet Google knows.

Google pointed me to Wikipedia and Wikipedia confused me. My attention span has been rather short today, and I’ve only been reading like every third word or so. Plus, I’ve got a headache starting, and my gums are hurting again.

God, there’s really nothing about this topic that’s catching my interest. This is making it very difficult for me to talk about it.

Nothing like Booze, Drugs, and Sex to celebrate the good times.

I guess I could relate it to Dungeons and Dragons in some way shape or form. I could write an adventure based on the holiday, and use the festivals Hilaria, a Roman festival, and the Feast of Fools, a Medieval festival. The adventure hooks could be simple. A group of young boys play a prank on a wealthy merchant by setting an animal of some sort loose in the merchant’s shop. The merchant takes things farther and intends to have the boys killed. It would be up to the PCs to set things to right by stopping the assassins, bringing the boys to the merchant to apologize and get them to help repair what was damaged by their wild animal. Or the merchant could contract the PCs to bring him the boys, and when they arrive have the merchant’s men murder the boys. The merchant would look at his handy work and walk away from the PCs, his last words to them being “Enjoy the Feast of Fools.”

A hundred other scenarios come to mind as well, but I’ll keep those to myself.

And, this makes me think of the ultimate April Fool’s Day prank to have ever existed. Though, it occurs during Carnival, a wild celebration taking place before the beginning of Lent. The victim of the joke if Fortunato, whose walled into an alcove in a crypt beneath Montresor’s home. The Cask of Amontillado should have been set on April Fool’s day. The Amontillado is the joke, the bait that pulls the victim in. And, before the last brick is set in place Montresor should look in and say “April Fools.”

Though the phrase In Pace Requiescat (Rest in peace) is sort of a fitting ending.\

In Pace Requiescat my ass!
 Bull shit! It should be “April Fools.” I’m going to rewrite The Cask of Amontillado, and make it happen exactly the way it should. Yes, sir!