Miscellaneous Feeds

[Anime Review] Sword Art Online II

Furiously Eclectic People - Thu, 05/17/2018 - 23:28

SAO II

The first four episodes are unnecessary garbage.

Then it does turn into an interesting albeit dogged story. It feels more like the second half of SAO I. They took much of what didn’t work in the first series and ran with it, leaving behind the best parts.

Still, after you roll your eyes through four useless episodes it picks up for nine. This story could have been told in three or less so it can be frustrating however it’s also touching.

After thirteen episodes though they do a reveal. It gives you just enough time to figure it all out before they reveal it and the twist is a little offensive (probably not offensive the way the word is used by a SJW).

Then it goes on to make a point about the dangers of identifying with a virtual world. It goes half measure with the danger.

Wait, it’s not over… a whole episode recaps this season. One can’t deny the overwhelming power of the concept even though it’s somewhat wasted. Like the first season, there are two main plots that have very different feels. It can’t be stressed enough that much like the first season, the secondary plot is angsty, ‘mature,’ and even more angsty. Did I mention the angst? To be fair the angsty stuff is done a little better this time.

One of the big negative issues I had with this animated cartoon was the sheer number of spoilers in the intro credits. This changes with a new intro for the last part of the season which appears to be returning to it’s roots, bringing back some of the original charm from the first season. Just ‘some’ though as it’s still a little lacking. This should have been the intro all along for both seasons.

Somewhere along the way, the music got better.

A problem with this later plotline is that I personally forget who a couple characters are and some of the names just leave a fuzzy question mark over my head. The battles also lack the imagination from the first series.

Still, there are some good ideas here even though it slows down in pacing.

Suddenly for a few episodes it switches to an independent storyline that could be watched alone without seeing any of the previous ones. It leads us to the finale. This little cute story is neat, fun and inconsequential.

Until it isn’t. Then it’s attempt to be moving generated some hilarity. I gather the writers had a point however it’s overshadowed by absurdity.

Despite the potentially negative review this seems to be. I feel a sense of fulfillment I probably wouldn't have without seeing the whole thing. I doubt I’ll watch it again but if they make more, I’ll give it a whirl.

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[2018-05-17] HackMaster 4e Part 1: Intro to the Player's Guide

Furiously Eclectic People - Thu, 05/17/2018 - 23:02

Opening the book and seeing the date 2001 gives me an odd feeling of how that shouldn’t seem so long ago and yet the battle of HackMaster does seem well in the past. It’s a game that ran its course and veered off in a completely different direction than where it initially travelled. It ended. Debate away.

The inside cover has ads for the GMG, HoB (over 1600 creatures), Quest for the Unknown and Little Keep on the Borderlands.

Of those, B1 Quest for the Unknown is easily the greatest gem. It took a fantastic classic adventure and made it even better. I’ve used it more than any module.

Inside the opening page is an area for signatures to be used to rub your dice against for dice purging and luck charges. It never occured to me over the years to actually get any of those signatures although I’ve met a few of the Kenzer team. There is a Reality Check and Foreword, both of which were so funny that they alone sold me on the book purchase in a Michigan WOTC store. The same place that taught me the Wheel of Time CCG completely wrong.

At its core, 4e is a spoof of AD&D. This parody humour was the core of what the game could achieve, and veering in any direction away from it would spell it’s demise and the creation of some 5e game that bears little to no resemblance to any of the many things that made 4e work.

There’s an in game joke next that’s worth the read introducing the game from Hard Eight. Here we see the two realities of HackMaster. There’s the game itself, and the game as used in KODT. It’s not really an important distinction however it’s all part of the fun and tone of this rulebook which makes it a joy to read.

Following that is a page of errata I bound into the book and man, this book has a ton of errata. That part alone makes having ‘extra’ copies for your players a difficult and long process. You can’t even create characters reasonably correct without the heady errata.

Then we have 5 pages that are the Table of Contents. Impressive and a joke unto itself but also very helpful in finding things.

Welcome to HackMaster, the introduction to the game. Again, this is a fantastic read which most notably has a section on the use of the male pronoun. This book came out at a time when RPGs were forced to either use alternating male/female or just female pronouns to avoid vilification. This was well before the requirement of gender neutral speak. It would be interesting to see what they would say now if HackMaster in this form had continued.

HackMaster makes comments on it’s fictional history as a game as if this was the 4th edition of a game instead of a 1st. Indeed it could be seen that way, as a spiritual successor to AD&D2e as well as recovering from D&D3e to get the roots of the AD&D game (certainly not the roots of D&D itself).

Another part of this parody is the idea of mastering the game. Improving toward being in a Name Level Group, dice etiquette and more.

To be continued….

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HackMoor 2018/05/10 The Raising of Aerys

Furiously Eclectic People - Wed, 05/16/2018 - 20:21

Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had an extra large sausage and mushroom pizza. Once was not enough and some of the Players ordered pepperoni on their own, because we don't normally order it due to one player's personal phobia.

Map attached. Includes prior sessions on this level.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

Before continuing on, the party debated much on what to do with the stone statue of Aerys. The point was made that her butterfly-like wings should have collapsed under their own weight but I ignored that. I was simply ready for her Player to simply take over her sidekick Tanzen, and be done with it.

Gnomex offered the Lesser Reanimation spell, unfortunately, the party had no access to reverse the Flesh to Stone. So they decided to call in a mark. The asked Numrendir to get on his communicator from The City of the Gods (module DA3) and call for help.

The party waited 5 minutes and a scroll materialized before them, the contents thereof being a Stone to Flesh spell. Going through the procedure, the spell was cast, followed by Gnomex and his Lesser Reanimation spell. Aerys survived the Resurrection Survival die roll by the way, her Constitution score is now down to a 5.

There's a drawback with Lesser Reanimation however, unlike a regular Raise Dead, the recipient gets three new random flaws. Of those flaws known, she got, Shaky Hands, Loud Talker, and Alcoholic. (Shaky Hands is not good for a Thief character, but Aerys will have to make do. Being a Loud Talker will attract more Wandering Monsters, and the Alcoholism will require mandatory court ordered enrollment in AA.) Must be something in the afterlife that did this to her, as it drove her to drink.

Aerys woke up thirsty and was quite loud about it.

Having done that, the party set off in marching order through the next door. Following the narrow passageway they came to an octagonal room with a dead body. Using Huang's Monk limitation test, they discovered no magical items of worth so they moved past and on to the next door.

(Note the party previously had discovered the rules limitation for Monks having no more than three magic items. They simply maxxed out Huang with three magic items. If he attempts to pick an item up and it slides off like a greased pig, it must be magical. Instant magic item detection sans spell use.)

This door had runes on it that needed to be deciphered basically the kind of code that could be compared with a custom license plate. The Party spent ten minutes on it. It was rather lame so I won't mention the cipher. What to do with the cipher was the next and the party just didn't get it, so as was the norm, they gave up and sent their remaining Goblin escort to open the door. It turned out to be another narrow ten foot passageway ending in another door. Sending the hapless Goblin to the next door triggered a trap, as soon as he got to the next door, a forcecage appeared filling the entire short hallway. (Think of it as glowing lines like a Tholian web in Star Trek but only one inch apart.) So the Goblin was stuck there.

The party thought about it and attempted to cast Dispel Magic on the Forcecage to no effect.

The only remaining thing to do was open the next door. (There was another stupid puzzle to be solved but I won't go into that.) The poor Goblin turned the knob (whether it was locked or no, it didn't matter), and as soon as he did so, a Horned Devil appeared and ate the poor little thing right up. It then turned towards the Party and simply made idle gruesome threats as devils are wont to do.

There was an impasse. The Party couldn't dispel the Forcecage, neither could the devil. Both sides decided to wait it out.

After what seemed like three hours, the devil faded out, and the Forcecage also faded out shortly thereafter.

Was the trap reset or just a one time trap? Tune in next week.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

HackMoor 2018/04/26 The Passing of Aerys

Furiously Eclectic People - Tue, 05/15/2018 - 17:49

Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had our staple steak and mozz pizza again.

Map attached. Includes prior session on this level.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

The session picked up at the beginning of the hallway with fourteen doors spaced evenly ten feet apart, each one adorned with the statue of a gargoyle on top. The party methodically opened each door to ten foot by ten foot chambers, finding in each one a specific implement of torture. Chains, whips, pillories, racks, iron maidens, et cetera. These rooms were either the domain of one particularly twisted individual or lifted from the ten most popular things to do in a Maastricht tourism guide.

After these fourteen doors the hall skipped ten more feet and there were two more doors. Turning left they found a survivor, a miserable wretch half starved fighter who only survived with the help of a magical Ioun stone that conjured up bad food from who knows where. Said he'd been there since captured by the Bloody Duke since the last Blackmoor Dungeon Festival and for some reason been ignored for most of a year. He only wanted to get out of there. The party wasn't going to escort him nor give him the password to get past Funk III's trapped passage so they kept him.

On the other side of the hall where kept humanoid body parts, the purpose of which became obvious, when they had to fight the Flesh Golems in the next room.

Speaking of which, at the end of the hall, it opened up in to a thirty by thirty foot room in each corner stood a Flesh Golem, whose only response to light was "Fire Bad", and commenced to attack, thus blocking the singular door behind them. The fight seemed to be going rather well for the party as they got the advantage early on. But after the first round came battle cries from the back as several of the Gargoyles above the torture room doors animated and attacked the party's rear guard.

Aerys who just happened to be in the back, took battle damage fairly quickly, Since Gargoyles have multiple attacks per round, she was brought down to negative seven hit points and was considered "dying", when the Gargoyle's last attack added insult to injury and turned her to stone. (A special attack by Gargoyle Lords which these happened to be.)

A few more rounds of this and the Golems and Gargoyle Lords were finally defeated and the party had to decide (next session) what to do with Aerys. At least being turned to stone saved them the prospect of having to give her a proper burial.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

HackMoor 2018/04/12 BlackMoor Dungeon Level 11 Begins

Furiously Eclectic People - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 21:50

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

THERE WILL BE NO GAME THIS WEEK AS I AM OUT OF TOWN.

Instead of a pizza and since I had only four players (they are kind enough to SMS ahead of time if not showing up), I got four Whataburgers with accompanying fries. It ended up being about the same price as a pizza. The burgers were better than the most, if not any chain establishment I have known. At first I was dismayed by the appearance of crinkle-cut fries, but they turned out to be made from real potatoes, not pressed potato powder. (You can tell if some of the fries have a curvature, as if from the end of a potato.)

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

When the party reached the bottom of the stairs, I avoided the rebus puzzle and accompanying trap from the text. I deemed it a rather Sophomoric yet still above the ability of my group. Maybe I should have used the trap anyway and not tie it to the puzzle, but that would have been unfair.

They came to a short thirty foot pillared hallway followed by a four way intersection. The party turned right and entered a tunnel adorned with silver and copper chunks as they followed the tunnel it opened up to a large chamber occupied by "Matt", a large bipedal metallic looking creature that once again the party needed a one-way Comprehend Languages spell to understand.

"Matt" seemed friendly and warned them to stay away from his arch-enemy across the hall named "Woody"

Taking their leave as best they knew how, the party inadvertently took Matt's advice and turned right again and went further down the hall. (I can't claim if the party actually gave a damn about the warning or were simply following protocol by always turning right.)

After another thirty feet down the original hall, the party was "greeted" by an mouth attack by a Purple Worm, swallowing the lead Goblin whole.

Oh, I neglected to mention the Goblins, they were an escort granted by the Goblin "El Jefe" two levels up. Since the Honor Duel with the Orc Stratra one level up, they were under Strata's protection and not killed outright by the Orc Kingdom. Anyway I think there were originally four escort Goblins granted by "El Jefe", but when I asked the Party they only remembered two. Perhaps they were simply taken in by feminine Orc buxom charms and stayed behind?

Anyway the Goblin was soon dissolved by the Purple Worm's gullet.

Next either Huang or Honda fought the creature who was also swallowed whole. This caused a minor rules check because one of the Players said that since the character was swallowed whole there was no "bite" damage only the gullet damage counted. Not in a mood to argue, I said "fine", notwithstanding I recalled several movies where some giant creature still takes one or two gulps to swallow whole, which would tell me it would also "bite" in the process.

Ignoring the bite damage (2d8+12 in d20 system) or (2d12 in HackMaster), this brought the disparity between the stomach of a BlackMoor (D&D d20 system) Purple Worm, which does two 8 sided dice plus 12 points of crushing damage plus 8 points of acid damage per round verses the stomach of a HackMaster Purple Worm which automatically kills in 6 rounds. I chose the d20 system method. Either way the character fought its way out from inside the Purple Worm in time and also killed it.

They explored the cave the one the Purple Worm came out of. All they found were some brownish soft rocks which turned out to be Purple Worm shit. The other cave opposite across the hall turned out to have some dead gophers, ostensibly Purple Worm food.

Going back out they turned right (again) and followed it fifty feet to a thirty by thirty foot square room. It was full of billions of little beetles (or so said the module text). Numrendir was temporarily in charge (mainly because another Player went to the can), and backed the party out. Upon return of the other Player, they decided to fireball it.

This brought another rules discussion.

According the HackMaster, each beetle should have been worth at least one Experience Point per beetle even if they were so small to discount the hit point kicker. So there was some fantasizing about all the Party members going up by infinite levels. I had to kill that idea, I even got my HackMaster Smartass Smackdown Table handy, in case it got serious.

The beetles were not the problem of the room, they were simply meant to be a clue. The writer's of this module thought is was a good idea for the party to "observe" the beetles and see if they notice them crawling into and out of a crack on floor of one side of the room. The Fireball eliminated that. So I reversed the clue and had the party "notice" more Beatles were entering the room from the crack instead.

It was a hard gamemaster's night.

Of course this meant the party found the secret door they had not bothered to check for. Since they were preoccupied with beetles.

Opening the secret door and following it, the Party found it narrowed down to 2 feet in width, so they had to continue single file. The remaining lead Goblin started to fall into a pit trap filled with spikes fifty feet down. But Huang just behind him, managed to pull back the hapless little Goblin just in the nick of time.

Next they entered a twenty by twenty foot chamber containing six upright sealed stone sarcophagi. Gnomex, (think it was Gnomex anyway) detected something "evil" inside one of them. Naturally being one of the curious sort, he attempted to strike it with his trusty magic Warhammer. As soon as he hit he, he disappeared. Gnomex found himself inside of of the sarcophagus he attempted to hit, and also under water, dirty water at that in a tight fit, even for a Gnome, with hardly any room to maneuver.

The Party on the other hand only heard the tinkering and "mummphfl-flmmfs-gurgle" coming from inside the selfsame sarcophagus. So they struck it down. (Good thing the magic Teleport only worked once on that sarcophagus.) The water and Gnomex, spilled out, along with a dagger which was apparently the source of the "evil". So the party wrapped the dagger in some cloth and put it away. (They'll have to remind me who has it.)

Last thing on the agenda, the party exited this chamber, being mindful not to touch any of the other sarcophagi, turned a corner to the right and found themselves in a ten foot wide hallway with fourteen doors (seven on each side) spaced every ten feet. Each door was adorned overhead by the statue of a gargoyle.

Session to be continued on 26 April 2018 if there is a quorum.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly
Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a
Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a
Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

[Anime Review] Sword Art Online

Furiously Eclectic People - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 01:09

SAO takes about 5 episodes to get going.

SAO is a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game and the cartoon is about people playing that game. It touches on Human relationships, action, drama, romance, and how a writer can screw up a good idea.

I loved the novel “Dream Park” which would make you think I’d immediately love SAO but it’s just not that good, for five episodes. It lacks the charm, depth and humour evident in Danmachi (Familia Myth/Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?).

SAO is a fantastic concept (very much like Dream Park combined with modern ideas of MMORPGs) but it’s a bit boring and at times, painful to watch.

All that said, it gets better after episode 5 and starts to become more and more interesting. After 10 more episodes it turns suddenly into awesome and emotional.

Then…. Even more suddenly SAO becomes stupid through to the final 25th episode.

I see a lot of people toss Danmachi aside for it’s tame minimal fan service for the much more serious SAO however after episode 15 it becomes about boobs and a little fan service even up through tentacle fetishes.

It’s a slog through the rest of the episodes where the main character departs a little from who they are for no other reason than to keep you in suspense. As well, this later chunk of episodes have a lot of filler with multiple episodes that could just be skipped and nothing is lost.

Did I mention that the intro and outro credits are painfully long. The music is fairly average.
So in the end you can think of SAO as two parts and an epilogue. The second part feels like it was written by Stephen Moffat. It does not have the same feel as the first and there are his famous style of dues ex machina.

Slow to get going, awesomeness, stupidity, veering way off track and a finale. It stumbles through romance, action and horror. I really mean stumbles as it doesn’t do any of them well in the long run.

I’m glad I watched it but doubt I’ll watch it again or get the manga or even the original light novels. It didn’t really spark any imagination.

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HackMoor 2018/04/05 Level 10 and King Funk III

Furiously Eclectic People - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 02:38

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had a Steak pizza with fresh lumps of Mozzarella and Garlic.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

If you haven't guessed by now, Gorignak is an Earth Elemental.

Gorignak was in a friendly mood, so Numrendir cast a "Comprehend Languages" spell, knowing this would be a one-way conversation. Gorignak, having lived in this dungeon since its beginning aeons ago was quite patient and wise, and understood what Numrendir was doing. (While wise, Earth Elementals are still limited to one language by their Intelligence score, and Modern Standard Common wasn't it.)

Numrendir learned from Gorignak there were "Pig Noses" and "Small Giants" living on this level. (Orcs and Ogres respectively). and Gorignak uses Ooze Para-elementals to run errands for him.

The party was about to wrap this conversation up and decide which way to go, when from the Southeast passage from Gorignak's lair comes this large Orc, apparently the twin brother of the Orc just slain last session. (I rolled snake-eyes to get this encounter, just like his twin.) Not wanting to let a good thing go, I had the Orc ask everyone in the room, "Has anyone seen Gronk my twin Brother?"

"You mean the one we just offed?", replied Gnomex, "his carcass is in the next room."

This of course necessitated another Honor Duel with the Orc (who called himself Stratra) who eventually lost. This wasn't just any orc, it was an 8th Level Fighter Orc (like his twin). High level Orcs are not normally allowed in HackMaster, but the module provided it. Anyway, the last blow dealt brought Stratra down to exactly zero hit points, so Gnomex (since he was a Cleric), had a few segments to healed the Orc before it was considered Hackmaster dead. It thus satisfied the Honor Duel and using movie-logic, put the Orc forever in Gnomex' debt.

A "take me to your leader" deal was struck with the proviso the Stratra could retrieve his dead brother in the next room for proper burial. Thus laden, the Stratra led the party and its entourage to Orc territory, where they were challenged by the sentries but passed Stratra's word. This included the Id Cultists, whom the Orc tribe was nominally at war with.

Stratra found his priests and took his brother to be entombed saying he'd be right back. Allowing the party in their free time to tour local Orcdom, including the slave pens, brothel, and local bar and grill. Especially the bar, while expensive, they found that this Orc tribes brew was quite good. (It must have been the water in this dungeon as the pools they found were exceptionally clear and pure.) They stopped at the entrance to the King's double-wide entrance doors where they were not permitted entry as there was a sign posted stating that "King Funk III Tours are held at the bottom of the hour" and it was the top.

Meanwhile an Ooze Para-elemental appeared in the hallway carrying a waterproof pouch, it stopped by one of the guards, took a letter from the pouch and placed it in a puka near the entrance marked "King's Post" and departed. (There was no explanation for this but the party learned later both Earth and Water Elementals living on this level employ Ooze Para-elementals to run errands and are this Level's Postal Service.)

Finally at the bottom of the hour, Stratra (who had just buried his brother) showed up and gained entrance to King Funk the Third's hall the by way of the nickel tour. As if on queue a buxom female Orc in a slinky dress and stilletto's invited them in and they got the official tour. When asked about having an audience with the King, she told them he was away in his Sensitive Compartmented Orc Facility making war plans.

Finally the King arrived and the Party gained an audience.

These became diplomatic talks. So the first question asked by the King was, "Why should we make a pact with you? We have been at war for years!"

"Why not?", replied the Priestess of Id, "We're both Evil, Lawful Evil in Fact".

"Yes but we're still a different kind of Evil.", argued the King.

"Not so much, really, what's so different?", said the Priestess.

"At least we don't sacrifice an innocent child every Monday." , said the King. (GM's note: In game terms it was Sunday.)

The Priestess countered "Oh nooo. You use slaves and when they're no longer any use, you eat them. How is that so different?"

Even the King, faced with this form of logic relented. A peace treaty was made and a deal struck.

They decided to trade muscle for supplies, notably since the cultists could pass as normal people outside the dungeon in Blackmoor. They could obtain the hops and barley on the open Blackmoor market needed for the tasty Orc brew. In return the Orcs (who are growing in ever increasing numbers) could build their forces to invade Blackmoor again and retake what King Funk the First lost long ago. In due time Numrendir, who has the brewing skill, could lend his assistance.

The Party it was deemed, were free to continue further down the dungeon and explore. Since no one in the Orc's dominion had ever returned from that direction, the King deemed it a safe bet.

To seal the deal the High Priestess Cultist asked for a private audience in the King's Chambers. They were gone only a few minutes and they both emerged with the familiar glowing blue eyes the party knew too well.

"One last request,", the Priestess said and whispered in the King's ear. The King then summoned one of the guards and gave private instructions. The guard returned shortly with an innocent slave child tied to a rope.

"Thanks, we'll be leaving now,", said the Priestess, "we have a ceremony to prepare for."

"IDspeed." replied the King. And the Cultists left.

Now the Party, no longer followed by Cult observers were led by the King to the stairs leading down to Level Eleven. "Beware the trap.", informed the King as he pulled down a lever. "The scything blades along both walls are the only thing that keeps the lower critters out and there is no off switch at the bottom."

"How do we get back up if there is no off switch?", asked Gnomex.

"I'll keep guards posted, when you need to get back up just call out the password.", replied the King.

Gnomex had to ask, "What's the Password?"

"Donkeyballs".

Thus warned, the party went down.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLNE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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HackMoor 2018/03/29 Looking South to See Gorignak

Furiously Eclectic People - Wed, 04/04/2018 - 01:23

Second attempt at this post, first attempt seems to have disappeared.

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had a Spinach and Chicken pizza with fresh lumps of Mozzarella.

There is an image attachment to this post that the email version didn't get, at map of this level that they have explored so far. Due to black and white format, areas of shadow not explored are indistinguishable from solid walls.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

I deemed we did not have sufficient Players for a quorum, so we played another three Player session of Rail Baron. This time the two losers from the last game outplayed the winner from the previous game.

On the side however, I asked the Player running Aerys to conceptualize the room they were in. She decided to look to the opening to the South and met a strange creature made out of earth and rock. It wasn't hostile, and started to talk to Aerys in unintelligible sounds. At which point I suggested a comprehend languages spell may be in order.

For the sake of the story I named the creature Gorignak, the rock monster from Galaxy Quest. (The module gives it a different name but I think this is better.)

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLNE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



Tracy Johnson
Ye Olde Fashioned Text Games at:

BT

NNNN

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Volume 6 - Raiders of Gor

Furiously Eclectic People - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 17:19

This book started pretty slow, but turned into a swashbuckling-action-oriented feast! It was reminiscent of the first book and I really enjoyed it for the most part. I find in almost all of the Gor books I start out a bit bored while they set the story up, then get hooked when the meat of it starts.

The final battle scene description made my eyes glaze over a bit, it could be because I'd taken a break from the Gor series so I had forgotten what certain terms meant. I skimmed through the in depth ship descriptions because I wanted to get back to the action. (And because honestly...I didn't care, it's a boat...move on). Tying the women to the front of the boats was equally barbaric and beautiful to imagine, their faces twisted in fright, their bodies on display. I'd like to see a painting of that.

Character-wise I liked Telima alot, the switch-a-roo at the start was interesting, and the scene where she and the other girls dance around their captive tied to the pole made me smile. It was good to see some payback coming to the males. As for the main character, I did tire of his angst after a while, he needed a good smack upside the bottom to smarten him up. I think I still don't understand how he can be so angsty for lost loves and then get more women and then get angsty about them, it's like he punishes himself constantly. Get a hold of yourself man!

I enjoyed learning about the workings of Port Kar from the political system all the way down to the how they handle slaves. I pictured it as a floating (though not described as such) pirate city full of all types of booty. A book focused solely on the day-to-day workings of Port Kar featuring minor characters would be very intriguing I think.

Captive of Gor is next, I'm hoping it'll be just as action-packed. (or more, more would be good!)

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[XCOM2-Spoilers] Vigilo Confido (Easy-Ironman)

Furiously Eclectic People - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 20:10

I blow the time to restablish contact with the Western U.S. after the game tells me I can't. Vigilo Confido!

I gain three potential target sites. Eastern U.S. to counter the Alien Cypher dark event to gain a scientist; New Mexico to counter the Alloy Padding dark event to gain a Grenadier; Western U.S. to counter a hidden event to gain 84 Intel. The last being the only one that isn't labelled Easy. I take it.

Operation Spider Tomb
Moderate Difficulty
84 Intel Reward
Protect the Device just outside Vancouver

Cast of Depravity:
Leftenant Schneider "Sheriff" a Sniper
Knight Number 5 "Tinderbox" a Spark
Leftenant Neptune "Sailor" a Scout
Sergeant Uranus "Sailor" a Hacker
Sergeant Klein "Clydsdale" a guy who blows stuff up [Shaken]

We stir Klein around a bit before getting him off the Skyranger.

Moving in we see a Viper and a Lancer. One basic setup later and Clydsedale uses supressing fire on the Viper which isn't effective. Everyone but Tinderbox and Uranus miss but those two down the Viper. Neptune gets Lanced by the ADVENT stooge and neutralizes him.

Uranus considers penetrating the ADVENT security but finds it too tight and backs out. Tinderbox aggros a Lancer and Officer while Uranus injuress the Officer as it gets under the covers.

The ADVENT stoolies centre their frustrations on Tinderbox after he misses the Officer. Tinderbox get's marked and shot by the Officer. As the Lancer breaks for Tinderbox, Klein jumps up and misses completely while Sheriff gets a pistol hit on him before he Lances Tinderbox.

Klein moves up and reloads. Tinderbox turns his back on the Lancer and rushes the Officer who screams at the Lancer to intercept but it's fruitless as the Officer is torn to shreds by the Spark.

Uranus gets a little inappropriate (won't repeat what she said) and reams the Lancer.

We mess around and reload while inching toward the target. Some ADVENT move in on us and everyone but Tinderbox fires wide.

Klein tramples the Viper, Sheriff ticks off a Trooper that's flanking him so Neptune slips up and takes care of his problem which ends the mission. Excellent.

---

Klein is promoted to Leftenant and takes Heavy Ordnance over Holo-Targeting. He won't listen anyway; he just likes to blow stuff up and make horse jokes. This mission sees him recovered from his "Shaken" status.

Low on Power and Comms in my base. Despite needing a Proving Ground still, I build more Comms and start clearing space for more rooms. With only two Engineers, I can't do much. I finally research magnetic weapons.

The Dark Event ADVENT Alloy Padding completes and they launch a retaliation strike against our resistance by targeting civilians. Let's save some lives people!

Operation Flying Dawn with Cpl Kazanova, Cpl Hamilton, Hijack, Tinderbox and Sheriff.

With a mixture of arrogance and apprehension, we hit the gound.

Our first encounter near two civilians is a Super Trooper and a Muton. A grenade and some shots take them out. We hear shots in the diatnce and a Human cry the cry of death.

A choice always has to be made in these types of missions whether to rescue civilians or eliminate threats. I save 9/13 civilians in 5 turns and eliminated 7/7 enemy targets, with only one soldier wounded from a Muton counterattack.

---

Operation Righteous Dawn
Hack the workstation on CP rail, Edmonton.
Difficult

Trainees:
Lt. Clydesdale (Grenadier), Cv Tinderbox (Spark), Lt Neptune (Ranger), Sg Uranus (Specialist), Sg Cyborg (Sharpshooter)

Time to get this resistance back on track.

With complete confidence we all run forward. We don't expect this to be wheely hard anyway. After a bit we see a Mec and Officer and realize we only have 6 turns to get to the objective.

I setup and launch a grenade into the two but they run the other way and no one but Tinderbox can see them; he rails against the Officer, sending him crashing to the ground. Uranus sends Aid Protocol to Tinder and the Mec hides in a car. Tinder blows up the whole car and Neptune finishes the Mec off.

We meet heavy resistance with a couple Sectoids, Vipers, and Troopers. Tinder gets in the middle to draw fire but Neptune takes a critical hit and gets poisoned.

Neptune gets swatted hard and her caboose goes to the railyard in the sky. Uranus screams, steels herself and rushes for the target network access.

Success. Good but not great. By Neptune's beard, we lost one. In Neptune's honour, Specialist Uranus takes the Field Medic skill which would have come in handy.

KIA Leftenant Sailor Neptune; 6 Missions, 15 Kills, a Ranger.

---

Operation Buried Shadow
Raid the ADVENT Train

Trainers:
Number 5 "Tinderbox" a Spark
Haruku "Sailor" Uranus a Specialist
Dmitri "Rocket Red" Pushkin a Grenadier
Markus "Clydesdale" Klein a Grenadier
Deric "Efreeti" Blackstone a Ranger

We see a mechanical turret and Uranus decides to hack it with only 30% chance to control and succeeds! Unfortunately, even with success, it means we lose concealment and are now being hunted.

A couple Mutons, Shieldbearer, Viper, and two heavy turrets. The hacked turret does most of the work for us. Tinderbox burns the rest but.. but... the mission isn't over?

Another Shieldbearer and Officer sneaking around. The Grenadiers make short work of them.

Flawless victory in six turns.

---

Operation Shattered Witch
Neutralize target in ADVENT vehicle.

Leftenants Cyborg and Sailor take Sergeant Efreeti and Corporal Pushkin along with Cavalier Tinderbox along for the ride.

Soooo, I failed a Hack with nobody in Overwatch and a Ruler Muton Beserker along with some ADVENT soldier attacked. We panicked and Pushkin killed the VIP, Tinderbox dropped the Beserker AND Pushkin to the lower floor with a blast.....

The Beserker flees through a gate, Efreeti misses with his blade. Many reinforcements come.

We use tactics like blowing up floors so bad guys take falling damage and land within grenade radius of other bad guys. We flee.

It's considered a mission success but I'm pretty disappointed in myself for shooting the VIP instead of the Ruler. It was purely a lack of attention to detail. I get far too cocky on Easy mode.

--

Operation Blood Knife

Destroy alien facility

My name is Stephen. I'm a Ranger for the XCOM project. This will be my fifth mission. I don't know the rest of the crew on this one but they seem to have a bond. Apparently my predecessor was involed with our Specialist and something pretty brutal happened to her.
On the flight into action I examine the cool throwing axes they equiped me with. They're odd but far better than the sword I used to have.

(Grenadier Cpt Clydesdale, Spark Vanguard Tinderbox, Specialist Lt Uranus-gravely wounded planting explosives, Sharpshooter Lt Sheriff-wounded) Stephen Hamilton, Sgt Ranger 16 kills.

"Apparently I WAS better than Neptune."

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HackMoor 2018/03/22 Down to Level Ten

Furiously Eclectic People - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 03:12

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

Back to the usual, a meat-lovers pizza with the pepperoni removed and Philly-cheese steak substituted.

​PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

The party had just accepted the surrender of the surviving two of four Goblins. They were about to attack Goblin El Jefe inside the next room when they were annoyed by the Priestess of Id raising up the Goblin dead and healing the surviving Goblin's wounds.

"Tsk tsk, we can't leave just a mess like THAT around," she said, "it will bring down property values, and show up on Neighborhood Watch reports. Besides, our new Order of the Lawful Good aspect of Id needs new converts, don't they?"

As she thus spoke her eyes glowed again blue, the four Goblins nodded in agreement.

Cheerily the Goblin guards opened the double doors to the next room, introducing "Sir Huang, Baronet of Catan!" (formerly Temple of the Frog and environs. I should have also added he was announced in the manner of Helga, in "'Allo 'Allo".)

The party interrupted El Jefe's evening meal, consisting of very large flies, served on a platter by relatively cute goblin wenches. (Now why the flies just don't fly away? My guess is they're just too fat to fly.) The wings were pulled off just before El Jefe ate them, a Goblin delicacy.

As they come in El Jefe says "WELCOME Sir Huang!", as his eyes glow a bright azure. In another pleasantry he addresses the Priestess of Id, "Greetings your Holiness, how long has it been, a week? What can I do for you all?"

Gnomex, getting to the point whispers to Sir Huang about directions to the next level down.

Therfore Huang as if prompted, asks: "Which way down to the next level?"

"No problem Sir!" says El Jefe, "My guards will see you down."

"Former guards." Interrupts the Priestess. "They just joined the new Lawful Good Order of the Temple of ID."

"No matter." says El Jefe, "We're Goblins, we'll make more!" As he grabs one of the Goblin show girls and winks.

As they leave, a good-bye shout is heard from El Jefe's hall, "For the glory of ID!"

"For the glory of ID!" Replied the former Goblin guards.

So the Party is accompanied by the Cultists (the High Priestess, a few other priests and guards) You can almost say they follow the Party out of morbid curiosity. Thus, avoiding most of the pitfalls of Level Nine, the party is led past a few twists and turns and reach trap door in a nondescript room. They take the steps going down.

GM's Note: I must have missed something, as my eyes on the map wandered. When I put them on leve ten, I accidentally shifted the party a bit and they found themselves in a hallway with a door. I can rectify that next session or just leave them where they are. In any case it was just a door in the hallway.

With a bloody greasy door handle.

The party detected no traps, notwithstanding they didn't want to touch the bloody door handle. (Which is strangely odd, considering the wild abandon the Players grab pizza slices with unwashen hands.) So they asked the new Goblin members of the Lawful Good Holy Order of ID to do it.

After they opened the door, as if it sadness could ever overcome Goblins, they burst into tears. Inside were a baker's dozen dead Goblins. All friends and acquaintances.

They vowed revenge.

As if on cue, what came strolling down the hall but the biggest baddest Orc the party had ever seen, wearing a banded mail and a large floppy hat with a feather, circa late 16th century.

Omitting most details, a challenge was issued, centered on Aerys for some reason (probably as the new Grand Master of the LG Order of ID,) and was answered. Since Aerys was female, Huang was designated as her Champion. (Or was it Gnomex? I've had a couple beers as of this writing.) In any case the Orc was defeated and the Goblin rage was assuaged as it were.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level ​WitchRanger​ (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome ​Adept​ of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING​/OFFLNE/RETIRED​ CHARACTERS
​Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
​Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage​ Second​ (a Protege of Jacko). ​
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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HackMoor 2018/03/15 BlackMoor Dungeon - The Cleric of Id

Furiously Eclectic People - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 01:52

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had two large pizzas, one Pepperoni, one Chicken. After many weeks, we had a session of HackMaster.

​PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

The party took some respite from their endeavors by accepting the hospitality of the Cultists of ID, memorizing spells, healing, sleep, et. al. During this period one character mentioned their spell book contained a dearth of spells. So I suggested the player take some initiative and steal them from another character. I amended that to include friendly borrowing, if another character agreed. So there was some die rolling involved, as players invoked some "Write" spells to copy spells from each others spell books. As I also told them there is a chance of failure, they can attempt again when they gain another level. It was as if that was a harbinger of fate, as one Player kept rolling ones and twos on their attempts, we even tried using a new die after every bad roll.

This evolution probably took a day or two, since the each spell Written takes one hour per spell level pass or fail. Their hosts were rather nice about the party taking their time. The non-magic users were easily entertained and an alliance was made.

Aerys made the first move towards an alliance, or at least an association. First the Cultists "alignment" was ascertained.

While this is usually a social faux pas, the Cultists made no dissembling. The Cultists Priestess, the significance of her position apparently obvious by her glowing blue eyes when she spoke, (like a G'aould from Stargate): "We're Evil," she said, "but at least we're honest about it."

The party pondered this, finally Aerys came up with a rejoinder: "Do you have any Neutral or Good Chapters of your Religion? If not, can we start one?"

"I don't see why not," she said, "we're always looking for new members. This could be an interesting method to expand our franchise."

So the deal was struck. I proffered the Player a briefing on the Religion of ID (to be delivered later), as I had previously said the Characters had been given the pamphlets and tracts anyway.

After this the Party, accompanied by the Cultists, went out exploring level Nine. Although it should be obvious dear reader, the Cultists were quite familiar with parts of this level. They went along to see what the party would do.

They went North then turned Southwest to see the staircase they came down before. Seeing nothing, they turned into a short hallway going Northwest that ended in a heavy door. Eventually breaking it down as it took more than one attempt, they found a small ten foot by ten foot square room with a door on each wall (including the one they came in). Within it was a large statue of a Goblin with various "offerings" placed around it. Specifically, some flasks with unknown fluids (one ceramic, three glass), a jar filled with blood, a silver goblet filled with cheap ale, two moldy pieces of bread, some moldy cheese, several teeth and bones, a gold signet ring, an empty scroll case, a crushed holy symbol of an unidentified diety, three decomposed headless chickens, the head of a female elf. various silver and copper coins, a vial of ink, a quill, and a scorched wizard's spell book. Since they had just gone through that process of transcribing spells, they simply stowed it, and anything else of value.

After successfully desecrating whatever intent these offerings were by taking them, the party made a exited the chamber by the easily opened (from the inside) door opposite the way they came. Coming to a "T" intersection they turned left, passed some corridors came within view of the aforesaid staircase and turned left again to find themselves outside one of the side doors to the same statue room.

Forcing this door open, they went past the statue through the other side and came out to another "T" intersection. Turning left they came to a door on their right, and checked to see if it was locked. It was, and they attempted to unlock it or force it I forget which as it didn't matter. One of the Characters, (probably Numrendir), at this point noticed that a mere 10 further was a wide open corridor at a 135 degree angle relative to their current corridor and decided to peek around it.

What he or she saw where a pair of Goblins aiming their arrows at the back side of the door the rest of the party was attempting to open. Whoever it launched a Phantasmal Fireball and hit for beau coup hit poitnts. 3 out of 4 Goblins failed their saving throw (there were 2 other Goblins around the corner), but they all survived. The two visible Goblins did a mere right face and let loose their arrows back at Numrendir for 11 hit points.

At this point Grok cast a Sidewinder Fireball (Factor 2) and downed a couple of the Goblins. One of the Goblins had charged Numrendir but Grok was ready to meet him on the second round and struck with his Short Sword (being a Battle Mage) and rolled a critical hit. (Using my cheesy system, he scored triple max hits, dropping the Goblin.

These Goblins were a bit difficult to take down, apparently they were Sixth Level Fighter Goblins.

In any case the surviving two Goblins failed their Morale Check and offered the location of their boss, just through the next door down the hall.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level ​WitchRanger​ (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome ​Adept​ of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING​/OFFLNE/RETIRED​ CHARACTERS
​Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
​Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage​ Second​ (a Protege of Jacko). ​
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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[XCOM2-Spoilers] die Pause für die Beförderung

Furiously Eclectic People - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:11

After the mission i realize that I forgot to do my previous promotion so Sheriff takes Quickdraw (firing pistol first doesn't end turn) and I really don't know if it's better than Death From Above; Neptune takes Run and Gun (take action after dashing); Jones takes Deadeye (lower Aim to improve damage) simply because I always take Lightning Hands and want to see if Deadeye will ever come in handy or if it's just a way to miss.

Uranus and Jones recovered from their 'Shaken' status.

The previous failed mission not only lost me the Intel and VIP but contact with Western U.S. and the supplies normally gained there. Talk about a setback.

I go back to base and feel shame.

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[XCOM2-Spoilers] Devil's Gift (Easy-Ironman)

Furiously Eclectic People - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:00

Operation Devil's Gift

Rescue VIP from ADVENT Vehicle, Edmonton

This is a rescue mission so I decide on two sharpshooters and no Grenadier.

Cast of Kidnappers:
Sergeant "Sailor" Neptune (Ranger); Sergeant "Sailor" Uranus (Specialist); Knight Number 5 (Spark); Leftenant "Sheriff" Schneider (Sharpshooter); Corporal Jones (Sharpshooter)

We start on a roof but after setup, only Sheriff is left up there as he has Squadsight. I do some running to scout using Jones and Neptune. We see a couple ADVENT in a building to our right but then we see the Viper King and a Viper peon slither out front. He becomes the priority target and we set up allowing the Troopers to flank us. Number 5 will start the barrage with everyone else on overwatch.

It goes fairly well. Neptune never got line-of-sight on the King and everyone else hit except Sheriff. The Troopers took tactical positions to my flank as expected, but we have to kill this Viper King.

Apparently only Neptune can move so she pulls her sword and dashes for the King doing heavy damage but not enough and his reaction is to open a gate for escape. Number 5 is Marked and takes some damage from a flanking Trooper (ADVENT Officer) while Uranus gets stabbed by the other one (ADVENT Stun Lancer). No music comes from Number 5.

I try to use Lightning Hands with Sheriff but somehow screw it up and he blows his whole wad on the Viper King, eliminating him. Now to the flankers and the eleven turns to get our VIP.

Number 5 flanks the Lancer and misses, almost hitting Uranus who ducks and curses Yoma. Spectacle Jones removes the Lancer from play.

Neptune rushes over, and strikes down the ADVENT Officer with her sword and snags some loot making me wish I'd added the extra loot option to my Guerilla Tactics Room.

Uranus hacks one of the local ADVENT systems to increase our vision for one turn.

Well I'll be a milksnake's uncle..... In my haste to take out the Viper King successfully, I just may have blown up the truck with the VIP.....
Mission Fail.
7 turns, 4/4 enemies killed, 1 soldier wounded.
Rating: Poor

Well, once again I feel like the mission was so bloody easy that I became lazy and foolish. This is a part of who I am. I excel best when challenged and when things seem too easy, I drop the ball. Perhaps as , XCOM can teach me some things that will transfer to real life. Perhaps I need to travel in the opposite direction he is to find my own balance.

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[XCOM2-Spoilers] Operation Night Fire (Easy-Ironman)

Furiously Eclectic People - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 02:59

Operation Night Fire

Briefing: Supply Line Raid - ADVENT Convoy
Location: Wilderness of Eastern U.S.
Objective: Raid ther Advent Convoy; Neutralize all enemy targets; Secure supplies
Difficulty Moderate

The Troupe:
Cpl Neptune (Ranger), Cpl Arathorn (Ranger), Aspirant 5 (Spark), Cpl Pushkin (Grenadier), Sgt Schneider (Sharpshooter)

I have a number of injured soldiers but still some choices to make for this mission. Two Sharpshooters or two Rangers?

Normally I'd take the Sharpshooters and currently Micharu's (Ranger 2) partner Haruku (Specialist) is as few days away from health. As well, Spectacle Jones (Sharpshooter 2) is "Shaken." I need to get him out there to remove shaken.

Still, I'll go with the two Rangers, a Spark which I've renamed Number 5, Pushkin the Grenadier, and my German Sharpshooter with the Repeater.

Number 5 steps up while Ranger Micharu Neptune rushes ahead haphazardly and spots some baddies.

The patrol seems to be walking away from me, perhaps drawing me in as one of them turns to face me even though I'm concealed.

Ranger Aragorn Son of Arathorn scoots off to the other side and spots the supplies we're here to get. No engagement yet but wedding bells are in the air.

Number 5 moves just to the edge of concealment with Grenadier Dmitri Pushkin using him as cover. Our sharpshooter remains and goes into Overwatch.

Once everyone else is set, Micharu rushes in whispering something about being the soldier of affinity and attacks with her sword on one of the two ADVENT patrolmen but doesn't take him out. Luckily, Number 5 and Aragorn toast both of the baddies. There is no time for objections now, let's complete the ceremony.

We move forward in the same formation and a Sectoid with an ADVENT Trooper slide into few. Micharu tags the Sectoid and hurts him but no fatalities.

Aragorn flanks the trooper and lets fly the dogs of war scoring a critical hit and downing pasty trooper.

Micharu whispers "This is for you Haruku;" rushes up and disects the Sectoid with her sword finally getting a kill. She bellows "Space Sword Blaster!" and aggros a Viper and another Trooper.

Pushkin with only a 31% chance, nails the Viper but it's still up. Number 5 tries to finish him off while some music spins up in his speakers but misses. This leaves only the Sharpshooter to choose between finishing off the Viper or taking out the Trooper and he doesn't have good position on either of them (in fact he'd have to move for any hope of a pistol attack on the Viper). He takes out the Trooper but feels blue as he sees the Viper snag Aragorn and the truck beside them explodes, killing both....

Success, but Aragorn is dead. Three missions and 8 kills under his belt. His ugly mug will be missed and a broken sword placed on his grave.

Micharu dealt the most damage, Number 5 made the most attacks, Aragorn was the most under fire, Micharu moved the furthest. Everyone else gets a promotion except Pushkin, who did nothing.

Number 5 becomes a Knight and takes Rainmaker over Strike. I know Strike is good but I think I'll keep him for those big bad Sectopods.

Micharu Neptune becomes a Sergeant and takes Shadowstep over Shadowstrike. The latter sounds powerful getting better aim and damage when concealed but to move without allowing overwatch fire seems pretty useful all the time.

Lukas Schneider becomes a Leftenant and must choose between Death From Above (killing an enemy from above takes only one action and does not end his turn) and Quickdraw (firing your pistol at the start of his turn does not end his turn). Both are Abilities that I often forget about. I think I'll wait on this one and mull it over.

Uh oh, I'm low on Intel. It's possible I haven't mastered that game mechanic.

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[XCOM2-Spoilers] Operation Regal Beast (Easy-Ironman)

Furiously Eclectic People - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 23:23

Operation Regal Beast

Location: Abandoned Research Facility
Briefing: Investigation - Unknown Site
Objective: Investigate Vahlen's Signal; Central must survive

Cast of Nitwits:

Aragorn "Son of" Arathorn | Ranger
Spark-001 | Mech
Katya Kazanova | Sniper
Dmitri "Rocket Red" Pushkin | Grenadier
John "Central" Bradford | Pincushion

---

Some blah blah explanation and signal stuff I never listen to. Probably why I don't know the storyline.

I send Aragorn and Spark out to scout and they see a couple Snakemen on guard duty. We set up accordingly trying not to be spotted.

Once we're setup, I place everyone in Overwatch except Aragorn who rushes in and slices one of the Neonate Snakemen in half. The other panics and slithers for cover. Spark misses it but Katya takes it down with one shot form her sniper rifle.

Aragorn takes point and while Spark is here to protect Central, I keep Central in full cover off to the left with Spark down the middle. I know he provides cover but I'm leery of keeping multiple units too close together.

As Aragorn moves forward a couple Vipers (type of Snakeman) wander into the room and he takes one down as Central proves why he's not 'field-ready,' firing wide.

Aragorn takes up a defensible position while Spark, Katya and Rocket line up in the back. We've entered a building and I need to get everyone in there for combat. Rocket gets an angle on the remaining Viper and with 92% chance to hit, he goes for it and rips the Neonate Viper apart with his cannon.

There are bats and snakes around which make this place creepy; not to mention the holograms of another type of Viper, a Muton and an Archon. We have two exits out the back and I send Spark, Aragorn and Rocket to the right with Katya and Central to the left, violating the ideal that Spark is protecting Central.

I change my mind at the last minute and send Rocket Red at a run to back up Central. Vipers come down from everywhere in the cavern. I lost count of them and while Spark and Aragorn took potshots, they missed these slithering beasts. One came out of a grate behind Katya and she reacted quickly putting it down with her pistol. Central took one out at the far end of the area. It seems he's warming up to field-work. Our rear is wiped but we've got an umbrella of Vipers ahead of us with our target location in the middle.

My first move in the combat is to order Aragorn closer to his nearest enemy instead of just taking the shot which aggros two more Vipers. Instead of taking his 100% on the nearest enemy he takes out one with higher ground at 75%.

Spark moves in and can't get any two in the area effect of his rockets thus he takes out the one closest to Aragorn. Katya sees one with her Squadsight and takes it down with ease. Dmitri (Rocket Red) can't see any targets, moves in and launches a grenade at one that could flank Aragorn.

Central has a couple choices. Open the door to the small building with our mission target location inside or try to take out one of the remaining Vipers. I can't remember how the Reaper Ability works, so I hesitate, but my gut is always to rush forward in berserker mode. Central guts two Vipers with his sword and ducks into cover. Wow, that looks like all of them. Well done guys.

Whup, a new one comes in from behind and targets Katya while another slithers between Spark's legs for position. Base tells us there are no more coming except some strange reading which may be y'know a Queen or something like that. No biggie. Press on.

Aragorn takes the one by Spark out with ease and Katya makes a risky forward maneuver, turning back at the last second to dispatch the other in a 50/50 gamble.

Uh oh, our target is not in the building but there's a reading she might be in the back of this cavern. Fun. What could go wrong? I eat a biscotte and consider dinner. All the troops reload while I eat my snack.

Spark takes point while I lazily order the troops forward to get organized.

Entering the back of the cavern, Spark finds some high ground down the middle; Aragorn goes left while Central goes right. Katya has to run to keep up with the rest of the group. Bats fly in front of my cameras. Snakes flee Aragorn's steps.

Oh great, a Viper King. I love this game but am not a fan of the "boss monster" style of play. Still, a couple reaction shots do some damage and another Viper slides out of the rocks.

While journaling I knock my mouse off the desk and move Central way back as if fleeing the fight and Katya gets snagged by the Viper King who's not just a Boss but a Ruler, which means it will act every time one of my troops takes a move or shoot action. This could be bad as I just had my most powerful unit flee the area by mistake. He's close enough to run back full tilt and stab the Ruler. I should use Reaper to kill it's peon on the way but I don't. As soon as Viper King is stabbed, it drops an injured Katya and summons a gate to flee. I bet I'll see it again. Better shred the armour before it gets away.

Dmitri can't risk rockets on the 'King' as Katya and Central are adjacent. He moves for a better position to shred the armour with his cannon. The Viper King gets away. Dangit.

Bah, lets' just kill all the rest. Screw prisoners.

We do.

Easy-peasy.

Mission Type: Alien Nest
Objective: Completed
Turns Taken: 14
Enemies Killed: 15/16
Soldiers Wounded: 1
Soldiers Killer: 0
Rating: Excellent

Promotions:
Dmitri moves up to Corporal where he can actually shred armour. I guess he couldn't before. Whoops.
Aragorn also moves up to Corporal and gains Blademaster.
Katya is injured for 21 days but as the previous two, is promoted to Corporal. She has to choose between Long Watch and Return Fire. I really like the idea of Return Fire however Long Watch seems to be what's worked best in the past so that's what she takes.
Spark gets promoted too! Yippee! Now an Aspirant instead of a Squire he may choose between Bulwark (better cover for adjacent friendlies) and Adaptive Aim (removes recoil when in Overdrive). I really don't know but take Bulwark. Likely a mistake.

Conclusion: I don't feel like I was challenged, perhaps I should move this up to Veteran difficulty where I usually play, however even with the ability to load/save (not in Iron Man mode), I do tend to lose the occasional trooper.

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HackMoor 2018/03/08 Place Holder Report

Furiously Eclectic People - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 11:43

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601. (Note I just upped this an hour to reflect reality.)

As of the last report it was 5 weeks since the last HackMaster session, it has been 3 more weeks since the last report we still haven't played it, 8 weeks total.

​PART 1.

++++ START OF NON-SESSIONS ++++

This doesn't mean we haven't played any games. We just didn't play any HackMaster. What follows are a summation of the last three sessions.

2018/02/22 - We played the old Avalon Hill game of "Rail Baron". The Player who runs Huang and Honda won this session in a three Player game. Having got both AT&SF and Union Pacific by the time all rail properties had been bought. We knew then it was a foregone conclusion.

2018/03/01 - We played a new game, Bezier's game of "Palace of Mad King Ludwig", again the Player who runs Huang and Honda won. Although there was some sense of beginner's luck was we were all learning how to accumulate points and swans. The game was a hoot, somewhat of a random jigsaw puzzle with points earned for tiles played. The idea is that you're all architects competing to build mad King Ludwig's palace. The winner gets the King's contract based on points earned for the best combination of rooms. There is a 14 minute or so video on how it's played, just do a web search on the title and the publisher.

2018/03/08 - We played no game, however I decided to have my Players go next door to the Italian restaurant where we normally get pizza and order real dinners, on plates. I put it on my bill. In other news, another one of my Players lost his job. Currently my Players are three out of five unemployed, and I'm not 100% certain of the status of the remaining two. Anyone in Hampton Roads hiring personnel with recent experience as a reciprocal horizontal motion surface cleaning engineer, let me know.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level ​WitchRanger​ (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage​ Second​ (a Protege of Jacko).
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome ​Adept​ of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING​/OFFLNE/RETIRED​ CHARACTERS
​Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
​Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief). ​
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Old Lies

The Rational Man - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 02:47

Apparently no one has bothered to let this poor sap (I don’t know who he is) know that the “Toxic” masculinity  narrative has now been replaced with “masculinity is toxic“. I find it interesting that when it comes to the mainstream societal understandings of what masculinity once was and what it is now – or what the mainstream believes it should be now – much of these interpretations are based on fanciful, anachronistic, ideas of what contributed to our understanding of masculinity now. I’ve gone into my own definitions of what constitutes ‘conventional’ masculinity for men many times before so I won’t belabor it now, however, as the popular narrative changes I’ve noticed some very common presumptions that masculinity critics like to use and are repeated over and over.

The first of these, and the most common, is the deliberate misconception that a boy’s learning to be masculine never left the 1950-60s. In the wake of the Nikolas Cruz shooting this rationale surfaced quite a bit. It still is. The idea is that boys are born as these tender, delicate souls, all naturally ready to emote and sensate like precious little girls – that is until the nebulous evil ‘patriarchy’ gets ahold of them and batters them into “being tough”, not crying and told to stop being such pussies. This is the old anachronism that presupposes western society never left the ‘macho tough guy’ preconditioning of boys to raise them to be these future murderers, wife beaters and misogynists.

This is, of course, the “boys are broken” narrative I addressed in Good Humans. It’s kind of ironic when you think that this narrative would have us believe boys naturally wanting to be boys is a net social negative and it takes some strong intervention in their upbringing to turn them into good humans. So what is it? Are boys being their natural selves by wanting to be rambunctious, risk taking, shit-giving, masculine boys, or are they naturally these tender little emo-beings coming fresh out of the womb only to have their ‘genuine’ sensitive emotional souls crushed by “hyper-masculine” fathers, male teachers and school coaches. This is one of the more stupid, but deliberate, paradoxes the Village and the Feminine Imperative conveniently switch between as circumstances require yet one more anti-masculine response.

Lies for Boys

You can see this confusion in the above Tweet.

Our society teaches boys to “toughen up”.

Actually no, the feminine-primary social order that has been systematically feminizing boys into feminine-identifying men for the past 50 years does nothing of the kind. Since the mid-seventies the cultural narrative took a hard turn to the feminine-correct in raising boys into pacified ‘harmless’ men. We’re going on five generations of telling boys it is incumbent upon them to get in touch with their mythical feminine sides if they want to evolve beyond ‘traditional masculinity’. There is no ‘toughening’ being taught to boys in a female primary education system that teaches boys in a manner that presumes they are defective girls.

…which is okay, but not okay when “toughening up” also means suppressing feelings.

Feelings are perhaps the only thing boys are being taught to prioritize in their feminine-primary educations today. This fact deserves a bit of explanation here. Male and female humans process emotions differently. Women in particular process negative emotions in a much different way than men. Men tend to prioritize information through a filter of rational discernment first and then sort out how they feel about that information in an emotional context. Women are much the opposite; girls process information through an emotional filter first and then sort out what the information actually means to them (and after that, how it might affect others). If this sounds like the essays I’ve written about how men’s and women’s communications methods differ you’re not too far off. Men prioritize the content (information) of a conversation while women prioritize the context (the feels she gets) from a conversation. This is how our brains work, and when one method isn’t socially favored above the other both methods can be complementary to the other.

But in a feminine-primary social order this is not how things work. As I mentioned, for the past 50+ years our educational system has shifted to favor the learning methodologies of girls at the expense of boys. This ‘girls style’ teaching has been the standard for so long now that we largely take it for granted that it is the only correct style of teaching. Today, men account for less than 25% of all teachers in the United States. In the UK it’s 25% and n Canada only 17% of elementary school teachers are male. Teaching is a female dominated profession and especially for younger kids. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics only 2% of pre-K and kindergarten teachers, and 18% of elementary and middle-school teachers, are men. How do you think stats like these affect the learning methodologies applied to boys and girls?

Yet still this lie that boys are the victims of some overwhelming toxic masculinity in their upbringing is the first reflexive explanation we hear from women and feminized men when a kid commits a criminal act. Why?

Lies for Equalism

Because it sounds right. It sounds like it should be right. The presumption is that boys are, in fact, girls; or at least they should be a functional equivalent of girls when it comes to educations. Over the past 50 years the baseless presumptions of blank-slate egalitarian equalism has not only inserted its lies into our social consciousness, but also into our presumptions about educating kids. I’ll repeat, men and women are biologically and psychologically different and boys and girls are equally different. The ways they learn are distinct to their sex. Yet for the past 4 generations egalitarian equalism has convinced (mostly female) educators that boys and girls are functional equals and gender differences are learned rather than innate.

While equalism informs (mostly female) teachers that boys and girls are the same, the teaching methodology that works best for girls and women is the predominant one today and for the recent past generations. The only way to justify this method as the universal one is to presume that boys are the same as girls – just ‘defective’ girls that must be taught to quash their innate maleness. If boys and girls are presumed to be blank-slate equals then it must follow that boys are just as emotion-prioritizing and sensitive as any girl, and it is through a process of an imagined patreo-misogyny social conditioning that boys psychologically cover over their “true” natures – that of precious little (defective) girls. In essence the equalist belief is that all babies are born as little equal blank-slates, but the ideal template for those blank-slates is a female nature irrespective of the sex of the child.

When a boy’s real, masculine, inborn nature expresses itself the first thing it meets in this equalist-but-feminine-primary education is derision and shame. For as much as boys would be boys they are taught that they aren’t good for being so. They’re encouraged to self-repress, self-deprecate their gender and self-police their brothers. They’re taught that the correct way to think is to emote like girls because that’s correct for the template of a “good human”. Despite the female-centric teaching boys innate nature still find ways for boys to be boys and when this happens an egalitarian (feminine-primary) social order presume the ‘bad behavior’ must be the result of the influence of an evil patriarchy that truly hasn’t existed in the way they believe it does for 50 some odd years.

 

As I’ve detailed in past essays, society only sees fathers as tolerable and superfluous when it comes to raising boys. Single mothers are celebrated as super-human and in the equalist lie that would have us believe that women can not only ‘have it all’ but they can ‘do it all’ we rarely question the necessity of a masculine influence in a child’s life. We give it lip service and parrot back the need for a man to “step up and take responsibility as a parent”. The message to dads is always “do better”, because the pretense for fathers is that they are inherently irresponsible and ‘broken’ just like all boys are.

The Village might even concede that a father is some advantage to a child, but ultimately he’s superfluous – that is until that kid is involved in some kind of criminality. Then the questions become “Where was this kid’s father? Why wasn’t he around to teach this kid some discipline and respect for human life?” The children of single mothers are overwhelmingly more likely to be come involved in criminality, but we don’t look at her half-measure parenting as a possible cause. Remember, she’s a super-hero and blameless, so any blame for this kid’s acts fall on the shoulders of a weak or absent father. Then fathers are necessary. Then the kid needed to ‘toughen up’ and dad should’ve taught it to him. And all of this comes full circle and feeds into the idea of father’s inherent incompetence again.

Lies for ‘Defective Girls’

The next lie is that boys can be,…

…both tough and fragile, vulnerable and resilient. Being vulnerable doesn’t affect your manliness.

I’ve written a lot about the lie of transvaluation and  Vulnerability in the past, but this was really in terms of how women perceive men and require strength and dominance. Another aspect of masculinity that is encoded into women’s mental firmware is to seek out men with superior competency. A woman just is, a man must become is the first maxim of a man accepting his Burden of Performance. Part of this masculine competency involves strength, know-how and determination; all things that have been replaced with feminine-primary emotionalism and naval gazing for boys.

Men are expected to know how to do everything and what they do not know, what they are not competent in is one criteria of how they are judged by women. A lot of guys might think, “So the fuck what? I don’t base my self-worth on the opinions of women.” As well you shouldn’t, but it doesn’t change the truth that if you don’t know how to change a tire when you get flat, or you need another man who does know how to do it to change it for you, a woman sees you as less competent – and by extension less capable of providing her with the security she needs from a masculine ideal. Women evolved to see men as a Jack of all trades, master of some.

A man’s vulnerability (taught to him as a child by his female-primary teachers) most definitely affects his manliness. Vulnerability is, by definition, a weakness. It is a flaw in the design, a chink in the armor and vulnerabilities will be exploited by enemies and rivals to ensure that man fails while a stronger one succeeds in all things. This is Darwinism so simple that to question it seems illogical, but in our equalist utopia toughness and fragility find no contradiction; vulnerability and resilience are bed partners. Again, we must consider that this illogical balance can only exist in the female ‘good human’ template and the idea that everything is learned and nothing is innate about male and female humans. Promoting the idea that ‘vulnerability doesn’t affect manliness’ presumes that the person declaring it is in some way an authority on a manliness that has been already demonized and conditioned out of our boys today.

They hate the very idea that a boy might act in accordance with an inborn masculine proclivity. They hate the idea that a boy might learn to be tough and resilient at the expense of a vulnerability (weakness) because it contradicts the equalist belief set. They hate the idea that boys and girls have innately, biologically, different ways of dealing with emotions that don’t align with their belief in a blank-slate. To force them to accept this would be to force them to abandon deeply ego-invested beliefs that they themselves had conditioned into them by the same feminine-primary education.

Boys don’t naturally emote like girls, but when they refuse to align with the female-correct way of emoting we say that some patriarchal macho man, somewhere, in some movie, in some song, in some household taught that kid not to feel. He somehow learned that allowing his emotions to rule over him, to be vulnerable, to prioritize his feelings above his sense of rational self is what it actually is – a weakness that in our evolutionary past was far likelier to get him killed than to earn the praise of his equalist teachers.

Boys are simply not as emotional as girls – our brains did not evolve that way – but because we value the feminine above the masculine today we say this kid is doing it wrong. We say he learned to be an asshole from his macho dad or he learned to love firearms because of the latest rap song or a toxically masculine society that doesn’t exist. A kid like Nikolas Cruz was bound to happen in a world that teaches boys to prioritize feelings above rationality. He was taught like a defective girl. He never learned the masculine inspired discipline, determination and resiliency because all that conflicts with the lie that vulnerability is ever a strength. All that conflicts with his feminine-primary upbringing.

As such, these ‘defective girls’ are unequipped to handle the rejection of a girlfriend. The participation trophy generation, the one where everyone’s a winner and no one ever has to deal with defeat, never teaches these ‘defective girls’ what to do when they finally do taste a bitter defeat. They never learned how to come back from it because that would mean admitting that vulnerability and emotionalism (the female-correct way to handle it) are in fact weaknesses. So, predictably, a ‘defective girl’ like Nikolas Cruz does what any petulant teenage girl would – he has an emotional outburst. Only his outburst consists of gunning down 17 kids with an assault rifle.

The answer to incidents like this doesn’t lie in gun control or further feminization of boys. It lies in reimagining how we educate boys and how we see masculinity as a net positive that can deter exactly this kind of emotional outburst. If you truly want these shootings to stop it’s time we embrace real men teaching real toughness and resilience in our boys. It’s time we teach boys like they will become tough, strong, invulnerable young men we may need to provide future generations with a much needed security. And the time where we’ll need them is coming faster than anyone today really thinks.

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Transactional vs. Validational Sex

The Rational Man - Thu, 03/08/2018 - 01:34

You cannot negotiate genuine desire.

This is one of my best known quotes because it resonates with so many men. There was a time in the early 2000s when I was doing peer counseling for men – most of whom were at least a decade my senior – as part of my undergraduate study and one consistent theme I got from almost all of them was how their marriages (or LTRs) had been so much more sexually satisfying when they were dating their wives or before they’d committed to some kind of exclusivity. That’s always the crux of it for guys. They mistakenly believed that the hot monkey sex they were having with their women prior to “doing the right thing” and getting married or committed was something that would be characteristic of their quality woman into a long term relationship with them.

Why was this the case for guys? I can remember coming up with this quote as part of the advice I was giving while working for one of these men. He, like many of the other guys, had gotten to the point that he would do almost anything to get back to that real desire that convinced him to commit to his wife in the first place. And, like many of these guys, he’d convinced his wife to go to marriage counseling in order to find out what exactly it was that he needed to do to “get her to come around” to wanting to bang him. Nothing was working for him. Even after his sessions he was still either sexless or his wife only begrudgingly would have lackluster ‘starfish’ sex with him. We called that a ‘grudge fuck’ back then.

As a student of behavioral psychology my interest was (still is) in what motivates or incentivizes behavior in people (sometimes animals). What was it that inspires genuine desire as opposed to behavior that still has a purpose, but was more motivated by future outcome. You can make a case that genuine desire is also motivated by a perceived outcome, but in this instance I’m making a distinction between a natural, unsolicited desire as opposed to an incentive based on a preconceived outcome – if all goes according to plan.

This guy broke down in tears with me on at least two occasions. He just couldn’t understand why what was supposed to work (open communication, rational discourse and honest negotiation) wasn’t getting her to “come around” to having sex with him. It was then I thought, you cannot negotiate genuine desire. Either a woman wants  to fuck you or she doesn’t. There are definitely ways to prompt that genuine desire – most of which are behavioral and conditional – but as has been stated many times in the ‘sphere, attraction is not a choice. The key word there is choice. Few men would ‘choose’ to be attracted by an obese woman and in many ways this choice dynamic is why women promoting the ‘body acceptance’ narrative have a tough time of it. For all the nonsense about beauty being a social construct, arousal for men is very much rooted in evolved biology. Men can’t choose to get an erection for a woman they’re simply not aroused by.

The same holds true for women, but the conditions are different. Women can and do have sex for reasons other than genuine desire. Negotiated desire really isn’t desire at all, but women have readily used sexual access to achieve those perceived outcomes I mentioned above here. Negotiated desire only ever leads to obligated compliance. A talented hooker or stripper may be very convincing in her act that she’s really into having sex with a man, but the negotiation that takes place before the act can never make a woman want to have sex with her client. Attraction is not a choice, but really, arousal is not a choice either.

Hormonal

I am presently about half way through my read of Dr. Martie Haselton’s new book Hormonal. I was really anticipating this book’s release, and I had intended to do my first-ever book review of it here, but as I read through I’ve decided not to. I still highly recommend reading it. As you might guess it’s chock full of stats and research confirmation of so much of what I write here that I want to put it at the top of the required Rational Male reading list. I’ve been referencing Dr. Haselton’s (and her colleagues) work since I began this blog, but the delivery of the information was disappointing, and in a lot of instances, very immature and sophomoric. It’s written almost as an apologetic to feminists for having to kill a lot of sacred feminist social convention cows. I feel as if she’s writing ‘down’ to the women who she’ll inevitably market this book to, but, if you can get past her constant attempts to legitimize her feminist credentials, the information is absolute gold.

One aspect of female sexual dynamics that Haselton and her team detail quite a bit is the idea of an Estrus state in human females. I’m not sure how well appreciated this research is in the manosphere, which is one reason I included it in Positive Masculinity, but this concept is really integral to how we define Hypergamy. As most of my readers know, Hypergamy – women’s dualistic sexual strategy (and really life strategy) – is much more than a tendency of a woman to ‘marry up’. In Hormonal the ideas of Alpha Fucks and Beta Bucks really solidify with the research.

However, as useful as it is as a catchy euphemism Alpha Fucks and Beta Bucks could better be described as Alpha Seed and Beta Need. In a woman’s peak ovulatory phase of her menstrual cycle she enters an estrus state and becomes subject to behaviors that can only be defined as a pretext of seeking Alpha seed. In other words, nature and Hypergamy are very practical in maximizing the chances that a woman may get pregnant with the best available genetic specimen. Granted, the true outcome of all of that is subject to environment and a woman’s personal conditions, but the practicality of it remains the same as it has for 100,000 years. It’s also important to keep in mind that a woman’s behaviors, strategies, rationales and her own interpretation of all of them in those various times and conditions are also a part of the overall latent purpose of a woman consolidating on the best Alpha Seed and Beta to supply her needs.

While women are subject to an estrus state they still require the second half of Hypergamy – the Beta need for security, provisioning, protection, comfort and at least the sharing of parental investment responsibilities for any offspring. Estrus in women is concealed, meaning it is (or used to be) nearly, but not totally undetectable in women. There are in fact various ways men evolved to intuitively determine whether a woman is in an estrus state of fertility; most of these today are socially shamed in men so as to further confuse them and advantage women, but that’s a topic for another essay. A concealed estrus aids women in optimizing both Alpha Seed and Beta Need and it’s likely that much of what accounts for women’s sexual strategy is the result of this concealment.

Now, a lot has been written by myself and others about the impact of meeting a woman’s Beta Need aspect of Hypergamy being served by the state and/or direct or indirect transfers of resources from men to women. Most of my readers are well aware of how this side of Hypergamy has been progressively accommodated for over the past fifty years. In spite of this it’s important to remember that this accommodation of provisioning needs doesn’t eliminate the deeper needs that this side of Hypergamy engenders in women. It may be true that women have never been better provided for in history as far as money and opportunities go, but women still look for emotional security, protection, dominance and comfort in men as part of their innate mental firmware.

As a result of Hypergamy and this concealed estrus state women have been put into a condition of evaluating sex in different aspects today.

Validational Sex

When women look for that Alpha Seed in their peak ovulatory (proliferative) phase, the sex they seek is a desired sex with a man who meets evolutionary criteria. He’s the ‘hawt’ guy, or the man who leaves a woman with an perception of danger or excitement. A lot of men who don’t meet this criteria have a tendency to over-exaggerate this type of man as the ‘Alpha Chad’ and make a ridiculous parody of him as an ego protection mechanism for themselves. Let me state for the record here that every aspect and adjective that this type of guy embodies is mitigated by conditions and contexts. It is just as likely that this conventionally masculine dominant guy is only so according to his most immediate social situation. So spare me the “Chad Thundercock” anxieties.

The sex that women give “enthusiastic consent” for is validational for them. The easy assessment here is that women have a genuine desire to mate with conventionally masculine men who look and act the part – yes, behavioral congruency is vital. If you follow the research women consciously and unconsciously will actively put themselves into environments where the likelihood of their meeting a dominant masculine man who most closely matched that masculine ideal when they are in estrus. They openly and discreetly look of arousal cue from men who best embody what can only be described as Alpha Seed.

I should also add that women in “satisfying relationships” (meaning LTRs where a woman is still very hot for her husband/boyfriend) report an increase in sexual desire (proceptivity) for that guy during this phase. A lot of guys mistakenly think ANY woman will want to seek out extra-pair mating (cheating) opportunities when they’re in estrus. This is only true if a woman isn’t into her current man.

I don’t want to get too lost in the descriptions here. Rather, I want to focus on the associative feelings women get in and after having sex with that Alpha man during estrus. I would argue that Alpha Widows are made in the estrus phase. This is the sex women want to have and are enthusiastic in both the hunt and the act itself. This is largely (presumedly) the sex that men have with their wives-to-be before they marry. It’s this validational sex, the sex that women fantasize about, that men and women want to get back to once they are committed to each other monogamously but now have a dead bedroom. This sex validates a woman’s ego in that it proves to herself that a man of this SMV caliber would want to pin her to the bed and have marathon sex with her. Remember, the latent purpose of this sex, on this side of Hypergamy, is to access the sperm from men with high reproductive value as defined by what our evolved nature predisposes women to be aroused by. Validational sex is sex by choice and genuine desire, and is satisfying on both a psychological level and an evolutionary level.

Transactional Sex

One of the benefits of a concealed estrus is that it allows women a few luxuries. One of these was the ability to confuse men of their paternity. Today this confusion is little more difficult because we’ve got DNA figured out well enough to make accurate assessments, but in our evolutionary past it was important to trick cuckolded fathers into second guessing whether a child was his or not before he killed it and impregnated a woman on his own (this is also why men evolved mate guarding behaviors).

The other advantage of concealed estrus was essentially prostitution. Now, to pretty this up a bit, lets say that women who were sexual with men outside of their fertility window found that sex could be leveraged with non-Alpha men (men they didn’t want to have children with) to encourage them to help with a lot of the chores more Alpha men were less willing (but not entirely unwilling) to do. Enter transactional sex.

As mentioned, the most overt form of transactional sex is prostitution, but it’s impolite to call every woman a whore. In fact it’s impolite to even imply a woman may be having sex for other reasons than validational sex. Today women are contemplating whether or not transactional sex is itself rape since it technically meets the definition of rape (sex women don’t want to have). I discussed this “grey area sex” recently in another essay, but it’s interesting to see women wrestle with transactional sex in an era where the Future is Female and women ought to only have the (validational) sex they want to enthusiastically have.

For most men (i.e the 80% Beta men) transactional sex is where the rubber meets the road. In fact, I’d argue that for most Beta men transactional sex is the only definition of sex they ever really know. That’s kind of sad to think about, but most men never really experience the unfettered feral lust of a woman they’ve chosen to spend the rest of their lives with. I got into this in Saving the Best and Hats Off to the Bull, but I think it’s important for the average man today to acknowledge that it’s highly likely that their wives have shared parts of themselves with, and have lost all inhibitions with, men in their sexual pasts they may never know anything about. That’s a cold bucket of reality a lot of men who unplug from all this have to confront.

Marriage today is almost entirely predicated on on the transactional sex side of Hypergamy. I’m not saying it has to be, nor am I saying it always is, but I’m fairly comfortable in speculating that for most married women sex is reward she uses in the operant conditioning of her husband. And the very fact that this is effective with most husbands throws the power dynamic and Frame of the relationship firmly over to the wife. This has the effect of disqualifying that man from ever (or very rarely) being a candidate for validational sex within that marriage. And this too is another aspect of the transactional sex dynamic that modern feminists are contemplating today – if a woman doesn’t want to have sex with her husband, but does anyway, is it rape? But again, NAMALT, not all marriages are like this or have to be like this. I would also argue that a confident man whom a woman admires, who she recognizes as being above her SMV even if slightly and who has internalized Red Pill awareness within that marriage needn’t be doomed to transactional “duty” sex in his marriage.

Unnegotiated Desire

And so now we come full circle to the men I was counseling back in the day. Because all they’d ever known was transactional sex their deductive male brains attempted to solve their “sex problem” in the most logistical and pragmatic way – negotiate with her. If all sex ever is for a guy is a transaction – a quid pro quo – then it follows he’ll try to find the best way to ‘pay’ for his wife’s sexual access. Hunter Drew and I were recently discussing a man who Dean Abbot has been counseling and one thing we’ve all seen a lot of from young and old Blue Pill Beta men is this logical tendency for them to want to ‘sacrifice their way to happiness with their wives’. It’s as if the more they sacrifice the more they pay for that intimacy they seek, but what they never get is that this only buries their sex lives that much more.

One amazing turn around a lot of married and single Red Pill guys experience when they unplug is the attention they receive from women when they switch from a transactional disposition to a validational disposition with regard to sex. When a man unplugs and cuts himself away from his Blue Pill conditioning one change he makes is a shift from viewing sex as transactional to validational. In the beginning, when men are first learning Game and becoming more Red Pill aware about the nature of women they really don’t recognize this shift in attitude towards sex. When I say men need to make themselves the “prize” with regards to sex and their attention what happens is they go from the “how can I pay for sex to qualify for it with a woman” to “women will recognize that I represent and opportunity for validational sex”.

The Blue Pill conditions men to base their understanding of sex on a transactional paradigm. It’s all scarcity, and luck or providence that a woman might want to fuck them. This is why women get aggravated by the presumption that men might feel they are ‘owed sex‘ in exchange for what they do for them. And why wouldn’t men feel that way? They’ve been conditioned for half a life to believe that they should follow the old social contract and become a man with a lot to offer a woman, a wife. This is the transactional paradigm; I build my life to better accommodate a woman and she reciprocates with sex. Women know this too, so all pretenses of indignation about are complete bullshit. What upsets women is that a Beta man would feel entitled to her sexuality for having accommodated her. Alpha men are entitled to it, accommodations be damned, because he’s the man they want to have sex with.

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Interviews and Video

The Rational Man - Sun, 03/04/2018 - 18:38

I wanted to make a brief announcement here that I have created a new page for all the interviews I’ve been doing recently. It was getting a bit cluttered to keep publishing a new post after every new podcast so I’m now collecting them all on a new page ‘Interviews’ you’ll see at the top of the blog now.

Interviews

While I’ve always had interviews in my categories this just makes things easier. I also wanted to announce that I’m going to be doing a ‘Red Pill All Stars’ live stream with Anthony Johnson and some selected men I interact with in the manosphere every other week for the foreseeable future so this page will hold all of these shows too. We don’t have a title for this venture just yet so if you have a good idea please leave it in the comments here. I have no plans for a formal YouTube channel as yet. I might reconsider this and start one in the future, but as it stands now I’m doing so many interviews and talks I may as well have a channel. I know there are some guys who make a habit of doing live Periscope streams from their cars to get their thoughts collected about various Red Pill topics – I hereby reserve the right to occasionally do this too.

Pat Campbell and AM1170

I’m also doing weekly live radio (actual terrestrial radio) with talk radio personality Pat Campbell now too. It’s a really fun hour, but you’ll have to check my Twitter feed for the days I’m on, since he can sometimes call me the night before to go on the next morning. It’s fast becoming a really popular segment and there’s a possibility his show might go national, so give us a listen. His station was kind enough to create a dedicated archive for my segments and I’ve put a dedicated link in the side bar now too. If you want to listen live while I’m on, on the days I do the segment we go for an hour and usually it starts at 9AM EST – 6AM PST. You can listen to the live stream here when I’m on.

While Pat is my main man, I’m also considering the possibility of doing more live radio (I’ll be on with Jesse Lee Peterson this Wednesday) with other hosts in the future, as well as talking with some other e-celebrity personalities – stay tuned!

21 Convention Talks

I’ve had Anthony Johnson make my first 21 Convention talk available for free on 21 University now. You can watch the first talk above here or go to the YouTube channel, watch there and join in the comments there. Thus far it’s been very well received and the views have been great. I should also mention that this is my first in-person video I’ve ever done so I want to also open up the comments here to get my regular readers opinions about my doing this. What can I do better, what do you like about it (besides it now being free)? I’m still encouraging men to sign up for a membership using my link on the sidebar, but this video is now free for all to watch. My second talk was a roundtable format and covered a variety of topics regarding Positive Masculinity. This video will be available to members only, but I may also petition for a free version as well.

While I’m not in any way ‘officially’ partnered with the ‘New and improved Red Pill version’ of the 21 University organizers I do have some ideas I may run past them in the future (yes, I’ll be doing the 2018 21 Convention this year too). If you have ideas or anything to say about this I’m all ears too. As all my readers know, from a Red Pill perspective I’m first and foremost a writer and this blog and my books are always the primary way I organize and put forth my ideas. That said, I’m entertaining the idea of starting a small TRM forum this year, though I don’t want it to become something that gets so unmanageable that it demands attention away from my writing. This is another idea I’m looking for input on.

Finally, I’m going to be 50 years old on April 2nd this year. I’ll be publishing a kind of memoir / introspective essay when that event occurs, but for this post I wanted to say that this milestone in my life has prompted me to take assessment of what I’d like to do with my remaining years and how important this community has become in those plans. It should go without saying that I have every intention to keep doing what I do, but I’m deciding where I want to go with life and my ‘day job’ work and how I want to proceed from here. I’m factoring a lot of things into this evaluation that I’ve never really considered before and I’d like to ask you all for your input and assessments too.

Rollo Tomassi

 

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