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Pollute the Elfen Memory Water

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 12:16

By Michael Raston
Gorgzu Games
Level … 4?

Dude from Lizardmandiaries wrote Tower of the Weretoads and I liked it, so I’m taking a chance on something that seems Eberron-like … also, I need to apologize to a guy who loves Eberron, so this is part of that. So … yeah. This is pretty fucked up right here.

This nineteen page adventure details a small building in a town suburb that the party is tasked with infiltrating to corrupt a shipment of water. It’s evocative, terse, well-organized AND BAT SHIT FUCKING CRAZY. Danger Wil Robinson; Bryce likes Gonzo!

Eberron, fantasy-punk, Misty Isles of the Eid Fantasy2/Madlands … anywhere you can have some corrupt elves and/or a a fucked up city (Drow or demon city, anyone?) you can put this thing in.

I don’t even know how to begin. Your client is “Equis Jud, makers of fine magical robes and assorted garments. They work aboard a converted prison hulk, a monstrosity of wrought iron. It churns along The White River, polluting it with magical effluent.” The Equis is a guild/business which … “Equis Jud is composed entirely of eymen, brittle, fragile people – vaguely humanoid but having heads of pure round eyeball orbs. They are always heavily armoured, wearing long full body chain suits and thick ornate helmets to cover their delicate all seeing heads. Communication is conducted through lip shaped amulets that speak on behalf of the eymen.” You’re given some vials to corrupt the water shipment, they are “will supply the party with a small bottle of red liquid in a bull shaped glass bottle. The eyes are tiny green gems.” The elven memory water jars (the things to be corrupted) are “Memory Water Jar: A glass container, about half the size of a barrel, filled with milky water. A braid of writhing pink tendrils stoppers the container while dipping into the liquid and splaying out the top.” AND THATS ALL ON THE FIRST FUCKING PAGE.

Ignoring, if you can, the more gonzo elements, and focus on how the writing cements images in your mind. The memory water. It’s not just a barrel, it’s a glass jar HALF the size of a barrel. Milky water. And that’s all before the tentacle stopper is reached. These are quick little elements that go just a little bit extra. We’re not dealing with your standard barrell. This is more. This is different. All of that is signaled through the description. It’s short. It stands out to the DM and the players. The ship “pollutes with magical effluent.” That’s so much more interesting than a boat on a river. All ships pollute, but by calling attention to it it really raises the bar of the description. The ship is not big, or large, or even huge, it’s a hulk, a monstrosity. This is the power of the language to go beyond the generic and in to the evocative to cement imagery and overload the description. If all you’ve taken from that is “Bryce likes gonzo” then you are a fool. Generic != Vanilla. This sort of writing is EXACTLY the sort of stuff I want to pay for. THIS is adding value.

The factory sits in a suburb, a little map of about thirty locations. Each one get a one or two sentence description. First, good inclusion of the neighborhood. This is a kind of caper mission, and the neighboring locations are always important for that sort of thing. Second, the locations don’t overstay their welcome. Location is 1 “Manbat infestation crawling along the ceiling of a semi flooded hovel, additional cockroach crab infestation in black filthy water.” Well, there’s something you don’t see in many adventures. Not your style? How about a merchant then? “Oam Mu, Black eyes, wears cloak of birds, untold cages of catlike animals available for purchase. Convinced Jzzkk the scrabmen running the eatery (22) is stealing, cooking and eating his cats. Willing to pay for him to be killed.” These are GUD. Again, don’t focus on the gonzo. They are short and yet they communicate everything you need to run them. There’s something of a physical or quirk to roleplay the NPC, and something to interact with when the party shows up. It’s focused on play. Some of them involve other locations, giving the play more life, a connectedness, than it would otherwise have. All in about a page and a half.

The rooms, proper, of the factory, give a one line description and then bullet point out the rest. Room five tells us:
5. Frigid and icy. Vegetation here is dead and withered. Blocks of ice stacked against wall.
* Pink tendril worms frozen in blocks of ice.
* Some blocks have melted and pink tendril worms either wriggle slowly half frozen or plop onto the frigid ground.

Note how it moves the from the general description, as the first line, to the additional lines providing more info if the party looks closer. The wanderer table has them engaged in some activity. The rando flowers on the wall get a little rando table. The monsters have short descriptions, with goals and motivations clear and terse, the writing focused on party interactivity.

I might note that the map is a bit crude, and could use a little more detail. One point of the roof is caved in. Imagine the party in the sky looking down and asking what they see and the DM digging through the adventure keys, reading each one, trying to figure out what to tell them. By putting major details on the map you know what to look at in the keys and focus on.

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru, with a currently suggested price of $1. There’s no preview. AND NO SUGGESTED LEVEL. Grrrr…. Hey, how about throwing the consumer a bone?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


Looking For Group - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 05:00

The post 251 appeared first on Tiny Dick Adventures.

Categories: Web Comics

[thepuck 2018-12-04] Sens 2 @ Habs 5

Furiously Eclectic People - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 04:04
    Danault (++++-+) 9
    Tatar (+++-) 7
    Gallagher (+-++) 7
    Domi (-++++++) 9
    Drouin (--+-+--+-+) 3
    Shaw (+++-++) 9
    Kotkaniemi (-++-) 5
    Byron (+++) 8
    Lehkonen (+++) 8
    Chaput (+-+) 6
    Agostini (++-) 6
    Peca (+++) 8
    Kulak (-+++) 7
    Weber (-++-++) 7
    Schlemko (+++---+) 6
    Petry (+-++++--) 7
    Reilly (+---+) 4
    Benn (---) 2
    Price (+++-+-) 7

Domi has started coming back to support in the defensive zone but his line still gets stuck a lot there with only Shaw being aggressive. Domi and Drouin tend to float.

Gallagher was double shifted in the first, playing in Peca's spot.

Batherson clips Shaw and Domi takes exception but Batherson hugs him to death. Kotkaniemi serves the extra penalty because Domi scared Batherson.

Kulak and Peca's hard work sees Domi and Drouin get a 2on1 which Drouin puts in Anderson's five-hole. Afterwards Price faces a scoring chance as Drouin doesn't cover his man. Domi's line gets pinned again in their own zone along with Reilly and Benn.

Chaput gets called for holding and Tkachuk for slashing. 4on4. Gallagher gets a phantom hold call ending a Danault breakaway prematurely.

Hab of the period: Shaw
Score: 0-1

Drouin dives and draws a penalty.

Petry stands up Duchene.

Much of the period had very little flow. Neither team knows what to do after the Sens tie it up.

A Sen loses his footing, Drouin tosses the loose puck to Domi and he puts it in the top corner.

Gallagher gets away with an errant stick.

Drouin feeds Domi again. Buried.

Kulak sends the puck to Shaw who carries it end to end, dishes to Kotkaniemi who pops it over to a driving Lehkonen who puts it home.

Hab of the period: Domi
Score: 1-4

Reilly makes a diving defensive play that while desperate, looked cool.

Tatar steals the puck… To Gallagher; goal!

Ceci takes a huge dive and Kotkaniemi goes to the box as the refs give Ottawa a freebie.

Danault and Lehkonen gain a 2on1 shorthanded and Danault doesn't pass.

Falk goes after Domi and the linesmen break it up too quickly. Smith sucker punches Shaw when Shaw is held back by a linesman. The other linesman protects Smith from Shaw.

Dzingel tries to run Kulak, they wrestle a bit and Dzingel finally gets a punch off after they go down and the linesmen move in.

Sens get a late goal as the Habs are all out of position starting with a bad pinch by Petry.

Domi tries for a hat-trick and misses the net.

Tkachuk interferes with Gallagher using a big shoulder. No call.

Hab player of the period: Puck boy. No one stood out.
Score: 2-5

Habs special teams looked good against Ottawa however the Sens really didn't have a good game.

Archergirl's 3 Stars: Domi, Drouin, Kulak
Kersus’ 3 Stars: Domi, Danault, Shaw

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Hookin On Hump Day #180: A Yarny Link Party!

Moogly - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 02:00

Hookin On Hump Day is back with 5 more fantastic freebies! This round, we have a beautiful mix of crochet and knit patterns – and a chance to be featured in the next round! Hookin On Hump Day is a knit and crochet link party hosted here on Moogly and on Petals to Picots! On HOHD, you [...]

The post Hookin On Hump Day #180: A Yarny Link Party! appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

Categories: Crochet Life

A Christmas Coffin - OSR Commentary & Review of Terror Tales - X! From Beyond Belief Games By Simon Washbourne

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 17:36
"Weird! Baffling! Terrifying! Rousing tales of macabre adventure using familiar rules! Who wants to read through reams of text just to get to the action? No-one right? These rules assume you know how to role play. They assume you know about “Golden Age” comic book pulp mystery fiction. (Thrilling adventures through a retro lens). They assume you know how OSR products work. ThereNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Humble Bundle alerts customers to subscription reveal bug

Malwarebytes - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 17:20

You’ll want to check your mailbox if you have a Humble Bundle account, as they’re notifying some customers of a bug used to gather subscriber information.

Click to enlarge

The mail reads as follows:


Last week, we discovered someone using a bug in our code to access limited non-personal information about Humble Bundle accounts. The bug did not expose email addresses, but the person exploited it by testing a list of email addresses to see if they matched a Humble Bundle account. Your email address was one of the matches.

Now, this is the part of a breach/bug mail where you tend to say “Oh no, not again” and take a deep breath. Then you see how much of your personal information winged its way to the attacker.

Oh no, not again

For once, your name, address, and even your login details are apparently in safe hands. Either this bug didn’t expose as much as the attacker was hoping for, or they were just in it for the niche content collection.

The email continues:

Sensitive information such as your name, billing address, password, and payment information was NOT exposed. The only information they could have accessed is your Humble Monthly subscription status. More specifically, they might know if your subscription is active, inactive, or paused; when your plan expires; and if you’ve received any referral bonuses.

I should explain at this point. You can buy standalone PC games on the Humble store, or whatever book, game, or other collection happen to be on offer this week. Alternatively, you can sign up to the monthly subscription. With this, you pay and then every month you’re given a random selection of video game titles. They may be good, bad, or indifferent. You might already own a few, in which case you may be able to gift them to others. If you have  no interest in the upfront preview titles, you can temporarily pause your subscription for a month.

This is the data that the bug exploiter has obtained, which is definitely an odd and specific thing to try and grab.

Security advice from Humble Bundle

Let’s go back to the email at this point:

Even though the information revealed is very limited, we take customer trust very seriously and wanted to promptly disclose this to you. We want to make sure you are able to protect yourself should someone use the information gathered to pose as Humble Bundle.

As a reminder, here are some tips to keep your account private and safe:

  • Don’t share your password, personal details, or payment information with anyone. We will NEVER ask for information like that.
  • Be careful of emails with links to unfamiliar sites. If you receive a suspicious email related to Humble Bundle, please contact us via our support website so that we can investigate further and warn others.
  • Enable Two-factor authentication (2FA) so that even if someone gets your password, they won’t be able to access your account. You can enable2FA by following these instructions.

We sincerely apologize for this mistake. We will work even harder to ensure your privacy and safety in the future.

Good advice, but what’s the threat?

One could guess that the big risk here, then, is the potential for spear phishing. They could exploit this by sending mails to subscribers that their subscription is about to time out, or claim problems with stored card details. Throw in a splash of colour text regarding your subscription “currently being paused,” and it’s all going to look convincing.

Phishing is a major danger online, and we should do everything we can to thwart it. While the information exposed here isn’t as bad as it tends to be, it can still cause major headaches. Be on the lookout for dubious Humble mails, especially if they mention subscriptions. It’ll help to keep your bundle of joy from becoming a bundle of misery.

The post Humble Bundle alerts customers to subscription reveal bug appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

How to Use the Players’ Metagaming to Mess With Their Heads (and Improve Your Game)

DM David - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 13:36

In the original Dungeon Master’s Guide, Dungeon & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax suggested speeding overcautious players by rolling “huge handfuls of dice” to raise fears of nearby monsters. Of course, the characters in the game world never hear the die rolls or Gary saying, “You detect nothing, and nothing has detected YOU so far.” He relied on the player’s metagaming to speed the dungeon crawl. When metagaming, players use knowledge of the game in the real world to make decisions based on things their characters don’t know.

Gary intended to use the power of metagaming for good.

Whenever a battle map includes a statue, I always place a statue miniature on the map. Players routinely ignore statues drawn on the map, but if I add a miniature, their characters inevitably sidle around thing, expecting it to animate and attack. The presence of miniatures sends the metagame signal that the figures represent things to fight.

Although this never fails to amuse me, it brings another benefit. Placing miniatures for harmless things defies a metagame assumption. Maybe next time, the players won’t tie up all the statues in the dungeon just in case.

Animated Statue?

These sorts of metagame stunts carry a price. They call attention to the game and may interfere with the players’ immersion in the imaginary world. When DMs use meaningless die rolls to hurry the players or foster paranoia, they can nudge players out of the game world.

Instead, consider fostering paranoia based on things inside the game world. Describe the sound of a door slamming in the last room, a smell of wet fur, a sudden chill, cries echoing through stone halls, and so on.

Still, my trick with the statures seems  innocuous to me. After all, the players are already focusing on the map and minis when I place the figures.

Despite the price of instigating metagame thinking, I occasionally ask players to make meaningless checks. This discourages the assumption that every roll signals something. I prefer requesting such checks when players already seem focused on the game table rather than immersed in the game world. For instance, if a rogue scouts ahead and checks for traps, I might also ask for a superfluous stealth check.

In my games, I like to toy with players metagame expectations for two reasons:

  • It discourages metagaming. If you sometimes do things that defy the metagame, players will rely less on it.
  • It creates uncertainty and fosters surprises. In the game, we can create surprises by doing things that break the expectations that come from knowing their characters exist in a game.
People bring meta-fiction expectations to stories as well as games. The movie Psycho provides my favorite example of violating these expectations to shock and surprise. The movie contains two big surprises. I will spoil one here. Psycho begins with the movie’s star embezzling $40,000 cash and taking to the road. We’ve all seen countless movies, so we all know what will happen. Obviously, the movie will follow the story of the stolen cash to the end. And we know the movie’s star will survive until the finale. The star always does. Instead, Psycho shatters our expectations by having the movie’s star suddenly murdered less then half way through. The turn shocked and electrified audiences. Hitchcock even added a personal plea to the end of the film asking viewers not to reveal the twists.

I recommend playing with these metagame assumptions.

Metagame assumption Countermeasure The battle map signals a fight. Every DM has set a battle map on the table and seen players immediately ready weapons and announce their battle stances. I discourage such shenanigans by saying something like, “This map shows a forest clearing exactly like several others you passed on your journey, except—unknown to your characters—this clearing happens to be on a battle map.” Use a battle map for a non-combat scene like a council meeting or a visit to the tavern. From Twitter, @Styro_Vgc writes, “Watching the PCs carefully maneuver to flank the mailman delivering the summons is worth the effort of drawing a few building outlines.” I always pictured typical adventurers as twitchy and paranoid anyway. Miniatures represent combatants. If a non-player or creature has a miniature, you should expect to fight them. In addition to statues, I collect miniature figures for unarmed civilians, from royalty to beggars. During combats, they often serve as bystanders to be protected. Bystanders can set a scene and defuse the players’ notion that every figure is a threat. The last fight is the big one. Players routinely conserve resources for the expected, climactic battle. Vary your adventures from the expected arc to a climactic battle. For instance, in Monte Cook’s Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, the players almost immediately face one of their biggest, most dangerous fights. Monte designed the battle to shock players who expected the usual, leisurely start. Unique miniatures or tokens represent important NPCs. Players tend to focus attention on the unique figures in a battle. From Twitter, Kyle Maxwell writes, “I use and it’s fun to name the NPC tokens so my players immediately assume they are some highly significant character. (Bonus, the interaction with them sometimes turns this into a self-fulfilling prophecy!)” A variation of this trick works with unique or important looking miniatures mixed in with, say, a group of bandits.

While these tricks keep players on their toes by toying with metagame assumptions, I can think of one assumption DMs should uphold. A tricky DM can alarm players by lavishing description on a harmless, ordinary object such as a door. Don’t. None of this suggests you should avoid vivid descriptions—they make the imaginary come alive. Still, no player wants to spend a half hour investigating an ordinary door because their DM’s extra attention made it seem important. Your descriptions help guide players to the fun and interesting features in the world. Without that lead, you risk slowing the game as players poke, prod, and investigate every bit of decor.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Ch. 5, Page 27

Castle Greyhawk - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 03:29
"This calls for a celebration," Otto said.

"Yeah, let's go get stinking drunk back at the Green Dragon," Quij said.

"I wouldn't say no to something with a bit of some kick to it. Coming, sir?" Otto added, turning to face Robilar.

"Go on, I'll catch up," Robilar said.

Tenser was deep in thought when he noticed the hand on his shoulder. Under normal circumstances he might have appreciated the gesture, but at the moment all he could think about was that one misspent afternoon had crippled his plans for his future.

blogmas 2018 :: yarn advent calendars

Autumn Geisha - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 02:24

Hi friends! I hope that you are having a great start to your December. Do you have any fun plans for celebrating the season? One tradition that I love is to count the days until Christmas with a yarn advent calendar. It is so fun to mark each day with a little pretty miniskein of yarn. This year, I treated myself once again to the advent calendar from Adelaide Cottage. I also bought a Christmas frankensocks kit from Havirland (thirty -  5 gram mini’s) which I put in a little mailbox. I then pull out a mini each day until Christmas. The first picture shows Days 1-3 so far. I foresee lots of cozy knitting time ahead. Planning on making some sock ornaments as well as adding to my various scrappy blankets with all this pretty yarn.

Hoping to be back soon with some more holiday fun!

Categories: Knitting Feeds

OSR Atomic Campaign Commentary "This Shall Not Come To Pass" Revisiting The Free Downloads Of Issue #1 Of Atomic War & Issue #1 World War III

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 19:28
"Look upon the pictures of our giant cities hundred of years in the building, smashed by the atom-bomb, and say: this shall not come to pass! More than ever today, only a strong America can prevent this from becoming a reality!"  Yeah its been a couple of years since I revisited one of my favorite Post Golden Age comic book series. I've been looking to go into a public domain resource forNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Survey

Bat in the Attic - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 19:19
Brendan S and Ben Milton are two hobbyists with a long history of participating in discussion related to the OSR and classic DnD. They have constructed a detailed survey that looks to be comprehensive.

The link to the survey.

Ben Milton (G-Plus)
Brendan S (G-Plus)

At the conclusion of the survey one can leave additional comments unfortunately I forgot to copy and paste my answer. But the following is the gist of what I wrote.

Irregardless of how people used the label OSR, think of the label OSR, or want the label OSR to represent there are several salient points.

1) There is a group of hobbyists who are interested in playing, promoting, and publishing for classic editions of DnD.

2) To ensure that no one vision or ideal stifles a hobbyist's creative vision the promotion and spread of legal open content is vital.

3) #2 pertains not just to classic DnD but to any system that hobbyists are interested in provided there is legal open content to use as a foundation for sharing.

4) Hobbyists interested in #1 are interested in other things as well. So hobbyists sharing or selling will often have a variety of works in addition to classic DnD including hybrids.

Open Content coupled with the low barriers of distribution enabled by the internet and digital technology ensures that anybody with the desire will be able to get their vision out there either commercially or just to share.

Keep in in mind that the consequences of creative freedom will be messy. Resulting in a confusing kaleidoscope of works along with conflicting visions of the source material. The key to remember irregardless of the results of the survey, that you are free to do what you think is best with the material in the form you think will work for your project. That thanks to the internet and other forms of digital technology you can't be stopped from sharing what you created.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dear Maeve

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 18:55

Dear Maeve,

Welcome (a little belatedly) to the family. Ordinarily, your introduction to me, and the blanket that comes with me would come at the same time, but your slightly early arrival (and the broken wrist I had – don’t worry about that, you’ll learn about bikes later) mean that your blanket followed our meeting rather significantly. Indeed, you’re the first baby in the family to get your blanket by post. You’re still very, very little, so you may not remember when we met. Usually, I’d point out that I’m the one who comes with all the knitted stuff – to help you place me in your mind, but you’ve got so many knitters around you, that it isn’t really going to help you sort out who I am.  Instead, you may remember me as the lady who helped your mum with nursing you – I’m the one who kept talking about latch, and insisting your mummy aim for your nose. (I know, it sounds crazy, but you and I both know it works.) As an aside, I’d like to thank you for being born right before Knit City – It was so nice to be in the right part of Canada so we could have that time together. Good thinking, Sweetpea.

You are the second baby born into this family that tripped me right out – your cousin Elliot was the first – his mum is my daughter Meg, and your Mum is Savannah – she and Meg played together as littles, because they are cousins. Your grandmother is my sister-in-law Kelly and she’s the one you probably think of, when you think of knitting.  Kelly and I went out for dinner just after you were born, and we talked about what you are – who you are really. You aren’t just Kosti and Savannah’s daughter, you are the amazing and miraculous person who made Kelly a grandmother, and Ben a grandfather.

We talked about the feeling of it. Ben said that he had always loved your mother, and your Auntie Kamilah, but how he feels now is different, and I knew just what he meant – I see it in your Great Uncle Joe too. (You’ve met him as well. He’s the big loud one who cries with joy when he looks at you. I know your Grandfather does that too, but Joe’s the one with more hair.) We learned about this special love when Elliot was born. It’s a shocking, powerful thing, and you should know it means that there is nothing he won’t do for you, and I mean nothing. The love your grandfather’s oozing is a fierce and mighty thing, and he is unfettered by the restraints and rules of parenthood. If, my little Maeve, you knew how to ask for a pony, there is no doubt in my mind that Ben would have one tied up in your bedroom later today.

Your Grandmother Kelly – oh, it’s a little different. We talked about the confusing feelings that come with transitioning into being a Grammy. See, in her heart, she can tell you are her baby. It’s the only thing that makes sense really, you are tiny and new, and made of the same stuff that your mummy was, and all your grandmother can think when she takes you in her arms is that you are hers, entirely.  This makes it very difficult to understand why she is not allowed to do with you as she pleases – to ask your Mum for permission to dress or change you, and why inexplicably, you sleep with your Mum at night.  I’m proud of her (as I was of myself) for the respect she’s shown your parents in not making off with you. This love is not as fierce as your grandfathers, but it is the most enduring, determined and patient love you will ever know.

I understand, my little Maeve, about your grandparents, because Elliot took me to school on that, but I have to say that I am properly freaked out by your parents. On some level, I remain confused that my baby has a baby, and similarly boggled that your Mum has become a mother as well. I know it happened, intellectually I believe that she is indeed your parent, but it just seems so impossible.  I watched her nurse you, and snuggle you, and the way she looked at you… oh Maeve, that’s your mother for sure, and a fine one. I knew your mother when she had trouble being responsible for a hamster, and I’m happy to report that she’s grown infinitely as a person. You’re going to do just fine with her.

Let me tell you this too, ma petite, I have been around a lot of families at the beginning of their parenting journeys, and there is much you can tell about the character of a partner from how they begin the trip. It can be a difficult time – so much of those first days is about you and your mum. Really, mummies and their babies are still one person for the first little while, not yet separate from each other, and for some partners it is difficult to find a role. I took a great deal of pleasure in watching your father Maeve. Kosti is gentle and kind and clever, and while he was so good with you, he seemed to grasp from the beginning that caring for your mother was also caring for you, and the love and support he gave her while they were both learning how to do this thing was a very good thing to watch. You’ve got a good team on your side, I can see that.

Now, about your blanket.  It’s big, I know, but I have a theory about these blankets and it isn’t just that they are meant to be your baby blanket, but something you can cuddle up with your whole life- and as little as you are now, your parents are both tall, and I don’t think I’ve overshot. I chose special stitches for you Maeve – just like the ones for Hank, Luis, Frankie, Myrie, Emmett and Elliot –  your blanket is unlike any other.

In the centre is a pattern of Fir Cones – for the forests your parents love to hike all over the world. I’ve no doubt that you’re going to be a kid with a favourite tree, and enjoy the woods and the out of doors, the way your mum and dad do.

Surrounding that centre, just as you are surrounded in life – a border of ring lace, meant to signify the family that encircles you.  This, my darling girl, is the only element of the blanket appears on every one that I’ve knit. You have the great good fortune to be born into a strong, vibrant, loving family, and though so many of us live far away, never doubt that we are all around you. The blankets have it in common, because we all do.

Beyond that, suns and moons – round and whole and bright, meant to remind you that though some of your family is far away – and though you have been born into a family of travellers, and that may even take you farther, we are all under the same sky, all the time. We all see the same moon, the same sun every day, no matter where we are.

After that, snow. With a Russian father and a Canadian mother – how could snowflakes not be a theme for you? It is something your parents have in common, though they are from different places, you are a child of the North.

Finally, around the edges, some Orenberg lace, a little something for your Russian father and his family, and it is very pretty – but it has a garter stitch base so it isn’t just beautiful, it’s strong and enduring, a trait I wish for you.

Welcome, sweet Maeve. You are loved beyond all measure.

Ever yours,

Great Aunt Stephanie

(PS. Thanks for going to sleep long enough for your mum to take those last few pictures. Very thoughtful.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A week in security (November 26 – December 2)

Malwarebytes - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 17:06

Last week on Malwarebytes Labs, we took a look at our cybersecurity predictions for 2019, we explained why Malwarebytes participated in AV testing and how we took part in an joint take down of massive ad fraud botnets, warned that ESTA registration websites still lurk in paid ads on Google, discussed what 25 years of webcams have brought us, and reported about the Marriott breach that impacted 500 million customers.

Other cybersecurity news:
  • LinkedIn violated data protection by using 18 million email addresses of non-members to buy targeted ads on Facebook. (Source: TechCrunch)
  • Researchers created fake “master” fingerprints to unlock smartphones. (Source: Motherboard)
  • Uber slapped with £385K ICO fine for major breach. (Source: InfoSecurty Magazine)
  • Rogue developer infects widely-used NodeJS module to steal Bitcoins. (Source: The Hacker News)
  • When the FBI (and not the fraudsters) make a fake FedEx website. (Source: Graham Cluley)
  • Microsoft warns about two apps that installed root certificates then leaked the private keys. (Source: ZDNet)
  • Social media scraping app Predictim banned by Facebook and Twitter. (Source: NakedSecurity)
  • Tech support scam: Call centers shut down by Indian police in collaboration with Microsoft. (Source: TechSpot)
  • Germany detects new cyberattack targeting politicians, military, and embassies. (Source: DW)
  • It’s time to change your password again as Dell reveals attempted hack. (Source: Digital Trends)

Stay safe, everyone!

The post A week in security (November 26 – December 2) appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Red Heart Hygge Charm Giveaway

Moogly - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 16:52

Red Heart Hygge Charm is a subtly sparkly, slightly fuzzy yarn that’s full of fun and cozy possibilities! And this month totally feeling those comfy-bling vibes – I’ve designed two new patterns in this yarn, I have a video yarn review on the way, and top it all off, I’m giving away 5 skeins of [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Ripping from the Headlines - Raiding Old Newspapers for Call of Cthulhu

19th Level - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 13:51
One of the challenges I found in setting a Call of Cthulhu campaign in Boston was in understanding what the city was really like around a century ago. Sometimes I find it easier to do things in a fictional city or in one I've never been in than as opposed to one some 25 miles away from me - a city I go to regularly and which is the cultural center of my area.

I've found raiding Boston Globe archives to have been an awesome exercise. Check out the following weather forecast from August 14, 1914.

So what's interesting to me? First, as someone who is obsessed with details, it's nice to have. To be honest, if an adventure would work better with different weather, I'd happily use the different weather and get it "wrong". A heatwave instead of the modest temperatures in this forecast wouldn't cause a game to self-destruct.
But what really got my attention was "The Temperature Yesterday at Thompson's Spa. Going through the archives of 1914 it seems every issue gave that as the baseline for the weather. And I found myself wondering "what was Thompson's Spa". Apparently in New England "spa" became used as a soda fountain. The first reference to it seems to be from a Pennsylvania newspaper article in 1895 about Boston - "In Boston, Thompson’s Spa, the greatest soda resort at the Hub, easily clears for its owners 50 thousand dollars a year" (Why Are Some Boston Area Convenience Stores Called Spas?) From some more browsing I've discovered Thompson's Spa was an incredibly popular soda fountain/restaurant. It was also in Newspaper Row, right across the street from the Boston Globe, per this January 2, 1917 Globe article:

These sorts of insights are great for background. The papers are also great inspiration for adventures. Consider the following minor story from the August 14, 1914 Boston Globe
I didn't find any follow-up to this. So stolen jewelry? The little article is rife for Mythos implications. Perhaps the jewelry is the type favored by Deep Ones. Or sacred to the King in Yellow. Was the owner aware of their significance? Did he come by it legitimately? Or did he steal it and it was stolen back? I find I like these types of articles, rife for being filled in. 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Arrival at Fort Perilous

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:15

By John Leeper
Grey Goblin Games
Labyrinth Lord
Levels 1-3

On the border between wilderness and civilization, Fort Perilous stands, keeping watch and holding the forces of Chaos at bay. Your heroes find themselves in the fort, drawn into the battles between civilization and monsters, between Law and Chaos.

This thirty page adventure describes a home base/fort, the region, and three dungeons with about seventy rooms between them. It’s ok, but tends to the UNREMARKABLE side of the evocativeness spectrum, with it being just a hair more than minimalist in its descriptions.

The fort/home base takes about three pages to describe: one for the map, one for the buildings, and one for the NPC’s. That’s pretty fucking terse. It doesn’t fuck around … either good or bad. The fort locations are all generic, in content if not in attempt. An armory, where things can be bought, sold and repaired. Ok. A church of law, with “five clerics” that provide healing. A paragraph for each of ten locations is about a paragraph too much for each location, as written. It could use a little more that’s not “the usual borderlands fort.”

The NPC’s fare a little better, with a state block, physical appearance and a personality that provides enough to run them but doesn’t overstay its welcome. The chief wizard looks like a bank clerk, is crotchety and grumpy, but interested in magic and arcane topics. That’ll do. A little bolding of important words, over the two pages of NPC’s, would have done wonders to help the DM pick out the keywords while scanning the text.

The region has about sixteen or so locations not fully detailed, each with a short paragraph giving the DM the barest of outlines. It’s enough to fill in the blanks and provide an occasional bit of an idea to help the DM kick off further adventures.

The three dungeons are the star of show here, or are meant to be. They feature orcs, hobgoblins, and gnolls, with a few other things thrown in to keep things lively.

It’s boring.

Look, I know people like to misinterpret what I say. It helps them carve out a niche for their own ideologies. It’s the whole generic/vanilla thing again. Generic Bad while Vanilla can be good. The adventure doesn’t have to be full of explosions. It doesn’t have to be gonzo. I doesn’t need any of that shit … but it does have to have SOMETHING. Let’s boil this right down to the core: if a typical room is “3 orcs” is that a good room? No, it’s not. It’s Vampire Palace level descriptions in 2018. If you’re putting that shit in then you’re engaged in some kind of performance art or making some kind of point. I don’t need a point made. I need some fucking content that helps me run the fucking adventure. Now, that’s a rather extreme example, but let’s look at a description from this adventure:

“Larder: This room has 2 orcs and 1 orc leader. The normal orcs have shields and hand axes. The leader has a shield and longsword. Hanging from the ceiling are a variety of dead animals, including deer, half a cow, rabbits and birds.”

This is just one step beyond the minimal keying. The only additional detail is the dead animals, and, while an attempt, is not the soul of evocativeness. The entire adventure is like this. I appreciate the attempt at terse writing, but not to the extent it is in this adventure. The adventure needs to have something to hang its hat on, or, more correctly, for the DM to hang their hat on. There should be SOMETHING for the DM to riff off of. Without it you’ve got what is essentially a minimally keyed adventure and I’m not fucking paying for that. That’s not adding value. If a random monster generator online can generate your dungeon then why are you charging for it?

The answer is not the minimally keyed dungeon. The answer is not the expanded minimalism of describing the mundane contents of rooms. The answer is not the endless room descriptions that plague other products, clogging them up like a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. (Mmmm. 60 pounds of impacted fecal colon sandwich …) There’s a middle fucking ground. Terse, but evocative. Something for the DM to use without sending them in a Joyce-like pit of text.

This ain’t it.

This is $2 at DriveThru. The only preview is that shitty “quick” one they offer and it doesn’t even work.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Advent Calls to Deepen Our Faith

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 11:00

You’ve heard some say that key narratives in the Bible are based on myths — stories that serve to explain issues otherwise beyond human explanation. This claim can be used to dismiss portions of the Bible and eventually the Bible as a whole.

It is true that the Bible is a library with literature of many kinds — parables, proverbs, history, poetry, letters, apocalypses, etc. — and that each of these genres may convey truth in a different way. But in the light of this variety, is the Gospel narrative in particular a made-up story intended to brighten the reader’s spirit? Or is it truth to nurture saving faith?

The Advent season of the church year is a good time to face the question afresh: Are the historical claims of the Gospel account to be trusted? Was Jesus miraculously born? Did he really heal the blind? Did he die to grant forgiveness of sins? Is he the only way to God in this life or the next?

One faith-prompting passage for me and many other believers is the opening paragraph of the Gospel as Luke presents it (Luke 1:1-4). Luke was an educated man. The Apostle Paul refers to him as “our dear friend Luke, the doctor” (Colossians 4:14). That is significant. He would have the scientific training of that era. His first paragraph is like an introduction to a medical treatise.

It is also significant that Luke’s introductory statement (verses 1-4) is one complete sentence in the original language (though divided into more than one in our English versions). It is written in beautifully crafted Greek without punctuation or spaces. It is the longest sentence in the Bible and shows a style and content any qualified first-century scholar would use to introduce a serious historical document.

Without taking anything from the beauty and thoroughness of the sentence, I break it down to show its several elements, with an editorial touch, perhaps, to aid clarity. Luke writes as follows:

Something wonderful has actually happened among us and this has prompted a number of witnesses to try to capture its essence in writing.

The witnesses I speak of were eyewitnesses to these wonderful events and were already testifying to them and telling their meaning when they passed the truth on to us first hand.

I take the information I’ve received seriously but at the same time I have investigated every detail for myself from the very beginning. I’ve left no detail unexamined.

I’m doing this for you, Most Excellent Theophilus. I decided that I too would write a carefully researched and ordered account for your benefit. I write to reinforce your faith in the truths you already have been taught.

We don’t know who this Theophilus was. His name means God Lover. He may have been a convert from paganism to the faith who needed further guidance and grounding. The way Luke addresses him he may have been an elevated officer of the Roman government. It is even possible, though not likely, that Theophilus was a fictitious name that Luke used as a foil to tell his story.

Whatever the case, Luke’s first paragraph radiates seriousness and substance. And God’s Spirit uses his thoroughness to testify to the truth that follows. When we feel the power of Luke’s first paragraph, we are like someone standing at the entrance of a beautiful cathedral — The Gospel According to Luke. We hesitate momentarily before entering his report.

Pausing there, we are filled with wonder and awe. We kneel instinctively to absorb this ancient man’s forceful account as inspired by God Himself. And once we enter Luke’s narrative, we are open to the possibility that it is indeed a cathedral of God’s truth and love and no myths could renew us as these sacred words stand ready to do.

Photo credit: le vent le cri (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds


Looking For Group - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 05:00

The post 1249 appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

Call of Cthulhu Actual Play - Ashes of the Feast

19th Level - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 02:03
The world doesn't know it yet, but the shots which will trigger the Great War have just been fired. In Boston, the Hub of the Universe, massive construction projects are underway, building the infrastructure which will serve the city for the rest of this century and beyond. However, that construction has unearthed a hidden evil...

Setting: Boston. Monday, June 29, 1914

Cast of Characters:

  • Colin O'Connor: Civil engineer from Dunmore, Ireland. Working on the Dorchester Tunnel.
  • Lola Diaz Azar: Archaeologist hailing from Puerto Rico, born of a Puerto Rican mother and Middle Eastern father.
  • Nathaniel Quincy, MD, Captain, US Army (Ret.) Former army doctor, served in Nicaragua and the Philippines.

The three investigators had assembled at a home in South Boston on Summer Street. With the Dorchester tunnel extension to the Cambridge Subway being built a number of homes were being moved. Under one of them the house movers had found a hidden chamber of horrors. The three had special skills.  O'Connor was an engineer working on the tunnel. Azar had worked with O'Connor before when the Tremont Street Tunnel uncovered ancient fishweirs. Doctor Quincy had treated a number of the injured from the construction - and handled his fair share of corpses.
The house had belonged to Finn O’Riabhaigh, who was killed in an apparent power struggle in his anarchist organization back in 1910. He was also apparently the "cannibal killer" who had terrorized Boston and surrounding area in the noughties and early 1910 - apparently operating in the basement of his anarchist publication. He had at least one accomplice - Sergey Baranov, who oddly enough was in the newspaper headlines today, though less prevalently than that of assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary.
Unfortunately, the basement was discovered on Friday and over the weekend a guard had been killed - his throat slit - and some items likely removed from the basement.

Relevant articles found in the newspaper included:

May 11, 1910 
ANARCHIST HORROR IN SOUTH BOSTON CANNIBAL KILLER SLAIN, ACCOMPLICE IN COMA  Responding to reports of a struggle, police found a gruesome scene in the basements of an anarchist newsletter headquarters. In the basement of the “Universal Brotherhood”, the organization’s leader, Finn O'Riabhaigh was found dead, with his throat slit. He had apparently been in the act of consuming a human corpse, that of Mister Rocco Altieri, a southern Italian immigrant. This bizarre murder matches the modus operandi of several unsolved murders over the past five years in the city and surrounding communities. 
Also found was Sergey Baranov, with both a similar wound to the throat and a gunshot wound. At the time of this writing Baranov was in surgery with an unclear prognosis. 
O’Riabhaigh was editor and publisher of the anarchist newsletter, the “Universal Brotherhood”. He had previously been charged with a variety of misdemeanors. Evidence collected in the basement linked him to several other killings. A search of the building revealed the newsletter’s mailing list to be missing. No such list was found in O’Riabhaigh's home on Summer Street. Police Lieutenant Brian McShane indicated this horror was further evidence “of the anarchist depravity infesting Boston”.
  May 14, 1910 Baranov Charged as Accessory  At his hospital bed in Boston City Hospital, police Lieutenant Brian McShane formally arrested Sergey Baranov as an accessory to the murder of Rocco Altieri.  Unable to speak due to a severed larynx, Baranov gave a plea of not guilty in writing. 
December 6, 1910 Sergey Baranov Found Guilty  After a two-week trial and only four hours of deliberations, a jury found Sergey Baranov guilty of being an accessory to the murder of Rocco Altieri. Baranov remained silent as he heard the verdict – as he had throughout the trial – not only did he not testify in his own defense, he remains unable to speak due to his larynx having been damaged beyond the ability of his doctors to repair. Judge Charles Jenney had agreed to allow Baranov to testify with pad and paper should it have been necessary.   Attorney General Dana Malone had also unsuccessfully pursued a charge of first-degree murder. 
 December 13, 1910  Sergey Baranov Sentenced  Sergey Baranov, convicted accomplice in the Anarchist Cannibal Killings, was sentenced to 25 years as an accomplish to murder. He began his sentence at Charlestown State Prison.  
June 29, 1914  Sergey Baranov Seriously Ill  Notorious participant in the Anarchist Cannibal Killings, Sergey Baranov was transferred to the Charlestown State Prison’s infirmary yesterday, having contracted an unknown disease with symptoms similar to that of malaria.  
Though the police had been unable to find the anarchist member list, the investigators did - in the hidden basement. They also found signs of cannibal activities here - a holding cell, tables with manacles, and lots of blades.
Interestingly, the anarchist member list was in alphabetical order by first name, aside from the first two names - his two main lieutenants perhaps?

The second name was the accomplice, Baranov. Perhaps Gallagher would be a name worth checking. Research indicated it was indeed a worthwhile name to look into:
Boston Globe, January 10, 1911
During this investigation, their liaison with the police, Brian McShane, now a captain, informed them that former Attorney General, Dana Malone, had been taken to the hospital - suffering from the same mysterious illness that Baranov had.
They paid a visit to Easmon Gallagher's Back Bay house - failing to break into it or bluff their way in they wound up entering via the roof after gaining entry to a neighbor's house. Unfortunately, they were quickly discovered by Gallagher, holding a deadly looking knife, He cheerfully acknowledged he was a member of the Universal Brotherhood - and through communion with human flesh, would live forever - as well as having the power to infect others with horrid diseases. To illustrate his power (and insanity - he was not a quiet type of insane cultist) he called upon "the great fist of Yog-Sothoth", and with a wave of his hand, Azar flew off the stairwell balcony to the floor below, screaming in pain as her ankle fractured. He waved off bullets from Quincy's guns although he and O'Connor were able to eventually stop him - though fatally, as he fought like an insane maniac. 
In Gallagher's library they found The Book of the Flesh. It was a bit of a horrific tome, talking about how to eat people for eternal life. It also discussed diseases. Quincy and O'Connor couldn't comprehend it but Azar finally was able to understand it well enough to use it to reverse the effects on former AG Malone - though it was too late for Baranov - no great loss.
Captain McShane and Dana Malone were able to shield the trio from major legal consequences of their actions, though they all found themselves out of jobs - and soon working for either the state or the city in various functions - so as to be on hand should similar eldritch horrors plague the commonwealth...
Keeper NotesThis was the kick-off of a new game. It was inspired by a picture of a house being moved as part of the construction of the Dorchester Tunnel extension to the Cambridge Subway - today's Red Line. Though the picture is now in the public domain, I found it in Boston's Red Line: Bridging the Charles from Alewife to Braintree (Images of America).
The anarchists in question are quite fictional, though in the early 20th century anarchists were the terrorists of the day. Boston was a major location of anarchist activity, attracting the attention of anarchist leaders such as Luigi Galleani, 
Captain McShane is fictional, However, Dana Malone was a real person, having served in the Massachusetts legislature and was District Attorney for the Northwest District and Attorney General of Massachusetts.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Red Pill 101 – Ep. 6: The “Rules”

The Rational Man - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 19:45

Do you feel like you’re playing by by one set of rules while everyone around you seems to be playing by another? Do all the women you interact with seem to have a restrictive set of hoops for you to jump through in order to qualify for their intimacy while they eagerly break their own rules for a different type of guy? Do the married guys you know still cling to their wives rules like their sex live depend on it?

The rules that a woman creates for a man she perceives as Beta carry over into that man’s LTR and marriage. A marriage/LTR usually retains whomever’s Frame that relationship had when the couple first became intimate. A lot of Beta men (and even some well-meaning Red Pill men) carry over this need for female (their Mother’s) approval into their relationships, proudly integrating their personal beliefs into how well they satisfy a woman’s rules and plans for his own life.

Are the ‘old set of books’ social agenda really the same set of personal rules women have for their own approval for Beta men?

Pat and I will discuss these issues and how to help men avoid the most common problems that lead to dead-end and damaging relationships for men.

Bonus: Why ‘Promise Keepers’ issues are really mommy-issues not daddy-issues.

Relevant Links:

Promise Keepers

Men in Love

The Second Set of Books

Blue Pill Frame

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs


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