The Avengers opened up here in Korea last week. Apparently this makes me the King of Spoilers now, because it hasn’t opened yet in the States. I liked it. I went in expecting Loud, Stupid, and Obnoxious — I should say I haven’t liked a lot of recent superhero movies — and was pleasantly surprised that it was only Loud.
First, say what you will about Joss Whedon he does do team stories well and this is a team picture, so it never feels like Iron Man or Captain America and these other people.
Second, jeez, a lot of people take spoilers and superhero pictures seriously. Between the online shouting from friends when I start to tell them about one scene, to the folks watching all the other movies leading up to this one. Pfeh. Can’t say I’m particularly bothered that I never saw Iron Man 1 or 2 or Captain America or the Hulk. I don’t care a whit about any of that.
Another portrait by one of my students. Dig the Maynard G. Krebs beard.
Still coughing and limping. I went back to the doctor’s for a check-up. I have another six days in my cast, but he says my ankle’s healing quite well.
From the Ray Bradbury Paris Review interview: “I type my first draft quickly, impulsively even. A few days later I retype the whole thing and my subconscious, as I retype, gives me new words. Maybe it’ll take retyping it many times until it is done. Sometimes it takes very little revision.”
That makes me think a bit.
– Had laryngitis. It was exciting and I wished I could stay sounding like the Cookie Monster forever.
– Last week I hurt my foot, but being the American I am I figured going to the doctor would be frivolous and I’d just wait for it to get better and bandage it up and all that. Yeah. That was working well until today and I was expected to play volleyball in my school’s league and I was like, “No, sir. My foot is still yellow and purple from last week. There will be no volleyball for me.” And coach said, “You must go to Hospital.” So I did, and they were super super super nice and took x-rays and put me in this soft cast. All fun stuff, and the whole thing cost me 25USD and I’ll have a cast to hobble around in and keep myself from playing volleyball. Yay.
– My kindle died. It did that screendeath-fuxxored thing. I’m taking this better than I’d expect.
– Been devouring these interviews over at the Paris Review site. Great stuff.
– Jin’s first translated book is out. It’s a Diablo 3 splat-book thing.
– Her second translated book, John Shirley’s BioShock tie-in novel Rapture, should be out next month. She had a great time working on that one… well… mostly. Sometimes people got their faces cut-off and stuff, but she thought it was a fun book and did a good job on it. However this 17 year old, who runs the “most popular” BioShock blog in the Korean Blogosphere, got hired as her proofreader. Jin’s boss, you know, wanted to get the “community” involved. So this kid made sure all the translations matched the fan-made patch for the videogame, which was a lousy “transliteration”. For example, Jin translates the train, “the Atlantic Express” as “the word for the Atlantic Ocean + the word for express train”, the patch simply transliterated it as “Ata-lan-tic-eh Exs-pre-ss-eh” and that’s the way it’ll likely be in the book. (The editor’s a bit miffed by this, but wants to keep the fan-base pleased.)
– Had another Vaults game over the weekend. I’ll wait for Dennis to write it up. No one died.
– There’s a Chinese restaurant near us that’s so f’n killer. Seriously. They do this spicy chicken that’s amazing.
Dennis (AKA Thidrek the Sleestak) has done a writeup of the last adventure over at What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse. And for a full expose of Thidrek in all his greenness checkout this picture by Jeremy/Oxide (AKA Ripper). Good stuff. Now I need to think of something for them to do this weekend when they once more head into the ruins.
“Monks, prisoners, conscripts, have the support of rule: they live as they are ordered to. The exile has nothing but himself to depend on. If he chooses to lie on the ground and yell, he may be a nuisance but he is not an offender. If he he tries to be a model exile, he makes a rope of sand. His conformity is of no account, and is based on guesswork, anyway. Accident may tell him he has guessed wrong, experiment on experiment may lead him to guess right. But that, too, is by accident. He plays a kind of Hunt the Thimble without knowing what a thimble looks like.”
– “The Climate of Exile” by Sylvia Townsend Warner
So last night, there was an impromptu session of the Mao Tse Tiger wing of the Kanga Rat Murder Society, mostly ‘cause one player’s leaving Korea soon and wanted to level before he goes.
A bug priest showed up at Fort Low, hoping to find the “great heroes” who defeated the stone devil a few weeks before. Since all but one of those guys died last adventure, the priest had to make do with Thidrek the Sleestak and his new companions, an Orc named Ripper and a mystic named Attius.
The priest’s story: a few days back while digging a new foraging tunnel for the Hive, the diggers entered a cavern where the Great Tunneler had come and gone. They would have explored the cavern but were attacked by some monster. Now they want the “great heroes” to lead a hunting party below and kill whatever might be lurking in the darkness.
There was also some mention of payment in “bright stones”, but what adventurer ever thinks about getting paid?
So the adventurers agreed and went into Hive territory where they could admire the efficient construction techniques of giant insects that
keep humans as slaves live in symbiosis with humans. They reached the new tunnel and met up with their hunting party: two bug tribesmen, two beetles, and their leader who was one of the guys they met in the swamps and called himself Forager, because when in doubt steal from the best.
Down they went into the darkness.
The Nuts and Bolts
I told the players they’d get the XP value for each of the hunting party they brought back alive.
They were cautious from the start, though a bit quick to attack everything they saw such as a trio of lizardmen who’d been trapped in the cavern for days hiding out from the real “monsters”. The lizards had no interest in fighting the party, but took off running the moment they showed up. The party mistook this as a “charge”…
Meanwhile the real monsters, four greater rhagodessa (see picture at top), began moving about in the darkness, setting up their own ambush. The lizardmen got away, and a lucky roll from one of the hunting beetles alerted the party to the fact that something was up.
Did I mention that Thidrek right before leaving Fort Low decided to buy four live chickens? That was one of those moments where the GM asks no questions but says, “Huh? OK, player. You now have four live chickens in a sack inside your pack.”
The party sent a chicken down the passage to determine if something nasty was down there, and sure enough there was, so the party setup their own ambush using oil, a spear wall, and whatnot.
The waiting game started. Or would have except the rhagodessa had more room to maneuver and outflank the party.
By now my map had started to look like one of those football play diagrams with little arrows and scribbly marks on it tracking movements. The party was forced down the passage where the other two waited, but the party was able to protect their backs with a wall of burning oil, so neither side had an advantage.
You know what’s funny? It’s funny when you’re explaining the game rules to someone and say, “Oh, you can do X if you want to.” And the person you’re telling this to says, “Why would you ever not want to do that?” And you just narrow your eyes and shrug, knowing that before the night is done not doing X is going to look like the best idea ever.
Thidrek saved his sleestak-bacon by sacrificing another live chicken. One beetle got gobbled, the other rolled for crap, one tribesman died when his arm got severed, the other survived, the party got bloodied but no one else dropped, except Forager who was saved by a spell from Attius. They succeeded in killing three of the four rhagodessa, the last scuttling away into the darkness. Ripper searched amid a pile of bones but found nothing more than pocket change, because stingy DM is stingy.
The Hive was pleased. The party got paid, and the night ended happily for everyone.
So I have this laryngitis-cold-thing and sound like Tom Waits. It’s cool. I hope it never ends, though if it didn’t I’d probably lose my job. Can’t teach English if you sound like the Cookie Monster. I went to the doctor’s this morning. Some details: they do stuff like take your blood pressure and temperature in the waiting room. So folks are all around you waiting while a nurse takes your blood pressure and looks in your ears and whatever. Then they have you go back to sitting down, while you wait for the doctor to see you. The doc was a youngish guy and wanted to know about my mucus and stuff. His English wasn’t great, but whatever. Between Jin and me, we could figure out what he was asking. He sprayed some stuff down my throat and some more stuff up my nose, then gave me a prescription. Easy peasy. The thing is I feel fine. I just sound like death.
Price for visit and three days of meds: less than 10USD. I pay into the National Health Care program about 60USD monthly, but damn, a five buck Doctor visit? Yeah. Not complaining.
– Time to let all the blarg dribble out.
– I don’t begrudge anyone their desire to earn a dollar even when it is my dollar (and not called a dollar) — I just don’t like it when they become so aggressive about their desire that they resemble parasites on the expat community.
– We’re not disagreeing so much as exploring the contours of our agreement.
– Hey Annoying 4th Grade Girl, you are soooooooo annoying, but have embraced being that kid no one likes with such defiance that I have to salute you. Everyone in life will hate you and try to grind you down. Don’t change. Stay annoying. (Just maybe, you know, do your homework sometimes…)
– Isn’t he one of those guys who goes to Steampunk conventions wearing a girdle on top of his JC Penny suit?
– When people favorite my tweets I assume they’ll use them later to blackmail me.