Archive | April 2012

That Avengers Film

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.

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I’m So Happy. *COUGH*COUGH*

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.

As does this: “Maybe there is a meaning and maybe there isn’t but it is arrogant to assume that you will understand your pleasure before you take it and tedious to live that way. “

Stuff

Some firsts:

– 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.

Some stuff:

– 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.

What the Sleestak Saw

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.

From Kingdoms of Elfin

“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

Fields of It

Passed this on my walk this evening. Imagine if they all had been left-handed gloves.

OK, Player. You Now Have Four Live Chickens in a Sack inside Your Pack.

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.

The Setup

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.

Stuff happened.

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.

Melee started.

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.