Archive for January, 2019

Interview Questions 13

January 21, 2019


Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

I would have to say George Takei who has since become even more famous. There used to be an amusement park near where I live called Paramount Kings Dominion which was affiliated with the film studio. I only remember going to the park once and it was with one of my best friends. Back in the day, my friends and I absolutely adored Star Trek. We religiously watched The Next Generation and soaked up what we could of the original series in a pre-Netflix world. We even studied the blueprints of the ships and talked endlessly about the world of the shows. So, it was no surprise that we attended a 25th Anniversary event at Kings Dominion. We stood in line to meet Mr. Takei and he was so nice when we got to the head of the line. He was very gracious when faced with two Trek nerds nervously gushing over the series. We noticed that he had a cast on his leg and he explained that he had had an accident but that he was doing alright. I don’t remember but he probably apologized for not taking pictures with people. That was fine, I got to meet Sulu in person and take a picture on the original series transporter pads. On a different wavelength, I would also make a mention of meeting Barbara Mikulski who was a US Congresswoman for forty years in both the House and the Senate. We met when I got to have lunch with her due to an auction my parents had won for charity. On the way to lunch, we also ran into Governor Donald Schaefer. Both of these people were voted in by hundreds of thousands of people so I would say they were also pretty famous.


What scene from a non-horror movie scared you as a child?

My first impulse is to say Ghost which I saw pretty young with my folks. There is a scene near the end where Patrick Swayze (the titular ghost) is fighting the villain (a non-ghost). The villain is halfway through a window when it breaks and a piece of the glass falls and he is impaled. That is pretty gruesome for a kid but then shadowy figures appear and drag Carl’s spirit off presumably to Hell. Those shadow monsters scared the heck out of me as a kid and increased my fear of death. It was also such a departure from the rest of the movie which was more of a comedic supernatural crime/romance film. However, I contend that that moment was supposed to be a horror scene. So I would also put forward the bee scene from My Girl. In the movie, a little girl is befriended by a nerdy little boy and over the course of a summer, they kind of fall in love. Long story short, the boy goes into the woods to retrieve a piece of jewelry the girl dropped and he is swarmed by bees and dies from an allergic reaction. This came so far out of left field that it shocked me. One time when I was a young kid, I was also swarmed by bees and it left an impression on me (but thankfully I was not allergic). The sudden death of a kid who was not unlike me (I was also sickly as a child) shook me.


If you could be on the cover of any magazine which one would you choose?

I think I would most like to be on the cover of Dragon Magazine which is the magazine put out by the offices of Dungeons and Dragons. It should be pretty obvious by now that I am a big fan of D&D and being on the cover of the magazine means that I would be responsible or connected to some of the content inside the magazine. It would be a dream come true to write for Dungeons and Dragons and join the likes of Mike Mearls and Chris Perkins as part of the creative team. Either that or I am being interviewed in the magazine because I did something of interest to the readers and fans of Dungeons and Dragons. I would join names such as Wil Wheaton, Matt Mercer, Holly Conrad, and even Joe Manganiello. In the same vein, I would not mind being on the cover of WWE magazine or any other Pro-Wrestling magazine. At this stage in my life I know I am never going to be a pro-wrestler but in an alternate future, I could stumble into being a manager. Being a part of something I have loved for over 20 years would be so amazing (which is why I once considered applying to be a part of their ring crew). Both are unlikely but never say never, I guess.

Advertisements

Banished

January 19, 2019

Katelyn stumbled and tripped and it was only then that she realized that she was on top of a hill. She started to tumble down the hill, as an alien landscape flew by in a blur. A string of curses flew out of her mouth as she tucked and rolled, trying to protect her body from the fall. She felt her body hit several hard objects but thankfully they were only glancing blows and each hit drove the breath from her body, leaving her gasping for air as she rolled to a stop. She ended up on her back looking up at the sky. Well, it would have been the sky if it were not for all of the trees. She had no idea where she was but she had never seen trees before. Well, she had seen them in books and at the gallery but had never seen any in person. She decided to rest for a moment as there did not seem to be any danger close at hand.

“Is dead?” A deep voice asked. Katelyn tried to move her head to follow the sound but winced at a literal pain in her neck.

“She moved,” A female voice said. “I would think that means that she’s alive.”

“No eat?” The deep, gravelly voice asked. To Katelyn, whoever it was sounded disappointed.

“I keep telling you,” the woman said. “people don’t really taste very good. Are you really that hungry?”

“Always,” the gravelly voice said.

“Fair enough,” the woman said.

Katelyn sighed. “Can you show yourselves?” She called out. “You can actually talk to me and not just about me.” Katelyn was used to being the center of attention but this was not the same.

Two heads popped into her field of view and if she felt up to moving, she might have tried to scramble away. What she saw was a half-orc with a broken-looking face and a red-skinned demon. Her mind tried to make sense of things but for a moment her eyes just went wide. Then she realized that the demon was actually a tiefling, one who had demon energies in the blood. The woman was neither good nor evil inherently. Still, strangers were not to be trusted.

“Are you alright?” the woman asked. “It sounded like you took quite a fall.”

“You think?” Katelyn said with her best withering glare. “I feel about as bad as I look.”

“Pretty,” the Half-Orc said.

“Kris is right,” the woman said with a roguish smile. “you are quite beautiful.”

Katelyn blushed. “You’re not so bad yourself,” she said. “Are you a good tiefling or a bad tiefling?”

The woman grinned. “Only time will tell,” she said. “For now, we mean you no harm. What’s your name, stranger?”

“I’m not sure I should give it,” Katelyn said. “Why should I trust you?”

“That’s fair,” the woman said. “Let me put it this way: Can you move? If the two of us walk away right now, will you survive?”

“I guess that’s also fair,” Katelyn said. “I guess I’m just a little touchy, I just got betrayed by my one of my partners and I’m a bit suspicious at the moment.”

“I’ll tell you what, I’ll go first,” the woman said. “This is Kris and my name is Random Starfire.”

“That’s quite an odd name,” Katelyn said.

“It fits,” Random said. “I like to keep them guessing.”

Katelyn looked up at Kris. “And what’s your family name?”

“Just Kris,” Kris growled with a blank look in her eyes.

“I don’t mean to be rude,” Katelyn said. “but are you a boy half-orc or a girl half-orc?” She gave her best smile which Kris did not respond to.

“Kris is just Kris,” Kris said and looked away. “No flirt.”

“Sorry,” Katelyn said with a little laugh. “It’s a natural defense mechanism. My name is Katelyn Brandywater.”

Random was going to say something but she was cut off by Kris. “Don’t drown,” Kris said. Before Katelyn or Random could respond, Kris grabbed a bottle of viscous red liquid and overturned it into Katelyn’s mouth. She swallowed hard over and over, trying not to drown just like Kris had said. The liquid tasted somewhat spicy and bitter at the same time but not altogether unpleasant. When Kris pulled the bottle away, Katelyn found herself licking her lips as an afterthought.

“What?” Katelyn managed to ask.

“A healing potion,” Random said. “Sorry about Kris’ bedside manner but just relax and let it do its work.”

Katelyn closed her eyes and felt her bruises, cuts, and broken bones start to heal. She felt warm all over and she let out a contented sigh. She did not feel back to perfect condition but she felt a lot better and she slowly sat up and started to make sure all of her parts were still attached. Everything was still in place so she pushed herself to her feet and brushed herself off the best she could.

“My thanks,” Katelyn said. “Now I can properly introduce myself. My name is Katelyn Brandywater of Sigil. Actress, sword fighter, and all around performer extraordinaire!” Katelyn bowed with a flourish and rose back with a smile and just a touch of dizziness.

“Sigil?” Kris grunted, giving Random a questioning look.

“Search me,” Random said. “I’ve never heard of it myself.”

“It’s the City of Doors out there on the planar sea, so to speak,” Katelyn said. “The important part is that it was my home where I performed with my troupe. That is, until I was tricked by a woman I thought was my friend. She nearly killed me.”

“Didn’t,” Kris said with a shrug.

“Yes,” Katelyn said. “I suppose that’s the right way to look at it.”

“Kris and I are survivors too,” Random said. “It’s really the best kind of person to be.”

“Really? Katelyn asked. “What’s your story?”

Media Update 1/17/19

January 17, 2019


Venom

I was not expecting much from this movie since it felt kind of like an orphan to me since Disney (rightfully) took Spider-Man away from Sony. Instead, this movie made me realize how much divorcing the character from the Spider-Man mythos works. Venom started out as a Spidey villain but has since had a rich history of being an anti-hero. The past with the Spider books complicated the character going forward and the further he was away from Spidey, the more the character could shine. The strength of this movie comes from the connection between Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote. Tom Hardy is brilliant in both roles, As Brock, he comes across as a vulnerable and likable guy who is still kind of a dick. He is so relatable as a guy who lost everything and is struggling to move forward. As Venom, he is aggressive and really funny as a single-minded organism who is adapting to a new situation. The melding of the two characters as kind of a buddy film/superhero/horror story is the point of the movie. It is also a redemption story for both characters. Michelle Williams plays Brock’s ex and the more intelligent and more ethical counterpoint to Brock’s scrapper personality. She is a lot of fun and I was glad that there was no love story there. Riz Ahmed played the perfect corporate snake villain who was a great smarmy foil for both Williams and Hardy. Jenny Slate played a small but great role as a scientist. The movie definitely followed the modern superhero tactic of combining a superhero film with other genres. Here, they used horror stuff and a dark comedy similar but also distinct from Deadpool. I definitely recommend this one as it stands on its own.


Solo

I have loved the new direction that Star Wars has gone in. As you saw last year, I loved The Last Jedi and I also loved Rogue One the year before. I was somewhat skeptical about this one based on my doubts that the origin of Han Solo would be a compelling story. However, I was wrong. Because the previous movies had left these stories vague, they had a lot of creative freedom. On top of that, they hired one heck of a great cast. Alden Ehrenreich did such a good job taking Harrison Ford’s performance and building backwards while also making the role his own. Woody Harrelson was on top of his game as an ambiguous character and mentor to Han. Donald Glover was as brilliant and charming as always as Lando Calrissian and he took what Billy Dee Williams did and expanded on it. Emilia Clarke was great as Qi’ra and she really has grown a lot since I saw her last. Her character was really striking and I was left wanting to know more about her. Phoebe Waller-Bridge had a different take on what a droid is and provided comic relief. Paul Bettany was the perfect imposing asshole psycho villain without going over the top. I really liked this movie both on its own merits and as a prequel to a franchise I have loved since I was a kid. I definitely recommend it as it was exciting and fun.


Vice

I absolutely detested George W. Bush and his cabinet. At best they were screw ups and at worst they were war criminals and I kind of lean toward them being both. This movie is about the rise and retirement of Dick Cheney, the true power behind the throne during that presidency. Cheney has always been shrouded in some mystery which is evidently how he likes it. He does not talk much but his actions speak volumes for him. The movie kind of felt like somewhere between I, Tonya and The Death of Stalin. Christian Bale played Cheney from when he was thrown out of Princeton for drinking until Barack Obama was voted in as president. Bale absolutely transformed into Cheney and I really believed I was watching the man himself. The movie shows Cheney’s beginnings as a hard-hearted opportunist who played to win instead of trying to serve the public. I watched as he slowly let his heart turn completely to stone (though it was pretty rocky at the beginning). He turned his back on anybody who ever helped him and he smiled while doing it. The one potential soft spot in his heart is later completely stamped out for political expediency. That moment also paints his daughter (and current member of the House) Liz Cheney as a monster as well. The wonderful Amy Adams plays Lynne Cheney, his right-hand woman and perhaps the driving force behind his greed. Special shout out to Sam Rockwell as Bush Jr. and Steve Carrell as Donald Rumsfeld. The movie seems exceedingly well-researched but beyond that it was both entertaining and horrifying. The dark humor was like a worm that made me laugh despite my growing horror at learning new information. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Weekly Music:

Poppy – Play Destroy feat. Grimes

Nicki Minaj & Anuel AA (Feat. Bantu)- Familia

Murmur – Funeral of the Hunt

King Tuff – Psycho Star

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Dark Origins”
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched more The Magicians Season 3
– I watched more Lucifer Season 3
– I finished A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 3
– I started a new job so I watched far less stuff

 

 

 

Pekko Atlas Pt. 2

January 14, 2019

pekko

Triele
Humans 46% Half-Elves 24% Elves 10% Dwarves 12%
Half-Orcs 5% Halflings 8% Tieflings 6% Gnomes 3%

Triele is divided into four large regions with a central, land-locked seat of power and wealth. To the north are cold wildlands with mountains and cliffs on the northern and western coast. The northerners do not fit into civilization very well but they are loyal to the Kings of Triele. To the south are the majority of the farmlands, which feed the country and trade with Ukresh. To the west are the lands where there are predominantly merchants and crafters. To the east is a region of magic users and a center for raising a military and thus many schools exist there. The central capital city is where most of the wealthy reside. The King of Triele lives there and rules with absolute power. Curiously, the citizens of Triele have little use for money among each other and only deal with currency with foreign powers. They have developed an internal trading system that fulfills most of the needs of everybody. Therefore, the jewels and gold go to the capital.

Ukresh
Humans 35% Half-Elves 21% Elves 15% Halflings 12%
Tieflings 11% Dwarves 9% Gnomes 7% Half-Orcs 5%

Is ruled with absolute certainty by King Murat who lives in the castle-fortress in the Ukreshi capital. The royal family rarely leaves the capital and prefers to let their agents carry out their will throughout the land. These local lords have great leeway outside of the commands of the royal family and some use this to subjugate the people of Ukresh. Upsetting the king (or the lords for that matter) is completely unwise, as they have absolute power to punish the citizenry and often use it. This is also known as a land that birthed the traditional idea of witches. Covens of witches inhabit the wilderness against the government’s wishes. As a result of their rural upbringing, a witch’s looks range from rustic to absolutely filthy. Many villages rely on these witches and will ally with them in secret to protect them from the government in exchange for healing and magical favors. Also, the King has ordered tight security for the borders of the land which often makes things more difficult for trade caravans coming from Triele.

Astala
Elves 25% Half-Elves 21% Humans 19% Halflings 12%
Tieflings 11% Dwarves 9% Gnomes 3% Half-Orcs >1%

Astala is ruled from the Star Island far to the north and no army has ever made it that far north. In fact, most foreigners have never traveled that far north as it is cold there and most of the trading is done on the southern borders. In the southern parts, merchants are everywhere and most of them learn sign language in multiple languages as a means to communicate secretly with each other. In the far north are the hearty tribes who protect the capital and have often shipped out to fight Astala’s wars. In many places, there are hearty farmers who have to work hard to grow food in the northern land. There are also great hunters and magic users all over. Then there is the poison plains to the east, which are impassable and forbidden. There are some who live there, twisted creatures that are known as Drow but little contact is made with them.

Kuma-Jo
Elves 27% Half-Elves 23% Humans 21% Halflings 10%
Tieflings 7% Dragonborn 6% Gnomes 4% Dwarves 2%

Kuma-Jo has been ruled over by an Emperor (or Empress) since the days after the sundering of the continents. Many royal families have come and gone but the sanctity of the royal house of the empire has always been preserved. So has the code of honor that has been passed down from the honored ancestors of modern Kuma-Jo. The signature armor and weapons have not changed over the ages and their style has only been honed and refined as the years went by. The code of honor is very important to the warriors of Kuma-Jo (and the civilians too) much like the knights of Shera. Much of the culture of the island is dictated by ceremony and adherence to it (at least for outward appearances) is very important. Still, those who buck tradition are not necessarily outcasts but they do not quite fit into the culture as well. Local lords rule over divisions of the island and each is required to swear fealty to the empire and each new ruler.

Kusura
Elves 20% Half-Elves 20% Humans 15% Halflings 15%
Tieflings 13% Half-Orcs 12% Gnomes 4% Dwarves 1%

Kusura is fairly well known as the land of ninja assassins and there are many schools there where natives and some foreigners are taught the art of stealth and the silent kill. The schools each have a guild family as their patron which fund the school and decide the curriculum. These guild families rule the island nation by a council with a ruling figurehead. This ceremonial figurehead is decided by an annual test of skills that involve a champion put forward by each guild family. These guild families are also pretty strictly divided by race, each using their racial traits to aid their specialties. The guild families rarely cooperate with each other, preferring to keep private and cooperation is something that should cause alarm. Each family takes contracts and hires out their ninjas for riches or political favors. As one would expect, the island is eerily quiet and outsiders often find themselves intimidated by the deathly stillness practiced by every single denizen of Kusura.

The Crumbs
(The racial and cultural makeup is too varied and mysterious to be measured by any reliable census)

The Crumbs are a series of uncharted islands that stretch between the East and West Continents. They are called as such because people claim that the two continents were once one continent and they were broken in half like breaking a loaf of bread. Of course, all of the inhabited islands have names but nobody has bothered to chart them. There are so many islands that it is hard to navigate all of the channels and most people don’t bother and simply go around through the waters to the south. It is rumored that the pirate factions have maps or special magical artifacts that help to navigate the Crumbs in order to hide from the various naval forces of both continents. There are also indigenous people on certain islands but they tend to be pretty isolated from the rest of the world due to the difficulties of getting in and out of the Crumbs.

DnD 30 Day Challenge Pt. 6

January 12, 2019

27 – What lore in Dungeons and Dragons are you most fascinated by lately?

Lately, I feel like I am most fascinated by the lore in Sigil since it is so mysterious to me. I feel like not a lot of people focus on Sigil since it is potentially incredibly dangerous and very abstract. Sigil basically feels like Wackyland felt in Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies. It has a loose structure and a caste system but almost anything can happen there. It exists outside of the material plane, the inner planes, and the outer planes. It is its own thing and sort of a nexus of reality. Known as the city of doors, any door in the city can double as a portal to anywhere else. These portals need to be activated by a key but that key does not even have to be a physical object, it can be a word, a feeling, a spell, etc. Denizens of most any realm can randomly show up at any time either on purpose or completely by accident. I am still figuring out the society there as I have heard different podcasts approach it a little differently. It is at once wondrous and brutal as the diversity and exotic parts are beautiful but anything can kill you. There are also swarms of rats with psychic powers. At one point I was absolutely fascinated by the Lady of Pain. She is a masked god-like entity that protects and controls Sigil mostly through extreme violence and fear. Anybody who says her name or tries to worship her is horribly and painfully slaughtered by her. The idea of a goddess who kills any of her own worshippers is fascinating to me. She also never talks so people just had to figure all of this out through her violent actions and just hope that they did not somehow piss her off.

28 – What was the first time that you heard Dungeons and Dragons was ‘evil’?

Long before I actually played Dungeons and Dragons, I listened to a lot of comedy clips and watched a lot of comedy videos on the Ancient Internet. I was hanging out with a lot of older friends (as I do now) and they clued me into Dr. Demento, a radio personality who curated a large collection of weird comedy audio clips, most of which were songs. He was the guy who first discovered Weird Al Yankovic and helped him break into the business by sharing his early music. He also aired comedy sketches and one of them I stumbled upon was by a group called the Dead Alewives. Unbeknownst to me, I would later become a big fan of one of their members Dan Harmon who went on to create Community and co-create Rick and Morty. Anyway, they did a Dungeons and Dragons skit that parodied the idea that Dungeons and Dragons was somehow a dangerous activity for kids. The kids in the skit were just big dorks eating snacks and drinking Mountain Dew and making fun of each other. The point was that the game was far from the satanic recruitment device that people thought it was. This confused me. How could any game played with pen and paper be dangerous? It was theater of the mind and when the game ended, all of it faded away and people went back to being regular people. The idea that Dungeons and Dragons was dangerous was laughable to me and it continues to be laughable.

29 – First movie that comes to mind that you associate with Dungeons and Dragons?

Believe it or not, the first movie that comes to mind is something like Fast and Furious 7 or the Fate of the Furious. While the movies do not fit the setting of any Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I have ever seen, the tone definitely fits. A lot of Dungeons and Dragons is over the top with people doing ridiculous things all of the time. Dominic Toretto and his gang are like any good Dungeons and Dragons party. Each member has different backstories, different specialties, and personalities. As members of the party die or change alignment, they are replaced by new characters. For a group of people who were at one point thrown together, they have a lot of intertwining backstories. The tasks that the party has to complete get harder and harder each movie as their skills and equipment also improve. It really feels like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign where the players are constantly rolling high and the Dungeon Master is rolling poorly. Still, they keep coming up with new amazing spectacles peppered with witty dialogue. On top of all of that, Vin Diesel is a huge Dungeons and Dragons fan and still plays now and then.

30 – What’s the single most important thing you have learned while playing Dungeons and Dragons?

I would say confidence. When I started playing tabletop roleplaying games, I was very skittish about it and shy. I stammered and froze up while I tried to translate my great ideas into actions and words that came from my character. More than that, the fear made it so my brain would often just not work and I would try to get enough out to make the Game Master move onto the next person. Still, somehow I found enjoyment from it. As I continued to play, I became more comfortable with myself and confident that my ideas were not horrible and that the people around me did not hate me. In fact, they are now my closest friends. I started to get more aggresive at the table and more likely to share my ideas and speak up. I also was comfortable enough to really “drop in” to my character. Instead of relaying what I thought my character might do or say, I was able to channel my character more directly. Recently, when I started to take new anxiety medication, I made even more progress. I feel more at ease throwing things out there and seeing where they lead. I am also braver about making the hard choices and shooting from the hip when I need to. Afterall, it is just a game and overthinking things leads to unhappiness for everyone at the table. I look forward to gaining even more confidence as I have now really adjusted to my medication and I feel more at peace with my surroundings.

Media Update 1/10/19

January 10, 2019


Ralph Breaks the Internet

Walt Disney Animation Studios has been really knocking it out of the park lately. It feels like they saw how good Pixar was doing and decided to up their game to keep pace. They started to make smarter, more enjoyable movies which is saying a lot since their library was already really great. One of the movies that convinced me of this was Wreck-It Ralph which was a sweet movie about finding your place in life and being at peace with the things you cannot change. It also cleverly explored the tropes of video games and applied them to actual rounded characters. So, when I heard that there was going to be a sequel and it was going to expand to the Internet, I was excited. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman are back as the two lead characters, this time exploring their friendship that was formed in the first movie. Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch are also back in smaller roles but equally enjoyable as the first movie. We also got newcomers Gal Gadot and Taraji P. Henson who bring new energy to this new story. I felt like the movie was an accurate depiction of what the Internet is through the eyes of somebody who has no clue how it works. The Internet is insanity but it is also a very magical place and the movie showed off a lot of its different facets. The movie was very heartwarming from the beginning and some scenes (especially early on) reminded me of my own anxieties which I have worked to get better at. I recommend this movie wholeheartedly especially if you are a Disney fan since there are so many Disney references.


God Friended Me

So I was very wary of this show because of the title because it sounded like the name of a hokey Christian movie. However, my mom was watching it and I decided to sit with her and watch it since she spoke highly of it. I was pleasantly surprised. First, to reassure anybody who had similar fears, there is next to no actual Christianity (or religion in general) to be found. The show seems to be more like Person of Interest where a mysterious person (or entity, I guess) has programmed an artificial intelligence to cue the main character into helping people. They get a scrap of information each episode which leads them to find somebody who needs their help. The episodes I have seen, the help they deliver is not life-saving but it is life-changing, usually leading to a happier life and self-realization. In that way, it is less about “God” and more about zen and general philosophy. There is a central cast that works together to solve the mystery each episode and then the series arc of discovering who is behind the program. I think that the thing that really makes the show work is the interaction between the characters and the quirky people they meet. I have not seen much, but I liked what I saw. If you are looking for something easy to put on, I recommend this.


Halt and Catch Fire

So I had heard this title and it was not very alluring because I had no idea what it meant and without a descriptive title (or buzz) I was not going to be pulled in. Then the thing dropped on Netflix and I was curious and then I read that it was about developing computer technology in the Eighties which was a magical and wild time for computer technology. I decided to check it out but I ended up not really liking it. It felt a lot like Mad Men. There is a lot of slick dialogue and interesting characters but the show felt like it was infused with nasty, dark energy (just like Mad Men). No offense to fans of either show but both shows just felt too dark and uncomfortable for me. I thought the show was going to be full of the wonder and passion of discovering the cutting edge and trying to market it to the people. Instead, it was a lot of characters sniping at each other and angry yelling. Maybe the show got better after the first few episodes but I lost the desire to find out. Coupled with the fact that none of my friends or family have ever talked about watching the show and I was done with it. I do not recommend it unless you were a fan of shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

Music of the Week:
DJ Format & Abdominal – We’re Back

The HU – Wolf Totem

Lessthanamonster – Honey Sweet Thing

AFI – Miss Murder

Miya Folick – Stop Talking

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Technology As Our Friend”
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I started watching Lucifer Season 3
– I started watching A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 3
– I watched more The Magicians Season 3
– I got a PlayStation Classic
– I watched more My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 6
– I watched more The Dragon Prince Season 1

DnD 30 Day Challenge Pt. 5

January 7, 2019

23 – Which is your favorite monster?

While it is not really in Dungeons and Dragons main purview, I really like vampires. Perhaps it is the goth kid and lover of Halloween that still lives inside of me. Vampires are so iconic and versatile but somewhat hard to fit into any old adventure. Still, I also really like that they are sentient monsters so their motivations can be explored and there is room for plenty of backstories. Most vampires are considered lawful evil by nature but that can easily be tweaked and homebrewed for more interesting storylines. I think of shows like Angel and Supernatural where a hero becomes a vampire and is able to stay good. Also, materials from other games like Vampire: The Dark Ages can be used to give more flavor to the character. Similarly, I really love the Hag. Having an old witch that trades favors or curses people like Ursula is a great toy to play with. They are also shapechanging characters with illusionary powers which brings up a lot of options. For example, having a coven of three hags like the beginning of Macbeth. They are too powerful for the party to take head on so they might have to do some errands for them at first or find a way to trick them. Basically, I have a soft spot in my heart for the creepier enemies in Dungeons and Dragons.

24 – What is a character outside of your comfort zone that you might play in the future?

I would really like to play a bard in the future. I know that I am an introverted person but, with the aid of my anxiety medicine, I feel like I am stronger than I used to be. I actually have a basis for a bard character that I may want to play in the future should it fit into what we are doing. A while back we did a one-shot set in a science fiction setting (which was not Dungeons and Dragons-based at all) but I played an android who was constantly handing out business cards and trying to drum up business while already on the job. If I were to play a bard it would be somebody like that. I think it would be fun to play somebody who is way into themselves and focused on their own branding. Maybe they will grow toward wanting actual respect instead of successful branding. Maybe instead they learn that fame is not what it is cracked up to be. Maybe they also learn the importance of teamwork and true friendship. There are many possibilities. If I were to be a bard, I would probably end up being from the College of Swords. If I was going to be an entertainer, it would make more sense to be a swashbuckler who entertains with feats of daring and action. I could also draw on stories from my brother’s experience as a fight choreographer in the character background. The thing I am stuck on is whether the character would be constantly rushing into battle or would actually be a bit of a cautious coward.

25 – What character have you been saving up to play in the future?

I always have a bunch of ideas in my head for what I could do in the future but the first one that comes to mind is the studious nerd wizard. Even though I have always been a good student, I have never been the A student who obsesses about studying and forgoes most other things. I have this idea in my head of a bespectacled young man who has studied magic hard and has been sent into the world to actually put it to practical use. Having lived in a theoretical world for so long, the real world would be jarring and it would be hard to find his nerve. I like the idea of a character knowing a lot of useful knowledge but never having had to use it and so there is a disconnect. Similarly, the character could be quite old. The character has spent a long time dicking around like Flynn Carsen in the Librarian. Having finally left academia, he is completely out of his element but still be supremely confident. I do not have much experience at that level of academia but I could draw on stories from my youngest brothers in his Ph.D. studies and also stories from other academics I have known. I also have not played any magic users yet in Dungeons and Dragons and I want to play with the complexity and versatility of a wizard. After the simplicity of playing a barbarian, I kind of want to play something where I have to worry about a lot of things at once. I guess that sounds kind of weird now that I have written it out.

26 – What was the first dragon your character slew?

After a long time idling in a small town, our cleric and druid revealed that they were being troubled by nightmare visions almost every night. Apparently, they had kept this a secret for quite a long time because it had not been so bad at first. However, the dreams had gotten worse and the dreams were threatening our party members’ sanity. The visions seemed to lead to a forest in the middle of nowhere that nobody had any experience with. When we arrived, we were confronted with an abandoned village and a sign that warned to stay away. This was when a lot of the party found out that my half-orc character did not know how to read. Of course, we were not going to heed some silly sign and we ventured into the creepy abandoned town. We fought a lot of plant-based creatures and my half-orc even got taunted by a tree and then, unfortunately, I rolled a one on trying to chop it down. It turns out that dragons in 5e have the innate ability to warp reality around them. Unbeknownst to us, a green dragon had taken residence in the town and slowly warped it into a poisoned wasteland. On reconnaissance, our druid successfully lured the dragon out of its lair which gave us a fighting chance. My character could not reach the flying dragon so I just hucked javelins at it the best I could, daring it to fight me. Instead, it nearly killed half of our party with its breath weapon and it was only a crossbow bolt from the rogue that brought it down. Of course, he brought it down on top of my barbarian’s head but I was still raging so it was fine. My character was so angry that he did not get the killing blow that he proceeded to slash at the dragon’s corpse over and over. Unfortunately, the dragon scale could have been used for our druid’s armor so… oops.

Pekko Atlas Pt. 1

January 5, 2019

Today we start exploring the eastern continent of Pekko across The Serpent Sea from the continent of Taldona.  Pekko has less violent changes in climate probably due to it not having as many magical calamities in the far-flung past.  It also has bigger kingdoms due to more stability in its early settlement.  I only have a few more lands to do and I will have completed my world’s atlas.  You can find earlier parts here and here for the western continent.

pekko

Ieshon
Dragonborn 68% Humans 4% Half-Elves 4% Elves 4% Dwarves 4%
Half-Orcs 4% Halflings 4% Tieflings 4% Gnomes 4%

Ieshon is a kingdom settled by the dragonborn shortly after the Great Conflict where they resolved to wait should they be needed again by their patrons, the dragons. Over time, most of them forsook the dragons and formed a civilized society. In Ieshon, many prejudices between chromatic and metallic dragonborn have died down but the blood still calls to both sides. Used to hierarchical rule, the dragons formed a rigid feudal society which is still followed in the present. Who rules the land is determined by bloodline and power. Bloodlines rule the people indefinitely unless they grow weak and another more powerful bloodline wrests control from them. Most dragonborn (and others who have come to call Ieshon home) live in large city-states surrounded by farmland. Regional lords control and manage their land while a king or queen rules on high. The overall ruler is usually a metallic dragonborn but many lords and ladies have been known to be chromatic.  The worship of Bahamut is very popular in Ieshon, even among chromatics as the desire for fun battle is strong in their culture.

Oochar
(An accurate census of races of Oochar is not remotely possible but pretty much every race is present)

Most of Oochar is covered in thick jungle, only cleared out in places where people settle. It is a hard-fought living in the jungles of Oochar and there is very little of what the rest of the world might call civilization. There is only one city and only because they needed a place for important meetings to take place and a refuge for the darkest times. The government is actually made up of a large amount of semi-nomadic tribes with each of them being autonomously governed. The tribes are fairly varied as they are somewhat isolated from each other and it is difficult to determine from the outside how many tribes there are and how big each tribe is. It is also hard for outsiders to deal with Oochar as a whole because you never know who you might encounter once you cross their borders. A diplomatic expeditionary group once went mad trying to track the comings and goings of all the tribes. Most other countries find it not worth their time to do anything but trade on the Oochar borders but the place is great for adventurers. There are legends of the tribes uniting for various causes but it is rare for it to be done. Many tribes leave their elderly or infirm in the capital city as a sort of retirement along with some diplomatic members (with the message spell).

Oskia
Elves 25% Half-Elves 21% Humans 19% Halflings 12%
Tieflings 11% Dwarves 9% Gnomes 3% Half-Orcs >1%

Oskia is a matriarchal society currently ruled over by Queen Lynna and Queen Calasi. It has long been a society that revered the power of women but never treated men unfairly and the men of Oskia always supported the right of rule of women. Their society is highly based on and dependent on magic. Druids shepherd the fauna and flora. Wizards design the buildings and structures. Sorcerers, warlocks, and bards protect the peace with magical might. Not everybody in the country is magical but all are encouraged to learn a little bit of magic if they can. It has given rise to a nation of mostly hedge wizards who may know a trick or two. It is how the small nation has stood out and survived, especially next to the somewhat dangerous nation of Oochar. The country is fairly temperate if a little hot sometimes but definitely a famously pleasant place to live. Historically, Oskia often takes the lead in diplomatic negotiations in its area (even when it’s not asked for). For some reason, there is a higher percentage of sorcerers in Oskia, perhaps due to the more frequent use of magic but it is unknown at this time. There is also heavy prejudice against half-orcs in Oskia and many are driven into Oochar or killed.

Treania
Humans 32% Half-Elves 21% Elves 15% Dwarves 6%
Half-Orcs 9% Halflings 8% Tieflings 6% Gnomes 3%

Treania is home to the three greatest ports of the continent and therefore is the local shipping capital. Most things that come from the other continent or the Crumbs touches Treanian soil at one point even if it is just a quick stop. This has made Treania a very rich land and those riches have in turn made Treania more dominant in world trade. Of course, immense wealth for the trade barons has led to a greater disparity between the haves and the have-nots. At a certain point, the middle class in Treania began disappearing and the economy boiled down to the aristocrats and the working class. The working class people are not serfs but because the aristocrats have so much money, they are often quite powerless in class warfare. The only way the system has remained stable is that the working class bands together while the aristocrats compete with each other. The have-nots tend to look after each other better and are often kinder yet hardier as a result. Treania has also spearheaded the hunting of pirates from The Crumbs as much of their economy depends on shipping.

Media Update 1/3/19

January 3, 2019


The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

I like a good western (although not as much as my stepfather) so it was with great excitement that I heard that the Coen Brothers were returning to that genre. Their version of True Grit far outshines the original and their period pieces are always fresh and interesting. The Coen Brothers have had my love ever since I first watched Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? This movie felt kind of like a mix between the two movies. The movie has six stories that run a fairly broad spectrum of tones. From happy, to dismal, to heartwarming, to exciting, to sad, and on to scary there it felt like a story buffet. One of the things that I found they all shared was a certain dark comedy. Each story is pulled along at a good pace toward its inevitable conclusion. Of course, each story’s pace matches its tone so the darker tales feel longer and the happy ones feel quicker. However, this actually worked for me. All of the stories were compelling and all of the characters were interesting. With great actors like Liam Neeson, Clancy Brown, Tim Blake Nelson, Zoe Kazan, Stephen Root, Harry Melling, Tom Waits, Brendan Gleeson, Saul Rubinek, and Tyne Daly this is definitely an ensemble work. However, with the star power divided into six parts it does not feel too crowded at all. While I usually get turned off by darker movies, this one did not have that effect. I definitely recommend this movie.


A Serious Man

Some of the Coen Brothers films are not as well received, like Burn After Reading. I feel that since I had never heard about this movie before stumbling on it on Netflix, it was definitely not a huge hit. I would compare this movie with one of the Coen Brothers’ less popular films, Barton Fink. Like that movie, it is a character study where we view a character being pushed further and further out of their comfort zone. The movie is about a Jewish physics professor in the 1960s whose life starts to fall apart around him as he tries to navigate an increasingly bizarre set of situations. It stars a lot of relative unknowns because almost all of the characters are Jewish and the Coen Brothers wanted a departure from using their regulars. Pretty much the only exceptions are Fred Melamed and Richard Kind, two brilliant character actors whose names most would not recognize. The rest of the cast they did find are also excellent and special kudos go to the star Michael Stuhlbarg who later went on to become a bigger star with The Shape of Water, Doctor Strange, Call Me By Your Name and a lot more popular movies. He is a great character to follow. He is very sympathetic and likable so it is heartbreaking to root for him in his sisyphean tasks. I would also say that I felt some influences from other directors like David Lynch and Wes Anderson as there is plenty of quirky weirdness. I also recommend this movie.


Inside Llewyn Davis

This one was another character study. This one is also set in the sixties but follows a down and out folk musician in New York City just trying to scrape by and pursue his dream. Things have started to get desperate and it is literally just a slice of life story about a few days in linear time. Oscar Isaac plays the title and lead role and, although he is a little bit of a dick, he is really easy to root for. The other two major parts in the movie are played by Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake and they are also pretty likable. There is a history between all three characters and it is just fun to watch them interact. Also, thee is just so much fun folky music from a time where musicians were really starting to branch out. There are also great smaller parts from Adam Driver (yup they were in this together first), F. Murray Abraham and John Goodman. This movie has even less of a plot than A Serious Man but it is full of good actors just doing what good actors do. At the same time, it feels like a great little story about moving on with your life. I feel like watching both movies is a great contrast as they take place in the same decade but take place in completely different communities. I recommend this too.

Music of the Week:
The Killers – The Man

Pretty Vicious – Are You Entertained?

The Dollyrots – Walking On Sunshine

Deca – Mammon’s Mantra

James Chance and the Contortions- Designed to Kill

Weekly Update (Two weeks full!):
– This week’s theme is “Coen Brothers”
– I finished Lucifer Season 2
– I watched more Seven Deadly Sins Season 3
– I finished Chilling Tales of Sabrina Season 1
– I finished Designated Survivor Season 2
– I watched more The Dragon Prince Season One
– I started watching The Magicians Season 3
– I started watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 6
– It’s a new year and I feel ready for it


illustr8d

illustrating life

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

astoldbycarlyxo.wordpress.com/

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

A space for creative seekers.

The Bloggess

Bizarre thoughts from author Jenny Lawson - Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Daily (w)rite

Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm.

The Empire of Carane

Where fiction comes to life

DMing With Charisma

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

half a 1000 miles

cringeworthy (adj) -- causing feelings of awkwardness or embarrassment

kayrayiam

Adventures of a Gypsy Nurse with a Cryptic Past

%d bloggers like this: