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The Bleachers Incident

Last night, we took a stab at Dresden Files RPG combat. To be honest, I still have no clue what is what when it comes to stats, character sheet, or fudge dice. I still got to do something pretty awesome.

My character is pretty much the one I thought up in my dreadful Mood, a cleaner with cryptid leanings (namely, book-learning magic). The three elements to which she claims affinity are metal, fire, and air. Metal is a foremost, because when one thinks city, one thinks metal. I can totally see myself reducing the size of a man’s ring to get him to talk.

Not enough to make him lose a finger, obviously. Because that lacks finesse. And I am a professional.

Anywho, our mock battle took place in a high school baseball diamond. The first thing I thought of was to make sure everyone knew there would be metal, non-folding bleachers, lights, and the DM supplied the chainlink fence. With that much metal around, really, it was a matter of choice and purpose.

This incubus-y thing bad-mouthed Nick, who is the mafia boss (though not a don). He tried to intimidate it, and it came to a scuffle. Goons that were actually ghouls came at us. First Jared got attacked, which started me considering my status as a “glass cannon.” So I argued that it would make sense for there to be very low level men in black to absorb a hit or two on my behalf.

That discussion got a little… Gordian. Moving on to the cool.

I ended up needing my LLMIB for his intended defensive measures. After doing so, I moved into a more open are (I’d been in the dugout) and used my metal magic to slam a set of bleachers into the incubus, who was also flustered because of something Nick had done. Tagging left and right, I was. I don’t remember if he had taken any damage, but my cleaner does not screw around. That one-hit wonder smashed him right into a discussion about whether or not he should be considered dead.

Now the ring reduction spell would be much more subtle…

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Science!

I want to do this with my niece someday.

She’d probably get a kick out of it, but I don’t know if “toddler” is the best age to be playing with dyes and shaving cream. Although, I think shaving cream is a perfect bath toy. So long as everyone is past the stage of putting everything in their mouths.

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Experimenting in Photoshop

I have a graphic that I need to make, but I started working on this thing this morning, so I wanted to finish.

More pain shenanigans, so I’m going to be slowing down my TRoOS updates. Like I said, I need to make a graphic to finish up Round 4, and then I can get started on Round 5. Probably no one would mind if it went on hiatus again, but I’ve been having fun. I’m getting into synaptic messaging so that I have more freedom with where they are without having to sacrifice their ability to chat.

Funny thing is, synaptic messaging is something I came up with back when I was writing Mint Out of the Box–which I actually went back to today and wrote a few paragraphs. I’d like to get back into that.

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Small funny things

They make the days seem rather less grey. Although I do wonder how appropriate it is that I find certain things funny.

The one that popped into my head just as I opened my browser to begin writing, was the sort of thing that generally pops into my head: a song. Ne Me Quitte Pas, that old French classic that should probably provoke more serious emotions than a sentimental “teehee”. Really, it’s a very sad song and the story behind its inspiration is even more so.

But I have a rather odd personal relationship with this song. I just typed a really bad joke in keeping with that crappy rhetoric, but that’s one of the many functions of the Backspace key. Anywho, when I was about 20 or so, I saw a lot of performances of the Cirque du Soleil show Varekai. It was an intensely bizarre period of my life that can be painful to recall (mostly because of embarrassment), but this part is actually kind of cool.

Seating got a bit weird in some of my trips to the show, thanks to eBay tickets and other things, so one of those shows, I spent sitting with a French couple instead of the person with whom I had actually gone to the show. I don’t remember the lady at all, but then, the man was the one I was sitting next to, so that explains that. There’s also the fact that this story is really about this guy.

In Varekai, one of the clowns’ sequences is a silly lip-synch of Ne Me Quitte Pas, wherein the man “singing” is fighting a hopeless battle to actually stand in his own spotlight. The spotlight’s antics are ultimately revealed to be due to the clown’s mischievous assistant/sidekick character. Maybe it’s not comedy gold, but it’s hard not to get caught up in every part of Varekai when you’re there. Maybe it’s a live performance thing, I don’t know.

Anyway, before I digress further, back to that French guy I sat next to. I have been in a foreign country and been the spot of unexpected familiarity for someone else before. (huh, that person was French too… My French isn’t even very good.) It’s one of the nicest emotions I’ve witnessed. In this case, the song started playing, and this guy just lit up like a jewellery display case. We’d been chatting, so it wasn’t weird for him to turn to me and say something, but he was practically speechless. His reaction was just beautiful. “Hey, I know this song! OMG listen, it’s this whole thing, do you even know?”

It’s been years, I don’t remember what he really said, but that’s the gist, really.

Then, to crown this euphoric moment that I had been most generously invited to share, he sang along. The entire song, just beaming like someone had let him on the stage.

There are some interesting people in the world. I wonder what he’s up to now.

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A dream that I fullly intend to write

After a week, possibly multiple weeks, of not sleeping enough at night, I just managed to take a three-hour nap and had the best dream ever.

In my dream, there was a group of friends who all lived in different parts of the world. Two of them, a guy and a girl, shared a hobby of reanimating the dead, and they sent related paraphernalia back and forth, as well as trading stories and techniques. Their other friends did not believe in this nonsense. The guy also practised a form of wand magic.

Another of these friends was a rich young lady who regularly house-sat for various family members around the world. Her father owned an airline and these kids were all of a driving age, so she was pretty prepared to travel. But she would frequently get lonely and allow herself to be swayed by the occasional stranger into sharing her travels. One such person managed to mooch off of her every time she stopped to buy food, and the great conflict of the dream came about when he broke into one of the houses, squatted there without knowing, and then tried to charge a plane ticket to France to her.

This was where their next friend came in. He was a very serious guy, who had been raised as something like a Schattenjäger by his father’s best friend. He and his guardian were in Germany at the time of the house desecration, and while the heiress house-sitter was dealing with the plane ticket fiasco, they told her to go back to that family house and they could help.

Meanwhile, the two necromancers had gotten in over their heads. They had bodies everywhere, and there was a nasty build-up of unpleasant spirits beginning to haunt them both. The young man especially was unaware of just what was going to spill out over them when the clouds burst. So to speak.

The guardian gathered them all in the house in Germany. He lectured the heiress for not being more careful of the company she keeps, and that she had basically invited some sort of Romany curse into her life. Then he told the other two kids to stop messing with the dead when they don’t understand the richness of their power. But with these lectures, he fully intended to help the heiress and teach the silly necromancers.

Even as they used a body as a carpet surf board and put the souls of women into dolls.

There was at least one other person in this network of friends, but I think I woke up before he or she could get an introduction. I think she was a gun enthusiast who hunted the butterfly people that had infested and conquered her little unknown island nation.

Hm. You know how when you wake up, what you were just dreaming feels immensely cool and possibly productive? But then you write it down and it sounds ridiculous. Haha, I just did that. Oh well. I think I might be able to use something. I sort of have this bizarre ensemble cast that could use a good guardian who is aware of the supernatural.

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Son of Schmendrick

Or rather, daughter. This is a concept that I have been considering for forever. It always has the tagline “Son of Schmendrick” in my mind (at least, this iteration of the concept) even though I have always pictured a young girl. At different stages in life, generally before adulthood.

Something I used to think about doing when I played QfG five a million times in a short period of time: writing an afterstory. One of the reasons that I never did that was because I just don’t have a mind geared for fan fiction. I think I tried to write it once and ended up with a completely original story. By accident.

Venturing away from digression, it is part of this whole nostalgic fling to have that concept come up again. And now I have the perfect forum in which to indulge the ridiculous impulse. Of course, being that I have not magically changed from the last paragraph, this isn’t proper fan fiction. It’s about the daughter of a retired hero who is my concept of Schmendrick.

No referenced events, places, or characters from the game. Fine line distinction? Yes. But an important one.

//

Opulence did not suit the family of a hero. A year spent in harsh climes, experiencing nearly every kind of want had left the head of the family with very lean needs. But he did have one indulgence. His chair.

It sat halfway between the fireplace and the window. The window was another expensive luxury, but his wife was the one who had insisted upon it. She would lean on the back of her husband’s chair, watching their children through the smooth glass panes.

She clicked her tongue against her teeth and reached over to grip his shoulder. “Anstice has run off again,” she said softly.

Chuckling, he reached up to pat her hand. “She’s twelve years old,” he reminded her. “And my best student. Wherever she’s gone, she has magic to protect her.”

While the two of them slid into the old, comfortable argument of how appropriate some of Anstice’s lessons were, Anstice herself climbed a tree.

It was a very old tree. Thick as an ogre and twice as tall, with lower branches that she could not wrap both arms around. Higher up, the branches were plentiful and thinner. Near the top, they were whippy enough to flick at her if she wasn’t careful.

She straddled the highest branch that would hold her weight, careful not to let her dress bunch up or tear. Although her parents had suggested she wear britches, Anstice preferred the flow of a skirt. So long as she wore a pair of her little brother Dastan’s short pants under the skirt.

A bit of aggressive fidgeting assured her that she had achieved a decently sturdy perch, she reached up and plucked the red alder wand from her hair. It fell away from its loose bun, settling about her shoulders like a yellow cloak.

Anstice squinted at the wand. It was not as imposing as her father’s mighty oaken staff. But it still had a good heft. She could pretend it was a dagger.

As she twirled it round to imitate a dagger, a spark popped from the tip. Jerking back, Anstice felt it drop from her hand.

Her chest slammed against the branch as she launched forward, grabbing at the wand. Blue sparks crackled out of her fingers like lightning. They stretched, then shot away from her, flying after the wand.

A foot off the ground, the wand was enveloped by the magic. Its own rich red colour spread throughout the blue ball, turning it purple.

Still hugging the branch, arm outstretched to the ground, Anstice grunted in effort. The magic was harder to control without both feet on the ground. By the time she’d managed to pull the wand back within her physical reach, the mental exertion had begun to play on her body.

She clasped the wand to her chest and leaned her back up against the tree trunk. Sweat matted her hair against her forehead and neck. Her breaths came in ragged pants.

“Better practise that one some more,” she said to herself, tucking her hair behind her ear.

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QfG: Social Implications of Class

It’s been a couple of weeks since I bought the full series pack on GOG.com, and I have managed to beat the first three. I beat the third one in about five hours, certainly in one day wherein I was doing plenty of other things. Which is kind of awesome. Although I think it has more than a little to do with the fact that the magic user is one of the most oppressed classes in the series, and that oppression is most palpable in Wages of War.

Not one of the games allows you to cast magic casually about public places. In fact, they tend to forbid it by law or even fear and openly detest it. There is only one faction of people who openly reward you for being a magic user (Kreesha in the liontaur city does not count, as it is illegal to cast anywhere outside of her home), and your interaction with them is almost entirely made up of one-time events. So not  really an actual location, since you cannot freely enter and exit it throughout any significant portion of the game.

Thieves are universally disliked as well, but it seems less like prejudice and more like good sense. They steal stuff. This is not an ingratiating career choice. Other thieves like you because they have similar morals and are in a position to appreciate your roguish skill. In fact, they don’t always like you. But they get you. It’s a gang mentality, I guess.

All of the classes offer a sort of in-group, but whereas the magic-user (and later, wizard) meets others of his ilk in generally isolated surroundings, the thief has a haven pretty much guaranteed to him in every game but four–although part of that is true for every character. Four is meant to be a lonely place for a hero. There is no real guild or group for anyone to take refuge in. No EOF for fighters, no mentor for paladins, no WIT for wizards, and no guild for thieves.

At least, not in the way that there previously was.

Fighters who did not go the paladin route are still left out, but then, it’s really, really easy to become a paladin, and no real reason not to do so. The paladin has one quest in particular that is a shining example of what he is and does, which I take as his alliance refuge. It is a “place” where he can be himself to the very peak of his heroic role. The magic user has a more familiar refuge, a peaceful place made by Erana, who despite never appearing, seems like a friend at this point.  But people hate magic and wizards more than thieves. Thieves still have a guild, of a poor sort, but oddly, this time round you will almost definitely feel bad for breaking and entering about town.

Anywho. I’ve been holding back on burning through Shadows of Darkness for two reasons. One, it was one of my favourites, and I want to savour it. Two, I started playing it with my husband, and so I want him to see as much of the game as possible. But on the other hand, I want him to see all of it pretty quickly, so that we can get to Dragon Fire and I can write about the children of my hero without spoiling anything.

Now that is something I want to blog about today. :D I’ve got about three or four things planned, but my wrists and arm are kind of sore, so I don’t know how much I will actually do. As someone might have noticed, I have been trying to fill out my post count for May. Maths say that I can get 31 posts, one for each day in the month, if I write three or four posts a day up to the end of the month.

Does that sound better or worse than a maximum of one or two a day?