Three Things

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:13 pm
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
Did a lot of fretting today and agonizing over the status of the Sky Pirates book. No conclusions. The answer I want is "one of the agents I sent it to wanted it," but that didn't happen, so I have to figure out what the next step really should be.

Three Good Things for Today


  • Got the basic poses finished for Blacktigr's commission

  • Finished the "Windswept Sandbox Full of Giants" recap posts

  • Had some Ben & Jerry's

  • Bonus Good Thing: Had some nice kitty cuddles.


Three Goals for Tomorrow


  • Finish Blacktigr commish

  • Pencils for SJ page 12

  • Work on "By Elves Abandoned"/"Fortress of Tears" setting


Gnite world, and have an awesome tomorrow.

-The Gneech
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[personal profile] the_gneech
Harold of Acholt worries about his father, the Thane
Harold of Acholt worries about his father, the Thane

When you prep for the players to zig, they always zag. Continuing from part six...

We're finally caught up to the most recent game session! With game world firmly built out and chock-a-block with adventure hooks and sidequests, a firm campaign direction ("Escort Xerlo to the Eye of the All-Father"), and brain-eating enthusiasm infinitely better than the floundering avoidance I started with, I was excited for the characters to head into Rohan Hestelland. It was a four-day hike from Tyvalich to Hierandal, the capital of the realm, which was summarized in a paragraph because it mostly consisted of staring at grass for hours on end.

The first order of business on arriving in Hierandal was looking up Piotr Zymorven to ask him about his father's sword. They found him in a tavern... )

Well my dear readers, reskinned wyverns are still CR 6. A party of six 5th-level PCs and their CR 7 stone giant ally piledrived Svartjaw so fast that Lord Alden and his son didn't even get a chance to draw their swords. Lord Alden was quite upset by this apparent anticlimax to what he had expected to be an epic last hunt that would be sung of by the bards and so on... until Rina pointed out that the tracks they'd been following had a very distinctive tread missing three toes on one foot– and that the monster they had killed did not.

Svartjaw, it seemed, was not the only one of his kind.

Furthermore, examination of the bear revealed that like the displacer beasts in the previous session, Svartjaw was also wearing a collar with a token on it, in this case an emblem of Nerull the Reaper, a dark god of death and murder from eastern lands. There was still hunting to be done before dawn. The session ended with Lord Alden giving the order to mount up to continue the hunt, darkness and the forest be damned.

And with that, the campaign summary is up to date! The next session will begin with the PCs attempting to find Svartjaw's lair and confront the source of its evil. Will Lord Alden survive his last hunt? Time alone can tell.

-The Gneech

Brainstorming For Yuletide

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:12 pm
calliopes_pen: (lost_spook will serve for lives)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
I am compiling a list of things I would want to see nominated (or might nominate on my own) when Yuletide nominations do open in September. These are what I am currently taking into consideration:

-Makt Myrkranna | Powers of Darkness - Valdimar Ásmundsson
-The Haunting (1963)
-The Innocents (1961)
-The Uninvited (1944)
-Dark Shadows (1991)
-Dracula - Bram Stoker
-Dracula (TV 1968)
-Count Dracula (1977)
-Nosferatu (the 1979 remake) -Hammer Horror Films
-Universal Monster Movies
-Crimson Peak (2015)
-Fright Night (1985)
-Ghostbusters (Movies 1984-1989)
-The Last Unicorn (1982)

At the moment, I suspect that I’ll be nominating Makt Myrkranna (the Icelandic version of Stoker's Dracula that I discussed a while back) in that first slot. Either Dracula (TV 1968) or Dracula - Bram Stoker would go in the second slot unless someone else eventually nominated either one of those.

If it were going to be being released sooner than December, I would be able to add Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water to my list of potential things to throw in there.

Oh, and on a note that doesn’t involve Yuletide: I finally watched Jack The Ripper (1988), and I loved it.

Rest In Peace, John Heard

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:14 pm
calliopes_pen: (taibhrigh hear the Ood song)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
John Heard has passed away at the age of 72. May he rest in peace. He was found dead in his hotel room yesterday, two days after having minor back surgery. He might be most well known for the role of Peter McAllister (Kevin’s father) in the first two Home Alone films. I also vaguely remember him from Cat People (1982).

Rest In Peace, Deborah Watling

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:09 pm
calliopes_pen: (sallymn Brigadier raining)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Deborah Watling has passed away, at the age of 69, following a battle with lung cancer. May she rest in peace. She played the role of Victoria Waterfield, companion to the Second Doctor, on Doctor Who. Unfortunately, most of her episodes were destroyed.

The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Enemy of the World managed to survive from her tenure on the series, along with the second episode of the serial The Evil of the Daleks.
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[personal profile] the_gneech
The Grand, Unified Map of Gneech's Campaign World

Then, the world changed. Continuing from part five...

I was going to finish the recaps with the discussion of last weekend's session here, but I got to talking about the map (as one does) and realized the last recap would have to wait for one more post.

Once I realized that Storm King's Thunder was a "build your own campaign" framework and not a straightforward adventure module and embraced it, that meant that I had to build out the world in order to make room for it all. I went through the module from front to back and placed every location important to the campaign somewhere, and then set myself to the task of filling in as much of the blank space around that as possible.

I discovered that the Silver Coast was waaaaay too small... )

It took several days and the project pretty much ate my brain the whole time, but now that it's done I'm really happy with the result. This is a game world that I can see going pretty well forever, with enough detail and history to feel "lived in" while still having plenty of room for expansion as needed (I tried to leave myself lots of open spots). It's not suitable for publication or any such thing– it's got chunks of Greyhawk, chunks of Faerûn, bits of Lovecraft's Dreamlands, and of course the Middle-earth nations of Rohan, Arnor, and Angmar with the serial numbers shaved off. But it is a cool place for me and six friends to visit every Saturday night.

It also taught me a lot about world-building in general, which is valuable for creating original works. I will probably use a very similar process to build out Calypsitania and the Fortress of Tears world for writing novels in next.

Next time, part seven, in which we finally catch up to the campaign!

-The Gneech

Rest In Peace, Trevor Baxter

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:20 am
calliopes_pen: (lost_spook Lucy's throat Dracula's ring)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Trevor Baxter has passed away at the age of 84. May he rest in peace. For Doctor Who fans, he played Professor George Litefoot in the episode The Talons of Weng-Chiang. He reprised the role for Big Finish Productions, in Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: The Mahogany Murderers, and a series called Jago & Litefoot.

Having looked through his filmography, I see that he was in two episodes of Mystery And Imagination*--The Body Snatcher and Feet Foremost; I believe those are in the portion that are sadly lost. He was also in Jack The Ripper (1988) in the role of Lanyon--that one also starred Michael Caine, Lysette Anthony (Angelique from Dark Shadows 1991), and Susan George (Lucy in Dracula 1968). I have always meant to watch that one, so I’ll track it down. I think I spotted it at DailyMotion earlier, divided into parts.

*Come to think of it, that's two from Mystery And Imagination that have died in the last two months. Peter Sallis was the other one.
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
This Round's On Lem, from the Pathfinder Wiki
This Round's on Lem, from the Pathfinder Wiki


He spews lightning. He crashes into everything he gets near and knocks trees over onto himself. And yet he's still kinda adorable. Continuing from part four...

The first town on the road north was Tyvalich, a major trading town at the mouth of a pass up into the richest silver mountains in the world. Before they got there, however, the party was confronted by Felgolos, the Flying Misfortune, a young-ish adult bronze dragon who came swooping in, blasted a line of lightning between the party and the road, and proclaimed that he was the protector of the north and they would go no further. And then had to duck from the lightning-blasted tree that almost fell on his head.

Seeing Xerlo in their company had apparently... )

They headed back to town to collect their reward, stopping briefly to aid and comfort the same band of Calladganger hunters they had met before, who had been tracking a herd of aurochs through the mountains and gotten the snot pounded out of them by a bunch of hill giants. Still convinced that Nikki is some kind of nature spirit, they turned down his offer of "eagle" (actually bloodhawk) meat, because eagles were sacred to them and this was obviously some kind of spiritual test Nikki was putting them through to make sure they followed the old ways or some such. Nikki informed them that there was a nicely large, vacant Calladganger-style homestead in a box canyon just a ways up the mountain that they could safely camp and recuperate in, as long as they didn't mind the smell of burning dead monster. Their leader promised they would ritually sanctify the house and that anyone who settled there would be named the People of the Squirrel in gratitude for this beneficence.

"Right. You do that."

(For the record, the Calladganger leader is not whimsically eccentric, even if I do refer to him as "Kronk." He's a perfectly normal big dumb amiable lug.)

After a night of rest, it was time for the four day hike to Hierandal, which will come in part five.

-The Gneech

Import In Progress

Jul. 19th, 2017 11:02 am
calliopes_pen: (jkpolk mine evil laugh Master)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
I am in the process of importing my older fanfic to Ao3. A large portion of it is probably Doctor Who, from the Tenth Doctor days. So if you suddenly notice a new story* from me, it's not new. It's so very, very old and fluff more than anything in most cases. Looking back now, quite a few are not that great, but they're going up for the sake of completion.

*There were two occasions as I started the import where it accidentally made it post to today's date, but it was eventually fixed. I learned that trying to import from Teaspoon does that for whatever reason, while importing from Dreamwidth does not, and gives the original date without me needing to change it.
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
Drow Assassin by thatDMan
Drow Assassin by thatDMan


You knew a prophecy had to show up eventually. Continuing from part three...

Upon arriving back in town, the party headed for Lord-Protector Shendrel's offices only to find an unruly mob of farmers complaining about Xerlo, the stone giant, who apparently defended an outlying farm from attack by throwing the farmer's silo at a bunch of hill giants who were stealing all the livestock they could get ahold of while chanting "Food for Guh! Food for Guh!" They said they'd have a talk to him.

While they were in town, [personal profile] inkblitz headed off to the Golden Compass Society for Exploration, Acquisition, and Monster Dispatch (a.k.a. the Adventurers Guild), while Sirfox headed for the Brotherhood of the Spider (a.k.a. the Thieves Guild). [profile] jamesbarrett went off to the temple and the garrison to boost morale, aid the refugees of the volcano still clogging up the town, and presumably chop wood or something paladiney like that.

Investigation at the Adventurers Guild revealed... )

They were not expecting the dragon attack that comes in part five...

-The Gneech

PS: Quit creeping on that drow, guildmaster! Don't you know that's Obsidian's mother?

And then I remembered…

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:14 pm
calliopes_pen: (taibhrigh Clue one plus one)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
I suddenly remembered that long ago, for whatever reason, I had made two other Photobucket accounts (one in 2004 and one in 2005, according to the registration dating; they looked to be empty, so I had deleted stuff years ago in there). I vaguely remembered the ancient e-mail addresses for them, but not the usernames. Using the former, I was able to get the latter. So now, they are deleted, too.

And with that, I have cut ties with Photobucket completely.
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
Ghost paladin possessing a troll SMASH!

Kolstaag Albrek never knew what hit him. Continuing from part two...

It has always been true, but it is especially true of 5E that rolling low on initiative kills bosses dead. Between being blasted by the party's wizard and cleric, sneak-attacked by the rogue, and having a ghost-possessed troll flip a desk on him then pick him up and go all TROLL SMASH, Kolstaag Albrek didn't even get a spell off before the party had wrought their revenge. The pair of drow he was meeting with decided that was their cue to call it a day, and the wizard's vicious gargoyle pets were quickly dispatched. The only other occupant of the house was a cranky old coot named Xzyyzx, the wizard's housekeeper, whose opinion was that the wizard's death meant it was his house now.

The party were not inclined to debate the legalities of property ownership in Three Roads, but instead reclaimed their gear ([profile] jamesbarrett was quite jazzed to discover that Togar was the owner of a suit of adamantine plate), read Kolstaag's mail, and headed back to town. Kolstaag, it turned out, was working for a drow by the name of Nezannar, which triggered deja vu in players from my previous Silver Coast game.

(Since that game is actually set 50 years in the future relative to the current one, the events of that game are history repeating itself, even though it got played first. Wibbly-wobbly campaigney-wampaigney.)

They also fetched Xerlo the stone giant out of the basement. He was quite surprised they were no longer in their cells, but on being informed that his former employer was dead, he adopted a very c'est la vie attitude on the subject. The party invited him to come along back to Three Roads with them, with the plan of setting him up as an 18' tall Lurch-like guardian angel.

Lord-Protector Shendrel of Three Roads was a bit taken aback by having the party come back two days later from the opposite direction the fire giants had gone, with a troll and stone giant in tow. However, when shown the evidence of Kolstaag's shenanigans, took them at their word. (Having a paladin in the party really does wonders for the group's trustability.) She installed Xerlo in a barn outside of town, but took pains to point out that the job she'd hired them for– make sure the fire giants don't come back– was still not done.

So they set off north, tracking the fire giants. Even two days cold, the trail was fairly easy to follow for most of the way. They ran into some Calladganger hunters from the Clan of the Eagle, who seemed to think that Nikki was a nature spirit, but eventually found a cave complex populated by orcs herding axe beaks.

Their attempt at scouting the caves was thwarted when Rina botched a Stealth check. The orcs thought she was just a random wood elf in the forest and were going to bully her for fun, but the rest of the party came swooping in and disabused them of that notion quickly. A general alarm was raised and it turned into a huge furball with orcs, maddened axe beaks, fire giants, and their fire elemental pets/familiars/adds/whatever they were.

In 30+ years of playing Dungeons & Dragons, I would have never guessed I would see opposed Animal Handling checks be a factor in combat. Achievement unlocked.

Hathas, his time "bonding" with the troll seeming to rub off on him, waded into the fray with more bloodlust than one generally expects from a paladin, even a fallen one. The fire elementals damaged the troll so badly that Hathas abandoned it and joined the fray in ghost form instead. While the troll retreated to a cave in the back where it could munch on dead orc and regenerate, Hathas attempted to terrorize a fire giant (not unlike the librarian in the prologue of Ghostbusters). The fire giant was not terrorized... but members of the party were. Nice jorb, Hathas.

The odd thing about ghosts in D&D is... they have hit points. They resist nonmagical damage, but in order to interact with the world they must manifest on the physical plane. Fire giants do an average of 28 points of damage with a single hit and their attack bonus alone equals a ghost's AC. The fire giant made short work of Hathas, much to everyone's surprise (including Hathas).

The fight was a tough one, but the party rose to the challenge. Brother Drang finally got to use the call lightning he'd been itching for, and Togar entered a new phase of his career by being the tankiest ever but not getting one-punched in the first round. When the dust settled, the party was battered and bruised but victorious. They retrieved the giants' rod of the vonindid, a kind of dowsing rod for adamantine golem parts, and also discovered that these giants had found the vonindid's entire left hand. They rather hastily buried this where it was, as it was way too big to haul anywhere, and headed back to town.

The troll survived.

It turned out there were developments with their new stone giant friend, which will be revealed in part four!

-The Gneech

So Long, Photobucket Account

Jul. 17th, 2017 01:59 pm
calliopes_pen: (cruelest_month Dani valkyrie)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Since I’m certain I have the two images for my fanfic backed up elsewhere, and that I have things settled in that location to my satisfaction, I have deleted my Photobucket account. It should be completely gone in two days, according to the little message.

I had apparently originally registered December 25th, 2003. So 13 1/2 years before I felt the need to leave.
calliopes_pen: (54 IJ Edith silhouette books)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Martin Landau has passed away at the age of 89, after “suffering complications during a brief hospitalization.” May he rest in peace.

I remember him mostly for how great he was as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994). He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor the role. I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen the original Mission: Impossible series, or Space: 1999. He was in an episode of Columbo where he played twins—I’ve seen that episode once, a while back on Me-TV. After going through IMDB, I also learned that he was the voice of Mac Gargan/The Scorpion, in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

I spotted North By Northwest via Comcast On Demand’s Turner Classic Movies section (can’t get the channel, but I can get the On Demand version of it) just the other day, and wondered if I should give it a watch. So now I will. I may also track down Strange Shadows In An Empty Room (1976) and The Fall of the House of Usher (1979), since he plays Roderick Usher.

Thomas E. Sanders has passed away, at the age of 63, after a battle with cancer. May he rest in peace. He was the production designer for Crimson Peak (2015), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). For Star Trek fans, he did production design for Star Trek Beyond. I’ll be watching Crimson Peak again this evening.

(And apparently, linking to Deadline is considered spam. Therefore, it cannot accept the crosspost with that link. So on the LJ side, the only link is the Star Trek.com article.)
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech

Ghost Martyr Paladin by SpiralMagus
Ghost Martyr Paladin
by SpiralMagus

"So there we were, locked in a dungeon with a stone giant." Carrying on from Part One...

The new phase of the campaign really began with the first session down in Kolstaag Albrek's dungeon. [personal profile] inkblitz's new character was introduced to the rest of the party ("A talking griffon? Neat. I'm a five foot tall flying squirrel!"), as was their erstwhile guard, Xerlo the stone giant, whose first line was a straightforward, "If you try to escape, I will kill you," but who seemed more interested in scribbling on the floor than anything.

But he was willing to chat, assuming you could parse his mode of speech. Riffing on the idea that stone giants are sort of the hippie-dippie mystics of giantkind, I decided that Xerlo didn't care about things like "good" or "evil," but was only interested in what was "true" or "untrue," and that he was on a vision quest to find out what was really going on with the breaking of the Ordning– because he didn't believe that the stone giant thane's interpretation ("We must destroy every town, city, or building of the little folk!") was correct. I chose a stone giant particularly because, being inherently neutral, he could be a wild card. The players could recruit him or fight him, but it would be their choice and an impactful one.

They decided at first, once they'd gotten the gist of what he was about, to basically leave him alone, and that was probably a good call. They also worked out that while he was completely serious that he would kill them if they tried to go out the front door, there was also a back door that he apparently couldn't see and wasn't aware of.

So, being the mighty heroes they were, they slipped out the back, and again, that was a good call. They managed to scrounge up some sharp bits of broken metal or rusted bars from the cell doors to make crude weapons, and plunged into the depths. They found an old series of vaults that either Kolstaag didn't know about or wasn't interested in, origin and purpose unknown, populated by orcs, whom they avoided, but who were also between them and the exit.

They also caught glimpses of a ghostly figure in the darkness... )

They will confront the wizard in part three!

-The Gneech

Rest In Peace, George A. Romero

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:15 pm
calliopes_pen: (rose_in_shadow sherlock holmes profile)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
George A. Romero has passed away at the age of 77, following a “brief but aggressive” battle with lung cancer. May he rest in peace. He will best be remembered as the man who reinvented zombies, beginning with Night of the Living Dead (1968).

I have never watched Dawn of the Dead (1978), because there apparently are so many versions (I know of at least four) floating around out there that I didn't know which to track down. I did spot Day of the Dead (1985) on Comcast On Demand earlier, so I’ll give it a watch this evening.

The Thirteenth Doctor

Jul. 16th, 2017 12:15 pm
calliopes_pen: (sallymn you stole me I stole you)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
The Thirteenth Doctor has been announced, and it is…Jodie Whittaker. I honestly didn’t think it would be a woman, but I don’t mind it. I have no idea who Jodie Whittaker is, but from what I’ve read so far, she can apparently act. Here’s the promo revealing the casting.

The first time I ever heard her name was this morning, in this Doctor Who TV post, where they were giving the odds of who it would be. Since she was one of several people from Broadchurch listed, I was guessing it was just because of either the Tennant or Chibnall connections, and not likely to happen.

Congratulations and good on her for getting cast in the role!

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1980's Saturday Morning Historical Preservation Society

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