Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I don't wanna be a grownup!

I don't want to get out of bed. I don't want to do all the things. I just don't!

This is somewhat ironic, in that yesterday I really did want to get out of bed and Do All The Things, but I wasn't doing to well. Today, I don't want to at all... but I'm doing much better.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It is what it is

"It is what it is." Ye gods, I hate that phrase. I have never ever, ever heard it used in the stoic/zen/philosophical sense that it's supposed to represent. I only ever hear it used to describe situations which are:
A) Stupid
B) Untenable
C) Wholly beyond the ability/authority of the speaker to fix

"It is what it is." Yeah. And what it is, is unpleasant, unnecessary, and unavoidable.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Boys & DnD - The Second Session

So, on Friday the whole family gathered around the kitchen table after dinner and we had our second session in The Great Wildly Underprepared Daddy Dungeons & Dragons Campaign. Much like the first session, it was both fun... and fraught.

The first major decision that they faced was whether to go back to town and report, or whether to explore further into the hole. Beautiful Wife and Firstborn opted to return to the hole and check for signs of any further danger. Secondborn, on the other hand, expressed the fear that there might be an invisible dragon down in the dungeon, and wanted to stay on the surface and kill things and get stronger before venturing back inside.

::sigh:: I probably should have seen that coming. He's only seven, remember.

After a certain amount of mild argument, the party split up. Firstborn and Beautiful Wife returned to the dungeon entrance; Secondborn wandered off into the woods. So, I handled this the only way I could.

Firstborn and Beautiful Wife checked over the place where they'd battled the goblins, then explored further back into the tunnels. One of the goblins had tried to flee, so they went in the direction that it had been running when my Beautiful Wife the Halfling Sorceress decided to immolate it. They found a connecting tunnel, did some exploring, and found an enormous pit, with a ramp circling down around the outside edge as it descended into the depths.

Secondborn found a squirrel.

Firstborn and Beautiful Wife reached the bottom of the ramp and found two exits, one on each side of the circular chamber. The one on the south opened onto a passage, but since the passage was perpendicular to the exit all they could immediately see was the far wall. The one to the north went a short ways and then opened onto a much larger chamber. They elected to head that way.

Secondborn heard birds. He then spent something like 20 minutes IC climbing up a tree, spotting a nest, climbing out the branch to get to the nest, discovering that the nest was empty, and climbing back down.

The lower level, like the upper, was assembled from dressed stone. The mortar between the blocks has been overgrown with strange mushroom and some sort of phosphorescent lichen. Firstborn and Mommy decide to put out their lamps and navigate using the natural light, which is dim but sufficient. They step into the large room and attempt to survey the length of it. I have them roll Spot checks.

It's a big room, with a row of columns on each side. Off at the far end, barely visible, is some sort of dais with a dark block atop it. The first thing they notice is that the high ceiling is covered in webs, which wind around and anchor to the rows of columns as well. The second thing they notice is that there are cross-passages in the two nearest corners, one about thirty feet to their left and the other about thirty feet to their right. There's a goblin standing in the one to their right. It screams and runs away.

Meanwhile, Secondborn encounters trees.

Firstborn and my Beautiful Wife decide to investigate this room before chasing after the goblin. They proceed towards the block at the far end, and Beautiful Wife expresses her (somewhat concerned) opinion that this is, or was, some sort of temple. Secondborn, of the Human Rogue/Ranger, is the only one with any sort of Hide or Move Silently skill, so they're basically just strolling through the web-infested temple. They're about halfway down the room when Firstborn looks up and realizes that there's a rather large spider lowering itself towards the halfling sorceress's head. He pulls his dagger and flings it at the monstrosity, which is roughly the same size as the halfling it's about to eat. The spider shrieks, the halfling looks up and lets loose with a Scorching Ray, then steps calmly aside as the stabbed, burning spider plummets down to land in the spot where she'd been standing a minute before.

Secondborn decides that the forest is really, really boring, and decides to go catch up with the rest of the party. He enters, then begins following the tracks to find where his friends have gone.

Firstborn and Beautiful Wife take a closer look at the webs, and realize that there are web-wrapped, mummified figures suspended up there - quite a number of them. Beautiful Wife expresses the opinion that there might have been more than one spider. While they can't make out much in the way of details because of the webbing and the poor lighting, it looks like the bodies are pretty small: the size of goblins, say... or halflings. They proceed to the back of the room, finding the dais to be made of the same rectangular-cut stones as the rest of the place, and the almost-certainly-an-altar of a single stone block. It's a little hard to be sure what sort of altar it might have been, since there are no carvings and no adornments.

However, when they circle the altar they find a larger body. Like the ones up in the webbing, it's completely covered in webs; but instead of hanging in the air, it's anchored to the back of the altar. They cut it loose, and discover that while it's human-sized, it isn't human. It looks like a human-sized goblin: a hobgoblin, in fact. Also, it has a few coins, which they promptly claim.

Secondborn has spent this time following the trail. He's found the ramp and started down it. At the bottom, he stops to look at the tracks again, then follows them into the large chamber. I ask if he's sneaking or walking normally, and he says he's just walking. So when he comes out into the main room behind the group of goblins who are attempting to corner Firstborn and the Beautiful Woman, he finds that four of them have turned to look back at him.

The band he's facing off with consists of six goblins and a hobgoblin. However, only four of the goblins have noticed him. The hobgoblin and the other two are still approaching the back of the room, intent on trapping Firstborn and Beautiful Wife, and killing them.

We roll for initiative. Secondborn rolls something obscene, just like he did in the last session, and ends up going first, with Firstborn and Beautiful Wife coming after him, followed by the goblins and finally the hobgoblin. (No, I don't have the patience to roll for the goblins individually.) Secondborn puts an arrow through one of the goblins that's looking at him, killing it, and the battle is on.

These are neither the best equipped nor the most powerful opponents. Beautiful Wife and Firstborn take cover behind the altar, and Firstborn (the Elf Barbarian/Druid) looses his viper companion to go slither up next to the pillars, which it does unnoticed. Beautiful Wife takes a shot at the hobgoblin with Scorching Ray, but between the poor lighting and the partial cover/concealment of the pillars, she misses.

The goblins finally manage to attack, inflicting a bit of damage with arrows on Secondborn's character. One of them (lacking a bow) charges in close enough to attack with its axe, but misses. The other two goblins and the hobgoblin continue to advance, using the pillars for cover. One of them takes a shot at Firstborn and Beautiful Wife, but the altar provides excellent cover and the arrow shatters against the stone wall behind them.

Secondborn (against my advice) elects to drop his bow and draw his sword, and neatly dispatches the goblin in front of him. Firstborn decides not to do anything yet, and waits beside the altar. My wife, the Halfling Sorceress, takes another shot at the hobgoblin, and this time she melts his face.

The two advance goblins continue their approach, bringing one of them into range of the viper. However, despite the advantage of surprise, it misses. The goblins attacking secondborn loose more arrows, but fail to do any damage. The hobgoblin, being dead, merely smolders.

With the immediate threat dead, Secondborn puts his sword away and retrieves his bow from the ground. The two goblins who have been sniping at him try again, but again fail to connect with him.

At the other end of the room, Beautiful Wife finds that a goblin has crept up into reasonably close range. She draws her magic dagger, throws it, and puts the goblin down. Firstborn, meanwhile, steps up to the goblin that his snake has tried to attack. His snake tries to attach it again, but again misses. However, the goblin is now flanked between Firstborn and the snake, and Firstborn cleaves it in twain with a blow from his greatsword.

Secondborn takes a shot at one of the two goblins who are shooting at him, and puts a arrow right through its eye. (Natural 20, confirmed critical.) It dies instantly, and the one remaining goblin runs away.

Well, at this point we've been playing for two hours and it's time for the boys to go to bed. They loot the goblin and hobgoblin corpses, then head back to the farm to rest again.

Overall: So far, so good. I think we're learning to stay together and work as a group. The enemies I've given them so far aren't much of a challenge, but that's fine; I'd rather err on the side of weak enemies than put them up against something that kills them all. The boys are becoming more familiar with how all this works, and we've definitely established that having the one half-elf farmer's kid fall into these dungeons has opened up a real danger for the community. More importantly, the boys are really enjoying this.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Books I will almost certainly never write

I've got nothing, so instead here are some books that I will almost certainly never write:

The Maltese Space-Falcon
He's the richest and most eligible bachelor on Alpha Centauri. She's an ex-cop who's been burned one too many times. The alien artifact they're searching for could unlock the secrets of an alien civilization, or destroy their own. Or both!

High Stakes
Evie Dowling is an ordinary high school girl, but when a 4,000 year old vampire joins her senior class, she suddenly finds herself dodging magical traps, supernatural assassins, and an entire squad of vampire hunters. Now she'll have to choose between her humanity and the tempting combination of immortality, supernatural power, and incredible wealth. High Stakes: humanity doesn't stand a chance!

Heroic Destiny For Sale!
Dov spends his days being herded by goats and dreaming of heroic deeds. But when he stumbles onto the magical sword foretold by ancient prophecy, he suddenly realizes that being a hero isn't as much fun as it sounds. Now the Dark Lord's minions are trying to kill him, Princess Jerra wants to throw him in jail, and his magical talking blade just won't shut up. Dov thinks it'll be okay, though: all he has to do is get to the market at Derwhit and auction off the blade for enough money to retire on, and all his problems will be solved.

It's not about the budget, it's about the priorities

I've mentioned this before, but when someone tells that there isn't money in the budget to do something - like, say, raise salaries for teachers, hypothetically? It's almost never about the budget. It's about the priorities.

Thursday, July 20, 2017