Saturday, December 31, 2011

Robinson Gruesome [Cthulhu]


With icy roads curtailing my birthday plans somewhat, an alternative took the form of spending the afternoon running a Call of Cthulhu session for The Wife. I used the scenario Robinson Gruesome from the excellent collection Monophobia: A Fear of Solitude, which consists of three adventures designed for just one Keeper and one PC. With little or no prep time, I found Robinson Gruesome easy to run and play, and The Wife and I had a great time.

The scenario began with The Wife's character, Dabnus Uxbridge (a hardboiled detective and crimebuster) on board a small two-passenger plane over the Pacific on the trail of Alexander Dane, a dashing adventurer who had gone missing in the area some months earlier. When the plane's engines went kaput and a crash was imminent, with only a small deserted island available to land on (or near, in this case), the reason for the pun in the title and similarities to the beginning of Lost became apparent. Although the plane's pilot was killed by a shark shortly after it crash-landed near the island, Dabnus survived the short swim and washed up on the beach. He made do for about a week before spotting a canoe approaching, containing six native warriors, a native priest, and a sacrifice intended for a volcanic chimney in the center of the island. Not exactly politically correct or historically accurate for the vast majority of native cultures, but, in any event, Dabnus waited until the natives were about to throw their poor sacrifice into the volcanic chimney and then jumped out of hiding, setting off flares, firing his pistol in the air, and dancing around like a madman. He scared away some of the warriors, and then shot another warrior and the priest into unconsciousness. When the Son of Dagon (a monstrous Deep One) appeared to claim his sacrifice, a good Luck roll resulted in the wounded and unconscious priest being eaten instead. In the style of pulp adventures of the time period (1920s and 1930s), the remaining natives recognized Dabnus as some sort of spiritual being and followed his directions to take him off the island in their canoe. After a short voyage at sea, the canoe reached the native village; and waiting there was the object of Dabnus' search, Alexander Dane.

As always, the fun thing with gaming is how almost nothing goes according to script. According to the scenario, the PC was supposed to lose all of his equipment in the crash; I enforced this as much as I could, but The Wife emphasized that, as the plane was going down, the one thing Dabnus was making sure he held on to was his pistol (and a successful Luck roll kept the ammo dry and intact). Having a pistol then changed subsequent events, as Dabnus did exactly what the scenario stated no sane PC would ever do: challenge the priest and warriors the first time they came to the island. With some great rolls and rewards for clever strategy, Dabnus emerged more-or-less unscathed by the adventure. Perhaps not what was intended, but we had a lot of fun and helped to flesh out a brand new PC who might appear in a future campaign. So all in all, a good time and we're looking forward to trying the other two scenarios in the collection in the near future.

NFL 2011 Week 17 Predictions

The final week of the regular season! I made some risky picks this time around, in the hopes of a dramatic comeback!


Panthers @ Saints

-------------------------

The Wife: Saints

Me: Saints

Steve: Saints


Bills @ Patriots

------------------------

The Wife: Patriots

Me: Patriots

Steve: Patriots


Bears @ Vikings

-----------------------

The Wife: Bears

Me: Vikings

Steve: Bears


Jets @ Dolphins

----------------------

The Wife: Jets

Me: Dolphins (mainly because I have to make up ground somewhere . . .)

Steve: Jets


49ers @ Rams

-------------------

The Wife: 49ers

Me: 49ers

Steve: 49ers (“Tempted to pick StL as I think SF will have a letdown week . . .”)


Lions @ Packers

----------------------

The Wife: Packers

Me: Lions

Steve: Packers (“What could have been had they not overlooked KC . . .”)


Redskins @ Eagles

-------------------------

The Wife: Redskins

Me: Eagles

Steve: Eagles


Colts @ Jaguars

----------------------

The Wife: Jaguars

Me: Jaguars

Steve: Colts (“but with StL having their young QB in place they’ll still get Luck to replace Manning”)


Titans @ Texans

---------------------

The Wife: Texans

Me: Titans

Steve: Texans


Seahawks @ Cardinals

------------------------------

The Wife: Seahawks

Me: Cardinals

Steve: Seahawks


Chiefs @ Broncos

-------------------------

The Wife: Broncos

Me: Chiefs

Steve: Broncos (“completing a comeback to win the division no one would have seen when Tebow took over”)


Bucs @ Falcons

----------------------

The Wife: Falcons

Me: Falcons

Steve: Falcons


Ravens @ Bengals

-------------------------

The Wife: Ravens

Me: Bengals

Steve: Ravens


Steelers @ Browns

-------------------------

The Wife: Steelers

Me: Steelers

Steve: Steelers


Chargers @ Raiders

---------------------------

The Wife: Raiders

Me: Raiders

Steve: Chargers


Cowboys @ Giants

--------------------------

The Wife: Giants

Me: Cowboys

Steve: Giants

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Buffy Comic Project: "Past Lives" (Part 4)


Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 30

Dark Horse (Vol. 1, 1998-2003)

Creators: Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski (writers); Cliff Richards (pencils); Joe Pimentel (inks)

Setting: Season Four

T.V. Character Appearances: Buffy, Angel, Giles, Quentin Travers, Angelus (flashback only); Xander, Willow, Anya, Tara, Cordelia, Wesley, Riley

Major Original Characters: Sir Andrew Landry (vampire hunter; flashback only); Alexis Landry (evil former Watcher's Council operative)

Summary: At the hospital, Buffy, Angel, and Giles confer about what to do after Quentin Travers' vicious beating at the hands of Alexis Landry. Angel explains why it is that Alexis hates him so much: because a century and a half earlier, Angelus tortured Alexis' ancestor, Sir Andrew Landry. While Xander, Anya, and Wesley guard an injured Cordelia in the hospital, Buffy, Giles, and Angel decide to provoke fights with Alexis' demon minions in a bid to draw her out of hiding. Meanwhile, Willow and Tara visit a magic supply store. A demon attack on Cordelia is quickly driven off by her protectors, but soon after, Alexis ambushes Angel and paralyzes him with a magic dagger. Buffy and Alexis fight, but Alexis is defeated after Willow and Tara cast a spell to strip her of all magical charms and protective devices. Standing over an unconscious Alexis, Buffy says it will be up to Quentin Travers to decide on punishment. Later that day, Buffy and Angel say wistful goodbyes, and Buffy heads back to Sunnydale to find Riley.

Review: Again, some really strong characterization: Angel & Buffy's interaction and sad parting is handled quite well and could easily be envisioned as happening on the small screen, while Willow and Tara share some nice moments. Not much is done with Angel's crew, but one assumes they got more of the spotlight in his part of the crossover. Not having read the other two parts, I'm not quite sure why Alexis is so enraged about something that happened to her ancestor a good 15 decades earlier, but all in all this was a strong story and a big improvement over some past efforts in the Buffy comic.

Notes
* In-house ads indicate a new writing team will take over starting next issue.

* Here's a shot of poor Riley in the final panel of the comic, sitting alone and reading that great work of scholarship, Cliff's History. Don't worry dude, Buffy kept her hands off Angel. Mostly.

* The solicitations for this issue state that "After the dust settles, the lives of Buffy and Angel will never be the same." Okay . . .

Next Issue

NFL 2011 Week 16 Round-Up

Just one week in the regular season and then the playoffs left, and The Wife and I are still fighting to not be in last place!

Texans @ Colts
------------------
The Wife: Texans
Me: Colts
Steve: Texans
WINNER: Colts (I just don't see the Texans going far in the playoffs . . .)

Raiders @ Chiefs
------------------------
The Wife: Raiders
Me: Chiefs
Steve: Raiders
WINNER: Raiders

Jaguars @ Titans
----------------------
The Wife: Jaguars
Me: Titans
Steve: Jaguars
WINNER: Titans

Dolphins @ Patriots
--------------------------
The Wife: Patriots
Me: Patriots
Steve: Patriots
WINNER: Patriots

Cardinals @ Bengals
--------------------------
The Wife: Bengals
Me: Cardinals
Steve: Cardinals
WINNER: Bengals

Broncos @ Bills
----------------------
The Wife: Broncos
Me: Broncos
Steve: Broncos
WINNER: Bills (sets up a fun Tebow vs. Orton showdown next week . . .)

Rams @ Steelers
----------------------
The Wife: Steelers
Me: Steelers
Steve: Steelers
WINNER: Steelers (did anyone foresee the Rams being this bad this year?)

Giants @ Jets
-------------------
The Wife: Giants
Me: Jets
Steve: Jets
WINNER: Giants

Vikings @ Redskins
--------------------------
The Wife: Redskins
Me: Redskins
Steve: Redskins
WINNER: Vikings

Bucs @ Panthers
---------------------
The Wife: Panthers
Me: Panthers
Steve: Panthers
WINNER: Panthers (going to be in contention in the division next year)

Browns @ Ravens
------------------------
The Wife: Ravens
Me: Ravens
Steve: Ravens
WINNER: Ravens

Chargers @ Lions
-----------------------
The Wife: Chargers
Me: Chargers
Steve: Chargers
WINNER: Lions

Eagles @ Cowboys
-------------------------
The Wife: Cowboys
Me: Cowboys
Steve: Eagles
WINNER: Eagles

49ers @ Seahawks
-----------------------
The Wife: 49ers
Me: 49ers
Steve: 49ers
WINNER: 49ers

Bears @ Packers
----------------------
The Wife: Packers
Me: Packers
Steve: Packers
WINNER: Packers

Falcons @ Saints
----------------------
The Wife: Saints
Me: Saints
Steve: Saints
WINNER: Saints (Brees deserves all the hoopla setting that passing record brings him)

THIS WEEK

The Wife: 10-6
Me: 9-7
Steve: 9-7

CUMULATIVE

The Wife: 143-100
Me: 143-100
Steve: 154-89

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Clockwork Man [Games]


SPECIAL JOINT REVIEW!

The Wife and I are going to review The Clockwork Man, a short puzzle game we recently downloaded and finished on our Mac.

The Wife: I love playing puzzle games with you - it's a great way to get some quality time - and since the games usually aren't that intellectually challenging, we end up feeling like geniuses. This game was decent - pretty standard as far as the puzzles went, but with some interesting twists. What did you think of the different puzzle types?

Jhaeman: Well, most of it was standard seek-and-find puzzles, with a twist: some of the scenes could be scrolled left to right or zoomed in and out. Kinda neat. I actually quite enjoyed the end, as some brainwork was involved in solving the "ancient Mayan puzzles" which were just difficult enough to, as you said, make us feel like geniuses when we solved them. What did you think of the quasi-steampunk setting and characters?

The Wife: Meh. Didn't communicate much flavour to me, other than her little robot sidekick. I didn't feel like we got as much "character development" as we did in say "Berlin Nights" - which managed to actually be a bit risque. Or maybe that was just us. Anyway, story aside, I agree with you about MOST of the end puzzles. The Mayan Door puzzle was good, but the labyrinth was stale and not challenging at all. ........Interested in downloading the sequel?

Jhaeman: Yep, as long as it's reasonably cheap.

The Wife: Cheap is good. Let's keep the Boomer in diapers.

Friday, December 23, 2011

NFL 2011 Week 16 Predictions

The Wife hacked an earlier version of this post, so whilst everything she said is true, she's in big trouble! Now, on to Week 16 . . .


Texans @ Colts
------------------
The Wife: Texans
Me: Colts
Steve: Texans ("While tempted to pick Indy again here they got their 1 win of the season last week so I'd be pushing my luck...")

Raiders @ Chiefs
------------------------
The Wife: Raiders
Me: Chiefs (on the theory that Romeo Crennel's defense may be stifling . . .)
Steve: Raiders ("KC ruined GBs perfect season but they won't build on it.")

Jaguars @ Titans
----------------------
The Wife: Jaguars
Me: Titans (now or never . . .)
Steve: Jaguars ("Two teams that don't impress me. Don't really know who to give the edge to here, so I'll go with the team that has the big win a couple weeks ago.")

Dolphins @ Patriots
--------------------------
The Wife: Patriots
Me: Patriots
Steve: Patriots ("While Miami has definitely turned things around, they won't beat a superior team in New England")

Cardinals @ Bengals
--------------------------
The Wife: Bengals
Me: Cardinals (who woulda thunk Skelton would have this team in playoff contention?)
Steve: Cardinals ("Another one that could go either way, I almost chose Cincy but I think Atlanta plays better than last week."

Broncos @ Bills
----------------------
The Wife: Broncos
Me: Broncos
Steve: Broncos ("I hate to say it, but I think Denver completes the turnaround and after a horrid start wins the division.")

Rams @ Steelers
----------------------
The Wife: Steelers
Me: Steelers (even starting their backup QB, the Steelers get the nod)
Steve: Steelers

Giants @ Jets
-------------------
The Wife: Giants
Me: Jets (an interesting match-up here . . .)
Steve: Jets ("The Jets win the battle of New York")

Vikings @ Redskins
--------------------------
The Wife: Redskins
Me: Redskins
Steve: Redskins ("Two teams that haven't really done anything to impress me, but Washington and Helu run over Minnesota.")

Bucs @ Panthers
---------------------
The Wife: Panthers
Me: Panthers
Steve: Panthers

Browns @ Ravens
------------------------
The Wife: Ravens
Me: Ravens (Boo!)
Steve: Ravens ("Baltimore got crushed by the Chargers, but the Browns are not the Chargers and Baltimore will play better.")

Chargers @ Lions
-----------------------
The Wife: Chargers
Me: Chargers
Steve: Chargers ("Detroit may yet miss the playoffs and San Diego is playing better as the season goes on. For the record I'm rooting for the Lions, and my $20 bet that they would have a better record than the Broncos made before the season, and that looked so good 5 weeks in, really isn't looking great right now.")

Eagles @ Cowboys
-------------------------
The Wife: Cowboys
Me: Cowboys
Steve: Eagles ("Two teams that should be better, the coin flip came up Philly...")

49ers @ Seahawks
-----------------------
The Wife: 49ers
Me: 49ers
Steve: 49ers ("I haven't given San Francisco much credit this year, and writing this before the game against Pitt I could be swayed either way by their performance tonight, but against Seattle I think they come away with the win and only getting embarressed by the Steelers would change that answer for me.")

Bears @ Packers
----------------------
The Wife: Packers
Me: Packers
Steve: Packers ("Overlooking KC for this game is what I believe happened this past week, however they'll take out the lost perfect season on the Bears.")

Falcons @ Saints
----------------------
The Wife: Saints
Me: Saints
Steve: Saints ("Brees will follow up a good week with another good week and win this one handily.")

Fantasy Football 2011 Playoffs Round 1

Well, an amazing run like mine had to end sooner or later, and I got beat down pretty badly in the first round of the playoffs by the # 4 seed (a 7-6 team that just edged into the top bracket). It was a blowout even after the first week of the two-week round, and the final score was a somewhat embarrassing 244-158. My only consolation was that even if I had put up my best numbers of the season in each week (a little over 100), I still would have lost against a team that averaged an amazing 122 points each week.

The loss drops me to the Winner's Consolation Bracket, where I'll go up against The Wife's team for the third time this season, as we battle it out to be ranked # 3 in the ten team league.

TRANSACTIONS (244 POINTS)

WEEK 14 (131 Points)

QB T. Romo: 28
RB R. Rice: 18
RB M. Lynch: 17
RB/WR R. Mathews: 14
WR R. White: 14
WR L. Fitzgerald: 20
TE J. Finley: 0
D/ST Bengals: 10
K Jason Hanson: 10

WEEK 15 (113 Points)

QB T. Romo: 25
RB R. Rice: 10
RB S. Greene: 7
RB/WR R. Mathews: 22
WR R. White: 25
WR L. Fitzgerald: 6
TE J. Finley: 8
D/ST Bengals: 6
K J. Hanson: 4

ULTIMATE SUN RUNNERS (158 Points)

WEEK 14 (79 Points)

QB T. Tebow: 13
RB A. Foster: 5
RB D. Murray: 2
RB/WR D. Sproles: 8
WR D. Branch: 0
WR V. Cruz: 7
TE R. Gronkowski: 28
D/ST Jets: 14
K S. Janikowski: 2

WEEK 15 (79 Points)

QB T. Tebow: 26
RB A. Foster: 19
RB M. Barber: 3
RB/WR J. Jones: 1
WR V. Cruz: 4
WR A. Brown: 5
TE R. Gronkowski: 5
D/ST Jets: 5
K S. Janikowski: 11

Thursday, December 22, 2011

NFL 2011 Week 15 Round-Up

Steve runs away with it this week, and, barring a total collapse, better start thinking of what blog post he'd like to see . . .

Jax @ Atl
-------------
The Wife: Atl
Me: Atl
Steve: Atl
WINNER: Falcons

Dal @ TB
-------------
The Wife: Cowboys
Me: Dal
Steve: Dal
WINNER: Cowboys

Car @ Hou
--------------
The Wife: Texans
Me: Car
Steve: Hou
WINNER: Panthers

Wash @ NYG
-------------------
The Wife: Giants
Me: NYG
Steve: NYG
WINNER: Redskins

Mia @ Buf
---------------
The Wife: Bills
Me: Buf
Steve: Mia
WINNER: Dolphins (Bush is looking pretty good, I must admit)

Sea @ Chi
--------------
The Wife: Bears
Me: Sea
Steve: Sea
WINNER: Seahawks

NO @ Minn
----------------
The Wife: Saints
Me: NO
Steve: NO
WINNER: Saints

Cin @ StL
--------------
The Wife: Bengals
Me: Cin
Steve: Cin
WINNER: Bengals

Tenn @ Indy
-----------------
The Wife: Titans
Me: Tenn
Steve: Indy
WINNER: Colts (Steve's faith pays off finally!)

GB @ KC
--------------
The Wife: Packers
Me: GB
Steve: GB
WINNER: Chiefs (huh?)

Det @ Oak
--------------
The Wife: Raiders
Me: Oak
Steve: Det
WINNER: Lions (would make an interesting wild card team)

NE @ Den
---------------
The Wife: Patriots
Me: NE
Steve: NE
WINNER: Patriots (they got shredded in the first qtr, but Denver fumbles turned this one into a rout)

NYJ @ Phi
--------------
The Wife: Jets
Me: NYJ
Steve: Phi
WINNER: Eagles

Cle @ Ari
-------------
The Wife: Cardinals
Me: Ari
Steve: Ari
WINNER: Cardinals (well, there's always next year . . .)

Balt @ SD
---------------
The Wife: Ravens
Me: Balt
Steve: SD
WINNER: Chargers

Pitt @ SF
------------
The Wife: Steelers
Me: Pitt
Steve: Pitt
WINNER: 49ers (could they be for real?)

THIS WEEK
The Wife: 6-10
Me: 8-8
Steve: 12-4

CUMULATIVE
The Wife: 133-94
Me: 134-93
Steve: 145-82

Monday, December 19, 2011

Clone Wars Campaign: Bel Sekand, Dashing Crimelord

Bel Sekand was a fun NPC originally created by The Wife and later run as a PC by the player who normally ran A'tel. Sekand was a charming, somewhat foppish crimelord on the planet Ansion, serving as a Black Sun Vigo over that remote region of the galaxy. In his first appearance, Sekand was responsible for the kidnapping of Arresta and her designation as the "grand prize" in a public competition. After Arresta's rescue, the campaign moved on from Ansion and Sekand wasn't seen for quite some time. As a special gift, Stefan Cassadine set up an opportunity for Arresta to murder Sekand, but the couple settled for humiliating him instead. However, Sekand returned with aplomb as the new beau to Arresta's sister, Corrinne, in what quickly became apparent was revenge on Stefan for these earlier slights.

As a PC during the "Return to Mongui" story arc, Bel Sekand was excellently role-played and became quite a memorable character. He went down in a blaze of glory trying to outwit a Purity First capital ship in his yacht: a critical hit by a full broadside of the larger ship's turbolaser batteries provided the dramatic ending to Sekand's roguish life.

Though odd rumors persist that he somehow survived . . .

---------------------
Bel Sekand
Male Human Noble 7/Crimelord 3

Str +0, Dex +2, Con +0, Int +3, Wis +2, Cha +4

Hit Points: 48, Damage Threshold: 20

Defenses (add 10 if not using house rules): Fort +11, Ref +15, Will +17

Base Attack: 7

Skills: Acrobatics +7, Climb +5, Deception +14, Endurance +7, Gather Info +14, Initiative +12, Jump +5, Knowledge: Criminal +13, Mechanics +8, Perception +12, Persuasion +14, Pilot +12, Ride +12, Stealth +7, Survival +7, Swim +5, Treat Injury +7, Use Computer +13

Languages: Basic, Huttese, Mando'a, Ryl, Lekku

Talents: Connections, Wealth, Educated, Spontaneous Skill, Dastardly Strike, Disruptive, Attract Minion

Feats: Linguist, WP: Simple, WP: Pistol, Weapon Finesse, Exotic Weapon Prof (amphistaff), Melee Defense, Improved Defenses, Knack

Background/Bio
You were born on the mid-rim planet on Ansion. A planet of wide plains dotted with cities and villages, Ansion is considered an out-of-the-way, backwater world. It has remained loyal to the Republic during the Clone War, and experienced a brief period of military importance when a strange “anomaly” kept prevented ships from leaving the system and stopped all communication. That anomaly has since vanished.
You were educated off-planet and returned to Ansion to find yourself too big a fish for this small pond. The type of student who achieved decent grade without having to study, you spent your time amassing an extensive social network and beginning the various entrepreneurial activities that would form the foundation of your criminal enterprise.
There are few crimes you have never dabbled in, but your tastes run to those activities that are colourful, flashy – attention-getting. You have lived life for so long with multiple out-standing warrants – as well as an outstanding contract on your head from the Assassin’s Guild – that it has now become a source of pride.
Unknown to most, you are the Black Sun Vigo for that sector of the galaxy. You make your homeworld on remote Ansion for both safety and cover, but you have contacts on several key planets—for example, on Coruscant your interests are represented by a Bith barrister named Hyek Laruse.
The Tournament
Several years ago you were spending some time on Ansion, avoiding several outstanding “legal” issues on other worlds. You were amusing yourself with an “entertainment” business. You ran a series of life and death tournaments, offering real life and death for the amusement of the holovid masses. For those involved, the risk was off-set with handsome rewards – including piles of credits and captured slave girls.
Just in time for the tournament’s main event, your “talent scouts” picked up a blonde human woman that a quick check revealed to be a Princess from some tiny world called Mongui. Although she was beautiful, your intuition said that there was more going on there than a pretty face, as she killed two guards and it took four more to subdue her. She was clearly a handful – perfect for the type of adventurers your tournaments attract. You advertised her as the main prize.
The winners, who really ran away with the tournament, were an unusual trio – a Duro, a droid and a young Jedi Padawan who were obviously no strangers to the Princess. It was odd to see a Padawan wandering around with no Master – and stranger to still to see a member of the famously chaste Jedi Order looking at the Princess the way any young man would look at a girl he desired. Your curiosity was piqued.
Leverage
You realized the young Jedi who had helped rescue the Princess could be a useful tool in fulfilling some of your business obligations. A quick check revealed that Tarn Tamarand’s sister was in heavy debt with a Hutt. You promised Tamarand to help extricate her from that situation, in exchange for his help with a future task and he agreed.
When Tamarand and his friends made it back to Coruscant, he was called on to capture the Rodian Assassin Greesh Leedo. He botched the first attempt, but did eventually manage to bring him in. After Tarn turned over information to you about the existence and his experiences inside the anomaly, you arranged for his sister’s debt to be cancelled. You kept an eye on the situation and your sources informed you that Tarn and Arresta had begun an affair, one that received much tabloid attention….
New Connections
Some months later, you were surprised to learn that your former captive was now the wife of Stefan Cassadine – a “business rival” you have had several run-ins with in the past. But, that isn’t what makes the news you hear is so delicious – Stefan’s bride had disappeared, along with a certain Jedi Padawan, and her husband went on a rampage to find her. Over the next two years, you are amused to see Cassadine continue searching for his wife – and doing violence to anyone who implies she left him for another, younger man. His wife (and her presumed lover) are clearly Stefan’s Achilles heal…one that requires only the right opportunity to be taken advantage of.
Just a few months ago, your sources inform you that Arresta Cassadine has returned and that she and Stefan have welcomed a baby girl. Interestingly enough, Jedi Tarn Tamarand also returned to the Jedi temple, at least for a short time. As yet, Stefan Cassadine has no idea that you have any knowledge or influence with his hated romantic rival…..
Recently, you had a run-in with Arresta and Stefan Cassadine on a pleasure cruise that ended with your arrest. After easily arranging for the subsequent charges against you to be dropped, you decided to have a little fun (and a little revenge) by tracking down Stefan’s sister-in-law, Corinne D’avilos, former ruler of Mongui. You arranged to “bump into” Corinne at a resort and quickly seduced her. Although now Corinne realizes you’re not exactly who you said she was, you expertly played the two sisters against one another to the point that Corinne is more devoted to you than ever. You even went so far as to inquire from Kordo Desillich, Hutt slavemaster, whether you could buy Corinne’s true love, Miklos and have him killed. Kordo, through his majordomo, replied that another buyer is interested in Miklos and suggests you come personally to bid in the auction.
In addition to toying with Stefan and his family, you’ve become interested recently in tracking down more information about this anomaly that Tarn Tamarand told you about—it could be the source of very valuable information you could sell throughout the galaxy. Althoughs several of your inside sources have mysteriously disappeared, all signs point to a major undertaking (the purchase of a fleet of freighters, the purchase of a slave crew of Republic technicians, some sort of biological and physical research program) launched by a woman named Jocasta (whom you know to have some sort of relationship with Stefan Cassadine), centered around the planet Etti IV in the Corporate Sector. You’re considering paying the Etti IV facility a visit (with a cadre of your best armed men, just in case) in order to see the looks on their faces when they realize you know about their “secret” project.
------------------------------------------

Saturday, December 17, 2011

NFL 2011 Week 15 Predictions



Jax @ Atl
-------------
The Wife: Atl
Me: Atl
Steve: Atl ("Jacksonville shocked the hell out of me last week, but won't do it again.")

Dal @ TB
-------------
The Wife: Cowboys
Me: Dal
Steve: Dal ("Dallas let last week's game slip through their fingers but TB looked awful.")

Car @ Hou
--------------
The Wife: Texans
Me: Car (I like Yates, but I think Newton puts up enough points to win)
Steve: Hou

Wash @ NYG
-------------------
The Wife: Giants
Me: NYG
Steve: NYG ("This is another game that I could see going either way but homefield and the comeback last week ... edge to New York. Do like what Husker Helu has been doing though.")

Mia @ Buf
---------------
The Wife: Bills
Me: Buf (really have no idea here . . .)
Steve: Mia ("Miami has really turned things around, and while not a great team Buffalo isn't either.")

Sea @ Chi
--------------
The Wife: Bears
Me: Sea (Lynch provides enough offense . . .)
Steve: Sea ("Chicago beat themselves last week, this week Seattle does it for them.")

NO @ Minn
----------------
The Wife: Saints
Me: NO (blow-out on the horizon . . .)
Steve: NO ("I could see Minnesota pulling this one out, so if Brees struggles in this one I'll expect to be wrong here.")

Cin @ StL
--------------
The Wife: Bengals
Me: Cin (Bengals on the very edge of realistic playoff elimination . . .)
Steve: Cin ("Though Cincy failed to prove they were a contender when you called them out a while back, this isn't a strong team they face.")

Tenn @ Indy
-----------------
The Wife: Titans
Me: Tenn
Steve: Indy ("I maintain that Indy will win 1 game this year, and while this might not be it I'm stubborn.")

GB @ KC
--------------
The Wife: Packers
Me: GB (sold on perfect regular season as well, can't wait to see them against some good teams in the playoffs)
Steve: GB (Detroit might be the one to ruin 16-0, but I'm pretty sold on a perfect record this year.)

Det @ Oak
--------------
The Wife: Raiders
Me: Oak (not sure why, but I need to make up a game here and there . . .))
Steve: Det ("Detroit should overpower Oakland even with a poor running game.")

NE @ Den
---------------
The Wife: Patriots
Me: NE (Brady & Pats won't make big 4th QTR mistakes . . .)
Steve: NE ("If Denver pulls this off may as well give them the Super Bowl because they'll have proven divine intervention on their side...")

NYJ @ Phi
--------------
The Wife: Jets
Me: NYJ (Jets are looking solid, if not spectacular)
Steve: Phi ("May go either way ... not that I care for either one.")

Cle @ Ari
-------------
The Wife: Cardinals
Me: Ari (hate to say it . . .)
Steve: Ari ("Think Cleveland could use a game against a weaker opponent? I do too ... and while Arizona is one, to go weaker than Cleveland this year you might have to check the local high schools. :-P ")

Balt @ SD
---------------
The Wife: Ravens
Me: Balt
Steve: SD ("The Chargers edge out the Ravens in a low scoring affair.")

Pitt @ SF
------------
The Wife: Steelers
Me: Pitt (who's he kidding? Rothlesberger will end up playing . . .)
Steve: Pitt ("Pretty sad really that given I was a '9ers fan (and still am to an extent) for so long that I would pick against them so many times this year.")

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gamma World: Trouble in Freesboro [RPG]


With our weekly Forgotten Realms campaign session understandably cancelled last night due to holiday festivities, The Wife, Scurvy Ron, and myself decided to instead try out Gamma World for the first time. I had bought the box set months ago as much out of curiosity as anything else, as I'd never played or directed a post-apocalyptic game before. When I bought the set, the store gave me a free copy of the Trouble in Freesboro module.

The eponymous Freesboro is the PCs' home village in the module, but since it's barely detailed at all (only the Mayor is mentioned before the PCs are set off on their quest), I changed the setting to add a little more flavour for my players. Their characters became members of the Eatonite tribe, a hardy band of survivors that defended their settlement, Eaton Steadfast, against jealous rival tribes. Eaton Steadfast is a massive structure built by the Ancients for an unknown purpose, but it remained relatively intact during The Big Mistake. Surrounded as far as any tribes-member has ever ventured and returned by a concrete wasteland, Eaton Steadfast offers a direct southerly view of the great, mysterious Tower of the Ancients, which legend has it is stocked with their greatest secrets.

The session began with the Eatonites waking up to a strange sound, as a strange flying chariot circled near the settlement and then landed some distance away, giving up a plume of black smoke. Boss-Leader Thomspoon (hereditary possessor of the token of rulership containing the mystical inscription "Mall Security") summoned the Great Divine Oracle, a device of the ancients, in which numbered white balls emanated to provide the answer to questions. When Boss-Leader Thompspoon asked it to designate which members of the tribe should go on a holy quest to obtain this flying chariot, the PCs were naturally called!

With just two players, I was a little worried that they might be underpowered in a module designed for 4 to 5. I had each of them play one level 2 PC and one level 1 PC, which may have overpowered them a tad, but not greatly. The four PCs (rolled completely randomly, as directed) consisted of:

Slate, a Cockroach Seismic;

Bolt, a Cockroach Felinoid;

Beeper, a Radioactive Rat Swarm (my favorite of the bunch, as The Wife described him as being comprised of lego blocks); and

Madge, a Pyrokinetic Radioactive

The four PCs set off and made fairly quick work of the first encounter in the module, destroying five Porkers and a Blood Bird Flock thanks to some awesome Omega Tech and Alpha Mutation cards. These two decks, and their inherent randomness, proved to be one of the favorite parts of the games for my players, as they liked getting something new every encounter.

When they reached the building east of Eaton Steadfast where the flying chariot had been seen landing (in the deserted region known as Stmikals), the PCs completely departed from module script. Instead of either going in through the garage or the first floor doors and then working their way up the interior of the building, my PCs climbed the outer walls and thus avoided all the planned encounters! (the two cockroach characters could climb automatically, one of the PCs had an applicable Alpha Mutation card, and the fourth had a Climber's Kit and help). After securing the rooftop from the lone Hoop guard, the PCs barricaded the rooftop access door and sent the signal for an Eatonite recovery team (consisting of a gravity controller). The module's main bad guy, Boss Tangh, eventually managed to bust through the door with his cohort to provide a final challenge, though the PCs had some amazing tactics and rolls and managed to quickly render him prone, deafened, blinded, and (for one round) immobilized, all at the same time! Boss Tangh only got one attack off before he was knocked to 0 points, and on that he rolled a natural 1. Suffice it to say, it wasn't the bad guys' day, and they retreated, carrying the unconscious Boss Tangh with them (after swearing eternal revenge on the Eatonites).

All in all, it was a quite fun 2 1/2 hours. I can't speak much to the quality of the module, since my PCs avoided most of the planned encounters. Everyone seemed to have fun with the quirky, somewhat silly setting and I think it'll be easy to talk them into trying it again sometime.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NFL 2011 Week 14 Round-Up

Steve maintains a six game lead with just three weeks and the playoffs left . . .

Browns @ Steelers
----------------------
The Wife: Steelers
Me: Steelers
Steve: Steelers
WINNER: Steelers (I'll give McCoy one more year to show he's worth being a franchise QB)


Chiefs @ Jets
----------------
The Wife: Jets
Me: Jets
Steve: Jets
WINNER: Jets

Bucs @ Jags
--------------
The Wife: Bucs
Me: Bucs
Steve: Bucs
WINNER: Jags (when the Jaguars put up 40+ on you, you know there's something really wrong with your team)

Patriots @ Redskins
-----------------------
The Wife: Patriots
Me: Patriots
Steve: Patriots
WINNER: Patriots

Falcons @ Panthers
-----------------------
The Wife: Falcons
Me: Panthers
Steve: Falcons
WINNER: Falcons (if the Panthers improved on defense next year, they could be quite a good team)

Colts @ Ravens
---------------
The Wife: Ravens
Me: Ravens
Steve: Ravens
WINNER: Ravens

Eagles @ Dolphins
---------------------
The Wife: Eagles
Me: Dolphins
Steve: Eagles
WINNER: Eagles

Vikings @ Lions
--------------------
The Wife: Lions
Me: Lions
Steve: Lions
WINNER: Lions (Webb made things interesting . . .)

Saints @ Titans
------------------
The Wife: Saints
Me: Saints
Steve: Saints
WINNER: Saints (Locker looked decent, but hopefully Hasselbeck will be back soon)

Texans @ Bengals
----------------------
The Wife: Texans
Me: Bengals
Steve: Bengals
WINNER: Texans (nice, gutsy win)

Bears @ Broncos
-------------------
The Wife: Bears
Me: Broncos
Steve: Bears
WINNER: Broncos (the only explanation that fits all available evidence is that, this year, God is a Broncos fan)

49ers @ Cardinals
----------------------
The Wife: 49ers
Me: 49ers
Steve: 49ers
WINNER: Cardinals

Bills @ Chargers
---------------------
The Wife: Chargers
Me: Chargers
Steve: Chargers
WINNER: Chargers

Raiders @ Packers
----------------------
The Wife: Packers
Me: Packers
Steve: Packers
WINNER: Packers

Giants @ Cowboys
---------------------
The Wife: Giants
Me: Giants
Steve: Cowboys
WINNER: Giants

Rams @ Seahawks
----------------------
The Wife: Seahawks
Me: Seahawks
Steve: Seahawks
WINNER: Seahawks (both the Cardinals and Seahawks have started playing decent football lately, but it's too late for it to matter)

THIS WEEK

The Wife: 13-3
Me: 11-5
Steve: 11-5

CUMULATIVE

The Wife: 127-84
Me: 126-85
Steve: 133-78