Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gaming Quotes III

Note: Last night's Rolemaster session was truly epic largely because Eric the GM's plans got totally screwed over when in the middle of a combat the bad guy wizard totally botched a demon summoning and as a result teleported the party several hundred miles away whilst half melting himself into the  scenery.

"Lice! Lice! Baby" --Eric

"Frosty the snow sword!" --Val and I, describing her magical frost rapier

"The GM is laughing.  That's not a good thing, right?" --Stephen, finally getting the social dynamics of RPGs

Susan's new character is introduced to the party:
"Who are you?" --Stephen
"I don't know how to pronounce my name." --Susan

"That was one hell of a roofie.  That was a great battle.  Or party." --Fred, when his character returns to consciousness after the magical accident.

"I refuse to be killed by a plant." --Fred, while fighting sentient vines that have taken over a village.

"You still have one [vine] on you." --Eric
"I know.  I'm trying to get him off." --Fred

Friday, November 18, 2016

An Epic Tale, Part IV

"What ho, dear brother!" Ludmilla the Insatiable cried as she leaped from her war unicorn and bounded up the steps to the tower three at a time.

"Hello 'Milla," Spatchcock replied flatly, blowing pipeweed smoke into her face. "What brings you here?"

"I was riding through yon hills and saw this village and tower in the distance and I said to my esquire, Spunge," she indicated a put upon man who was trying, without much success, to control the war unicorn, " 'Spunge, what village is that?'

" 'Why tis the village of Fisting-in-the-Dale, Milady', he replied.

"And I said, 'A-ha! Why that is the home of my dear bother, the mighty mage, Spatchcock the Green!  Let us go bid him greetings.'"

Spatchcock puffed on his pipe for several moments.  Then blowing more smoke in his sister's face he asked, "You don't really expect me to believe that, do you?"

Irate, Ludmilla drew herself up to her full height, loomed over her older brother and then suddenly deflated.

"Spatchy, I'm in trouble," she said meekly.

[Author's Note: I stole the name Fisting-in-the-Dale from comedian Greg Proops.  He used it in a bit about the quaint names of some English villages.]

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

So just what is "An Epic Tale"?

You may noticed that over the past few days I have started publishing bits of rather disjointed fantasy fiction here under the the title "An Epic Tale" and are thinking "What's up with that?"

Basically, I am doing it as a bit of self-therapy.  Recent current events and especially the election have gotten me down, so my response has been to laugh through the tears.  I am indulging in my penchant for humorous fantasy fiction in an effort to lighten my mood and, hopefully, the mood of my friends.

Also I am doing this to just simply practice my writing style.  Like many of my friends I've always wanted to be a writer and while I am good at things like characterization and setting, I tend to be weak when it comes to actual plot.  Plus I have some stylistic quirks I need to work out and I hope regularly writing short bits of fiction, generally only a few paragraphs long, will help me see and fix those problems.

To that end, in addition to other geeky stuff I am putting my bits of fantasy flash fiction up here as well.  And while it may seem rather scattershot now, eventually (I hope) it will all come together.

I should say that this is not wholly my idea.  I was inspired by my college friend Daniel Myers, author of the excellent Medieval Cookery website and its companion Medieval Cookery blog.  (Check them out as they are a mine of  great information.)  When we were at Miami University, Dan kept a notebook in which he scribbled similar bits of humorous fantasy flash fiction which he dubbed The Heroes of Sachran.  I always loved the idea and while Dan's sense of humor is even more surreal than my own, it is to him I owe the credit/blame.

Finally, as this is meant to be a project for both readers and writers please leave comments about my posts.  I want to know what is working and what isn't and where I am making a mess of things so I can improve.


An Epic Tale, Part III

Grimbi Grimbison drew himself up to his full height of four feet, ten inches and shoved his crossbow into the crotch of the six foot tall thug in front of him, “What was that you called me?”

Around the tavern floor was scattered coins and cards from the overturned table. “I called you a cheat, short-arse!” the thug screamed as he pulled a short sword from it’s scabbard.

“Now that is needlessly cruel,” Grimbi replied calmly. “I thought this tavern was a safe space.”

“Huh?” answered the now confused thug.

“I don’t mind being called a cheat.  Namely because I was cheating.  But anti-dwarven epithets are just being malicious in a way that doesn’t help the situation.”

“Epi-wha?”  The thug was getting even more confused.  Indeed, the shuffling and whispering by the other drinkers in the tavern gave the impression that they were having a hard time following Grimbi as well.

“I’m saying you could have just called me out as a cheater without disparaging my race.”

The thug lowered his sword and started scratching his head, “I suppose…”


Grimbi let loose with a crossbow bolt and there was a high pitched scream as his opponent fell to the floor grasping at his family jewels.

Grimbi looked down sadly, “Some people are just too stupid to live.”

Spam, spam, spam, eggs, bacon and spam.

Last night this blog got hit by a comments spammer leaving links on at least a half dozen posts.  The spam has been duly deleted and the spammer has been blocked with extreme prejudice.

Does this mean I've finally made the big time?

Monday, November 14, 2016

An Epic Tale, Part II

Spatchcock the Green stood up, coughed twice and looked about the ruins of his laboratory.  “A little less red mercury next time”, he mumbled to himself as he made a note in his still smoldering notebook.

He gently kicked his apprentice Pune, who was still cowering behind an overturned table and said, “Clean up this mess.” He then wandered upstairs to to his library.  Like most sane - for given values of the word sane  - mages, Spatchcock did his experimenting in a specially warded, underground laboratory lest it damage his tower or indeed large swathes of the countryside.

As he ascended to the higher levels of the tower he happened to look up from his notes and and through one of the windows he spotted an armored woman riding towards the tower on a black unicorn.  His pipe fell from his slack jaw at the sight.

“Dammit!  What is my sister doing here?” he muttered.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

An Epic Tale, Part I

And it came to pass that when Thagwald the Incontinent was king, there came out of the Plaid Hills a barbarian hero of great skill and renown. The hero strode into the small town of P’Tang, sweat glistening of his mighty thews and when he reached the square at the center he drew his sword and cried, “I seek brave souls to help me overthrow the Seven Lords of Lower Cromden!”
The only denizen of the town square, a rather bored looking cow chewing her cud, looked askance at the barbarian.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Day After

Looking over the burning wreckage of the American political landscape this morning I take some solace in three thoughts.

1) Trump is going to find out very quickly that being President is very different from running for President and it is nothing like being the CEO of a real estate development company.  The President of the United States is a very powerful person but he is still strongly hemmed in  by law and precedent.  In most cases he cannot simply say "Make it so" and have something automatically done.  He has to work through and with a government bureaucracy that does things their own way and in their own time.

He's also going to find that he has to deal with Congress and that is not going to be as easy as he thinks.  Sure the Republicans are in control of both Houses now but the vast majority of them are doctrinaire conservatives who neither like nor trust Trump and don't really believe (correctly) he is one of them.  His attitude is going to be like they are junior executives in his company who have to do what he says but they are going to be like "Sorry, we are members of a co-equal branch of government so if you want to do some of the things you say you do the negotiate with us, Mr. Negotiator."

The practical upshot of this is that Trump is going to get very frustrated, very quickly and I would not be surprised that if after about a year he pulls a Palin.  Sure, that leaves us with Pence who is a anti-LGBT religious zealot, but that's a separate issue and at least he has a vague understanding how government works.

2) I think I can safely predict that even if he does quit after a year, Trump will have done so much damage to the economy that the voters may finally realize that no, the cause of their problems are not immigrants or Hispanics or blacks but the very Republican policies that have been keeping them down since the Nineties.  The result will be Democrats finally getting control of both Houses of Congress in 2018.

3) The campaign for Elizabeth Warren in 2020 starts today!

Monday, November 7, 2016

2016 Election Forecast

At last the moment you've all been waiting for, my 2016 presidential election prediction.

I still feel that we are facing a Democrtic wave, albeit a smaller one than when Comey opened his mouth.  Tracking polls give Clinton a 3% to 5% lead but the likely voter screens most polling agencies use have a bit of a Republican bias since they are based on previous voting history and there is strong evidence of more first time voters among this black and Hispanic communities, so I think her lead is probably more in the area of 6% to 8%.

That's why I have Ohio going blue, especially on the basis of stories about 4,000 person lines for early voting in Cincinnati.  The enthusiasm - even if it is more anti-Trump rather than pro-Hillary - lies with the Democrats.

That said, until two weeks ago I had Georgia going blue as well and I think Comey's intervention took some wind out of those sails and has energized pro-Trump forces in those places where he already had a strong lead like the South and Midwest.  But I do think Georgia is going to be closer than many expect and don't be surprised if it is called relatively late on Tuesday night.

I think McMullin is going to win Utah on a strong anti-Trump protest vote among Mormons and that, along with strong Hispanic turnout, is going to give Hillary Arizona as well.

As for the Senate, it looks to me like the Demcrats end up with 52 or 53 seats.  But so many of the individual races are so close that I am loathe to call specific ones either red or blue.

I wish I could say we are going to see a Democratic House but while I think the Dems will claw back some districts they've lost in recent years I doubt they are going to get a majority.  That's going to put Paul Ryan in and interesting and stressful position.