See You Next Wednesday
Tuesday, November 28
I thought I blogged, but it’s not there*.

It is a phase I am becoming accustomed to and I shall exercise to exorcise it.

Meanwhile I visited Emma on the weekend. We saw an excellent play called Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. Then we had dinner at a Buddhist restaurant, and conversation with Anda who was on vacation from England. Later we dropped into an open mic night where some of Emma’s friends were performing (Emma declined their entreaties to sing). On Sunday we slept in and brunched and watched Torchwood and Robot Chicken until it was time to do a little shopping and drink coffee and part. Now, I miss her. This weekend Emma will be visiting Canberra and play in my monthly Dungeons & Dragons game, which is nice.

*Previously unseen on See You Next Wednesday.
My car is at the panel beater to repair the passenger door where the bicycle struck it; and I have had a new phone, and a new chapter of bemusing customer service, imposed on me.
Wednesday, November 15
Atypical weekend.

On Saturday I took Linda to Duffy Street to do beading while Fiona sewed a dress. After a careless boy rode his bike into the side of my stationary car, Dave and I went to the roleplaying meetup and met many other roleplaying people. The table was too long to hear the conversation at the other end, but by all reports I didn't miss much. However it was a pity discussion about meetup events was stymied until some people left.

Then we went back to Duffy Street and Emma* and Gavin** came over to play a game. Linda and Fiona were still being creative on the table so we idled on the patio until dinner. Then we idled in front of the telly until bedtime. I'm sorry we didn't get to play game because as it turned out Emma and Gavin were lured there under false pretences. On Sunday Gavin ran a game, of Dungeons and Dragons which was nice. I'm glad Emma got to play something on her weekend visit, and Gavin ran a McDoyle adventure which is always silly fun.

On Monday I had the day off so I followed up my car repairs and played some World of Warcraft. It was unseasonably cold and rainy, which I enjoyed.

More than a miniseries.

Last night Dave, Jimbo, Simon and I played more Primetime Adventures. We didn't make it to a four act episode, however if we call it a miniseries then we don't need to. I would direct you to see Dave's blog for details, but he hasn't written up the session. And neither have I. Which I was trying not to draw attention to. Simon is working in Adelaide next week and Dave is away the week after, so if I'm short of a blog entry later this month I could write it up then. Let's see if I do.

* Emma, who is clever and finished her second postgraduate diploma on Thursday, was visiting for the weekend.

** Gavin, who generously hosts my Dangerous Wayfarers campaign each month, got a job on Tuesday. Congratulations Gavin.
Wednesday, November 8
Episode One - Part One

Ophelia brings Sorev Gerenovich to the Department of Portents. Sorev was the previous Seer to the King and has returned from a self-imposed exile to prevent an evil organisation misappropriating the events of the Cherenkov Prophecy to their own ends. He has charted the evil doers course of action in a treatise and has determined how to thwart their scheme. Egged on by Phoebe, who is eager to be seen to be doing by her watchers, and against Konrad’s better judgement, the Department follows Sorev’s lead. Meanwhile Kurdt, has been summoned by his uncle Gustav and warned to keep an eye on Sorev who fled the realm before he could be convicted of sedition. The Chancellor wishes to learn why Sorev has returned before moving against him.

Sorev’s first mission is to investigate the activities of Lovac Gerodko. Lovac is a pupil of Kurdt’s old fencing teacher, Leopold, and the team descend upon the fencing school. Kurdt enters a fencing bout with Lovac while Phoebe slips into the dressing rooms to inspect his belongings and Konrad stands lookout. In Lovac’s locker Phoebe discovers an earlier copy of Sorev’s treatise with annotations and a list of times and locations. Kurdt outclasses Lovac on the piste and obliges him to meet later in the school courtyard.

Elsewhere, the unnamed Aristocratic Cultist is receiving orders to assemble the men and make sure they are well armed.

One of the rendezvous on Lovac’s list is about to take place at a bookshop in the marketplace. There is no time to confer with her colleagues so Phoebe races off to investigate on her own. Shortly after she is directed to the Prophecy section by the storekeeper, Mischka arrives and goes straight to the storeroom. Phoebe slips out of the shop to watch the backdoor when a contingent of the town guard arrive. Their captain enters the storeroom and a loud argument erupts. The waiting guards make it impossible for Phoebe to loiter and overhear the dispute so she moves off.

Konrad and Sorev are returning to the Department when they cross the path of the Chancellor, Sorev hides behind a tapestry. Gustav intimidates Konrad by threatening to bring him before the court to report on
The Red Lightning Book. Konrad contends Gustav should not take any precipitous action while Sorev is at large and the Chancellor withdraws.

At the fencing school Kurdt meets with Lovac and hears how Lovac’s father, the Earl of Popov Valley, was instrumental in discrediting Sorev at court five years ago. Konrad discovers Sorev has vanished from behind the tapestry. Lovac admits House Gerodko is manoeuvring to benefit from the turmoil the Cherenchov Prophecy will stir up, and so is every other noble family including House von Stahk. Phoebe is stopped behind the bookshop by two town guards bearing the emblem of House von Stahk.

To be continued...
Monday, November 6
It’s not only players who surprise the DM.

On Saturday I ran my monthly Dungeons & Dragons campaign with Alex, Dave, Drew, Gavin and James. The Dangerous Wayfarers were short staffed due to most of them being petrified at the end of the last game. In fact only the newest member, Vanda (played by Gavin), and the druid’s companion animal, Terrul (played by Drew), had made it back to town. Fortunately founding wayfarer Sandor Callow (played by Dave) had arrived in town and he joined the survivors with new recruit Michael (played by Alex), an undead hunter looking for undead to hunt. Rumours of another cleric joining them proved to be mistaken. (James didn’t think his new undead summoning cleric of Wee Jas fitted into the party which already had one summoner and now had an undead hunter. Unfortunately it meant he didn’t have a character for most of the day; sorry, James.)

The new Dangerous Wayfarers set off to rescue their friends colleagues prey objective. Along the way they had lots of encounters, many of them were fights and they rested at the Olde Wolfe Inn. In the afternoon the reached the petrified group. The statues were being staked out by a team of dopplegangers who had replaced the statue of Ghinn with their big fighter. The initially inattentive and subsequently surprised heroes tore through the deception with the help of a large tentacular ape-like creature which Vanda summoned. The large tentacular ape-like creature also solved the problem of how to get the statues onto the wagon by being really strong. Stoney’s statue was no trouble. The statue of Ghinn had been broken up by the dopplegangers, but they were able to retrieve all the pieces and put them in a sack. Gerag had shapeshifted into a large bear and had summoned another large bear so there were two very similar large bear statues; they had no choice but to transport them both. On the way back the party stayed overnight at the Olde Wolfe Inn where they met a dwarf barbarian (played by James) who decided to join with them to fight evil, which was nice.

The next day they met the yrthak*. The Dangerous Wayfarers had encountered yrthaks before and usually Gerag saw them off with an ice storm spell cast at maximum range, before the magical flying beast even spotted them. However the new Dangerous Wayfarers were not aware of this tradition and anyway nobody could cast an ice storm. When the yrthak did spot the party it swooped in but they were ready for it. Vanda summoned a large tentacular wasp-like creature which battled the yrthak in midair while the rest of the party shot missiles at it.

The fight was going poorly for the yrthak so I thought it would use a special attack. I looked in the book and read “Special Attacks: Sonic lance, explosion”. I glanced over the description of the sonic lance and saw “This is a ranged touch attack that deals 6d6 points of damage to a single target”. That should take care of the pesky large tentacular wasp-like creature and let the yrthak get back to eating people, I thought. And it did. There was another volley of missiles and the yrthak turned on the party who were mostly standing around the flat-bed wagon with it’s cargo of precious statues.

Okay, I thought, let’s see what this “explosion” attack does. A quick glance revealed: “This attack deals 2d6 points of piercing damage to all within 10 feet”. Perfect, I thought, it can do an area effect attack and close on the greatest threat for a full attack next round. Now, how does it create this explosion; I read more carefully: “an explosion of shattered stone”. So is there any stone nearby? Terrul was cowering behind some rocks, but they were some distance away. Would the road count? No, it is hard packed earth, not stone. What about the statues? “Oh my fucking god”, I said aloud.

How would it be: to instantly slay three player characters with no reprieve. It might be contentious as the dead characters could have done nothing to prevent it. It might be mordant to make the whole adventure pointless. (And it might be graceless to kill Emma’s character when she is not at the game, again.) Fortunately I continued reading the description of the explosion attack and discovered “This counts as a use of the sonic lance attack and thus is usable only once every 2 rounds, and never on the round following a sonic lance attack”. So instead the yrthak closed for melee and was beaten to death. The end.

*This was only one short encounter but it’s getting half the blog entry because it’s mine and I’ll write what I want to.
Wednesday, November 1
As I recall...

Dave, James, Simon and I played Primetime Adventures last night:

King Victor Kasparov ponders the veracity of the Red Lightning Omen with Magister who advises caution. They move through the palace discussing recent events and come to the royal library. The seer goes to fetch The Red Lightning Book which contains the Terenkov Prophecy but discovers it has been stolen.

Captain Konrad Petrinov and Viscount Kurt von Stahk capture a two headed piglet, another omen, and return to the Department of Portents. The pig is passed off to a flunky and they are introduced to Ophelia Avonova, a researcher and one of the few staff to survive the recent scandal with her reputation unsullied. Chancellor Gustav von Stahk, Kurt's uncle, arrives and asserts his authority. He assigns the Department the task of recovering
The Red Lightning Book and sends Konrad and Kurt to interrogate Phoebe Avonova who he suspects is involved with the theft.

Meanwhile, two shadowy figures discuss a business transaction; an Aristocratic Cultist is nervous because the Bandit Queen has failed to deliver him book as agreed.

Victor discusses Phoebe's role in the Red Lightning incident with her as she is held in the Watchtower awaiting a decision on her fate. The conversation reveals Phoebe was about to be hanged when a bolt of red lightning struck the gallows and released her. Phoebe recalls the passage from the Terenkov Prophecy which describes the "Red Lightning Omen" which stayed her execution, she has become convinced of its truth. Victor is also invested in the omen as the prophecy bodes well for his reign. He declares Phoebe will be allowed to live as long as she works with the Department of Portents to establish the truth of the Terenkov Prophecy and releases her into the custody of Konrad when he arrives.

Phoebe leads Konrad and Kurt to a seedy tavern where Konrad spots a likely source of information, Turtle Squirepin. Kurt draws attention to the party and the Bandit Queen, Misha, sends two thugs, Fritz and Wilhiem, to fetch Phoebe. Konrad's interrogation of Turtle is interrupted by the thugs and a fight ensues. Wilhiem is subdued but Turtle and Fritz escape, taking Phoebe.

In a carriage surrounded by armed thugs, Phoebe convinces Misha she was not involved in the theft of the Red Lightning Book. She is released on condition she provides Misha with information, and preferrably the book itself.

Back at the office Konrad and Kurt fail to press any useful information from Wilheim and cannot agreee on a way forward, distressing Ophelia. Phoebe returns and Ophelia is furious to discover the missing agent she was so worried about is her disgraceful sister.

Of course there was more to it than this. Let's hope Dave writes up his more abundant notes and someone creates a wiki.
This may not sound like the snappiest line from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), but it evidently caught the imagination of John Landis, who has worked references to a mythical film of this name into most of his own movies - memorably as the grotty British skinflick watched by an assortment of lycanthropes and zombies in the climax of An American Werewolf in Paris [sic] (1981). Ghastly Beyond Belief, Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman

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