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Episode 1552: Critical Mass of Paranoia

Top tip for GMs: Don't do what our GM did here and ask a PC what their hit point total is. Have this info pre-recorded before the game and easily within reach. Keep track of any damage that each PC takes, independently of the players. That way you always know how much more damage they can take without accidentally suffering an unexpected death due to unlucky dice rolls.

In some games, it's fine to let the dice rule, and if a PC dies, that's it. But sometimes you want to take a more story-telling approach and not kill PCs unnecessarily or due to a fluke of statistics. If you know that the fighter only has 12 hit points left, you can subtly modify the orc's critical hit from 15 damage to 11 without disrupting the flow of the game. Being that close to death is dramatic enough - you don't really need to kill the hapless fighter. (Unless of course they got into this mess by doing something stupid, and someone really deserves to die.)

aurilee writes:

Yay! K-2 is back!

I was actually quite worried when I saw that hit, and Bria's face, and the panel of the dead droid. I really didn't want K-2 to die so early.

Thankfully, he didn't! Thanks to some quick thinking by the GM.

I have to say, this GM does roleplay very well. It would have been easier for him just to not have Bria shoot at all, but in this kind of tense situation, accidental friendly fire is something that can easily happen.

Also, K-2 just looks really happy here, and that makes me happy. I look forward to some more combat droid action!

— aurilee

Keybounce writes:

First, would a stick do that much damage to a droid?

Second, I'm looking at this both from the roleplayers' point of view, and from the film point of view. There are clearly two robots in panel eight. So in the actual film, Bria was able to tell the difference between two robots, and identify one as her friend and one as...

How well does she actually know the robot? The robot is partnered with Cassian; she's only seen it briefly. Are we to believe that she was somehow able to identify two nearly identical looking robots, and figure out that one was the one she knew briefly, and the other was a stranger; or is it a case that she just took a random shot and got lucky that she did not kill the partner of the people she's working with?

Just how reliable of a person is this Bria? When her job is to avoid being noticed, she gets noticed; when her job is to talk to someone, she is far too literal and doesn't even realize that the guy is responding literally; she antagonizes Jabba's contacts out of a personal issue; etc.

Seriously, if Cassian does not need her, why not just shoot her? She's now reached the point of being more trouble than she's worth.

Oh right, she is the only one who knows who they're supposed to contact.

She's supposed to know who they're supposed to contact. Supposed to.

This could probably be the trope namer for a bad case of a bad escort mission.

Last Minute Update

44 hit points. 2d6, same as a blaster. A critical. We're talking about rolling a 12, and getting a 4× crit multiplier. On a non-lethal weapon being used to disable.

Was the line "Makes sense to me" or "I see nothing wrong"?

— Keybounce


Connection: Part 1

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm
[syndicated profile] experimentserial_feed

Posted by Micah Edwards

I glance over at the attendant. He’s still paying me absolutely no attention, and doesn’t seem to notice that my call has ended. Rather than asking if I can make another call and risking him taking the phone back, I just dial Peterson’s number. As expected, the attendant doesn’t seem to notice.

After a couple of rings, the phone’s picked up. “Peterson.”

“Officer Peterson, hi. This is, um. This is Dan Everton.”

“Mr. Everton.” His voice is completely flat. I’ve never heard anyone manage to say anything so completely devoid of emotion. I’m guessing that that means he’s pretty ticked off, and is suppressing it while waiting to hear what I have to say.

“Look, I can explain everything. I just need you to listen.”

“When you say ‘everything,’ what does that include?”

“Everything! Why you’re mad at me, how you ended up arresting me, why a lot of things don’t seem to make sense and fit together.”

“So you can explain all of my behaviors. How about yours? Can you explain why you fled custody?”

“Well, yeah. I was being set up, and –”

“By your lawyer?”

“What? No. No, he wasn’t intentionally involved. This was — okay, this is going to sound weird, but I promise you it makes sense. You remember Vince Amano?”

“Let me guess,” Peterson says, sarcasm lacing his voice. “Vince broke out of prison, leaving behind a clone of himself to disguise his escape. He then stole a car and made his way to your house, which for some reason you had decided was the most inconspicuous place to go to ground. He cornered you there, probably with other clones, and attempted to trap you in a house fire. You escaped, stealing a bicycle to get away from him, and are now hiding out at a gas station calling me.”

I’m momentarily stunned into speechlessness. That’s not entirely accurate, but it’s pretty darn close. “I…yeah, but…wait, are you saying that you don’t believe that? Because, um –”

I’m cut off as Peterson starts to laugh, a deep and slightly menacing sound that only stops when it turns into a small coughing fit. I wait for him to pull himself together. I don’t really know what I’d say here, anyway.

“You’re an idiot, Mr. Everton,” says Peterson once the coughing subsides. I tell myself that there’s fondness in his tone. Certainly I don’t hear any malice, at least. “Yes, unfortunately I believe this. Various police reports support aspects of the story, which is why I know about them in the first place. I even believe what you were doubtless planning on telling me to begin with, that my thoughts were influenced by nanobots controlled and spread to me by Dr. Argute.”

I’m both relieved and impressed. Peterson has managed to assemble all this and figure out what happened while under the influence of foreign thoughts prejudicing his mind against me. He really is impressively dogged in his pursuit of the truth. I sum all of these feelings up with a simple, “That’s great!”

“And I deeply resent,” Peterson continues, and now his voice is definitely angry, “that I have somehow ended up forced to believe in science-fiction idiocy like this. I blame you entirely for this, Everton.” He practically spits my name, and I notice that he’s dropped even the honorific.

“Look, I’m sorry for –”

“Shut up. I am a police officer, and that means I am responsible for seeing justice done.” Peterson coughs again, a wet hacking sound, and continues. “I will figure out a way to safely arrest Dr. Argute. I will see you back in here, where I expect minimal paperwork and a few phone calls from connected people will see you gone. And then I expect to never see you again, Mr. Everton. No more monsters, no more nemeses, no more manifestations of powers. If you find yourself involved in these things again, you will go do it in some other precinct. Do I make myself clear?”

“I think y–”

“I want to hear a yes or a no from you, and only that. Do I make myself clear?”


“Good. Stay out of my way and let me solve this.”

That sounds like a conversation-ender, but I have one more question for him. “Wait! Before you hang up, can you put Regina on?”

There’s a pause, and then Peterson says, “Interesting. She left earlier. I’d assumed she was looking for you. If she–” Peterson stops abruptly, then laughs again, a short bark this time. “Of course. Mind the weather, Everton.”

I look outside, where it’s raining in earnest, and for just a moment I still don’t get it. Then in a moment of perfect choreography, lightning flashes outside and I suddenly understand. With Vince, Tanger and Brian all active, why wouldn’t Regina have had her nanos turned back on as well?

The thunder rolls. I didn’t count the seconds to check how close the storm is, but I know basically what the answer is: close, and getting closer all the time.

I start to ask Peterson another question, but he’s hung up already. There’s nothing he could have said that would have changed the situation in any case. Assuming Regina can track me the same way that Vince can, I need to get on the move, and fast. At least Vince has to be in sight before he’s a danger. I have no idea what kind of range Regina has with lightning, but I know she’s called a bolt down on me once before when I didn’t even know she was there. She might have been halfway across town, for all I know.

Rubber. I need rubber. Pushing the phone back across the counter to the attendant, I ask, “Do you sell rubber boots here?”

He lifts his head to look at me before rolling his eyes and sneering as if to say, are you an idiot? “No,” he says slowly, enunciating carefully as if I might not speak English. “This is a gas station. No shoes here.”

“Fine, whatever,” I say, rolling my eyes in return as I turn away to look through the shelves.

Unsurprisingly, I do not find any shoes. The attendant may have been rude, but his basic point was valid. What I do find, though, are thick rubber floormats designed for trucks. They’re thick but fairly flexible, enough so to wrap around my feet, at least. I test this out by standing on them and pulling them up into a rough taco shape. Obviously, they don’t stay like that, but it’s a start.

After a few minutes of searching for some kind of clip, I settle on wrapping a couple of bungee cords around each mat to secure them in place on my feet. It all makes for some fairly awkward footwear, but the mats stay in place and I’m able to walk around without tripping. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it does put some insulating material between me and the ground. I can work with the awkwardness.

I stomp my way to the front and put the tags from the mats and bungee cords on the counter.

“I need to pay for these,” I say to the attendant.

He looks up from his phone at me, then down at the counter, then back up at me. “Where are they?”

“I’m wearing them,” I say, trying to pretend that this is normal.

He leans over the counter to look at my feet, then looks back at my face, and makes the facial equivalent of a shrug. He turns to the cash register to ring me up, and I start fishing change out of my pocket.

“Whoa, what? No. No way,” he says, as I start dumping change on the counter.

“Yes way,” I say. “It’s valid American currency, and I’m spending it.”

“Fine,” he says. “Then I’m refusing you service. Take off your stupid cosplay or whatever you’re doing and get out of here.”

I keep emptying my pockets onto the counter. “No, just take the money. I’ll count it for you if you want.”

“I can count fine!” he retorts. “I’m just not dealing with this junkie nonsense. I’m refusing you service. Get out.”

I pick up a few quarters, acting as if I’m giving up. Then I abruptly shout “Take the money!” and shove the rest of the accumulated change at him. He flinches back and coins rain to the floor on his side of the counter, clattering off of his chair and spinning on the floor. I turn and run for the door, my bizarre new footwear making even this simple motion into a small challenge.

“Man, I let you use the phone!” the attendant calls out in an aggrieved voice as the door closes behind me. He doesn’t bother to give chase, though. Just another day of dealing with the public. I’m probably not even the weirdest guy he’s had in there this week.

The rain’s coming down at a steady pace now, and my shirt’s soaked through in under a minute. I clomp down the street in a graceless canter, the bungee cords rolling uncertainly under my feet at each step. The rain’s probably a good thing, honestly. It means that no one else is out here to see me and raise questions.

I pass the bus stop I arrived at and keep going. I’m pretty sure I’m headed in the direction of the hospital, and I’d like to find a stop that’s actually got a bus shelter so I can get out of the cold rain. Besides, being more than a block from the scene of my sort-of crime doesn’t seem like the worst idea.

In short order, I come to a bus shelter, and shiver there for fifteen or twenty minutes until the bus I need comes by. I board it, feed my last quarters into the ticket machine, and slump dripping into a seat. Next stop: the hospital. I hope the doc’s got some good thoughts on what to do next, because I’m pretty low on ideas.

Episode 1551: Tonfa Tough

Sep. 21st, 2017 10:19 am
[syndicated profile] darths_and_droids_feed

Episode 1551: Tonfa Tough

The "exotic martial arts weapon badass modifier" is a well known bonus that certain weapons get simply by virtue of not being bog-standard boring old Western European swords, daggers, maces, and similar weapons. Weapons from exotic cultures with curved or wavy blades definitely get a bonus, but the largest bonus is for blunt weapons used as an adjunct to martial arts.

The ultimate progression of this is of course the scrawny, mystical monk who can do twice as much damage by slapping someone with an open palm than a brawny knight can do with a two-handed sword.

Keybounce writes:

We have min-maxing with a stick. "Same as a blaster".

I have known someone who could make a first level RoleMaster character min-maxed to having two +20% modifiers on things that first level characters normally have no modifiers for; this is the same player who made a Champions character with a massive level of Strength (provides a bunch of benefits beyond just physical strength, such as physical defense) combined with Stretching to turn that Strength into a ranged attack.

I wish I could say that we have never seen a stick with a modifier made as strong as a sword. The truth is, I can't tell. My memory isn't good enough to separate what actually happened from the things we joked about.

But I absolutely love the line, "Yep same effect" / "We need to do more testing".

What I am noticing though, is the lack of the <roll>; the lack of hit numbers. Imagine, arguing for bonuses to hit for situation, weapon damage, all sorts of favorable things, and then rolling a two.

I might not remember what I rolled, but I did miss.

Hold on a second - "don't kill anyone", and firing a blaster? And somehow, these blasters are weak enough that they are only doing the damage of a stick? Since when did stun weapon blasters become so common?

— Keybounce

aurilee writes:


This is a great excuse to do basically anything.

You took some food from somebody's plate? You were testing it for poison.

You were pick-pocketing townsfolk at the market? You were testing your dexterity and reflexes after recovering from a severe injury to your hand.

You broke into the estate of a wealthy noble? You were testing his security. (Bonus points if you can convince said noble to compensate you with his fantasy-Italian red carriage.)

The list goes on.

— aurilee


possible topics for that 2nd PhD

Sep. 21st, 2017 10:51 am
kareina: (BSE garnet)
[personal profile] kareina
In an attempt to narrow down my choices, I have gone through all of the emails my potential supervisor and I have exchanged, and taken notes. I think this is everything we have discussed:

* We are looking at doing some sort of Provenance study using Laser-Ablation ICP-MS plus or minus other analytical techniques, plus or minus experimental archaeology.

* We have narrowed down the area of interest to be Scandinavia, with a possible emphasis on Swedish objects, plus or minus Faroe Islands, Island, and/or Greenland.

* We have narrowed down the time period to be Viking age (or earlier) (though Medieval has also been mentioned).

* We have mentioned the following types of objects, and I should choose only one as the focus of the project:

* Lead spindle whorls
* Steatite spindle whorls
* Steatite cooking vessels
* Glass vessels
* Glass in Viking beads
* Garnet in Viking beads
* Garnet in other jewelry

In baby steps it goes forward

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:03 pm
kareina: (BSE garnet)
[personal profile] kareina
I am making tiny progress on preparing my application for a 2nd PhD through the University of Durham. Today I actually started filling in the on-line application form, so that the basics are ready when I finally have my project proposal and budget ready to attach. I have exchanged a number of letters with my potential advisor, who has written to various people in her network and forwarded me their replies. She sent me a copy of a very interesting PhD thesis by one of her colleagues who studied "war booty" from the Roman Iron Age, using LA-ICP-MS to study the weapons that had been deposited in a heap in a lake. What really amazed me about his thesis is that he did his data processing by hand, in a spreadsheet, since his department didn't have a licence for a program like iolite, which is what I use for my LA-ICP-MS data processing.

I also looked at the web page for the Swedish student financial aid people. It looks like it is possible for me to get a stipend from them to study in the UK, but only until I am 57, so I had better do it now and not wait. The stipend isn't huge, but it will make a difference in paying for lab work and possibly even getting to Durham now and then to actually see my advisor in person.

The only reason I don't already have a project proposal is that there are too many cool project ideas that we have been tossing back and forth at one another. The good news is that I will enjoy whatever project we settle on, the bad news is that I can only pick one. garnets? glass? soapstone? beads? cooking toys? Something Viking Age, anyway, and using Swedish artifacts. That much we know.

Some of you who have been reading this since I first got hired to run the LA-ICP-MS lab might remember that while waiting for the delivery of the machines I had contacted some archaeologists in Uppsala wondering if they might be interested in doing some collaborative research on some garnet-bearing sword hilts etc. It turns out that my potential advisor knows them, and is good friends with one of them.

The more letters we exchange, the more convinced I am that this is a chance of a lifetime, and I should go for it.

And, to make things even better, AMT was fun tonight, as always! I love the gymnastics training. Never mind that I am the worst kid in the class, I am showing improvement every week, and enjoying it.

I stopped by an open house today--one of the houses in our neighbourhood is for sale--the third since we bought our place (if you count ours). That house is slightly older than ours (1964 vs '66), not as big, weirdly laid out (who sets it up so that one has to go through the kitchen into and then through a bedroom to get to the garage and laundry area? Why did they take off the back door? They also have much, much, much less land than we have--just a small yard suitable for little kids to play in. I am so happy we got the house we did. The highlight of the house was a wall mounted can-opener in the kitchen, that, from the look of it, must have been put up when the house was brand new. but probably hasn't been used in years, since most "canned" food in Sweden comes in cardboard boxes, and those few items that are in metal cans have a self-opening lid.
[syndicated profile] darths_and_droids_feed

Episode 1550: Mech (sic) and Chicken; or Los Pollos Caminos

It's good to have miniatures to help the players visualise enemy forces and battles.

And although improvised figures will do, it's definitely better to have appropriate miniatures.

(Yes, we know the Spanish is terrible and doesn't mean the same thing.)

aurilee writes:

It was the first walker-type! And he apparently had no miniatures.

The poor players, having to use their imaginations while playing a tabletop RPG. Oh the humanity!

And unfortunately, the GM never saw my very, very clever suggestion of gluing some guns onto Timon. So everyone had to suffer through chickens.

With guns.

— aurilee

Keybounce writes:

Something that I never realized before: Chicken miniatures.

There is no movie; this GM actually had chicken walkers, and chicken miniatures.

Chicken. Miniatures.

Never mind the deformed seal-walrus-whatever it was, where do you get chicken miniatures? Are there other farm animals yet to show up?

I find myself wondering, what would a cow standing on two legs like a meerkat look like? (Lorenda? Kria?). Oddly, I have no problem imagining that cow holding a gun.

Looking over the last two comics, I'm realizing the clear advantage of the chicken walkers: they bring in close air support. Easy to tell apart from enemy fire. Easy to tell apart from the kitchen mess.

But the whole design still seems wrong. It still seems too easy to take out one leg, and turn the main body into skeet. (Have we ever seen one of these guys self-destruct? There's always a self-destructing something in movies, right? Toss a grenade in, tie up their legs... do they self destruct? What kind of hum do they make before they go boom? There was a self-destructing speeder in the TV series, but that's not the same.)

So let's look at the soldiers. Last comic, we see a huge number of soldiers appearing with the walker. They spread out in front of the walker. This comic starts with two in the first panel, then has a lot more in the second panel.

So who is killing the soldiers, and why do we not see them shooting? It sure looks like there's a lot of bodies in the center of the last panel, but we don't see them being killed. Presumably, this is just the choice of screen captures. It sure looks like we see a soldier being shot in the last panel. But we don't see who is shooting them at all. Are they really running into a killbox?

Meanwhile, all of the other civilians have gotten out of the way. "Our heroes" are the only ones left to get into trouble.

— Keybounce


Never Say Sorry For Being Nice

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:25 am
[syndicated profile] kategriffin_feed

Posted by KateG

Have I told you about writers?

Needly, anxious, insecure, badly paid, desperate to be informed that they’re wonderful – writers make actors look almost normal, and I say this as someone who has spent far too much time in contact with both.

Alone at their keyboards, writers spend a significant amount of their time pining for the moment someone will turn round and exclaim ‘yes, you are THE BEST and I LOVE your books’ and when it happens they’ll turn bright red and mumble something about how you’re too kind and it’ll be catastrophically awkward and everyone will be sorta like, ‘and uh, so, isn’t the weather grey?’

“Uh, so uh, um….” mumbles the writer desperately.  “It’s uh… yeah.”

And at this point, you, the incredibly kind human who’s just said something to a writer, might apologise.

Because the writer looks awkward.

And you’re a fan.

And it’s all gone a bit weird.

But guys… let it not be a big secret that you have just personally made that writer’s day.  Even if they look like they want to vanish into the pits of the earth, when you said something nice to whichever wandering scribbler it was, you were a shining knight in armour.  Their heart soared, their fingers tingled, light came into their souls and minds.  You did a noble deed in a wicked world, and in a few kind words gave more joy and gratitude to a scribbler than is probably healthy or wise.

Never, ever, feel like you need to apologise for saying something kind to a writer.

Just ‘cos they’re socially inept doesn’t change the fact that you, with your actual confidence and passion, have lifted up their hearts.

For which, on behalf of most scribblers everywhere who are too awkward to know how to take a compliment properly…. thank you.

a nice, easy day

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:21 pm
kareina: (Default)
[personal profile] kareina
Didn't get as much done as I had planed, due to an unexpected 2.5 hour nap after lunch (and thus didn't manage to get out the door on time to go to folk music), but I made some progress on my great colour-coding of sheet music to make it easier to learn to play the songs on the dulcimer project.

I had much fun at folk dance class tonight. A couple of my friends who normal play folk music and don't dance have decided to start dancing with us, and I am delighted that they did. Then I came home and checked registrations for Norrskensfesten, and we had two new sign up since yesterday--one is a friend from the Helsinki area of Finland, who is pretty much always playing music at events, so he will be a delightful addition to the event.

Does anyone know where to find "saved drafts" on Dreamwidth? When I pushed the "post" button a bit ago the page asked me "would you like to restore from a saved draft?" and gave me the title of yesterday's post (plenty of newcomers), and I was confused, as I remember actually posting that. I went to another tab, checked, and the post doesn't show, so I returned to the first tab, intending to click "yes" to the question, but it had vanished, and I can't find any buttons anywhere to find the draft...

September ODE

Sep. 17th, 2017 05:46 pm
jpgsawyer: (Default)
[personal profile] jpgsawyer
Today I did some show jumping and some cross country as part of the fun clear round day.

I went clear in show jumping at 65cm and then went round the cross country. We did well in the cross country but we had a run out at Jump 4 where I tried the hardest of all the jumps. Some work needed here.

A map of the cross country is here.

Jump 1 - The usual start run and I took the smaller jump to get him started.

Jump 2 - I did the right hand side and it was good to get him going on a slightly larger jump

Jump3 - I did the larger jump again here and only had to yell to get the dog walkers out of the way.

Jump4 - There where three options here. I have done the right one many times so I tried to do the more complicated double.

It didn't go well. We did the first element okay but Harry didn't like the second bit and so ran out! Ooops. He did it the second time as well. :( Oh well practise required here.

Jump 5 - I took the left option here. It is a nice big trakehner. It is a good fun jump.

Jump 6 - A couple of options here but we did this one (yes this is the bigger option). Harry was a champ.

Jump7 - Bit hard to see but these are two skinnies. I took the taller left one.

Jump8 After a good long canter (and may be a jump that wasn't on the course. :D ) There was this one.

Jump 9
Two options here I took the larger left one.

Jump 10 - Three options here I could feel Harry getting a bit tired so I decided to take the more technical but lower middle option. It is quite narrow.

Jump 11 - Took the right option here as it is a lovely jump. Then as the ground was a bit slippery I took a wide turn before the next one which is a sharp right turn.

Jump 12 - Took the middle option here and unlike at the ODE I didn't get waked in the face by the tree! :D

Jump 13
An old friend in the Spinney.

Jump 14 - Took the small option here but it is plenty big enough.
Jump 15
Another well known jump but I took it straight on which was fun.

Jump 16
Took the ditch here as Harry was tiring and that is an amazingly large jump on the right.

Jump 17
Whimped out here and took the small tyres.

Jump 18
Final option I took the big jump here.

Escape: Part 4

Sep. 15th, 2017 12:00 pm
[syndicated profile] experimentserial_feed

Posted by Micah Edwards

[You’re joining a story already in progress.  You might want to start at the beginning of the current book, Day of Reckoning, or you can start from the very beginning with Book 1: The Reluctant Superhero.]

[< Previous ]

For once, luck is on my side, and I make it out of sight of the house without any visible pursuers.  I slow my run to a jog, continuing to take intersecting streets at random in an effort to throw off any Vince clones who might be driving around looking for me.  A sense of futility quickly begins to set in, though.  Not only is my meager jogging speed totally useless compared to a car, if the original Vince is the one driving, he can clearly track me regardless.  Staying on foot isn’t a sustainable strategy.

I start scanning the houses I pass, and soon enough I see what I’m looking for — a bicycle leaning up against a side wall.  There aren’t even any cars in the driveway, so there’s a good chance that no one’s home.  I can steal the bike and make my getaway without anyone seeing me.  Then I’ll be moving faster and tiring myself out less.  It’s not as convenient as a car, but I have no idea how to hotwire a car.  I definitely know how to take an unlocked bike.

That’s not to say that I feel good about this decision.  I have to do it, and I’m going to, but it feels lousy.  My feeling only worsens when I get closer and realize it’s a kid’s bike.  This poor kid is going to get home from school to find his bike missing.  Then, after looking around frantically to find where he might have put it, he’ll get yelled at by his parents for letting it get stolen.  So not only will he be out a bike, he’ll have to sit through a lecture.  Depending on the parents, he may or may not get another bike.

I make a promise to myself to return the bike if possible, but it sounds lame even in my own head.  I wheel the bike down the driveway and awkwardly straddle it.  It’s much too short for me, and when I try to work the pedals, I bang one knee painfully on the handlebars.  In the end, I’m forced to stand up on the pedals to get up to speed.

Still, even with the guilt and the bruised knee, this is an improvement over running.  I still need to figure out a plan, but at least I’m on the move and more maneuverable than I was before.  I’ve bought myself a little more breathing room.

Of course, I thought that when I got to the house, too, and what did that get me?  A sandwich, true, which is something, but I could have gotten so much more.  Supplies, a backpack, some money.  I’ve never been the kind of guy to keep a go-bag by the door, but I could have put something together instead of screwing around reading about myself online.

In retrospect, I have no idea why I haven’t been the kind of guy who keeps a go-bag by the door.  I’m certainly the kind of guy who’s likely to need one, as the current circumstances attest.

I’ve braked for a stop sign when I hear a voice shouting, “Hey!  Hey, you!”

I look up to see a woman advancing angrily on me.  Whatever she wants, it can’t be good, and I eye the cross-traffic ahead of me, looking for a chance to peel out without immediately getting hit.  Well, as much as I can “peel out” on a kid’s bicycle, anyway.

Speaking of which, that seems to be the focus of her anger.  “That’s not your bicycle!  Where did you get that?”

“What?  It’s mine,” I say, sitting awkwardly on a bicycle that’s about a foot too short for me.

“You liar!  I know that bike.  That’s my daughter’s friend’s bike.  Where did you get it?”

“No, it’s mine,” I insist.  She’s stopped at the edge of the street, possibly because she’s realized that she’s unarmed and isn’t interested in getting into a physical altercation.  This works for me, as I’m really not interested in getting into one, either.

She’s clearly primed for a verbal altercation, though.  “You’re a thief.  Thief!  I’ll call the police!”

“Lady, look.  I need this bicycle.  I’ll return it.”

“Don’t you ‘lady’ me!  Thief!  Call the police!”

She’s backing up for the house now, and although there still isn’t a significant gap in traffic ahead of me, I see something better: a bus, way off at the edge of visibility.  I don’t know where the next bus stop is, but on a busy street like this it can’t be far.  Giving up on the road, I turn the bike toward the sidewalk and start pedaling.

“Come back here!  Thief!  I’m calling the police!” I hear her yelling.

I call back over my shoulder, “I’ll leave it at the bus stop!  Just come get it!”

I don’t know if she hears me or not, but I don’t have time to wait and see.  I’ve got a bus to catch.

The bike slews from side to side as I pedal frantically, trying to coax the one-speed bicycle to racing speeds.  Fortunately, the light drizzle of rain has ensured that the sidewalk is sparsely populated, and the few people who are there are courteous enough — or wise enough — to move aside and give me room to get by.  As I blast through an intersection, I glance over at the main road to see if there’s room to rejoin the traffic there, but the cars are still whizzing by compared to my speed.  I don’t know how anyone’s supposed to ride a bike on the roads without dedicated lanes.

My reign of terror on the sidewalk comes quickly to an end as I see my goal: a NO PARKING – BUS STOP sign.  I screech the bike to a halt and leap off, drawing odd looks from the man and woman already waiting for the bus.  Before they can ask me why I’ve been riding a kid’s bike like I’ve got a monster chasing me, though, the bus arrives.

I let the couple on the bus first, then lean my stolen bike up against the bus stop signpost and step onto the bus.  As I’m putting my handful of change into the ticket machine, the bus driver says to me, “You can’t chain your bike up there.”

“It’s okay,” I tell him.  “It’s not chained.”

This is a fairly stupid response, but it seems to work, or at least steer him onto a tangential subject.  His brow furrows and he asks, “Aren’t you afraid it’ll get stolen?”

“No, my friend is coming to pick it up right now,” I say.  He shrugs and closes the door, and I take a seat and let my heart rate slow down.

I’m honestly amazed that I’ve made it this far.  I thought I was totally done for when Vince caught me at home, and even after I made it out the front door I was certain I was only delaying the inevitable.  I must’ve really gotten him with that chemical cloud.  I thought it would just buy a few seconds, but for me to have gotten away entirely, he and his clones must not have been able to give chase.  I figured that at least one of them would have chased me in the car, but maybe they needed it to get him to the hospital or something.

The hospital!  I can’t go there, for fear of riling up Brian, but I can call Doc Simmons and see if she’s got any helpful ideas.  She got me the lawyer this morning, after all.  It’s grasping at straws, I admit, but when there’s nothing else in reach, straws look like a pretty good option.

The rain has picked up a bit by the time I hop off the bus near a gas station, so I hustle to the safety of its overhang.  I’m hoping that they still have a payphone, which it turns out they do.  Unfortunately, when I pick up the receiver, there’s no dial tone.  Also, I get something gross on my hand.  I don’t even want to consider what it might be, so I just wipe my hand on my pants and go inside.

The attendant doesn’t even look up when the bell dings, so I go up to the counter and ask, “Excuse me, do you have a phone?”

“Outside,” he grunts, flapping his hand in the vague direction of the payphone.

“It’s not working.  Do you have one here I can use?”

He sighs and shoves a cordless phone across the counter.  I pick it up, hesitate and say, “Sorry, can you tell me the number for Carnation Hospital?”

He glares at me and I add, “I mean, I could call 411, but I think that might charge you.”

He sighs again, louder, and pulls out a cell phone.  He types on it for a minute, then holds up the screen for me to read.  It’s a search page with Carnation’s number displayed.

“Thank you,” I say, punching it into the cordless phone.  He grunts, returns his phone to his pocket and clearly dismisses me.

The receptionist connects me to Doc Simmons’s line, and after a couple of rings she picks up.

“Hello?” she says, not sounding any less irritated than this morning.

“Hi, Doc,” I say.  “So, uh.  How’s things?”

“I hear you’ve been having an interesting day, Dan,” says the doc.  “Brayden called.  He’s not thrilled with you.”

“Yeah, uh.  I bet not.  I hope he’s not in too much trouble.”

“He’ll be fine.  Where are you?”

“Um.  Who have you talked to today?”

“No one with suggestion nanos, since I assume that’s what you’re asking.  In fact, no one at all in person.  I’ve been working with Brian, testing out his active nanos to see if I can find anything about what makes them work or what links them to you.  I’ve barely scratched the surface, but it’s truly amazing work.”

I cut the doc off before she can wax too enthusiastic about Ichabot’s brilliance.  It’s sort of a sore subject for me.  “No one in person?  So people have called?”

“Yes, although the only one I think you’ll be interested to hear about is Officer Peterson.  He seemed quite interested in talking to you.”

“Yeah, I’m sure he did.”

“I think you should call him back, Dan.”

“What?  Why?”

“Why?  Because he’s on your side, even if he doesn’t know it right now.  If you can talk him back around, you’ll have an ally in the police department again.  Which I think you could really use at this moment.”

She’s got a point.  “Okay.  Thanks, Doc.  Hey, can I get his number from you?”

She tells me the number, then adds, “And Dan?  I’d like you to come by the hospital.”

“What?  Why?” I ask again, this time with suspicion instead of surprise.  She explicitly told me not to come there earlier.  What’s changed?  Did Ichabot get to her?

“I want to check out the interactions between your nanobots and Brian’s.  I have some theories, but the only samples I have from you are old and inactive, and I need fresh ones to experiment with.”

No, no one’s gotten to her.  That’s the doc through and through; science above all else.

“Okay, if I can I will.”

“Please make it a priority.”

That startles a laugh from me.  “Yeah, Doc, can do.  Got nothing else going on at the moment.”

“This is important, Dan!”

“Yeah, got it.  I didn’t really have anywhere else to be, anyway.  You sure Brian’s gonna be okay with this?”

“I’ve got it handled.”

“All right, I’ll make my way there.  Sorry for whatever trouble I drag with me.”

“You always are, Dan.”

[ Next >]


Escape: Part 3

Sep. 8th, 2017 12:00 pm
[syndicated profile] experimentserial_feed

Posted by Micah Edwards

[< Previous ]

Entertainingly, my very first thought is, “I should call 911!”  This despite the fact that I’ve spent all afternoon trying to avoid the police.  It’s hard to break a lifetime of ingrained habits.

I search frantically for a better plan, but the best that my brain can conjure up is apparently “Stall.”  That’s pretty much the mental equivalent of a “Please wait, loading…” screen.  Still, if it’s all I’ve got, then I’ll work with it.

I figure that the first move in any successful stall is to get the other guy talking, so I ask the first question that comes into my mind.  “How did you find me?  Did you figure that I’d think that the police wouldn’t think to look for me here, since I obviously wouldn’t go to the most obvious place?”

Vince, still in the ruined doorway, tilts his head to the side quizzically as he looks at me.  “Did that make sense in your diseased brain?”

He steps inside, and I stand up from the chair and retreat as he advances on me slowly.  “I found you,” he says through gritted teeth, “because you feel like a tear in a map in my brain.  It doesn’t matter where I’m looking, where I’m thinking about going.  My eyes are drawn to that ripped spot every time.  I couldn’t not know how to get to you if I wanted to.”

Vince’s mood seems to have dramatically worsened since his arrival.  At least when he kicked down the door, he was faking humor.  Now he has his teeth bared like some sort of feral animal, and from the look in his eyes I really can’t be sure that he won’t try to attack me like one, too.  I recall my attempts to talk to Brian while he was in the grips of the nano-inspired hatred, and how the very sound of my voice drove him into a rage.  This is probably not a situation that can be improved by conversation, then.

My eyes flicker to the kitchen doorway, measuring the distance.  As if this is a prearranged signal, all three Vinces lunge at me.  Their movements are almost perfectly synchronized, which is unsurprising since they think almost exactly alike.  The only thing that saves me from being immediately caught is that since they all came to the same idea independently, they all rush the same spot instead of fanning out.  This allows me to stay one step ahead of their grasping hands as I sprint into the kitchen.

Never before in my life have I cared about interior doors, but now I find myself cursing their lack.  I tear open the door to the refrigerator as I run past, hoping to slow down my pursuers, and a slam behind me tells me both that I was successful, and that they’re right on my heels.  With my left hand, I snag a chair from the table and turn my run into a spin, swinging the chair in a wide arc around me.

I almost hit the wall, which would have been a fatal mistake since one of the Vinces is nearly upon me.  Fortunately, I miss it by inches and slam the edge of the chair’s seat directly into the side of his face.  Blood spatters, two of the chair legs crack and fly off, and Vince grunts and careens off into the table, smacking his face into it before hitting the ground heavily.

“Back!” I shout, brandishing the shattered chair at the next Vince, but he grins nastily and doesn’t even slow his charge until he collides with the chair.  I’m knocked back by the impact, so I take an extra step back and swing the chair again, crashing it into Vince’s shoulder and head.

I see his skin briefly torn by the impact, only to immediately knit itself back together.  The chair, meanwhile, loses another leg and part of the seat, and this time it’s not entirely due to the impact.  Vince has stolen pieces of its material to rebuild his own body.  For the same reason the police couldn’t fight him with their batons, I’m not going to be able to do any damage with this chair.  And in the time it took me to try, his other clone has shouldered past him and is coming at me, fists up in a boxer’s stance.

I throw the chair at the clone on the grounds that maybe it’ll do some good and run for the hallway.  I reach my bedroom ahead of my pursuers, slam and lock the door, and knock my wooden dresser over in front of it for good measure.  The drawers jar open and spill their contents onto the floor.

From the other side of the door comes Vince’s mocking voice.  “I just broke down your front door, spitrag.  You think this can stop me?”

“Why are you after me?” I shout, looking frantically around my room for anything useful.  I don’t see anything immediately likely to get me out of this situation.

“To kill you!” shouts Vince.  This is punctuated by a thump that rattles the door, but it’s a solid oak door and might actually be stronger than the front door.  It should hold him long enough for me to come up with some sort of a plan, anyway.

“I can tell you who did this to you.  I can tell you where to find him!  He can stop it!”

“I like what he did to me, moron.  I love this!  The only part that’s bad about it is having to feel your festering pus-wound of a life.  And I can fix that myself.”

My search for useful items has led me to the attached bathroom.  The cabinet under the sink has a bunch of different cleaning chemicals, and it seems like I should be able to do some damage with those.  Even if he can heal it, I might be able to blind him for a second or something, long enough to get past.  I sweep them all up in my arms and head back into the main part of the bedroom.

A faint scratching noise snaps my eyes to the fallen dresser.  I see grasping fingers on top of it and at first, I think someone trying to climb out from underneath it.  Seconds later, I realize the truth is much worse.

Vince, on the far side of the door, is converting the door into a mass of animated flesh, foregoing the complete cloning process in order to make a Lovecraftian puddle of semi-sentient limbs and organs.  Not only is that horrifying and potentially dangerous, it’s also stealing away the material of the door at a concerning rate.  Vince doesn’t have to break the door down if he just converts it.  I look frantically around the room, at my spilled clothes and my armload of chemicals, but nothing seems to offer a way out.  The pool of flesh is creeping up the sides of the door, turning the frame into fingers, eyeballs and the occasional tongue.

“I’ll be in there in a minute, Dan!” Vince calls in a sing-song voice.  “I’ve got all of the exits blocked.”

I rush to the window, and sure enough, Vince is on my back lawn.  Is this one of the ones who was at the front door with him?  Are there more that I hadn’t seen?  Even if it’s just one of him, he’s a better fighter than I am and he’s obviously prepared for me.

“There’s no way out but past me.  Might as well take it like a man, you worm.”

Suddenly, an idea occurs to me.  It’s stupid and possibly suicidal, but it might create enough confusion for me to slip by.  Rushing to the bed, I place both hands on the comforter and focus on intensifying.

“Uuuuuuuuup!” I chant, clutching the comforter in my fists and raising it into the air.  The material smolders, then bursts into flames.  Thick smoke begins to rise from the bed.  I cough and retreat to the bathroom, returning with a wet washcloth held to my face.

The bed is blazing merrily now and smoke is filling the room.  I crouch low to the floor and pour all of the bathroom chemicals into the largest jug among them, a multi-gallon container of Clorox bleach.  I don’t know if it’ll explode or what, but I cap it, put it on the dresser by the door and hope for some sort of a distraction.

“Why do I smell smoke, Dan?  What nasty little trick are you trying?”  Vince kicks at the door and, weakened by the structural damage it’s taken, the door pops open.  He kicks again, shoving the dresser a few inches backwards.  The smoke rushes out of the room and I hear him cough.  This is probably about as good a moment as I’m going to get.

Washcloth still pressed to my mouth and nose, I crawl over to the door, grab the jug of bathroom chemicals and crouch by the entrance.  As Vince kicks it again, shoving the dresser far enough back for him to enter, I pop the cap on the jug and squeeze it as hard as I can.  Thick white vapor billows out along with a gout of liquid, and Vince screams, coughs violently and staggers backwards.

I leap from my crouch into the hallway, slamming my shoulder into Vince and knocking him off of his feet.  He grabs at my ankle as I run past, so I chuck the bleach jug at his face.  He pulls his hands up to protect himself and I’m running free.

The smoke alarm goes off as I make it to the kitchen, and once again my brain kicks in with, “Call 911!”  Not helpful.

I’m heading for the front door and feeling like I might be home free, when Vince suddenly steps into the door frame.  This isn’t the original, though, which means he’ll take damage.  He steps in to punch at me, but I’m riding high on adrenaline and duck under it.  He manages an elbow to the back of my head, and I see stars as I drop to one knee.  But even as he’s closing in with a kick, I rise back up, putting the full force of my body into an uppercut that smashes him full in the face.  Now Vince is the one on the ground, and my kick to his head is successful.

I’d love to take a moment to catch my breath, but the fire alarm is still shrieking, original Vince is probably back up by now and there could be who-knows-how-many more clones waiting for me.  I stagger out into the street, coughing, and pick a direction to start running again.

[ Next >]


Episode 1549: Walk This Way

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:11 am
[syndicated profile] darths_and_droids_feed

Episode 1549: Walk This Way

If you want to introduce some plot point to your adventure, try throwing it into the middle of a running battle, instead of just having an NPC talk about it during a social encounter.

Actually it might be interesting to try doing this for all your plot points. You might need a lot of fighting though.

Keybounce writes:

In panel two, did Bria just throw a grenade back at the troopers? Also, that's a pretty darn big explosion.

Now then, containers of large crystals. Are these by any chance Khyber saber crystals? Light saber crystals? Special hyperspace piloting crystals? Solidified spice from sandworm extract?

Were there any chicken walkers in the prequel trilogy? Is this the first appearance of a chicken walker in the Star Wars timeline? And can you imagine a meerkat walker?

Once again, we are reminded that talking is not a free action. The enemy is taking action even while you are trying to figure out what the enemy even is.

Still, does this mean that if you have a large group of four-legged walkers approaching you, that you are on the cow level?

— Keybounce

aurilee writes:

As of writing this annotation, I have had "How Many Toes Does a Fish Have?" (from Tacky the Penguin) stuck in my head for a good 3 hours. And thinking about it now, it's just the tune my dad invented when reading me the book as a kid, so it's entirely possible that I can safely not infect anyone else with the song.

For those not familiar, the ditty goes:

How many toes does a fish have?
How many wings on a cow?
I wonder, yup I wonder

But moving on...

I guess chronologically this is the first "walker-type" machine the GM had introduced. The AT-ATs then would be a case of "these ones are even cooler and scarier because I added more legs!"

As for these walkers, Sally seems to have the most accurate analogy. It definitely looks more like a meerkat. With guns, that is.

If only the GM had some old Lion King figurines lying around, he could have just made a big commando-Timon to terrorise the marketplace.

— aurilee


I love Fridays!

Sep. 15th, 2017 09:54 pm
kareina: (Default)
[personal profile] kareina
The best part about working half-time is that I get Fridays off (why work five 4-hour days, when I can work four 5-hour days?). This means that I get an extra day on the weekend to accomplish whatever needs doing. Today I:

*washed my bed sheets and underwear
*cleaned out the gutters on the house (boy, did that need doing)
*put the deck furniture into the shed for the winter (we are into rainy autumn weather now, we probably won't need it again before the snow flies)
*cooked a yummy lunch for myself (kale, broccoli, zucchini, broad beans, carrot, garlic, alfalfa sprouts, almonds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, eggs, butter, and a hint of curry spices)
*made a bread dough to bake tomorrow for the Frostheim picnic
*read an amazing short story (if you haven't read it yet, read the prequil first)
*cooked 7 liters of black currants down to 3.5 liters of jam
*finished the painting on the bridges of my hammer dulcimer

By the time I was done with that it was 17:00 and David was home from work, so we carried the extra desk downstairs, where it will have its top replaced with Caroline's nice table top before it is taken to the apartment so they will have a pretty table, with raise-lower legs. Then our friends Birger and Siv from the Luleå Hembygdsgille dropped by for a visit, and I showed her some of the wool fabric I have left after having used some for costumes for me, and she liked both the brown/indigo wool and the light blue/grey wool twill enough that she bought both. She plans to make a viking dress before Norrskensfesten to go with the broaches she bought at the Lofotr viking museum in Lofoten this summer. (I really need to go back there!)

After they left and David went to the other house took the time to clean up, package up the jam into plastic containers for the freezer, and then sat down to the computer to tell the world (via FB) how wonderful the story I read today was. Seriously, while I love all of [personal profile] hrj's writing, Hyddwen (and Hoywverch, which I read on Wednesday) were even more my cup of tea than usual. I think it was the delightful blend of very traditional story telling and classic tropes with a powerful loving relationship of a sort which might have been unexpected in such a time period, but instead felt totally natural, normal, and right. I wish I had read this story while still in high school. Sadly, she hadn't gotten around to writing it that long ago.

After that I updated the Norrskensfesten spreadsheet to show the latest registrations, and worried for a bit because we have only 22 people registered so far. Then I checked last year's spreadsheet, and as of 15 September we had only 21 people registered, but by the time the event happened that had grown to 100 people, so perhaps we will yet get enough to cover the cost of the hall (not that it truly matters--Frostheim can afford the site if we don't, but it is nice if an event doesn't lose money). Of course, the fact that this year the event is two weeks earlier than last year means that I can't really compare the same date, but I am trying to let these numbers comfort me anyway, since worry never helps.

Now I should do my yoga, gather a few things to bring to the picnic tomorrow (especially wool, as it is likely to rain, at least some), and get some sleep.

Episode 1548: Stun of a Gun

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:11 am
[syndicated profile] darths_and_droids_feed

Episode 1548: Stun of a Gun

If you're going to take cover, try taking cover behind something innocuous like a tree or a wall. As opposed to an armed vehicle. That belongs to the other side.

Actually, another good tip is to avoid combat with two other sides, both of them potentially considering you an enemy.

aurilee writes:

When setting your phaser to stun still kills somebody, it's either a tragedy to mourn or just the coolest thing ever.

Although if you're in the Stargate universe, it's really easy to accidentally kill someone instead of stunning them. You just have to hit them one too many times.

Cassian doesn't seem to have a lot of combat experience. I'm starting to think he really is just a pilot. And not one of those science fiction "I'm a pilot which also means I'm really good at fighting and shooting and hand-to-hand combat" kind of pilots.

In contrast, Bria has so far been able to think quickly on her feet, assess a tactical situation and correctly determine why people were shooting guns. We don't know much about her past yet, but from what we've seen, I'd guess she's been in combat situations before, and has considerable experience in the Rebellion.

Speaking of the Rebellion... isn't it plausible that the people attacking an Imperial convoy are Rebels? This could come back to bite Cassian and Bria in the butt.

— aurilee

Keybounce writes:

Stun weapons? Stun Weapons?!?

We've seen a stun weapon once in Star Wars, in the famous Capture The Princess scene. In Da&Dr? #681/#685 make no mention of Princess being captured with a stun weapon. (Although, in fairness, I loved re-reading that scene knowing this was her mother.)

But as I look at the size of that thing—the explosion in the last panel—I cannot help but wonder what normal grenades are like in this world.

Meanwhile, not only are they talking to each other in panel 1 despite being who knows how far apart, somehow Bria manages to get trapped next to the tank. Is this another example of the escort NPC trying to get killed off? It's not "If Bria dies, nothing is lost". That's mission failure, and re-load from last save.

Seriously though: Bria's mission is to avoid attracting attention, and contact someone for the Rebellion. Here she is, attracting as much attention as possible.

I don't know. If this was Groot, I'd be wondering if she was a plant.

— Keybounce


[syndicated profile] darths_and_droids_feed

Episode 1547: Never Work With Children and NPCs

Many game systems have a skill for Animal Handling. But no skill for Child Handling.

If you're a parent, try throwing some children into the game and watch as non-parent players struggle to figure out how to take care of them in difficult situations.

Keybounce writes:

I really love color management done right. I really hate color management done wrong.

Panel one has a large amount of motion blur. And it sure looks like there is something on Bria's chest. I played around with my video settings again; I found a control on my TV monitor that improves the dark areas without destroying gamma; I used both monitors; I went back and looked at all the prior comics so far.

The only thing I have seen up until now is that there is a clasp holding her robe in place at the top of her chest. There hasn't been a single full-front chest view of her up until now. The details are very hard to make out, but it sure looks like there is some sort of device on the front of her chest. If she was a police officer, I'd think it would be a body-cam; if this was Paranoia, it would be the session recorder. Either way, it's the thing you want to destroy so that your view of what you report back to your superior is the only view.

Motion blur is horrible here. I don't know if JJ Abrams was responsible for this movie or not; I know that people have complained that he needs a steady-cam because of the blur.

Either way, it is really interesting looking at the difference between how the PCs think, and how the NPC thinks. The PCs are busy spending time debating whether or not they should rescue someone, and pointing out just how risky it is for the future to save an unknown person; Bria just gets it done. This scene clearly shows that talking is not a free action.

But I just love how the GM is talking to himself, with the whole "I don't know how to thank you"/"saying thanks would have done it" bit. Bria's line here could have easily come from a PC.

Oh, and I absolutely love the respect level here. "If Bria dies, nothing's lost!".

The bottom line here: The PCs think of NPCs as disposable. I cannot wait to see how the NPCs will dispose of the PCs. We've been told that there's a TPK, and I want to see it happen.

Hmm. So, something I just realized after this stewed for a night: This was only ever supposed to be a one-off campaign. A mini-episode set in the same world. The characters were throw-aways. The players treated their own PCs as throw-aways, just as the PCs are treating the NPCs.

The players aren't respecting their characters, any more than the characters respect the background. I wonder if maybe they wanted to go out with a big "ka-bloom, now lets get back to the real story".

— Keybounce

aurilee writes:

The GM's being pretty snarky with himself there.

And we get to see some further expansion on Pete's PC-first philosophy. He actually can't accept that an NPC could be as important as a PC.

And in the process of the GM getting fed up, we see Bria being the brave hero and Cassian being... indifferent.

From Bria's perspective, Cassian was just twiddling his thumbs while some girl was in the middle of a firefight. I wonder if this will colour Bria's opinion of Cassian going forward?

It does help paint him as a "rebel who only cares for himself and his own goals" though, and the fight with "his conscience" could be him reconsidering his life choices, so I guess that works. Despite the possibility that maybe Annie wasn't intending to play him that way.

Wow, that makes Pete responsible for complex roleplaying!

Amazing things happening here.

— aurilee


hrj: (LHMP)
[personal profile] hrj
Today's blog features a museum exhibit catalog of the queer history of Boston. I particularly liked all the photographs of women known to have been in "Boston Marriages".

I realize, on posting this, that I completely blew past LHMP entry number 150 without any fanfare. Entry 100 corresponded closely with the release of The Mystic Marriage and I used it as an opportunity for a promotional giveaway. Depending on how many multi-blog publications I cover in the next year or so, I suppose it's possible that entry 200 might provide an opportunity to do a cross-promotion with the next Alpennia novel, Floodtide, although there's nothing even faintly resembling a projected finish date for it. My LHMP publication spreadsheet currently has about 400 titles. I suppose it's possible that I'll eventually be celebrating an Entry 500. Who knows? But let's keep our sights on more immediate goals: what sort of celebratory event should I plan for LHMP #200?


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