Shared Spirit

Shared Spirit

The faint purple glow and the impossible coordination gave away the kobolds’ true nature.

Shared Spirit Kobold       CR 1

XP 400

Kobold warrior 1

LN Small humanoid (reptilian)

Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5


DEFENSE


AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 armor, +1 Dex, +1 natural, +1 size)

hp 6 (1d10)

Fort +2, Ref +1, Will 0

Weaknesses (light sensitivity)


OFFENSE


Speed 30 ft.

Melee Spiked Skin +1 (1d4-1)

Ranged Light Crossbow +1 (1d6/19-20)

Special Attacks smite chaos 1/day (+1 damage)

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 1st)

constant-root

1/day-ant haul


STATISTICS


Str 9, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 11, Cha 8

Base Atk +1; CMB -1; CMD 10 (+2 against move or trip)

Feats Skill Focus (Perception)

Skills Craft (trapmaking) +7, Perception +6, Stealth +5; Racial Modifiers +2 Craft (trapmaking), +2 Perception, +2 Profession (Miner)

Languages Draconic

SQ crafty, Shared Conscious, Spiked Skin

 

A Shared Spirit is a creature influenced by the dragon Haftir.  While they are not directly controlled by him, their wills are bent to fulfill his wishes.  Their skin glows a light purple, a side-effect of the Influence coursing through their bodies.

Influence is a purple powder created by Haftir.  If it is consumed, the creature must make a Fort save (DC 14) or they will begin turning into a Shared Spirit.  In 24 hours, the creature can make another Fort save (DC 18), and if it fails they become a Shared Spirit creature.  If they succeed, they take 4 temporary Constitution damage and the Influence wears off.  They can’t be infected by Influence again for 72 hours.  Stronger forms of Influence exist that are harder to fight off.

 

Creating a Shared Spirit

“Shared Spirit” is an acquired template that can be added to any creature.  A Shared Spirit creature retains the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

CR: HD 5 or less, as base creature +1 (rounded down); HD 6-10, as base creature +2; HD 11 or more, as base creature +3.

Alignment: Lawful neutral.

Special Qualities and Defenses: A Shared Spirit creature gains Spiked Skin, which functions similarly to the spiked armor weapon.  Shared Spirits are considered proficient with its use.  Small and smaller creatures deal 1d4+Strength modifier damage, Medium creatures deal 1d6+STR damage, Large creatures deal 1d8+STR damage, and Huge and larger creatures deal 1d10+STR damage.  This damage is applied whenever the Shared Spirit grapples a target, and it can also be used as an attack.  They also gain the Shared Conscious.  Each Shared Spirit creature within 30 ft. of another Shared Spirit creature provides a +1 competence bonus to Attack and AC (to a maximum of +5), and a Shares Spirit creature cannot be flat footed unless all other Shared Spirit creatures within 30 ft. would also be flat footed.

Special Abilities: A Shared Spirit gains the following.

Smite Chaos (Su): Once per day it can deal extra damage equal to its HD (maximum of +20) with a melee attack against a chaotic foe.

Spell-Like Abilities: A half-celestial with an Int or Wis score of 8 or higher has a cumulative number of spell-like abilities depending on its Hit Dice. Unless otherwise noted, an ability is usable once per day.  Caster level equals the creature’s HD (or the caster level of the base creature’s spell-like abilities, whichever is higher).

 

HD Abilities HD Abilities
1-2 Ant haul, root constant 11-12 Protection from energy 3/day
3-4 Detect chaos, fairness 3/day 13-14 Absorbing inhalation, echolocation constant
5-6 Entangle* 3/day, jump 15-16 Communal protection from energy 3/day
7-8 Communal ant haul, death from below constant 17-18 Mislead, water breathing constant
9-10 Aura sight constant, fog cloud 19-20 Ki shout 2/day, regenerate

 

*The range is changed to self.  Instead of vines entangling targets, tendrils of Influence entangle all creatures that are not Shared Spirit creatures.

Other Shared Spirit creatures are not affected by the harmful effects of the spell-like abilities.

Abilities: If a creature that gains the Shared Spirit template and its Intelligence or Wisdom is below 6, increase it to 6.  If it is above 6, add +2.

Game Development Preview: Dungeon Ambassador

I’m back from my blogging hiatus, though I can’t promise regular updates just yet.  School is keeping me very busy.  However, I have something that I’ve been wanting to share, so I thought I’d take the time to write a blog on it.

I recently began working on a game using RPG Maker VX Ace.  I realized that my prior project was too ambitious and unmarketable, so I decided to scale back and start a completely new project.  I’ve heard many people complaining that too many video games are built around violence, and to an extent I agree. Therefore, I decided to make a noncombat dungeon crawler, a game that I could still exercise a lot of imagination over without having to boil down every encounter to “kill x enemies.”  I have a lot of ideas splashing around in my head for this game, and I’ve already included a few in the little progress I’ve achieved thus far.

To make this preview, I played through my current build of the game, taking screenshots frequently to provide an adequate understanding of the game.  Unfortunately, I do not have any original art or assets made for the game yet, so I used in-engine assets for the current build.  Original art will be in the finished product, but I’ve decided to prioritize functionality over appearance for now.

Before I get started with the actual preview, if you’re feeling adventurous: 1 2 3

If you want to see the screenshots without reading the preview, go here.

It begins.

You begin the game waking up in a strange boarding house.

That certainly was kind

After a few lines of dialogue, she asks an important question.

At the moment, the difference is only cosmetic.

Male

Female

For now, let’s stick with female.

She asks another important question.

I decided to go with my standard name

Seems like she wants a change of scenery

After she leaves you are free to check around the room.

It’s impolite to use other people’s beds

That’s better

But, if you want to progress, you must head downstairs.

She has a few more things to say.

And you get to the first major decision in the game!

Merchant

Traveler

Outlaw

Awkward

Priest

Regardless of your choice, the town is accepting.

I’ll pause right here to talk about that choice.  Each option provides certain (mostly unimplemented) benefits to the player.  The Merchant currently gives the player 100 Gold to start with and (unimplemented) give him/her a discount at all shops.  The Traveler (unimplemented) can use certain items longer without them breaking.  The Outlaw (partially implemented) gets a free lockpick and can automatically unlock most locks.  The Priest (unimplemented) resists poisons and can heal more efficiently.  This decision will be important later, I’m sure.

I suck at names, part 1

She’s very particular about her beds

Ooh, is that a quest?  But before you can leave, she gives you something they found when they rescued you.

If you try to talk to her again, she’ll remind you of your quest.

Once you’re done talking to her, you’re free to examine your menu.

I know, not very impressive.  It’s just the default RPG Maker menu, except…

This game contains (mostly unimplemented) survival elements!  Script thanks to Apellonyx!  Moving on, if you check out your Items menu, you’ll find the Item Encyclopedia under Key Items!

Activate it to open the Item Encyclopedia!

Script thanks to White Demon!  Moving on from there, you are able to leave the Boarding House and see the beautiful, yet mostly empty town of Sunfield.

Go to your left to find the Town Hall.

See, I told you

Go to the door to proceed inside.

Talk to the mayor to proceed.

He recognizes your gender

If he’s anything like me, he’ll forget your name in five seconds

Dramatic pause

Spooky

Your first quest

Item get

If you talk to him again, he’ll remind you of your mission.

Leave and head right, past the boarding house.

I suck at names 2, the electric boogaloo

The shop is supposed to be highly populated, but, you guessed it, it’s not completely implemented yet!

He looks shifty

But at least the shop part works!

Torch functionality not yet implemented

Let’s buy some lockpicks.  They might come in handy.

Nothing suspicious about buying or selling lockpicks

Continuing right leads to the Outskirts.

I suck at names, part 3

Planting a story seed

The south path is not yet implemented.

But the north path is!

There’s a secret in the left corner.

Have some currently useless stuff

After building up courage, we enter the manor.

You can’t get across just yet.

In the room on the left you find some useful junk.

I’m not sure exactly how you can carry that

Problem solved?

Problem solved.

Ghosts are jerks

It’s not supposed to be lit yet, and it’s not supposed to be blue, but whatever

More puzzle solving.

The next room is mostly unimplemented, but the stairway will lead to the second floor, where later quests will take you.

But the next room (and last so far) is completely implemented!

Huh.

Ghosts, man

Total dicks

This should solve the problem

Wait, why didn’t they all disappear?

Fire trail

Two ghosts down, two to go

All ghosts in the room cleared

But you still can’t reach the chest… right?

Oh hey, the ghost in room 2 is gone

I knew those lockpicks would come in handy

Drat

Let’s try again.

Jackpot

Sorry, it only works once.

Attempting to unlock the chest with an outlaw gives slightly different results.

Since this is an easy chest, Outlaws have a 100% chance of unlocking it!

One last thing.  You can come to the Manor without talking to the mayor, but since you don’t have the Holy Flame, you can only get so far.

And that’s my game, or at least what I have so far!  I’ll post an update once I have the entire first floor done!

140 Characters and More

Hello, my name is Tyler Magruder.  Welcome to my blog!

For the next few paragraphs, I will be taking a look at Twitter and how it has been presented in the media within the last few weeks, specifically as it relates to its block feature and its use as a writing form.  I will look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of how media views Twitter’s uses, applications, limitations, and shortfalls, and what that means for the social media platform and its users.

Before I begin talking about the media, I will explain what Twitter is for those that do not use the social media platform.

Twitter is a popular social media site founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams.  While it shares a few similarities with Facebook, Twitter is completely different in most respects.  The basis of Twitter interaction is the Tweet, a status update of sorts that can be viewed by anyone that decides to follow you.  However, what sets a Tweet apart from a Facebook status update or any other social media is that a single Tweet is limited to 140 characters or less.  While this may seem to limit the practical applications of Twitter, it encourages brevity and strategic word choice.  A user can Tweet as frequently as they wish, so if they have something that cannot be said in 140 characters or less, they can simply split it into two or more Tweets.

Another feature of Twitter is the Twitter handle.  When someone makes a Twitter account, they choose both a user name and a Twitter handle.  The user name can be anything they want within 20 characters.  For example, my user name is just my name, Tyler Magruder.  Whenever someone sees your Tweets, your user name will be displayed above them.  However, the Twitter handle is what forms the basis of Twitter conversations.  Twitter handles begin with the @ sign, and are followed by a string of characters without spaces (though underscores are acceptable).  For example, my Twitter handle is @sorryjzargo.  If someone wanted to post a Tweet directed at me, they would include “@sorryjzargo” somewhere in the Tweet, and it would show up in my notifications.  Users can include as many Twitter handles in their Tweets as can fit the 140 characters, but it does limit the amount of information they can exchange in the Tweet.

Other features of Twitter include:

favorites

favorites,

retweeting

retweeting,

direct messaging,

discovering trends

discovering trends,

and blocking.

and blocking.

It is this last feature that has been in the media’s attention recently.  Since the early days of Twitter, users have been able to block other Twitter users from mentioning them in their Tweets or interacting with them in any other way.  With the recent update to Twitter, the functionality of the block feature has become more substantial.  Now, blocked Twitter users will no longer be able to view the user’s profile and users can manage blocked users from a simple interface, like mine.

As you can see, I don’t block many people, but a few people have left me with no other choice.

As you can see, I don’t block many people, but a few people have left me with no other choice.

There has been a lot of media response to the block feature in recent weeks.  I collected a corpus of articles about Twitter relating to its block feature from Time, PC Magazine, Mashable, Wired, Washington Post, NPR, and The Mary Sue.  After reading the articles, I compared which articles expressed a positive outlook on the block features and which expressed a negative outlook on the block features.  The majority appreciate the ability to remove harassers, trolls, and abusers from their social interaction in a quick, convenient fashion.  They praise Twitter for taking action after they received many criticisms of their old blocking system.  A few are uncertain how effective the tools will be, but they all agree that it is a step in the right direction.  However, The Mary Sue, while itself supporting the block features, points out an argument from members of the #GamerGate movement that the added block features allow for mass blocking based on impersonal criteria, such as the popular and infamous #GamerGate AutoBlocker bot that automatically blocks users based on their involvement in the #GamerGate movement.  While I do not support #GamerGate, they have a few points worth addressing.

The first point was brought up by Roberto Rosario, or @siloraptor, who claimed to be wrongfully included on the list.

The first point was brought up by Roberto Rosario, or @siloraptor, who claimed to be wrongfully included on the list.

While he did contribute some Tweets involving #GamerGate, he appears to be largely removed from the overall scandal and actually in charge of a pro-women game development team.  He argues that by creating such an arbitrary list, it limits the communication that individuals can have over Twitter.  However, as the article points out, the creator of the block list, Randi Harper, or @freebsdgirl, included several ways for blocked members to get whitelisted in the instance of wrongful auto-bans.  While it does create an annoyance for people wrongfully banned, it is an easily surmountable problem.

Their other claim is that the block features limits, or even censors the conversation.  While some people may prematurely block people that they think are potential harassers, in the vast majority of instances, removing harassment from conversations only allows for deeper, safer conversations.  People limit conversations every day, from closing a door so outside people do not hear, to leaving the room when the conversation grows boring.  The people that claim that blocking individuals is censorship have a fundamental misunderstanding of censorship.  Everyone has the right to say what they want, but everyone also has the right to ignore what they say.  Blocking someone on Twitter is not removing their ability or right to say what they want.  Instead, it just removes the harmful voices from an individual’s feed.  It has some potential for abuse.  For example, I have seen conversations where a user will jump into a conversation, usually with a derogatory or misguided statement, and then promptly block everyone involved in the conversation.  This leaves no chance for those involved to contest the statement, though ignoring these individuals is often for the best.  As they say, don’t feed the trolls.

As a writing tool, Twitter has certain limitations, but it has many features that make it preferable to many of the other social media platforms available.  With the improved blocking features, Twitter is a safer environment for the discussion of all things, both mundane and profound.  Hopefully these new tools will prove useful in the eternal battle against internet trolls, allowing for uninterrupted discourse between two willing participants rather than between two participants and dozens of screaming voices.

The articles describe Twitter as a troubled place, full of trolls, harassers, and radicals.  I have certainly experienced this element of Twitter, though mostly secondhand.  I have not received any serious threats or harassments, but I have seen it happen to others dozens of times.  The articles also describe Twitter as a place of hope, where the new block features mute the harmful voices and allow civil conversation to exist.  It is this hopeful outlook that dominates the majority of the news articles, but the hope is evidence of the problems that plague it.  Without the trolls and harassers, the block features would not be necessary.  However, Twitter is open for anyone to use, so trolls are sadly unavoidable, though, thanks to the new block features, easily ignorable.

And, for @Sakaerion, I am now pointlessly mentioning “waifu” for your amusement.  Are you happy now?

A note to my readers: This essay was for a school assignment, so I had to follow certain guidelines while writing it.  My assignment was to collect a corpus of news discourse about an electronic writing technology of my choice, then analyze the corpus and draw a conclusions on how the technology is presented, all in a multimodal presentation.

News Sources

Chappell, Bill. “Twitter Targets Trolls With New Rules On Abuse.” The Two-Way. NPR. 2 December 2014. Web. 9 December 2014. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/02/368056945/twitter-targets-trolls-with-new-rules-on-abuse

Frizell, Sam. “Twitter Just Made It Easier to Block Haters.” Time.com. 3 December 2014. Web. 3 December 2014. http://time.com/3615775/twitter-block-users-trolls/

Honan, Mat. “Twitter Beefs Up Its Anti-Troll Tools.” Gadget Lab. Wired. 2 December 2014. Web. 9 December 2014. http://www.wired.com/2014/12/twitter-beefs-anti-troll-tools/

Kelly, Samantha Murphy. “Twitter is making it easier to report harassment and block users.” Mashable.com. Mashable. 2 December 2014. Web. 9 December 2014. http://mashable.com/2014/12/02/twitter-harassment-reporting/

Mlot, Stephanie. “Twitter Makes It Easier to Block Abusers.” pcmag.com. PC Magazine. 2 December 2014. Web. 9 December 2014. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2473014,00.asp

Peterson, Andrea. “The Switchboard: Twitter is making it easier to block harassment.” washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. 3 December 2014. Web. 9 December 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/12/03/the-switchboard-twitter-is-making-it-easier-to-block-harassment/

Winkle, David Van. “Some Twitter Users Are Mad About Gamergate Block Bots. Too Bad We Can’t Hear Them.” themarysue.com. The Mary Sue. 26 November 2014. Web. 9 December 2014. http://www.themarysue.com/twitter-users-mad-about-gamergate-block-bots/

Recap: Log Horizon 2 Episode 9- The Changing Battlefield

Just a word in advance: this contains spoilers for the episode.  It should be obvious by the title, but I’m warning you just in case.

Title Screen 09

Watch it on Crunchyroll for free!

This episode continues Shiroe’s story as he battles through the raid with Naotsugu, Tetra, William and Demikas, among others.  It is refreshing to return to the raid party after the lengthy Akatsuki-centered story.  While that story certainly picked up towards the end, it had its weak points and was growing stale.

Also, going into this episode from Akatsuki’s story, you know that Shiroe is due to die.

Back at the raid, they discover the next raid boss.

Raid Boss

Luseat of the Seventh Garden

After a short discussion, Shiroe reveals that the chances of beating it are fifty-fifty, and they attack.

After the opening credits, the episode jumps right into the action.  This episode is very heavy on MMO technical speak, so for those that enjoy that (like me) it’s a plus and for those that don’t, I’m not sure how you’ve stuck with the series, though if you’ve struggled through that then there shouldn’t be anything new in this episode.  The raid party sticks with their traditional strategy for defeating a raid boss: tanks draw the boss’s fire, strikers deal heavy damage, and healers make sure that nobody dies.  It is a delicate balance, and it is quickly broken by the boss’s first special attack.  With a swing of its mighty scythe, Luseat insta-kills two of the raid party and deals serious damage to many others.  While they scramble to recover, they count the cooldown of the boss’s special attack.  While they’re counting, the boss lets loose a different special attack, and though it misses they calculate that it could one-hit anyone in its path.

Like any good raiding party, they learn the boss’s pattern quickly, and with a little preparation the next special attack does not insta-kill any of the raiding party.  But this boss is not out of tricks yet.  Some of the strikers deal too much DPS and aggro the boss, and it roots everyone in place for its next attack.  It floats into the air and starts spinning its scythe, eventually lashing out like a disk and striking in an arc, avoiding aggro.  This devastating attack killed eleven of the raiders.  However, the party refuses to quit and licks their wounds.

William

Recovering

As the fight continues, Demikas notices that Shiroe is buffing his damage output.  This only furthers the anger he feels for Shiroe, but he keeps fighting.

With their dead revived and their strategy sound, they seem to finally have made some progress when the boss’s dark armor shatters, leaving him in a bright white suit of armor.  When Elder Tales was just a game, this transformation only happened when certain events happened on the map, but he can now apparently shift forms at will, making some of the raiding party nervous.

That's not sinister at all...

That’s not sinister at all…

While the party focuses on the giant, floating knight, the shattered pieces of Luseat’s armor melt and form into shadow monsters.  The party has to adjust their strategy, letting some of the attackers kill the shadow monsters while the majority focus on Luseat.  Unfortunately, they quickly discover that killing the shadow monsters restores Luseat’s health, leaving them with dilemma of choosing between taking the damage the monsters deal or healing the boss to prevent taking damage.  After some of the shadow monsters had been destroyed, Luseat returns to his dark form.  After he deals massive damage by striking the raiders distracted by the shadow monsters, the party decides to deal with the shadow monsters and deal enough damage against Luseat to make up for it.  Luseat shatters again, and the party is overwhelmed by shadow monsters.

In this moment of crisis, Shiroe realized that Luseat creates a number of shadow monsters equal to the number of people attacking it.  They adjusted their strategy and only had the high damagers attack Luseat while the rest dealt with buffing and dealing with the shadow creatures.

Demikas notices Shiroe buffing him again, and he swears revenge for his defeat.  He plans to publicly defeat Shiroe and humiliate him in front of everyone, but he can’t do that during the raid.

With Luseat’s health down to fifty percent, the raiding party begins to feel the hope of victory.  Demikas begins lusting after the raid rewards and the levels he will use to defeat Shiroe.  They are so focused on their approaching victory that they fail to notice the gates around them opening, letting in another raid boss.

The fight was fun while it lasted.

The fight was fun while it lasted.

One raid boss on its own is a challenge to the best players.  Two are virtually impossible!

Wait, did I say two raid bosses?  Sorry, I meant three!

Game over, man!

Game over, man!

That’s right!  Three raid bosses in one zone!  If one is a challenge and two are virtually impossible, three are beyond the shadow of hope.

The three raid bosses steamroll the raiding party, and with the majority of the party dead, Demikas sees his opportunity.  He lashes out at Shiroe, knocking him down, but he is smashed by one of the raid bosses.  Shiroe fares no better, and for the first time since the Apocalypse, Shiroe dies.

TPK.

This doesn't look like Elder Tales.

This doesn’t look like Elder Tales.

Shiroe awakes in the snow.  Memories of his real life, before the Apocalypse, flash through.  He sees Christmas shopping and Santa Claus.  You see the real Shiroe, which, although he is similar to his online avatar, he looks more real.  Shiroe walks through his hometown, and small memories flash before him.  He realizes that he is losing some of his memories, though most of them are still intact.  Shiroe sees himself as a kid and reminisces about his childhood.  It doesn’t sound very pleasant, but it was how he first started playing Elder Tales.  He remembers the conversation with William where he was told that dying teaches you that you are a failure, and the flashback to his childhood certainly reinforced that.  This whole segment felt rather somber, but it was a nice change of pace from the overdramatic Akatsuki and the action-focused first half of the episode.

While reminiscing, Shiroe realized that he is dishonest with those he cares about.  He reveals that he is deceptive because he wants to use the people he knows to find whoever it was that brought them into the game.  With Shiroe’s obsession with the magic of the world, this isn’t particularly surprising, but it helps clarify some of his prior actions.  All of his inquiries about flavor text, monsters, plants and literature were to find some sort of clue about whoever brought them into the world during the Apocalypse.  None of the evidence seemed to support that there was someone responsible for it, but then he reveals that he found some evidence, though he doesn’t say what it is (so infuriating!).  He realizes that he was only making excuses by not telling his friends about his plans.  With this realization, Shiroe realizes that it is time to leave.  As soon as he stands up, he appears on the game’s version of the moon, the same place seen a few episode prior when Akatsuki died (in fact this is the same scene, just from Shiroe’s perspective).

Earth

According to the game’s data, Shiroe is on the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon.  He recalls a test server that was rumored to be on the moon.  He is perplexed by the location, but quickly snaps out of his daze by the arrival of Akatsuki.  By now, this is the third time I’ve seen this scene, but it’s still interesting and adorable.  Akatsuki and Shiroe share a moment without words while strings play and Akatsuki dances.  It’s strangely mesmerizing and charming and shows the bond the two have.  They finally speak, and the memories leave both Akatsuki and Shiroe.  They both cut a lock of their hair and place it in the ocean.  I’m somewhat confused by this, but it’s clearly important to them by their solemnity.  They talk about the snow, which is really memories offered by players to be resurrected.  Shiroe remarks that Akatsuki was defeated, then reveals that he was too.  Shiroe comforts Akatsuki, and tells her that he was naive.  Akatsuki says that she isn’t worried that she failed, and Shiroe imposes that she didn’t do her best.  He closes with the comfort that even though she failed, she can still try again, and succeed.  He expresses his confidence in her, something she had been struggling with throughout her entire storyarc, then mentally says that he will do his best too.  He remarks that it’s strange to see her there, and she agrees.  She gets up and decides to try again.  Shiroe does too, and they return to consciousness.

Merry Understatement-mas!

Merry Understatement-mas!

Overall, this episode had a good balance of action and introspection, and I feel like Shiroe actually grew as a character, something that’s been somewhat lacking from the beginning.  Shiroe has always been a constant, but it’s good to see that they’re not content with him growing stale.  The boss fight was suitably epic, and the traumatizing ending to the raiding party showed how harsh the world had become.

What are your thoughts?  Feel free to comment!

Steam Shuffle

Hello everyone!  Two weeks ago I started a video game livestream series with my friend Lucas called Steam Shuffle.  Steam Shuffle is a weekly hour-long livestream where I play an hour of one of the games in my Steam library.  The ultimate goal is to play an hour of every single game in my library (which is currently over 400 games), and find the games in it that are exceptional.  I plan on picking a few of the games and doing a full playthrough of them if I can get enough positive feedback about them.  So far, we have played Age of Empires II: HD Edition and Age of Empires 3: Complete Collection.

We stream on http://www.twitch.tv/sorryjzargo, every Friday around 3:30 PM EST.  I upload all of the streams to my YouTube channel.  If you want to see a full playthrough of a game, leave a comment on a video, tweet me at @sorryjzargo, or send me an email at tsma225@l.uky.edu.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the videos.

Dywin the Purifier (Pathfinder NPC)

Download in PDF form here.

Dywin the Purifier

A purist of the most radical kind, she hunts the impure and the tainted of elvenkind.

Elf Slayer 17

LN Medium humanoid (elf)

Init +10; Senses low-light vision; Perception +26


DEFENSE


AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 10

hp 114 (17d10)

Fort +10, Ref +16, Will +6

Immune sleep


OFFENSE


Speed 30 ft., slayer’s advance 2/day

Melee +2 wounding rapier +25/+20/+15/+10 (1d8+4/18-20)

Ranged +4 human bane composite longbow +28/+23/+18/+13 (1d8+6/x3)

Special Attacks +3 on attack rolls and damage rolls against studied target, sneak attack +5d6 (50 ft. range), slowing strike (1d4 rounds, Fort DC 21), assassinate (Fort DC 21), bullseye shot, pinpoint targeting

Envoy Spell-Like Abilities (CL 17th; concentration +20)

Once per daycomprehend languages, detect magic, detect poison, read magic


TACTICS


Before Combat Dywin prefers to be unseen until she is ready to strike.  She seeks vantage points where melee combatants will have difficulty reaching.

 

During Combat Dywin uses range and stealth to her advantage.  She attempts to remain in the shadows for as long as possible, and uses caltrops and other gear to maintain the distance between her and her opponents.  She often opens with an igniting arrow and keeps up the pressure with enchanted arrows until she runs out.  When forced into melee combat, she uses her rapier, which is usually poisoned to keep an advantage over her enemies.


STATISTICS


Str 14, Dex 22, Con 10, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha 11

Base Atk +17/+12/+7/+2; CMB +19; CMD 35 (39 against disarm and sunder)

Feats Bullseye Shot, Far Shot, Improved Initiative, Improved Precise Shot, Pinpoint Targeting, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Finesse (Rapier), Weapon Focus (longbow)

Proficiencies weapons (simple, martial), armor (light, medium), shields

Skills Acrobatics +29, Bluff +22, Climb +10, Disguise +21, Perception +26, Ride +14, Sense Motive +24, Survival +24, Stealth +44, Swim +10

Languages Common, Draconic, Elven, Gnome, Goblin

SQ 1st-4th studied target,deadly range (x2), envoy, evasion, poison use, stalker, stealthy sniper, swift tracker, track, weapon familiarity

Combat Gear alchemist’s fire, deathblade, dragon bile, igniting arrow (5), potions of cure serious wounds (2), shock arrow (20), tanglefoot bag, thunderstone (2), vicious caltrops (4)

Gear greater shadow leather armor, +2 wounding rapier, +4 human bane composite longbow, bag of holding (type II), boots of teleport, gloves of dueling, backpack, silk rope (50 ft.)

 

Dywin remembers the glory days of the elves.  They were once a proud and mighty race, the shapers of the world’s destiny, but all that is left are cowards and impure half-breeds.  Except for Dywin.  She remains pure, and dedicates herself to the cause of elven purity.

 

Dywin’s goal is simple: rid the world of the despicable half-elves and the tainted elves that accept them into their society.  To do this, she breaks the laws set by the half-elf loving rulers and slaughters half-elfs and half-elf sympathizers from the shadows.

 

Dywin returns to Unification City to eliminate the half-breed Quincy Sweetleaf, who tarnishes the name of all elves by revelling in drugs and whores.  She aims to rid the world of his scourge, as well as all those who chose to make his acquaintance, including the filthy Drow Raven and the traitorous elf Belroar.

Fall 2014 Television Premier Quick Impressions

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna spoil anything!  I plan on watching the premier of Gotham, Peaky Blinders and Constantine, so expect an update once I am able to watch them.  If you have any suggestions for me to watch, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to check it out!

 

Live Action

American Horror Story: Freakshow

If you go into American Horror Story: Freakshow expecting horror, you’re going to be disappointed.  The season premier abandoned the show’s tradition of delivering scares heavily in the first episode to instead set the stage for the rest of the season.  While it did have a generally creepy tone to it, nothing was particularly scary (unless clowns scare you).  The characters are genuine and the inclusion of real “freaks” in the cast grant it a great insight into the world of people who are different, either from birth or accidents, but not from choice.  The returning cast are also excellent, once again demonstrating the great flexibility in their acting skills.

 

Arrow Season 3

Arrow is one of those shows that would be easy to write off at first glance as cheesy action drama, and admittedly it was to some extent at first.  However, the show has come a long way, and the premier for Arrow Season 3 demonstrates that clearly.  I feel like the cast has been firmly established at this point, and everyone acts their part well.  The action feels like an action movie rather than a television show.  The premier sticks to the shows tried-and-true formula of villain of the week while at the same time building on a season-long storyarc and developing the relationship between the lead cast members.  Also, the shocking ending.

 

The Flash

The anticipated spin-off show of Arrow, The Flash begins by recapping the events of the Flash episode of Arrow season 2 while building the world of Barry Allen and the Central City Police.  From there, it takes the drama and action popularized by Arrow and turns it up a notch by introducing actual superpowers, both with the heroes and villains.  In the comics the Flash is one of the most ridiculously overpowered super heroes, but at this point of the show he’s just learning to use them in a basic manner.  The acting and storyline was very solid for a superhero that I used to write off as “super cheesy,” but I can’t help but feeling that the reveal at the end is opening a massive can of worms that should not be anywhere near the DC television universe.

 

The Walking Dead season 5

To be honest, I was not looking forward to the show’s return.  The last season dragged out what should have been a few episodes for half a season and ended on one of the cheesiest lines I had ever heard.  However, I decided to give the show another chance and I am really glad that I did!  This season started off with a bang, delivering solid action, competent drama, and chilling terror.  The writers and directors clearly learned from their mistakes from last season and everything happened at a quick, but not rushed, pace.  Also it set up some interesting drama for the rest of the season.

 

Anime

Log Horizon season 2 (subbed)

After an excellent first season (but a slightly disappointing finale), Log Horizon returned with more of what you would expect from the show: politics, politics, adorableness, politics and magic.  With the flash-forward opening it gave an interesting view of the future but the premier was largely uneventful, instead wisely using its time to establish the lore that will (certainly) be important for the upcoming story arc.

 

Western Animation

Legend of Korra Book 4: Balance

Book 3 of Korra was near-perfection, so it will be difficult for this season to top that.  However, the season opened with world building more than anything to cover the time lapsed between Books 3 and 4.  It was great to see the characters in their new positions and seeing the world set up for future conflict and excitement, but the events of the episode were mostly overshadowed by the reveal at the end.

 

Star Wars Rebels

As a die-hard Star Wars fan who wasn’t very fond of The Clone Wars, I was hopeful about this show but didn’t expect much.  Fortunately, a mix of a new setting, likable characters and a fun story set this apart from the previous Star Wars animated series.  While the show still suffered from a need to be child-friendly, it didn’t dumb down anything to make it so.  What surprised me more than anything was how it feels like Star Wars, rather than just sharing the name.  The galactic hijinks, witty banter and reverence for the source material made me feel like I was watching a short Star Wars movie rather than a children’s show.

 

Premier of the Season: The Walking Dead Season 5

The premier took a show that I thought was dead and brought it back to life!  I am excited to see where the show will go in the next episodes!

Runner Up: The Flash

Stranger

“Hello, stranger,” she giggled, “come here often?”

It’s funny ‘cuz he’s not a stranger

He’s and old, old friend.

Stranger stared past her.

“What’s wrong, stranger?”

Silent.

“Talk to me, stranger!”

Vacant staring.”

“Don’t you love me, stranger?”

Staring at someone else.

Her eyes well with tears.

“Are you cheating, stranger?”

Guilty silence.

Averted eyes.

“Fuck you, stranger!

I thought you were the one!”

She removed the knife from stranger’s rotted ribcage

And plunged it in his skull.

She collapsed, weeping.

Then she stopped.

She wiped the tears from her eyes

And glanced at stranger.

“Hello, stranger,” she giggled.

Annabel the Poppet Master (Pathfinder NPC)

Download in PDF form here.

Annabel

She would be terrifying if she wasn’t so adorable.

Human Witch (Gravewalker archetype) 8

LE Young Humanoid

Init +5; Senses Perception +1

DEFENSE

AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 12

hp 37 (8d6)

Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +6

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft.

Melee +2 dagger (1d4-2, 19-20/x2)

Special Attacks hexes (blight, cackle, evil eye, misfortune, swamp’s grasp, unnerve beast, water lung)

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th)

Possess Undead (Sp) A gravewalker may take direct control of one of her undead minions within her aura of desecration, as if using magic jar; the witch’s poppet acts as the soul receptacle for this ability. The minion gets no saving throw against this ability.

 

Witch Spells Prepared (CL 8th)

4thpoison (DC 16), summon monster iv

3rddeep slumber (DC 15), malediction (DC 15), pain strike (DC 15)

2nddeath candle (DC 14) levitate, pernicious poison, pox pustules(DC 14)

1stbeguiling gift (DC 13), ray of enfeeblement (DC 13), ray of sickening (DC 13), reduce person (DC 13), restore corpse

0 (at will)bleed (DC 12), detect magic, light, read magic

 

Patron Time (Gravewalker)

STATISTICS

Str 6, Dex 10, Con 8, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 12

Base Atk +4 CMB +2 CMD 13

Feats Accursed Hex, Extra Hex (x3), Improved Initiative

Skills Intimidate +10, Knowledge (Arcana) +15, Spellcraft +13, Use Magic Device +12

Languages Common, Fey, Undercommon

SQ spell poppet

Gear dagger, poppet, wand of animate dead (50 charges)

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Deliver Touch Spells (Su) At 3rd level or higher, a gravewalker can use her poppet to deliver touch spells. After casting a touch spell, as a full-round action, the witch can designate a target and stab a pin into her poppet, delivering the spell as a ranged touch attack. The target must be within range of her aura of desecration ability.

Aura of Desecration (Su) At first level, a gravewalker can create a 20-foot-radius aura of evil power. This aura increases the DC of channeled negative energy by +1 and the turn resistance of undead by +1. At 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the radius of the aura increases by 5 feet, to a maximum of 70 feet at 20th level.

Bonethrall (Su) At 1st level, a gravewalker can take control of an undead creature within her aura of desecration by forcing her will upon it (Will negates, using her hex DC.) If it fails the save, the creature falls under her control as if she had used command undead (once control is established, the undead remain controlled even if outside the witch’s aura). Intelligent undead receive a new saving throw each day to resist her command. The witch can control up to 1 HD of undead creatures per caster level. If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, the witch must make an opposed Charisma check whenever her orders conflict with that creature’s.

Annabel was a normal 10 year old girl when she found an abandoned doll in the forest.  When she picked it up, the doll spoke to her, and when Annabel responded the doll possessed her.  Now Annabel terrorizes the forest and leads vermin, monsters and undead to attack and torment travelers.  Annabel rarely kills, but instead takes pleasure in harming and terrifying.  When in trouble, Annabel will attempt to use her childish form to her advantage.  Even the most calloused will hesitate to strike down a child, and she will use this opportunity to reduce them and run away.


The nearby village of Dun has only heard rumors of a child witch haunting the forest, but the superstitious folk avoid the forest just in case.

30/30 Day 13: Half a Henderson

Hi, I’m Tyler Magruder, or sorryjzargo as I go by on the internet.  I am going to hopefully complete a 30/30 this month.  If you don’t know what a 30/30 is, it is a blog series where you write one blog a day for a month (on months with 31 days it is called a 31/31).  I’ve already missed a few days, so this is a make-up blog.

This story has a lot of background to it, but I’m just going to include the essentials for the sake of time.  Today, one of my players managed to pull a .5 Henderson on my campaign, completely screwing up my plans for his character and making me end the session early to figure out how to proceed.

This character is a female human (possibly half-elf just because the suggestion makes the player mad and because it fit with my story idea, though it ended up not working out as you’ll see in this blog) named Keres.  Keres was a lawful neutral-tending lawful evil member of The Order of Holy Judgment, a group that essentially functioned as the judges in Judge Dredd but with magic and stuff.  Then I killed her and resurrected her as an unwilling servant of the gods.  Her player (a guy, just for clarification) gave me very little backstory other than that she was missing an eye and that she carried a picture of the man that cut her eye out so she could exercise revenge if she ever saw him again.  The group’s previous adventure led to the world’s capitol city being captured by the BBEG and the group seeking refuge in the Elven kingdom of Mourning Winds (this is a homebrew setting).  Today’s session began with the group arriving at Mourning Winds, but on the ride there they talked with an NPC.  Keres asked if Varris Zosime was still governor there.  I decided to go along with it and had the NPC reply yes.

Keres then said, “Yes, well, brother always was a somewhat of an unlikable person. I’m a bit surprised his been in office so long actually…”  This caught me off guard, but I decided to go with it.  The NPC as well as another PC shared my surprise that the governor was Keres’ brother, and Keres said “Indeed, as was my father before him.”

This did not conflict with my existing story, so I didn’t try to contradict Keres.  However, I added that her brother was currently visiting their mother’s grave, adding my own aspect to the family.  However, Keres one-upped me, saying that she died shortly after Keres was adopted so she didn’t know her very well.  It was then that an idea clicked into my head.

An important detail to note about this homebrew world is the state of the Elves.  A mysterious plague had spread through the species, leaving all but a few sterile.  Therefore, the Elves passed laws requiring all fertile Elves to go to “camps” where they would be forced to breed to sustain their species.

I had a group of elves greet Keres and tell her that her father had summoned her.  They said that he was sick, but not seriously so.  Keres followed, as well as another PC for no apparent reason, and Keres entered her father’s house alone while the other PC almost choked to death on lozenges.  Keres found her father wrinkled and decrepit, like an aged human despite being an ageless Elf.  He told her that he was dying, and that he had a secret to tell her.  Keres was adopted at the age of three, but what she was never told was that her adoptive parents were also her biological parents.  They hid their pregnancy and delivered Keres to an orphanage as an infant then adopted her a few years later to avert suspicion.  If the elves knew that they were fertile, they would have been sent to the camps, so they lied in order to be a family.  Her father then said that his condition was worsening, and that it was hereditary.

I was supremely happy with the way this session was going.  I provided conflict, character development, and a future challenge to overcome.  Then Keres pulled half a Henderson.

“I looked into myself, a couple years ago you know.  There was another girl in the orphanage that was called Keres that was about my age, there was apparently an accident that killed her a day before I was brought in.  Since I didn’t have a name when they brought me they made me her changeling.”  As I read that, my smile faded.  My entire character arc for Keres crumbled, and before I could think of a way to repair it the players moved on.  When I finally came up with a way to repair the situation, another hour had already passed, and I decided that I was above retconning.

Her father’s eyes grew wide and he said, “That makes sense, then.  My condition is hereditary.  If you truly were my daughter, then you would have symptoms of it already.”

I did manage to salvage the situation a little.  I provided at least some future motivation by saying that her adoptive brother was affected by the hereditary disease.  Her father begged her to help him find a cure, and she agreed.  After managing this, I ended the session because all my plans revolved around her being sick.

And that’s how one of my players pulled half a Henderson and essentially cured cancer with words.