Saturday, September 14, 2013

Stalker Vs. Escape To Witch Mountain

* = Indeed Spidey....

I’m not sure where to even start this week.  There is a lot going on, but nothing so large that I can buckle down and focus.  Things have been crazy busy at the place that floats me a meager paycheck, our social calendar has been packed to the gills, and even our downtime has been productive and yet relaxing.  So rather than try to formulate a central theme, I’m just going to smash you in your face with some…


- I finally got off my ass and read the Dynamic Dave Gross’ new Radovan & The Count book, ‘The Chaos King’ (***** out of 5).
Damn you Dave Gross!  DAMN YOU for being amazing.  Every time I think he can’t possibly pull me back into the dynamic world of Count Jeggare & Radovan as they journey across the Pathfinder world of Golarion he smacks me in the mouth with something awesome.  This time the Count & his bodyguard are making their way to the Worldwound.  For those that don’t know this is a place in the Pathfinder world where the Abyss has ruptured into the Prime Material Plane spewing forth a font of demons bent on devastation.  This isn’t the same type of small venture they can march into themselves so they put together a group to assist their infiltration of this horrid place in order to find the tomes that helped create this monstrosity.  Along the way we are re-introduced to their former Paladin ally the driven Oparal.  We also get a lot better look at and loathing for one of Jeggare’s most fierce rivals the Osirian Prince turned Vampire, Prince Kasiya.  Rarely ever have I been so engaged in rooting against such an arrogant dullard of an antagonist.  As usually Mr. Gross gives us the shifting perspective per chapter between the main three characters which I think only adds to the overall feel of the novel.  There are some minor betrayals, call backs to the earlier novels, some resolution to Radovan’s ‘Devil Issues’, a great but not unexpected twist on Jeggare’s use of magic, and an ending that only serves to make me want MORE!  These two characters have found their way next to Fafhred and the Gray Mouser on my bookshelves, and deservedly so.  I can’t wait for Cassandra to devour this book!  If you are looking for a fantastic series that NEVER disappoints with two characters you will come to adore then look NO FURTHER!  Thank you Mr. Gross I anxiously look forward to what you give us next.

- Just for you L.C. I will let ‘Tipsy Ben’ out of his cage tonight, prepare thyself!  Addendum, 'Tipsy Ben' met 'Post-Coital Stupor' Ben in a swirl of insanity.  Fun night.  Happy Birthday L.C.!

- Apparently I’m going to be running a fourth D&D group.  I KNOW!  So it is a bit more kid orientated, and it’s going to take place in the same shared Homebrew setting.  This time I’m going to try a more Oriental Adventures type setting.
 I’m excited to try something completely different in style and really in intensity.  I’m going to try and play it up with a bit of the same feel as Avatar: The Last Airbender, the cartoon not that abomination of a film, with the tone of maybe Adventure Time.  I still want it to be D&D, but I want that sense of fun, wonder, and exploration.  Thus far I know I have one Wilden Druid and two Monk brothers.  I’m not sure what my other two players or going to do, but I’m intrigued.  I’m thinking I’ll be able to tap Mick’s 3rd Group characters family background, sprinkle in some Oni, a plethora of catwomen, perhaps a very dangerous sorcerer and it’s Displacer Beast pet, a bunch of ninja’s, a Dragon’s crumbling empire, and maybe some island hopping ship sailing!  I think that gives me something to work with when coupled with a world cast into a 2nd Great Darkness and the casting out of the Gods.  My main goal is to craft something that a ten year old will go wild for.  

- If you are looking for some excellent new music over at Bandcamp dot com there is some new Waves Of Mercury & Fairly Secret Army stuff.  GO and give it a listen I COMMAND YOU!

- All the Podcast equipment is IN!
First off let me again thank a few folks in Scott from the Delicate Sauce Podcast for steering me in the right direction, Magic Mike for, well for everything there is no Podcast without you, and to Karl & Kedrin who are teaching me their Tech Fu as well as convincing me to get off my ass and do this.  But no one deserves as much thanks as Cassandra.  Thank you all.  So the board is in, the mics (four of ‘em), stands, headphones, cords, and a podcasting computer are all there.  Now I just need to get it set up, and we are off and running.  I’m humbled by the generosity everyone showed with their funds, time, and energy.  I’m hoping this will be at least as fun as Careers In Evil was.

- I have been convinced to give Hockey another go and Women’s Division I Hockey no less.  I am in your hands Kedders be gentle…Or don’t!

- Due to some focus I was able to also read Ed Greenwood’s first foray into the Pathfinder Tales novels, ‘The Wizard’s Mask’ (**** out of 5).
This tale of an unconventional friendship, convoluted curses, and border wars is damn entertaining.  The Masked is a great character, and has a very iconic look.  He’s part magical Batman, part dashing swashbuckler, and part heartbreaking wronged man out of revenger or at least closure.  His new found ally, partner, friend, and eventual love interest Tantaerra the Halfling is perhaps my favorite Halfling character in any novel.  She is feisty, determined, haughty, and dangerous.  They are a fun pair that makes you want to read more of their trials and tribulations.  That being said the story doesn’t give me what I wanted for these two characters.  I feel like it moves at such a break neck pace that the intricacies of the situation never really develop.  The thing reads like a serial on fast forward.  I imagine if I had to read this a few chapters at a time, or in maybe a comic book format, then I would be chomping at the bit for each new development.  However in the novel style it just felt rushed to me.  I also felt like the constant twist of bad luck and the duo’s blundering into the two sides of the border war got repetitive.  Don’t let my harping on these minor points overshadow the overall reality, this is a fun book.  The two main characters are fantastic, and I really hope that I get to read more of their adventures.  I just wanted this book to be a bit more than what it was.

- D&D 2nd Group gets back together Sat. night!  I’m excited and hope I can pull all the threads together to give them something memorable, but more importantly FUN!

- Sunday is the L.E.W.G.I.’s 2nd PPV viewing event as we assemble to partake of WWE’s Night Of Champions.
If the last turnout is any inkling this one should be rowdy.  A lot of the undercard isn’t exciting me that much, and I’m beginning to feel like this is a ‘storytelling’ PPV rather than one where we’ll get resolution.  In fact I’m calling it here, Alberto Del Rio & Randy Orton will retain.  I can’t see WWE ending the Orton/Corporation V2.0 Vs. Daniel Brian this early.  There will be a swerve as Orton retains through underhanded tactics.  As for Del Rio, I can’t see him dropping the belt to RVD, it just doesn’t make any sense.  The other big match is CM Punk getting a handicap elimination tag match between himself and Curtis Axel and his most hated enemy Paul Heyman.  Everyone, me included, is DYING to see Punk hit Heyman with the G.T.S.  However it ain’t happening here.  This is a revenge story told in three acts, and I don’t think we are even through act two yet.  Punk will beat Axel, but I really think we will see at LEAST one new ‘Heyman Guy’ show up and intercede.  Could it be ‘Bork Lazer’, who knows?  But I’d love to see Heyman put a few more obstacles in front of Punk before he finally gets his comeuppance.  Also we have to keep the table set for Lesnar Vs. Punk II, which will be amazing.

- Monthly sushi was a blast last night.  It was even better though to watch my lovely and hilarious wife cut loose on the car ride home.

- I finished a third book this week as well.  Paul Kidd’s novelization of White Plume Mountain (*** ½ out of 5) had been in my reading queue for some time.
It got bumped up after Zack ran us through that particular module using D&D NEXT for his birthday weekend.  I wasn’t really sure how I felt about this book early on.  It has a ‘fun’ vibe that seems slightly goofy compared to the high adventure I generally enjoy in my fantasy tales.  However the long you spend reading about the ever grim Justicar, his sentient Hellhound pelt, Escalla the fairy with a penchant for theft, and their annoyingly positive teamster Polk you can’t help but falling in love with the characters, goofiness and all.  The characters feel like parodies at points, but become something far more as the story goes.  Having just run through the module the story didn’t do a whole lot for me, as it read like a dungeon crawl, a fun and goofy one, but one nonetheless.  I also felt the ending was a tad rushed.  It is a strange and fun jaunt through a very fun module.  So if you are looking for something a bit different than your standard fantasy novel then it is worth your time.

- I loathe the NY Jet, utterly and completely.

- DDP Yoga is going well, but there are nights where honestly it kicks my ass.
My shoulder hasn’t been back in the socket right since a week ago.  My right knee, or Ric Flair knee dropping the driveway fame, has got a bit of its old painful hitch back.  All that being said I feel like I can already see some of the weight coming off.  I’m feeling spry.  My joints by and large have hurt less.  I have more energy and feel better about my health.  This is a marathon not a sprint.  I have no weight loss goal in mind, I just want to lose.  I have no flexibility goal in mind, I just don’t want to wake up and feel miserable every single moment of every single day.  This is kicking my ass, but in a good way.  I needed this and I’m going to keep doing it to the best of my ability most likely for the rest of my days.

- This weather is glorious.

- It was another week and this time we received some Pathfinder Legends Of Golarion previews we previously had not seen!
First up is the Reefclaw, which is a Small Common.  Perhaps it is the picture or maybe it is just the fact that I don’t play Pathfinder, but I just don’t find much that I like about this miniature.  The color in the pictures seems pretty flat, two colors it looks like.  The size really makes seeing any detail very difficult.  Having looked up the concept art I do like the idea of the monster, however I ‘m just not seeing it in translation.  The pose is dynamic, so you know I like that.  Perhaps this is one of those miniatures where I’ll need to see it up close and in hand before I really decide what I think, but currently this one is a PASS for me.
Next up we have The Beatific One which is a Medium Rare.  I think this miniature is going to be really difficult to pull off in comparison to the artwork.  The three separate faces are hard enough, but that pose is slightly awkward.  I love the idea of this Indian influenced monster, and the concept art is wonderful, that being said is it just me or does it just seems to fall flat?  This is the first time that I look at a Pathfinder miniature and think, “Man this looks like it was from the first few steps of Mage Knight…”  And that is not a good thing.  I want to like the miniature; I could find SO many uses for this bad boy.  It is just the paint does very little for me, the tusks are out of proportion, and the top hands look like un-sculpted mittens.  Couple all that with at paint job that looks completely uninspired for a Rare and I am afraid this one is going to have to be a PASS.
We’re following that up with another Pathfinder-centric monster the Tatzlwyrm, an Uncommon, but one’s whose side I am not sure on.  This guy is an interesting bugger.  I love the flow of the sculpt form the hands to the lower tail region and the way it feels as if it is rising up in a surprise to strike you down.  At the same time he feels small, and because of that I don’t feel like I can get a good look at the most interesting part of this miniature and that is its face.  I like the bright coloration quite a bit, and the orange really pops on this guy.  I’m just not sure how I’d use him.  Not to mention it’s an Uncommon and I really don’t want to invest in a monster I may or may not use.  Throw all that together and you’ve got a PASS for me.
Last, but not least is the Moon Beast, which is a Large Uncommon.  Well hello there darlin’!  This is a Lovecraft beastie being given the Pathfinder treatment, and they have SO done it justice.  The nubs on the face tentacles, the almost canine stance, and that wonderful color palate all make this thing look amazing!  It doesn’t hurt that this looks like something Mignola or Guy Davis drew.  It just has that otherworldly and somewhat nasty color, coupled with a sculpt that makes you feel like it is either pursuing or getting ready to pounce!  Oh and those tiny almost hand like ‘feet’ are just creepy.  I love this miniature, LOVE it!  It is a MUST BUY for me.  This is the first time in a long time that the vast majority of the previews have left me cold.  While that’s bad for my enjoyment, it is most likely pretty good for my wallet.

- I need to sleep, for like a week.

- Well hell, since I didn't get this done yesterday Paizo gave us another round of previously unseen previews!  Let's take a gander.
First up is the Marid, a Large Rare.  Paizo and Wizkids KILL it in the fact that they give us a great selection of female miniatures and this is simply a fantastic example of it.  This is just a beautiful miniature.  There is a serene and gorgeous flow to the sculpt.  The paint job gives you that feeling of her being underwater.  The highlighting and shading are tremendous.  THIS is what I want out of a Rare level miniature.  This looks like it would be the money you'd drop on it.  I really like the color of the clothes in contrast to her skin color it really makes her skin pop.  I adore this miniature and it is a MUST BUY for me.
Next up is the Shaitan who is the Earth equivalent to the Marid.  Again she is a Large Rare.  On top of that this is just another glorious female miniature.  The flow of the hair coupled with the stance and the way the swords are back give it a great sense of motion.  I'm not sold on the skin color, BUT the armor color is fantastic.  I'm a huge mark for a good black and gold color scheme.  I like how she isn't uber skinny, but muscular.  I dig this miniature a lot, but I'm not sure where I would use it.  If I can find it cheap I'll buy it, because I'm weird that way, but otherwise it is a PASS for me which is a damn shame.
They follow up these two masterpieces with the Janni, which is a Rare Medium.  This is apparently the Pathfinder version of the Genasi without all the extra visual flourishes.  A humanoid with elemental blood.  I love the look of this miniature, it has a great open stance, it has no weapon in hand so it could be used as a NPC, and that paint scheme is so good I'm going to have to steal it.  This would be a GREAT monk, or even a great Thieves Guild leader.  The stance is slightly odd, but doesn't really bother me that much.  Unfortunately this is again a Rare, so unless I can find it on the cheap it is going to be a PASS for me.
Here we have the Young Black Dragon, which is a Medium Rare.  I'm really up in the air on this one.  The pose is fantastic.  There is a sense of motion and menace here that really gives this miniature life.  The paint job looks pretty decent, which I think is sort of difficult with a chromatic dragon, but it has depth to it.  At the same time the head looks slightly odd.  It looks a bit dumpy in it's stance, and the reality is I have a Medium Young Black Dragon whose pose I love.  So it wouldn't really serve much of a purpose.  This is a like not love miniature for me.  I think if I didn't own a similar piece I'd probably be FAR more pumped for this mini.  So for me this one is a PASS.
Last but not least this week is the Hodag!  The Hodag is an Uncommon Large.  Apparently this monster is based on an urban legend in Wisconsin which alone makes it pretty friggin' sweet.  I really like the paint job on this bad boy.  This would be a PERFECT mount for Lizardfolk tribes.  It has enough of a dinosaur look and yet has some odd and interesting features that make it something else entirely.  I really dig this miniature, from the squatted stance that looks like a dog or a mount awaiting its rider, to the head which is mid-snarl, and all those great spines which give this thing TONS of character.  I really dig this miniature and could see grabbing a handful.  This one is a MUST BUY!

Sorry it took so long to get this week's blog up, there has just been so much nuts stuff going on.  I'll try and get back on track next week and hopefully, HOPEFULLY, the Podcast will be happening sooner rather than later now that the equipment is in the basement!

“Company, always on the run
Destiny is the rising sun
Oh, I was born six-gun in my hand
Behind a gun I'll make my final stand
That's why they call me

Bad company
And I can't deny
Bad company
Till the day I die
Oh, till the day I die
Till the day I die

Rebel souls, deserters we are called
Chose a gun and threw away the sun
Now these towns, they all know our name
Six-gun sound is our claim to fame
I can hear them say

Bad company
And I won't deny
Bad, bad company
Till the day I die, oo yeah
Till the day I die, oo

Bad company
And I can't deny
Bad company
Till the day I die

And I say it's
Bad company, oh yeah yeah
Bad company
Till the day I die, oh yeah

Tell me that you are not a thief
Oh but I am bad company
It's the way I play dirty for dirty
Oh, somebody double-crossed me
Double-cross, double-cross

Yeah, we're bad company”   

* = That's for you and your Birthday Christy!  THANKS!

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