Sunday, November 13, 2022

Reading November 2022

Sunday, November 06, 2022


The Tuesday before last, October 25, we lost Luna.  I realized after a while that she wasn't coming out of her crate.  By the time my wife came down and we were trying to coax her out, she couldn't stand, fell over when she tried, and was having constant mini seizures.  She's been seizing for a long time and having incidents of falling over, falling into things, and sort of narcolepsy-ing.  She was calm, but not herself, and had clearly had a major event like a stroke during the night.  She wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink, and appreciated all the attention, but was clearly befuddled.

We were very happy her last full day involved running at the neighbor's house.  Ted was always good to her and running next door was her happy place, across three different neighbors in that house.  And she was excited when the neighbor from the other side came over to check on Bailey the cat who we thought was actually the animal in the worst health, although she's rallied for a few weeks.  But Luna passing didn't do her any favors. Luna was always super excited about visits from people she recognized. 

We took her to the vet so she could pass peacefully and the fact that she wasn't slobbering like she had rabies was a telltale sign that it was really bad, particularly after I'd carried her in wrapped in a blanket.  She always foamed like crazy when excited and stressed.  It was pretty obvious she'd had a very long life and had decided she was all done.  A was still at school and we didn't want Luna to deal with any pain or being scared while waiting and I think they understood.  They're still a little mad about when Sandy passed back in 2008 and we didn't tell them it was happening.  But they were so young at the time and didn't like death.

Luna was a good dog. Barked too much.  A little too tightly wound.  Thought she was more clever than she really was and often tried to sneak in a poop when she thought she was being sneaky behind me instead of where I could see her. But we loved her and she loved us and she was happy.  We have lots of fond memories, even those that involve her being a little crazy like when she went bark crazy when my phone made a bee-boo noise [it's a sad noise now], or when she pooped half a dozen times if she went for a walk.  She was a gift from an old VP of Tech at TR after Sandy died.  We were drinking at the bar for a manager event and I mentioned my dog had died when I became a manager, and she mentioned her husband had a pile of oops hunting puppies.  We took A to her farm and she played in a pile of puppies and took Luna home.

There are piles of photos on my blog and Flickr.  But as I posted over on FB, what I see now is all the places Luna is not.

Her favorite place to nap next to my office.  The gate was to stop her from hiding in the basement behind the furnace when she got older.  She claimed it as her own and liked to sleep with her head resting across the bars.  When the treadmill was in the basement, she'd often sleep with her head on the base bars there instead.

Her auto water bowl.  Toward the end she drank a lot of water and sometimes couldn't seem to quit unless someone asked her to take a break.

Her kennel where she slept.  Sans comfortable blankets and towels.  Those are all her favorite 'ducks'.  Whenever someone new would show up, she'd haul one out to show them and hope for some play time.  There are some fun photos of her trying to get a burnt pancake off the top of the cage which was a game for a while. I think Luna was sad when I quit burning pancakes.

The neighbor's house, right outside my office window.  When we took her over to play in the yard she'd sit by the entrance and just quiver until she got the go-ahead.  Then she'd take off for the far side of the yard at full tilt, only deviating if she could find a squirrel or bird to chase.

The crooked back door where she liked to sit, enjoy the sunshine, and watch the birds, the squirrels, and the neighbors working in their yard.  That's her nose goo all over the window.  It's still there - we haven't washed it yet.  That'll feel like really letting go.  More so than putting away her bed.

One of her favorite spots to sun in the neighbor's yard and stare down squirrels.

The tree she was obsessed with toward the end after she realized it was squirrel central where the squirrels moved between Ted's house and Ty and Alexa's house.  She'd sit under there in the leaves and stare them down.  There was a day not so long ago I posted to FB about whether anyone had seen her because I couldn't find her and I thought she'd gotten lose and taken off.  Instead, she was in the leaves under the tree ignoring me.  This is where we buried a bunch of Luna's ashes.

A photo I don't think I posted for my family anywhere else from when Luna was just a puppy.

One of my favorite days with Luna, out for a walk in the snow.  She loved the snow and would bury her face and almost whole body in the snow banks.  She never felt it was a good excuse not to spend time next door.  I think she'd have pulled a Jack Nicholson in the hedge maze and been grinning as she froze.

Thank you for being a good dog, Luna.  You made A happy and that would have been enough.  But you made us all happy and gave us many great memories.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Gameholecon 2022 - Day 3 and 4

Aeryn and I have a tradition of going to Mickie's Dairy for breakfast every Gameholecon.  This year there was a big game scheduled for Sunday.  Can you tell?  There are a LOT of people in red in this photo you can't see.  It's like an iceberg.  They got rid of the banana monkey.  That was the first thing we noticed.  You can see it in an old set of GHC photos.


Aeryn and I played One Night Ultimate Werewolf on Sunday morning.  Definitely a younger crowd, although the guy to my left was roughly my age.  But the three people to the right you can't see are closer in age to those you can.  We played....thirteen games.  I think they played even more after we left to find a bathroom and some food.  With all those roles, it was a little tough at times.  Once there was some confusion about who was outing who as the werewolf and I commented to Aeryn, "I think they're just not certain about the rules in this case."  I was right.  In their defense, I got the doppelganger wrong when I played that role.  I acted like I truly believed I was who I'd taken a peek at when it was my turn to snoop around.
We hung out at the game library for a while and played Santorini.  Aeryn mopped the floor with my twice.  I am definitely out of practice.  I could see the loss coming and still couldn't rally.

 Aeryn played The Quacks of Quedlinberg and had a good time.

I played Munchkin Panic while Aeryn was at lunch.  I don't think this is a great game.  I prefer the standard Castle Panic, whereas this one is much more competitive.  Although you still have an everyone loses condition.  There's a card where you can kill a castle section yourself for victory points.  Three people availed themselves of it.  So mean.  Not that it mattered - I'm pretty sure we would have lost anyway, although it might have bought us a few turns.  Once those two hits to kill monsters get inside the castle, you don't have the advantage of the castle killing them off organically.  I enjoyed playing with the couple on the right.  Competitive, but really fun.  The guy to the left of me kept getting louder and louder and yelling more directions as it became obvious we were going to lose.  Him...not so much.  I do like the mix of castle cards and treasure cards in Munchkin Panic.  That's a nice change.
There's always a scratch and dent area at the sales tables.  It wasn't as good this year.  Although this copy of Kitsune of Foxes and Fools was still there from last year.  If everyone pays attention to boardgamegeek reviews, it will still be there when the apocalypse assures there are no more Gameholecons.  The Power Grid maps guy who has been there every year we've gone wasn't there this year.  Last year I attempted to buy a Power Grid map for Korea, but it's the only one that's sold out everywhere.  Now I'll never get a copy.  I did find Aeryn a copy of Doctor Who: The Card Game with the Twelfth Doctor expansion at half price.  I knew it wasn't supposed to be a good game, but I trust Aeryn will modify it to make it something more interesting.

Troyes was my favorite game of the con. I picked up a spot at the table last minute because I had a gap where I'd found Aeryn a game, but not myself.  I think those last minute adds have always been some of my favorites.  After a rocky start figuring it out, I got in the groove.  I like the mechanism where you can steal dice from other players [effectively their workers, soldiers, scholars] to use for your own sets.  There's a good mix of communal events costing everyone resources that make you have to weigh your choices about what you can live with.  Reminds me a little of Champions of Midgard in that respect, but the player interactions are taken up a notch, which I really appreciated.  I'd give it an 8/10, although part of that might have been playing a full set of four with a good group of gamers. I ordered myself a copy of this one.

We did get some gaming in at the house, so it wasn't only for sleeping.  Not as much fun without Ming there, but we made due.  Wingspan with Klund and Koleman and Aeryn.  I did not fare as well as the night before.  Lots of cards, but a brutal time trying to get food even with all the options.  Aeryn's better at this game then I am: lots of time playing it on Board Game Arena and Steam.
Me and Aeryn playing Calico.  I like Azul: Queen's Garden better, and they're somewhat similar, but it's definitely fun. I bought it for my wife from a game store over on Minnehaha Ave and we've played it once.  Aeryn and I played three times over two nights.  The last time we played with the full set of objectives rather than on learner mode.  You're trying to place tiles on your quilt with patterns and colors and then match those patterns and colors to the objective tiles. You can overlap patterns and colors and each objective can get extra points for both conditions.  Enough of a pattern in a row, attract a cat.  Enough colors near each other, attach a button. Get all the buttons, get a rainbow button.  That's pretty much the whole game.  Makes my head hurt.  Aeryn is very good at it.
More Calico.  Aeryn's Flumph isn't playing.  We went to two design events on Saturday and Sunday, per the last post.  "Monster Creation" and "Worldbuilding".  I was disappointed there were no women on the panel, but they were interesting.  My takeaway from Monster Creation...if you're doing it professionally, there's a lot more math involved to standardize the monster against the system then I would have imagined.  My take away from worldbuilding...sometimes the weird unanswered questions are really useful.  One panelist mentioned a story where knights threw something away they didn't want to be found dead with before going into battle.  A knight throwing something aside is mentioned.  But never what.  It creates a thread someone else can fill.  Even the author said he didn't know what had been thrown away.


Klund, Koleman, and me playing Roam.  My last game of the event [the next morning was one of the seminars, although we've played games before we leave before].  I love Roam...a fast game with a placement mechanism a little like Tetris with the players having different vantages on the board.  I was probably a bit too sleepy to be playing at that point.

The next day, we left for home and stopped at Osseo, Wisconsin for pie.  There's a brand new board game shop on main street, Boards and Bricks.  An amazing array of games.  Aeryn found a copy of Ticket to Ride Japan [and Italy] and got a discount.  Really excited because the roommate loves Japan and loves Ticket to Ride.  The bullet trains make it extra classy.

Overall: not my best Gameholecon.  I think I needed more new games, tbh.  But I learned a few I really liked, had a lot of fun with Aeryn, and didn't have a bad experience at any point, and I'm not sure I can say that about past Cons.  After all, play enough games, and you'll get a bad table.  It's like work teams in some ways, but concentrated.  A lot of different cultures in miniature in a short period of time.  I did like the relaxed pace.  I definitely didn't feel rushed.  And, props for bringing an apple and orange so I could eat some fruit.  A good lesson for future gaming events.

Gameholecon 2022 - Day 1 and 2

Last year Aeryn and I got a great start on GHC2021 and left early on Thursday.  This year, Aeryn had a midterm that was inescapable and didn't finish until almost 6:30 p.m.  So by the time we were all packed up and finished with dinner at Blue Door, we weren't on our way until 7:30 p.m.  Madison is roughly a four hour trip, so we rolled in just before midnight.  I know there are sometimes games that are running that late, but we were knackered after the drive in the dark.  So it was straight to bed at the Air BnB.  Klund did the house procurement again, which generally means we're going to have something with a bit of character.  He did not disappoint.  It almost looked handmade.  I swear I wouldn't want to be particularly heavy if I was on that upper floor.  The wood was slot planks.  What you usually think of as finishing for a ceiling, not the full floor surface.  There's a sauna tucked up there behind the fireplace and projector televisions in the bedrooms.  But we didn't really use any of that because GHC chews up most of your time playing, not enjoying the accommodation extras.  Even in the hotels near the convention, most folks seem to be holed up in an RPG room rather than spending time in their rooms and you can almost always find a game already underway when you walk through in the morning.  Or that never ended.  Gamehole is generally too much gaming for just lounging about, even if this year was shortened for us in that department.

On to some gaming on Friday.  Aeryn had an 8:00 a.m. Kokopelli, a game they said they really liked and would definitely play again now that they've got one under their belt and know the strategy.  Me....I went for a walk. It didn't come into play as much this year as last year, but I've discovered if I manage to sneak in a few long walks, so I hit the 10000+ step range, I can game a lot longer and a lot better.  My mind just strategizes a bit better under those conditions.  I roused myself at about 5:30 a.m. each day to ensure I walked the neighborhood and got a good base going. There was a nice arboretum nearby, but it wasn't much fun in the dark.


My first game was Khora: Rise of an Empire.  I enjoyed it. I think I'd drop it firmly in the 7/10 rating.  Some good mechanics: you're basically trying to increase your culture, military, and religion [I'm definitely wrong in the nomenclature] capabilities which you use to increase the amount/reserve of each of those you have in separate pools.  You can then spend those 'collections' on grabbing achievements and collecting three similar tokens that allow you to increase your base or buy cards for effects/objectives.  The objectives give benefits of their own as well as potentially allowing you to earn a victory point multiplier end of game.  

Each turn you're rolling two dice [three if you get the right level] and then playing two of six action cards that are equal to or lower then your die rolls, although you can spend citizens to bridge the number gap.  There's one of the random aspects that I wasn't particularly keen on.  Bad rolls make it a bit of an uphill battle. And bad cards with lots of stipulations/costs can make your cards worth considerably less use than another player's cards.  It took me a few turns to realize as a player with more military than anyone else at the table I could leverage that to create a battle/attrition/restock loop to really start driving points.  But late in the game, when I could have paid for a level for my troops, and then increased a level for free by increasing my overall empire footprint, I reversed my action order and cost myself a level because I couldn't afford it as a second action, only a first.  It was definitely a matter of playing the actions in the wrong order and if I had played the game before, I think I'd have been experienced enough not to do that mistake.  I actually made two major action mistakes. I don't think I'd have beat our coach without them, she didn't make any missteps that I could see and had a much more well-balanced board, but I think I'd have been within a few points.


While I was at Khora, Aeryn was at Qwirkle. I was excited looking over because a table of no dudes is rare.  But apparently it was way too loud for Aeryn.  There was a lot of screaming of QWIRKLE that was headache inducing.  I think that's the best part about a slightly more 'complicated' game - everyone is spending all their time thinking and not making noise.  That blue thing in the foreground with seven legs, one of them placed a bit sus, is a Flumph from Dungeons and Dragons.  Cool fact, on Saturday we met the guy who created the Flumph, and the guy who created Forgotten Realms.  Dungeons and Dragons and roleplaying aren't a big part of our Gameholecon experience - almost no part of it at all since our disasterous experience at our first GHC, although we've had a session most Wednesdays since Covid lockdown - but we've been to some talks to learn from RPG and board game creators and hear how the industry works.


Fleet was a good game, although I wish the table covering had been blue like the ocean instead of red.  We played with an expansion that let us play six players at the table, and I suspect that's the absolute optimal number.  It made it much more interesting.  Not slow with that count though, as we could really do some things at the same time [like launch boats and play captains].  In general, you're bidding on fishing charters [worth victory points] and using those charters to launch matching boats, put captains on those boats, and using abilities on the charters to process your fish for money, keep them for points, or process them for additional cards in hand, which is a BIG driver [as captains can be face down cards, but that costs you a card].  Additionally, cards double as cash, so every action that takes a card out of your hand costs you.  There are some specialty charters for retiring captains for points, getting extra fish points, leaving boats at the marina for points, and more.  This is my hand.  I won by a point.  My tactic was cheap fishing - cod - and lots of it including even turning my wildcard boats into cod boats.  There were a couple of processing charters to make sure I could generate lots of cash and cards.  Toward the end, I knew the guy to my left was going to overtake me, so it became an issue of fishing out the ocean [cubes in box] to end the game early.  There are some other bits and pieces: there are boats with captains built in, but limitations, you can only have four fish on a boat, you get achievement points for first boat full of fish of a certain type, you can 'pass' and get some free money or victory points, etc.  I enjoyed this more than Khora.  Easily my second favorite game of the weekend at the Con tables.


Aeryn and I have always done a True Dungeon run.  We are so all about the single run that we don't even bother to parse our existing tokens for the game.  We just use what we have in that run and rely on the charity of strangers.  We are perpetual noobs.  Our team this year was wonderful.  Truly a joy.  We had an older experienced guy, a dad and his daughter on their second run in two days and two runs ever, and....the Fung Brothers.  The Fung bros are the sash-wearing, play a lot, probably drive their hobby on token sales and swaps, and there to have fun with others types.  You can picture them.  They looked exactly like the long haired hero or villain twin pair from a Shaw Brothers production. I don't particularly know if fighting long-haired twins exist in a particular Shaw Brothers movie, but once you think about it, you're pretty sure they must exist [LOL....yep, The Proud exists:].

I played a Dwarf Fighter this year and the Fungs leveled me up, gave me extra treasure draws, and made sure I had a better then average weapon and ranged weapon.  The hand weapon was a +3 turkey leg.  I liked the imagery.  Although I failed to get any crits outside of the practice zone.  Palpable hits, just not crits, would would have been optimal with my character.

The dwarf fighter has a taunt skill to haul attention away from weaker characters and I played it up a bit this year, accusing one enemy of having a smaller than average sword, another of not singing as well as a rubber duck [Aeryn told me 'that's mean'], and even mocking the animatronic/robotic monster by mimicking it. I told everyone to imagine I was a real dwarf because the effect was funnier than I could achieve at six foot two.  Aeryn played a druid, which involves memorizing lots of leaves.  I'm so glad no one makes me play spell casters.  We had an excellent run and in one of the puzzle areas the two teenagers [Aeryn and the other guy's daughter] powered through the math involved in a heart beat.  I think the more experienced guy with us actually felt a bit vestigial when they solved it so fast without the rest of us and took an action before we reasoned it out that hurt us so he could participate. But it didn't hurt much, and he was super nice when I bumped into him the rest of the con.  If I had to guess, he felt more I'm-old left out than I'm-masculine or I'm-experienced-at-this left out.  I know I did and I think I contributed the "those must be equivalent so you know where to start" observation first.

I will share one image that does not matter and creates no spoilers, a scroll from Nine Toes Tom.  I sent a photo to my dad to ask if he knows him because Dad only has nine fingers.  It certainly seems like Nine Toes Tom and Nine Fingers John would run in the same Nineteen [or less] Digits Guild.


Lunch was at Liberty nearby and this is actually a photo I took last year.  But it looked exactly the same.  I approve of their brisket chili and a beer for roughly what I'd spend at a food truck without the beer.  Aeryn leveraged my experience this year and ran over there to have fish and chips which seemed to be a big step up as far as they were concerned.  If you sit at the counter and sort of have your order and credit card ready, I think the turnaround time is all of half an hour so you can fit the walk and food between gaming events.

This cow statue, Miss Madison, is near the convention center. I passed it on one of those walks I mentioned.  I'm not sure why the marital status of the cow is a necessary detail.  Maybe Wisconsinites just gotta know.


Aeryn hung out with some of the LARPers and was excited about the win-a-match/win-ice-cream challenge, as they've attended and worked at Cardboard Camp since they were little.  They made sure the rules were obvious for people like me who are just flailers [sorry, I didn't take the challenge, so there's no video of me getting whacked over and over by an expert].


 Aeryn got to pick the competitor and he was gooooood.  Really good.  I think he was literally trying to wear Aeryn out dragging that match on and staying out of range.  The match lasted for what seemed like more than fifteen minutes.  And as someone who fenced for a few classes in community ed when he was first at the U of MN, that is exhausting.  It still stands out as one of the most tiring things I've ever done.  Aeryn lost, but it was really fun to watch.  Lot of banter.


 If you click into this one, it's a video of a very small portion of the match.

 GHC 2022 Aeryn Fights 

We had a shared Tumblin' Dice game end of day, but bailed.  The kid running it was related to the Quirkle lady and we've played with their family before.  It can be loud and confusing. Not a good end to a day if you're a bit worn out from a long drive the night before. Instead, we bugged out and headed over to the capitol square area [or whatever shape the capitol area is in Madison] for sushi and ramen.  Usually we go to Morris Ramen over there, but decided to try something different.  Probably a good move.  Morris was visible from Umami and had a crowd outside.  Not surprising.  Even when we went sort of out of band in previous years, it was pretty full.  I had the Shoyu chicken ramen with a spice bomb, that got hotter and hotter the deeper in the bowl I went, and Aeryn had a sushi bowl where the sashimi sat on the rice.  Good way to finish the day.  We headed back to the AirBnB to play some Wingspan and Calico while Klund and offspring hung with Kane at the Con.  But I'll post pictures of that tomorrow.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Reading October 2022

Among other training onboarding this month: AWS Cloud Training, Alteryx Training, MasterClass, Calico Game Video.  It's been a busy month.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

September 14 Dungeons and Dragons Recap

 September 14, 2022

Days: 5th day + 2 weeks and 2 days = 20 days [Oleg out of training at 3 months and 19 days, or day 109].

Dworm is researching the documents - may take a few weeks.

Party meets up at the Tipsy Bullywug all healed up and discusses what to do.  Hal is working on his new power ballad, Two Lights Become One.  He may also be writing the tale of Uncle Cinnamon.

After breakfast and a visit to the Newfangler shop and Collette’s Magic Shop, Ilduul, Hal, Wing [and Twilight], and Glaston head toward where they last saw the glowing portal in the middle of a grassy field in the woods. When they get there, there are now six glowing portals equidistant around the edge off the field near the woods and at the central portal the presumably newfangler they’ve seen before is messing around with things and ignoring them.  They approach him and notice they are being watched by three small flying machines. When pressed, he announces, “You took away from bullywug farm”, something about “experiments”,  and the rather sinister “I am trying to transcend death”.  After some debate with each other, Hal grabs an amulet / armband via a Mage Hand from one of the peripheral portals and the dome collapses as the amulet crawls up his arm and latches on, leaving behind the wires it was attached to.  This gets the newfangler’s attention and he sics the drones on the party.

The party discovers that the drones shoot little darts that have electrifying properties.  Ilduul manages to shoot one down and it explodes as it crashes starting a fire.  The other two disappear above the tree tops and start lighting the whole forest aflame as the party tries to retreat.  Ilduul is trying to get a read on the drones from the trees, but they are all screaming in panic and pain.

Back at town they talk to Maisy, the Newfangler apprentice, who shows them how you can use wires to electrify something and babbles about batteries [which no one understands].  Says it could be magical plus mechanical.  The MU guild isn’t useful because they don’t have an MU so they go to the church of Thoth to check out the arm band on Hal.

Hal won’t enter the church.

Ilduul tries to force him / grab him.

Hal charms Ilduul.  Ilduul then tries to convince Wing they really don’t need to go in the church and, per Hal, maybe it’s time for a beer.  One effect of the charm is that Ilduul now has NO problem remembering Hal’s name.  Everyone retires to the Tipsy Bullywug where Hal notes that everything smells and tastes particularly delicious after that fiery encounter.

Reading September 2022

Friday, August 26, 2022

August 24 Dungeons and Dragons Recap

 August 24, 2022

Days: 4th day + 2 weeks and 2 days = 20 days [Oleg out of training at 3 months and 19 days, or day 109]

After “The Anticlimactic Mudmen Adventure” and the “Muddy Tentacle Monster We Surprised Adventure”, the party moves to check out a glow in woody/grasslands area ahead.  There they find a field of grass, about 3’ high, where the man they’ve seen before with the glowing domes has two of them in the center of the field [roughly 100’ away] that he’s trying to position.

Hal, who was finishing up his ‘county’ music tour to raise money for training and has come in search of the party, appears on the other side of the field, where he’s oblivious to the party, although they see him.  There is much failed sneaking on the part of the party in both directions.  The man sees them and mostly temporarily ignores them until he finally brings the glowing domes together and exclaims success before stepping into the dome.  As he does, the grass rustles around the dome as something/s unseen moves into the field.

Dworm attempts to get a view via his mechanical bird, but can only see that something shorter than 3’ is moving around in the grass.  Ilduul climbs a tree to get a view, but can’t see much more.

Hal starts to move around the edge of the field counterclockwise toward the rest of the party and is about half way there when three 18+ foot long constrictors burst out of the grass, and another constrictor that seems to be almost 50’ long and is more reminiscent of a giant tree moving on its side.  The giant snake shoots past him and then doubles back as Ilduul nicks it with an arrow from long range.

The party rushes to Hal’s aid.  There’s a lot of biting.  A lot of constricting.  A lot of flesh rending.  The giant constrictor rushes Ilduul’s tree.  He attempts a burst of air and sound that temporarily saves him from constriction and then changes into dire wolf form to battle the constrictor.  Dworm manages to blend a constrictor from inside its coils as one wraps around him.

In the end, Twilight and Ilduul are unconscious and the rest of the party bandages and heals while keeping a wary eye on the still rustling grass.  Rather than check out the glowing dome, they head to town to rest and heal.  Along the way they meet the owner of the Tipsy Bullywug who’s headed home and expresses dismay that they didn’t defeat the mud monsters as he had a bet riding on them.

Ilduul washes up and rests at the Temple of Thoth.  The rest of the party finds swankier digs at the Tipsy Bullywug [currently 1 gp/night].

Thursday, August 18, 2022

August 17 Dungeons and Dragons Recap

 August 17, 2022

Days: 3rd day + 2 weeks and 2 days = 19 days [Oleg out of training at 3 months and 19 days]

The party heads back to Pendelton in Neyor to work on training up to second level in most cases.

Wing and Oleg head to the fighters’ guild.  Wing meets Git who has Wing spar against a fairly easy opponent to get a read on the skills needed.  He quotes 400 gp and two weeks and trains Wing specifically with Twilight [who appears to level up as well] and against multiple fighters acting as an abomination [a tentacled misshapen thing].

Oleg asks Wing for several thousand gold pieces for Barbarian training and, when he can’t get it, shrugs and yells to a barbarian trainer that he doesn’t have it.  The trainer agrees to use Oleg as greco roman sparring partner for oily barbarians for three and a half months as compensation.  Oleg tell’s Wing, “See you Monday.”

Two weeks later as Wing is finishing up training Oleg calls, “See you Monday.”

Dworm heads to the hardware shop to see Wilbur the weaponsmith who’s also a newfangler.  He has him display his skills and quotes him 200 in training and 300 gp in supplies as well as a swap of exploding bulbs for screaming bulbs [proximity].  They now glow and then will scream, explode, or both depending on Dworm’s configuration.  Dworm learns to make a small metal crow familiar and healing potions [5 gp in supplies per, one per day, can sell at 50 gp].  He works the store for a while, buys a stick [70 gp, has “Maria” carved in the side with what seems to be a wood burner, 3d4] with what seems to be a blender on the end of it and reviews the notes he collected from the farm: how to build the stick, ledgers for supplies/expenses, and some hard to read info about how to use a magic item and newfangler tech to open ‘doors’ or ‘passages’.

Ilduul hangs at the Nature altar on the edge of town where a druid comes and goes via various trees.  He tells Ilduul to make an offering at the altar and as Ilduul gets to 500 gp seedlings appear until he has 100 [and offered 600 gp].  He asks the seedlings where they want to be planted and they want to be a windbreak near the farmlands.  He starts to plant them and finds that for everyone he plants, more appear, and it takes him almost two weeks to plant what seems to be close to 1400 seedlings.  

Observations: farm plants are fairly dumb.  When seedlings are planted as windbreak they start to sing along like children much like Floyd’s Brick in the Wall II or Gorillaz Dirty Harry.  To the best of anyone’s knowledge, there are no cheese plants.

They search for Hal at the Tipsy Bullywug and elsewhere only to find that he’s on a multi-town tour singing Baby Zombie Killer and Pour Some Molasses on Me, which are currently regional favorites and hummed by many people in the streets.  The owner of the Tipsy Bullywug notes that some local farmers have been having issues with the swamp north of town and the party goes to investigate.  Sure enough…the swap runs right up to the farm land.  A bit swamp, a bit marsh.  When Ilduul tries to talk to the algae, half a dozen 3-4’ tall mud people rise out of the muck about 60’ away and start throwing fast drying mud.  The party is beaten back and goes to talk to some local farmers including Farmer Goe who are mostly fine with the situation as it is.  They farm around the swamp.  They do note that it interferes with collecting peat for whiskey production and they used to bury their ancestors there back in the day, although not in anyone’s memory since the mud people showed up.

As the party walks back to town in the evening, they see a familiar glow ahead, but not the source.  Instead, Iduul stumbles on what looks like a tentacle monster.  Although different.  And the party gets the drop on it.  A fight starts and they determine that this tentacle monster is largely comprised of mud and mud tentacles. Arrows don’t work well, but the blender stick and Ilduul’s magical waves splatter mud everywhere.

The party finishes muddy from the mud people.  Muddy from Tentacle Mud Monster [TMM] and in a mix of dimly lit woods and grasses illuminated from some source ahead.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

August 10, Dungeons and Dragons Recap

- Note that the date on the last one was wrong. We played on August 3.

August 10, 2022

Days: 3rd day

Glaston and Dworm find themselves waking up from sleeping in the basement of the Church of Thoth to a bright light.  Followed by a kick to the head.  Followed by lots of tiny, slimy hands tying them up, putting a hood on them, a gag on them, and a noose around their necks.  They suspect they’re on a gallows based on the wood floor and nooses. However, they seem to be very small gallows.  But they’re very small humanoids.

The rest of the party is at The Tipsy Bullywug.  The bartender comes over to say he doesn’t know much about hat-wearing tentacle monsters, that’s just drunk talk.  But he came from a clan of bullywugs not far north of town and if there are bullywugs around, they’re from there.  He refers to them as a ‘bunch of hillbillies” and notes he and them do not get along. One might suspect he’s particularly intelligent and capitalism focused for a bullywug.

Before setting out, the party rests at the Church of Thoth.  The Bishop, Ka-tet, back for the moment from wherever he’d been when they were there before tells them he’s cleaned the basement and thanks them for the donation of gold to the church [apparently there were filaments of gold amalgam inside the tentacle monster].  The party finds sleeping in the basement seems to have curative/healing properties.

Later that afternoon, the party approaches a small village of Bullywugs and sees a gallows.  Rather than debate the merits of their approach, they wander straight into the middle of the excited, bloodthirsty, semi-amphibian crowd gathering at the gallows.  Wing is starting to ask questions when a leader-ish looking bullywug with his oversized [yet still small] axe-wielding bodyguard announces, ‘String them up.’ 

Stabbing begins. On both sides. Although Oleg is being stabbed in the knees.  And then a full on fight erupts with the villagers.

During the fight with 9 bullywug villagers, a bullywug barbarian, and a bullywug cleric or perhaps druid [the party can’t tell.  The bullywug seems to throw a magic missile, but it’s not the pointy kind], the women and children of the village start to sneak away fearing they’ll be murdered by the interlopers.  As they do, a dome of light appears and the party sees the man from the dome of light in the church basement [presumably the same person who kicked Dworm and Glaston in the heads and gave them to the bullywugs, but who’s to say?  Not Dworm and Glasto] step out of the brilliance and announce that they’ve killed al the good bullywugs he was harvesting.  He grabs a pair of bullywug women and steps back into the dome before Oleg can get to him.

As Oleg reaches the dome, a tentacle monster, much like that at the church, comes out of the dome with two bullywug women attached to two of its tentacles.  

Part way through the fight, as the party finally starts to carve into the central body of the monster, and as Ilduul finishes the mass bullywug grave he’s digging, hands again emerge from the dome and grab two bullywug children.  The other bullywug women and children scatter for good as a Conjoined Bullywug Twin with Six Tentacles [CBT] emerges from the dome after a quarter turn of the dome [the party notices that now and then the dome flickers and seems to do small shifts or spins].


The party dispatches the twins and their tentacles.  The skin of the CBT seems less tricky to cleave than the skin of the TTM [traditional tentacle monster].  Dworm investigates the dome and finds a wand with wires leading out of it.  When he uses his newfangler kit to snip the wires, the dome vanishes [but fortunately not him nor the wand].  

The party picks apart the bodies of the two monsters and finds the bishop of Thoth, Ka-tet, was correct and they are full of precious metals.  Their nervous systems are heavily laden with gold, to the tune of about 2000 gp [total].

The grave Ilduul is digging is finalized and all the bullywugs and other chunks of flesh laid to rest in a mound in the middle of the village.  Hal finds water skins and provisions in the huts including jerky he tests on Oleg first [should the druid take a good long look and sniff and maybe a taste, Iduul will conclude it’s fly jerky].  The party stands at the center of a small village of about ten huts, now completely abandoned.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

August 4, Dungeons and Dragons Recap

August 4, 2022

Days: 2

Group heads back to town.  They’re a little beat up, so not looking for trouble.  Folks stop at the Tipsy Bullywug to have some dinner and beer and mead.  Oleg bums a steak off Wing under the pretext he saved Wing’s life twice.  Ilduul makes a brief stop at Wilbur the Weaponsmith’s place for a cheap bow [same price as a steak, 1 gp].

Hal sings the Ballad of the Baby-Killing Orc to great applause.  He ponders staying at the inn, but the 2 gp for a room price is a bit steep.

The party finds some space at the Church of Thoth in the downstairs great room to rest.  Glaston notes that the bishop must be out at the moment.

Later that night, Oleg wakes up from a dream where someone is putting their tongue in his ear and another person is whispering to him, a whole chorus of “wake up”.  He awakes to a dome of light in the corner, his hat of tongues in his ear telling him to “wake up”, and some other voice urging him to do the same that is not the hat of tongues or a party member.

When everyone wakes up, they note that “Dween and Hammer” [Dworm and Glaston - Wing can’t remember their names] are missing and had been where the glowing dome is.  A shadowy man appears in the dome and looks about him declaring “Who is this?” at someone near his feet. He continues “Doesn’t matter.”  When asked his name he responds, “It matters Naught”, and throws a couple of weak magic arrows at the party and steps back into the dome.  As he leaves, a tentacled roughly 4’ tall x 6’ radius lump of grayish flesh slides out of the dome and attacks the party.  During the course of the fight, it tries to wrap the party members in jelly/eggy tipped tentacles, although when the main body is threatened, the tentacles try to block strikes.  Eventually the party, sans Dworm and Glaston, sever 13 tentacles.  Some seem to appear as others are dispatched.  A few [2] of the tentacles have small spear equipped bullywugs attached to their ends that seem to fight on the creature’s behalf [until put down].

Maybe the closest approximation of the tentacle monster, although the bottom more flat to the floor.

Within the dome of light, more waving shadows can be seen moving toward the party.  Oleg sees a hat with wires leading off it in the middle of the dome and stomps the hat viciously.  The dome of light vanishes.  Dworm and Glaston do NOT reappear.  The party, particularly Oleg and Hall, are very beat up and head to the bar to drink away their pain.  Oleg is sick of tongues in his ear and tentacles in his ear, and all other things in his ears.  He opines, “Are there any tongues in my ear?” to which Hal replies, “Not any more than there were before.”

In the bar the party asks the bullywug bartender about the bullywugs on the tentacles and about the hat, but no one seems to have any information and is amused about the tales of the hat-wearing tentacle monster in the basement of the church.  They urge the party to “get a little more drunk.”


650 each [Oleg, Hal, Ilduul, Wing]