Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jews, Bagels and a Caramel Macciato

A shot of espresso, then two pumps of vanilla. Fill it the rest of the way up with steamed milk, leaving just enough room for the whipped cream and caramel sauce. Deftly, I whip the cream into a perfect spiral on the surface of the drink. Then I take out the small tube of caramel sauce, shake it a few times, and lay it down in a checkerboard pattern over the whipped cream. Another perfect drink.

“Caramel Macciato up!” I yell, as I slide the cardboard cup across the counter.

A Caramel Macciato is a work of art, really. It’s my favorite drink to make. It took me a long time to get it right – for the first few weeks my whipped cream would come out in lopsided blobs, with the caramel sauce welled up uselessly at the side. But I got plenty of practice, and eventually I came to pride myself in my caramel macciato skills. Two things really bother me, though – when someone starts drinking theirs without first looking at it, and when someone orders one without whipped cream.

I know it’s fattening and some people don’t need it. But it just looks so sad without the whipped cream, like it’s only half a drink. Plus the caramel can’t make patterns and pictures on the top – they sink in as soon as I squirt them out. Sometimes I make little sad faces with the caramel on drinks with no whipped cream, to show how the drink is feeling.

There are no more customers in line. This isn’t odd, really, it’s 9:30 on a Thursday and we usually get a bit of a slump anytime a class is starting. They’ll be back.

“Want me to go restock the coolers?” I ask my boss, Linda.

“Sure Hon,” she says, “You just do whatever ya think you should. I’ll give ya a holler if a need you,”

I take the little cart back to the stock room. The stock room is a big room, with shelves full of every kind of food or drink we serve, except whichever one we’re currently out of. I think there must be someone whose job it is to decide what not to order each week, because every week we’ll have an overabundance of most things and an absolute dearth of one particular item, and that is the item everyone will want. This week it’s cream cheese, which is unfortunate, because bagels are basically the only real food we serve, and who’s gonna want a bagel without cream cheese?

I wonder where the association between bagels and cream cheese began. I know bagels were invented by German Jews at some point roughly a hundred years ago. I don’t know why I know this, but I do. I wonder if these same Jews invented cream cheese? I wonder if, in Germany, under the Nazis, bagels were outlawed because they were Jewish, or if the Nazis tried to rewrite history so that the bagel was an Aryan invention. It must have sucked to be a seller of bagels back then, I muse. Or a seller of cream cheese.

I get my cart filled up with drinks and things and get back to the little booth just in time to see our next customer – Julie. I only know her name because I stole a glance at her credit card once when she was using it to pay for her drink. Julie comes in every Tuesday and Thursday morning at precisely 9:45 and orders a bagel with cream cheese and a tall skim latte. She usually gets a flavor shot, but never the same one twice. I think she’s trying to try them all. This is all I know about her. That, and the fact that she’s gorgeous.

I often wonder if Julie has a boyfriend. On the one hand, I mean how could she not? But I know from experience that what I consider beautiful is not necessarily what guys in general consider beautiful. Plus she’s quite, maybe kind of shy. A lot of guys don’t go out for that.

I wonder if she’s Jewish. She does look a little Jewish, and she always orders a bagel. But lots of people like bagels. Liking bagels doesn’t make you a Jew any more than liking pizza makes you Italian. Although not really because modern pizza is an American invention, but I digress. Anyway, I don’t think Julie is a particularly Jewish name.

As I move inside to start Julie’s drink, she surprises me – she orders a tall skim caramel macciato. I start in on the familiar steps – one shot espresso, two pumps of vanilla, all the way up to the whipped cream. I hesitate for a moment, picking up the caramel sauce. The checkerboard pattern seems too bland for a girl like Julie. Maybe I should make a heart? No, too sappy. Her name? That’s just creepy. My phone number maybe? That’d be classy, suave. Or just tacky. Plus I’m not even sure it would fit. I briefly consider a star of David, but that seems like a big risk.

“You ok there?” asks Linda.

“Fine,” I tell her. I settle on a smiley face, a nice, innocent design, and then put a little extra caramel around the edges so it doesn’t affect the taste. I put a lid on and hand it to her.

“Enjoy,” I say, as suavely as I can.

“Thanks,” she says, smiling. I sigh as she walks away. That right there is the highlight of my Thursdays, maybe of my whole week. How sad is that?

Sunday, October 07, 2007


My country is under siege from within

By terrorists using biological warfare

And now they are threatening our children

It’s not enough that we have to put up

With the locusts they have unleashed

to eat our crops and destroy our food supply.

It’s not enough that they’ve contaminated our water

So that instead of flowing clear it runs red,

And they have infected our livestock

With a deadly pestilence

No, not for him, the smug, bearded murderer

Who calls himself a freedom fighter,

A Holy Warrior, who says that God is On His Side,

Then says he will murder our children

if we don’t give in to his demands.

We must be strong. We must not yield.

Even though a “Great cry be heard,

as has never been heard, and never will be again,”

Egypt does not negotiate with terrorists.

I will not let your people go.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Poem in free verse about my hair

I am at a crossroads concerning my hair.

I did not mean to grow it out, in truth

I merely didn’t get around to cutting it,

And now it is too long.

Or perhaps not long enough

for what I want to do with it.

It all depends on what looks cool.

In my mind it looks good long,

But in my mind the sides of it curl out

In opposite directions

(And they don’t actually do that.)

I look at pictures of

myself when my hair was long

Longer than now, and I think to

myself “why did I do that?”

But now that it’s getting that long again

I don’t want to cut it.

I do not like my hair.

It is uncooperative no matter what the length,

but it is very soft and I like how it feels

Anyway it is my hair and there's no changing it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


He is not in love her.

He knows love, in his mind at least, and knows that love is something that comes with time, something that must grow and develop, not anything that can be gleaned from a single conversation, or even from years of casual contact. And so he knows he cannot be in love with her.

Maybe he could be in love with her.

Were the world a slightly different place. If he’d met her a year ago, when he was still single, or if he’d never met Katrina and he was still single, or if he’d had the confidence to approach her the first time he saw her, sitting at the table by herself, reading, maybe if it had been a book he knew, maybe if he could have used that as an excuse to strike up a conversation with her without looking like a complete idiot, maybe, then, maybe, he could be in love with her.


Maybe he will be in love with her. Maybe his relationship with Katrina, wonderful as it seems to be, will come to a sudden unexpected end. and there she will be, funny and witty and gorgeous and perfect as she was that day in the cafeteria. Maybe years from now, when their children ask them how they’d met, the last two years will have become nothing but an amusing anecdote.


Maybe not.

Maybe she would never have dated him anyway. Maybe she would have, but she would have turned out to be mean or shallow or boring. Maybe they would have just become friends. Or maybe, just maybe, everything would have worked out fine and he’d be sitting here, at this same table, looking over at Katrina, and wondering if he could ever have been in love with her.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Chapter 19

"Where have you been?" asked Vivacia as her roommate walked in the door. Amora was wearing the same warm smile she always wore, but her best friend knew her too well to be fooled. Something was troubling her.
"Guild business," Amora replied curtly. "The gnome boy was being examined, and my father wanted me on hand for some reason," She rolled her eyes and flung her bag down on the couch.
Amora and Vivacia's apartment in Tiesan hall was small, but cozy. Two semicircular beds jutted out from the walls like shelves, with ladders against each wall leading up to them. The bottom floor contained a desk (which was hardly ever used,) a small couch, and, in the center of the chamber, a fire pit with a spit over it, which seemed completely out of place in the tiny, second story room. Currently there was small cauldron suspended from the spit, and there was something simmering in it.
"What's cooking?" asked Amora, with hint of wry humor.
"Oh, just a potion for Lady Cecilia," Vivacia replied, "She's gonna stop by here in a little while, by the way. Needs my help with some ritual,"
"I've been wondering about that," commented Amora after a moment. "She seems to need your help a lot lately. Isn't it... a bit odd?"
"Not really," answered her friend, "Why would it be?"
"Well, she's, like, the most powerful witch in the world, right?"
"She's up there," Vivacia replied proudly.
"Well, no offense, I mean, you're good, but you've been doing this - two years? Three? Why wouldn't Lady Cecilia choose a more... experienced witch?"
"Oh," said Vivacia. She began to blush a bit. "Well, it's kind of, um... I mean, yes, she wants the most experienced witch possible, but some rituals require a younger witch, and some..." she trailed off. The cauldron whistled; she got up and and began to stir it.
"Yes?" asked Amora after a moment.
"Younger," said Vivacia decidedly. She was blushing quite a bit now."Some rituals just... need a younger witch. So, um, this gnome boy, how was he?"
Amora understood that her friend was not telling her everything, but she decided to let her change the subject.
"Hardly much of a threat," she said. "In fact, I think he could be kind of useful. I just wish I hadn't introduced myself to him by cursing him. My uncle's right. I need to be building support, not alienating people."
"I'm sorry," replied the human. "It's my fault. If you hadn't shot at Bogue -"
Amora cut her off. "It was my bad judgement as well as yours. No more messing around, though. I can't afford to take the chance,"
They sat in silence for a moment.
"You really think your uncle's gonna die?" asked Vivacia. "Like, soon? I mean, not elf soon, cause that could be forever, but like, human soon?"
"He thinks so," Amora answered. "He's getting his affairs in order."
Vivacia thought for a moment.
"Unless," she said eventually.
"Unless what?" asked Amora.
"Well, he told you not to tell anyone, especially Lady Cecilia, right?" asked Vivacia.
"So?" prodded the elf.
"So keeping secrets has never been your strong suit, Am. He knows that. He also knows I'm your best friend, and he knows I'm kind of Lady Cecilia's protege... "
"You thinking he wants it to get out," observed Amora.
"It all kind of adds up, doesn't it?" Vivacia replied.
Amora made to reply, but was interrupted by a knock on the door. She had barely opened it a crack when a tiny purple and beige figure zoomed through. Simile slowed down and came level with Amora's face. She was carrying a scroll which was slightly larger than she was. She proffered it to Amora.
"From your uncle," she said, irritably, "Apparently Thurigen isn't the only one in this city who thinks 'pixie' is synonymous with 'carrier pigeon'."
"Thanks, Simile," said Amora, taking the scroll. She unrolled it and began to read. Simile zoomed over to the cauldron and hovered over it briefly, then flew over to Vivacia.
"Smells good," she said. "But do you really want the Lady to come in here and smell a love potion?"
"Viv!" Amora exclaimed.
A look of panic had spread across the face of the young witch.
"You can smell it already?" she asked. "It still has to stew for a few weeks - how...?"
"Pixie nose," Simile replied, "A little stronger than a human's. But if you think they've invented a potion Lady Cecilia can't recognize, in any stage..."
"Viv, what is that for?" asked Amora.
"A friend," answered Vivacia.
"You're a terrible liar," said the pixie, zooming between the two women.
"It's not what you think," the witch began, but just then there was another knock. The room fell silent.
"Vivacia?" came Lady Cecilia's voice from the other side of the door. "Are you ready?"
"Yes, just a moment!" called the young woman.
"May I come in?" asked the matron.
"Um... I'm not decent," Vivacia replied.
"Alright, I'll wait in the lobby," answered Lady Cecilia.
Vivian waited a moment for her to leave, then mouthed, "That was close,"
"The woman can read minds," admonished Simile, rounding her tiny body on the pale witch. "You're a fool if you think you can hide anything from her. What were you thinking?"
"Hang on," said Amora. "What's so bad about Vivacia brewing a love potion? I mean, I know they're dangerous and all, but it's not really her any of her business, is it?'
"It is if she has to train up a new virgin!" exclaimed Simile.
"Simile!" cried Vivacia.
A look of understanding passed over Amora's face.
"A 'younger witch," she said. "I had no idea,"
"That's important to witch's magic," said the pixie. "The maiden, the mother, and the crone,"
Vivacia looked adamant. "I wasn't gonna actually... you know..."
"Not if you want to keep your job you weren't," laughed Simile. "Not really in need of another mother, is she? I gotta run. So do you. Best not to keep the lady waiting." She zoomed up and out the chimney.
Amora looked to her friend, who seemed on the verge of tears. A small green bubble appeared in the elf's hand.
"Cheer up," she said. "We'll talk about this later, but Lady Cecilia shouldn't see you like this,"
The witch nodded. Amora flicked the little bolt of happiness over to her friend. As it sunk in a smile flickered over her face.
"Thanks" she said. "I'll see you tonight. Take care,"
She slid out the door, closing it behind her. Amora settled on the couch.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Buffy Fic in script form

Time period: beginning of season six
Scene: Buffy, Xander, Anya, Willow, Tara, and Dawn are watching TV on the couch.
Xander: Ok, so, not that I'm not enjoying "Bride of the Infomercial" here, but... has anyone seen the remote?
Anya: As much as I enjoy the rampant display of capitalism, he does have a point.
Dawn: Are you sure you're not sitting on it again?
Buffy: I don't know... I haven't seen it in a couple hours.
Tara: Oh no, do you think it might be in trouble? Buffy, what do we do?
Willow: Oh! I could do a spell!
Tara: No magic, Willow!
Willow: [sad face]
Dawn: I really think Xander is sitting on the remote.
Buffy: Do you think we should call Giles? I think we should call Giles.
Willow: Do you thing it might have been taken by demons? Cause I know this great spell for finding demons-
Anya: Oh! A Keeyaris demon!
Buffy: A what?
Anya: Keeyaris demon! They're really lazy, so they like to steal remote controls and then use them to control the mortals they steal them from.
Tara: Oh my God Buffy, if one of those things has your remote -
Buffy: We have to find it. Tara, try that locater spell. [Willow and Tara leave] I'm gonna go see if Spike knows anything about a -
Spike pops up from behind the couch.
Spike: About a what now?
Buffy: Spike, what are you doing here?
Spike: Just thought I'd watch a spot of TV. 'S not a bloody crime.
Buffy: You were hiding behind my couch!
Xander: Uh, guys? I know we're all kind of on edge right now, but we do have a remote stealing demon to find.
Dawn: You're sitting on it Xander. I can see the corner of it under your butt.
Anya: Don't look at Xander's butt! That's my butt is only mine to look at.
Buffy: Spike, have you heard anything about a Keeyaris demon?
Spike: Oh, so when you need to know about a demon, I'm your man, but when I just want to watch a bit of TV...
Buffy: Spike, you have your own TV in your crypt! So don't tell me you're here to watch TV, Spike! I know what your doing here, and I'm not interested!
Spike: Fine then. I'm not helping you find your bloody remote, though. You can watch bloody infomercials all night for all I care!
Dawn: Xander is sitting on the remote! I've been saying it all night.
Buffy: Dawn is there something you want to tell us?
Dawn: Never mind.
Buffy: We need to find this remote before things get out of hand. Anya, go down to the magic shop and see if we have anything on this Keeyaris demon. I'm gonna go see if Willy the Snitch knows anything. Xander - check under the couch cushions.
Buffy and Anya leave. Xander stands up, revealing the remote he's been sitting on. Suddenly, it comes to life and bites him.
Xander: Buffy! Ah!
Dawn: Oh my God! Oh my God!
Willow and Tara re-enter.
Willow: Xander, I'm so sorry! I tried to do a spell to find the remote but something went wrong!
Xander: Really? Cause I was kind thinking this was supposed to happen.
Willow, Tara, Xander and Dawn flail around ineffectually trying to fight the remote for about five minutes before Buffy finally shows up.
Buffy: You know what I've come to realize during this whole adventure? It's not about mute, or changing the channel. It's about power.
Buffy and the mutant remote begin to fight. The remote has her cornered when Spike enters.
Buffy: Don't worry. I have the situation well under "control".
Spike helps Buffy kick the remote's ass. Eventually, it lies broken on the ground.
Xander: Great, now how do we change the channel.
Willow [breaks down crying]: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't - I just - I.
Spike: Wait, Red's spell did this? Then where was the remote in the first place?
Xander: Oh, it turns out I was sitting on it the whole time!
Buffy: Just think - it was right there the whole time. If only someone had realized.
Dawn smacks herself in the forehead very loudly.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chapter XVIII

"In the mountains of Orgakaborka
Far beyond the Shadow Ring
Lived an Ogre named Morshagalorka
Who loved to dance and sing!"
Durner Rockfendursteen was uncertain as to why the popular children's ballad had popped into his head, unaware as he was that it's author had been in his restaurant that very morning. As we plowed through the chorus, somewhat off-key and an octave too low to accommodate his booming dwarven baritone, he heard the bell tell him a customer was approaching.
"Welcome ta Durney's Dwarven Diner!" he cried "Delicacies Digested -" he stopped, recognizing his customer, "Archmage!"he cried, pleasantly. "Lovely ter see ya! What can' I do fer ye today?"
"I need a private table," said the archmage, "I'm meeting someone for lunch, and we have things of a... sensitive nature to discuss,"
For a moment the normally Jovial face of the Archmage of Erilliance seemed unusually grave. As quickly as it came, however, it passed, like the shadow of a bird crossing over his face.
"Of course, sir!" Said Durney, "I'll get the private room set up fer ya upstairs! Just one moment,"
The restaurateur hurried upstairs to prepare the room. A few minutes later, the door chimed again, and a sandy-haired wizard in maroon robes approached. He appeared to be talking to himself. The Archmage thought it only polite to wait for him to finish.
After several minutes, he gave up on this sentiment.
"Bogue?" he asked tentatively. The taller wizard continued his mumbling. "Bogue!" intoned the Archmage sharply. The runemaster seemed to come back from a trance.
"Yes?" he said, startled, "Oh, right I'm here. You summoned me, sir?"
"I did," replied Archmage, returning to his usual, friendly demeanor, "And that means I need your mind as well as your body!"
"Of course," said Bogue, "I was working on a possible way of getting around Kreegan's third law of summoning. It occurred to me that perhaps, if a cluster of dragon-tallow candles were positioned opposite each wizard in a summoning circle, and Suveny's Incantation were cast on the candlesticks, we might be able to create a resonating magical field which could, with the proper runic inscriptions guiding it, of course, be used to replicate both the power and the control components of an additional participating wizard,"
During this explanation, Durney had reappeared at the bottom of the stairs. He was now standing there with a bewildered expression on his face.
"Uh, Archmage?" he said, "Yer table is ready,"
"Excellent," said the portly wizard, obviously glad for an excuse not to discuss Kreegan's laws with Bogue.
The three preceded up the stairs to a small, dimly lit room with a single round table in the middle. There was a small window on the far wall which emitted all the light in the room. The archmage sat down at the table and gestured for Bogue to do the the same.
"Are we ready ta order?" asked Durney, "Or do ye need a little more time?"
"I'll have my usual," said the Archmage. Bogue was staring intently at the menu.
"What's a flurgamburger?" he asked after a moment.
"Well it's a flurgam between two pieces o' bread, of course, what else would it be?" Durney replied impatiently.
"Yes," said Bogue, "But what's a - never mind, I'll try one of those,"
"Very good sir," said Durney, "And to drink?"
"Do you have vorum juice?" Bogue asked.
The Archmage and Durney shared a hearty Dwarven laugh. When they'd finished, Durney leaned over the table.
"Ye don't have much experience with Dwarven food, do ye?" he asked.
"No," Bogue replied, "I can't say I do,"
"Well, we Dwarves like variety in our cuisine, make no mistake!" he said, "But when it comes to drinks, there's really only two options. One is Ale. Do ye know what the other one is?"
"Milk?" asked Bogue, after a moment.
The dwarves shared another chuckle, then bellowed in unison "More Ale!" This sent them into another hearty Dwarven laugh. Bogue remained stoic.
"Only jokin', sir," said Durney after a minute. "I have some milk we use in cookin', you want me ter bring ye some o' that?"
"Sure," said Bogue, "Thanks,"
"Alright," said Durney, "Be right back,"
A few minutes later, he returned with a large mug of dwarven ale for the Archmage and a mug filled with a pale blue substance Bogue could only assume was supposed to be milk. When he had departed, Bogue spoke.
"So, do you think it would work?" he asked.
"What?" asked the Archmage.
"Dragon-tallow," replied Bogue. "It has enough internal magic to power Suveny's Incantation, so the ambient magic could be channeled into the summoning spell. I mean, if it were to work, we might just have to write off Kreegan's laws as obsolete. You see, I'd never consider using the inherent magical properties of the focus components to augment -"
"Look," the Archmage interrupted, "This is all very fascinating, but I didn't call you here to discuss your new theory,"
"I know," said Bogue, eyeing the milk suspiciously. He had yet to take a drink. "I just thought - since we're here, I might run it by you, see what you think. I mean, I've been mulling over it for days now, and I think, if I could just streamline the runic inscription for the summoning circle, we might actually be able to-"
"Bogue!" the Archmage interrupted, "You need to think about something other than work once in a while. You're a very promising young wizard and a very powerful runesmith, ridiculously powerful for a human - no offense meant of course- but if you keep going at this rate, you're going to burn out. You need to relax every so often, take time to recharge," He leaned back and took a hearty swig of ale. Bogue's milk was still untouched, but had now been pushed to the far corner of the table.
"I don't think so sir," said Bogue. "With all due respect, the only time I really feel fully charged is when I am working. People make me... uncomfortable,"
"I realize that," the Archmage was taking a gentler, almost fatherly tone with the young human now, "But sooner or later you're going to have to learn to deal with them, and not just other Wizards. Which is precisely what I wanted to talk to you you about. Now, I know Amora of Tiesan is not the easiest person to get along with. I've had difficulties with her myself. But you have to pick your battles! I'm not sure you're aware, but things on the council have been a bit... dicey lately. It's not a good time for an impromptu duel between a wizard and a sorceress, especially not when the sorceress involved is Xindor's niece. It makes the people... uneasy,"
"With all due respect, sir," said Bogue, "She attacked me,"
"That as it may be -" the Archmage began.
"And I did not fight back," said Bogue, "I deflected. That's all. What else could I have done?"
The Archmage's reply was cut off by the arrival of Durney with the food.
"One Kurgaloth combo, and one flurgamburger," he said, laying down a plate of food in front of each of them. "Anything else?"
"No, thank you,we're fine," replied the Archmage.
"Ye haven't touched yer milk!" Durney observed, "Ya sure ye don't want some Ale?"
"Really, I'm fine," said Bogue, somewhat impatiently.
"Alright, Alright," said Durney, "I'll leave ye ta yer secret meeting. Let me know when ye want the bill!"
When he had gone, the Archmage resumed.
"My dear boy," he began, "I didn't call you here to scold you or to give you guidelines for how to behave. I called you because I have a job for you,"
"If this is about that lecturing post professor Mayborn left open, I'm really not your man," said Bogue, "I specialize in the practical application of runes, their historical origin is little more than a diversion for me. I hardly think -"
"Bogue!" bellowed the Archmage, losing his calm again for just a moment, "You would do well to wait until I am finished speaking to ask questions. Now, I am not talking about a lecturing post. Nothing so... official. There are things going on in this city. Things I don't know about. And I don't like being out of the loop. I need someone close to Xindor to keep an eye out. Now you don't have to tell me you're not the ideal choice for an informant. But that's what I'm counting on - Xindor likes you, thinks you're harmless, and is far more likely to let something slip around you than around me,"
"Do you need me to find out something specific?" asked Bogue.
"I need you," said the Archmage, "To get yourself into a position where you have Xindor's trust, and his ear, then await further instruction,"
"And how, exactly, do you propose I do that?" asked Bogue.
"Those three gnomes who arrived in town yesterday," said the Archmage. "They're the key. Xindor has an unusual interest in them. They're new here, they're tiny, and they'll be wanting friends. You protected the gnome boy, so they're likely to trust you. Cultivate that friendship. Use them to get to Xindor. Tell me anything and everything you find out,"
Bogue sat for a moment, munching on his burger and thinking.
"I'm a wizard," he said after a moment, "Espionage is not my strong suit,"
"It doesn't have to be." replied the the Archmage, "Just keep your ears and eyes open. This goes well, there may be a lecturing post in practical runes opening up after all."
And with that, he got up and left the table, leaving Bogue staring pensively at the untouched, blue substance in the glass. He wondered if it might have inherent magical properties he could use to augment a summoning spell...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Weapon Ability: Spell catching

Most of the time a weapon with the spell-catching ability appears to be a normal weapon. Whenever a spell requiring an attack roll or a reflex save is cast on the wielder of the weapon, he or she can take an immediate action to try and "catch" the spell. To catch a spell, the wielder must succeed on an attack roll opposed by the wielder's attack roll or the spell's save DC, whichever is most applicable. Once a spell is caught, it has no effect on the wielder and its magical energy is absorbed by the weapon, enhancing it. The weapon gains an additional enhancement bonus to attack rolls equal to the spell's level, which lasts for one round per point of the weapons (new) attack bonus. The weapon also gains an additional special property based on the type of spell that was absorbed:

Divine spell
Good caster: Holy weapon
Evil caster: Unholy weapon
Arcane spell
Evocation: The spell deals 1d6 points of whatever type of damage normally dealt by the spell
Conjuration: Throwing
Divination: Keen
Enchantment: Merciful
Illusion: Blinding (like a blinding shield)
Necromancy: Vicious
Transmutation: Throwing
Abjuration: Defending

Price bonus: +2

Monday, February 19, 2007

Level 2

Another Parody, this one based on "What do you do with a B.A. in English?" and "It Sucks to be you" from Avenue Q.

Wizard: What do you do with a Specialty in Divination?
What is my life going to be?
Four years of college
And four ranks in knowledge
(arcana) have brought this to me!
Can’t fight devils yet,
‘Cause I have no spells yet,
The world is a big scary place,
But somehow I can’t shake
The feeling I might make,
A difference to the human race.

Fighter: C’mon! Hit it with a spell!

Wizard: I’m all out of spells!

Fighter: You’ve used what, 6?

Wizard: I’m an arcane caster,
I’ve learned how to cast
Some cool first level spells, like shocking grasp.
But at 4 hp I’m lucky if I can last
Two rounds
Without casting Mage Armor
It sucks to be me
It sucks to be me
It sucks to be level one, and running from a Giant Bee.
It sucks to be me.

Wizard: I’m out of here. Have Fun.
(Wizard runs away. Fighter continues holding off the Giant Bee.)

Fighter: Aaaarggghhh!
I chose a fighter,
I thought it’d be neat,
Just hack things up all day and get bonus feats!
But my whole party’s run away and let me take the heat
Of battle.
Cause I have 10 hit points.
But they’re mostly gone now.
It sucks to be me
It sucks to be me.
It sucks to be standing here when everyone else turns to flee.
It sucks to be me.

Fighter: Any chance I could get some healing over here?

Cleric: Awww. But I only have one level one spell slot left and I was gonna cast Divine Favor!

Fighter: Unless that’ll let you fight this thing off by yourself, I’d change that plan!

Cleric (while healing the fighter): *sigh* When I heard Cleric,
I thought I’d aspire
To smite the infidels with holy fire
But now all that anybody seems to require
Is healing
It sucks to be me
It sucks to be me
It sucks to have wasted all my spells restoring your hp,
It sucks to be me.

Bard: Hey guys, guess what? I can give +1 to your attack and damage rolls!

(Others glare at bard)

Bard: What?
(Singing) Inspire courage,
That’s all I can do.
Don’t you feel braver now? I know that I do!
Look at all the bonuses I’ve added to you.
It’s true!

Others: It sucks to be you!

Cleric: I feel better now!

Others: It sucks to be you.

Wizard: It sucks to know only zero level spells and cast just two.

All: It sucks to be you.

Sucks to be you!
Sucks to be me!
Sucks to be us, but not when we all level to level 2,
We’re trying to reach level 2,
You’re friends are too,
If we make it through,
We’ll all be at level 2.
We’ll all be at level 2.
We’ll all be at level 2!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I need to post this for Image hosting

This is Glooble Glistencrist. I didn't make it, an avatarist on the Giant in the Playground boards named potatocubed did.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Golden Flame of Pelor

Another new monster, for the February competition. Sorry it's not a story update and it's late. Under a lot of pressure right now.

Golden Flame of Pelor
Medium Construct (Extraplanar, Good)
Hit Dice: 15d10+20 (103 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 20ft.
Armor Class: 27 (+1 Dex, +11 Full Plate, +5 Heavy steel shield)
Base Attack/Grapple: +9/+4
Attack: +5 Holy longsword +21 melee (1d8 +12 [+2d6 against evil creatures])
Full attack: +5 Holy longsword +21 melee (1d8 +12 [+2d6 against evil creatures])
Space/Reach: 5ft./5ft.
Special Attacks: Turn Undead 8/day, Greater turning 1/day, Spell-like abilities, Spells, Righteous Blaze of Glory
Special Qualities: Aura of Divine Health, Construct Traits, Damage Reduction 10/evil, Immunity to electricity, Celestial Mount
Saves: Fort - , Will +12, Ref. +7
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 14, Con - , Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 18
Skills: Concentration +8, Handle Animal +5, Heal +5, Jump +4, Intimidate +8, Listen +4, Ride +12, Spellcraft+4, Spot +4.
Feats: Empower Spell, Augment Healing, Power Attack, Cleave, Iron Will, Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery
Environment: Blessed Fields of Elysium
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 18
Treasure: +3 Full Plate, +3 Heavy steel shield
Alignment: Neutral Good
Advancement: None.
Level Adjustment:--

The armor of a fallen paladin lies on the battlefield. Suddenly, searing light seeps through the cracks in the armor, and it begins to stand up. As it raises its shield, the image of a golden sun appears on its surface. Its sword gleams with holy power.

Pelor often sends aid to the cause of good, providing spells to numerous Paladins and Clerics. But sometimes swaying the tide of battle takes a more direct intervention. When an enemy has proved so overwhelming that a paladin, a defender of all that is good and righteous, lies dead on the battlefield, the gods take action. The fallen Paladin’s body is whisked off to Elysium, and in its place appears a Golden Flame of Pelor, who rises to turn the tide of battle to the side of good.
If the Paladin’s mount survives its master’s fall, the Golden Flame will ride it about the battlefield. If the mount also falls, the Golden Flame will summon a Celestial mount instead.
As soon as the battle is won, the Golden Flame of Pelor vanishes, leaving the body of the Paladin back in its place.

Holy Weapon: Any weapon wielded by a Golden Flame of Pelor becomes a +5 holy weapon.

Turn Undead: A Golden Flame of Pelor can turn undead as a 15th level Cleric.

Greater Turning: Once per day, a Golden Flame of Pelor can perform a normal turning attempt, except that all undead effected are destroyed.

Spell-like Abilities: Detect Evil at will, Holy Smite 2/day (DC 18), Righteous Wrath of the Faithful 2/day, Holy Aura 1/day (DC 22) (Caster Level 15th) The save DC’s are Wisdom based.

Spells: A Golden Flame of Pelor can cast spells as a 15th level Cleric, except that it can only cast healing spells. Any cure spell with a range of touch cast by the Golden flame is automatically modified as by the Reach Spell feat, but with no spell level adjustment.

Aura of Divine Health: All good creatures within a 20ft. radius of the Golden Flame of Pelor gain fast healing 2. Those who claim Pelor as their Patron Diety gain fast healing 4 instead. The Golden Flame itself is not affected by this Aura.

Righteous Blaze of Glory: If a Golden Flame of Pelor is killed, it immediately explodes, dealing 15d6 holy damage (Reflex DC half) to all evil creatures in a 20ft. radius. Good creatures in the area instead heal 15d6 damage. Neutral creatures are unaffected. If the Golden Flame leaves the battle in this manner, the Paladin’s body remains in Elysium.

Celestial Mount: A Paladins mount interacts with the Golden Flame as if it were its accustomed rider. In addition, when the Golden Flame is riding the mount, it temporarily gains the Celestial template.
If the mount is killed with the Paladin, the Golden Flame can summon a Celestial Warhorse to use as a mount. This horse appears to be made of pure light, but otherwise is treated as a normal celestial warhorse. It arrives 1d4 rounds after the Golden Flame.

A Golden Flame of Pelor has one goal: win the battle for the side of good. It rides around the battlefield, shooting healing rays at fallen soldiers. If many fallen allies are in one place (especially if undead are around) it will use mass cure spells, possibly empowered or maximized. If there are undead present, it shoots healing rays at them too, or attempts to turn or destroy large groups of them. If the Golden Flame finds itself amongst a large group of enemies, it will use its Holy Smite ability. If it finds itself in a large group of still-fighting allies, it will use Righteous Wrath of the Faithful or Holy Aura.
If one particular foe is dealing massive damage on the battlefield, the Golden Flame will eventually stop this process and engage it. It will keep fighting until one of them is killed. Otherwise the Holy sword is mostly used for attacks of opportunity.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Chapter XVII

Brandon looked around at the cargo hold of Wild Abandon. It was a dank, musty place, smelling like an odd mixture of mothballs, sweat, and rotten banannas. Even compared to the rest of the ship (which mostly smelled like monkeys) it was a very strong odor. Brandon held his breath.
Besides picking up Brandon, the Wild Abandon had taken on several crates of supplies to last them on the journey to Errilliance. These contained assorted foodstuffs, medicines, a little clothing, and of course, barrels of rum. Any good pirate likes his rum, and the simian nature of the crew did nothing to combat this. Next to the rum was a large crate and six small ones, containing Brandon's personal effects. Two small boxes were stacked on top of the large one. It was one of these that Brandon had come down here to claim. The strange thing was, he only remembered packing the six small ones.
The large box began to shake.
Brandon regarded the box suspiciously. This was a magic ship - a moving box could mean a lot of things, not all of them pleasant. He looked around for something he could use as a weapon. Surveying the crowded hold, he noticed a broken mop leaning against a wall. He grabbed the mop handle and held it out in front of him like a quarterstaff. Slowly he approached the box.
Finally, the box shook hard enough to knock the two boxes on top of it onto the floor. Then it lurched forward, towards Brandon.
"Hold it!" said Brandon in heavily accented Human. "I'm armed,"
"Mmpph mrr?" went the box. It stopped shaking.
"Who or what are you?" asked Brandon, "And what are you doing here?"
"Mmphh mrr!" went the box, rattling again, "Mmphh mrr mrrpp mrrp mrrrr!"
As Brandon listened more closely, he realized that what he was hearing was a muffled voice from inside the box. Slowly we walked up to the box and kicked it. It let out a yelp.
Brandon bent down and knocked on the box.
"Mmrrt rmrrr rrt ff hrr!" insisted the voice. It was still too muffled to hear.
Brandon knocked on the box again until he found a spot that sounded hollow. Then, being careful not to let it go any farther in then was neccesary, he jabbed it into the top of the box. It poked through the wood.
"Oww!" went a voice from inside the box. It's whiny, feminine pitch was instantly familiar.
"Jiuni?" asked Brandon, throwing the mop handle aside and peering into the hole.
"You hit me!" cried his half-sister, in Xarnippi.
"You're in a box," Brandon pointed out, as if the fact were not obvious.
"I'm hiding," said Jiuni. "I was going to hide here until the box was unloaded in Errilliance. I brought food with me and everything,"
"What happened?" asked Brandon.
"I had to pee," she answered.
Brandon rolled his eyes.
"Can you make a bigger hole?" asked Jiuni.
Brandon sighed again, and went to pick up the mop handle. Just then he heard the door of the hold open.
"You okay down there?" asked Clayton. "Finding everything okay?"
"Just fine!" Brandon replied, "Just had a little trouble with a box,"
Technically true, he thought. He really wasn't sure how his father would react to their little stow away.
"Need help?" asked Clayton.
"No, I'm fine now!" he answered. He heard the door shut again. He picked up the mop handle and went back over to the box. The he leaned in and whispered into the hole.
"Scoot all the way over," he said. The box lurched slightly to the side as she followed his instructions. He jabbed the handle into the box again widening the hole. Then he stepped to the side.
Jiuni's head popped out of the hole. A few seconds later, the rest of her followed, leaving the top of the box in splinters.
"Ow!" she said as she unfolded herself. Jiuni was fourteen, but small for her age (a wonder considering her parentage.) Her limbs were very thin and her bust just starting to develop. Even so, the box had obviously been quite cramped. She looked around at the musty hold, then down at her erstwhile prison.
"What now?" asked Brandon after a moment.
"I have to go," said his sister.
"Go where?" asked Brandon. "We're on a ship in the middle of the ocean. There's no where to run!"
"No," said Jiuni, urgently, grabbing herself and dancing up and down a bit "I have to go,"
"Oh," said her half-brother comprehendingly. "I have a chamber pot in my cabin, I'll go get it. Just - try and stay out of site, okay?"
He ran out of the hold.
"Hurry!" she called back after him. The ship rocked back and forth on the sea.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

City of Mages - Primer

I'm just gonna say it: City of Mages is essentially a soap opera set in a fantasy world of my own devising. Here's what you need to know:
The world of City of Mages, currently nameless, consists of one large continent, referred simply as "the continent" an numerous small islands. As far as these characters are concerned, that is the world.
There are two kinds of magic in this world - stargem magic and elemental magic. Stargem magic is big and flashy and practiced by Wizards and Sorcerers. Elemental magic is more quiet and reserved, and practiced by Witches and Druids.
All Stargem magic comes from an actual object called the Star gem. The closer you are to the Star gem, the more powerful your magic is. The Star gem is located in the Tower of Doom in the City of Errilliance. That's where most of the story is set.
As mentioned earlier, four kinds of magicians live in Erriliance (magician being a catch-all term for any magic user.) They are:
Sorcerers: Sorcerers are those rare individuals with a natural talent for Stargem magic. Most have one or two natural abilities which they can use pretty much at will, and of course some are more powerful then others. They are organized into the Sorcerers' Guild. Though non-guild sorcerers do exist (Clayton Darkwood, for one) they are treated as criminals and hunted down by the guild. Female sorcerers are called Sorceresses, and are quite common.
Wizards: Wizards have no inborn talent - they manipulate Stargem magic through rituals and ceremonies. Wizards are basically incapable of doing magic on the fly, but given a few hours, some candles and a book of magic runes, they can do things a sorcerer can only dream of. The Wizards are loosely organized by a group called the College of Wizardry, but they don't force all Wizards to join. Still, unrestricted access to the Colleges libraries is usually enough of an enticement. Female Wizards are called Wizardesses, and are very rare.
Druids: Druids cast nature magic by communing with the elements. Nature magic can be very powerful, but is usually not obvious. Some Druids are capable of communing with all four elements, whereas some only really have power over two or three. Druidism is taught by a master-apprentice system, and has no official organization, although Thurigen has professed himself their leader, and no one has questioned him yet. Male and female Druids occur with equal frequency.
Witches: Witches are by far the most subtle of the spellcasters. Most of their power comes from making potions with they brew in strange rituals using bizzare ingredients. They also can, and often do, cast complex spells similar to those used by wizards, but employing the power of the elements, not of the stargem. As these often require three or more witches to perform, and witchcraft is taught in a manner similar to Druidism, witches have a complex social network but no official organization beyond the coven (a group of three witches of varying ages.) Male witches, even rarer then female Wizards, are called Warlocks.

Everything else you need to know comes from the relationships among the many characters. Here is an updated version of a brief "Guide to Characters" I wrote some time ago:

Lady Cecilia:
Race: Human. Leader of the Witches (mostly by virtue of no one else wanting the job.) Small elderly woman, usually very friendly and motherly, but can have some bite. Incredibly clairvoyant.

The Archmage:
Race: Dwarf. Portly Leader of Erilliance's Wizards. Middle aged, friendly and cheerful.

Race: High Elf of the Citadel. Thurigen, Leader of the Druids, has transcended his corporeal form and now exists as an almost Demigod. Ancient, powerful, enigmatic and a bit tempermental. His assistant is Simile.

Xindor the Incredible:
Race: High Elf of the Citadel. Leader of the Sorcerers' Guild. One of the most powerful and popular sorcerors of all time (Also one of the most Arrogant and self-centered.) Pushing 450, due to die in less than three years (According to Lady Cecilia's prophecy.) His Niece is Amora of Tiesan. He harbors a grudge against Clayton Darkwood.

Race: Hill Gnome. Halyn is a Bard. He cares for his younger brother Erdyn and his younger sister Tiryn. He once wrote a very catchy song about Xindor the Incredible.

Race: Hill Gnome. Erdyn wants to be a sorceror, but has thus far displayed only minimal powers. His sister is Tiryn. His brother is Halyn.

Race: Hill Gnome. Tiryn is an insatiably curious and energetic young gnome. Sister to Halyn and Erdyn.

Clayton Darkwood: Race: Human. The Notorious Sorceror Pirate has been banished from both Xarnip and Erilliance. He currently commands the Simian scallywags of the Pirate Ship Abandon. He is old friends with Lady Cecilia. He hates Xindor the Incredible. He was once married to The Queen of Xarnip. His son is Brandon Darkwood.

Race: Doom Pixie. Sorceress, currently adjunct to Thurigen.

Dukalb Argoldson of Viiri: Race: Dwelf (Half Dwarf, half Elf.) Rejected by both his peoples, Dukalb sought out life as a Druid. Due to his mixed heritage, he has an affinity for trees and rocks. He's not a very good Druid, mostly due to a total lack of training. His master is Grosk.

Brandon Darkwood: Race: Half-Xarnipi Human. The Prince of Xarnip, often ostracized for his light skin, has recently begun accidentily turning people into animals. His father is Clayton Darkwood. His mother is The Queen of Xarnip. His half-sister is Jiuni.

Race: Xarnipi Human. Half sister to Brandon Darkwood. Last we saw her, she was trying to talk her mother into letting her come to Errilliance.

The Queen of Xarnip: Race: Xarnipi Human. Large, wealthy, and Powerful. Formerly married to Clayton Darkwood. Mother of numerous children, including Brandon Darkwood and Jiuni.

Vivacia Brown:
Race: Human. Thin, mousy witch with a mess of brown hair. Resident of the prestigous Tiesan Hall. Shy, but friendly. Very close friends with Amora of Tiesan. Has a huge crush on Bogue. Trained by Lady Cecilia.

Race: Human. Erilliance's leading Rune Master, Bogue is slightly disconnected to reality, due to spending so much time in the theoretical world of Runes. Something of a prodigy.

Amora of Tiesan:
Race: High Elf of the Citadel. Amora is a powerful budding sorceress. She has been spoiled both by her family's wealth and prestige and by her own great power, that of creating projectiles that alter people's emotions. She is controlling and manipulative, but essentially a decent person. Her best friend is Vivacia Brown. Her uncle is Xindor the Incredible.

Race: Hobgoblin. An experienced druid, Grosk is the only hobgoblin in the city of Errilliance. He is a trusted lieutenant of Thurigen. Currently training Dukalb.

Durner Rockfendursteen:
Race: Dwarf. Owner and operator of Durney's Dwarven Diner, the only dwarven restaraunt in the city, and a popular hangout for Wizards and sorcerors alike.

The Story so Far:
Chapter 1:
Our story begins when Lady Cecilia has a vision. In this vision, she learns that Xindor will die in three years time and if something is not done soon, there will be no one to take his place as leader of the sorcerers guild. Xindor objects to this - he does not believe he's going to die, and even if he does, he's confident someone will step up to take over. Unable to convince the council, Lady Cecilia decides to take matters into her own hands...

Chapter 2:
Three gnomes, Halyn, Erdyn, and Tirdyn, approach Errilliance. Haylyn once wrote a very popular ballad about Xindor, and now Xindor has summoned him back to the city. His younger brother has some powers and wishes to become a sorcerer.

Chapter 3:
Clayton Darkwood, the infamous sorcerer pirate, is returning to the mainland after years of exile when he is contacted by Lady Cecilia. Lady Cecilia asks Clayton to retrieve his son from the custody of his mother, the Queen of Xarnip, despite the fact that she said she'd kill him if he ever set foot in her country again, and bring him to Errilliance to study. She promises that if Brandon comes to Errilliance, he could be leader of the sorcerers guild in as little as three years.

Chapter 4:
Xindor tries to contact his niece, Amora, but fails. Lady Cecilia finds him and informs him that Clayton is coming to Errilliance. Xindor is furious, but eventually agrees not to harm Clayton while he is in the city.

Chapter 5:
Dukald, a druid in the forest outside Errilliance, is summoned to the druidic leader Thurigen and made an offer - accept training from a new teacher or be exiled from the city. He takes the training.

Chapter 6:
Meanwhile, in Xarnip, Brandon Darkwood, Clayton's son, has been accidentally and inexplicably turning people into animals. Fortunately, these transformations have all been temporary. His mother the Queen of Xarnip, reveals that he is in fact a sorcerer, and the his father will be arriving soon to take him to Errilliance to be trained. Then she turns into a hippopotamaus.

Chapter 7:
The Gnomes arrive in Errilliance. Xindor sends a Wizard named Bogue to escort Erdyn and Tirdyn to their rooms, and summons Haylyn to his office. He admits that he, in fact, believes Lady Cecilia about his upcoming death, and is concerned about his legacy - he wants Halyn to write another ballad about his final adventure. Unfortunately, to do this, Halyn will have to live in Errilliance. The Gnome says he needs time to think about the offer.

Chapter 8:
Xindor's niece Amora and her best friend and roommate Vivacia are standing out on the roof of their building when they see Bogue and the two Gnomes walking by. Vivacia, infatuated with Bogue, talks Amora into shooting a bolt of pure love at him (Amora can fire blasts which manipulate emotions.) Amora fires, but misses and hits Erdyn, who immediately becomes infatuated with everyone. She goes down to try and reverse the spell and ends up nearly getting in a duel with Bogue. Fortunately Xindor interferes just before it starts and teleports Amora to his office.

Chapter 9:
Xindor chastises Amora for the attack, and reveals Lady Cecilia's prophecy, stating that he hopes she will be ready to succeed him should anything happen to him. Unbeknowest to him, she has already been planning to take over the guild for years.

Chapter 10:
Brandon's half-sister, Juini, tries to talk her mother into letting her come with Brandon to Errilliance, but the Queen says no. Clayton arrives in Xarnip with much fanfare.

Chapter 11:
Erdyn wakes up, thinking he's still in love with Amora. He and Halyn head off to breakfast before Erdyn's appointment.

Chapter 12:
Dukalb meets his new teacher, and is surprised to discover that he is a hobgoblin.

Chapter 13:
Erdyn and Halyn go to Durney's Dwarven Diner for breakfast. Erdyn tells Haylyn he loves Amora, but Halyn explains this is just an after effect of her magic. Erdyn prepares for his test.

Chapter 14:
Clayton and Brandon start to catch up. Clayton gives his son a gift - a chunk of oblivium which can nullify all magic in an area.

Chapter 15:
Grosk explains to Dukalb (and the readers) how Druidic powers work.

Chapter 16:
After a long wait in the lobby, Erdyn goes before the Sorcerer's Guild council to be tested. He demonstrates his abilities - the manipulation of small beads of light and the ability to slightly morph his facial features. The council seems impressed.

That's it so far. Next up: The story continues!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sonnet for Global Warming

Winter is come too late this year, and meek
With fearsome flurries falling in the night
Only to melt away when daylight peeks
Out over the horizon – tis’ not right
For it should be a wild, untamed beast
With fierce and biting cold none can resist
But cold has not been fearsome in the least,
And no strong winds have offered to assist.
Since no white blanket covers these fair hills,
And nothing, save a jacket is required,
To keep us from these weak, ill-tempered chills,
This song, invoking winter, is inspired,
Therefore, keep we our greenhouse gasses low,
If e’er again we wish to see the snow.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

New Blog, continued

Ok, here's how my update schedule is going to work. Every Saturday, I wil post story content - either a new segment of one of my three major stories, or a stand-alone story. Every wednesday, if at least one person has commented on my Saturday post, I will post something else - perhaps a story, but more likely a poem, picture, or piece of Dungeons and Dragons game content. The first three story posts will be synopses of the three major stories on this blog, so no back-reading will be required to get future updates. If people actually read this, it will be a lot easier for me to convince myself to keep updating. My success or failure in this effort depends on you!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

New Year, New Blog!

Seeing my brother's success taking advantage of Blogger Beta's label feature, I've decided to do the same. In doing this, I had to look at more than three years of blog posts, and it made me think about a lot of things. I may be starting a weekly update schedule soon. Either way, here's a brief description of each of those lovely labels in the side-bar.

Dragon Story (42)
The major story of the blog, despite that it hasn't been updated in almost a year. I will return to it eventually though. Its about a boy who can turn into a dragon. The plot is complex and convoluted, with way too many characters. An exciting ride, even if it does stop rather abruptly.

Meta-blog (28)
Here are gathered all of the posts which refer to the blog itself. These range from technical issues to continuity fixes to insights into my writing style. My favorite part is when I pledge to finish the Dragon Story by June 2005.

City of Mages (20)
The second longest story of the blog, City of Mages is a political fantasy story centering around a group of loosely connected characters in a world where magic is geographically distributed. Kind of hard to explain.

Emo Rants (17)
Pretty self explanatory. The vast majority of this stuff is from my break-up with Ashley Junior year. I'd appreciate it if this was never read by anyone, ever again. I have no idea why I archived it.

Pictures (12)
This includes photographs of me, illustrations for my stories done by Amy, and stuff I did in paint.

X-men (10)
This series of posts chronicles my attempt to construct a Nightcrawler costume in ten days.

Telepsis (9)
The latest addition to my stories, Telepsis was my failed NaNoWriMo story. It's about a girl with a telepathic energy creature inside her, and global warming. Really hard to explain. Will likely be updated again soon.

Doom Pixies (8)
My first attempt at a story. It sucked. Wait a minute, why did I use past tense there? It sucks.

Stand Alone (8)
All the stories I've written that only lasted one post. With most of them, that was intentional.

Other (5)
Everything that somehow fails to fit into my exhausting list of categories.

Dungeons and Dragons (4)
Game elements I designed for the most popular RPG of all time. Expect frequent updates if I start a weekly schedule.

Idea file (4)
New ideas that I don't feel like writing on at the moment. This will also likely grow quite a bit.

Poems (4)
Sometimes I write poetry, but not very often. Clearly.

Tournament (4)
Something I strated, then stopped because it was way more trouble then it was worth.

Funny Rants (3)
Rants that are not Emo.

Harry Potter (3)
For all Harry Potter related things. All of these are also tagged under some other category.

Songs (3)
Songs I've written. Mostly silly. Will post more later (as more are written and simply waiting to be posted.)

Books (1)
This will be a place for book reviews, once I finish the first book on my list.

Dragon Story (2) (1)
This is for the second draft of the Dragon story, so as to avoid confusion.

Friday, January 05, 2007

This is my entry for the Giant In the Playground monthly monster creation competition. This month's theme is "The Darker Side of Winter"

Icicle beast

Huge Magical Beast (Cold)

Hit Dice: 8d10+19 (59)

Initiative: +3

Speed: 6 squares, climb 4 squares

Armor Class: 22 (+3 Dex, -2 size, +11 natural), Touch 11, Flat-footed 21

Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+23

Attack: Gore +15 melee (2d6 +7 +1d6 cold)

Full attack: 2 claws +15 melee (1d8+7) and Gore +10 melee (2d6+7 +1d6 cold)

Space/Reach: 10 ft.

Special Attacks: Improved Grab, Drain warmth, Icicle swarm

Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, Tremorsense 60 ft., Cold subtype, Icy shell, Water walk

Saves: Fort +14, Ref +15, Will +8

Abilities: Str 24, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 5, Wis 10, Cha 4

Skills: Hide +6, Move Silently +6, Climb +8

Feats: Toughness, Ability Focus (Warmth Drain), Skill Focus (Climb)

Environment: Cold caves

Organization: Solitary or cluster (2 -5)

Challenge Rating: 8

Treasure: none

Alignment: Neutral
Advancement: 12 – 20HD (Gargantuan)

Level Adjustment: --

Five large icicles hang from the ceiling, each about a meter long. Suddenly, they drop to the ground, and it turns out they are the legs and proboscis of an insectoid-looking creature which seems to be almost entirely covered in a thick layer of ice, like armor. Icicle-like spikes protrude from all sides of the creature’s torso.

Icicle beasts are creatures the live in icy caverns beneath the frozen ground and feed on the warm feelings of others. They mold the ice around themselves to form their thick shell, and hide in the ceilings of caves waiting for animals to pass by so they can feed on them. Dictators in cold areas sometimes keep domesticated icicle beast to use for torture, as being fed on by one is extremely painful.

Icicle Swarm: As a standard action, an icicle beast can shake itself, dislodging small shards of ice from its carapace and sending them flying in all directions. All creatures within 20 ft of the beast must make a reflex save (DC 20) or take 2d4 points of cold damage. The beast takes a cumulative -1 penalty to AC each time it uses this attack, because the ice it shoots is no longer protecting it. The ice regenerates in 1d4 minutes, provided the temperature is below freezing.

Improved Grab: To use this ability, the Icicle must hit an opponent with its gore attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to drain warmth the following round.

Drain Warmth: If the icicle beast starts a round with a hold on a creature, it may drain warmth as a full round action. For every round that its warmth is being drained from its body, the creature takes 2d10 points of cold damage, half of which the icicle beast gains as temporary hit points, and 1d3 points of dexterity damage, as the warmth is drained from their fingers making them numb. A successful Fortitude save (DC 22) halves the cold damage and negates the dexterity damage.

Icy Shell: The icicle beast is not only immune to cold, but it uses any cold attacks that hit it to improve its carapace. For cold attack that deals at least ten points of damage, its Armor Class increases by one. It can gain up to four points of AC for this to a maximum of 26 (+15 natural armor). Likewise, every fire attack that deals at least ten points of damage decreases its AC by one, to a minimum of 11 (No natural armor.)

Water walk: The Icicle beast can walk on water by freezing patches of ice under each of its feet. The patches melt 1d4 rounds later.
CombatAn icicle beast will usually began a combat by dropping on an unsuspecting target. If it hits with it’s spike, it immediately begins to feed. If interrupted in this process by other creatures, its first response is to hit thme with an icicle swarm to try and deter them. If that doesn’t work, the creature will stop feeding and try to kill the other opponents with its claw and gore attacks.


Adventure hooks:

Adventurers must infiltrate an Ogre stronghold deep in the mountains by sneaking in through the caverns below. Unfortunately, a colony of icicle beasts makes their home there.

A pet icicle beast/Torture implement has escaped its prison and is hiding in the cellars ambushing loyal subjects of the king. Adventurers must hunt it down to secure an ally’s freedom.