Pacific Rim: You Got Served

Scion was on hold for a week, so SGG Fate Core'd a Pacific Rim one shot!  Forewarning: rarely do we take our one-shots seriously, so prepare for ridiculousness.  We spent our first couple hours coming up with names, aspects, skills and stunts for our Jaegers.  Mine was Raptor Enigma, a  UN-funded Jaeger piloted by a UN soldier and boasting a powerful sensor array, nominally for identifying, tracking, and recording Kaiju.  I was definitely not a spy (a nod back to my character in SGG's Stargate game a year or two ago).  No sir, not a spy.

Ultimately, the team was made up of Valhund Anzus, the stalwart Norweigan defender piloted by a flamboyant man, his fifteen-year-old neice, and an AI; Dingo Baby, the Aussie Jaeger with boomerangs, piloted by a military science experiment team of soldier and kangaroo; Deus Macarena, gunslinging fighter piloted by a god-fearing ugly American; Whisky Tango, the adrenaline-junky American in a small, fast, agile Jaeger; and my aforementioned Raptor Enigma, co-piloted by an AI (but not because I was a spy, because I'm not).

We were in the New York Shatterdome (yep, we were further down the timeline and now events were occuring in every ocean) when the base's alarms went off.  We got to our briefing where we were told that Jaeger Jaguar Dream had been sent out to combat a gorilla-like Kaiju dubbed "Knuckledragger" that had come through apparently alone.  We watched footage of Jaguar getting some good shots in before a blur joined the fight and downed Jaguar.  The blur was assumed to be a Kaiju, now dubbed "Chameleon." Valhund's pilots lamented the loss of the ever-so-sexy crew of Jaguar Dream.

The pair of Kaiju had pushed into New York, laying waste to several neighborhoods.  We were tasked with stopping them with the Irish Jaeger, Guinness Bomb, waiting as our backup.  We were airlifted to the edge of the city and quickly spotted Knuckledragger atop the Empire State Building.  In an amazing display if tactical genius, Baby charged off after Knux and Whisky went off on her own to try and cut it off.  Meanwhile Deus, Valhund, and Raptor followed behind.  

Unsurprisingly, as Dingo Baby closed in on Knuckledragger, the Aussie was ambushed by Chameleon.  It was then that the team discovered that it looked more preying mantis than reptile.  In the ensuing fight, Dingo found it, lost it, found it, lost it, and then Macarena shot at it, but it dodged away.  Valhund, Macarena, and Raptor continued to close in, with Raptor's sensors working overtime, but strugglimg to find Chameleon.

Then, a couple blocks over, Chameleon jumped Whisky.  It scored a soft hit, but the Jaeger kept coming.  Dingo, solar panels ineffective in the night-fight, recharged off of Macarena and the local power grid.  Valhund leapt to defend Whisky, interposing itself between the Kaiju and the smaller Jaeger.  And then, finally, Raptor countered Chameleon's stealth to some degree, giving the team a better sense of where the slippery Kaiju was.  After a few misses, Chameleon slipped away again and Valhund switched to take on Knuckledragger.

Chameleon reappeared engaging. Dingo and Macarena.  Dingo tied an electrical cable to his boomerang to use as a grapple, but it broke on an errant throw.  Raptor was able to use Chameleon's distraction, though, to sprint in and bury a blade into Chameleon.  Knuckledragger charged Valhund, but couldn't bring down the tough Jaeger.

During that exchange, Whisky got onto Knux' back, but it managed to try grab her and tried to slam her to the ground.  Fortunately, Valhund was able to sacrifice himself to absorb the blow, catching Whisky and setting her aside.  Chameleon tried to take down Macarena again, but failed, and Raptor missed him as Chameleon's camoflague took effect again.

Meanwhile Valhund rammed Knux' head to the ground and Whisky added on, keeping it pinned.  Dingo shut down the damage and a now cracked solar panel depleted his energy.  Seeing an opening, Chameleon slammed into it.

Per the plan formulated by him, Valhund, and Whisky, Raptor jumped onto Knux, lighting up his flamethrower and barbecuing Knuckledragger's face.  The Kaiju barely survived and tried to strike back, but Valhund shoved Raptor out of the way and smashed the bubbling flesh of Knux' face into pulp, finishing the Kaiju.  The Jaegers high-fived and Valhund moved to defend Dingo.

Powering back up, Dingo made a net out of scavenged materials, but struggled to make it strong enough.  Whisky joined the fight against Chameleon, but failed to find the Kaiju.  The team formed up in their search, each defending another 's back.  However, Chameleon evaded them until Whisky spotted it and charged to attack, pinning it to a building before charging into to slash at it with her other knife.  Blood splattered everywhere and the Kaiju became clearly visible.

Chameleon was pinned, and Raptor tried to attack it with his flamethrower, but the Kaiju managed to push him aside as he closed and he smashed into a nearby building.  Macarena rolled around a corner, put his six-gun to Chameleon's head and pulled the trigger, heavily hurting the Kaiju.  Dingo, on the other hand, missed, smashed the building, and freed Chameleon.  Whisky, didn't miss, though, putting a knife through Chameleon's head.

Macarena made everyone do the macarena for a victory dance, using a slave program he'd slipped into their Jaeger software.  Valhund lamented the loss of Jaguar Dream and Guinness Bomb showed up just in time to realize he was too late and be forced to dance.  All in all, a successful mission!


Voices My Voice Follows: Musicians

Portia Diwa - Okay, so I'm allowed to start with my wife here.  She's been my biggest supporter and I love her music and her dedication to using it to help people.  Beyond that, she's opened up a lot of new insight into music and musical genres for me, and I'm happy to listen to her play any time.

Lindsey Stirling - She's a more recent discovery for me, but I think there's something decidedly cool about how she mixes classical violin with modern dubstep beats.  She seems to really understand the visual and social mature of modern music interests, too.

The Doors - A long standing favorite of mine.  There's a general sense I have that there are always multiple layers in a Doors song that can be unlocked by new experiences or a different perspective.  Jim Morrison's voice is probably my favorite of all singers I've heard.

Ra - Ra is just different.  Their music has bits of Indian styling, along with Egyptian, built on hard rick sensibilities.  On a Ra CD, a song about telling mysoginists to back off can play right after a song about understanding the workings of the universe and make total sense.

Disturbed - I've enjoyed Disturbed for a long time.  Their music really speaks to me and singing along to it is generally a sure-fore way for me to relieve stress.  They were also pretty entertaining when I've seen them in concert.

Godsmack - I think Godsmack's mix of hard rock and spiritual themes is awesome.  They were also excellent in concert when I've been, with lots of energy and fan interaction.

Russel Brower - Composer for a number of Blizzard games and a former sound Imagineer at Disney.  Brower is behind a lot of the environmental music I've enjoyed in my life and his discussion of his creative process holds a lot of value even for non-musicians.

Howard Shore - Composer for a number of big movies, including the Lord of the Rings series.  I love the way in which the theme music from each Lord of the Rings movie evolves into the next movie's theme.  That really helps, I think, show the development of the characters and events of the movies and adds to my immersion.

Elite Tauren Chieftain - They're Blizzard staff, but I look eagerly forward to each new song or Blizzcon performance of these guys.  Terran Up The Night has a regular spot in my playlists.  Just plain good geeky fun music in the metal vein.

Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - A great punk band hiding in the guise of a Cthulhu-themed group.  Their songs all sound fun and the beats are uptempo, but the lyrics pack a plethora of subtle disquieting bits, which is a great match for their inspirational material.

There are definitely more groups than this that I frequently listen to (honorable mentions to They Might Be Giants, Metallica, Journey, Joan Jett, and AC/DC!), but these are the folks I listen to most when brainstorming or writing.  They bring out the words that let me create my favorite characters, which is why I'm compelled to share their names.


Scions in the Ocean!

Other posts on Scion and Leander.  Last recap.

The team, having won out over the Scion of Ganesha and determined that they needed to head to Atlantis, began a discussion of their next step.  Using a submarine or trying to swim to Atlantis were quickly ruled out, which left the best option as approaching a god for aid.

There was some debate as to who might be the best option for the task of helping the Scions reach Atlantis.  The group was certain that a god of sea or a psychopomp would be best, but were less sure of their options.

Rivkah said she could theoretically call upon Thor or Odin, but neither had strong ties to the area or the ocean in general.  Leander felt the animosity between Athena and Posiedon might make a deal with that god more difficult.  The group, however hit on the idea of communicating with the Loa god Agwe because of the likelihood that Atlantis was the cause of recent Carribean disturbances.

The team set out to find a church of the Loa in Los Angeles, starting with simplest methods first and grabbing a phone book.  While the first place didn't work out, the proprietor was able to point the band to an actual place of worship.

He did and the Band got there quickly, but with a quick stop at Trader Joe's (for champagne, a savory meal, and toy boat) and a liquor store (for rum) at Leander's quickly Googled suggestion.  At the Lia church, Leander told the proprietor they needed to speak to Agwe, but the mortal wasn't clued-in and didn't take it literally.  The group convinced him to perform a ceremony during which the mortal was taken over by Agwe.

After making their offerings and negotiating a bit, Agwe transported the Scions to his realm.  There negotiations continued, ending with the band agreeing to perform a task within the next year and a day, but not before rescuing or eliminating Pele.  Agwe provided the Scions with armbands with his veve on them and led them to a doorway into the sea.

Anglerfish formed a lighted pathway to a "landing pad" area where three very large sharks swam in lazy circles.  The sharks allowed the Scions to latch on to them for transport to Atlantis.  Several members of the group activated abilities which let them see in the dark, including Leander looking into the electromagnetic spectrum.

Unfortunately, that wasn't enough for him, or them, to stop huge tentacles from gripping the shark Leander rode and devouring it.  The Scions found themselves quickly sharkless and facing down a young kraken.

The team leapt into action, managing to mostly beat the kraken to the punch.  Unfortunately, krakens are kind of hard to injure.  Watching the chaos, Leander directed his teammates to work together on the nominal "head" of the beast.  While a few of the Scions could see the kraken, it took some quick thinking on Nick's part to get everyone into the fight.  He used his illusion powers to create an image of the kraken in everyone's mind (though he also made it look like he was single-handedly decimating it), and that gave everyone the ability to join in the assault.

Leander joined the assault by calling lightning down through the ocean to his spear, which had the unfortunate side-effect of making him the priority target for the kraken.  A pair of the beast's attacks weakened the child of Athena, but the Scions struck back quickly, with William, Rivkah, Brock, Nick, and Lha-mo scoring solid hits.  Leander danced back out of range, but continued to direct his teammates.  Lha-mo's yak also joined the fight, which seemed to finally turn the tide.

In the end, everyone moved in close on the kraken, which tried to grapple everyone.  It scored hits on a few individuals, including Rivkah, but Leander used his spear to propel himself down the kraken's body.  William was swallowed and Rivkah considered allowing the same to happen, but ultimately the sea monster lost out and the Scions continued further on towards Lha-mo's impression of Kane.  Which is when they found an enormous bio-luminescent city.  As they settled down onto one of the streets, they had a moment to look around before hearing a loud clicking and several nemean pistol shrimp emerged.  Which is this week's cliff-hanger.

Terminus 7.21.13

Other posts on Terminus.  Last Recap.

The party slept in the relative safety of the artifact chamber and then decided to head back to the surface to hunt down Karus' Ent.  The party decided that the route back to the surface should be the one they'd entered through, choosing to ignore the arboleth hole.

At the entrance, the No Pants Brigade found that a weathered but solid wall had been erected across the open wall of the building.  As they approached it to determine a method of egress, it fell on them, revealing it was actually a transformed rock golem.

The party was hurt a bit by the surprise attack, but quickly rallied.  Vallo called his punishing eye and Adah-Kah shoved the golem through his lesser golem sidekicks, knocking them all over.  Meggido and Adah-Kah closed in on the big golem as the rest of the team decimated the minons.

The golem fell quickly, though not without having taken some serious damage as the golem collapsed on them again.  They took a break to tend their wounds and Vallo summoned a wilderness guide and asked it to lead us to the Ent's grove.  The party mounted their summoned boars and set out.  On the ride, though, both Vallo and Adah-kah were visited by the Watcher.  When they awoke, they shared a bit of what they'd seen and the party returned to hunting Karus' Ent.

The group was led to the grove and found the Ent, who didn't respond initially.  it looked old and nearly dead, but was clearly still a threat.  The party prepared itself and the fight was on.  Vallo gavr Adah-kah an enchantment to set his sword aflame, which Adah-kah was happy to accept.

Everyone sprang into action, scoring quick hits on the Ent.  For his part, Adah-kah stabbed the tree with fire in the face. TWICE.

The Ent tried to strike back, attacking everyone at once but it only managed to hit Sardis and Vallo.  It followed that up by starting to grab partymembers, especially Meggido and Adah-kah.  Unfortunately for the Ent, the party was happy to stay close and use the firey weapons they carried to set the Ent alight and finish it off.  As it burned, it revealed a semi-fetal Dryad-lich, Karus, who also died in the fire.

Taking a moment to assess the situation, the party discovered that Sabriel's sense pointed us at the desert.  They discussed going over the mountains or through the abandoned dwarven tunnels.


Scions in a House!

Other posts on Scion and Leander.  Last recap.

Buble talked the entire flight from Hawaii to LA.  And had sex.  And talked while having sex.  It was kind of obnoxious.

However, he was all business once the band landed.  Brock led the charge to his old home and we chose to talk to the guards rather than fight our way past them.  Which seemed to havd been the right choice as the ushered us to Brock's old office.

Inside sat a large, dark-skinned man with hints of Indian descent.  He introduced himself as a child of Ganesha, saying the God had turned to the side of the Titans and was "clearing obstacles."

Brock promised to shoot him, but the Ganesha-child revealed Brock's captured daughter.  The Scions managed to free her and Serafiia and Buhbay rushed to take her and find Brock's ex-wife.  The rest of the team got down to business.  The child of Ganesha hefted stolen relics from those he'd defeated.

The Scions took their first shots, which seemed to barely harm the turned Scion. Even working together under Leander's commands.  Fortunately, the team quickly adapted and started thinking outside the box.  Nick, feeling particularly stylish, shot two of Brock's awards off the wall and into the relic glasses on the Scion's face, which flew off.  Meanwhile William grappled with him, and Lha-mo and Rivkah put in heavy blows.  Leander scooped up the glasses and Brock put a bullet of light into the foe while saving his awards.

The chain belt crackling with lightning was switched from the Titanscion to Rivkah as the picking apart of his gear progressed.  Nick and Brock began filling the evil Scion full of holes and Leander got his own strike off as Rivkeh took Brock's lone Oscar, gotten for stuntwork, and jammed it into an electrical socket to charge her powers and turn her skin to stone.

Lamenting the loss of his Oscar, Brock pit another light-bullet into his foe, putting him on the brink.  Unfortunately, the party hadn't prepared for the idea that the evil Scion might have an artifact that might pull him back from the brink.  He gloated as he chomped on a pomegranate seed which restored him to full health.

Unfortunately for him, his gloating was short lived.  The party immediately went back to work, smashing him again and again while he was pinned down.  His shield was disarmed and he was pounded down to the ground, with the Scions claiming his stolen birthrights and Lha-mo and William claiming the relics of Ganesha to be returned to the god at a later time, even should the god prove to be a traitor.

The team worked on the clues they'd been given, including a mid-fight phonecall from Brock's parents, who'd been vacationing in the Caribbean, and determined that there must be more going on than simply the events in Hawaii.  Namely, it seemed that there was activity in the Atlantic Ocean which strongly pointed to the Titanspawn working in Atlantis.  Lha-mo guessed that her sense of Kane Taoka had travelled there, as well.  The Scions determined that they needed to find an Axis Mundi which would deliver them there and set to work on searching for one.


Games I love: Cards Against Humanity

Work has been absolutely insane for a couple weeks and I've barely had time to game, let alone write about it.  However, last Thursday I got to go to board game night in Santa Cruz on the 4th of July.  We played a few different games, but the one that I feel most driven to write about is Cards Against Humanity.

An upfront warning...  Cards Against Humanity is definitely Not Safe For Work.  It's offensive.  It's rude.  It'll make you wonder if your friends (and yourself) are actually bad people.  However, it's also hilarious.  Where else can the secret to profit be Sean Connery and Glenn Beck's horrible death?  Or the world end not with a bang but with a mopey zoo lion?  I'm keeping my examples PC, but it gets much, much worse (or better?).

I think the value of Cards Against Humanity is it gives a moment to tease your friends and let out the darker, more sarcastic bits of our natures.  Everyone has their line that they won't cross, even in CAH, and that's good.  But at the same time, it's good to see what combinations can really get together.  It's cathartic in the way a black humor comedy is cathartic.  It lets you take off the burden of keeping your frustrations and irritations in check by giving an outlet of the cards.  And it's easy enough to simply remove the most offensive cards (because, to be fair there's a good number about sex or race that could be over-the-line offensive) and leave the rest for slightly less invidious play.

Even better is the chance to make your own cards.  We've done that with a number of our in-jokes, adding cards for Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Junior, Wil Wheaton, a goat with a can, wakka wakka, and "I can take it!", among others, to the game and frequently we come up with more things to add.  If nothing else, Cards Against Humanity spins off the genre of games like Dixit and Apples to Apples in a way that could probably be emulated in a more PC way, but also generates a good deal of it's fun from allowing players to feel like "anything can be said."

So if you're not easily offended, or are willing to do some deck-editing, Cards Against Humanity is definitely worth a shot.