11:48 pm, Thursday, July 20th, 2006

I just finished Axiomatic. Really original science fiction; made me think a lot. Though the book contains eighteen short stories, all entertaining and thought-provoking, only four really jumped out at me as “paradigm shift” triggers. They include The Hundred Light-Year Diary (which deals with fate and truthiness), A Kidnapping (ethics regarding duplicates, the nature of empathy, and a lot more), Learning to Be Me (fantastic thoughts on uploading and the continuity of being), and The Walk (the nature and value of individuality). I was particularly fond of The Safe-Deposit Box (its unwritten epilogue could easily be a great novel) even though none of its ideas were terribly revolutionary. The last story in the book struck me as oddly weak, but it could be that some of the concepts were just too bizarre for me to fully grasp (I had similar difficulties with elements of the wormhole mechanics in Into Darkness). Anyway, the whole thing definitely made me a fan of Egan. In fact, I just ordered a used hardcover of his Diaspora from Amazon for a mere $1.50. Hopefully I’ll end up with the American version this time… the Australian version of Axiomatic that I have is a little distracting to read because of their strange conventions (e.g. British spellings, swapping quotation marks for apostrophes, leaving off the periods after title abbreviations).

Finally started the RMA process on my 120 gig Maxtor drive (backed up everything onto the 300 GB external last night). I also came to the realization that my iMac was the very last PowerPC model Apple produced before they switched over to the Intel Core Duo chips. Which means it can’t run Boot Camp (and thus, Windows). Really sucks. Also means I wasted $20 on an adapter I can’t use. Oh well. Maybe I’ll see what I can do to upgrade my old desktop… it could use a new motherboard and processor — right now I’m using an Athlon XP 2500+ on an MSI KT4VL. Pretty antiquated compared to most other guys’ rigs on AnandTech. I mean, I’m still 32-bit for Pete’s sake.

Helping Keith move was interesting. Got to meet his girlfriend, Tristan, and see parts of Seattle I never had before. I’m still amazed that I’d somehow managed to forget what a painful, dirty, sweaty process moving is. I told Brett to punch me in the face if I ever offer to help anyone move again. But they did feed us well — Mountain Dew, Gatorade, meat lover’s pizza, and old-fashioned milkshakes. Fine people.

Okay, time for the summary of Monday’s D&D game. Skip the rest of this post if such things bore you.

This was our seventh session. Some interesting guesstimated statistics: We’ve now spent about 60 hours on the current campaign and have averaged roughly 200 XP per hour. The party treasury stands at 5,481 gold pieces. Significant group-owned magic items: A custom Bag of Holding (increased weight capacity), a refilling goblet of water, a Ring of Protection +1 (usable only by characters of evil alignment), Gauntlets of Wind (windstorm-level, 23 charges), 8 potions of cure light wounds, 5 potions of Swim, 2 potions of Jump, a cloak of Pass Without Trace, a wand of Cure Light Wounds (49 charges), a Staff of Healing, and a potion of Resist Fire.

We began the game by leaving the Tree of Life stronghold and returning to Trawna for supplies. I hadn’t been paying much attention to my ammo use and a self-audit revealed I only had 5 arrows left. In town, I bought a crate of 2,000 and put it in the BoH. We plotted a course to the eastern question mark on our stronghold map. It turned out to be a 900-mile journey, so we bought horses and enough trail rations to sustain everyone for a month.

Beyond the walled city of Elsin (in the middle of the Crysin river) and just short of Caltrin, we made camp and were visited by a mysterious stranger who helped himself to our food. He had phenomenal reflexes, no eyes, some kind of amnesia, claimed to have killed 2 or 3 archons, and paid for everything he took with rubies that turned to dust the next day. I’m not entirely sure what he was or how he fits into the hollow-man invasion. The next day we were walking on the road when a magical fog suddenly surrounded us. Apparently it was the work of a bronze dragon. Initially it just wanted food (i.e. us or our horses), but then spotted our Bag of Holding and decided it’d make a good addition to its hoard. We managed to convince it otherwise by telling it about the mysterious traveler and willingly feeding it four of our horses. Chaotic good alignment my foot — I’m positive that thing was evil and nothing more than a thuggish robber. If I ever get the opportunity at a higher level, I’m going to come back and kill it.

Later on, still on the trail to the question mark, we fought a war troll who’d attacked and eaten two women. Part of some caravan, I guess. That’s where we picked up the potion of Resist Fire and the Staff of Healing. Then we had a brief encounter with the wandering temple of Boccob — an animated building that nearly killed one or two party members (of course, we could have avoided it… but at first glance it looked like such an easy target for looting).

We briefly met a family of half-elf weres (weretigers, I think) in the valley just before our destination. I scrounged up some wolfsbane for everybody and the night passed uneventfully. The next day we climbed the ridge and spied the temple we’d been looking for. It was guarded by 25 men in armor similar to the hollow raiders’, but colored red and black. Within their ranks were 3 or 4 people in blue cloaks like the one worn by the wizard woman we tangled with at the Dragon’s Eye stronghold. With a spyglass, I managed to spot an airship moored behind the temple. Further scouting showed that it seemed to be manned by about 8 of the red/black soldiers. We formulated a plan — I had my eagle animal companion and an owl (summoned with my Nature’s Ally spell) distract the crew while Shay (Jay’s half-dragon cleric) flew us all onto the deck of the ship inside the Bag of Holding.

Krieg, our warforged, nearly died during the battle but we emerged victorious anyway. Even managed to manacle the helmsman… we might keep some others alive for interrogation too. Someone disappeared below decks right when the session ended; we’ll have to take care of them next week.

XP for the night was 1900, if I remember correctly. Most of us made it to 5th level. I added undead as my second favored enemy (now I get +4 to damage when fighting them).

2 Responses to “#702”

  1. Keith:

    Thanks again for helping me move. I feel stupid for breaking my desk but everything is done now. Just cleaning the old apartment andmoving the printer and shelf then hopefully everything will be unpacked.

  2. hjo3:

    No prob; thanks for the pizza!