#710

3:28 am, Friday, August 18th, 2006

I forgot to mention in my last post that I saw The Descent Sunday night. I was 50/50 about going when I first saw the trailers, but the plethora of enthusiastic reviews I kept coming across tipped the scale. I ended up liking it okay… At least it was better than The Cave. Much gorier than I had expected. Still, I don’t think it deserved some of the more exuberant adulations I’ve read, like this one from The Stranger:

Hyperbole be danged: This is the best, purest horror film in years.

The next movie I want to see is Little Miss Sunshine, though I’ll have to drive over to Tacoma for that one.

I read Y: The Last Man vol. 7 last night. Great stuff… really made me miss my old monthly dose of comics. Out of loyalty to Dan (at Infinite Frontiers), I never found a new vendor after I moved across the Cascades. So I’ve only been getting my fix every three months or so when I travel back to the Tri-Cities. His shop only being open 6 hrs. a day, 4 days a week doesn’t make things any easier. I think the next time I get over there I’ll clean out my box and cancel my standing issue requisitions so I can start buying locally guilt-free.

Monday’s D&D game was pretty eventful. We continued exploring the “Laser Dome” dungeon (named thusly because it contains a 1300-yard long shaft filled with magical light-amplifying and -focusing lenses that produce a beam that used to be directable via a system of mirrors and prisms). Down one corridor, we found a sort of concert hall filled with instruments and automatons that came alive when Anthony’s thief began humming Ride of the Valkyries. We were, of course, eventually attacked. I nearly bought the farm when I was hit by some sort of missile spell from the organ player — took 36 damage in one round (and I only have 47 HP in total).

Anyway, we managed to defeat them. We searched the concert hall for additional wealth and secret passages; some fiddling with the pipe organ caused stone slabs to flip around, revealing pillars topped by giant skulls and a beholder with a small treasure hoard. The beholder wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be (meaning: it didn’t kill half the party), but it did petrify my archer and the sorceress before we killed it.

After that battle, everyone decided to fly back to town to de-stone us, pay rent on our airship, and liquidate the loot. Of course, we couldn’t stay long since two members of our party (Chris’ fateweaver and Keith’s duskblade) were stuck at the bottom of the 1300-yard shaft with no way out. We returned (about 30,000 gps richer) and searched the only passage (aside from the shaft) left unexplored. Here, we found a small library and a fountain containing a cryptic (and thoroughly unhelpful) water elemental. Various sorts of probing determined the elemental was millions of years old (at least) and that the books were extremely old records covering huge stretches of time.

We then descended the shaft (a rope of climbing we’d picked up made the trip easier and later escape possible). We found some very long corridors between this access point and the lens shaft and, beyond that, two rooms containing racks of weapons and armor (magically trapped) and devices basically equivalent to vending machines with a never-ending supply of consumables. Each room had a solid steel door which could apparently only be opened by the right combination of a set of thirteen levers (with incorrect combinations being, apparently, quite dangerous). Our thief managed to unlock one door (after a mistake that triggered a sort of reversed-gravity effect), and we found more records, a small-scale stone replica of the dungeon’s exterior, and an intelligent book (which we were able to communicate with mentally by touching the cover). That’s pretty much where the game ended. Out of game, there were also a couple brief altercations between our GM and some teenage thugs, but the whole affair was terribly plebeian and I’d rather not get into it.

The XP was very substantial this time — 4,516 points for the whole night. I’m now fewer than 2,000 points from level eight (or rather, Ranger 6/Duskblade 1/Arcane Archer 1). And I’ve saved up 40% of what I need to purchase Greater Bracers of Archery.

Last night I attended the third session of the Seattle GURPS game with Martin (no session last week due to crowded schedules). It was really great; we got sent to an unexplored Quantum 6 world discovered through the interrogation of a captured Centrum agent. Our mission was to find and neutralize two other agents based only on a couple sketches. The place turned out to be, essentially, a 1906 echo with a divergence at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 (where the British navy was decimated, contrary to Homeline’s historic record). Here, the U.S. (or, what should have been the U.S.) was very balkanized and Germany and Japan were the major world powers (with Argentina and Sweden–a country with control over all of scandinavia–close behind). Long story short, we caught one of the Centrum agents with lies and a discrete injection of anesthetic but met serious resistance trying to take the other with stealth and force. Half our team got shot up by what might have been Nazi guards, but we escaped without casualties. Now we have five days till our first recall and the task of capturing this second agent seems nigh insurmountable.

This game was especially fun because it was the first time I was able to really use my character’s cinematic “Engineer!” skill.

Neat link of the day: All Things Web 2.0. It’s sort of a Wiki for Web 2.0 apps. I found some cool things with it, like wikiHow and LoudBlog.

I’ll conclude this post with some nifty wallpapers I’ve seen lately.

Castlevania Banana Monk Pirate Ship and Island

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