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Monday, December 26

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 3: Arrival at the Sanctorum

"Of course, senator," said Yvigne’. Quintus made to follow Menet and the senator, but Menet spun on his heel.

"We’ll be fine, Quintus. We’ll call you if we need you."

Quintus stopped, uncertain, as the pair walked off.

"Would you like a tour of the ruins?" asked Yvigne’.

"I’d love one," said Kham, sidling up to Yvigne’. "My name’s Kham, by the way."

Vlad shrugged at Quintus and followed Kham. After a moment, the legionnaire walked dejectedly behind them.

"If it makes you feel better," said Kham to Quintus, "I can bark orders at you and you can follow me around instead." [MORE]

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Wednesday, December 21

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 2b: Uninvited Guests

"My son became progressively worse," said the senator. "I knew not whom to trust after Theron's betrayal."

"Oh yeah, I remember him," said Kham. "The kid's hopefully less…transparent these days."

The senator continued. "I began to seek out my contacts in the Sanctorum, trying to find old friends and comrades. I finally contacted an adventuring companion by the name of Livinus. It seemed that the old man had decided to retire from the affairs of man and took up the task of training young mages while indulging in an old passion of his: archaeology."

For the first time, Kham looked interested. "Go on," he said.

"Livinus told me that he had set up a Sanctorum in the lost city of Balamshal, in the trackless wastes of the Hinterlands. He said there were ruins that even the Elorii considered ancient. Most importantly, there was a sacred well that restored vitality and healed even the sickest among them. So I entrust my son's well-being to him and prayed for his recovery."

"The boy is dying and there is no way to save him," said Solanius. "Let him at least die for a noble cause than a meaningless death."

Vlad shoved Solanius with his foot for good measure. [MORE]

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Tuesday, December 20

Movie Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The film starts out slow, slow enough to make the children in the audience restless. But once the war begins, it's a heart-pounding race to the finish. Never before have so many mythological beings blasted across the screen, Dungeons & Dragons style, to beat the stuffing out of each other. The special effects are so good that when Aslan isn't speaking you forget he's an animated lion. And amazingly, this is a PG (not even PG-13!) movie. [MORE]

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DVD Review: The Dish

You wouldn't expect much excitement or action from a huge piece of equipment that moves at a few feet a minute, but The Dish manages to convey just that. It starts out slow, but there's a master plan: the contrast between the titanic machinery of the dish with the rolling countryside, the flat colors with the bright palette of the small town, the sophisticated scientists with the lovable country folk. Throughout, we're reminded that this is science at its best and worst. It's a miracle that anybody really does make it to the moon…and yet we can barely keep one broadcasting station running.

And that's the message of The Dish: When you think about it, the world is a very tiny place in this great big cosmos. If everyone kept that perspective, they might try getting along better.

In these turbulent times, we could all learn something from The Dish. [MORE]

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Friday, December 16

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 2a: Uninvited Guests

"Something's wrong," said Quintus.

"What?" asked Vlad.

"The gates," he said. "They're closed and locked, but the guards that should normally be stationed here are missing."

Kham threw back his overcoat; five flintlocks were visible dangling from a bandolier across his chest and waist.

"I see you still have your handgonnes," said Quintus. "Good, I was afraid you might be useless."

Kham reached into one of the many pockets inside his overcoat and pulled forth a dagger instead. "First of all, they're flintlocks," he said as a small rod popped out of the back of the dagger. He shook the dagger, and lock picks sprung out of the rod.

Kham inserted the lock pick into the lock. With a flick of his wrist, Kham turned the dagger's handle and the gate swung open. "Second, I've got plenty of skills you don't know about."

Quintus didn't say anything as Kham bowed slightly, with one open palm towards the senator's home.

As they approached, it was clear that the main door had been warped and shaped to create a circular opening.

"Trouble," said Quintus. He lifted his spear and charged forward towards the door. [MORE]

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Sunday, December 11

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 1: One Way or Another


Quintus stood in front of Kham. "I am Quintus Aurelius Ignatius of the Legion of the Triumphant Rays of the Invisible Sun."

The guard lifted his chin. "So?"

With a sigh, Quintus pushed back his cloak to reveal a silver dagger. It was a symbol of Senator Augustus Tensen-Balin's favor for rescuing his son, Cassicus.

The guards' eyes widened and they both moved aside. "The Senator will be pleased to see you," said one.

"I knew I shouldn't have sold that dagger," said Kham to nobody in particular. [MORE]

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Eyeballistic is Live!

Check out my brother's latest Web site, Eyeballistic at http://www.eyeballistic.com:
Relax. Seriously. If you are here, you are in good hands. You'll meet that deadline. You'll be ready to teach by next semester. If you're a student, then you're already on your way to getting that "A" average. If you're new to design, animation and graphic arts, we promise once you get started you'll be glad you changed careers. We're confident that with our help you'll over-come a major creative obsticle, learning the tools of your trade. We'll even take it a step further by teaching you insider tips and tricks you won't find anywhere else. MORE

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Saturday, December 10

All the King's Men Now on Sale!

Highmoon Media Productions and MonkeyGod Enterprises present All the King's Men.

Filled with bizarre characters, twisted plots, and a macabre sense of humor, All the King's Men takes the PCs on a wild romp through the dark underbelly of Hamdon, a fantasy version of Renaissance London. When the archbishop turns up dead at the production of the latest play, the acting troupe known as The King's Men is accused of murder. It's up to the PCs to track down the killer and prove the actors' innocence. But not everything is as it seems in the world of acts and actors.

All the King's Men is a d20 fantasy adventure for 7th- through 9th-level characters.

Written by: Michael Tresca
Cover by: Allan Pollack
Artwork by: Theodor Black, Robert Taylor
49 Pages, Fully Bookmarked

All The King's Men is now available at RPGnow.com and ENWorld Game Store. Buy it today, the Bard commands you!

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Wednesday, December 7

To Reap the Whirlwind - Introduction

This is the fifth point of Year 1 of the tournament module, "To Reap the Whirlwind," written by Henry Lopez and set in the Arcanis setting. You can read more about Arcanis at http://www.onaraonline.org. Please note: This adventure contains spoilers!

Our cast of characters includes:
Rob Taylor was Dungeon Master for this session: http://www.storyboarz.net

Ahh, it’s good to be back playing Quintus again. If it hasn’t been made clear, Rob will be DMing all the hard points, ensuring Quintus is involved and mostly relevant to the plot. Of course, I don’t even know what the plot is, so it’ll be interesting to see Arcanis evolve as we play through each year.

This adventure involved the “old gang” again, but it was abrupt—lots of plot, not as much action. One reason for this is because we did all the right things (Quintus, unlike Kham, hung onto the silver dagger that is the symbol of Senator Tensen-Balin’s favor), and thus avoided some fights.

Indeed, Quintus is ideal for this sort of adventure because he’s taking orders from a Senator. Given that Quintus is lawful neutral, things have never been more black and white for him. This is ironic, because the adventure has provisions for players screwing things up. Quintus made the “right” choice (at least, the choice that advances the plot) each time.

The only thing that’s bugging me is that I didn’t realize that “To Drink Deeply from the Chalice of Midnight” ended in Grand Coryan and that this adventure picks up where that one left off. In essence, what the hell was Quintus doing all this time that he couldn’t walk over, knock on the Senator’s door, and ask him where his son is?

I try to explain it in Part 1. [MORE]

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Saturday, December 3

All That Glitters - Conclusion

Sebastian crouched down next to the corpse of Brother Oriku.

"I don’t understand," he said. "Why would a brother of Althares betray us?"

"Have you MET Kham?" Ilmarė asked, nudging the corpse of the dead half-orc with one foot. [MORE]

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Complete Guide to Werewolves on Sale!

Goodman Games is holding a sale to celebrate its fourth anniversary. The print version of The Complete Guide to Werewolves is discounted 40% at the Goodman Games store: http://www.goodmangames.com/store.php

The PDF can be purchased at 30% off at RPGNow: http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=5086&

One shapechanger stands above them all as the ultimate source of fear and cunning. For centuries, werewolves have been staples of folklore worldwide, spreading terror in the night while hiding amongst mankind in the day. Now the Complete Guide to Werewolves brings this historical monster into your d20 game. Grounded in folklore from multiple cultures, this thorough and imaginative sourcebook gives you everything you need to engage the world's most dangerous shapeshifter.

Hurry, the sale ends December 31st, 2005!

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Friday, December 2

Movie Review: Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

What was most satisfying to me was the feeling that Hogwarts is now a real school. Teachers worry about students getting hurt (there's an age limit on the Tri-Wizard Cup for a reason), argue over disciplining their charges, and fret about teaching styles. This is a real school with real problems, even if they're magical problems.

That said, the movie occasionally sacrifices rationale for speed. At one point, several characters are intentionally placed in grave danger as part of the Tri-Wizard tournament and everyone's supposed to be okay with it. Unfortunately, that kind of contest cheapens the tragedy of loss felt later--it's hard to muster up tears when someone gets hurt after Hogwarts basically kidnaps its own students in the name of competition.

Still, it's a forgivable quirk that my wife tells me is explained in the novel. With all the action, crazy characters, and burgeoning relationships, Harry Potter has now moved into the realm of adulthood. Maybe that's why I liked it so much. [MORE]

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DVD Review: Alien Vs. Predator

Standing on its own, without knowing too much about AVP, the film's actually not a bad way to spend two hours. But who goes to see a film about two legendary bad guys that DOESN'T know their history? The expectations are simply too high to actually pull off a film of any substance. All the digital effects, rubbery suits (aliens seem to bounce when they hit the ground), and stumpy actors (Predators look...chubby), can't save the film.

After seeing Dreamcatcher just before, it's enough to give fans..."the Ripley." [MORE]

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DVD Review: Dreamcatcher

Years later, these four lovable lugs continue an old tradition: visiting a cabin to go hunting. Along the way they discover other traumatized hunters with a dire need for some toilet paper and a magazine. Just don't interrupt them…

What ensues from that point on is a form of taboo-breaking insanity: aliens in the toilet. These strange eel-like creatures enter your mouth, gestate in your stomach and leave from the other end, killing the host. Then things get really nasty. [MORE]

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