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Tuesday, January 31

Assault Upon the Gate of Tears - Part 1c: Into the Breach

"Quintus, look out!" said Ilmarė.

One of the thralls bent over as if wheezing. Then it arched backwards, launching a string of entrail-like tentacles at Quintus' head. He lifted his shield just in time to stop the blow.

"Be careful," said Ilmarė, slashing at the shield of the other thrall. "If that tentacle hits you it will para—"

The Elorii fell over in mid-sentence as the second thrall's tentacle snapped back into its body cavity. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:59 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Monday, January 30

What Topics Should I Speak About?

Hello readers, all two of you. If you're going to be attending I-CON, I've been asked to speak again. But before I suggest any topics, I'd like to get your feedback as to what you think I should speak about. I'll be participating in two tracks: the electronic gaming track and the role-playing track.

I've participated in the following panels in the past: D20: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, Digital and D20, Freelancing for Beginners, Satanism and Sex in D&D, Mixing Magic and Machines, Chatroom/Text-Based RPGs.

Like any of these? Hate them? Want to see more?

Use the comment button and let me know your thoughts. Or else I'm liable to come up with something really boring!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:13 AM | 4 comments links to this post


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Sunday, January 29

Assault Upon the Gate of Tears - Part 1b: Into the Breach

"Whoa," said Vlad. "Does my shield have any special powers now?"

"Yes," said Ilmarė. "It grants you the power of sight. You will be useless to me stumbling around in the darkness here."

"I really wish you hadn't done that," said Kham, pointing behind her.

"Why?" asked Ilmarė. She turned to look.

Three faceless humanoids stood mutely before them, their torsos ringed with tentacles. One arm was shaped into a blade, the other like a shield, an insane mockery of normal soldiers sculpted of flesh and bone.

"Oh," said Ilmarė. [MORE]

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Wednesday, January 25

Assault Upon the Gate of Tears - Part 1a: Into the Breach

Kham glanced sideways at him. "Yeah, right. We're not going through any portals. It'd be a lot easier for the Arch Mages to teleport us to the destination, but the explosion would have destroyed the other half of what's left of Balamshal."

"For once, pay less attention to your powder horns and more to your vials and scrolls," said Quintus, marching stoically ahead of them. He showed no signs of fatigue, even though they had been walking for hours. "The Arch Mages were kind enough to share their magic, but it does us no good if we do not know when and how to use it."

"Share?" asked Kham. "I'm nearly broke from buying all this stuff. I wouldn't want them to give us any supplies for free. It's not like we're saving the world or anything."

"Don't you ever stop talking?" asked Ilmarė in irritation. [MORE]

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Sunday, January 22

Chapter 11: Assault Upon the Gate of Tears - Introduction

This installment is the first round of hard point 6 in Year 1 of the tournament module, "Assault Upon the Gate of Tears," written by Henry Lopez and Nelson Rodriguez 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:

· Kham Val’Abebi(val rogue/psychic warrior) played by Jeremy Ortiz (http://www.ninjarobotstudios.com)
· Quintus Ingatius (human clr4) played by Michael Tresca: http://michael.tresca.net
· Vlad Martell (human ftr3) played by Matt Hammer
· Ilmarė Galen (elf bard) played by Amber Tresca
· Holden Ash’ur (human ranger/wizard) played by Robert Taylor: http://www.storyboardz.net

Sean Smith was Dungeon Master for this session, allowing Rob to play along side us as the Milandisian grenadier known as Holden.

This scenario was our first battle interactive and it went…poorly. We tried to purchase as many scrolls and potions as we could to prepare, but you have to think strategically to use those items. We didn’t always remember to heal at the right times or not stand in the line of fire.

We learned a few things in this adventure though, and we learned them the hard way. For one, firing into combat sucks (-4 penalty without Precise Shot). For another, standing in a line is a bad, bad, BAD idea when you’re facing down a sorcerer with lightning bolt. And finally, never, ever put on the first ring you find.

A tough game, but it makes for an amusing story hour. And this is only the first half! [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:16 PM | 1 comments links to this post


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Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

The song's actually better than the animation, but who cares...this is truly the ultimate showdown.

I can recognize 99% of the characters. Everyone from Godzilla to Batman, Indiana Jones to Shaq, and you'll never guess the winner.

Not that you could guess, there's too many icons to keep track of! [MORE]

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Saturday, January 21

Movie Review: Underworld: Evolution

Underworld: Evolution ups the struggle between vampires and werewolves to over-the-top, superhero levels. Marcus is a one-vampire killing machine; he can lift heavy stone walls with his bare hands, blast through wooden structures, and take shotgun blasts to the face. Fortunately, Selene has Michael on her side; as a hybrid, he’s pretty powerful himself. And he looks a lot like Nightcrawler for some reason. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 5:43 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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New Blood & Brains Review

Blood & Brains: The Zombie Hunter's Guide just received a five-star review at RPGNow from Daryl McIntire:

If you are a zombie fan and play d20 modern, go ahead and get it. It's good, and the price is right.[MORE]

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Thursday, January 19

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 7: A Council Convened

"I will not ask you to do this with me," said Quintus to Vlad and Kham. "It is not your burden to bear. I completely understand if—"

Vlad held one hand up. "I'm in," he said.

They both turned to Kham, who was busy smoothing his overcoat. He looked up at them.

"I don't suppose either of you actually know how to sail a ship?"

Vlad and Quintus shook their heads.

"Of course not. So if there's any way this mission's going to be successful, I guess I'd better come along." [MORE]

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Tuesday, January 17

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 6c: Choosing Where to Fight is as Important as When


The male Harvester chanted "tergus lapideu" and was rewarded with the sound of cracking stone. His skin turned slate gray.

Kham drew a bead on the male Harvester but lifted his pistol after the spell was cast. "Great," he said. "I may as well be shooting a statue." He needed another target.

The woman flew by, her disk spinning crazily as she writhed in pain from Quintus' divine rage. "That'll do." [MORE]

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Saturday, January 14

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 6b: Choosing Where to Fight is as Important as When

KA-BLAM! Kham fired at one of the Harvesters but missed.

To Kham's surprise, there was a resounding retort from the Harvester. Pots exploded all around him, drenching him in honey.

"Son of a BITCH!" shouted Kham. "You ruined my new coat!"

Vlad parried another swing and then rammed the thrall with his shield. Tentacles waved around the edges.

"Ahh!" shouted Vlad. He let go of his shield, pushing the thrall off balance. It fell backwards and Vlad stabbed it through the head before it could rise.

Kham rolled out from behind the honey pots and ran towards a nearby shed at the edge of the pits. The male Harvester chanted something, and a glob of acid sizzled into Kham's flesh. Or would have, if he wasn't covered in honey.

Some of the honey sloughed off of him. "Thanks," Kham shouted. He slogged forward, catching dust and debris all over his honey-caked feet. "Now if you could just take care of my boots…" [MORE]

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Wednesday, January 11

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 6a: Choosing Where to Fight is as Important as When

Quintus placed the boy down beside him and dug his shield into the gravel, such that it stood between Cassicus and the Harvesters. Then the legionnaire used his longspear to trace a wide circle around them. "We make our stand here."

Vlad stood in front of Quintus shield, his own shield and longsword at the ready.

"That's it? That's the plan? You're going to stand out here in the open like a big, fat target?"

"If what Yvigne' said is true, the gravel will protect us from their spells," said Quintus.

"And what if she's a spy like the rest of them?" asked Kham.

"Then we will die with honor," said Quintus. Kham knew that look. It meant Quintus was committed and would never change his mind.

"Tell you what," said Kham. "You three can die with honor out here in the dirt, and I'm going to shoot at people from over there," he ran low to hide behind a wall of honey pots near the edge of the pit. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 9:32 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Saturday, January 7

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 5: The Pride of the Hawks

"Why should I should not strike you down where you stand!" snarled a furious Tensen-Balin.

"Because this concerns your son and an oath you made many years ago, my friend. Please, let us speak."

The senator looked sideways at Quintus. The legionnaire slowly lowered his spear. "Your son is ill, senator. If he has a chance of saving him, you should listen."

Kham looked sideways at Quintus. "Did I just hear him right?" he whispered to Vlad. "Did he just advise peace over war?"

"People change," said Vlad. "Especially when it comes to loved ones."

"Maybe," said Kham. "But just in case, I'm going to keep the harem ready." He patted the pistols concealed beneath his overcoat. [MORE]

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Thursday, January 5

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 4b: Beware the City of the Green Death

36 cyclopean solid black obelisks were arrayed in a honeycombed shape.

Yvigne' seemed amused. "At first, we though the obelisks were made from either black basalt or obsidian. On closer inspection, we discovered it's neither."

"So what is it made of?" asked Kham.

"We don't know. Something we've never seen before on Onara. With some experimentation, we discovered that…well, let me demonstrate. Please stand back."

They all took a step back as Yvigne' chanted, "Incensio terum!"

A fan of flames arched from her hands, but as soon as they touched the obelisks, the flames became a conflagration of hellfire. The scorching heat forced Kham to take a step back and shield his face.

"Wow," said Vlad. [MORE]

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Tuesday, January 3

Games for Sale!

I put the following up for sale at Half.com:

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Monday, January 2

Movie Review: King Kong

If there's any further proof necessary that the best filmmakers are those who passionately love their material, it's Peter Jackson. It's hard to believe that Jackson could top his painstaking adherence to details he exhibited in Lord of the Rings, but he does just that in with King Kong, a subject with considerably less material to round it out. After all, this is just a story about a big monkey, right? Jackson disagrees. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:25 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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DVD Review: Garden State

Ultimately, Garden State is about that verdant state of being in every one of us, the child who has no idea his actions will have repercussions for the rest of his life. Returning to that raw human condition of love, hate, vulnerability and strength, elevates Garden State to more than just a hokey hometown film. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:22 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Sunday, January 1

To Reap the Whirlwind - Part 4a: Beware the City of the Green Death

They passed by the main ruins, which consisted of steep, red-painted ziggurats and associated buildings.

"These buildings actually predate the Elorii buildings by quite a period of time. The original inhabitants here must have been quite religious, as the main square is dominated by a series of these ziggurats." She gestured at the pyramid behind them. "We believe them to be temples to some blasphemous false gods."

"One man's god is another man's demon," said Kham with a smirk. "I'm sure the elf would agree."

"You mean the Elorii we found?" asked Yvigne'.

"Different elf. Ignore him," said Quintus, leveling a stare at Kham. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:15 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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