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Thursday, December 28

Deus Ex Machina - Part 3c: The Marionette

“Down!” shouted Ilmarė.

A whistling blade flew through the air, boomeranging around the confined belfry. Cal ducked down just as the blade returned to its owner’s hand.

It was a life-size marionette, dressed in ochre and purple robes, with china hands and face. Chains hung down from a dozen points on its body, leading up to metal ball bearings nestled in the tracks above them.

With a roar, Cal hacked at the marionette with incredible force. The marionette snapped sideways and spun, its arms flailing about helpless. It spun around and around, twisting its chains so much that it lifted upwards towards the ceiling.

“Cal,” said Beldin, “I don’t know if that was such a good idea.” [MORE]

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Friday, December 22

Deux ex Machina - Part 3b: The Belfrey

There was a strange whirring from the other side of one of the doors. A horrible screeching, the sound of metal that had become unaccustomed to moving after decades of neglect, tormented their ears.

Ilmarė drew her bow and faced the door. “Did I mention that Ambrose was a master of clockworks?”

The door burst open. A tall figure in dark clothing, moved jerkily through the doorway. It walked funny, with movements that were broad and exaggerated.

“Now you tell us,” said Beldin. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:45 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Thursday, December 21

Book Review: Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos

Overall, it becomes very clear that Lovecraft wrote better horror than many of his imitators. The best of this collection find horror in the little things: a house, a child's terror, and the dark steeple of a church. In paying homage to Lovecraft, there was a fine line between paying tribute to his work and unintentionally parodying it. The authors that understood the difference wrote the most interesting stories. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:24 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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DVD Review: Wedding Crashers

Wedding Crashers is one of those sneaky movies that is much more clever in concept than it is in practice. Fooling men (who only see the trailers and figure it’s a comedy) and women (who talk to each other about the movie and thus know what it’s actually about) into seeing the same film is a stroke of pure genius. This is probably why Wedding Crashers did so well: it’s a chick flick disguised as a guy’s movie. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:23 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Tuesday, December 19

Accidental Survivors Special Episode 001 - Resources

Accidental Survivors: the Modern Gaming Podcastsponsored by Sword's Edge PublishingPodcast music is "Battle Hymn" by Mindscape Music. This is the one without the witty banter, without the other hosts, and with Fraser blabbing on forever about resources he uses in his game (like anyone would care). No edits. No format. No worries.

Some General Reference Resources

Military Resources

Character Generators

Product Pimpage

Direct download: ASSE001.mp3

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:10 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Monkey God Products Sale

Highmoon Media Productions is holding a sale for all 8 days of Channukah. All products, except subscriptions, are 20% off through Saturday, December 23rd.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:02 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Sunday, December 17

Deus Ex Machina - Part 3: The Chase

The little man ran across the rooftops as fast as his little legs would carry him. He easily sped across a four-inch wide plank onto a two-story stone building.

Harcourt spun around to kick the plank. It clattered into the alley below.

Harcourt flashed a brief smile at the ss’ressen that was pounding after him. It was a good ten feet distance between the two buildings.

Then the lizard was gone. Harcourt spun around…

Only to nearly smack right into Cal. “Give me back my note,” said the lizard with a hiss.

Harcourt took a step backwards. Cal stepped forward. The roof groaned under the three hundred pound lizard man’s weight. Then it gave way.

Cal collapsed up to his chest. He was stuck.

The thief laughed and ran right up to Cal. Then, using the ss’ressen’s head as a stepping-stone, Harcourt launched himself over the broken rooftop.

With his formidable forearm strength alone, Cal lifted himself out of the hole. He crawled across the rooftop just in time to see Harcourt crossing to the next building on a tightrope.

Just to show how dexterous he was, the thief walked backwards across the tightrope while facing Cal. “So long, yer big alligator!” shouted Hargrove. “Right!”

Then a whistling axe snapped the tightrope in half. [MORE]

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Wednesday, December 13

Deus Ex Machina - Part 2: The Heist

Cal didn’t have much to fear from Freeport. In fact, it was one of the few places he felt comfortable. Although people openly stared, he preferred it to the nervous side glances of more polite cities. In Freeport, if someone didn’t like you, they let you know it. If they feared you, they let you know that too.

So it was surprising when a woman approached him. Few locals dared. The thugs large enough to threaten him had learned his lesson. Besides, Cal was perpetually broke anyway.

“Blimey!” she said, looking up at Cal. “Yew 'ook like a big strappin' fellow. Might I be able ter offer my services? Nuff said, yeah?”

Cal’s pupiless eyes blinked. He sniffed tentatively in the woman’s direction. Her eyes and lips were painted extravagantly. Her clothes were too tight, especially the top part.

“Orww, right, come on now. I know I don't 'ave a look like much, but I fink I can 'andle the likes of yer. Wotcher say?” [MORE]

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Sunday, December 10

Deus Ex Machina - Part 1: Nothing is Sacred

“I would not normally entrust such a mission to you,” said Lucius, “but your particular talents make you the best…man for the job.”

“Because I’m big and strong?” asked Cal.

“Because you can’t read.” [MORE]

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Wednesday, December 6

Deus Ex Machina - Prologue

“When your gnomes aren’t looking, Khorbon, I’m going to kill you with my bare hands,” said Quintus.

“Kill me? Kill me?” Khorbon gestured at the gnomes behind Quintus. “Did you hear that? He’s going to kill me? Well, he’s very confused, isn’t he?” He leaned forward to look Quintus in the face. “It’s quite the other way around, I’m afraid. You see, my memories have a home and the key is Ambrose. I’m not sure how, but Ambrose got out of Carcosa and he’s working very hard to get back. We’re going to follow him through a portal to a very important party. But you can’t go to a party without bringing a gift, can you?” He lifted his arms up. “Of course not! You, my stalwart friend, are going to be my gift to the King. A gift of madness! And he will make me Prince of Carcosa, as I am destined to be.”

Khorbon nodded to one of the gnomes, who pulled Quintus’ leash.

“Come.”

Quintus looked back and forth from the gnome to Khorbon. “What are you going to do to me?”

“Go with these gentlemen, my new friend,” said Khorbon. “I have a party to prepare for.”

Then they put the mask over his head. And the nightmare began. [MORE]

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Friday, December 1

Right Where It Belongs

I thought I'd take some time to enjoy lyrics from Nine Inch Nails' "Right Where It Belongs," which currently applies to both real life as well as our D&D campaign:


See the animal in his cage that you built
Are you sure what side you're on?
Better not look him too closely in the eye
Are you sure what side of the glass you are on?
See the safety of the life you have built
Everything where it belongs
Feel the hollowness inside of your heart
And it's all
Right where it belongs

[Chorus:]
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection
Is it all you want it to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks?
Would you find yourself
Find yourself afraid to see?

What if all the world's inside of your head
Just creations of your own?
Your devils and your gods
All the living and the dead
And you're really all alone?
You can live in this illusion
You can choose to believe
You keep looking but you can't find the woods
While you're hiding in the trees

[Chorus:]
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you used to know
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection
Is it all you want it to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks
Would you find yourself
Find yourself afraid to see?

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The Senator's Seal - Conclusion

“One other thing,” said Okpara. “I would like to send you on a brief vacation.”

Ilmarė paused in counting the Imperials. “Is that a threat?”

“Not at all,” chuckled Okpara. “But given the nature of your pursuit, I think it’s best if you leave town for awhile. I have a friend, Gaius Phillipus, who owns a villa in Vestalanium.”

“Never heard of it,” said Vlad.

Okpara’s stared at him for a moment. “Of course you wouldn’t. It’s one of the most exclusive of all Coryani resort towns, nestled along the Corvis River. I’m sure adventurers such as yourselves would enjoy such an opportunity to get away from the bustle of the city.”

Ilmarė stretched, rubbing the back of her neck. “It would be nice to get away from it all.”

“Then it’s settled,” said Okpara. “Please gather your things immediately. The river barge leaves tomorrow.”

As they walked out of Okpara’s office, Dril looked back over his shoulder. “Why do I get the feeling we never had a choice in the first place?” [MORE]

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