the_gneech: (Party Guy)
I don't get to see or talk to you near enough any more, dude. Hope you're having a great day!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
Also Happy Gygax Day/Gamemaster Day!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Legolas silhouette)
Last night was the fourth session of my Silver Coast campaign. Per unanimous player vote, it has graduated from being "a playtest campaign" and is now just "the campaign," and I'm pleased with that. :) Between the skeleton provided by the Starter Set, the hexcrawl portions that I've added, and the additional seeds of potential future adventures that I've planted across the map, we have enough to last quite some time.

Last night's session was the first one where the PCs spent a significant amount of time actually in their newly-adopted hometown of Welltide ("Phandalin" in the Starter Set), getting to know some of the locals. The session was mostly a series of small roleplaying vignettes, including meeting Sister Garaele (steward of the local temple), Daran Edermath (former adventurer like you until he took an arrow to the knee, now apple orchard owner and best prospect for a mayor who could actually get anything done), and Tylow's Aunt Qelline, an adorable little old halfling lady who fed everyone until they were ready to pop and wouldn't let them go off adventuring until they all were wrapped up nice and warm in a scarf. (Elsa started referring to her as "Aunt Grandma" after this.)

After lunch (and Tylow slipping some gold surreptitiously into the kitchen drawer to support his auntie) the group split up to go off and do their own thing. Tylow and Mei asked around to see what the Redcloaks were up to; Gimlet, being a cleric, wandered around town looking for folk to minister to; and Morgo went back to the inn to write some letters to send his friends and family back in Argent.

Gimlet and Elsa found someone who badly needed ministering to: it was a local townie being roughed up by Redcloaks (well, presumably Redcloaks, they weren't actually wearing the former-constabulary uniform). When the pair stepped in to intervene, the Redcloaks decided to "teach them a lesson."

School was in session all right, but not the way the Redcloaks intended. Gimlet and Elsa quickly made short work of slaying two and capturing the other two, hauling them off to the Townsman's House to turn in to Lord Sildar, who had set up offices there as an official representative of the crown. ("Not the king, just the crown," as Mei put it in a snarky moment.)

Sildar was quite pleased. Between the farmhands the PCs had convinced Daran Edermath to send as support, and the two mercenaries Sildar had been able to hire on his own, his new constabulary force was growing rapidly, and having prisoners to interrogate about Redcloak activity could prove very useful. He sent for Sister Garaele, telling the PCs to go grab some dinner and come back to help with the interrogation.

Unfortunately, dinner was interrupted by the sound of a commotion outside the Inn, which the PCs (being PCs) ran out to investigate. Several Redcloaks, their faces covered by masks, were assaulting the Townsman's House, aided by a bugbear(!) and the mysterious and reclusive Glass-Staff himself, his own face covered by a mask. (Tylow: "So he does come out of his hole!") Glass-Staff used a spell scroll to blast the house with a fireball, setting it ablaze, while the Redcloaks fired flaming arrows at the roof and attacked anyone fleeing the building.

Obviously, this could not stand. The PCs engaged the criminals, aided by Brannar Diamondheart (who'd been eating dinner with them) and of course Lord Sildar, who was in the upper floor of the house shooting his crossbow at the Redcloaks below. The battle was short and vicious: Morgo blasted Glass-Staff with magic missiles, causing the wizard crimelord to flee; Tylow got in some impressive sneak attacks (including taking out the bugbear with an attack of opportunity); Gimlet made sure one of the Redcloaks was taken alive and rallied the townsfolk into making an impromptu fire brigade to make sure the fire didn't spread; Elsa took up the role of "meat shield" to protect Morgo; and Mei ran into the burning building to rescue Lord Sildar as the roof came crashing in on him.

Sadly, three of Lord Sildar's four new constables died in the attack– and Morgo's letters home went up in flames in the Townsman's House mailbox. The PCs came to the conclusion that there was no point in going on any expeditions to Wave Echo Cave, or to Coneyburr for the side job Sister Garaele gave them, until the Redcloak problem was dealt with. They worked up a plan to head to the Sleeping Giant Inn to arrest any known Redcloaks there first to thin the criminal band's numbers before making an assault on their main hideout under Tresendar Manor, which is where the next session will begin. Everyone gained enough XP to reach 3rd level, so we finished off the session with leveling up.

I'm still pleased with the speed and ease of 5E. I ran the entire "Redcloak assault on the Townsman's House" encounter off the cuff based on what Glass-Staff would do, just by grabbing the stat blocks of everyone involved, rather than planning it out with an XP budget or anything of that nature, and it worked well. The PCs got to kick butt and take names, but there was still a sense of danger during the whole encounter– whether it was danger to the PCs or to important NPCs. (Lord Sildar took something like half his points from being crushed by burning rafters.) If the dice had been crueler, or the party had not worked together so well, it could have easily been a lot uglier.

The module suggests treating the town like an old western, with Lord Sildar taking on the role of "the new marshal" cleaning up the place, and that aspect was quite strong in this session. Glass-Staff's assault on the Townsman's House had the feel of the murders of Morgan and Virgil Earp... I wonder if we won't see Morgo and Glass-Staff drawing wands in the main drag at high noon.

(Spoiler: We won't. ;P )

No game next weekend: my 45th berfday party instead! We're gonna have a party here at The Hobbit Hole, probably the last one before the sale goes through. I sent out several invites that didn't get RSVPs, or even acknowledgement of receipt, so if you're a local or even not-so-local friend who would expect to get an invite to such a thing and you haven't, chances are I sent you one and it got lost in the aether. Send me an e-mail at about it!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (me am writing!)
Yesterday was my fifth consecutive 39th birthday, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. [ profile] lythandra and I wandered about a very nice little art show at Lake Anne, then had dinner on an in-laws-supplied gift card. From there, we went over to Best Buy, where I was given my birthday present-- a laptop very much like the one in my avatar here, which I have been given specifically for the purpose of taking to Starbucks and writing on. All I need is a heavy-rimmed pair of glasses, and my journey to Hipster will be complete! ;D I'll have to remember to drink my mochas before they're cool.

Anyway! The last time I had a Mac as a serious working machine was c. 1998, and I was always a bit awkward on it then. These days the OS is even more opaque and not-telling-you-anythingey, so I'm sort of fumbling my way through ("Why do some installers just install, and others put a thing on your desktop? Why does the icon on the dock turn into a giant question mark if you try to get the thing off your desktop? How do I view the other computers on the network? AND WHAT ABOUT SCARECROW'S BRAIN???"), but I should be able to pick it up fairly quickly. And if I can't, well, I know a few Macheads who can probably steer me right.

In any case, having bought this thing while funds are tight, I am now obligated to go write some books on it! Which I will do, promise. ;) Laurie and I are operating pretty much on faith at the moment that she will get paid eventually, and resumes are going out either way. As the man once said, "Trust in Allah-- but tie up your camel."

My other major present was that I got mention-bombed by the #TwitterPonies. :D If you've never had Pinkie Pie herself serenade you for your birthday, take it from me it's a fun experience! ;)

KITTEN UPDATE: Inkyboy got his paw smooshed in the dishwasher door last night, which made for some worry. He was limping and favoring it all night, not to mention not wanting to do anything but cuddle up for comfort, so we were very worried that it might be a serious injury. This morning, however, he appears to be pretty much recovered, running around and playing normally, only limping on it every once in a while. We will mention it to the vet when we go back for the second round of distemper shots on Wednesday.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
The usual gaming group. :D

But hey, that's cool, I got to see my pals and delicious food was nommed.

I kept trying to come up with a "never split the party" gag, but ended up thinking better of it. :)

The kittens were a big hit, no surprise there. :)

the_gneech: (Leonard machismo)
Happy birthday, [ profile] punktiger!

I know things have been rough for you for a while now, but I've never known a cooler, classier tiger and so I hope you have an awesome day.

For those at home, [ profile] punktiger made multiple cameo appearances in Suburban Jungle, including one strip that's in my all-time favorites:

Suburban Jungle by John 'The Gneech' Robey, March 3, 2006

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
A.k.a. LK, a.k.a. the Railroading Lion, a.k.a. about fifteen other handles. Have a good one, whatever you call it!

the_gneech: (Alex Spaz)
It's [ profile] kamau_d_lyon's berfday! And he's an awesome dude. So wish him many, many happy returns!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAMAU! Yaaaaaaaaaaaay! *spazflail*

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Twilight Sparkle applauds)
[ profile] lythandra's birthday was earlier this month, so this is the card I gave her:

"M and Ms" Grenade by ~the-gneech on deviantART

In college, a friend described her as "a hand grenade disguised as a bag of M&M's," and it always stuck. :)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Liberty)
Tomorrow, in case you don't know, is President Obama's 50th birthday.

I totally want to see Jon Stewart singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" in breathless Marilyn Monroe style. Who's with me?

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Yog-Sothothery)
Horrific birthday to you
horrific birthday to you
horrific birthday, H.P. Lovecraft
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
Also known as "Mrs. Gneech." ;)

Furthermore, happy belated birthdays to [ profile] xoagray, [ profile] blackpaw, [ profile] spikerotty, [ profile] kamau_d_lyon, the late, great [ profile] twoolfe, [ profile] calikat, [ profile] cooner, [ profile] dewhitton, [ profile] canisrufus_uk, [ profile] rikoshi, [ profile] ryanohki, [ profile] oceansedge, [ profile] xydexx, [ profile] tobias_wulf, [ profile] joeygatorman, [ profile] bearblue, [ profile] wyatt1048, [ profile] rigelkitty, [ profile] jadedfox, [ profile] jakebe, [ profile] tygermoonfoxx, [ profile] plonq, [ profile] wesha, [ profile] jim_lane, and [ profile] kelloggs2066!

Hope there's enough Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk) to go around!


One who rises or grows out of the earth. The original inhabitants of a country.
—Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, c. 1850

First European Born in America

On this date in 1587 Virginia Dare was born on Roanoke Island, just off the coast of North Carolina — the first child born of English parents in the New World. Nearly three centuries later, Maria Theresa Longworth's Teresina in America (1875) described the residents of nearby South Carolina: "A stranger sailing direct from New York to Charleston will be greatly struck with the change which forty-eight hours can produce. The South Carolinian seemed almost of a different race — tall, thin, well-formed, sinewy men, sallow complexioned, with long, straight hair and deep-set eyes of a most peculiar grey. Actually they are of a pale colour, but at a little distance simulating a dark mysterious hue, as though they had more in their depth than could be read at a single glance. They have a carriage differing from the hurried shuffling tread of the business and moneymaking man of the North. It tells of rule and authority. The dark, flashing dauntless eye bespeaks the unconquered warrior soul."

So, Black Irish, pretty much. Why didn't you just say so?

-The Gneech


Jul. 8th, 2009 01:00 pm
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
Happy belated birthday to [ profile] pholph, [ profile] sinha_lion, [ profile] mspinstripesuit, [ profile] kagur, [ profile] russ_arulo, [ profile] nicodemusrat, [ profile] thornwolf, [ profile] dduane, [ profile] ralph_lycanth, [ profile] snapcat, [ profile] patchworkjester, [ profile] aeto, [ profile] longtail, [ profile] djarums, [ profile] chef_troy, [ profile] hallan, [ profile] pegasus316, [ profile] usdutchkitty, [ profile] unclekage, [ profile] tygercowboy, [ profile] ramalion, [ profile] hbar98, [ profile] blackfeather, [ profile] indigoangelcat, [ profile] tyrnn, [ profile] ceruleanst, [ profile] deliasherman, [ profile] rahball, [ profile] spunkywulf, [ profile] jfd62780, and [ profile] yappyfox! Sorry for the delay in your birthday wishes, but life's been like that. Have some Forgotten English (©Jeffrey Kacirk)!


To sleep. In the old pugilistic days, a man knocked down, or "out of time," was said to be "sent to dorse." But whether because he was senseless, or because he lay on his back, is not known, though most likely the latter. Formerly spelt dorse; [from] Gaelic dosal, slumber.
—John Camden Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1887

To dorse with a woman signifies to sleep with her.
—Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1796

Boxing Etiquette

On this date in 1889, the last of the bare-knuckle boxing contests was held in the sawmill town of Richburg, Mississippi. In this heavyweight matchup, John L. Sullivan outlasted Jake Kilrain in a two-and-a-quarter hour slugfest not decided until the seventy-fifth round. At that time, and for the next thirty-five years, French prizefighters continued to observe the old custom of kissing one another on both cheeks just before they squared off, a Neuschwanstein after being introduced to the crowd. But in 1925 the French Boxing Commission, finally realizing the irony of this strange salute, decided that enough was enough and discontinued the kissing tradition.

A dorse is a dorse, of course, of course. BTW, for those wondering, "Neuschwanstein" is better known as "Mad Ludwig's Castle." I don't have any clearer idea what it means in this context than you do.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
Happy birthday, [ profile] soapcoyotewolf! For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):


Imaginary; drawn or painted in the air.
—William Grimshaw's Ladies' Lexicon and Parlour Companion, 1854

Approximate Birthday of J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851),

experimental English painter who was seen by some, such as John Ruskin, as an artistic genius for his pre-Impressionist atmospheric effects. But many critics considered Turner a foolish dreamer whose technique and eye for color were suspect. Amazingly, the eccentric and nearly illiterate artist created more than 20,000 works, mostly landscapes, seascapes, and airscapes, which he bequeathed to the English public on his death. When not staying with his patron, Lord Petworth, he lived in various London taverns, including the Ship and Bladebone in Limehouse Reach. Turner, whose remarkably executed early drawings had fetched just a few shillings, was once accused of grossly overcharging buyers for his oil paintings and brought before a local magistrate. During the proceedings, the prosecutor sternly asked the middle-aged artist how long it had taken him to create a particular piece of artwork. With a cleverly theatrical display of humility, Turner paused and looked at the judge — finally replying gently, "All my life, m'lord."

Feh. Surely if he was over-charging for artwork, the problem would be largely self-correcting, wouldn't it?

-The Gneech


Apr. 21st, 2009 10:05 am
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
Happy birthday, [ profile] lemuriapress! For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

Adam's wine

A cant phrase for water as a beverage, our first father being supposed to have known nothing more powerful.
—John Jamieson's Etymological Scottish Dictionary, 1808

Water Water Everywhere

One hundred fifty years ago today, the first public drinking fountain — a miniature pillared archway with the chiseled inscription, "Replace the cup," — was installed in London by the newly formed Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association. The idea and money for this reddish granite landmark came from Samuel Gurney, a well-known member of Parliament who was born into a family of Quaker philanthropists and bankers. Though relocated in 1867, the ornate fountain was returned to its original location at St. Sepulchre's Church on Newgate Street in 1913, where it remains today, still accompanied by its two metal drinking cups. The MFDFA went on to introduce here and there around London hundreds of public fountains, as well as water troughs for dogs, horses, and even cattle on their way to market. The association survives today, providing new fountains for schools and restoring the city's aging fountains.

They should do something more useful, like join the Royal Society for Putting Things On Top of Other Things.

-The Gneech

PS: Bonus! From [ profile] softpaw...
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
Once again, I have been remiss. Alas, the suckage! So happy birthday, better late than never, to [ profile] blue_panther, [ profile] thirdhorse, [ profile] mearls, [ profile] pandaguy, [ profile] shaycaron, [ profile] swampy, [ profile] bauske, [ profile] kurst, [ profile] redkam, [ profile] the_monkey_king, [ profile] athelind, [ profile] sirfox, [ profile] stripeymaney, [ profile] m0nkeygrl, [ profile] vlad_badger, [ profile] gamescribe, [ profile] cmdr_kitsune, [ profile] syke, [ profile] smrgol_t_kirin, [ profile] poppyokapi, [ profile] makovette, [ profile] jonasbagel, [ profile] tchall, [ profile] galish, [ profile] nerfcoyote, [ profile] carlfox, [ profile] teirandragon, [ profile] mouseferatu, [ profile] trejaan, [ profile] mooivos, [ profile] katayamma, [ profile] crikeyduck, [ profile] guigar, [ profile] mehndix, [ profile] trpeal, [ profile] babsbunny, [ profile] bjbuttons, [ profile] banditloaf, [ profile] splodefromcute, and [ profile] depoisson!

And happy NOT-belated birthday to [ profile] berin. :)

Hope there's enough Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk) to go around!


Dismal, gloomy, distressful; [from] Anglo-Saxon dreorig, sorrowful, Icelandic dreyrigr, gory.
—Rev. James Stormonth's Dictionary of the English Language, 1884

Hedgehog Soup for Mental Health?

Today is the birthday of Phillippe Pinel (1745-1826), French physician and pioneer of modern psychology. Pinel, who was among the first to consider forms of insanity as an illness rather than the result of demons, might well have appreciated Hieronymus Brunschwig's pleasant-sounding treatment to soothe a depressed spirit, as found in his book A Most Excellent and Perfecte Homish Apothecarye (translated by John Hollybush, 1561): "He that is become mad with sadness and heaviness, to him ought fair to be spoken and made merry; many things should be promised him, and some given. If it is a man, let him be refreshed with women, for the same avoideth anger; but if it be a woman, let her be refreshed with men; the same bringeth them soon to their senses." A less likely approach was found in the 17th-century Fairfax Household Book, which advised, "For a lunatic, take a hedge-hog and make a broth of him, and let the patient eat of the broth and flesh."

Mmm, refreeeeeeshing.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):


A light person, and not heavily clothed.
—John Mactaggart's Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia, 1824

From the idea of stripping a fly of its covering.
—John Jamieson's Etymological Scottish Dictionary, 1808

Full Moon

History of the Striptease

On this date in 1893, the earliest documented striptease was performed at the Bal des Quatre Arts, held at Paris's notorious Moulin Rouge. This groundbreaking bump-and-grind was enacted by a woman remembered only as Mona, who normally earned at least a portion of her living by posing nude for painters and sculptors. About a year later, the first professional X-rated show, known as "Le Coucher d'Yvette," began at the nearby Fayonau Music Hall. In that fleeting display of flesh — comparatively tame by today's standards — Yvette attracted voyeuristic audiences by portraying a woman who disrobed before going to bed. Soon afterward, local imitators developed similar routines designed to titillate patrons of burlesque entertainment based on other domestic activities, such as bathing.


-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):


A sudden translation of property in land by the death of a rich man.
—Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, c. 1850

Farewell to Charles II

On this date in 1685, Charles II died of kidney failure caused by excessive inhalation of toxic mercury vapors, which believed helped transmute base metals into gold. English diarist John Evelyn described the king's final moments: "I can never forget the inexpressible luxury and profaneness, gaming, and all dissoluteness; the king sitting and toying with his concubines, Portsmouth, Cleveland, and Mazarine, a French boy singing love songs in that glorious gallery whilst about twenty of the great courtiers and other dissolute persons were at Basset round a large table, a bank of at least two thousand in gold before them ... It was enjoined that those who put on mourning should wear it as for a father, in the most solemn manner." Two days earlier, Evelyn wrote of a sudden "apoplectic fit" that overtook Charles: "If, by God's providence, Dr. King, that excellent chirurgeon, had not been accidentally present to let his blood, having his lancet in his pocket, his Majesty had certainly died that moment."

So you're saying what, it was a bit on the dissolute side?

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Party Guy)
Back at my desk finally (um, yay?), so it's time to catch up on birthdays! Happy belated birthday to [ profile] cyberhorn, [ profile] pinkdino, [ profile] theodwulf, [ profile] iamertai, [ profile] daemionfox, [ profile] fastclaw, [ profile] demiurgent, [ profile] exatron, and [ profile] partiallyclips, and happy not-belated birthday to [ profile] lance_foxx! Hope there's enough Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk) to go around!


In old clocks, a figure which struck the bell to mark the hours.
—John Phin's Shakespeare Cyclopædia and New Glossary, 1902

Feast Day of St. Agatha,

a patroness of bell-ringers. The sound of Sunday church bells, while quaint-sounding to most, has long been irritating to others. In his America Revisited (1883), for example, George Augustus Sala carped: "The bell-ringing nuisance is nearly as offensive in England as it is in America, and in both countries the practice is equally needless and wantonly indifferent to the requirements of those who need rest and quiet. Surely a man knows to what religion he belongs, and at what hour the services in his particular place of worship begin. Yet the sexton goes on tugging at his bell as though Christians had altogether lost their memories, and as though there were no clocks and watches in the world. Moreover, how is the churchgoer to discriminate between the different bells when they are all brangling at the same time? Here in Baltimore, a city of 300,000 inhabitants, there are about 200 churches. With the exception of the Quakers meeting-houses, all these churches are provided with bells which boom and brawl from sunrise to sunset, as though they were so many hotel gongs calling guests to theological meals."

If only he had some kind of missile, he could take the steam out of those bells, because there's nothing an agnostic can't do if he really doesn't know if he believes in anything or not.


Eh, that's kind of a weak birthday present. So courtesy of [ profile] gamera_spinning, I also present to you The Seatbelts performing live.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Torey Rave)
Sue's Pants in an Uproar!
Click-through for full-size version.

I was trying to come up with a gag that would incorporate "Beef!" "Barg!" and "This is a great location!" as well ... but it just seemed a little forced. ;)

-The Gneech

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