Out of character – Ela by the numbers and other jibber-jabber

(Editor’s note, I say D&D when I mean pathfinder as well because I’m like that)

Back in the heyday (what does that mean?) of this blog when it was read by as many as five people one request I got a couple times is for Ela’s character sheet.  RPG people love character sheets.  I never posted it for two reasons.  One I couldn’t figure out how.  Two, I kind of prefer to leave her exact stats a mystery.  I’ve never understood why some people like having characters from books and movies they love statted out.  Tanis was much cooler before I knew he was a 7th level ranger with 12 Dexterity. 

One thing I can say is that her Bluff modifier reached silly proportions pretty quickly.  It’s currently sitting at +37 which means by the book she can convince 99.99 percent of things with brains of even the most outlandish lies.  I try to be a little reasonable with that.  And that’s not even taking into account her once a day +20 bonus on top of that. 

Most campaigns fall apart after the first 4-7 sessions.  Those that make it past that first stage and last a good while seem to generally peter out around 12-15th level.  Which is fine by me, I’m not into high level play.  It’s interesting how quickly you can just make so that there’s little to no chance of failing at any skill check you want your character to be good at.  I guess that’s good, no one likes it when their character fails all the time but it seems strange.  One of my RPG buddies that prefers to play other systems than D&D has leveled the critique that at low levels you can’t do anything and once you get past that everything is too easy.  He’s not entirely wrong.  Just mostly. 

In the last real campaign I played in (I’m currently playing in a roll20 campaign now but its gross 5th edition so it doesn’t count) I had a mythic charisma based character at high level.  Ela’s Bluff is slightly better than his was.  I’ve actually thought about having him turn up in this blog but that seemed a little too self-indulgent even for me.

A couple of people have asked how Ela manages to survive so many fights without being combat oriented.  Her Sense Motive and Perception are not as crazy as her Bluff, but they’re high, and she has Phantom Thief Social Sense +5 on top of that so she’s unlikely to be taken by surprise.  Innocent Façade, Another Day, and Like Smoke all make her pretty shifty and add to that the speed from her boots and her the effect of her ring and she’s pretty hard to catch, especially in an urban area.   

In the early days she almost died several times, but after you reach a certain level you’re kind of hard to kill outside of dirty magic spells that kill you right off the bat.  Paradoxically I think being a solo act helps survival too.  In a normal D&D party once people start dropping you’re unlikely to run – you try to heal them or at least win so you can recover their bodies or whatnot.  Leave no PC behind.  If you’re alone there’s no real not to bail if things turn ugly. 

A couple times Ela has gotten an invisibility magic item and I usually find a way to get it off her because it’s annoying.  Sometimes people say that as a DM if you can’t handle invisibility and flying that’s because you suck.  I do suck, what would be useful is some advice people who say that. 

Anyway, here’s a magic item.

Saltwheel Family Cane

A slender walking stick made of strong gleaming blackthorn wood, the handle is sunsilver in the shape of a bird of prey and wide enough for a very large hand to grip comfortably.

Despite its apparent delicateness the cane can strike as a +1 Heavy Mace.  Any aberration struck by the cane takes an additional 1d6 points of damage and becomes sickened for 1 round (no save).

While held the cane amplifies the wielders voice to carry as far as a mile away.  This effect can penetrate the area of a silence spell.  When the cane is in hand additionally the holder can cannot be detected or tracked with the scent ability or any other special senses that rely on acute smell.

The cane’s owner rolls twice to confirm critical hits against aberrations and keeps the higher roll.

Out of character interlude – pandering edition

My girlfriend admitted to me the other day that she now only reads the OOC posts I do on this blog. So I’m probably going to do more of them for reason rather than just out of laziness. I don’t blame her, it’s hard to imagine anyone reading all of this even if they did like it. The main purpose of a blog is to communicate with someone you see all the time in real life right?

I was thinking the other day that I’ve done the old “refusing the call to adventure” bit with Ela a few too many times. But then I realized, heck no, I should do it more because that’s a THEME. The normal hero cycle is that they ignore the call at first but then they do eventually hero it up – this is a SUBVERSION because Ela will never answer that call. I’m using cool writing terms and am cool.

I like that when they rebooted Spider-Man yet again they skipped over the origin story because enough with that. Everyone knows where Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man came from. We don’t need to keep doing that. BUT it is also kind of a bummer because the Uncle Ben “great responsibility” deal is one of the more effective call to adventure things. It’s a little cornball but that’s okay.

It’s like good old Captain America in the MCU, at first he’s kind of a snooze because he’s a cornball but by the time you get to Endgame that’s what you like about him. He’s all the good things about old timey heroes without all the racism and ass grabbing and racist ass grabbing.

I rewatched Endgame the other day because I wanted to see the scene where Cap does the thing he does in every move where he gets beat down but won’t give up and then all the other heroes show up to save the day. I didn’t really Endgame initially – endings are usually weak and an ending where you know what’s going to happen even moreso – but I enjoyed it more upon rewatching.

People seem to hate Hawkeye but that first scene is pretty strong. Once his family is gone Jeremy Renner does a good job of seeming completely lost and fucked up. The Ronin stuff later is lame but whatever. I had completely forgotten about the next bit with Tony and Nebula. I love the Nebula character in the MCU and that was a really great scene showing someone being nice to her for the first time ever. The warrior learning to live is also well worn territory but it was effective.

I’ve come to hate time travel except for in 12 Monkeys but with comic book movies you just have to be okay with whatever. I think Star Trek the New One is the straw that finally broke the time traveling camel’s back for me.

In the old days I used to say as a joke that 12 Monkeys is the greatest movie ever and I would kill anyone who said otherwise. But that isn’t funny anymore because that’s what people are actually like now. Back in my day if someone didn’t like something you did like you just shrugged and went to the mall to hang out and check out the ladies. Now people lose their damn minds over it. I blame Russian hackers.

Out of character interlude – oops too many berries!

Remember Captain Crunch All Berries? I do.

I did not intend another bullshit OOC post so hot on the heels of two other bullshit OOC posts, but Ela is in town which means shopping and I realized I’ve been tinkering with the available magic items for an hour so here we are. Wasn’t that a fun story?

When I’m playing D&D for real either as a DM or a player I always try to make it so we can do the shopping downtime crap away from the table and it never works. We always end up spending half a sessions while people look through books and min max their items. I hate it so much.

The last min-campaign I ran, seems like forever ago, I actually went strictly by the rules – rolling for what was available in each town and that’s all people could buy. Keeping track was moderately annoying but I think everyone actually like it better – it made finding cool loot more cool. Most of the people I play with can’t help by maximize their characters but they don’t care if they can’t for in-game reasons. They may prefer it.

Sometimes when I’m a player the DM tosses out a piece of gear that’s supposed to be specifically for my guy and I feel bad when I don’t like it. “You’re going to love this +2 brilliant energy elf curve blade!” uh, my guy prefers his +1 club, how much can I sell it for?

Anyway here’s the stuff, which I assume is even less interesting than awkward prose.

Singer’s Stole

This black and gold silk stole is narrower than is typical for a shawl and of simpler construction than a cape.  It is lightly finished.

While worn it accompanies the singer with the sounds of appropriate musical instruments, granting a +2 competence bonus on Perform (singing) checks. 

With a DC 16 Perform (singing) check the wearer can turn the power of their voice into a 15 foot cone of crystalline shards.  The shards deal 2d8 points of piercing damage (half damage with a Reflex save DC equal to the perform check) and 1D8 points of sonic damage (negate with a Fortitude save DC equal to the perform check ) to all creatures caught in the area of effect.  And creature that takes sonic damage from this effect must succeed at a DC 15 Fortitude save or be stunned for one round. 

After each successful use in a 24 hour period the DC to activate this effect increases by 4.

Ela’s Fashionable Belt

This belt’s wearer gains a +4 bonus on saves against poisons and a +2 bonus on Escape Artist checks. As well as granting the wearer a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength and Dexterity.

On command, the belt’s wearer can transform the belt into +1 Holy Undead Bane Rapier.   As long as she is holding the weapon, she can also revert it back to belt form with a command.

Ela’s Wonderful Flask

This sterling silver hallmarked rectangular hipflask is made out of heavy gauge silver sheet and is durable enough to be wielded as a gauntlet in a pinch.

The bearer gains a +1 luck bonus on Fortitude and Will saves.  On command the bearer can command the tankard to fill with wine, ale, or other alcohol.  Drinking from the flask can create each of the following effects once per day:

  • Remove fear
  • Heroism
  • Cure Moderate Wounds
  • Lesser Restoration

Out of character interlude – magic item

Two in one week? what a rip-off! I’m the worst. For a refund of your money please send me your bank routing and account number along with your SSN and mother’s maiden name. You may see a small withdrawal from your account, followed by a large withdrawal – this is part of the refund process. Do not be alarmed.

Ela’s Cerulean Sign Tattoo

The Cerulean Sign grants a +3 resistance bonus on all Will saving throws made against effects that originate from aberrations.  Grants a +3 luck bonus to Armor Class and on all saving throws against attacks from aberrations, this bonus doubles against evil aberrations.  The bearer of the Sign is immune to any attempts to possess or exercise mental control over the target.

The bearer of the Sign can banish a Great Old One (no save), but doing so causes the tattoo to utterly consume their life-force, killing them instantly.  There is a 50% chance that a wish, miracle, or true resurrection spell can restore the being that invoked this power to life. Check once for each destroyed creature. If the check fails, the creature cannot be brought back to life by mortal magic.  No other form of resurrection magic has any chance of working. 

Out of character interlude – the 2000 year old man

As of yesterday’s post, excluding out of character bits, the Ela narrative has surpassed 2000 pages. That’s a lot of words for one thing. Some would say an insane amount. Seems like a good time to take stock. Also I’m too lazy to write anything “good”.

I remember back in the 90s when I was basically doing this same thing – writing about a solo campaign – and Word would stop after 200 pages or so. That was all it could handle. I had to start a new document several times. So we’ve really progressed as a people – now obsessive weirdos can write thousands of pages about their pretend adventures.

I changed that character’s name a lot so I don’t remember it but she was a werehyena Paladin I know that. She was so, so, troubled and tragic she was. I wonder what it is about playing D&D for the first time that makes you want all your characters to be sad emo Vampire the Masquerade rejects. Or maybe that was just me.

At the height of my Ela fixation I had written more than a month ahead, which was nice because I didn’t have to write every day if I didn’t want to and I could still post every day. I’ve been day for day for a while now, and I admit I’m losing some steam. It’s almost like writing about a solo campaign gets old after 19 months.

Part of it may be my other blogs. When I started blog #3 I considered that I should take a break from everyday Ela posts but I didn’t. I probably should though. I’m worried though that if I stop posting every day I’ll trail off altogether. I have a thing about that. But posting every day on ONE blog would be plenty – and by plenty I mean more than anyone wants.

It’s curious to me that blog #3 has 97% less followers than this one but usually has more views. I mean I know most of the followers on this blog are bots, but still. My other blog is an easier read and probably has a broader appeal but I wonder if a lot (speaking relatively of course, a lot being like 10) read it a couple times and never follow.

I guess I really have nothing to say other than I’ve written a lot of about Ela. Officially.

Out of character interlude – magic items

I was accused of being “a little down” last night. I denied it but maybe it’s true because I don’t feel like writing anything today. But I am required to by the terms of my probation so here’s some magic items Ela picked up. You know, in case you still play an outdated version of an RPG that’s getting blown away by 5th edition D&D and you’re not satisfied with the 17 zillion magic items that already exist. As a special treat they have no prices or requirements to make them!

Remember the card game Rage? I do. It was great.

Blessed Robes

+5 Armor bonus to AC

When struck by a critical hit or sneak attack, the wearer can spend an immediate action to negate the critical hit or sneak attack (similar to the fortification armor special ability, but without requiring a roll). The damage is instead rolled normally. This ability functions once per day.

Melee weapons wielded by the wearer strike true against evil foes. The weapon is treated as having a +1 enhancement bonus for the purpose of bypassing the DR of evil creatures or striking evil incorporeal creatures (though the spell doesn’t grant an actual enhancement bonus). The weapon also becomes good-aligned, which means it can bypass the DR of certain creatures. (This effect overrides and suppresses any other alignment the weapon might have.)

Vampire Hunter’s Cloak

The wearer gains a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws against negative energy and level drain, and whenever he makes a Fortitude save to recover from a negative level, he may roll the save twice, taking the better of the two results as the actual result.

Once per day, the wearer can target an undead creature with a halt undead effect (Will DC 14 negates) as a swift action.

The wearer can infuse a single melee weapon she wields with the purifying light of the sun as a swift action for up to ten rounds per day. These rounds do not need to be consecutive. While a weapon is infused with the sun, it deals +1d6 points of damage to any undead creature that is susceptible or vulnerable to sunlight, such as specters, vampires, and wraiths. A weapon infused with sun strike sheds illumination as if it were a sunrod.

Macendamandel 16 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

In retrospect pissing off a timeless incorporeal sorcereress that can attack me in my dreams any time I fall asleep was not the wisest course of action.  All I can say in my defense is that it seemed like a good idea at the time.  I don’t know for sure that she can kill me in a dream but all the evidence I have suggests that she can.  I really need to figure out something in regards to that because staying awake all the time and or dosing myself with brain damaging narcotics regularly are not long term solutions.  In novels I hate more than anything when they have chapters that are dreams or the characters are doing stuff in dreams – maybe this is some kind of cosmically ironic revenge for hating all those authors that do that.  Do you think the characters in the books know that they’re being written?  And if so how do they their feel about their authors?  I know if my life was a story the person writing it would be top on my list for people that need to die in agony.

But on to more immediate concerns than death by madness from enforced sleep deprivation or terrible dreamtime slaughter.  Once night fell the scute (still not sure that’s what this boat is called) kept on slowly drifting downriver but the crew didn’t drop anchor or move to the shore – a few people stayed up to make sure that the boat didn’t run aground or get tangled in anything but they kept moving.  And I stayed awake with them even though I was more tired than a choirboy at a whorehouse.  Remember that magic ring I had before that made it so I never needed to sleep?  I wonder now if that’s what made so that to this dream woman can get to me.  Maybe it messed up my dream energy or something. 

Once we were into the deeps of the Lodge Forest, but before the sun was up, I produced a rope and grappling hook from my secret storage and tossed it into a cluster of bushes on the north shore.  I gave it a tug to make sure it would hold fast, but it seemed like only a second before I was being pulled by the movement of the boat anyway.  Seems like we’re moving very slowly, but I guess fifty feet isn’t that long of a rope.  Since it was as good as it was going to get in the half of second I had to think about it I slipped overboard into the water.  I was shocked by how cold it was.  The night was pleasantly neither warm nor cold but that water felt like it was a good twenty degrees colder than the air.  Explain that.  I stifled an involuntary gasp and started pulling my way to the shore with the rope – and it’s a good thing too because that current was a lot stronger than I anticipated. 

Dragging myself to shore was the easy part, pulling myself up onto the bank was a good bit harder.  In the darkness I hadn’t realized how steep it was and my sodden clothing felt like it weighed fifty pounds.  I had just about resolved to let out some of the rope and try father downstream when I finally managed to climb up the muddy bank and into the bushes – displacing some frantic animal that dashed off into the night.  I lay there to catch my breath for a moment and then striped off my wet clothes, wrapping myself in a cloak from my secret pocket and wringing them out before hanging them over my arms to hopefully dry as I moved about. 

If I know where I am (doubtful) and remember the geography of this area (dubious) if I head straight east (which is unlikely) I should emerge from the woods to find the road to Ardint or Tybhurst which I can follow on to Three Rivers.   I wasn’t sure how much of an effort Lady Missplitter and her pipehead minion were going to make to chase after me so I figured I should move as fast as possible while I had a lead on them.  Which wasn’t very fast honestly.

 In town I have a knack for moving around quickly – cobblestone, broken pavement, dense crowds, slanted roofs, rain-slicked stones – these things hardly slow me down.  In an urban environment I move like smoke.  But whenever I’m in a benighted (I’m not exactly sure what that means but it sounds correct in this context) place like this I trip over every tree root, I put my foot in every hole, and it seems like every plant in the universe is sticking to my legs or hitting me in the face.  Augrim told me once that the key to moving through the forest at night is using your peripheral vision.  I’ll put this in the running for most useless advice against such gems are “think about people who have to worse than you” and “just don’t give up”.

After an hour or so of stumbling and falling through the woods I decided sunrise would be coming soon anyway so it would be best to stay put until it was light out.  I leaned against a tree because I didn’t dare sit down – I was sure that I would be asleep as soon as my shapely ass touched the ground.  I beat my clothes against a tree and then hung them on some branches, switching out cloaks for a new dryer one.  I still almost feel asleep even just leaning against a tree.  To keep myself engaged I started studing closely whatever I could see in the dim light of pre-dawn.  Never before had leaves and sticks seemed so interesting.  What really woke me up is seeing a fire though.  A friendly band of Kostelos tribespeople is just what I needed. 

I pulled on my damp clothing and proceeded with all stealth towards the firelight – just in case.  As I got closer though I saw the red uniform of a Vieland soldier.  I thought for a moment that it might be a Kostelos warrior wearing the jacket of a Vielander killed in battle but I crept a little closer and saw that was not the case.  There was one Kostelos sitting up by the fire, an older man with a shaved head and dark tattoos across his scalp and face, but the rest of the men slumbering and sitting about were all Vielander army.  Incongruously my first thought was disapproval for their lax discipline – lighting a fire behind enemy lines?  Good way to get yourself killed.

Then a much more troubling thought bubbled to the surface – what if they weren’t behind enemy lines?  Surely the front line couldn’t have advanced this far north could it?  Where the border with Vieland is in the woods was never well known, but surely they couldn’t just be lost could they?  Maybe they’re advance scouts of some kind but scouts would be smart enough not to lite a beacon right?  Although now that I think about it I never heard anything about the Kingdom patrolling the woods.  Maybe they’re not concerned because there’s no one looking for them.  What the Hells are they doing here?

My plan was to wait for one of them to wander off to take a leak, take him by surprise, slit his throat and take his clothes and boots.  Most importantly the boots, say what you will about Vieland but they know their way around . . . whatever tools a cobbler uses.  The first part of the plan worked great – one of the soldiers totally went to take a piss.  It was everything after that that failed.  I don’t claim to be the best cutthroat in the world but I’ve got a pretty good technique I think.  It didn’t do me any good this time though, as soon as I came up behind him and grabbed for him he had a hold of my wrist and was flipping me over his shoulder. 

My only saving grace was that he was clearly expecting a heavier attacker and put too much “oomph” into the flip maneuver, which caused him to stumble forward off balance as well.  This allowed me to get my legs around his head (not like that) and latch onto his one arm with my body.  We fell to the ground clumsily locked together.  He tried to go for his dagger with his left hand but we were pressed together body to body too closely for that and he resorted to some awkward punches.  His angle was all wrong through and there wasn’t much force behind them.  I figured I had a pretty good stranglehold on him with my legs but once he gave up on punching he pulled my legs apart (not like that) without too much effort.  He managed to call for help shortly before I pulled his dagger out his belt and stuck him through the roof of the mouth with it – I don’t know a ton about skulls but I don’t think there’s anything protecting your brain from below.  He certainly went down fast enough to make me think his brains had been splattered.

I scrambled away from the body and quickly took on the appearance of a Kostelos woman, screaming as a couple soldiers ran into sight.  I started babbling at them in Kostelos and pointing into the forest.  None of them seemed to understand but tattoo-head was there soon enough to translate, a strange weapon that was a combination of a buckler and a short blade strapped to his arm.  I told them that I had been running from Uncle Pongracz and came across the soldier, who struggled with the old man of the woods and ended up dead before he ran off.  Uncle Pongracz is a boogeyman of Kostelos legend – an outcast whose solitude drove him mad and turned him into some kind of immortal trickster being that carries people away for unknown reasons.  But probably not any reasons that would bode you good. 

Tattoos didn’t quite believe me but he didn’t not believe me either – the soldiers on the other hand thought the entire thing was superstitious nonsense.  I always find it odd when people dismiss tales of monsters and undead creatures as silliness since there are in fact all sorts of real monsters all over the place.  Why would you believe in manticores and chimeras but draw the line at hodags and skinstealers?  It makes no sense.  Why is one monster more “real” than the next?  I suppose most people haven’t been exposed to as many abominations as I have but still, I mean dragons – everyone knows there are dragons.  So open your minds a bit huh?

The soldiers agreed that clearly I couldn’t have taken away Witter’s own knife and killed him with it being a weak and powerless woman,  but they weren’t about to believe that Uncle Pongracz did it either.  They questioned me further with the tattooed man translating but I stuck to my story, much to their frustration.  One soldier suggested that I was a spy, which was roundly mocked – who would trust a Kostelos spy?  And a woman to boot?  Another suggested that regardless they couldn’t let me go to tell anyone they were there but a compatriot of his pointed out that there was no one I could tell that mattered.  In the end the general agreement was that I was just a crazy outcast – not unlike Uncle Pongracz ironically. 

A sergeanty looking fellow asked Vulture Claw (which is the name of the Kostelos apparently) what they should do with me.  His first suggestion was that they kill me, irrespective of whoever I was it was the safest way to go.  They balked at the idea of killing an innocent woman in cold blood – which is quite noble for soldiers (maybe) behind enemy lines.  Clearly the Kingdom propaganda about the rapacious violence of Vielanders isn’t quite accurate.  Vulture Claw suggested in the alternative that I be taken as a slave and given to his son as a wife.  They didn’t care for that idea.  He finally said that they might as just let me go then.  The Vielanders didn’t like that idea either. 

(translated from Kostelos) “Why are you helping these chiftik?”

He gave me a sideways look “The Kingdomers have killed my people, why should I not help their enemies?”

“You think these will treat us any different?”

“I won’t live to see the day their wars end, I no longer care, I seek only the blood of the Kingdomers.”

“What about the rest of us?”

“Our people are doomed, the only seek vengeance now against the tribe-killers, anyone who does otherwise is a fool.  Silence your wagging tongue now woman.”

The final decision was that they would take me with them.  I hope that it’s someplace close since my disguise ability only lasts for a couple of hours.  Although maybe that depends what waits me wherever they’re taking me – perhaps I shouldn’t be so eager to get there huh?


Funds: None

XP: 1,190,751

Inventory: None

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa, eyeless hag, Baron Saltwheel, Baron Harmenkar, Colonel Tarl Ciarán’s wizard soldier, Victor, Beharri, Cebuano, Mayor Eryn, Chimera Trading Company, maker of the manacles, Calvados Eure, Law Offices of Lampblack and Brimstone, Peronell Missplitter

If you like Ela the Expert you’ll be wildly indifferent about Amazing Grace!

I’ve decided that sitting in a computer chair for 10-12 hours a day is not enough! So I’ve started a second blog (third but the other one is super secret – you can tell because I’m mentioning it).

I love wrestling. I can’t explain why exactly. I don’t even watch it much anymore because there was too much behind the scenes stuff coming out about how horrible the business is. And because ROH isn’t that good anymore. And because NXT isn’t that good anymore. And because I’m too lazy to go to live shows much anymore.

So my new blog is about a woman trying to make her way as a greenhorn tenderfoot in the world of wrestling. And also magic. Because why not?

Even with WordPress dummy mode on I still can’t make the site look great. I’m working on that, but it has some sweet art! If you have any tips on making my site not crappy please let me know.

If you like wrestling or if you like magic or if you like crappy writing or if you like following blogs and never reading them in the hopes that they’ll follow you back or if you’re a Russian bot check out https://cultissuchanuglyword.wordpress.com/

Great name , terrible URL eyeball feel!

Forty bucks weeknights

Out of character interlude – Let’s blog

It’s not in my nature to participate in things being the resentful misanthrope that I am, but I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and be less Crabapple McSourpuss so here we go.   Thanks for nominating me jernahblunt and a tip of the cap to the creator Renee’s Corner.

Here are the rules.

Rules of Let’s Blog

Mention the creator of the award and the blogger who nominated you.

Copy paste the rules.

Answer the 10 questions sent by the nominator.

Write your 10 questions for the nominees.

Nominate 5 bloggers for this award and let them know via comment on one of their posts.

Keep the thumbnail as the thumbnail of this post.

Answer your own questions.

First I answer the questions –

  • When did you first decide to make a blog?

Not sure exactly, 2003 maybe.  Depending on what you call a blog maybe even before that.  I was on a dating site and I saw that it had a place where you could blog as well – which is pretty weird for a dating site.  I had nothing much to do at the time and I like writing so I started putting stuff there.  It did not fit in with the other blogs at all, but some people liked it.  Not very many but some. 

  • How long did it take for you to figure out what kind of content you wanted to make?

I’ll answer this for my current blog since my older blogs were a random mish-mash of whatever I felt like writing.  As I have mentioned I stole this idea from Dave the Commoner.  The gang and I were sitting around the table before or after or during a D&D (Pathfinder, but you know) game and my pal was saying that he was to start a blog like Dave’s about a warrior.  I said that we should all do it for each of the NPC classes, I was joking but one of my classic “bits’ is doing something that I was clearly joking about.  I picked expert because commoner and warrior were also taken and I thought adept and aristocrat were too “easy”.  

  • Do you find blogging to be satisfying immediately or did you need to put some time into it before you got invested?

I find writing to be satisfying, the blogging part is not really important to me.  I fully expect that no one reads much of this, I just like writing it.  Or at least that’s what I tell myself, clearly if I didn’t really care if anyone read my stuff I wouldn’t post it in the internet right? 

  • Have you ever written an article that you found to be exhausting or stressful?

I was prepared to say no and move on, but thinking about it made me realize that it’s not true.  Some of the posts were Ela gets the shit kicked out of her or is just humiliated make me wonder if what I’m doing is harmful to society.  Which sounds grandiose since at best a couple people read this, but it makes me wonder about myself and what kind of person I am if that’s what I write.  I used to comfort myself by saying “well no on reads this anyway” but a friend pointed out that doesn’t matter – someone who writes something terrible still wrote it even if no one read it.  Thanks for that . . .

  • Aside from blogging, what do you do to unwind?

I tricked my girlfriend into liking board games – good ones like Agricola and One Deck Dungeon not crap like Risk.  I read a lot (especially now).  I used to play RPGs before covid.  I also watch TV.  For some reason that’s like a shameful thing to admit even though most people do it a lot.  It’s weird. 

  • Is there a subject you consider yourself highly knowledgeable on?


  • If you could re-write one article that you’ve done, which one would it be and why?

I’d re-write everything, all of these posts are rough drafts at best.  But to answer in the spirit of the question I’ve already re-written the first post once and I still don’t like it.  The wording is still awkward and clumsy. 

  • What is a story you think everyone should experience? (Movie, game, book, anime, whatever)

Just because I read it recently I’ll say Madam Fourcade’s Secret War.  I don’t go ga-ga for true stories like some people do, but there is something to be said for reading a crazy amazing story and stopping occasionally to think “this actually happened, people actually did this.”  It’s kind of a downer because there aren’t a lot of happy endings for spies in occupied France, but it’s a story about real heroism, the kind you hope you have inside you but also hope you never find out that you have inside you. 

  • Would you rather live in a sci-fi world (with spaceships and aliens, stuff like that) or a fantasy world (with magic and fantasy creatures, stuff like that)?

Sci-fi, which a cop out answer I suppose because I say that because it’s essentially the real world.  We do have spaceships, they aren’t very cool yet but they’re getting better.  A sci-fi world would make sense to me.  Living in a fantasy world sound awful.  Ogres and dragons and shit?  No thanks.  Plus they’re all kind of based on the real world several hundred years ago.  I don’t want to live before toilet paper. 

  • How much time do you spend exploring your imagination?

I don’t really know what this means, which probably means not enough. 

And now I ask the questions! (and also answer them because the rules say so)

  • How much is too much?

Too much is never enough

  • Why are you crying?

I’m cutting onions, I’m making a lasagna for one

  • Are you ready to trust robots?

Yes, but that doesn’t mean have full confidence in them.  I’ve been led to believe (by insurance industry propaganda) that if we instituted driverless cars with the technology we have right now today automobile deaths would be reduced by half.  People would still die but not as many.  When it comes to robotic automation people seem to want perfection/zero mistakes, which is odd because people are colossally fallible.  A robot that can do it better should be good enough, but it’s not.  I suppose it’s the illusion of control.  Such as, I take the stairs because I hate elevators, but way more people get hurt or killed falling on stairs than by malfunctioning elevators.  I know this intellectually but I still hate elevators and always take the stairs because there’s another part of my brain that doesn’t like logic and says “Other people might trip but YOU won’t.”  Extra funny because I tripped on the stairs at school in HS and got fucked up once.  And another time at work.  And I only got trapped in a malfunctioning elevator once.  2-1 in favor of elevators and yet I still take the stairs.

  • Shouldn’t we know better by now?

We do we just don’t act on it.

  • If countries were people, which country would be your best friend and why?

My best friends are standoffish and a little bristly and reluctant to allow new people in.  Once you crack through that hard chocolate shell though it’s pure nougaty goodness.  So I’ll say . . . . China before the rise of communism? 

  • What conspiracy are you the closest to believing?

Of course I don’t believe in any of them being the rational and logical person that I am.  Of course not.  But the one that I almost maybe could believe is that JKF was killed by some element of the CIA on the orders of someone in the government because they were worried he was going to pull out of Vietnam (Marilyn Monroe joke here) and they really thought that communism was going to spread across the land and destroy everything. 

  • What small insignificant thing makes you unreasonably mad?

When someone makes a right hand turn from the right lane into the left lane when I’m in the left hand land trying to make a legal turn into the left lane. 

  • Does that commercial for AT&T 5G where Lily from AT&T talks about sourdough bread kind of make you want to destroy the entire world and everyone in it?

Yes, but then the other day I saw a story about how people were dummying up fake sexy photos of her and being jerks so then I felt bad about hating that commercial so much.  Which is an unreasonable as hating it in the first place. 

  • What animal gets you Darwin award for best evolution?

I’ve been told that I can’t pick humans, so I’ll go for the bombardier beetle.  An insect that can spray scalding hot oil on your face?  That’s some messed up impressive stuff evolution.  Runner up to the flying snake.  A snake that can jump is crazy enough to begin with and then you add in flying!

  • Why do people get so mad at squirrels for eating bird food when squirrels are a hundred times more interesting than birds?

I guess because there’s only one kind of squirrel (as far as I know) in each area.  You can’t have a book of different kind of squirrels and check them all off as you see them.  I saw a squirrel sitting on a branch holding a small notepad once.  Outside of work I saw a squirrel dragging an unopened 12 pack of hotdog buns down the sidewalk.  Those things are delightful.  I’ve never seen a bird do anything remotely interesting.  Sure, sometimes squirrels peg me with nuts while I’m mowing the lawn, but that’s also amusing in a way. 

Now the hard part, because I don’t really interact with anyone – the five nominees.  Sidenote all their websites look better than mine.  

dabdownjack – this guy does a variety of rules light solo play-throughs, British?

ann – Gaming and miniature painting

ethanmcintyre – Gaming and comics, also anime if you’re into that

1somniac – One of the only shadowrun blogs I’ve ever found, also is good

rashead – Gaming and origami and music!

Out of character interlude – mailbag

I’ve had several blogs over the years, one of them was read by as many as SIX people.  One thing I did on all of them sometimes was answer my mail.  Those were always the posts that no one liked.  So why not bring that tradition back?  I’m too lazy to do any “real” writing today.

Helen, a 30 year old dental hygienist from Carbondale writes –

“You’re writing sucks.”

 That’s not a question but thanks for stopping by!  Also you used the wrong your. 

Danny, a 26 year old government politician who enjoys going to the movies, working on cars and meditation writes –

“Why do you suck at writing so badly?”

I think it should be bad instead of badly – that sentence as constructed means that I am bad at sucking right?  The easy answer is that I never learned how to write properly.  I took creative writing in HS but things didn’t really work out.  One time the teacher said “you need to learn how to write dialog” and I said “okay can you help me with that?” and they gave me detention for “sassmouth”.  Another time I got in trouble for “making stuff up”.  In creative writing class.  Another time she gave me a note saying I was a bad person because I wrote a story about vampires and vampires were “satanic”.  I think she presented this as a note because you’re not supposed to talk about religion in school.  I never thought I had a shitty education until I met my GF and she was aghast at all my stories like this. 

Another answer is that writing is hard.  To write something good you have to really work at it – you have to edit and re-write and edit and re-write some more.  To write something good you have to go over it so many times you grow to hate it.  No thank you.  Also you have to have talent. 

Esther Greenway a 40 year old former personal trainer, bus driver, painter, and golf instructor writes –

“I would like this story if the main character was a man.”

That’s not a questions but thanks for stopping by! 

Drako Pinkish writes –

“Ela is a terrible character, women won’t act like this.”

I don’t think a character has to be realistic to be interesting.  Also that’s a pretty broad statement that I don’t know if I agree with.  There’s probably some women that are like this – definitely some fictional women anyway.  It’s not typical behavior sure, but who wants to read about normal behavior?  Also, and I realize that this is a cop-out, but in fantasy writing is there any reason to expect people would act anything like what we think is normal? 

DJ Wario; Making music. DDR whore. Basically Wario. I wanna see your make believe; writes –

“What is this called erotic, there’s nothing erotic here.”

Good news, I changed the name a while back.  I thought it would be funny to called it the Erotic Endeavors because it was not erotic at all.  No one thought it was funny.  Also I got some gross messages about how my blog could be more erotic.  I guess the joke was on me.  I shouldn’t call those people gross I guess, they were just trying to help.  By being gross.  What’s DDR?

George Parker, a 32 year old ophthalmology student writes –

“Sites is horrible, I can’t even read it.”

Yeah, web design is clearly not my thing.  I tried to make it look okay.  Several people asked for archives so I added that as best I could but I don’t think it’s helpful at all.  I’ve heard that it’s super messed up on a mobile device.  I tried to fix that but what do I know about mobile apps?  Nothing.  Wouldn’t it be “hilarious” if paid someone a bunch of money to make my site better?  No.  It would not.  Also to make this even funnier I work in IT.  I know that lots of people in IT don’t know anything about web design, but to an outsider it makes it funnier because it’s all computers.  Also I don’t know shit about computers. 

HTW 35-year-old kitchen assistant and aspiring life coach writes –

“Is this a solo campaign?”

I never thought of it like that until I was a year in but I guess it is.  Or more accurately maybe it’s a narrative using Pathfinder/D&D as inspiration for writing prompts.  I bend the rules somewhat because of the representative nature of combat in Pathfinder/D&D and also because if you go by the rules as written Ela’s Bluff is so high she could pretty much convince anyone to do anything so I tamp that down.  It wouldn’t be very interesting if everyone just did whatever she said all the time.  Not that it’s interesting now, but you know. 

Kristin Roxy, artist and mother of Brent writes –

“Why is Ela called to as an expert when she’s a rogue?”

She started out as an expert.  I had thoughts about sticking with just expert levels all the way through but that would have been somewhat dull. 

The Tallnet; semi-professional sports person, I’m feeling 22!#swiftie, spread kindness like glitter, sparkles, TN notice x3; writes –

“This is offensive to women.”

That’s not a question but thanks for stopping by!  Also I hope that that my writing is not offensive to most women.  I don’t mean to be offensive.  Not sure that matters though.  What’s TN notice x3 mean?