Torg update – session of 11 June 2009 (part 1)

Well, crap.  I’m in the process of updating Ren’s journal after last night’s session and several weeks of not having between-game journal time (because all of our previous cut points had zero downtime involved–and I do mean zero downtime; we’ve been cutting in the middle of combat scenes, or right between combat scenes that were blending together with scant amount of time between to do anything other than patch up wounds).  It’s going to be a huge entry, because lots happened.

Aysle, when we got there, was in a state that can only be described as “totally screwed.”  London was beseiged by the Armies of Dark and the seals on Draconis were breaking down.  Oh, and the fey had all disappeared.  None of this was a happy thing at all.

So guess who drew the suicide mission to find Queen Mab, leader of the fey, and talk her into fixing the seals on Draconis?  That’s right, us.  So off we go to find our way to the Realm of Magic.  Adventures in fey lines ensue (walking through walls what?) until we come to Ys, where I banished an evil frog god back to whence it came (it’s still angry about that, by the way, and wants to eat my soul).  There were zombies there, wandering around half underwater.  So we fight zombies to get to a place where Tyche can open a doorway into the Realm of Magic.  Except there’s a problem.  Tyche screws something up and can’t open the door.  So Albert opens it.

Albert is never allowed to do that again ever.  Ever.  And I mean that.

We wander aimlessly through dark parts of unseen areas of cosms until Nicodemus finds us (he’s a half-pint of a fey that’s quite literally on speed) and leads us through the Wasteland into Queen Mab’s realm.  At which point she tells us that she can’t help us and sends us on a suicide mission to help her so she can be freed up to see what she can do about our problem.  Caught between a rock and a hard place, we head out to Avalon to fight some demons who are trying to break through into the Realm of Magic.

Demons.  I hate demons.  Mei hates them more, I think–no, I know.  Grace gets more pwned.  I get pwned.  Explosions ensue, but not before I scare myself doing some sort of crazy gun move that belongs in a Wachowski Brothers film (note to self, talk to Grant about that later).  So we manage to stop the demons from breaking into the Realm of Magic.  Great!  Three Sisters of Avalon send us back to the outskirts of London.

The seige is not going well.  The bad guys have breached the outer city and are now beseiging the keep.

For the first time since he got the damn thing, Amarant’s plasma rifle became a good plan.  Imagine Mike’s excitement.

We cut our way through the city and three of us make it to the walls and get hauled up by Tolwyn, who’s directing the seige…who falls on her head in the middle of a rainstorm when bad things are trying to eat our faces.  Of course.  It’s been raining since we left Avalon, by the way.  Lovely English weather.  We get her up on the wall and then I spot smudges on the horizon.  More bad things incoming.

Good thing I have a skill for shouting orders and making people listen to me.

We manage to wake up Tolwyn, who agreed that they were bad things.  And it only got worse from there before it got barely a little bit better.

And I do mean barely better.

Musings about Christie Golden and WoW

So, I’ve been reading one of the more recent World of Warcraft novels, Arthas, by Christie Golden, and I happened to skim over her biography at the back of the book (while I was looking at the notes on further reading–I love lore, and I need to learn more and more of it as I keep playing WoW) to see that she is an “avid player” of WoW.

So that got me musing (and I really shouldn’t muse before I check WoWInsider for the information, but I digress).  If I was the author of World of Warcraft novels (amongst others–Golden writes Star Wars and Star Trek novels; I may have to pick up Omen (Fate of the Jedi — she’s working on the series with Aaron Allston and another author whose name escapes me at this time) at some point…..what sort of gameplay aspect would I be focusing on?  Good question, right?

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, WoW has about three main foci for gameplay: Roleplaying (my personal favorite), raiding (the pennultimate goal of PvE, largely), and PvP (in all its varied forms).  Personally, I’m discounting PvP entirely–most people just don’t play WoW for the PvP, most have moved on to Warhammer because of the “superior system” of PvP to be had there.  That leaves Raiding and RP.  As much as I love RP…I’m thinking that she may well be a raider.  And here’s why.

Both of these aspects of gameplay are total–and I do mean total–time sucks, but one can be less all-consuming than the other, and that’s raiding.  Raiding is scheduled, rigid.  You set a timetable because you have to get 10-25 people in the same place at the same time and get them all working toward the same goal–all at once.  This definately requires a certain degree of scheduling and organization.  This makes it less of a time dump than the more organic time-sucking of roleplaying.

I call roleplaying organic because it is.  I’m guild lead for one of the oldest (and larger) RP guilds on the Sentinels (US) server–a roleplaying server, not as old as most, but still older than the two most recently opened (and personally hated by me) RP servers (these would be Moonguard (US) and Wyrmrest Accord (US) — I’ve lost too many people to these so-called “meccas” of RP to have much respect for them or much love.  Quality over quantity has been my mantra for a long time, and from what I understand, there may be RP everywhere on these servers…but it’s not the quality that I’ve been accustomed to).  I know how random RP is, and how rarely scheduled events seem to do well (though I’m hoping that the most recently scheduled events on the server — Miko’s For the Herd! event and RoA’s own Round Table of Azeroth tournament will have good turn-outs) and that’s because people do it at random.  It’s just what happens.  And when RP starts…unless you put a hard-stop time on it (which most people don’t) it goes on for hours.  And hours.  And hours.  That’s just how it is.  It’s what happens.  It’s a bigger time sink than raiding ever is and ever can be because it’s not scheduled.

Don’t let anyone tell you that a successful writer’s life isn’t scheduled, because most successful writers have a strict schedule of when they work and when they do everything else (which is probably why I’m not very successful, largely because I fail very hard at doing this at this time).  Therefore, raiding is more conducive to a writer’s life.

Of course, maybe WoWInsider will tell me I’m wrong.  I have to check up on that.  Until I do, though…this is my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Star Trek! And other such fun things

Big update this time, since it’s been a while since I updated (I know, I shouldn’t have fallen behind).

So, saw Star Trek on Friday morning with a few friends.  And let me tell you, this movie was more than squee-worthy.  It was fantastic, and I’d go see it again.  Repeatedly.  A few minor gripes, but all told, I cannot wait for the next one, and there’d better be a next one.  This film was amazing, and JJ Abrams scored as near a perfect 10 as anyone not Gene Roddenbury could–and I know that he’s not spinning in his tin can somewhere floating above us in space.  Go and see the flick if you haven’t yet, even if you never liked Star Trek.  This film was simply amazing.


On another note, second 80 in WoW — finally, says my guild (again).  Once again, got the screenshot:

Aekatrine hits level 80

It’s very exciting–and apparently, I don’t suck at healing as much as I thought I did (I’ve been assured that raid healing is easy–we shall see).


But wait, there’s more!  Even though I haven’t been writing as much as I should (and I really do mean that, I’ve got a lot of writing I should be about; maybe I’ll do some of that after I’m done with this), there is some good news beyond gaming and social life.  I got a new job!  Though I’ll be keeping my old job.  I’ve been offered the graduate assistant position for Oakland University’s history department and I’ve accepted.  Huzzah!

So much to do.  Must work on jewelry…and sewing…and thesis….and other writing….so much to do, so little time to do it in!

Ding! First 80

So, much to my guild’s cheering, I’ve finally gotten my mage to 80 (as Steelweaver said: “About damn time!” Then, of course, I was told to get my arse to Naxx. Which isn’t happening just yet, and not just because my gear is crap).

What’s even better? I got the screenshot!

Jude Auroran makes level 80 in Zul'Drak

On a note of Torg — got a profile of my character, Dr. Amaeren Colby, up here, as well as her journal, which is a living document (it’s updated as her journal is).

Torg update – Hello, Philadelphia!

So, Amaeren Colby and her cohorts, sans one, made it through the Living Lands to Philadelphia, which was a relief.  Tyche was kind of crazy for the duration of our trip through, and I guess we have to go back through it again…but I digress.

Two weeks ago (so the session on March 26), we found the skinchanger that we hadn’t encountered since Aysle that had come back to haunt us.  He had, several days previous, kidnapped Grace’s family and held them for ransom: Grace’s symbiote, “Rosebud.”  Albert (our master of things…crazy and Ourosh) had determined that if what he could glean from his reasearch and the notes of a man named Leon (who I suspect now was part of the Order of Cincinnatus, or something, which is probably why he told me my brother wanted to see me…but I digress again) that the skinchanger could only be unraveled using a ritual and the blood of a true shapeshifter–which was what Leon had been following across the broken United States of America back to Philadelphia. (Note to self: ask Kurst why Leon was following him.)  So that gave us something to do, and an excuse to get an Edenios shaman-type to help us (Strange life help get rid of Corrupted Life?  …that’s about right, Enoch, yes, thank you) find “corrupted life” (the skinchanger) and the “strange life” (the shapeshifter).

So we crossed the Mississippi and made it through the very nasty barrier between Core Earth and the Living Land.  The fairy didn’t fare so well, and the Kadandrin (Amarant) had to burn most of the possibilities he’d earned in the previous scene to make it through as himself and not a stick-wielding savage.  Most of us had some possibility energy burned out of us in the transition (even me — I rolled decently, but the axiom difference was way high, so I still lost a possibility even with my incredible total in Reality).  And then began our strange trek through the Living Lands, which I won’t bore anyone who happens to be reading this, I’ll just get to the good parts.  After explaining sleeping to Enoch (the Eidenos that’s decided to guide us until he can watch us probably get pwned by “strange life” and “corrupted life”) and what we ate, we walked for a few days (how can you tell?  The sun never sets.) until we finally found the shapeshifter (“strange life”) in a clearing.  Albert gets naked and blessed by Lanla…then goes to chat.

The first thing the shapeshifter says is something along the lines of “My god man!  Where are your pants?!”  Perfect Victorian accent.

Brief hilarity ensues, then the shit hits the fan.  Skinchanger shows up, having eaten an Eidenos, among other things.

Combat ensues, including everyone except for Odette (our Cyberpapacy heretic God-wielding Xena-when-no-one’s-lookin’ sixteen year old girl-child) and me ending up backhanded into trees.  The only reason Odette and I didn’t suffer that fate was because we knew we were useless in this fight…and were covering Albert during the fight so he could make the amulet to unravel the skinchanger.  (I should mention that the fairy was completely unconscious during this particular section of the game because of player absence that week).

And then Albert drops the bombshell:  someone with incredible faith has to plunge the amulet into the skinchanger’s heart.

Well isn’t that just frakkin’ peachy?  Odette’s elected, since faith is definately her money skill.  But even her faith isn’t enough.  So I run up behind her, shove our Eternity Shard into her hand and tell her to use it to help.

So it works.  And we’re betrayed.  Betrayed by cute little Odette, who’s apparently possessed and not really herself.  Or is herself.  Or something.  None of it makes much sense yet, other than she walked up a Dimthread with Wraith to go see the pope.  With our Eternity Shard, the Starfire Wheel.  The weapon of hope.

Albert and I look at each other, say a bad word, and run for the Dimthread…and bounce off.

Well, crap.

That was the 26 March gaming session.  Then there was last night.

Last night found us at the beginning still in that clearing, with a goo-covered skinchanger (now bereft of all the skins he’d stolen, now just an old man in a yucky pile of goo) and the shapeshifter staring at us.  And Amarant’s RI is going crazy in his brain and has changed his administrator password.  The fairy’s babbling nonsense in my ear and the shapeshifter wants to know what we’re going to do with goo-man.  We’re definately thinking about killing him.  Shapeshifter looks at Grace, who the skinchanger had hurt the most.

“You strike me as one that’s like Decker.  You’d say something stupid like ‘Don’t kill him, he could be useful.  He could be saved.’ Or something like that.”

Grace had been ready to kill what was left inside of the goo, but damn her black and white Nile Empire morality.  She couldn’t do it.  And what the shapeshifter said stopped Albert or Amaeren from doing it for her (never mind that Amaeren is suddenly wondering how the shapeshifter knows her oldest brother).  So we tie up the old man and decide that we’re going to take him back to Philadelphia with us; the shapeshifter is going to take us there.

What does Amarant do?  Picks up his plasma rifle and hands it to Amaeren.

“This has a blast radius of approximately thirty feet.  I’m going to walk out into the mist.  When I’ve reached a safe distance, shoot me.”

…right.  I’ve just lost cute thing and now I’m going to kill you?  I tried to coldcock him with the rifle and missed.  Grace tried to knock him out, too, and failed.  So we tied him up, too, and set out on our way.

Enoch is very confused.  He doesn’t know what to do.  I think…that he’s started to like us and isn’t sure what to do about it.  We end up leaving him at the border of the Living Land and Philadelphia after three of us told him “thank you” in one voice.

The shapeshifter has introduced himself as Kurst but hasn’t given us any explanation of anything since apparently (and I believe it!) the jungle has ears.  We walk into the killing fields outside of what’s left of Philadelphia and he holds up this coin toward the city.  When we ask him what he was doing, he told us that he was letting Decker know he was back.

Amaeren is trying not to show how excited and nervous she is at the same time.  That goes out the window when we get into the center of the city and to the museum-cum-command center and Andrew Decker walks out the doors of it and down the steps wearing this…almost ridiculous monk’s robe.  It’s the first time she’s seen anyone from her family in months–only the third or fourth time she’s seen one of her brothers since the original bridgefall the year before. 

Kurst: “I found some strays.”

Amaeren glomps Decker and hugs him like she’s not going to let go and babbles something about Tolwyn saying he was alive and here and then it trailing off into something less than coherent.

Decker: “Right.  Strays.”

Massive plotdump ensues about the nature of the war, the beginning of the war, and the revelation that we’ve actually already encountered easily the scariest High Lord, the Gaunt Man, and seen what a maelstrom does.  And we pick up a new member to our crew (the replacement character for Odette’s player), a girl from Tharkoldu named Minlei (though we don’t exactly know where she’s from yet, just that Decker’s sending her with us).  At some point, Decker looked at Amaeren and said “You can trust these two as if they were me.” with indications toward Minlei and Kurst.  Grace looks at Amaeran.  Some minor dialogue ensues which ends with Amaeren saying, “He’s my big brother. I’d trust him with my life.”

Grace: “But would you trust him with ours?”

Amaeren: “That depends on how stupid you’re going to be.”

We eventually ended up in the tactical communications center for the Order of Cincinnatus, which is apparently this secret organization dedicated to ensuring the safety and protection of Earth…in part by ensuring that leaders remain humble and no one individual garners too much power (in hindsight, now that I think about it, it kind of sounds like the Harpers…no wonder that was tugging in the back of my brain last night).  Decker mentioned more than once that the Order was one of those things that Amaeren “wasn’t ready for” when she left on assignment for the USMC in Germany.

So we’re in the tactical communications center; Minlei and Tyche and Grace are working on putting Amarant’s brain back together again (he’s been fighting with his RI the entire time, trying to regain full control of his capabilities).  And Grace and I…notice stuff.  Like a familiar face on one of the screens.


Amaeren feels a lot more relief than she probably should have, but considering how guilty she felt when she left Egypt…

So she wanders up behind Decker, taps him on the shoulder, and casually asks how long he’s been talking to Grant.

Decker: “About five minutes, why?”

That, of course, wasn’t what she meant.  In the meantime, Grant has gone pasty on the screen and is all like, “You’re alive!”

And then Amaeren walks out of frame.  And he tells her to get back here.  And she does.

Grant (the Spider): “You know, you shouldn’t get your carriage drivers eaten. It’s rude!”

Yeah, that didn’t quite register until later, after we broke the news to Frederico DeSoto (yes, Odette, Fred is alive! — Kristie twitched for a good five minutes) about what happened to Odette.  Of course, Grace and Amaeren didn’t really want to tell DeSoto about what happened…but…yeah.

Amaeren: “We’ll pick you up.”

Grant: “No, we’ll meet you in France.  You need to go to England first.  Decker, did you get that last data feed I sent you?”

Decker: “Yeah.”

Grant: “He can explain, then.”

Apparently, Grant didn’t rescue DeSoto from certain doom in Ourosh so he could march off and get himself killed.  Apparently, they’re in Jerusalem, and DeSoto has reformed the Knights Templar.  Decker takes credit for helping with the name.

Long story short, my brother has lots of explaining to do at some point here, more than what’s come up in front of everyone else thus far.

More hilarity ensued after we left the TacCom center and headed back upstairs for dinner.  Albert and Minlei argue about how to fix Amarant’s brain.  Tyche and Amarant fix his brain in the midst of the arguing.  Grace and Amaeren start drinking and watch with some measure of annoyance (Grace) and mild amusement (Ren).  And then Decker comes back and tells us why we have to go to England again: Draconis is breaking free.  All the fey have disappeared, except for one–Tyche.  Only a fey can open the door to where the others went, and Queen Mab is desperately needed to help secure the Darkness Device again.

So we have to go to England, via Canada, before we go to France and get back our Eternity Shard–and our Odette, perhaps.  Though even that’s not as it seems, since Odette was once Mariah…and that’s another thing none of us really understand quite yet, I don’t think.  She set out to fix what was going wrong with the Pope when she parted company with Decker, Kurst, and the rest.  Seems that either there’s a triplecross going on…or that she’s failed.

Something’s said about contacting a member of the Order if needed, and then Amaeren asks how we’d find them.  In response, Decker flips her a coin–the symbol of the Order.

“Welcome aboard.”

Yup.  Lots of explaining to do…

Thursday Night TORG update

It’s not every session your character narrowly avoids getting her face blown off by crazy survivalists.  It’s also not every day I throw down my entire hand of cards and manage to find a way out of the mess, either.  But when a crazy survivalist in an armed camp in the middle of Nebraska puts a gun to your head and tells you to have the reject from a Trek convention to put down the crazy gun or he’ll blow your head off, and the reject fails to put the gun down…


Continue reading “Thursday Night TORG update”