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Saturday, 22 September 2012


Well, I've gotta work in Cairns for the enxt three weeks which means I'll be blogging sporadically to say the least. 

I have more "Adventures of Eddard" (the game continues and I'm falling behind, but the next three weeks I may be able to catch up because I don't see how I'll be able to play at all, and I'm taking the tablet to Cairns so I can at least blog) and I'll be continuing my music themes post with at least one more- unusual themes.  I should be able to get in an Eddard post today.  With a bit of luck.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Music and Science Fiction

I am a lover of music.  But I love no specific type.  I basically listen to everything- pop, blues, metal, classical, country, but the song does have t be about something.  I especially appreciate music with unusual themes.  Some of the music I like has science fiction themes, and certainly the reason I'm first attracted to the song is because of this simple fact.  For today's brief discussion, I'll have to get my SF geek to guest post... excuse me...

"OI!" Bang. Bang. Bang.

"Whatcha want now?  I'm watching Babylon 5."

"Again?  You've seen that, what, about a thousand times.."

"Go away."

"But you said you'd do the guest post for music and SF."

"Is that now?"

"Yes, its now."

"Shit!  Okay.. I'll be out..."  Sounds of shuffling, muttering, and a really loud belch, and then the door opens...

Okay, I'd like to introduce my inner scifi geek...

Hey,  just a sec while I get used to the light.  He doesn't let me out often...

Right,  music and SF.  There are some artists and bands that have been rather prolific in this area.  Some of the artists that are well known for it include Peter Schilling and Rush.  There are also others with which you may not be so familiar, like Kate Bush or Mister Mister.  And no I'm not going to lower myself to the standards of Timbaland's The Morning After, a song made popular by the Eclipse franchise, a video at least that popularises vampires- totally making them uncool.  Being a vampire was cool 20 years ago- with shows like Forever Night.  Its been done to death.  The blood has been sucked out of it now.  A stake has been driven through the heart of the genre.  Its body parts have been cut off, scattered, burned in separate locations and the ashes buried. Nuff said...

Peter Schilling.  A German artist and one hit wonder with his Major Tom Coming Home- about an astronaut who suffers an accident in space and decides to return to earth knowing that reentry will kill him.  This song is unofficially related to David Bowie's song "Space Oddity" (I don't mention Bowie's music because while it may be indeed that he is from space, more importantly because his music predates me, and I am not familiar with it enough to comment).  The song is on his Error in the System album, which also features a song called "The Noah Plan"- mankind leaving Earth before it is destroyed on massive starships.

Kate Bush.  She wrote a SF song?  Well....  Cloudbusting.  It's based on the memoir of one Peter Reich, whose father built a Cloudbuster, a machine that could make it rain.  The father's name was Wilhelm, and he was arrested and imprisoned as he was "a threat to the men in power."  I don't know the truth to the story, but, if the memoir is not true, then the song qualifies.  Plus its rare that a pop song's dominant beat is actually a march.  I love the song.  I love the beat, and Kate Bush's voice is haunting.

Mister Mister.  A pop band, true, but they did a really cool song, Silent Running, about an invasion and the "High Command" retreating, and people being forced to live under occupation.   It is well written, with dangerous advice "Teach the children quietly, for someday sons and daughters will rise up and fight while we stood still."  The song is SFish, and a warning.  Remember this was written before the end of the cold war.

Rush. As a band they have gone to great lengths to include SF lyrical themes in their music. A triumph of music is their 2112 album. The whole album tells the story of a dictatorship in the future that has banned music, but a lone man discovers a guitar, and this discovery, naturally, has a great effect. It is a classic, and is even honoured in Guitar Hero has being tracks you can unlock. The music is complex, and it is a masterwork.

On the album Moving Pictures, they did a track called Red Barchetta- a song about a guy who, after the implementation of "Motor Law" sneaks off to his uncle's farm to reveal a car, a red Barchetta, that he takes, quite illegally, for a drive every week. It even describes a chase through the countryside by futuristic hover cars, ad is based on a short story written by Richard Foster written in 1973 called "A Nice Morning Drive."

On their album Grace Under Pressure, there are two songs of note. "The Body Electric" describes the urgency of an android gaining self awareness, and ends with it praying to "the mother of all machines." And my personal favourite, Red Sector A- a song with imagery so potent I actually had nightmares. Based upon actual experiences in Nazi Death camps- particularly Bergen-Belsen. and the verse,

I hear sound the gunfire at the prison gate,
Are the liberators here, do I hope or do I fear..

Is frightening in depth and psychology of the camps. Instead of referring to the Nazi camps, the song is set in some kind of post-apocalyptic future. The song is disturbing.

While I'm sure there are far more, these are the ones that caught my attention and stuck in my head.  I'm going back to Babylon 5 now.  Cheers.

Well, I'm glad he's gone.  He has a problem with lecturing.  Aww hell.  I could watch some B5.  When I next talk music, I mght deal with unusual themes...

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Eddard: Chapter 2

New Information


We looked around the room, surprised at our own success.  Then we pushed through to the back area.
Three things immediately caught our attention.  The first thing was that the room was rather small.  A crude throne in the form of a massive chair.  It was battered, and there were a few cushions scattered about, and light came from a couple of torches in sconces along the wall.  There was a table to one side, and on it was a small pile of gold and silver and an expensive silver goblet encrusted with a few semi precious gems.  But that was the second problem, there wasn't enough loot in this room to represent the vagaries of the bandits.  Thoram's Dwarven armour, the stolen cattle and even the missing peasants were no where in evidence.
The last thing was the most telling, with a large map pf the area on the wall, and local villages mapped, and under each a date.  Some of these villages had already been hit, as indicated by the date.  Some villages were marked with dates that were yet to come.  In addition, there were three marks on the map that were unidentified.  We determined that one of those marks was the bandit camp where we were now.
As we gathered the coins, the party speculated at the map's meaning.  I thought it fairly obvious.  This was just a small part of a large operation.  We decided to immediately go to the nearest unidentified point on the map.  That meant north.  We exited the cave to discover the bandit camp abandoned.  The goblins had fled.
"What if they," I said indicating the now vacant camp,"went north?"
"They would have scattered," replied Logan.
"Yes but some of them may have headed in the direction of their nearest allies."
Garrus caught my meaning.  "Who can ride and use a bow?"
I nodded.
"Logan, he's gonna borrow your horse.  We'll ride ahead.  The rest of you can catch up.  We'll sweep the area in front of us, and kill any we see.  It's better we go to this place unheralded."
We ran to the horses and mounted hurriedly, and rode off at a fast trot.
We caught up to a band of four a while later.  Running north.  I tried a couple of shots from the saddle, but this was a heavy war horse, and I wasn't used to the gait.  My shots went wide.  The goblins turned and ran into a small copse of woods.  We charged through trees after them, but they made better time  and came out the other side to climb down into a gully.  Garrus took his horse down after them, I reined in. and as the goblins were climbing the far side, I took aim.  Three shots, three kills.  The other got out bow shot, but Garrus urged his mount up the other side and ran it down.
We headed north for while longer looking for others.  We didn't find any.  We holed up and waited for the rest of the party.
Where was the livestock and stolen goods?  Where were the missing people? 
What was really going on?
When the party caught up to us, we started north.  It took most of the night and part of the next day to get there.  We only stopped for a brief just before dawn.  We slept quickly and were on out way well before midday. 
We arrived before dark, and as we looked down it from where we hid on a hillside, we figured out a couple of answers.  This looked to be a supply centre of some kind.  The compound was large, but the wall surrounding it was more of a fence.  Only the gate  had a rampart where guards stood.  There were a mix of humans and hobgoblins down there, and it appeared that they were loading mules.
A caravan was leaving, soon.  We had a decision to make.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Eddard: Chapter 2



As the night's darkness deepened, Wren disappeared.  One minute she was there,the next, gone like a shadow.  On a chore that will set off my first foray into real combat.  It wasn't until she disappeared that my nervousness, so long held in check, started to make my hand tremble.  Sooner than I thought possible, the signal, a bird call,  was heard, it was time.
We rushed the cavern's entrance, weapons out.  We were as quiet as possible, which wasn't very, because of the armour jingled and the weapons slapped against our bodies making an ungodly clamour.  I have no doubt the goblins heard us approach.
We stormed the the cavern.  I was front and centre, my Divine protection making it harder for evil to hit me, and those closest.  We burst into the first chamber, two hobgoblins were standing in full weapons and armour.  Four more were sitting at a table. 
My weapons were in my hands as I cut and thrust simultaneously, my cut missed completely, but my thrust drove halfway into its belly, wounding it badly.  Its backhanded swing put a rent in my chain mail.  Steel rang on steel as he blocked my next swing.  I easily dodged his response.  Again I swung the weapons one high for its face, he parried, but the sword aimed at its belly sank to the hilt.  It collapsed, dead before it hit the floor.
Thoram struck the other, severing its head from it shoulders in a single sweep of the battle axe.  I moved to the table where Garrus, Ulf and Azzarak were engaging the other four.  I took one attacking Garrus (he was holding back two) by complete surprise, as my swords drove for his flank.  He spun and my offhand attack as my fore hand short sword slashed across his chest, drawing blood, wounding him slightly.  He swung at me, his blade cutting through my armour, cutting a scratch across my neck as I desperately snapped my head back in an effort to spoil his reach.  It worked, because his cut didn't kill me.
My blades rang on his, and his mine as we traded swings and then, as he parried my right hand swing, my left found its mark, sinking into its side with a thrust, I'll never forget the look of surprise on its face as it coughed blood and died.
I looked around the room.  Garrus and Ulf had dropped their opponents, and Thoram was moving towards the back of the room where the tunnel led deeper into the hillside.  Like me, Azzarak had killed his.
Even as I looked towards it, three hobgoblins charged through it.  They were noticeably larger, and better equipped then the others, and one towered above the others.  Azzarak and Ulf charged it.  I took the one on the left.  Garrus, having dropped his, moved to the other bodyguard.
I engaged mine with a fervour.  Steel rang on steel was our weapons crashed together, and crashed again.  Neither could gain an upper hand.  I was wary, which probably made this battle harder.  I knew a good hit would kill me. 
Thoram moved on the big one even as Azzarak took a hit.  That wicked battle axe of his preventing the chief from pressing the advantage.  My primary weapon rang off my beast's armour even as I dodged another swing, and then Logan said,"Goblins."
I could hear the noise coming from the exit passage.  It sounded like the entire camp was coming to get us.  I redoubled my efforts as they came closer.  Logan and Azzarak moved to block the entrance with Wren. 
I got my second short sword through its guard, drawing more blood and ducked under a reprisal swing.  Thoram took a mighty swing at the chief, seriously wounding it.
Goblins tried to push their way into the room, nearly overwhelming the defenders, but somehow they kept the goblins out. 
Ulf Hit the cheif square dealing a hard blow to it belly, as it doubled over, Thoram's axe claimed another head.  Garrus dropped his bodyguard and all three turned to the door.  I was left to deal with the last one myself, alone.  It took a great swing, obviously intent on finishing me, but it was overextended, and my right blade slammed into its jaw and into its skull.  I had some trouble pulling the blade away.  By the time I turned around, the fight was over.
The goblins broke and ran when they saw the last one fall. running out of the cave like the devil was at their heels.  Maybe he was, Ulf chased them to the entrance, throwing a spear and killing one before they slipped into the night.
I was breathing heavy, and the priests prayed for healing.  I felt my wound partially close as Logan called upon the power of Red Knight.
After we got out breath back, we headed into the back room.  What we found there disturbed all of us.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Eddard's Diary Entry 8

Leaving the Troll and Maiden


Sure enough, the next morning, we were set to go. 
As we readied ourselves at the gate, Tia came rushing out. "Eddard, I have something for you and your friends."  She handed me a small wrapped parcel, it was warm and smelled delicious.  "Pies, not long form the oven.  Thank you."
"No.  Thank you," I replied, "I know my friends and I will enjoy them very much."  There was something more to the look she gave me, and I think it was mirrored in my own eyes.  She already meant something to me. I'm not sure why or what, but my pulse quickened in her presence.
I handed them out, one apiece.  They were greeted with smiles of approval from the party members.
Naturally, both Sir Garrus and Logan were mounted.  Fine armour.  Fine weapons.  Fine Horses.  Must be nice to have money.  I knew as a paladin I wasn't permitted to accumulate wealth, and most of the wealth I would gather would end up property of the Temple.  I also knew, though, that fine equipment, a fine horse and certain other fineries were expected of paladin.  And in my work, I may have need of some variety.  I knew this, yet, I was envious.  The two days I had of relative relaxation were gone, and it took a couple of miles to get the road rhythm back in my stride.
So my first duty was to my equipment.  A horse, armour and weapons.
We spent the day marching along the main road.  I took the rear of our little group.  Naturally the knight and his adviser, on horseback, took the lead.  Wren made a complaint bout having to walk around periodic piles of manure, and the smell.
It didn't worry me because I knew that I would have a horse one day.
We stopped, halfway to Halfbrook.  There were still a few hours of daylight left.  We set out watch order.  With roving bands of goblins and hobgoblins, we had to protect our camp in the best way possible.  I sat with Thoram, enjoying the remainign daylight.  We were soon joined by Ulf. 
"So," I said to pass the time away," I wonder what the stories are behind some of our companions."  I said this not engage in malicious gossip, because I knew very little about them.  Speculation is all it was.
"What do you mean?" asked Thoram.
"Well, take Wren for instance, she is clearly Amnite." I said. "I bet she was a slave, and escaped when she was very young.  I bet that's when she learned her trade.  On the streets."
"Hmm," Ulf thought aloud,"Maybe she was a slave herself and had to do things..."
"Huh?" that was Thoram.
"Well, maybe that's where she learnt to hate men.  After all, she rejected me..."
"Mystra's Breath," I said," Will you let that go?  I'm pretty sure she doesn't hate men.  Just most men."
We grew silent as she approached.  My little pastime was a disaster.  I filled the remainder of the day some camp-associated tasks.  I was on second watch.
The night passed uneventfully.  We set out early and achieved our destination a little after noon.  We were told by the mayor that the bandits were a few hours march from the small village.  We headed out immediately. 
We could smell the goblin encampment before we saw it.  Wisely, we asked Wren to do a little scouting.  The camp itself was set in a shallow valley.  The goblin camp was obvious, but she found the hobgoblin's entrance.  A cave set 50 metres away from the goblins as though the hobgoblins cared not for the habits of their goblin allies.  She told us there was a sentry at the mouth of the cave. 
Our plan was basic.  We'd ignore the goblin camp and concentrate our initial attack o the hobgoblins.  There were two main reasons for this.  The Hobgoblins we considered to be the better fighters, and we wanted to use any surprise we had on them.  The second was that by the time the goblins attacked, we'd be in the cave and able to limit their ability to swarm us.  We would attack under cover of darkness.  It would be led with Wren taking out the sentry.  The rest of us would rush the cave.
We estimated the goblin numbers to be down, indicating that raid may be taking place somewhere.  This was the best time to hit them.  We waited for nightfall.