April 4th, 2006

Yue Bishonen


Brigid shook her head. "Some of these slash chicks are just ridiculous," she said. "I guess it's just harmless silliness when they realize it's all in their heads, but some of them seem to think they've unlocked some secret code that the author 'would have put there if narrow-minded society would let them.'"

"Uh huh," said Greg.

"Forgetting for the moment that a lot of slash writers' favorite targets were hardly averse to saying exactly what they meant," Brigid said, "there's the little matter that not everybody in the universe is fixated on sweaty fictional guy-on-guy action the way they are."

"No!" said Greg. "I can't believe that, surely not!"

She narrowed her eyes at him, smiling slightly. "But I guess it's like anything else -- when you expect to see something, you'll see it whether it's there or not. I bet somewhere out there right now there's some James Bond fan who's rewriting the scene in Goldfinger's basement in her mind as a guard-seduction scene."

"Goldfinger's basement?"

"Yeah ... Bond waves, winks, and gives a very pecular smile at the Chinese guard. To the slash writer mind, this is practically an overt declaration that Bond bedding every woman in the world is just him overcompensating ... and obviously the guard's first thought is, 'Whoa, James Bond is totally coming on to me!'"

Greg chuckled. "At which point, Tiger Tanaka comes running up and cries, 'But, Bond-san! I love you!' Maybe Bond just has a thing for Asian guys."

Brigid winced. "Oh God," she said.

-The Gneech

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Mad Red

Happy Birthday, katayamma!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English!

In a silly manner; foolishly.
--Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon, c. 1850

Death of Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774),
Irish-born playwright, novelist, and poet. W. & R. Chambers's Book of Days (1864) profiled the writer: "At school and at college he showed all the symptoms of a dunce, and many of a fool. Then, after idling some time, he succeeded in failing utterly in a very fair number of attempts to set up in life, as much out of sheer negligence and simplicity as incapacity, and when his friends had pretty well given him up, he set out with a flute in his hand and nothing in his pocket, to see the world. He passed through many countries, and much privation, and finally returned, bringing with him a degree in medicine and that wide of experience of manners which ever fed his genius more than reading." In 1773 Samuel Johnson wrote: "It is amazing how little Goldsmith knows. He seldom comes where he is not more ignorant than any one else." But a few years later, he amended this judgment: "No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more wise when he had."

-The Gneech
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Boromir battle

Template Happy! [gaming]

In the Dungeon Masters Guide II, WotC introduced a new template, "mob," which is very similar to a swarm -- except of larger creatures. Say, a mob of villagers, for instance. A mob effectively acts like a single enormous creature that overruns individual characters and pummels them senseless.

This is a very cool mechanic designed to get around one of D&D's perennial problems, the single well-equipped fighter in plate armor who can't be harmed by an entire army of mooks 'cause no single one of them can do him any real damage. If you're inside a mob, you take damage, no matter how ridiculous your AC. (It also provides rules on how to fight your way out of a mob, or even just to gradually hack your way through it, "killing" the mob.) All in all, it's a very elegant solution. It's also a great way to make your high-level heroes afraid of a horde of goblins again. ;)

Well, in the next adventure of my D&D campaign, at the risk of posting spoilers, there will be a mob scene -- and what's more, it will be a mob of creatures that already have another template applied. So to create the mob, you apply the first template to an individual creature, then apply the "mob" template to the new creature.

Mmm, crunchy math. :d

Fortunately for me, someone has done the writeup for me already -- I'm getting this mob from a published adventure. But in order to acquaint myself with how it works, I've transcribed the mob line-for-line to my notes, and reverse-engineered the thought process behind it. I've gotta extend my kudos to the author of this adventure for including it ... it's a classic moment and a very elegant way of handling it. Their Geek Fu is very strong!

-The Gneech
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