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The Cast -

Lamech Judocus : Gnome sorceror, always ready with a witty quip or some excellent narcotics as long as you're not a cop.
Kavorog : Blue Dragonborn barbarian, exiled from his tribe for some unspecified incident involving a kobold.
Elethandiel: Kavorog's cousin, despite the suspiciously elven name.
Urlon: Elf ranger, with a suspiciously dragonborn name. Perhaps they were switched at birth and no-one noticed.
Kerak: Dwarven troubleshooter. Or rather, dwarven trouble-axer.


In Tribor, a rescued Eladrin girl in tow, to buy equipment for our expedition to the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Lamech: An Eladrin, a dragonborn, and a gnome walk into a bar.
GM: All the bar customers look up, hoping this is the start of a joke and not the start of a massacre.

Urlon, that Red Wizard Necromancer, and other NPCs are already here.

Lamech: You mean the sacred woods outside town? Full of Zombie Ogres. you might want to do something about that.
Urlon: Zombie Ogres?
Lamech: Yup. If you don't believe me, ask the Eladrin.
Eladrin Girl: Those were zombie ogres? What's an ogre? Or a zombie?
Lamech: Oh you sweet summer child.

Urlon, and the NPCs, are intrigued to hear about our adventures, such as the encounter with land sharks.

Red Necromancer of Thay: Bulette skeletons? Yesssss....
Urlon: No.

We pay off Thorn for his months of service as party paramedic, and discover that Andy's looted sword is a +1 Elf Detection. The Red Wizard finds this highly amusing, and we get to hear his disturbing laugh for the first time.

GM: He revels in his subtle evil.
Lamech: 'Subtle'?

Lamech: The Red Wizards are evil, but they're Stay-at-home evil.
GM: Yup. They send out apprentices to collect artifacts.
Lamech: Or get killed. Which is a good way to thin out the apprentices.

There's a bidding war on that Wyvern carcass.

GM: There's even a few Halfling chefs who want to try out some Wyvern-based recipes.

GM: You're surprised Tribor hasn't been attacked by the orcs, but bad things happen to anybody that messes with the pilgrimage city. At least, that's what the tales say.
Lamech: Well, that's what you'd want the tales to say, whether it's true or not.

Local Law Rep: The Lady-Protector is eager to hear from you - we haven't had any visited from the west for a while.
Lamech: Well, yes, there's that dragon.
Every NPC in Bar: *starts listening hard, muttering, sharpening weapons*
Lamech: Oh, and if you hear about any blue dragonkin working for a green dragon, it wasn't either of these guys *jerks thumb at Elethandiel and Kavorog*
Urlon: Yes - they're dragonborn, not half-dragons.

GM: You enter the Great Hall attached to the Tribor Keep. There's a great flapping of wings.
Lamech: Venomfang! *dives under table*
GM: .... I'm tempted.... But it's actually a Noble Aarokokra.

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It would appear our party is going to use very different methods than the murder-hobos of the other game. WE turn up with a small army of camp followers and reinforcements, diplomatic connections, and a wagon train containing anything that might possibly be useful. The other group just murder everything that might possibly be considered a threat.

Our cast of murder-hobos (after switching to Pathfinder, and changed builds and in one case character)

Heather - Highlander princess of dubious legitimacy. Desperately wants to get married. Arsehole.
Ewen - Heather's batman, bean counter, arsehole.
Salazar - Human brawler. Arsehole.
Jurgen - Taciturn Teifling sell-sword and arsehole.
Gunslinger Formerly Playing Bubbles The Wonder Lizard, now Flint Firebringer - Teifling. Arsehole.
Dirty Franz: Demented wizard, kind to small animals and children. Smells like he crawled into someone's arsehole and died.


Discussing religion.

Ewen: Robagug? Sarenrae threw him into a pit and Asmodeus - yes, THAT Asmodeus - bound him there.
Salazar: Robagug, father of the Tarrasque, and God of destruction and wrath.
Ewen: Weak on pit traps.

Salazar is somewhat irreligious - that's probably because his home town is a centre of practical necromancy.

Salazar: Most God-botherers won't stop bitching about standard religious practise in Sharsmouth. But all we're really doing is putting their teachings into practise - the body is a vessel for the soul. Once the soul departs who cares what you do with it? If any of the gods actually cut me a break I might consider leaving an offering at one of their shrines. Fuck the priests.
Ewen: *sniggers*
Salazar: Actually, with priests of Calistria you can, but it costs money.

Buying stuff in Tribor, after selling off the dragon's carcass.

Heather: I can use the Sword of Berserking, but I need to find a Rod of Calm Emotions. And someone to hold my leash.
Salazar: ... Not saying anything.

Heather: That's a dragon penis! In a jar!
Flint: And you take this everywhere? No wonder you're so happy. You take your pleasure with you.

A figure in shining armour comes into the bar.

Heather: *jerks upright*
Dirty Franz OoC: Potential marriage material?
Salazar: And suddenly Heather's nipples make two dents in her armour.
Heather: OK, he bought a wine instead of beer, but nobody's perfect.

Heather heads over to get to know him better, despite the best efforts of Formerly-Bubbles. The knight's name is Donegal.

Dirty Franz OoC: Ah, Irish. And Heather is Scots. This should go just wonderfully.
Heather: Well, let's see how long I can keep this up.

Heather: My every dream from childhood is coming true. Sure, I wasn't kidnapped, but a dragon was involved and he's a knight. So, want to make the night complete?
Donegal: Absolutely.
Heather: Let's fucking do this!

Funnily enough, he's gone in the morning, but she hasn't been robbed blind.

Dirty Franz needs to borrow some money before he can buy a I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Heward's-Handy-Haversack.

Salazar: I can act as his agent and give you Slippery Eli's standard rates.
Dirty Franz OoC: .... I'm pretty sure you can get Dirty Franz to agree to any loan deal, no matter how terrible.
Jurgen: Or I can just lend Franz the money.
Salazar: Eli won't like it. 100% interest by the end of the month isn't THAT bad.
Jurgen: Eli can blow me - he fucked me over on that last deal.
Salazar: You killed the guy. You can't get money off a guy if he's dead.
Jurgen: He pulled a rapier on me!

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Black Crusade returns, after a hiatus of a few months. The party has a few new acquisitions - their starship the Obsidian Resolve remodelled from q-ship to cruiser; an ally in the form of the Iron Warrior Warpsmith who assisted in creating the ritual that reshaped the ship; and a bad case of Nurgle's Rot, a highly contagious and incurable daemonic disease that will turn you into a Plaguebearer daemon after it kills you.

GM: Your internal diagnostics are reporting recurrent problems with maintaining homeostasis, beginning with elevated metabolic activity and an excess of bilirubin.
Digna: That's nice - now repeat it in a way the player can understand.

Eniek: I'm trying to figure out how I contracted it.
GM: Maybe it was that book about Nurgle you read. You know, the one that had all those Threat Biologis Extremis warnings all over it.
Digna: He's got a point.
GM: Nurgle noticed you were taking an interest in his cult and decided to give you a freebie. The Plaguefather is generous with his gifts.
Eniek: But it's a terrible gift.
GM: You can complain to Nurgle, and see how he reacts.

Not that Eniek intends to informs his teammates, despite the danger to them and everybody else on the ship. He's hopeful that his power armour's hermetical seal will prevent the Rot infecting anybody else.

Daniels OoC: We'll be fine as long as it isn't contagious, won't we?
Digna OoC: Oh, it is, it's highly contagious. Nurgle loves spreading his gifts around. He's a bit of a slut that way.

Even with his Regeneration keeping him JUST ahead of terminal decline, Eniek has a problem - unless he fully embraces the Fly-lord as patron, the only thing that can save him is apotheosis as a Daemon Prince.

Eniek: I need fifty points of corruption, stat.

Digna has a problem too - her future plans are unlikely to please her patron god Slaneesh, and switching her allegiance to Tzeench will guarantee divine retribution. So she wants to pacify the Prince of Pleasure with a few thousand litres of aphrodisiac, a coterie of broadcasting empaths, and a return to Scintilla. She has plans for Lord-Captain Daniels too.

Digna: We need to make the captain a hermaphrodite.
Lord-captain Daniel's player: I'll roll on the table the next time I have enough corruption points. Hopefully I won't get the one that fucks me.
GM: Welllllll.....
Digna: With Hermaphrodite......

But after dropping the Warpsmith off, they have an urgent problem with their warp-crafted ship. The hull is still unrepaired after the battle at Scintilla, and their original guns are woefully inadequate for a cruiser. Thus, off to the Hollows, where two rival Forges have chewed a planet down to to a stump.

GM: Yes, you'll probably want to get all those holes patched up before that Space Marine battle-barge catches up with you.
Digna: Don't worry, I've got plans for them too.

GM: The number of crew suicides is within one standard deviation of the norm.
Digna: Welcome to Warp Travel.

The Obsidian Resolve runs aground in a warp rift - the kind of hole in reality when ships are swallowed up and vanish off the face of the universe, or armies of daemons boil out. They get daemons. Infesting the crew dormitories.

GM: An infestation of daemon cockroaches, scurrying around behind the furniture when you turn the lights on.
Digna: I say we set the crew-quarters on fire.
Daniels: I have no problems with this plan.
Digna: I'm glad you agree.
Daniels: First we evacuate the crew.
Digna: You're already modifying the plan.

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Jan. 28th, 2016

Diagnosis back from the vet - Tiggy has a large sarcoma in her jaw :( And at 18, she'd be unlikely to survive surgery even if it hadn't metastasised yet.

Not that it's stopped her eating, although she's even more picky than before. Indeed, given all the roast chicken and cheeseburgers she's been getting, she's actually gaining weight. And a large lump on her shoulder that she's had since we got her burst - which was unpleasant, I can tell you - but healed up without any remaining lump or even much of a scar.

*sigh* I'll miss the cantankerous little bitch, when the time comes.

#1004-1031 - A Cornucopia of Snails

#1004 - Bulla sp. - Bubble Snail

image

And back to the marine molluscs for a while - I’ve quite a few families and species to go through.

Bullid snails are mostly nocturnal, and large, often quite round, delicate shells. Most often they live among seagrass beds, eat green algae, and bury themselves when the tide goes out. The animal itself is quite large, but they can retreat fully into the shell. Not to be confused with any of the other snail families also called Bubble Snails.

Point Peron, Perth



#1005 - Campanile symbolicum - Bell Clapper

Photographed by @gemfyre while we were snorkeling off Point Peron the other day.

Also known as Giant Creepers, C. symbolicum is the last survivor of the Campanilidae, and a living fossil now found only off Australia’s SW coasts. I’ve found them fossilised in the limestone headlands around here, and puzzled over them, because I knew of no similar shell from the beaches back in Sydney, hadn’t seen any alive around Perth yet, and knew the limestone wasn’t THAT old.

That said, I’ve found the worn and empty shells fairly regularly since then - the ones in the water this day had been occupied by new animals such as hermit crabs, and families of exceptionally cute isopods.

Point Peron, Perth



#1006 - Fam. Cassidae - Helmet Shell

Also known as Bonnet Snails. Medium-sized to very large nocturnal, predatory snails, that hunt echinoderms (usually sea urchins) pin them down, and drill a hole into their body with their radula and sulphuric acid.

Leschenault Conservation Area, north of Bunbury



#1007 - Rhinoclavis (Rhinoclavis) bituberculata - Double-bumped Creeper

image
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A small Cerith snail that, like the Bell Clappers, I’ve found both alive and fossilised. Not uncommon - the genus live in shallow, clear water where they feed on deposits, in most of the warmer parts of the Indo-Pacific.

Point Peron, and Halls Head, Perth



#1008 - Conus anemone - New Holland Cone Shell

AKA Anemone Cone. Just to be ABSOLUTELY clear, there is no way in hell I would pick up a cone shell unless I was already certain it was dead. This might not be one of the deadly species, but the one way safe way to pick up a live cone shell is to get somebody else to do it.

The New Holland Cone is a worm-hunting species, not a fish hunter, and the venom isn’t quite as lethal as it is in some other species of Cone Shell. Still, since symptoms include pain, fainting, semi-paralysis, and presumably quite a bit of screaming, extreme caution is still advisable.

It’s also quite a variable species, with a wide range in size, shape, and colour, and various species and subspecies have been named that are probably all part of one species complex. Endemic to Australia; from southern Queensland to the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, and around Tasmania and Lord Howe Island. It’s probably the same species I’ve found fossilised at Halls Head.

Leschenault Conservation Area, north of Bunbury



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Maw D&D

The two D&D campaigns, where "Monster of the Week" rapidly becomes "Marathon Monster Conga-line of Suck". Lamech and his buddies get ambushed by undead.

Lamech: Argh! We've been grabbed by the Ghoulies!

Kavorog has a problem - the Sword of Vengeance won't let him use any other weapons.

Kerak: Can you load the sword into your bow and use that?

Andy the Halfling actually manages to scare all but one of the undead off with his God-bothering, and we track them back to the ruined hut they're laired up in.

Lamech: Rightio then - once I'm in web wange... Wab wange. Reb renge. WEB RANGE.
GM: The gnome has a case of the Cumberbatches.

Webbing the entire hut and lobbing in Molotov cocktails proves quite effective. The two dragonborn doing electric loogies on each other and the ghouls between them is effective, but rude.

Kerak: I'm sick of being electrocuted by my own teammates - that's why I'm sitting this one out.

One ghoul manages to dodge or shrug off EVERYTHING we throw at it.

Lamech: This. Is. The SUPERGHOUL.

The ghast that's leading them has bigger problems - it's still trapped in the burning hut. And Thorn just Turned it, forcing to retreat *deeper* into the inferno.

And then the Wyvern in the area swoops in to attack while we're distracted. And gets stopped in its tracks with Elethandiel's Thunderwave to the face. And slapped with another Web spell. Which overlaps the ghast in the burning hut. So the whole thing goes up in a glorious pyre.

Lamech: *cackling with gleeful pyromania*

Kavorog: Change of plan!
Lamech: Pile on and hope we get lucky?
Kavorog: Yup.

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Ewen's player: Just remember - gingers are cunning, and have access to hair dye.

On last session's battle versus a dungeon-full of demons.

Ewen: That was tough - more than one of us went down.
Salazar: Phrasing!
Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz went down first.
Heather: *cringe* Let us please abandon this line of thought.

Describing a fighter from another game

Heather's Player: His primary diet is your tears.

GM: There's a pile of shiny stuff.
Dirty Franz: Ooooooooh. (Not that it will stay shiny long, in my possession)
Salazar: You could tarnish GOLD.
Heather: I want to dive into it and swim, but I remember what happened to my Uncle Scrooge.

GM: You nearly got killed, you deserve a draw from the Deck of Many Things.
Salazar: No we don't!!!!
Heather: 'You nearly got killed - care to tweak the Reaper's nose again?'

Heather: Time for us to use our various skills - like Accountancy! Ewen, get on that.

On IDing magical items in 5th Ed.

Ewen: 'We couldn't be bothered putting in rules for it, so sit on a box with it for half an hour'

Even if you're not a wizard.

Heather: 'Hey, Gurnt, hold this magic sword for a bit'. 'It's a +3'. 'How do you know?'. 'It talked to me.'

Ewen: So basically, to ID a magic item you have to sleep with it.
Heather: 'I really love this sword'. Anyway, GM, what IS the sword?
GM: You really love this sword.
Heather: Oh fuck.
GM: You never want to use another weapon.
Heather: Bugger.
Salazar: Remember, not all cursed items are bad.
Heather: Is it a claymore?
GM: It can be.
Heather: It better be - I've got standards.

Heather: I know you're fucked up, but sometimes I like my boys that way.
Sword: Actually I'm a girl.
Heather: Not tonight you're not.

GM: Dirty Franz - You tried putting on the dirty boots.
Salazar: No he didn't - we stopped him. For one thing it would have meant he took off his old ones, in our presence.

Dirty Franz OoC: Well if somebody else really wants the boots, give me your old ones. Unless you want me to keep walking around with ten cashews sticking out in front of me.

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Jan. 12th, 2016

Incident today on one of the main roads leading into Mandurah - a half naked man standing in the middle of traffic, waving down passing cars and begging them to call the police. And then thinking that half the people that pulled over were out to get him. Including me. At least 6 vehicles dig pull over to call the cops, and then hung around to make sure he didn't run out into the traffic again.

Poor guy was clearly disturbed. Or high. And not a very enjoyable high either given his rampant panic and paranoia. He was just lucky none of the cars clipped him.

Burn

Terrifyingly huge bushfire south of Perth for the last few days - one town already obliterated. People at Preston Beach were evacuating by boat. And today’s ridiculous thunderstorms - all day, by the dozens - did fuck all to help. Hardly any actual rain, and the non-stop lightning started more fucking fires.



That's what the smoke looked like from Malaga - ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY KILOMETRES FROM THE FIRE.



And that's the main plume, from across the other side of the Peel Inlet, some 50 km.

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