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Black Crusade : Xurunt

aye aye captain
Jrska wants to lure Aladar away from thralldom to Tzeentch and back into the embrace of Slaneesh. For one thing, he was her thrall first, and all his internal mechanical mutations have not only left him immune to Jrska's charms, they didn't even include a vibrating attachment.

GM: I'd rather you didn't seduce him back to Slaneesh. If you do seduce him it'll count as a failing, and he'll gain enough corruption to turn into a Chaos Spawn.
Jrska: I don't mind - I'd quite like to have him a Spawn as pet.
Aladar: Hey! I mind!

Arriving at Xurunt, where the legends we barely know suggest a chance to get armies of Khornate berserkers if we can hold the Throne of Baphtar for a year. Although piloting the Promise of War is difficult, given the currents of the Screaming Vortex even at the best of times.

Sister Johanna: I thought it flew itself?
GM: It needs to be guided.
Jrska: And hit with a rolled-up newspaper every time it tries to eat the crew. 'Bad Daemon-station! Bad Daemon-station!'

The highest mountain on Xurunt has been carved into a cloven-hoofed warrior.

Aladar: Lord Cassius! I think you'll need to sit on his lap.
Cassius: No. I need an adult.
Jrska: 'Sit up here and tell Santa Khorne what you want for Christmas'.
GM: 'Piles of skulls, and more piles of skulls, and more piles of skulls...'

There's also an ancient fortress beneath the Throne, which Aladar determines is showing a few signs of life. Cassius decides to disguise himself as a mortal - to whit, Jrska's brother Prince Pseudanor.

Cassius: Just to mess with her >:)

Jrska turns to see her brother, squeals with delight, and skips forward.

Cassius: Oh crap, I didn't think this through.
Jrska: *embraces and deeply tongue-kisses him*
Cassius: *Pushes her off* I forgot how ... close... you two were.

Jrska OoC: You realise I'd have reacted the same way even if I HAD realised it was you?
Cassius OoC: Yeah - just to mess with me.
Jrska OoC: Yup

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#628 - 632 - Lichenised Fungi

aye aye captain
#628 - Cladia sp. - Coral Lichen

A rather extraordinary lichen I saw growing on Sullivan Rock. It forms large hyberbolic fractal nets resembling piles of snow, in the middle of moss beds on the granite.

#629 - Usnea sp. - Beard Lichen

A fruticose lichen growing as bunches of branching filaments - quite often on dead or dying trees, but only because they get more light that way. The genus is world-wide, and diverse (although the number is decreasing as some ‘species’ turn out to be morphological types). Common names include 'tree moss', and Old Man’s Beard.

Very vulnerable to sulphur dioxide pollution, and slow-growing.

Some species have been used to make orange, yellow, green, blue and purple dyes, which is a pretty impressive sort of colour range.

Wandi, Perth

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#627 - Talitrid Amphipods - Lawn Prawns

aye aye captain

One of our local crustaceans. Not something I get many complaints about, because the only way they’ll survive in a house is if there’s a major moisture problem. Most amphipods can’t survive out of water, but the Talitrid sandhoppers on the beach and landhoppers even further inland can be fully terrestrial.

Terrestrial amphipods are quite diverse in Australia, usually living in leaf litter. The ones you’re most likely to find in your garden are translucent dark drown when alive, but turn pink-red after they die, like the ones in the photo above. Rarely above a centimeter in length.

#622 - 626 - Herps

aye aye captain
#622 - Chelodina (Macrodiremys) colliei - Southwestern Snake-necked Turtle

One of the reasons I’ve got so many species in my list of Perth wildlife is the simple fact that SW Australia is ridiculously species-diverse. The Southwest Australia Ecoregion is one of the world’s 34 Biodiversity Hotspots. And Perth itself does pretty well - it’s got 71 species of reptile within the city limits, which is a gigantic number for an urbanised area. This article at WWF has a few more details.

The Southwestern Snake-necked Turtle is a fairly common species - certainly doing better than the critically endangered Western Swamp Turtle which is ONLY found around Perth - but the taxonomic history is a bit complicated. For one thing it’s only recently been split off from the genus Chelodina, and its other common name Oblong Turtle is a holdover from confusion with the Northern Snake-necked Turtle, Chelodina oblonga.

Either way, the snake-necked turtles are carnivores that hide and then lunge at passing fish and invertebrates with a gape attack. Despite that, not at all aggressive, and will much prefer to flail helplessly if handled, rather than bite.

I found this one lumbering noisily through undergrowth near a small pond - they tend to wander in breeding season, which is bad news near roads.

#623 - Pogona minor - Dwarf Dragon

a.k.a Western Bearded Dragon

This large (despite the name) agamid lizard is widespread in SW Australia and our central deserts; including in semiarid woodland or heathland, and in arid desert or coastal dunes. Often seen basking on fence posts. Large ones can be almost 40 cm from nose to tail.

They display a behaviour common to other Pogona species, waving one of their forelegs to trigger a response from a potential rival or mate. Another typical behaviour is head-bobbing amongst males, perhaps related to dominance within their social order. 

This particular individual was pretending to be a branch - he didn’t move until I got within hands-length of him.

Baldivis, Perth

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Bird Pretends to be Caterpillar

aye aye captain

A recent study published in the journal American Naturalist, describes how the Cinereous Mourner (Laniocera hypopyrra) chick is covered with bright orange and speckled down-feathers… and how the bird uses those feathers to imitate a poisonous caterpillar. 

Shadowrun : Off With The Fairies

aye aye captain
Felix: Our team gets by on Inkubus' libido and boats, their team gets by on subtlety and professionalism.
Inkubus: Fuck you! Besides, my libido and boats has worked so far.

Felix: Why is there a hose attachment on the table?
Inkubus: Because there's a hose attachment on the table. Do you have a problem with this?
Warhammer: Do you want it somewhere else?
Greenlight: Does it offend you?
Inkubus: Are you hosist?

Back to Scotland, where we need to use that Astral Gate near Loch Ness. Just as well part of our deal with Celadyr retroactively fixed any visa problems with us mysteriously leaving Scotland and coming home via Germany. Dragons generally don't have transponders. But there's never any guarantee where an Astral Gate will take you.

Titus: The Place of Endless Groin-punches
Inkubus: The Elemental Plane of BEEEES

But who will look after our bodies while we're in the Astral Planes? We decide that that Scottish professor owes us a favour. And her students can watch over us and hopefully learn something.

Warhammer: How about your uncle Maximillian, Bubbles?
Inkubus: You need to have your brain examined. You literally just proposed leaving our unconscious bodies in the care of somebody that has climbed to high position in AZTECHNOLOGY. And corporate high position is bad enough, but Aztech?!

Felix: All part of the alien's masterplan
Inkubus: I for one welcome our new alien overlords! Because they've chosen me to be AWESOME.

Greenlight: Titus, what does your warhammer look like?
Felix: Short and Beardy.

Greenlight gets a bit unhappy when we prep our weapons for Astral use - Titus' Pimp Cane, for example.

Greenlight: It's just so boring - there's no legend to the weapons anymore. We just go out and buy a Sword +2. It's sad, really.
Titus: It's an age on consumerism. Get used to it.

Inkubus: I never want to see Weapon Focus : Caber
GM: 'Where are the Shadowrunners'
Inkubus: Ask the guy carrying the tree.

Titus: I know what to get you for Christmas now - a spellcasting focus Scrubbing Brush.
Inkubus: This is an aspect of the Way of Metal you don't see often - the clean-up afterwards. Actually, it is an aspect! The Roadie.

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D&D 5th Ed

aye aye captain
Playing D&D 5th Ed with a friend GMing. PCs - two ex-soldiers Urlon and Elethndia (oddly enough, Urlon is the Elf and Elethndia the dragonkin), and Lamech Judocus, a gnome sorceror who has red eyes and is constantly surrounded by a cloud of smoke. But that's not because of any Fiendish ancestry or alliances. He's just constantly stoned.

Lamech Judocus: Just call me the J-man, man.

GM: Thanksgiving - the perfect time to invite all the arseholes you know over for dinner. Because that's when you carve up the turkeys.

The job - escort a cartload of camp supplies in the Sword Mountains.

GM: You guys sit on top looking decorative. Or whatever you want to do. Fishing off the back of the cart perhaps. 'I was wondering why the fish weren't biting'.
Lamech: Land sharks.
Urlon: What? Land sharks? Where?

Lamech: *leans forward conspiratorially* I'm actually half-giant.
Urlon: ....
Lamech: But I'm tall for my size.

GM: One year there was a multicoloured light display on the Museum opposite. And when the cops realised what was going on they'd just wait for whoever walked past, stopped, and stared at the lights going "Oooooh... ahhh.... pretty." And then they'd cross the road and gently steer them into the police station.

Lamech: Want a brownie?
GM: That can be taken many ways in D&D

Lamech: *sings* Gnome, gnome on the range.

And, naturally, or this might have become a rather ordinary trip, we are attached by Goblins.

Urlon: They've been attacked by goblins.
Lamech: Can't we all just get along?

Lamech OoC: They're the Chinese Meals of the Forgotten Realms - Kill one, and five minutes later you kill another one.

(re: the game itself - seems straightforward enough. The changes to the rules are not overly annoying - not that I am any good remembering rules - but some of the more useful spells have been nurfed.)

Black Crusade : Raising the Banner

aye aye captain
Our new Starfort, now somewhat carnivorous, has come to rest on the outskirts of the Screaming Vortex muttering and eating anybody who wanders alone through the corridors. And there's the surviving Severian and Imperial troops to be hunted down and sold into into slavery. But at the moment there's also the Thirteenth Station, and the blockade fleet that preys on anybody trying to enter or leave the Vortex. A meeting in the Starfort's command centre, which is now disturbingly biological.

Jrska: And that servitor is playing Gallaga.
Cog: Yes, there's always one. We've never been able to to stop it.

Blockade Negotiator: You speak of Crusade. And where do you intend to take the Word of the Gods?
Cassius: To a world that has no use for them, for it is infested by the Necrontyr. *stepping out of the shadows and causing the negotiators to collectively shit their pants*

We come to an agreement - they will blockade the Thirteenth Station in Cassius' name, preventing any ships from leaving the Vortex without his warrant, and inform us of any ships that try to enter, and contribute their ships to Cassius' Crusade when it's time to attack. In return, they want the Imperial trade world of Sinophia. This is fine with us. Aladar writes up the contract.

GM: Bear in mind that while Aladar WAS a Rogue Trader -
Cassius: - He wasn't a very good one.
GM: You found him planetbound, minus a ship.

Cassius: One of the most powerful unifying forces in the galaxy is mutual enlightened self-interest.
Jrska: And Mutually Assured Destruction.
Cog: Same thing.

The mercenary Gray's Grand Cruiser 'Unfettered Judgement' warps into the area.

Jrska: All batteries stand down - Gray is an ally.
Cassius: Jrska - Gray is better described as 'someone we have had dealings with'
Jrska: I know, my lord. But if Gray thinks our batteries are actually in working order...
Cassius: Good point. Carry on.

The 'Unfettered Judgement' is a truly fearsome ancient vessel, and fully equipped the pound the crap out of practically anything and then invade whatever survives.

Jrska: We need a new ship, don't we my lord?
Cassius: ....
Aladar: How long would it take you to seduce the ship out from under him?

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