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rmathis

Skeeball

Today I was reading a story by Wil Wheaton called “Fireworks” in his book “Just a Geek”, and this memory came to mind.  I think about it often, so I thought I’d share.    Not a very good start, starting in the middle, but more will come later and after, as things bubble and froth in the recesses of my mind.

My 9th birthday party I was going to have at Pistol Petes Pizza.  This was super exciting because I had gone to other kid’s birthdays at Chuckie Cheeses and it was amazing, with animatronics and everything.  Pistol Petes wasn’t quite the same, but I didn’t know or care about that, and thus was excited regardless.

I passed out invitations to everyone in my class.  Now we moved constantly, a few times a year, so I didn’t know these kids any more than I knew any other kids.  Despite not knowing anyone, I figured it didn’t matter because I didn’t know any of the kids whose parties I went to, so I thought that’s how it worked.  In hindsight, I now realize I was probably the stranger invited to people’s birthdays because my parents knew their parents.  Me inviting the other kids didn’t work, because their parents didn’t know my parents, and my invite went to the kids and not their parents; but I really thought I was going to have an epic party where I got to be the benefactor to all of these kids having a great time and thinking “its so awesome that Ricky invited me!”  I was known as Ricky back then.

But when it came time to meet at the house before heading to Pistol Petes, only one kid I invited showed up.  A few other toddlers were there, because I had a little sister and her affiliated 2 year olds, but just one kid from my class.  He was black, and part of me now thinks that maybe the reason he showed up was because as one of the only black kids in the school, he probably could have used some friends too.   Maybe he didn’t get invited to other parties. Now I imagine there was a possibility where we could have bonded and been best friends for the next several years like out of a show like Veronica Mars or something.  In reality, I’d be moving again fairly soon, so even if we had bonded, it wouldn’t have lasted…

So we went to my “party”.  Me and one other kid my age, a bunch of toddlers, my mom and her friends.  I get the feeling there was supposed to be more kids at the reserved pizza party, but as it was, we got to share all of the tokens, pizza, and cake.  It felt like there was unlimited everything, but I barely remember details, as I was in a fog of trying not to be sad.  I always felt like I had to put a brave face on for the adults, I’m not sure why.

I became fixated on the prize booth that day.  The idea of this booth with all kinds of cool things I could earn for myself became the only thing I thought of.  I was obsessed, in the way that I do, excluding everything else.  I didn’t care about anything or anyone, except how I could earn tickets. I earned a lot of tickets, and I kept bringing them to my mom like a cat returning a dead bird.

Success!  Tickets!  Here, meow!  Ok, I didn’t meow, but as she stuffed those tickets into her purse to hold, I was definitely as satisfied as a cat licking its paws standing over a dead animal.

Part of me was on the verge of breaking from the moment it was clear no other kids were going to show up, but as I’ve done all my life, I just tried to stay focused on the “doing”.  I became pretty good at Skeeball that day, I was already doing the math of how many tokens I had and how many tickets I could earn.  There was a radio I was definitely considering.  Of course I now know that was pretty much impossible, but at the time I was sure of it!

As I ran out of tokens, I went back to my mom to get my tickets, count them out, and get my prize from the prize booth.  My mom didn’t have any tickets.    I didn’t really understand.  Where were the tickets?

She haphazardly commented that she had gotten some prizes for the little kids.

A great sorrow welled up inside me and I immediately began weeping.  I know its ridiculous.  Even now as I write this, I feel this hurt deep inside me.  At the time, I just “felt”, now I know it was the culmination of emotion I had been trying to hold inside the entire day.  This utter feeling of aloneness surrounded by entities that I didn’t feel understood me.  This feeling of how things are supposed to be based partially off of what I had seen on TV, what I had read, and what I had just plain imagined.

Ironically, I had started this, thinking of how awesome it would be to be the benefactor providing an awesome experience to the other kids at school, but the event that pushed me over the edge was my mom making the toddlers a little happier with junk prizes from the booth.  I was physically wracked with pain, and yes I was upset about the tickets, but only because the tickets were the goal that I had used to justify to myself why I shouldn’t be so sad about not having any friends.  I don’t remember how that day ended.  I’m sure I got a lot of presents, because my family has always been good about being generous with the kids.   I mostly blocked it out of my head, being both embarrassed for how I acted and embarrassed for what the lack of attendees said about me.

Looking back now, I wish there was some lesson I could say I learned.  I wish I could say it didn’t hurt anymore because I understand that my mom gave me the best birthday she could, exactly how I had asked.  It hurts today the same way it did then, partially because I’m remembering the pain that little me was experiencing, and that can never be undone.  It also hurts today because in many ways, I’m still that little kid wanting to give the best party for the other kids, but always worried that I’ll have to eat the pizza all by myself.

Let’s Play Sentinels of the Multiverse “La Capitan”

Jason and I split up the team for the La Capitan weekly oneshot.  We nailed it, so I thought I’d share.

 

Jason was the artist for dndorks.com, and he does a lot of miniature gaming gaming.

 

 

FODMAPs “Why does garlic make my stomach hurt”

Alternatively, does gluten really make me feel sick even though I don’t have celiac?  Here is the link to the extended.

Here is the original script –  which barely resembles the video, but some people prefer reading over watching.

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to talk about FODMAPs.
What are FODMAPs? Well the term means fermentable oligo-di and monosaccharides and Polyols. WAIT wait, don’t tune out, this isn’t that crazy or technical. Let me go back to the beginning and lay it out, then you can know if this affects you or someone you know, and maybe this’ll be a starting point for how you can improve things.
Ok, first of all, I’ve always had issues with certain foods. I’ll get sick after eating things like garlic and onions, but then there were other “mystery” foods that I couldn’t pinpoint what would cause me problems. Heck, even garlic or onions seemed to be OK sometimes, but not others, with no rhyme or reason why.
Well things came to a head a few years ago when I decided to increase the amount of fiber in my diet. You know, fiber is “good” for us right? Well the day after my new diet, I was sick. Like really sick. This made me even more determined to eat “healthy”, switched in some more fruits and vegetables to replace my large meat intake, and was even more sick. Switched out more food, started considering becoming a vegetarian, became so sick I stayed home from work. I kept rotating my food to different “healthy” foods but no alleviation of symptons.
Desperate for an answer, I started studying what I was eating, and noticed a lot of high fiber food either had inulin or chicory root. A bit more research revealed that inulin seemed to have this effect on certain people, I also saw something that stood out to me on Armstrong.com, an article with the title “Why does garlic make me sick”.
What the hell? I thought I’m the only one that garlic made sick.
That’s when I found out about FODMAPs. See, certain foods have types of sugars that some people can’t absorb. If your body can’t absorb it, it seems that the yeast naturally in your digestion system happily will gobble the sugar up. At first, they produce gas, but enough of them multiply and your immune system starts reacting to the out of control little guys too.
Now I said sugars, because that’s what they are, fermentable sugars. But not all sugars, particularly not table sugar. FODMAPs refers to a whole category of sugars that many people have trouble absorbing. Like what?
Fructans (my enemy, these are in garlic, onions, gluten products)
Monosaccharides (fructose, also my enemy, in strawberries, stone fruit, and of course, soda)
Polyols (those artificial sugars like sorbitol and xylitol in gum and some tooth products)
Disaccharides (this includes lactose).
Wait, did I say lactose? Yes, in other words, you’ve known about fodmap problems probably almost your entire life! This isn’t some strange or weird diet craze, you probably know someone with a lactose intolerance, which means you know someone with a fodmap problem.
Did you catch the bit where I said that fructans are in garlic, onions, and…gluten products? Yes, there has been research suggesting that people who don’t have celiac, but feel better eating gluten free, are actually having problems with the fructans, not the gluten. In other words, they could probably have all the gluten they want, just stay away from the fructans. Gluten is a protein, if you don’t have celiac, you can probably handle it just fine, the trick is how to have it without getting the fructans. That’ll be a different video. 😉
So what are the symptoms? Well if you are familiar with lactose intolerance, you probably have a rough idea.
Diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, bloating are the ones that probably make you discourage your friend from eating ice cream.
But the not so obvious ones are headaches, anxiety, mood swings, depression, and sore eyes.
For me, mood swings, sore eyes, anxiety all hit me along with intense abdominal pain, sometimes with other flu-like symptoms.
These symptoms occur in two stages for me. Sometime within 24 hours, I get the physical problems. Then, the next day, I get the psychological problems. The second wave of symptoms happens because free fructose binds with an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan creates serotonin. Inability to create serotonin results in depression and other psychological problems.
Why is the amount of time so variable? I could be wrong in my understanding, but the way I picture it, is that I’m probably able to absorb a small amount of FODMAPs. That’s why on any given day, I can have a stick of gum, or a bit of pizza, or a couple slices of bread.
Lets say the combined amount of FODMAPs equals a teaspoon. And lets say my body can absorb a teaspoon in any given 8 hour period. So a teaspoon goes into body, and my body burns through the teaspoon with none or very little leftover.
But then I get brave. You see my brain is smart enough to say if ate something yesterday, and didn’t get sick, maybe I’m cured! So then the next day, I have a slice of pizza, then eat some strawberries, then clean my teeth using gum.
I’m in for a bad day now. You see, now my stomach, or in this case, my bowl, has 3 tsp of FODMAPS, but my body can still only absorb one teaspoon. Where does the other 2 teaspoons go?
Well my buddies the yeast that lives in all of us, happily eats them. Then I have all of the problems.
But because I ate those different fodmaps throughout the day, I never quite know when I’m going to go over my limit, or whether I have more absorption power left.
So what can you do? Well first, I am pretty strict on fodmap sources that I don’t really like that much or notice I almost always have problems with. Grapes, onions, garlic for example. Second, I try to mentally tally how much I’ve eaten in any given 24 hour period, when I have had 1 or 2, I’m done for the day. Third, I take oregano pills as a natural anti-yeast when I know I’ve been bad.
Now, I rarely preach the fodmaps to people and I tell people who don’t know about FODMAPs, that I’m just allergic to things. People are trained to just accept this most of the time. This is problematic though, because sometimes people will catch you eating something that you said you’re allergic to, and they don’t understand that you can have a small amount and probably be ok.
So how does knowing this help? In some ways, just knowing that I’m not insane, that this is a real thing, and makes sense, has really helped. Plus, I’m less likely to be “randomly” sick, though it doesn’t help too much when I’m knowingly eating things I know I shouldn’t. I also can appreciate when someone lactose intolerant says they’re going to eat ice cream and just be sick later. I get that, I’m that guy too! Heck, how can I say no to roasted garlic cloves in my pasta? I’ll just feel like I’m dying for the next couple days. Its worth it…right?
Well, that was my spiel on FODMAPs. I hope it was interesting, and even more so, I hope it helps someone out there. If you have experience with problems like this, or can correct me on what I misunderstood about FODMAPs, please post down below or share this video with someone who might have similar issues.
With that, please click Like, subscribe to our channel and finally, Eat On!

The Ingredients – Game Setup Guide for The Big Book of Madness

Just posted the first in our Game Setup series “The Ingredients”, a follow up to our review of The Big Book of Madness.

The intention here is that people can take out their copy of the game and set it up, or can watch it in preparation for getting a copy of the game. Enjoy!

Vlog the 1st: Richard’s Rants

I post my first vlog!

The lighting was crap, but Anna fixed it as well as she could in post. It was fun and apparently we both don’t mind making fun of me here and there. 😉

DnDorks comic moved here

We ran the dndorks.com site for years, and obviously our choice of name was at least somewhat inspired by our webcomic.  We haven’t fully committed to more webcomics, but we’re exploring the idea.  In the meantime, we migrated all 800+ dndorks.com webcomics here, as well as a few of our old but good articles!

Please enjoy the comics here.  We’re still in the process of figuring out how to migrate our rants and accompanying messages.  We’re even further away from being able to migrate comments.  If you’re a wordpress expert and could give us some advice, please message us!

Homemade Chili Powder

Pasilla

Pasilla peppers.  I love these chocolatey, raisiny peppers!  They’re the key to the chili powder I use in all of my southwestern style goodies that I cook for families and friends.  The recipe below really assumes you’re going to have access to some, and if you don’t live somewhere that sells it (tip! in many grocery stores in the US, there is a stand of Mexican spices, separate from the other spices.  Here in Vegas the areas is normally all for a brand of spices called Tampico and sometimes I find it hidden away in the back or near the produce aisle), you can buy it off of Amazon here. Typically I’d link to a specific product, but as I don’t get my pasilla online I linked to a search that gave a lot of apparently good options.  If you can find a store that caters to cultural foods you’re probably going to get better deals (second tip! buy your spices at Indian groceries to get dramatically cheaper, fresher spices!)

I intentionally only make enough for one or two dishes, as I make a batch every week or so.  The chili powder is probably good for weeks or even months, but is really great that first week. I store it in a cool salt box I found on Amazon.  The box has 3 shelves and has a nice smooth wooden feel.  The other shelves I use for excess garam masala and leftover bbq rub.

Anyways, fresh chili powder is going to dramatically increase the flavor of your southwestern foods while letting you customize the flavor profile to your family’s needs.  Want hotter? smokier? milder? You can do it, all you need is a base to work from.  This is one such a possible base. 😀

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 2 tsp pasilla chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp of chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp of some sort of paprika, I prefer smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (I prefer californian style or at least a thicker grind style)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin.

Directions

Looking at that ingredient list, you might be able to get an idea of what kind of flavors I like.  Smoky, chocolatey, raisiny.  Play with the ingredients.  If you want milder, leave out the chipotle and put more paprika or ancho.  If you like onion, replace half of the garlic powder with onion powder.  You want as fresh as possible but not wet, they should all be dried and/or smoked spices.

If you bought all pre-ground ingredients, just mix them and use them in any dish that calls for chili powder.  The following instructions are for those lucky enough to have access to whole dried chiles.

Preparing the Chiles

  1. Make sure the chiles are still leathery, if they’re brittle or crack when you bend them, they probably are too old and won’t add much flavor to your dish.
  2. Toast the chiles either in a skillet or in the oven.  Personally, I just put the skillet at about medium-high heat until the chiles are smoking a little bit.  If you are doing a lot, use your oven.  Be prepared for any fumes and/or remove it at the first sign of smoking, don’t do this around birds without good ventilation.
  3. Wear gloves (if you’re sensitive to the oils at least, I don’t wear gloves, but I just make sure not to touch anything until I wash my hands!)
  4. Cut the top off of your chiles, then along one end so you can flatten it out.  Scissors work great for this.
  5. Dump out the seeds and remove the stem pieces.
  6. Grind the chiles in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, remove any remaining big pieces, you’re done!

Well, there wasn’t really too much to this recipe.  Buy the spices and mix them or grind the spices then mix them.  Thats why I love this recipe, I can make small amounts as I need them. I don’t always toast the chiles, depends on my mood.  Sometimes I literally grab a bowl, mix the spices, then immediately use them, often while something is cooking on the stove.  Its quick and easy, though not as fragrant as when I have the time to toast the chiles.

Cooking Ideas!

From here I’m going to give some ideas on how I use them, and if you have other ideas or good combinations, please share them below!

Ground Beef Tacos

What I do, is get 93/7 grass fed ground beef, some cumin, my chili powder, and some tomato paste concentrate.  My preference for the tomato paste that comes in a tube or in a glass jar.  I don’t want the little cans as its wasteful.

  1. brown the meat by turning the stovetop high enough to brown the meat, then brown the meat until its about 75% cooked (pink will still show).
  2. make sure you break up the hamburger into its smallest bits, larger bits will keep the seasoning out and it will lack flavor.
  3. Once the meat is ready, I push the meat aside and make sure there isn’t too much fat.  With 93/7, there shouldn’t be, but if there is too much fat I pour some of it out, I only want a small amount of oil at the bottom of the pan; a bit more than what you would use to cook eggs with.
  4. Push the meat to the sides to form a circle of just oil in the middle. If you accidentally poured out all of the oil or your meat just doesn’t have much oil, go ahead and put in a dollop of olive oil or safflower oil (I use safflower oil).
  5. Put the taco spices in that little oil circle you’ve prepared.  For me, thats 2 tbsp of chili powder.  1 tbsp of concentrated tomato paste. 1 tbsp of cumin.
  6. I saute the spices in that little circle until they smell really great.  This is crucial, the oil and heat will toast those spices and really become pungent.
  7. Pour in about half a cup to a cup of water and mix the meat together.
  8. Lower the heat to just enough to keep cooking off the water (3-4 on my stovetop), cover and cook until the mixture has become less soupy.  If after 10-15 minutes, it isn’t dry enough, remove the lid.  What you want to look for, is that the meat should be moist and moldable, but there shouldn’t be a liquid that might soak through taco shells.
  9. Season with salt to taste, spoon over tortilla chips, into taco shells, or whatever you like to use taco meat for.

Seasoned Refried Beans (rescued can beans)

Refried beans straight from a can are sad things nothing like what you might get from a good Mexican restaurant.  Here is how I salvage them without cooking raw beans for 12 hours.

  1. Take a sauce pan, put in a solid at room temperature fat like pork lard (classic and my preference) or palm oil (don’t use a liquid fat or these will get an unpleasant oily sheen across them).
  2. Heat the sauce pan at a bit higher than medium heat while you open the can.
  3. Pour, slide the beans from the can into the pot.  It might pop a bit if you let it get too hot, its fine, just be ready for it.
  4. Stir the beans until the beans and the fat blend well (or as Anna would say, incorporated).
  5.  Add a tsp of chili powder, mix well.
  6. Add a 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (I like cheddar, but you can go with a white mexican cheese or whatever you like).
  7. Add enough water to thin the mixture to a consistency more similar to what you prefer.  I add just a little at a time, mix, then add more.  Its hard to undo excess water unless you open another can of beans.

Those are just a few ideas, I hope these ideas give your food a bit of a kick!  Thanks everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Unwelcome House Guest

I wrote this quick story to help me conceptualize how the rules and setting work together in Shadowrun 5e.  I might have gotten some of this wrong and will try to correct if I can.

An Unwelcome House Guest

7:47PM, 2072

Krazy Kat sips at her Digital Sunrise, then sighs and puts the glass down, “Drek, this synthohol is for dataslaves, I need the real stuff!”

She looks at the human bartender and pouts, “Are you sure you can’t slip in a little real orange juice?”  Kat leans over, her Armante dress changing colors in such a way as to suggest it being more revealing, though the reality is that the fancy silver dress didn’t move a smidgen out of place.

Game Rules
Krazy Kat rolls a negotiation 5 + Charisma 8- Annoying -1 for (12) [11]  vs the bartender's  Charisma 3 + negotiation 3 [6]. 
Kat gets 3 hits, the bartender gets 2 hits.  Not enough for the bartender to be fully convinced, he gives her extra garnish.

The bartender smiles but shakes his head, “Even if I wanted to, they monitor every transaction, every drop, gotta pay for the real stuff or its no good for me.  Here you go though”, and with that, he reaches something out of the garnish tray and puts it on the edge of her glass, it looks vaguely similar to an orange slice.

“Hey, that’s not even a real orange slice!”, she pouts, even as her commlink begins buzzing. She glances at her display before tapping the screen and taking a few steps away from the bartender.  “Grung! You got something for me? I’m bored as hell!”  She subconsciously brings up her cred balance as she says this, visions of her upcoming rent and future synthohols on her mind.

“Chill”, a gravely voice comes through her earbuds.  On screen, a pock-marked tusked brown face squints at her, “I’ve got work, nothing big, meet me at the Dancing Ronin?”

“Sure, tomorrow? I just got my drink”

“Tonight, if Mr Johnson wanted to wait, he’d have hired someone more officially”, Grung snaps, “Unless you want me to call someone else?”

“Fine fine”, Kat snaps, “Be there in thirty.”  The screen goes black, Grung doesn’t even bother to say bye.

“Bartender!”, Kat calls, “another one, this one real, but make it fast, I’ve got business to tend to”

8:50PM, 2072

“I said thirty minutes”, Grung grumps at her as she sweeps in to the Dancing Ronin, her glimmering dress catching the eye of every guy in the room.

She sweeps an errant silver lock of hair behind her pointed ear, “Oh come on Grung, it was close enough.  You have my job lined up?”

“Your Mr Johnson is in the back room, but hes not expecting you for another 20 minutes”

“Another 20…? Why did I rush here then?”, Kat complains as she takes the glass from Frank’s chrome articulated hand.

“I know how your rushing works”, Grung gives a big tusk-filled smile, “So this way you’re actually early”

Kat huffs and takes a long swallow of her drink before giving Grung her attention again, “Anything I should know about the job?”

“Spirit problem”, Grung says, getting serious, the way he always does when he talks about a Run. “Something arcane, requiring a mage, and also discrete or he’d use corp resources.  Not enough pay to justify a whole crew.  I don’t know much more.”

“Ok”, Kat nods.

Raven, I have a chore for you.  Scan the man in the backroom.  Tell me anything you can about his mood, any magical protection he might have, any illusions, or any obvious threats.

The whirling mass of raven-like forms momentarily appears in front of Kat, somehow nods as one, then vanishes.  Moments later, the mass appears again, only to Kat.  Grung blissfully unaware of the mass of bird-like shapes overlying his point of reality.

The Raven spirit assenses the room nearby, then returns.  Assensing 6 + Intuition 6 [6] getting 4hits letting it know the man's implants, general health, and what caused the target's state of being.

The raven spirit sends back in her thoughts, An afraid human sits in that room, a hole in his spirit where his eyes and around his head are.  There are other spirits interested in him, and he sits alone.  He didn’t seem able to see us.  He has recently been near something powerful.

Kat is both happy and frustrated with the response.  Happy, because this exec shouldn’t be a threat with his lack of magic, disappointed because she wasted one of her three services the spirit owed her on something she could have learned herself.

Straightening out her clothing, queuing a soft strobing effect in her Armante’ dress, Kat twirled twice in place.  As she spun, Kat uttered a few small melodic phrases in sperethiel.  Her form wavered momentarily, her hair growing longer, her body sleeker, her clothes somehow even more exceptional.  Beyond her physical appearance, she somehow glowed in a way that was beyond simply magical or physical.

She was.

Game Rules
Casting Increase Charisma
Force: She chooses 6
Roll: Spellcasting 5 + magic 6 [6] for 6 hits.
Determine Effect: She increases her Charisma from 8 to 12 (the max, the extra 2 is wasted) but taking -2 on die rolls due to having to maintain the spell
Drain: DV is 3, she rolls Willpower + Magic -2 to resist, 2 hits, taking 1 stun.

Every man in the room turns towards Kat, their pupils dilating for a moment as they fixated on her.

Even Grung had an appreciative look, “Uh….Kat, it isn’t that I don’t appreciate you like this…”, he wipes some drool from his mouth with a forearm, “… but I think you should go in and see that Mr. Johnson, before this crowd gets even more rowdy.”

Twirling again, this time for the pleasure of it, the magic was already in place, Kat giggled and went towards the back meeting room.

9:00pm, 2072

Entering the room, Kat appreciated the mixed look of fear and desire on the chubby man in nice (but not brand name) man sitting at the lone table.  Parts of his face were red from obviously resting his head in his hands.  What there wasn’t so obvious a source of, was the black eye he had.

“Mr Johnson”, Kat purred, “How sir, may I help you tonight?”

The man gulped, “Who? Oh yeah, er right, Mr joh…”, he flushes as he stops talking.

Obviously not a man familiar with dealing with ShadowRunners, he could be easy to deal with, or difficult, depending on his previous assumptions.

“Everything is going to be ok, just lay it out, we’ll work out a fair amount of compensation, and sooner than you can imagine”, she snaps her fingers loudly, “done!”

“Yes well…er my home, it well, I opened a box, it something happened, a Thing appeared, blasted me out of my own home. I thought I was safe.”

“Safe?”, Kat was intrigued, this wasn’t a typical job.

“Safe from the traps.  Its my job, I’m on the list.  “

“Oh, you activated a guardian spirit, because you thought you could open the container”

“But I handle the containers all the time! I’ve never had a problem”, the man splutters.

“You were probably told not to open the containers, right?”, Kat smiled, trying to avoid giggling.

“…yes”, the man pouted, “Can you put the thing back, or get rid of it or something?”

Kat was enjoying this man’s unhappiness a bit too much, “Of course, Grung told you I was the best right?”

“He said you were chea…er affordable.  That you’d be understanding”

Kat saw red for a moment.  CHEAP!  That bastard.  Lights started to flicker as Kat’s stress threatened to release a ball lightning to fry this cheap bar’s electronics.  Getting herself under control, Kat nodded, “Oh of course I’ll be understanding.  Normally I’d charge 7k for a job like this, but you didn’t ask for this, did you? Of course not, I’ll charge you only 5k, discreet creds of course”

Game Rules
Kat buys hits (pg 45) for her the negotiation successes with her Charisma (12) + Negotiation (5) -2 for 3 successes, the GM says the man's state is so unsteady he completely yields to her demands if he has them to give.

The man’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “Fi…Fi…Five thousand!  I I I don’t have that kind of money. “  The man started to get up, mumbling to himself “Maybe I can move?  I don’t need that stuff. For 5k I can buy all new clothing, rent a hotel room tonight”

Sighing, Kat knew this was a lost deal, “2k and I get whatever was in the box.  How did you think you could take the box anyways?”

“It wasn’t on the manifest. I was curious, there isn’t any record of it.  So many boxes, I don’t get to see in any of them!”, the flustered battered man says, a bit of pride in his voice.  “It has to be worth way more than 7k!”

“What do you think your bosses will do once they track their spirit down to your home?”, Kat asked, feeling a little bad about turning the screw on her client.  Only a little bad.

The man paled, apparently having forgotten the consequences of his misdeed.  “Can you make the spirit go away? So they don’t know where it went?”

“Of course!” Kat lied.

“Ok, 2k it is, and whats in the box”

“Excellent, prepare the funds and I’ll get this taken care of”, Kat smiled, reaching out to shake hands with the Mr Johnson.

11:30pm PST

Kat took the long way out to the target’s house so she could nap off the multiple drinks as well as the minor wear of the charisma enhancing spell.

Game Rules
She makes a Body 2 + Willpower 5-2[1 hour minimum] to heal 1 stun (she got 2 successes but only had the one stun damage to heal).

Kat was being dropped off by a XeroFast smartCar outside a tiny suburban house just outside of Auburn.  A small copse of trees at the end of the block pretends to be a forest, and several neighbors glance out their windows at the glamorous elf.  The amount of attention her appearance was making seemed excessive, then she looked down at her still pulsing Armenté dress.

“They probably think I’m a joy girl come to visit the suburban Mr Johnson”, Kat jokes to herself, sending a signal to her dress to tone it down to pleasing autumn colors as she walked up to a small white picket gate.

“Lets see what we have here”, Kat said, as she opened herself up to assense the house and nearby environment.  Her eyes open wide as she perceives the amount of magical energy bubbling out of an angry cloud within the house.

Game Rules
Kat assenses the house using assensing 3+ intuition 4 [9] for 2 successes. 
She can see the class of the aura from inside the house, a guardian spirit, a type of spirit above and beyond your typical fire elemental or beast spirit.

“Hope that item is worth it, the spirits know that that 2k isn’t”.

Her charisma-enhancing spell released earlier, Kat prepares her next spell.  Closing her eyes, she starts a soft quiet clapping, steady, like a beating heart; Kat’s heart, in fact. Steadily she increases the beat, her own breathing increasing in tempo to match.  Ending with a sudden clap, her movements become accelerated, supernaturally so, though she staggers a bit as she fails to channel the magical energy as well as she hoped.

Game Rules
Kat cast Increase Reflexes 
Decide Force 6
Roll: Spellcasting 5 + Magic 6 [Force] for 11 dice and gets 7 hits. Thats over her limit of 6, so only 6 successes.  
Determine Effect: She gets +6 initiative, + 3 dice.  Sustaining this spell gives a -2 dice penalty.
Drain: Drain Value 6, 13 dice 4 hits, 2 stun damage, she has no would penalties yet.

She also keeps herself open to seeing into the astral, allowing herself to be attacked from astral beings but also being able to attack them, in case the guardian spirit chooses to remain in the astral.

“Lets see whats inside”, she continues to mumble to herself as she accelerates towards the front door.

The door opens in response to Kat’s commlink’s request; the recognition key the Johnson gave her proving to be valid.  Starting to step into the doorway, Kat suddenly realizes how ridiculous this is.

“Drek this!” she curses, as she starts to turn around, “a couple k isn’t worth dying over.”

She makes it a few steps away before she realizes she was affected by a glamour.  Uttering a soft growl, Kat calls out mentally. <Raven, I’m asking another of my owed services.>

Game Rules
The guardian spirit uses Fear on her, working momentarily, but then Kat overcomes it.
Willpower 9 + Magic 9 vs Kat's Willpower 5 + Logic 2 .  The guardian spirit gets 5 hits, Kat gets 3 hits, making Kat afraid for 2 rounds.  Kat then has to make a willpower + logic vs target 2 to come back into the house. She gets exactly 2 successes, just barely enough.

The amorphous cloud of vaguely bird-shapes appears within her vision.  Are we really going to fight That? it sends to her telepathically.

Yes, are you up for it?, she mentally asks

If you’re so inclined, the raven spirit acquieses.

Lets do this!, Kat thinks to her spirit, excited by going in, and if she were honest with herself, with the danger.

Turning once again, Kat and the cloud behind her, enter the house, her senses screaming for indications of danger, either physically or astrally.

Almost too fast to see, a shadowy form lunges at her with some sort of spear.

Kat’s enhanced reflexes allow her to whirl with the spear, its blade glancing off of the armored plates inserted in her fluttering dress.

Looking closer at the creature, a vaguely shadowy muscular man with a jaguar head is already preparing to attack.

Calculating the distance mentally, Kat launches a ball of lightning behind the jaguar spirit, it crackles and spits as it lobs over the spirit.  The spirit reaches out, pulling some of the energy from the orb, but not enough.  The orb passes crackling beyond the spirit’s reach then explodes!  Electronics sputter and spark, the house gets dimmer as lightning is burned out.  The spirit roars silently as lightning arcs through its body.

Kat gestures at the raven spirit with a GO action, which lunges towards the jaguar warrior spirit, scratching holes in the guardian spirit’s substance.  The roar of the guardian spirit sounds something between a man and a wounded great cat.

The jaguar warrior spirit shakes his head, nearly dispersed by the attack, but lunges again at Kat.

For a moment, Kat thinks shes dead, a shadowy spear penetrating completely through her left torso, then she gasps and slides off and back, out of the shadowy creature’s reach.

She clutches at her side, knowing the next blow could be her last.  Not knowing what else to do, her thrill seeker nature not letting her run, she channels the mana necessary to power another ball of lightning.  Her vision darkens for a moment, her spirit roars like a screeching eagle, and she forces the magical energy to channel into the desired effect.  A spark flies past the guardian spirit, then BOOM  A thundrous blast of electricity arcs everywhere, vaporizing what was rest of the electrical grid and whiting out the scene in front of her.

When her vision is restored, the spirit is gone, no trace of it.  She knows the spirit is not permanently dead, and hopes she hasn’t made a permanent enemy of it, but that it won’t be able to reform for weeks.

“Whew”, Kat limps deeper into the house, “this job was definitely worth more than 2k.”

In the living room of the house, Kat found what she was looking for, a box covered with carvings of jaguars and feathered snakes.  The lid was partially open, a turquoise turtle visible within.

Hello, are you the source of all of these troubles?”, Kat smiled, despite her wounds, “Whats this?  A magical turtle artifact? I’ll take that.”

Game Rules for Combat
Surprise Check
Shes ready for trouble, though not “what” is going to happen, so gets +3 to her Intuition + Reaction for 9 dice .  4 hits.  The Guardian spirit rolls 15 dice also for 4 hits.  Neither are surprised as they both get at least 3 hits.
Initiative
Guardian Spirit: 19 + 2d6 for 21 (rolled two 1s, the software wants to screw the monster).
Kat: 6 + 1d6 + 6 and 3d6 from her spell is 12+4d6 for 36  (I seriously rolled 4 6s!).
Raven: 12+2d6  for 19
First Initiative Round.
Kat's First pass
Kat unleashes Ball Lightning against the creature.
Determine Force 6.
Roll: Spellcasting + Magic [Force] -2 (3) for  10 dice[6](3), 6 hits becomes 5, for 11 damage.
Interrupt Action: Guardian Spirit desperately counterspells as an interrupt action, -5 initiatve (16).  9 dice.  2 hits, reducing her roll from 3 to 2, taking the damage from 11 to 9.
Determine Effect: Damage Soak: Guardian Spirit Body (10) for 7 hits.  The guardian Spirit takes 2 damage  with Electrical doing -1 dice pools and -5 initiative.
 Drain: 5 DV resisted by 12 dice -2 dice for 10 dice, 4 successes.  She takes 1 more point of stun damage, for a total of 4 stun.
The remaining initiative is
Kat 36(36)
Guardian Spirit: 21(11)
Raven: 19(19)
Raven's First Pass
Raven lashes out in the astral plane.
Astral Combat + Willpower [astral] vs Intuition + Logic. Charisma Damage.
Raven rolls 6 + 6 [6] vs 9+9-2 for 6 hits vs 4 hits, for 6 (Charisma) + 2 extra hit for 8 damage soaked by Willpower (9 dice) for 8 - 4 hits equaling 4 damage.  Raven can choose physical or stun damage and chooses physical to match Kat.
Damage Recap
Guardian Spirit is 7 physical damage.  dice modifiers-2 condition monitor, -1 from electricity.
Kat has 4 stun damage, -1 condition monitor.

Jaguar Warrior Guardian Spirit's First Pass
The jaguar warrior spirit stabs at Kat.
8 Agility + 9 -3 Combat skill 14 dice for 3 hits.
Kat dodges for Reaction 2 + Intuition 4 for 6 dice, 1 hit, leaving 3-1 for  2 hits.
Jaguar Warrior’s damage is 11+2 for 13.
Kat rolls Body + armor for 10 dice and gets 5 hits.  She takes 8 damage.
Damage Recap
Guardian Spirit is at 7 physical, dice modifiers include -2 condition and still -1 from electricity
Kat has 4 stun damage, 8 physical, for -3 dice pool
End of first passes
Subtract 10 from each initiative, whoever has more than 0, gets another pass.
 Kat  36 -  36 -10 = 26
 Raven:  19 - 19-10 = 9
 Guardian Spirit: 21 - 11 - 10 = 1
Kat knows one more hit will end her, so she strikes again with another ball lightning.
Determine Force: 6
Roll: Spellcasting + Magic + Focus –wounds - 2 equals 7 dice, 3 hits.
Getting at least 3 with an area spell, she doesn’t miss, but came perilously close to possibly killing herself.
Jaguar warrior is out of counterspelling dice.
Determine Effect: Damage is Force + 3 hits for  8 damage.
Jaguar Warrior rolls Body (10) for 4 hits, taking 4 damage.  The Jaguar spirit is at negative 1, enough to disperse it but not destroy it.
Drain:  5 DV resisted by 12 – 3 for 9 dice, 6 hits, no damage.

Post battle
Kat releases her reaction spell and casts heal on herself.
Determine Force: 7 (over her magic rating means any drain is physical damage, but her roll is high enough, she thinks she can pull it off)
Roll: Spellcasting + Magic– wounds equals 8 dice for 3  hits.
Determine Effect: She goes from 7 physical damage to 4, she now only has -2 condition monitor but must maintain the spell for 7 rounds for it to become permanent.  Her remaining 4 is unhealable and must be healed.
Drain: 7  -4 for 3  DV, physical damage because its over her magic.
She rolls 12 -5  for 5 dice and 3 soak, not taking any drain damage.

1:30AM 2072

Again resting an hour in a XeroFast SmartXcar she summons with her commlink.

Game Rules
Body 2+Willpower  5 -3[1 hour minimum] to heal 1 stun (its going to take much longer to heal as wounded as she is)

Later, back at the club, Kat walks into the club, feeling sore, but happy.  “Yo, Grung, hope your man got the funds.”

Grung only grunted, not even looking in her direction, which she ignored. Typical Grung, bastard can never appreciate when I do my thing.

Stepping into the back room, she yells out, “Everything is done, you can go home now…whats going on here?”

Inside the room, instead of a skittish white collar worker, is a human in a VERY expensive suit.  The man has a golden hued skin from long hours in the sun or time in a tropical climate, and his glossy black hair is slicked perfectly back.

Next to the man, almost invisible in the shadows, are two in similarly expensive suits, but very different demeanors.  The man to the left has a solid chrome eyes, and a large bulge where a heavy weapon must be.  The woman to the right also has black hair and golden skin, is expensively clothed but showing off a lot more skin.  Golden serpents encircle each wrist and a golden jaguar head with ruby eyes is chained around her neck as a choker necklace.  Everything about the woman screams “magic”, even without assensing her.

“I am Viktor Ortega.  You did us a service tonight.  I understand you recovered one of our artifacts for us?”, the man speaks with a thick accent but perfect English.

“Uh, I’m here to meet someone else, maybe this is the wrong room.”, Kat says as she starts to scramble backwards out of the room.

The cybered bodyguard starts to move forward, his hand holding the hilt of his gun almost too quick to see.

“Hold Sanchez”, the man says, putting up a hand, “We can’t have any misunderstandings.  I believe you recovered an item of ours tonight, a turtle?  I know you had nothing to do with the unfortunate release of our property, and we will compensate you for your time.”

Kat realized shes too hurt to survive another battle tonight, too tired, and simply doesn’t give a drek about this enough to argue.

Putting on her best beauty pageant smile, Kat smiles and bows slightly.  “Of course, I only want whats best.  What about the man who hired me?”

Ortega smiles at this, a cold smile full of malice, “You don’t need to worry about him, he’s receiving company retraining.  Now, for your services.  5k should suffice, and a promise that you’ll be available if we should need your services again?”

“5k?  Surely”, Kat started to bargain, but paused for a moment when the woman smiled, and she knew they were waiting for her to make a misstep, “…a reasonable offer, more than reasonable.”

Pulling out the tortoise, Kat slid it onto the table as Ortega slid over a credstick.

“I’m sure we’ll be doing business together soon”, Ortega smiles as he takes the tortoise.

With that, the three leave the room, making it obvious they’d walk through Kat if she didn’t move, which she quickly did; backing out into the hallway.

***

Walking out into the main room, Kat tried to keep from shaking as she limped out to Grung’s table and wearily sat down.  No special pattern on her dress, other than some suspiciously dark brown stains near the rip above her hip.

Grung looked at her timidly, a strange thing for such a big ork, “You ok?”

“Sometimes your name makes total sense”, Krazy Kat spat, “They took what I earned.”Grung narrowed his small eyes at the reference to how similar his name was to a grunge, the slanderous term for orks, but then resigned himself with a sigh, “They said they’d pay you and wouldn’t hurt you.  What do you care?”

Grung narrowed his small eyes at the reference to how similar his name was to a grunge, the slanderous term for orks, but then resigned himself with a sigh, “They said they’d pay you and wouldn’t hurt you.  What do you care?”

Kat smiles, “Frank, two tequila sunrises, the real stuff, Grung’s paying”

Grung raises an eyebrow, “Why two? I can’t stand that dandelion drek”

Kat laughs off the friendly slur, “One for me to drink, the other for me to throw in your face to even us up.”

Grung, “Frank, Make one of those synthohol, no need to be wasteful”

Game Rules
Karma Rewards
Survived for 2 karma. Completed all objectives for 2 karma.  Highest opposed dice pool 16 /6 equals 2 karma.  6 karma.

 

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