Archive for December, 2007

True Neutral

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

I Am A: True Neutral Elf Bard/Wizard (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:

True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Primary Class:
Bards often serve as negotiators, messengers, scouts, and spies. They love to accompany heroes (and villains) to witness heroic (or villainous) deeds firsthand, since a bard who can tell a story from personal experience earns renown among his fellows. A bard casts arcane spells without any advance preparation, much like a sorcerer. Bards also share some specialized skills with rogues, and their knowledge of item lore is nearly unmatched. A high Charisma score allows a bard to cast high-level spells.

Secondary Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard’s strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

How to Spot a Cylon

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Here’s a handy informational poster on how to spot a cylon. Also available from the same site, Colonial fleet propaganda posters.

Boston, the Novel

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

This BostonNOW blog entry mentioning America’s windiest third-world city inspired me to blog again about our slushy winter wonderland. Even though it’s still technically fall, I had to break out the Severe Weather Hat today to survive the windchill downtown and in the ‘burbs. But the true pleasure of the commute was the black ice, which I battled without my snow boots because they’re still soaked from the 6 inch deep “wintry mix” flooding every intersection in Boston on Sunday.

Winter in Boston is an Ayn Rand novel, complete with political speeches.

Update: I take it back. The worst part of the commute was not the black ice (most of which is on the roads I have to walk on in the ‘burbs where they don’t believe in clearing sidewalks). The worst part of the commute was when I got to the bus stop tonight and it wasn’t there. Yes, readers, we are here in the fine city of ‘Burb, where we’ve secretly replaced Jemima’s usual bus stop with a two-foot high mound of ice. Let’s see if anyone gets squished by an eighteen-wheeler!

You see, in the fine city of ‘Burb, they not only don’t shovel the sidewalks; they also plow all the snow onto them. If there’s a breakdown lane they usually fill that up halfway, too. There is no breakdown lane in front of the inbound bus stop, though there is one outbound so I wasn’t faced with the new MBTA sport of dodge-the-eighteen-wheeler this morning, only tonight. Last night I got a ride to civilization (that is, to a subway station) and never saw the ice mountain coming.

As I approached the bus stop this evening, I saw another commuter perched precariously on the street side of the sheer wall of ice. I thought the person was just especially eager to get the bus and was watching the three-lane road like a hawk for salvation from the ‘burbs. Little did I imagine that she had climbed up there to dodge an eighteen-wheeler, and that that hunk of ice was the bus stop.

When I reached the stop I was faced with the same conundrum: do I stand here in the outside lane of this three-lane major artery of ‘Burb, 50 feet from the onramp to a major highway until something squishes me, or do I take up mountain climbing? Well, I haven’t survived two years of dodging traffic on onramps in ‘Burb by standing still so they can squish me, so I climbed up onto the mound of ice (not as easy as it sounds) and sat there until the bus came. It was, of course, late.

In fact, we never caught the scheduled express bus from ‘Burb. Instead an angel of a bus driver who was out of service stopped for us anyway and brought us back to civilization. Thus I lived to commute another day.

This is not my first winter in ‘Burb, so I asked myself, Self, why has there always been a bus stop here before, and why today, of all fine fall days, has the bus stop been replaced by ice? I came up with an answer: The bus to the ‘burbs doesn’t run on weekends, so no one was there after Sunday’s storm to stomp down the snow and recreate the little path to the street that brave commuters forged on Thursday afternoon. Yet I doubt the City of ‘Burb will bring in a jackhammer to clear the bus stop, and as for the MBTA, they don’t think it’s their problem, so watch this space. Winter, when it finally arrives, is going to be interesting.

The Commute that Time Forgot

Friday, December 14th, 2007

My attitude yesterday was, “It’s just a little snow.”

My first mistake was going to work at all. I should have turned around after the Green Line collision at Bolyston, when they tossed us all off the train at Kenmore and promised shuttle busses. By chance I was near the back door of the first shuttle bus to show up when the crowd mobbed it, and I got on.

Of course, running the downtown Green Line stops above ground at rush hour is doomed to take forever, even pre-snow. So I missed not only my bus to the ‘burbs, but my emergency back-up bus to the adjacent ‘burb. Then there was an incident I don’t have time to go into involving an Orange Line train going out of service and a bus that may or may not have been the next bus to the ‘burbs. I ended up on a later bus to the adjacent ‘burb. By the time I got to work, a few warning flakes were in the air and the early rats were already fleeing the sinking ship.

I shook my head at the foolish rats. Why not wait until after 4, when the snow was supposed to slow down? That’s what I did, and the bus to civilization spent only one hour on I-93 before bailing out of the run. The driver threw us all off the bus at the Sullivan Square T stop, meaning back to the Orange Line for me. But the trains were running fine and from then on my commute was of its usual duration.

Other people spent four or eight hours in their cars. The governor blames the rats for leaving work early, the rats blame the governor for telling them to leave early. I don’t think this situation was covered by the French Toast Alert System, but we’re having another storm Saturday night and here’s the alert level: