Posts Tagged ‘ Catholic ’

Conferencing in Austin, Texas

So, Wednesday through Friday of last week, I was in Austin attending a classical education conference spearheaded by the Circe Institute. Lots of smart people talking smartly about smart things related to the best way to educate children. I sat in on some fascinating sessions, including one that explained a basic lesson format that encourages something at least approaching Socratic discussion in math classes as an aid to memory. I have hopes that implementing those ideas will help my students this coming school year.

Unfortunately, there were some downsides. I woke up at about 0430 each morning with a migraine that I still haven’t completely shaken, but at least the pain is down to a very dull throb that is easy to ignore if I keep occupied. The conference was held in the Hyatt Regency. For the price, the rooms seemed small, especially my second room that I ended up sharing with a fellow teacher. The hotel-provided breakfasts and lunches weren’t that good. I ate out for breakfast one day and for lunch another day.

For breakfast, I had the French toast and coffee at Snooze: An A.M. Eatery. The food was good, but pricey for French toast. The menu of alcoholic breakfast cocktails was intriguing, but I abstained. For late lunch, I hit Polvos and had some tasty enchiladas and several glasses of water. I was on foot hoofing it about 3.4 miles round trip from the hotel to San Jose Catholic Church for evening Mass in a charming yet simple chapel. I walked around the parish grounds a bit, visting the small shrine to Our Lady of Fatima before walking back to the hotel.

I was about 1930 by the time I made it back to near the hotel. I stopped at Aussie’s Grill & Beach Bar to knock back a couple pints of local Live Oak Brewing Company‘s HefeWeizen with bourbon chasers. After this, my headache was mostly gone, so I went to bed to get a few hours sleep before the pain would wake me up again.

Thursday evening, I drove down the road to Tribe Comics & Games for Thursday-night games. Beforehand, I popped into the Kerbey Lane Cafe for some shrimp and grits. Tasty.

After dinner, I walked across the parking lot to Tribe Games & Comics. I was dropped into a group of six at a table getting ready to play four hours of D&D’s most recent edition. I’d not played 5E before, and I’d not done anything d20 System related for years. I don’t own a single 5E book, nor am I likely to unless someone just gives them to me.

I was given an already-made, some what generic human barbarian to play. I named him Anarch Greywulf. Player and character introductions were made all around. I was remiss and made no notes, so I can’t tell you who the people in the pictures are. They played a cleric, a fighter of some sort, a paladin, a bard, a sorcerer (I think), and a luchador-style monk. Our adventure revolved around breaking a bandit out of jail so that we could get information about a pending meeting between a bandit chief and a wicked sorceress that threatened the peace of the region.

It was an enjoyable four hours in a way-crowded gaming space. It was loud, and I’m pretty sure I missed more than one key point because I couldn’t quite hear what the DM or the other players were saying. Still, we had fun. Our characters rescued the bandit, killing an enraged and escaping minotaur in the process while the tower burned down around them. Anarch walked boldly into the bandit camp, dropped a few names, and was escorted to a tent where he was told to wait. While this went on, the rest of the party snuck up on the meeting point. Anarch befriended “Little” Eric, one of the bandits. The monk was spotted after getting too close. Chaos ensued.

Anarch convinced “Little” Eric that owl-omened treachery was afoot, and thus that NPC aided our party against the sorcereress’s kobold, orc, and owlbear minions. During the battle, our characters ran roughshod over the enemies on both sides, preventing any sort of evil alliance and probably collecting a nice bunch of treasure as well. I’m not sure on the latter since it was getting late. I didn’t stick around for the postgame report in the parking lot.

As I’ve said, it was a fun game. It’s not going to make me rush out and buy 5E books or find a local 5E game to play in. Not really my cup of tea any more. Games like Dungeon World, Monster of the Week, and Fate Accelerated fit the bill more nowadays, and shortly my little gaming group here in Houston, Texas, will start a new campaign using Barbarians of Lemuria.

Also, it’s good to be back home. Austin is a nice place to visit, but it’s not where the heart is.

So, a big “Thanks!” to the folks at Tribe Games & Comics. If I’m ever back in Austin on a Thursday, I’ll try to fit another game into my schedule.

July 23rd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

A New Cleric Spell & A Magical Lake

At that time Jesus exclaimed, “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children.” (The Gospel According to St. Matthew 11-25)

Apophatic Facade
Spell Level: Cleric, 1st Level
Range: 120 feet
Duration: Until dispelled or an attack is made

The object of this spell, whether a person or a thing, becomes invisible to both the normal sight and darkvision of Chaotic creatures. A non-Chaotic creature can see the target if that creature fails its saving throw against the spell. An invisible creature cannot be attacked unless its approximate location is known, and all attacks are made at -4 to hit. If the invisible creature makes an attack, the spell is broken. Otherwise, it lasts until dispelled or removed by the caster.

Pilkullinen

The Great Northern Forest’s full extent remains a mystery. It is an inhospitable land of rugged, wooden terrain subject to heavy precipitation, especially during the latter spring and fall months. A few days west by northwest of Mirror Rock is a shallow, wide valley into which flows several small streams. These streams feed into Pilkullinen, an alkali lake with remarkable properties. Pilkullinen is shallow for most of its length and breadth, perhaps no more than several yards deep except during the heaviest of rainy seasons. The lake drains into marshes along its southern and eastern shores. During the shorter dry seasons, much of Pilkullinen evaporates or drains away, revealing dozens of large, natural pools. The strange minerals in the lake concentrate in these pools, and impart upon the waters healing powers. Unfortunately, the savage and xenophobic barbarians native to the region believe their fierce gods gave Pilkullinen to them alone, and they zealously guard it against trespassers.

Anyone who soaks in one of the large, natural pools for 1d4 hours may benefit from the lake’s special qualities. Roll on the following table and apply the results.

Pilkullinen’s Powers

1: Cures all diseases and heals 2d6+2 hit points.
2: Cures all diseases and heals 1d6+1 hit points.
3: Heals 2d6+2 hit points.
4: Heals 1d6+1 hit points.
5: Boosts health. +1 saves versus disease and poison for a day.
6: Strengthens will. +1 saves versus charm and fear for a day.

July 10th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Dread Warrior

For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my familiar friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived, then we can overcome him, and take our revenge on him.” But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, they will not overcome me. (Jeremiah 20:10-11)

The Dread Warrior fights to defend holy causes against infidels, scoffers, blasphemers, and other evil-doers. He lacks the raw power and martial skill of the Warrior, but his righteous devotion grants him the ability to inspire dread in those he faces.

Dread Warrior
Starting HP: d8 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d8
Weapons & Armor: Any and All
Attack Damage: 1d8 / 1d4 Unarmed or Improvising

Special Features
Once per hour while in combat, a Dread Warrior can regain 1d6 lost HP.

When confronting evil-doers opposed to the Dread Warrior’s holy cause, the Dread Warrior inspires fear using his Dreadful Mien Usage Die, which starts at a d4 at 1st level. This fear affects a number of Hit Dice of enemies equal to the die’s roll plus the Dread Warrior’s level. For the next few minutes, the Dread Warrior rolls with Advantage against those foes.

The Dread Warrior rolls with Advantage when resisting effects that affect his emotions or loyalties.

Leveling Up
Roll to see if attributes increase. Roll twice for STR and CHA.

Every odd numbered level, step up the Dreadful Mien die.

June 26th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Bellatrix

In the picture, we see Thérèse of Lisieux in costume as Joan of Arc. The photograph dates from early 1895, about two years before Thérèse’s death from tuberculosis at the age of 24. Her sainthood was declared in May 1925 by Pius IX. Thérèse is the patron saint of aviators, florists, and those who suffer illnesses. Along with Francis Xavier, Thérèse is the patron of missions, and she and Joan are co-patrons of France. John Paul II declared Thérèse a Doctor of the Church in 1997, an honor Thérèse shares with three other women and about 30 men, an impressive accomplishment for such a young lady. Thérèse had a special fondness for Joan of Arc. You can read more about Thérèse at this site.

“But now,” [Jesus] said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!” (The Gospel According to St. Luke 22:36)

Bellatrix

Background & Origin: Emmanuelle Paquet, orphan and raised in a convent school by Discalced Carmelites, received an exceptional education growing up, to include a most unusual course of rigorous training in swordsmanship by Sister Joaquina de Olot, who had been a skilled athlete before taking vows. Emmanuelle also embraced an ethos focused on the works of mercy. After completing her schooling, Emmanuelle left the convent, taking on a position as a music tutor and earning additional monies as a secretary for a law office. In the latter position, Emmanuelle saw first-hand the effects of crime and poverty on people, especially on women and children.

The plight of several families at the hands of Hugo Mesrine, an extortionist and racketeer, greatly disturbed Emmanuelle. The young lady donned a costume and armed herself with sword and shield. Over a period of several days, Emmanuelle brought the fight to Mesrine and his criminal cohorts. She protected those families, disrupted Mesrine’s operations, and gathered evidence against Mesrine. The Parisian press exploded with sensational stories of a mysterious female vigilante. One journalist, picking up on the religious motifs of Emmanuelle’s costume and exploits, dubbed her Bellatrix, and the name stuck. In the end, Mesrine’s operations were crippled, and Mesrine himself found himself facing a date with Madame Guillotine. The Parisian underworld was shaken to its roots, and the people of Paris largely embraced Bellatrix as their protectress.

Motivation: To serve God and fight evil!

Qualities: Master [+6] Swordswoman, Master [+6] Gadget: Shield, Expert [+4] Athlete, Good [+2] Classical Education, Good [+2] Contacts with the Press, Good [+2] Criminology, Good [+2] Devotion to St. Joan of Arc, Good [+2] Hero of the People, Good [+2] Polyglot, Poor [-2] Ability to Compromise

Powers: None

Stunts: Expert [+4] Ricochet Shield Throw (Gadget: Shield Spin-Off, 1 HP)

Hero Point Pool: 5/10

June 24th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Great and Terrible Wilderness

Thy heart be lifted up, and thou remember not the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: And was thy leader in the great and terrible wilderness, wherein there was the serpent burning with his breath, and the scorpion and the dipsas, and no waters at all: who brought forth streams out of the hardest rock, And fed thee in the wilderness with manna which thy fathers knew not. And after he had afflicted and proved thee, at the last he had mercy on thee, Lest thou shouldst say in thy heart: My own might, and the strength of my own hand have achieved all these things for me. (Deuteronomy 8:14-16)

Fire Serpent
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: Bite
Special: Breath weapon, immune to fire, poison
Move: 12
Save: 15
HDE/XP: 6/400

Fire serpents, magical beasts that hunt during the heat of the day in certain deserts, appear much like normal snakes except for their brilliant scarlet coloration and the heat shimmer that surrounds them. An adult fire serpent may reach lengths between 12 and 16 feet. A fire serpent is uncomfortably hot to the touch, but not hot enough to cause immediate damage. When startled or threatened, this creature curls into striking position and exhales a gout of flame in a line 5 feet wide and 30 feet long. The blazing heat of this breath weapon inflcits 4d6 points of damage (a successful saving throw indicates half damage). A fire serpent’s bite packs a deadly poison. Those that succumb to this toxin burn from the inside.

Dipsas
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: Bite (1d6-1)
Special: Induce thirst, surprise foes
Move: 9/6 (burrowing)
Save: 17
HDE/XP: 3/60

Another rarer sort of magical snake found in certain deserts is the dipsas, also known as the thirst snake. These snakes lurk near oases, waiting buried in the sand or within the spaces between rocks. A dispas surprises its prey 4 in 6 times. Its bite forces a saving throw to avoid magically induced thirst. This thirst is so powerful that the victim will ignore even attacks for 1d6 rounds in order to slake the maddening hunger for water. Dipsas prefer to attack prey gripped by overwhelming thirst.

June 19th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »