innocent_man: (fusi)
[personal profile] innocent_man
First the links: Here we have a story about Japanese scientists and their genetic modification of mice. What modification? They removed the olfactory response that makes the mouse go OMGGONNADIE when it smells a cat.

Watch the video. The mouse runs up to the cat, crawls under its paws, sniffs at it, and then wanders away. But, the article notes, the mouse still freaks when the cat "miaows," which I must assume is a British misspelling of "meow."

Seriously, guys, cats don't say "miaow." They say "meow." "Miaow" sounds like an anime character.

Anyway, the other link...Here ya go. I bought the cheese tray for tomorrow's party here. It includes a cheese called "drunken goat." How can you refuse that?

Beyond that, how's life? Busy, but it's the usual stuff. Writing, prepping for the party, school/work. I finished up my last real course (Fluency Disorders), got my A (yay!), and now have written comps next semester. But I'm almost done with grad school. That's sort of a weird feeling, and it's one that I didn't get when I graduated from UT with my BA (stop talking in letters, Matt), probably because a BA in English is worth 10% of nada on its own. But here I am finishing up a degree that will allow me steady work for the rest of my life, in a quite wide variety of arenas. I mean, I can work in a hospital, a nursing home (yah, right), an outpatient facility like Lifeworks, private practice, assuming I ever get tired of the schools - but having 14 weeks a year off is nice, especially since my vacation is con season.

One unrelated thought today: I was buying bread for the party at the market, and the lady behind the counter said "Have a merry Christmas," and then immediately said, "Oh, I guess I shouldn't say that." I asked why, and she said it wasn't politically correct. I said, "Listen, I'm an atheist. And when someone says to me 'merry Christmas,' and what they mean is 'have a pleasant and joyous season,' I don't see that as political or religious in nature. That's just people talking to people, and I thank you for that."

Last night I ran the segment of "To the Wastes" that I've been wanting to run since I wrote it. That'd be the section in which the characters are in the mine when it collapses, and the miners die off, one by one, leaving the characters alone in the dark.

Now, before I get into the specifics of how my chronicle went, I want to talk about the design choices I made when writing that story. I wanted "To the Wastes" to involve no other Prometheans but the PCs, at least not directly, because the previous two stories in the chronicle ("A Sheltering Storm" and "Strangers on a Hill") had lots of them. I also wanted it to involve people and to confront some emotional issues. Now, there are lots of easy emotional hot buttons to go for, but a lot of them involve kids or sex, and I'm not comfortable putting either of those things in a book, normally. Death, though, is another one, so I made up the miners, gave them names, families and personalities, and tried to write them so a Storyteller could have fun playing them. And then, of course, I killed 'em off.

As I noted in Magnum Opus, that scene might evoke some varied emotions from people, but I wanted to do something different with the story. Yes, it'd be hard to run well, and the reviewer over on RPG.Net noted that the whole story felt raidroady (I take exception to that, because it's common criticism levied at all pre-written games and it's not really true, but whatever). What I was most concerned about was that the players would feel hopeless, because there's no way out of that situation.

But see, this isn't Sparta,! And that futility is the point. In order for the characters to learn what they need to learn, they have to witness that tragedy. I could only hope, as a writer and a Storyteller, that the players got that and were able to appreciate it. Mine, I think, were.

So, with that in mind...

The characters woke up in the morning and got ready to go into the mine. Glen, the foreman, mentioned that today they'd be using explosives, but the characters, since they weren't trained, wouldn't be touching them. They all set about loading up the carts, and Glen and Sam set the charges. There was a few moments of conversation, and Hank wondered if his Electrification Transmutations could set off the explosives.

I know a cue when I hear one. The charges detonated prematurely, and caved in the tunnel. I rolled for damage for all of the PCs, and got quite a lot (Hank took something like eight lethal off seven dice, which is nuts). Glen took a quick roll call. He, Vern and Hector were fine, although Hector was panicky. Sam's leg was crushed under a boulder. Steve, Vern's brother, was all but buried in debris. Hank, Julia, Jesus and Vern dug him out, and then the Prometheans lifted the rock off of Sam and Marty wrapped his mangled leg in a tourniquet.

The characters conferred with Glen, and they realized that the roof of the cavern they'd been in had dropped on them like an anvil, braced up by the walls...which were unstable. Any attempt at digging might send the whole thing toppling down. But as it was, there wasn't any air coming in, and in about 2 hours, the humans would all be dead.

The Prometheans tried various means of looking for a way out. Marty sensed Flux, and noted something coming toward them from below, but much too far down to identify. Hector panicked, and Julia talked him down. He prayed for his family, and asked the others to tell them what had happened, if anyone made it out. Marty asked Glen why the others seemed to think they'd get out, and Glen said it was really to everyone. He asked if the characters had any family, but Marty said that they were the family.

Sam, in shock, asked Marty to look in on his parents, but Marty told him that he'd get out of here, so there was no need for that kind of talk...

...Time passed. Steve, suffering from a bad concussion and probably other injuries, woke up long enough to tell his brother goodbye, and then died. Julia meditated, and curled up with Sam, trying to sleep and use up less air. She fell asleep with her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat...and woke up when it stopped.

Julia started to lose it, and Hector calmed her down by handing her his rosary and teaching her to pray it.

The air got thinner. Vern passed out and then shuddered and died. Hector followed. Marty used Spark of Life on Steve's body to get him to move some of the rocks. Glen, still alive, asked what as going on, and after some convincing, Hank told him.

Glen, hearing about the Pilgrimage, asked what he could do to help. He talked with Hank about humanity as he took his last breaths, and then offered Hank his gold ring. He said he didn't have any family, but that he hoped that Hank could make it and become human. And then he passed away.

Hank, unwilling to accept that, tried to save him, but had no way to raise the dead. Marty used his Spark of Life on Hector's body, and Julia attacked him, saying that it just wasn't right to do that to these people.

About then, the floor cracked, and the Flux that they'd been feeling - a Pandoran - emerged. It managed to take a good chunk out of Julia before Hank grappled it and Jesus tore it apart with his claws. But it had made a hole in the floor, and air was coming in. The characters wriggled down the hole and found themselves in a giant cavern...all except Hank.

Julia went catatonic, her mind unable to cope with everything that was happening. Jesus got her back, and she looked down at Sam's corpse, still beautiful, and said, "I want him." Marty wasn't amused that she was talking about performing the generative act on one of these guys, since she'd been so against animating them just a minute ago, but he didn't press the issue. But Sam's leg was mangled, and Julia didn't have any tools - how to fix that?

Marty and Jesus, meantime, had discovered a smooth rock wall with carvings. These carvings, apparently from a Promethean called "the Originist," described the Refinement of Source - Lead, the study of the Promethean condition. Jesus started committing the carvings to memory, probably in preparation to follow the Refinement.

Hank was still in the dark, cradling the body of his dead friend (by the way, making a human friend was a milestone for him, the one he knew about from Lighthouse way back here). He reached into the Void, trying to find a way to bring Glen back.

And then Glen sat up. But this wasn't Glen, this was a new Promethean, animated by Hank's grief and longing. And the Divine Fire, of course.

Below, Azoth called to Azoth, and the characters knew what had happened. Meanwhile, Hank and his creation had come into the cavern. They talked with the others about what had happened, and Hank named his creation "Spencer" (which was actually Julia's suggestion, I think).

Julia decided to dream him whole again. She found raw gold in the underground stream, sprinkled his body with it, and fell asleep. In the dream, she was in a room made of white marble and decked with silk. There were bowls of gold, diamonds, milk and blood. She made him a new leg, and then kissed him, infusing him with her humour.

She woke up to his heartbeat. She named her new creation Jesse. Jesse was beautiful, but a little simple (whereas Hank's player had dumped 8 Vitriol into his generative act roll and got an exceptional success, Julia's player didn't have that much, and only had six dice to roll, so failure was a very real possibility).

Hank talked with his creation as he carved out "chairs" from rock (Fist of Talos, y'know). He explained the various Lineages, and then realized that he was now a Progenitor. He named his new Lineage "the Void," fulfilling a pretty major milestone for himself.

Marty and Nathan went off exploring, and got to talking. Nathan asked Marty if Julia resented him, and Marty said that it wasn't him, it was that his creator, Al, had left without saying goodbye. Nathan said that he always tried to help the throng, but sometimes it felt like they forgot him. Marty agreed, and said that he was overly rational at times. Nathan pulled out his harmonica and offered to teach Marty to play.

In their explorations, they found a few small caverns - good for being alone, for instance. They talked about the Shrine and the vision they'd seen. Marty remembered that Maggie, when she'd told them about the Seer's Pilgrimage, had mentioned that you could only find a Shrine if you looked for it - so Marty started looking. Somewhere in the dark, he sensed Pyros, and he searched for more than day. He found a chamber with the rocky skeleton of the Originist, and the leftover Flux from his bestial creation (the Pandoran they'd fought).

Tired, the Prometheans bedded down on the cold rock. Julia dreamed, and pulled her new creation and Jesus in. They were back in the white room, and Jesse asked why they couldn't stay here instead of going back to the cold, dark cave. Julia explained that here was just a dream. Jesse seemed to understand.

Next session: The end of the story, and new Refinements for everyone!

Date: 2007-12-14 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You people. You get all resentful when us Yurpeans patronise you Americans and you can't even fucking spell "miaow".

Or, for that matter, place full stops properly outside the quotes.

I ask you.


Date: 2007-12-14 10:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll cop to that, but I blame White Wolf, because they do it that way for some reason and it's in my brain.

Also, "patronize" isn't pronounced with a voiceless alveolar fricative, so why would spell it like that? Or do you Brits say "patronissssssss"?

Date: 2007-12-14 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Does "is" have a hard "s" sound? Why should "ise", then? Can't you Americans even handle "s" having more than the one sound? Pah. I mock you. Or would, if you didn't have all the guns.

Anyway. It's really because "z"s ("zeds") are so vulgar.

Date: 2007-12-14 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You people are word geeks. Just, ya know, pointing that out. =)

Date: 2007-12-14 10:50 pm (UTC)
amokk: (bitch)
From: [personal profile] amokk
Period in the quote is MLA style, or AP style, one of the two.

Date: 2007-12-15 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Um, from my understandings of spelling "miaow" and "meow" should sound the same, although neither one actually sounds like a cat ;)

Date: 2007-12-14 10:50 pm (UTC)
amokk: Image is © Jim Henson (Sam the Eagle)
From: [personal profile] amokk
And you're right, cats say miao. Of course our kitten says "me". Such ego.

Date: 2007-12-14 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Usually they say "Rrrrowww" or something along those lines. So you're both wrong ;)

Date: 2007-12-15 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My cat says "miaow". And always has.

Date: 2007-12-14 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Usually our cats go "give me the food NOW, or I'll cut you!", at least that's what their looks seem to imply as they circle me like furry floor sharks.

I spell it "meow" though, "miaow" looks very odd to my eyes.

Date: 2007-12-14 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not particularly religious or am I bothered if someone says "Merry Christmas" because it is really the thought that counts.

I still say Happy Holidays because I'm trying to include New Year's as well as whichever other holiday someone wants to celebrate this month.

Date: 2007-12-15 02:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When I was in high school we had f.e.s. from Thailand. Apparently they call cats like, "Mao" that I get, but not "miaow.


Date: 2007-12-15 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd be amused if cats could say "Merry Christmas" no matter what their religion.

Date: 2007-12-15 09:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Note 2:
"One unrelated thought today: I was buying bread for the party at the market, and the lady behind the counter said "Have a merry Christmas," and then immediately said, "Oh, I guess I shouldn't say that." I asked why, and she said it wasn't politically correct. I said, "Listen, I'm an atheist. And when someone says to me 'merry Christmas,' and what they mean is 'have a pleasant and joyous season,' I don't see that as political or religious in nature. That's just people talking to people, and I thank you for that."

Right on.

Have a merry Christmas, Matt. Is Teagan looking forward to it all? Little Dave is.

Date: 2007-12-15 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Pshht. YOUR cat says "meow." My cat says things like "Hello, how are you doing today? I am quite well, thanks."

She talks to me, she does. Hehe, ha ha.


Date: 2007-12-15 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Actually the Guardian should be chastised...that cat was saying "nya", like any proper Japanese cat would. I mean, listen to it, not a not even a bit of mewing.

Date: 2007-12-15 05:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2007-12-17 02:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
1) Merry X-mas, Bona Festivus, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Solstice Oh what ever.
Oh F*ck it, Bill and Ted said it best --
Be excellent to each other and Party on Dude.

2) Yes it was Julia's idea to call him Spencer! (But Hank's can't seem
to shake the Golem upbringing and has only called him "Spence")

3) Not that I think it will effect Jesse, but the Diamonds were from Hank's
chain links that Hank brought back from the river of death (here)

Date: 2007-12-18 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
czech cats go "mnau"


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