Thursday, May 31, 2007

Books Like Dust

My friend Damon's launched a new blog Books Like Dust to discuss his book collection and what he's reading now. He's a first-time blogger, so stop on over and offer him some encouragement.

Major League Baseball Widget

Keep up with your favorite team with the Major League Baseball widget for Mac OS X's Dashboard. It lists upcoming games as well as X number of played games (where X is determined by you).

Monday, May 28, 2007

That Summer Reading List...

Over at Nuketown, I'm putting together my Summer 2007 Reading List. There's not much (ok, any) response to the post yet, but perhaps it's not "summer" enough yet for folks to be thinking about what they're going to be reading.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Khelez-Mar: The Earthshaker

The Cast of Characters
  • Vogg of Clan Toron
  • Sir Ottamar, Knight of the Sword
  • Moriam, Cleric of Ulaa
  • Manasi, clouder of men's minds
  • Heydrich
  • Kull of the Mountain

The Earth Quake

After destroying the wyvren rookery, the dwarves and their allies retire back to Khelez-Mar, where they divy up their treasure and then retire for the night. They are woken by a skull-shattering earthquake and are shaken out of their beds as the disturbance suddenly ends. They find scattered damage throughout the fortress, and Kull, Rencor, Moriam and Manasi decide to consult the Clergy to see what the Mountain might be telling them. They move to the lower level, and find that the path down is has been badly broken. Manasi teleports the four to the level below, to the fungi forest where they find a number of badly wounded dwarves hurt by falling debris. Rencor quickly moves to heal them, while Moriam studies the cavern for instability. Rencor utters "the blessings of heironeous upon you", drawing concern from the dwarves. Kull follows, saying "fear not, his is a strange religion, but he is a strong warrior and has slain many orcs! He has a good heart!"

Continue on word to Farak-Dur, the fortress protecting the Forge level. Find the area is still being restored, and is filled with equipment and supplies. The area itself is not badly damaged, indicating that it was some how reinforced or protected. Guards wave them through Farak-Dur, to the Forge. Learn that the earthquake disrupted the Forge, and the dwarves are struggling to recover.

Once there, Moriam is met by Steel-giver, a well-respected armorsmith, who asks if the earthquake is a sign from Ulaa. Moriam replies that he thinks that the clerics of Dumathoin (sp) might have answers. See statues of Dumathoin (sp), Vergadin (sp) and Moradin. Go to speak with Arval (Blood-Messenger), cleric of Dumathoin, find him comforting the masses, "you are dwarves! you are better than this! calm down!"

Moriam stands up before the crowds and says "Ulaa does not speak this way -- you must return to your work, to forge the weapons to fight the orcish scourge!"

Confronted by Dolor (Riddle-master of the Sword) who demands to know what the gods would have them do. "We will investigate this mystery. We are dwarves, a long lived race. Patience is our virtue ... back to work!"

Seeking the Follower of Secrets

The party speaks with Arval, who does not know why Dumathoin would send such an earthsquake, since he usually does such only to reveal secrets beneath the earth. Kull, who has spend years wandering the mountains of the Drachensgrabs, asks if it might be some other diety ... perhaps the strange elder earth spirit known as the Earth Dragon, a diety who's power has been seen to be growing through cults in Blue and Obsidian Bay.

Into the Mines

Moriam considers seeking out Clan Jarzak (miners of the blood), the master miners of the fortress, to see what they might have learned. Moriam dispatches Kull to warn mining clans not to disturb and clutches of gems that might be revealed by the collapse. Back at the cave fungi room, Kull finds that the way back up is exceedingly difficult. Reluctantly, he turns around, and then remembers that there is a tavern on the Forge level named "Baz Dol'est" (Sword of Fire Cavern). Find many abandoned meals there, and hear someone yelling about cleaning up and stowing gear.

Meet barkeep, Delgan, who gives them directions into the mines, to the "elevator room". Take the elevator down, going 40 ft. down. Moving deeper, they find an area where a fight has broken out. Come closer, find crowd gathered around a shattered rock, including black vein of corruption. Manasi and Kull look closer as the black vein. Touching the black with his axe reveals it is some sort of metal, and a miner informs them that it had been silver when it was first revealed, then turns dark and corrupt.

A final bit of advice from Manasi is "If it looks different, poke it like we did."

The Knight Above

Concerned by the possibility of attack, Sir Ottomar seeks the Knights of the Shield stationed in the fortress, working with them to prepare for a possible strike. The 15 Knights are in their chambers, donning their armor, saying prayers to St. Cuthbert in preparation of war. The Knights were stationed within the fortress as part of the dwarves' defense pact with Obsidian Bay. Sir Ottomar approaches them as they pray, and joins them. He speaks with Sir Cryllic, the leader of the Knights in this place, asking where they should assemble for defense.

Arval's Vision

Arval tells Moriam that he is ready for the communion, but that they should find the dwarven leader Thror Du Bok and Galanak, high priest of Moradin. Seeking these leaders, they head deeper into the Forge level, find a craftsman repairing statue of Domathoin. He's able to find them, and brings them together with Arval in the temple. Galanak and Arval consecrates the area, and then Arval casts his invocation at the statue of his god. The god's head turns, his eyes glow golden, and he speaks. Arval asks if Domathain if he sent the message; god replies he didn't. The dwarf asks if it was sent by an enemy and if it was an unnatural event. The god says "it was an attack, and it was target it at the dwarves, though the agent was unknown and hidden." Arval is shocked that the keeper of secrets under the mountain did not know who did this.

Kull and Manasi arrive, reporting on the corrupted vein. The leaders say it is a horrible portent, saying they don't know what it might be. The miners find no sign of any other corrupted silver mine. Moriam wonders if the evil dwarven god Albathor might be responsible for this foul act.

Kull wonders if the passages to the UnderDark should be checked on. The Elders agree, and ask Moriam to take his friends down to investigate while they consider the possibility that Albathor might have been behind the attack. Back up on the first level, Manasi and Kull gather together their friends and explain what had happened.

Into the Dark

Sir Ottamar seeks out the general store, speaking with its proprieter, who tries to sell him everything at significantly increased costs.
After gathering together, the party then heads into the dark. Head to the great hall that leads to the great hall, where the dragon once lived and was slain by D'lar, Moriam, and the Blackrazors. Talk with the dwarven and human guards stationed here, who say that the area is very quiet, aside from the earthquake.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hanging out at the Dire Cafe

I have this blog for cross promotional purposes, so I might as well do some cross promotion. The Dire Cafe is the social network for escapist geeks. So sayeth the Bear: "If you're a casual fan of movies, scifi, fantasy, horror, comics, or tabletop rpgs you're in the right place." Go there. Hang out. Have fun.

Radio Active #49: Monster Week, Catan, Dire Cafe, Geek Dad Blog

Cover Art: SimCity DS Thoughts about Nuketown's upcoming Monster Week extravaganza leads off Episode #49 of Nuketown Radio Active as I discuss about the movies I want to review and ask listeners for suggestions.

With the monsters out of the way, I talk about my progress on the geek fitness front and my experiences registering for GenCon 2007. In Netheads, I take a look at the upcoming SimCity game for Nintendo DS, suggest folks check out the Dire Cafe social networking site, ramble on about Pirate solitare, and discover a Geek Dad Blog at Finally, this week's review is the board game Catan for Xbox 360, a computerized version of the classic German board game Settlers of Catan. Get the podcast at

Friday, May 11, 2007

Radio Active #48: Sickness Returns, Crafty Podcasts, D&D Manager, Jupiter

Book Cover: Jupiter A particularly nasty round of family colds sidelines Radio Active for a month, but the show's finally back with an update on Baby Nuke's new love of Cheerios, news of Nuketown's new Top of the Pile comic book review column, a rundown of my wife Sue's favorite crafty podcasts, and news of a new D&D utility for the Mac. Rounding out the podcast is a review of Ben Bova's science fiction novel Jupiter, in which a science team searches for life in the deep, high-pressure water ocean beneath the king of planet's cloud deck. Get the episode at Nuketown.