Come Play D&D with us @ PAX!

Hey DDO Players! Let’s get together this PAX and play some PnP D&D!!

“The Crypt of Gandor Grey”

  • DM: Sigfried Trent
  • Location: PAX 2010, Table Top Free Play Area, 2nd Floor (Look for signs!)
  • Date: Friday, Sept 3rd
  • Time: 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • System: D&D 4th Edition
  • What to Bring: A level 1 D&D 4e character (PHP, PHP2, or PHP3), if you don’t have one we have a stack you can pick from. Character sheet, dice, etc.

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Everyone in the party knows one another from a past adventure, in which they teamed up to track down a dangerous fugitive who had been killing women in the countryside. Having decided they made a good team they registered themselves with the mercenary’s guild in Baron’s Bridge.

The party has gathered to hear the job offered by a young man named Phillip Grey. Phillip wants to hire the party to break into his Uncle’s tomb and recover whatever he has stashed there. His uncle, Gandor Grey, died 6 years ago from natural causes and despite his substantial wealth, left nothing to his family. Instead he had a lavish tomb built in a private cemetery and family legend has it the rest of his wealth was buried with him.

Phillip needs the money because he borrowed a good bit of money from the Red Hands to purchase spells to heal his ailing mother. While her health has greatly improved he can’t raise the money to pay back the loan and the Red Hands have a brutal reputation. He feels that since Gandor is technically family that this isn’t purely theft.

He needs help because he knows Gandor had his tomb built with death traps and possibly magical guardians of some kind. The construction of it was expensive and done by some shady out of town contractors. He’s offering to split any treasure found 50/50 with the group.

If you would like to join in email us at ddocrunchybits@gmail.com and we’ll reserve a spot for you!

Decent Geek Eats for PAX 2010

La Creperie Voila - 707 Pike St, between 7th Ave & 8th Ave - Zero blocks for the Center

Creperie Voila

For around $4 to $7 you can have one of the tastiest breakfasts you can find near the convention center. I’m very particular to the sweet crepes, but the savories are also quite de-lish! They’re open till around 9:30pm so you can also have a tasty desert too.

Cyber-Dogs Internet Café - 909 Pike St, between 9th Ave & Convention Pl - Zero blocks

Cyber Dogs

If you’re a vegetarian or an omnivore willing to go outside of your comfort zone, this is a tasty place for you. If you’re a strict meat-eater, steer clear of this hot dog café. Otherwise this place is pretty cheap for your eats, veggie dogs start from $3.25 and run up to $7 for the heavy plates. They are also open late - till midnight every day.

JuicyCafe - 725 Pike St, 2nd Fl, between 7th Ave & 8th Ave - Zero Blocks

JuicyCafe

If you want something healthy and balanced go here, its right inside the convention center. They aren’t open late, so it’s a good place for breakfast and lunch. Prices for their meals are fair and start from $5 to $8. Much better than the Subway, also inside the convention center.

Blue C Sushi - 1510 7th Ave, between Pike St & Pine St - Across the street

Blue C Sushi

This is a relatively new place, in the heart of Downtown where you can get kaiten (conveyor) sushi. The best time to go is 4-7pm seven days a week in the bar, where you can get sake for $2.50 and sushi plates from $1 to $3.25.

Tap House Grill - 1506 6th Ave, between Pike St & Pine St - 1 block

Tap House

Go during happy hour, any other time you’re over paying for what you get. Food is tasty, but the beer is better. With 160 beers on tap, you’ll definitely find something to quench your thirst. Happy Hour Times are M-FI, 3:30-6:30 | M-Th, 10PM-close | F-Sat, 11PM- close | Sun 3:30PM- close

MOD Super Fast Pizza - 1302 6th Ave, between University St & Union St - 3 blocks

MOD

If you like a low price, speedy, thin-crust, oven-baked pizza, you’ll most likely love MOD Pizza. Call 206-332-0200 or order online at www.modpizza.com and pick up your order (no delivery).  You can order one of the 10 pizzas from MOD’s menu, or choose your own toppings. Either way, the price for one of these pies is $5.88 - just an awesome deal IMHO.

Wild Ginger & The Triple Door - 1401 3rd Ave, between Union St and Pike St - 4 blocks

Wild Ginger Triple Door

Go to Wild Ginger for a sit down dinner before the geek concerts at Benaroya Hall, which is right across the street.  It’s a bit pricy, but its every bit worth it. If you want something a little lighter with drinks, go to The Triple Door’s Musicquarium Lounge, which is around the corner and a few steps down the hill. Best time to go is during Happy Hour: Sun-F 4-6PM and Sun-Th 9PM-12AM, sorry no Saturday happy hours, this place is packed during that that day. But if you do snag a seat or bar stool during happy hour, you be greeted with $3 well drinks and $3-$5 appetizer specials made by the same chefs at Wild Ginger.

Whole Foods - 2210 Westlake Avenue, between 9th Ave & Denny Way - about 5 blocks

Westlake Whole Foods

If you’re willing to take the 5 block walk or if you want to take a short joy ride on the Seattle Downtown-Lake Union Trolly Line, then go here. It’s the only grocery store in the Seattle Downtown area if you just want to stock up on foods. Here’s what’s on sale this week: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/storespecials/WSL_specials.pdf

Pike Place Market - 1501 Pike Pl, between Pike St and Pine St on 1st Ave - 7 blocks

Pike Place

If you’re willing to take a walk, you can get some great grazing deals for food at the market. Fresh fruits, veggies, cheese stands, bakeries, etc are all for your eating pleasure. Bring cash for better deals and stock up on tasty foods.

Day 7 Walkies: Golden Gardens Park

This park is located in the neighborhood of Ballard in Seattle, WA. This is another park I use to frequent with my family as a little girl. The park includes a nice stretch of sandy beach, a wetland at the north end, and of course all the typical park amenities for the perfect birthday picnic.

This park was first established in 1907 as an attraction for a now-gone electric trolley line, which brought visitors from the Ballard business to the corner of 32nd Avenue W and W 85th Street. On Sundays, people could take a horse drawn buggy from the terminus and ride along the bluff (now 32nd Ave W) and down to then-called Loyal Beach.

When I visited Golden Gardens the tide was low and I was able to get an extra long walk from the north shore, near the wetlands, all the way down to the marina, ending at the fishing pier where my uncle use to take me. There is also a bath house which you can rent – though it was built in the 1930s, its latest renovation has turned it into a really nice spot for beach front celebrations. Though my favorite thing to do is to come in the evenings for sunsets, bon fires, and beers.

Its a pleasant 30 min walk down and up again. Later I’ll come back to try the trails east of the train tracks.

The Silver Flame

Eberron Days: 25th of Barrakas

Fathen’s Fall

Sharn StreetsEarth Day: August 25th
Location: Silver Flame Churches across Eberron, though more prevalent in Sharn than every where else.

The Silver Flame church consider the 25th of Barrakas as a holy day called Fathen’s Fall, which honors the memory of one of the heroes of the Silver Purge. The great Silver Flame Inquisitor Fathen exposed dozens of lycanthropes in the city of Sharn. On 25th of Barrakas, a pack of wererats murdered Farthen on the streets of Sharn’s North Market. In observance of this event, the faithful gather at the Shrine of Fathen the Martyr and listen to sermons given by the priest of High Hope and donate 1 silver piece in memory of the “holy crusade”.

Shifters (also known as the weretouched) have vague feelings toward this holiday. While they have ancestral ties to lycanthropes, many shifters actively participated in the Silver Purge. Some shifters are comfortable with their ancestors’ participation in the “crusade”, while others view it gruesome act their heritage. Tensions run high within shifter communities, and between shifters and the faithful of the Church of the Silver Flame on Fathen’s Fall.

Day 6 Walkies: Carkeek Park

Carkeek is a popular park located in the Broadview neighborhood in Seattle.  Entrances to the park are readily accessible by foot, but for this walk I started at the McAbee Entrance on NW 100 Place near 6th Avenue NW. This entrance is the trail head for a mild walk lasting about 20 to 30 minutes from entrance to beach and, for the most part, follows Piper’s Creek.

In the 1920s Morgan J. Carkeek donated the park to the City of Seattle. The city bought additional land and expanded the park. In addition to Piper’s Creek, the park also includes Piper’s Orchard, which is filled with about 50 fruit and nut trees grafted from the original century old stock. Beyond the Orchard, you’ll run into the old treatment plant, which is now a plumbing station which thankfully does not dump into the creek, but is a bit of an eye sore. Most of the park is situated in a steep ravine and is prone to run-off. This leads to a sometimes stinky park on stale hot days.

For an urban park, Carkeek Park is filled with a dark history of law-breaking activities: buried murder victims, refuse from late night parties. Luckily things have gotten better and the main quite regular offence these days is unleashed dogs pooping on trails and on the beach.

I like this park, but not as much as Richmond Beach and I wouldn’t feel safe there beyond daylight hours. Nor would I come here on a hot summer day when the stink factor goes up. This is a great park to walk on a spring or early fall day. And the beach a pretty nice place to hang on a sunny August day. Just watch out for dog poop!

Syndication: Sharing the Content for Fun and Profit!

I have two blogs that I manage: one at my.DDO.com/theris and here at www.annetrent.com. I really wanted to make sure that my site also included my blog at DDO. So I decided to syndicate my.DDO blog’s RSS feed into my personal site. This saved a ton of work on transferring content. Furthermore, I don’t have to update local content; the syndicate program will do that for me if it detects any updates. This is an immense time saver.

Web syndication is a form of syndication in which website material is made available to multiple other sites. This means you ask me nicely I’ll let you take the content from my RSS feed and present it on your website so long as you link back to my web site. This is great for generating traffic, for less known sites from more popular sights. Its rather old tech, invented around 1995, but I wanted to talk about it in today’s context.

On the other hand, it also makes it easier for folks to steal content and present it as their own. You’ll notice it pages that return on keyword searches and you’ll wonder why they have the exact same content. This often happens with Wikipedia articles.

There are beaucoup-bennies to syndicating your articles with other websites

Search engine ranks go up – Google and other engines like Bing, measures a site’s importance by the number of links on other sites pointing to it. Of course, the site with the link has to retain your byline to your website.

Brand-name association and awareness – Say you’re a start up pen’n’paper gaming company and you’ve made a deal with BigCo to make modules for their campaign system. You of course have your own website and can publish articles with tag or category “BigCo”. “BigCo” can take your rss feed and filter content with that label and display it on their website. You’ve instantly got your company’s name linked with BigCo. The same could go for news and media sites, where consumers often go for authority on product types.

Brining in new visitors – by the same line, you can attract new visitors not within your industry but within vertical markets. Groups of similar businesses and/or customers can trade traffic based on specific and specialized needs that the content may cover. Think of it as an on-demand online trade show.

Sharing content across multiple websites you own – If you own several websites in the same market you really ought to syndicate. So long as you’re not doubling up on your content it can be pretty much a win for you. For example GamesRadar is a site that syndicates all kinds of news from gaming sites owned or partnered under a single company: Future, Inc. Much of their audiences from media mag sites (like PC Gamer, XBOX, Maximum PC, etc) are in the same market or cross over markets. Having a site like GamesRadar lets their audience crossover to other products and services they own. Kind of like how a TV Station airs TV shows of similar or related, but way way better.

There are downsides and issues with syndication

Spam! Spam! SPAM! – if you happen to let someone use your articles in a email newsletter, and for some reason (through no fault of your own fine article) that email gets marked as spam, you run the risk of your own site being associated with spam. Heaven forbid that your widget or company name gets tagged as a spam keyword on some Bayesian spam filter that gets shared with other email servers. *shiver*

Content Staleness – Let’s face it, nothing lasts forever especially content on the interwebz. Unless you have the uncanny gift of writing that withstands the test of time, your article will become out of date. Often syndication feeds will grab copies of content and host it locally and to save bandwidth they won’t update the information, even if you make a change a day or two later. So publish and syndicate with care.

Content Jacking – Often site owners feel that syndicate permission equals the right to change your content. Even if you explicitly forbade editing in the license you issued them. They may even remove your link back or by-line. It’s frustrating when you want to really own your intellectual property.

Content == Revenue – So your articles on your website are THE ONLY thing making you money. You don’t want to share it. If it’s precious, do not syndicate it.

So when you if you come to that crossroads as to syndicate or not, think about the benefits and risks to the parties involved. There is a definable trade-off: increased distribution can mean a decrease in control. Decide how much you want to share and what you want to share to solve problems such as gaining more awareness and increasing traffic. Or if you’re like me, you want to link up what you own under one roof.

Monster Minute: Yugoloths

Argus PanoptesYugoloths or Deamons in Real-World Mythology
The D&D Yugoloth was originally pattern from the Greco classical mythology Deamon, or supernatural being described as something between mortal and god.  Examples are found in Plato’s The Symposium, which describes them as ghosts of dead heroes, or inferior divinities such as nymphs.  Judeo-Christian texts describe these same creatures as demons, or wicked spirit that seduce or possess humans.

In Hellenistic philosophy and theology, deamons were divided into good and evil categories; as oppose to the Christian views, where all deamons were considered evil.  The good deamons are Eudamons, who are akin to angels, watching over mortals to keep them out of trouble.  Kakodeamons are the demons of the modern sense: malevolent spirits manipulating mortals toward acts of evil.

A strange example of a Greek mythical deamon was Argus Panoptes, a giant with one hundred eyes all over his body. Argus was charged by the goddess Hera to watch over one of Zeus’ lovers, Io - another deamon being, who was a nymph and was, at the time, turned into a cow by Zeus in order to protect her from Hera’s wrath.

Yougoloth TypesYugoloths in D&D
Yugoloths were first called daemons by D&D writers and made their debut in the Monster Manual 2 in first edition AD&D.  Their names were changed in 2nd edition D&D along with other demons & devils, primarily to avoid attacks from Christians who viewed the game as satanic. Oddly enough in v3.0 many demon and devil monsters had their names restored, while Yugoloths did not.

In a number of D&D campaign settings, Yugoloths are neutral evil and are considered outsiders of the lower planes.  There are nearly a dozen yugoloth sup-types, each with a variety of shapes, powers and strengths. For example, Hydroloths are yugoloths froglike in shape and are very good at assassination techniques in watery terrains, while the Mezzoloths are insect-like foot soldiers.

In D&D tradition, all yugoloths are descendents from long-gone baernaloths, who are more malicious in nature.  Unlike their ancestors, yugoloths are neutral in the affairs of devil and demon races, only taking advantage of the situation when it benefits them.

Yugoloths in Eberron
The yugoloths found in DDO resemble the Arcanaloths from original D&D source materials, who are dog or jackel-headed scribes and negotiators of the yugoloths.

Eberron ancient lore says that Yugoloths were shaped along with the other immortal and fiendish races in their respective planes that were shaped by Khyber’s influence during creation.

Yugoloths found in the current Eberron DDO campaign setting are experts at manipulation.  They have the uncanny ability to control strife and often perpetuate conflict for their own ends.  In Shavarath, they are the middlemen in the never ending three way conflict between the devils, demons, and archons.  Yugoloths rarely trust anyone but their own, but they are willing to assist the denizens of Eberron only because it benefits them both in wealth and power.

Yougoloth Arcanaloth

Loving Gmail’s Mail Fetcher for Centralized Email

Gmail’s Mail Fetcher can download messages from up to five other email accounts, centralizing all my  email in Gmail. This makes life much more easy for me since I have multiple domains to keep track of now!

To set up Mail Fetcher:

  1. Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page, and open the Accounts tab.
  2. In the Get mail from other accounts section, click Add another mail account.
  3. Enter the full email address of the account you’d like to access, then click Next Step.
  4. Gmail will populate sample settings, but we recommend checking with your other provider to learn the correct server name and port. Enter your Password.
  5. Decide whether to:

Leave a copy of retrieved messages on the server

Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail

Label incoming messages

Archive incoming messages

  1. Click Add Account.
  2. Once your account has been added successfully, you’ll have the option of setting it as a custom From address. This allows you to compose messages in Gmail, but have them appear to be sent from your other email account. Click Yes to set up a custom From address.

Day 5 Walkies: Richmond Beach Saltwater Park

This park is a picture perfect walk on a sunny morning!

Richmond Beach neighborhood is one of the oldest areas of Shoreline and started as a part of ninety-eight acres of land. It wasn’t named Richmond Beach until 1889, after Richmond, England.

Richmond Beach Saltwater Park is tucked away in a residential area, where you can really get away from the city noise. Occasionally a train will pass by, but it’s more fun than annoying to watch. My walk started at the top of the park entrance and took a paved trail and steps down to the beach front. In March 2009, they finished improvements whose budget was 2.5 million dollars. They really fixed up the upper park area adding a nice with a terrace and picnic areas – a nice place for a party or wedding. They also got rid of the blackberry bush overgrowth and replaced it with more local plants. There are now a few photo opportunity areas, whereas before all you could see was a rough tree line looking down to the water.  There’s now a beach center where you can wash down after swimming. Walk ways are much broader and safer. There is also a park keeper’s home in the park….lucky guy who ever he is.

Overall, Richmond Beach Saltwater park is a really nice place to visit, especially on a summer week day when the crowds are less.