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.

Day 4 Walkies: Shoreline Community Center Track

Just off of 185th Street and 5th Ave NE, is the track and football field; just adjacent to the Shoreline Spartan Community Center. The track is nice and flat, made with an artificial ground material…rubber I think. It’s great for my knees especially after yesterday’s walk at Shoreview park.  Sadly, it’s also boring. Walking in a circle on an overcast morning is just depressing. At the mall I could look at fashion store fronts, but here, all I get is view of a fake grass football field, the occasional elderly walker, and a scrubby tree line. I should have stayed home and exercised at the elliptical machine, at least I could have watched a TV show or movie while moving. LAME!

Day 3 Walkies: Shoreline Community College & Shoreview Park

The SCC buildings really show their age in both upkeep and architecture. The campus was built in 1964 on land donated by the Boeing family. The only real buildings are the library, admin, and student hub – class rooms are located in obviously dated portables. With tons of greenery and trees between buildings, it’s hard to get a feel of how big the campus feels.

They did have one feature of note: The Zero Energy House (ZEH). In 2002, Washington State University engineering students designed and constructed a lab house to experiment with energy-saving ideas. The core of the house is made from a discarded shipping container, like the ones you see on ships crossing Elliot Bay. The container serves as a core for holding the plumbing fixtures, solar batteries, inverters, and other central systems to run the house. Surrounding this core are other rooms: kitchen, living room, hallway, bedroom, laundry, and bathroom.  The total square footage is about 650. Students would design, install, and test energy-efficient appliances, ventilation, electrical, heating, and insulation systems inside the ZEH. In 2007, the ZEH was moved to SCC and is now on display as a permanent exhibit.

Shoreview Park is on Innis Arden Drive, on the edge of the Shoreline Community College campus, and adjoins Boeing Creek Park. Boeing Creek Park is named for William E. Boeing, who used these lands as a hunting retreat. When you first drive up, the park looks like a standard playground for kids. The trailhead I used is just past the bathrooms, before you turn towards the Tennis courts on the drive path. In this part of the park, the trail feels like a path in a forest and signs of urban life and concrete are well out of visual range. It’s a hilly walk with a few loop-backs for short dog walks, but if you stay longer the walk becomes tame and you’ll run into Boeing creek and then Hidden Lake. The trail is 4 miles long and has an elevation gain of 200 feet – an excellent casual hike.

Shoreline Community Center

Day 2 Walkies: Northgate Mall

Yeah, I walked inside of a mall. Please stop looking at me funny! Living here in Seattle, the weather often forces me to find alternatives. I hate the idea of walking in a shopping mall. But in rain and cold weather a warm safe mall is sometimes welcoming.

Northgate is one of the oldest malls in the Puget Sound area.  Built in 1950, it was also the first shopping center to be described as a “mall”, because of its double row of stores facing each other across a covered walkway. There’s even a totem pole at the north entrance that hasn’t changed much (so I’ve been told) since it was put there in 1956. There use to be a fountain there too, but it’s been replaced by a handsome collection of northwest plants.

I’ve also been coming here since I was a kid talking walks with my family, especially my elder relatives that needed the covered security and comfort of an indoor place. It’s changed quite a bit on the inside, but the outside needs more work. They did add more greenery, but some of the store fronts are starting to show their age with their brick facades.

The mall opens at around 7:30am for walkers (over 2 hours before stores open), many of them elderly some are moms with strolling with their kids in tow. Of course the Starbucks is open well before then, welcoming the bleary eyed. People like walking Northgate Mall for its safety, but little do people know that a gal was abducted and murdered by the Green River Killer back in the 80s.

Next time, I think I’ll include Thornton Creek (the new area with the apartments and shopping arcade) area in my walk.

Day 1 Walkies: Green Lake, West Side

Green Lake is a fresh water lake formed by glacier some 50,000 years ago that also created Lake Washington, Lake Union, Bitter Lake, and Haller Lake. It’s named for the algae blooms that give the water a green hue.

The trail around the lake can get quite crowded during warm weather, but at 7 am, foot traffic was light. I’ve been coming to this lake since I was little girl, back when I had little to no fear of its murky waters. Unfortunately, in the summers of 1999 and 2002 the algae bloom reached toxic levels. In 2003, the lake was closed to swimming due to uncontrolled algae growth. This prompted the city to install several sampling stations and in 2004, the city started a program which basically adds aluminum sulfate to its water in order to control algae growth.

Efforts to keep Green Lake clean are really paying off these days. Would I go swimming? Heck no! It’s too cold! But I’d gladly take a turn around its shore on the nice paved path. I even ran into a family of raccoons during my early morning walk. It’s an odd walk people wise: every other walker seemed to have a coffee cup in their hand; quite a few were talking into their Bluetooth mics. Runners and dog walkers were of a normal make.

The weather was a grey overcast, not the best view of Green Lake while walking, but ducks near the cattails made for a pretty picture. On the west side of the lake is Aurora-Highway 99. I don’t like the loudness of the cars moving by, perhaps the east side of the lake would have been a better walk. Parking is ample on a week day morning; I wouldn’t dare come on a weekend.

Perhaps, I’ve been coming to Green Lake too often, it seemed rather dull and the business of the highway oppressive. Maybe later in the week I’ll try the East side, where there’s less concrete.

The Silver Flame

Eberron Days: 9th of Barrakas

silverflame

Victory Day

Earth Day: August 9th
Location: Silver Flame Churches across Eberron

In 832 YK, the Silver Flame inquisition set out on a 50 year campaign to wipe out lycanthropes, known as the Silver Purge. The Church of the Silver flame launched the purge across western Khorvaire and ended in the Eldeen Reaches where the lycanthropic infestation had grown the most dangerous. The Purge drove the natural as well as afflicted members of the shape-shifting species almost to extinction. Many innocent shifters in the murderous passions of the inquisitors lost their lives to the zeal of the Silver Flame. In 882 YK on the 9th of Barrakas, the Council of Flamekeep and then to the Keeper of the Flame, declared Victory Day against the lycanthrope menace and ending the Silver Purge.

Today, the balance of power within the Church of the Silver Flame has shifted toward the moderates, and many feel shame and regret for the actions of their predecessors. While the evil lycanthropes needed to be stopped, the paranoia and zealotry of the age led to the death of innocents. However, it did accomplish one goal: The Silver Flame did gain many supporters as a result of the purge, and Aundair is the stronghold of the puritan faction in the modern age. The puritans refuse to see the purge as anything but a triumph; most have been raised on tales of the horrors of the early ninth century. They feel no shame about the deaths of non-evil lycanthropes or afflicted victims who might have been cured; in the eyes of the puritans, lycanthropes are monsters — and the duty of the templar is to defend the innocent from evil, not to feel pity for monsters.

Some 116 years after that triumphant day, the followers of the Silver Flame celebrate Victory Day commemorates the successful conclusion of the lycanthropic purge. Children act out great tales of these final battles with toy swords, while adults attend sermons on the lessons of the triumphs, the defeats, and the sometimes questionable methods used by the templars during the purge.

Other Eberron Holidays & Festivals:

 

Eberron Days: 6th of Barrakas

 

The Tain Gala

Earth Date: August 6th
Location: Sharn, Khorvaire, Eberron

Each first Far (Friday) of the month, feasts occur as ambassadors, nobles, and dragonmarked heirs wine and dine their relatives and associates. However, the Tain Gala has become an institution in Sharn. The ir’Tains, one of the oldest and most powerful families in Sharn, owns many towers and their wealth rivals that of the Kundarak clan. The guest list of the Tain Gala defines the social order of the city. The families with permanent invitations to the Gala, the Sixty, are the royalty of Sharn. In addition to these aristocrats and wealthy gentry, Lady Celyria ir’Tain does her best to invite a few unusual celebrities to entertain her guests—artists, poets, and sometimes adventurers. Aside from fantastic food and drink, such guests receive generous gifts and a temporary increase in status; for the next month, the attitude of any member of the Sixty is increased by one category when dealing with the celebrity. An adventurer known to be a friend of Lady ir’Tain often receives invitations to other events or other forms of special consideration.

Sharn

Eberron Days of the Week

Day of the Week Eberron Day Earth Day
First Sul Sunday
Second Mol Monday
Third Zol Tuesday
Fourth Wir Wednesday
Fifth Zor Thursday
Sixth Far Friday
Seventh Sar Saturday



Random Thoughts: The Brutish Repo Rogue + Enhancement Ideas

A while ago, I looked at my character list and noticed that I don’t have a rogue. I mean a rogue that I actually like playing with. I’ve created rogues in the past, and they never see past the age of level 10. So the next few thousand words are me just rambling at an inexcusable length. Mind the mess please :)

Need More Buttons to Push
I don’t know if it’s the rogue builds themselves; they seemed too passive for my tastes - for example there are hardly any active actions to take as a pure rogue mechanic while in combat. I will admit that if you’re a warforged or have one in your party, its fun to do a Mechanic 1 repair HOT (Heal Over Time), but the time that it takes to set it off is too long for effective combat use. I also hated the fact that I felt rather squishy, even when I took care to pair myself with a Tank or another DPS character to toggle hate agro with.

Dull Environments
Maybe it’s the fact that there’s little content at that level 10-ish through 16-ish for a pure trap-monkey; you can only do Cabal for One so many times before the shiny mystery dulls into a grind. Or maybe it’s because many of the quests at that range have undead, effectively neutering your sneak attacks.

Want Heroic Abilities
If only there was an ability to reduce heavy fort on all monsters (not just constructs as with Wrack Construct) including fleshy mobs and undead. I think having one would be an excellent idea for a high level enhancement line: allow a rogue an active ability to break or reduce fortification (not the save, the armor property) for the next 60 seconds on the mob even on raid bosses, for every successful sneak attack. It doesn’t need to add damage, just let me exploit my opponent’s weakness for all of my attacks for a limited amount of time. I can combo it with weapon enhancements or maybe other abilities in my arsenal.  I’ll try to explain my idea in DDO terms (IMPORTANT: THESE ARE NOT ACTUAL ENHANCEMENTS! This is me proposing an enhancement line):

Rogue Exploiting Blow I: For 60 sec, your sneak attacks will apply a 10% reduction to an enemy’s resistance to critical hits and sneak attacks for 6 seconds if target fails a Reflex save DC 10 + half Rogue level + intelligence modifier. This consumes a use of your damage boost ability.

  • AP Cost: 2
  • Level: 4
  • Progression: 32
  • Requires: Rogue Damage Boost I, Rogue Subtle Backstabbing I, Rogue Sneak Attack Training I

Rogue Exploiting Blow II: For 60 sec, your sneak attacks will apply a 25% reduction to an enemy’s resistance to critical hits and sneak attacks for 6 seconds if target fails a Reflex save DC 10 + half Rogue level + intelligence modifier. This consumes a use of your damage boost ability.

  • AP Cost: 4
  • Level: 7
  • Progression: 22
  • Requires: Rogue Exploiting Blow I, Rogue Damage Boost II, Rogue Sneak Attack Training II

Rogue Exploiting Blow III: For 60 sec, your sneak attacks will apply a 50% reduction to an enemy’s resistance to critical hits and sneak attacks, if target fails a Reflex save DC 10 + half Rogue level + intelligence modifier. In addition, enemies have a 2% chance of being dazed for 6 seconds if they fail their Reflex save. This consumes a use of your damage boost ability.

  • AP Cost: 6
  • Level: 14
  • Progression: 46
  • Requires: Rogue Exploiting Blow II, Rogue Damage Boost III, Rogue Sneak Attack Training III

Regardless of the cause; I seemed to get easily get frustrated or burn out playing a rogue. It seemed that the fates of DDO didn’t want me to play a mechanic type rogue. But why should I let that stop me from playing a rogue type to level 20. These are not limitations, but merely challenges to overcome through cunning strategy and deceive tactics. So I decided to take a different approach and create a beat-stick rogue, of thee which I dub: The Brutish Repo Rogue.

Torzion “The Brutish Repo Rogue” Flavor Text

Torzion could not remember a time before belonging to anyone other than the Boss. While under Boss, Torzion performed some very simple functions. These functions had no particular order:  Beat. Take. Kill. Steal.

Beat mostly came first, and was the easiest; flesh bags were very easy to beat up. Beating up a flesh bag was Torzion’s favorite.

Take was sometimes harder, but the Boss usually gave a detailed description what to take. Take usually meant “take the gold” or “take the shiny thing”. The Boss was always ranting, “I want my gold back!” Boss always wanted something of his back. Torzion could understand this because if something of yours was stolen you naturally wanted it back. Take was Boss’s favorite function.

Kill was very common after take, but not as fun as Beat. Sometimes Torzion had to skip the beating up part and go directly to killing, because Take was far more important for the Boss.

Steal was kind of like Take, but was trickier and involved sub functions such as sneak, disarm, and runaway. Steal was necessary when Beat and Kill were harder to do than normal. Steal was rather efficient at times, but less fun.

When Boss died, Torzion needed a new boss, but after the Last War all warforged needed full designations, seeing as they were all sentient beings with the same rights as other races. Getting a full name would help Torzion find a new boss. Torzion designated its gender as female and decided on Torzion Wench. Wench seemed the right title for females, after all that is what the old Boss called all the female fleshings around him.

Primary Goals - “I want to do more than Auto-Attack”
The Brutish Repo Rogue is a basic TWF DPS Assassin rogue build. Rogue for the Assassin prestige enhancement line, Fighter for TWF feats and Kensei, and finally a splash of Barbarian for some added HP, rage and face movement.

  1. Always Moving - I’m a spaz-bot. I like to physics dodge mob blows and position myself to avoid damage archs. This tendency to move about is probably from my FPS days.
  2. Active Combat - This means selecting the right kind of attack at the right moment. I want to be able to combo weapons, status effects, and actions. The Assassin line also grants actions that are fun to cause trouble with. In addition to trying to balance hate agro, this makes for interesting combat.
  3. DPS - Though TWF isn’t the king of DPS as it once was, it’s still great when you heavily invest into the two-weapon feat line. GTWF + Sneak attack damage is still a force to be reckoned with.

Secondary Goals - “Gear Fiddling”

  1. Ability Stat Damage Weapons - Assassin gives you some great stat damage abilities and gives you some great crit confirmation bonuses. I have renewed interest in Wounding/Puncturing and Weakening/Enfeebling as fun weapon combos. It also makes me think about how I could play with Maladroit/BoneBreaking.
  2. Trap Crafting - Though I’m not a mechanic rogue, I still have access to trap craft. It’s not my build’s focus. I don’t think that any build should be focused around trap craft — the sheer number of ingredients makes it unworthy. Furthermore, there aren’t any enhancement lines or feats you can take to specialize in traps as a valid weapon in combat. Trap crafting is just busy fun, kind of like knitting or baking cupcakes.

The Build: Torzion Wench “The Brutish Repo Rogue”

Ability Scores & Summary

Abilities (32 pt) Base Stats (lvl 1) Mod Stats (lvl 20)
Str 15 24
Dex 15 18
Con 16 19
Int 14 16
Wis 8 8
Cha 10 12
  • Alignment: True Neutral
  • Race: Warforged
  • Gender: Female
  • Class Break Down: 6 Fighter / 1 Barbarian / 13 Rogue
  • Hit Points: 312
  • BAB: 16/16/21/26/26
  • Fortitude: 15
  • Reflex: 14
  • Will: 5 (yeah, this is a weakness)
  • Primary Skills: Balance, Disable Device, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Open Lock, Search, Spot, UMD
  • Secondary Skills: Tumble, Repair

Level & Feats Break Down:

Level Class Feats
1 Rogue (Selected) Two Weapon Fighting
2 Rogue (Fighter Bonus) Oversized Two Weapon Fighting
3 Rogue (Selected) Toughness
4 Rogue
5 Rogue
6 Rogue (Selected) Power Attack
7 Rogue
8 Rogue
9 Rogue (Selected) Improved Two Weapon Fighting
10 Fighter (Fighter Bonus) Improved Critical: Slashing Weapons
11 Fighter
12 Fighter (Selected) Weapon Focus: Slashing Weapons
(Fighter Bonus) Weapon Specialization: Slashing Weapons
13 Fighter
14 Rogue (Fighter Bonus) Greater Two Weapon Fighting
15 Rogue (Selected) Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword
16 Rogue
17 Rogue
18 Rogue (Selected) Quick Draw
19 Rogue
20 Barbarian

Enhancements:

  • Barbarian Power Attack I
  • Barbarian Sprint Boost I
  • Barbarian Willpower I
  • Fighter Attack Boost I - II
  • Fighter Critical Accuracy I - II
  • Fighter Strength I - II
  • Fighter Toughness I - II
  • Kensei Bastard Sword Mastery I
  • Racial Toughness I - II
  • Rogue Assassin I - II
  • Rogue Damage Boost I - II
  • Rogue Dexterity I
  • Rogue Disable Device I
  • Rogue Haste Boost I - III
  • Rogue Hide I - II
  • Rogue Improved Trap Sense I
  • Rogue Move Silently I - II
  • Rogue Search I
  • Rogue Skill Boost I - II
  • Rogue Sneak Attack Accuracy I - III
  • Rogue Sneak Attack Training I - IV
  • Rogue Subtle Backstabbing I - II
  • Warforged Constitution I
  • Warforged Construct Thinking I
  • Warforged Power Attack I - II

 

Eberron Days: 4th of Barrakas

The Hunt

Earth Date: August 4th
Location: Sharn, Khorvaire, Eberron. Also at many Sovereign Host temples around the world.

balinorThe 4th of Barrakas is The Hunt day, where followers of Balinor celebrate him as the Lord of Horn and Hunt — He who protects His people from marauding predators. Both rural communities and in greatest cities of Khorvaire observe the Hunt. In Sharn (and many other metropolises), the priests of Balinor arrange to have a dangerous beast transported to the city. The City Watch cordons off an area of the Lower-City, and on 4 Barrakas the beast is released into the Depths. Anyone who wishes can participate in the Hunt by making a donation of 5 gp. Hunters receive the blessing of Balinor, and enter the Depths to track down the beast. Whoever returns with its head receives a prize of 500 gp, fame throughout the city, and the blessing of Balinor. While the quarry of the Hunt is generally referred to as “the beast,” over the years the Hunt has taken different forms. Sometimes multiple creatures participate, and the victor is the hunter who gathers the most skins. During the Last War, rumors persist that a city in Karrnath used prisoners of war as the quarry in the Hunt.

Monster Minute: Mephits & Imps

Mephits & Imps in Real-World Mythology
ImpsThe western notion of imps originated from Germanic folklore. Imps are smaller lesser fey like creatures. Pre-Christian stories depict imps as mischievous rather than evil or harmful; some regions considered them as attendants of fire gods. Older folktales describe them as easy going and fun-loving, fond of cute tricks. Later in history, (probably after the introduction of Christianity) they were described as malicious and evil. They are fond of pranks and fooling people in both versions. People often blamed imps when they stub their toe or when their keys are missing.

In Japan, there is a similar being called a Kappa, which means “river-child”. Kappa are much like water imps. KappaThese creatures are small as a young child and most stories describe them as having a bird beak or pointy mouth. Other stories say they have monkey faces. Some have bodies with tortoise’s shell and have bluish or greenish skin. Kappas are troublemakers, playing pranks such as loud farting or flipping up ladies’ kimonos.

Post-Christian lore says that imps are minor demons, and are often summoned by witches and warlocks to be familiars or servants. During the Medieval and Salem witch hunts, owner ship of “imps” such as lizards, toads, frogs, or black cats were used to convict people of witch craft.

Mephits & Imps in D&D
Mephits first appeared as a playable monster not in D&D but in Warhammer Fantasy’s magazine, White Dwarf in 1979. Warhammer had monster stats for the fire imp, molten imp, smoke imp, and steam imp. TSR followed up in 1981 in their Fiend Folio with fire mephit, smoke mephit, and steam mephit. TSR also published several modules through the 80s that included the ice mephit and mist mephit. In the 1990s, the Greyhawk campaign setting saw further use of these same mephit types and have been a staple monster through v3.5. Also in v3.5, you can have imps as a PC familiar. For some reason in 4e, imps and mephits are sparse; hardly mentioned in the compendium and monster manuals.

KappaIn all campaign settings, Mephits are winged humanoid looking creature, small in stature and are no larger than 4 feet in height.  Their behavior is a reflection of their plane of origin. Each mephit has a breath weapon typically doing some kind of elemental damage. In addition to their breath weapon, they have spell-like abilities based on their origins. They also heal fairly quickly in their ideal conditions. Mephits and Imps can also summon more mephitis and imps of the same type.

They are never native to the material plane and can only exist on the material plane when summoned, and hence are considered extra-planar outsiders.

classic DnD planes

Mephits & Imps in Eberron
In the Eberron Campaign Setting, many mephits come from Lamannia, the Twilight Forest; the realm of wild nature magic. While imps are devil like and are found in the planes of Shavarath, the eternal Battleground. Risia, the Plane of Ice, is home to Ice Mephits, while Fernia, the Sea of Fire, harbors Fire Mephits.

DDO Dust Mephit

Since mephits & imps are imports you can pretty much find any type around the lands Xen’drik where the ouside planes intersect with the material plane. Magic users are also fond of summoning them for menial tasks or simply to annoy the occasional adventurer that invades their domain.

Fire Mephits