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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Crown Of The Winter King

This is my entry for T.W. Wombat’s Winter Is Coming Festival.  Check out both his Winter Is Coming Festival page and his blog Wombat’s Gaming Den Of Iniquity.

Charyssil was a powerful tiefling warlock who lived during the height of the Empire of Bael Turath.  Unlike her brethren, who promised their very souls to devils in exchange for their power, Charyssil made a pact with a powerful archfey – The Winter King, who had dominion over the entire season in the Feywild, including all its snows, frozen fields, ice-covered forests, and other beautiful, serene landscapes.

Charyssil joined with a band of adventurers, and over time, her power grew.  Not coincidentally, she was drawn to locations and creatures of the cold northern lands, and the tall, frigid peaks.  She learned the secrets of elemental cold magic, and became a master crafter of enchanted items.

Seeking to earn a place in her patron’s court, Charyssil planned to create a tribute to the Winter King.  She was encouraged and assisted by her eladrin friend, the archmage Fervail.  He reasoned that imitation was the sincerest form of flattery; the Winter King, like all fey, would be more receptive if presented with a gift demonstrative of his power.  Charyssil agreed.  She forged a crown of ice from the heart of the Elemental Chaos, and imbued it with the power of the Winter King.

But the Winter King, like all fey, is a fickle being.  Rather than being flattered, the Winter King was offended that his essense was used to create a mockery and pale imitation of his own power.  Enraged, the Winter King slew Charyssil.  During the battle, Charyssil was betrayed by Fervail, who absconded with the Crown and fled back to Bael Turath.  In the centuries since, the Crown Of The Winter King has appeared and disappeared many times.  It is said that the Winter King hunts for it still, so that he may finally reclaim his shard of power.

Crown Of The Winter King Level 27
This translucent blue-crystal circlet feels cold to the touch.  When you don it, those around you get a chill, and your skin feels cold and clammy.
Item Slot: Head 1,625,000 gp
Property: Gain Resist 10 Cold
Property: Gain a +6 item bonus to Endurance checks to endure extreme cold weather
Property: Any enemy that hits you with a melee attack takes 1d10 cold damage
 
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Posted by on Thursday, 29 September 2011 in Gaming

 

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Speak Out With Your Geek Out – My Other Geek Obsessions

Wow, I made it to Day 5 of Speak Out With Your Geek Out!  How’s that for seeing things through!

So, all this week I’ve concentrated on my RPG Geek.  That’s to be expected from a blog named Elf Steaks, I suppose.  But, as is typically the case with Geeks and non-Geeks alike, I have more than one passion.  “What else do you Geek out about, BeefGriller?”  Well, I’m glad you asked!  Here, in no particular order, are the subjects I most Geek over.

  • Role-playing games  Yes, I’ll list this first.  That’s out of the way, now.  So, I’ll continue…
  • Charcoal grilling There is a reason I took the name BeefGriller.  I bought my first charcoal grill seven years ago.  I obsessed over finding the perfect way to light the charcoal, grill my steaks/chicken/pork/etc., learn about indirect grilling, and just about anything else you can think of.  (I love making grilled tomato pasta sauce.  Yes – pasta sauce.)  I think this passion is a hallmark of Geek, and I have it with charcoal grilling.
  • Cooking  Separate from grilling, by cooking I mean indoor food preparation.  To this extent, the Geek cook demands I use fresh ingredients, make recipes from scratch, and tinker with ingredients until the end result is exactly what I want.  That is Geek to me.  Oh, and I exclude cakes, cookies and candies from this category.  I can’t seem to do them properly, and, truth be told, my wife is the Baking Geek of the household.  (Sorry for outing you, Love.)
  • Computers, open-source software, and making it all work perfectly This is another huge part of my Geek.  I was a founding member of my local Linux user group, way back before Linux was on the radar of any IT group.  I’m a huge supporter of OpenBSD, and use it wherever I can.  Just last year, I bought my first Mac and haven’t looked back.  I’m also lucky enough to have turned this Geek passion into my full-time job.  While it’s not always a bed of roses, I am living the Geek dream in that regard.
  • Sudoku, Kakuro, and other logic games I can sit for hours and solve puzzle after puzzle.  I love logic, and, by extension, logic games.  I love how, given a few clues, I get to the final solution using only my brain.  Not only that, it keeps my mind sharp and helps me relax.  Plus, there are few things more fulfilling than solving a puzzle correctly.

So, that wraps up my Geek list.  What about you?  What are your Geek passions?  If you share any of mine, let’s swap stories and/or tips.

 
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Posted by on Friday, 16 September 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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Speak Out With Your Geek Out – My Manifesto

For Day 4 of Speak Out With Your Geek Out, I will make a few promises to myself:

  1. I will not suffer Geek Shame.  For most of my life, when people asked me about my hobbies, I usually answered with reading, grilling, computer games, computer hacking, etc., but I always shied away from the role-playing games.  No more.  I will make that one of the first things I mention, if not the first.  I’m through with Geek Shame.
  2. I will engage others in conversation about my Geek passions.  This flows from the last promise.  When people ask, “What do you mean by ‘role-playing games,'” I will explain it, to the best of my ability.  However, I must make sure that I don’t drone on, bore the questioner, and possibly drive them off.  As a geek, I do tend to get overexcited about my passions.
  3. I will try to bring people into my Geek hobbies and/or passions.  This, too, flows from the last promise.  Excitement is contagious, and if the person with whom I am conversing seems interested, I will invite them to my next game, perhaps, or loan them a rulebook.  Gaming is a social activity, after all, which is improved with more participants (to a point, of course).
  4. I will cultivate the Geek traits and interests in my daughters.  Flows from the last, again.  (Hmm, a pattern emerges?)  Being a father is a pillar of my self-definition.  I see the nascent traits in all three of my girls.  I will do my best to encourage their Geek to grow.  At the same time, I will do my best to instill in them the self-confidence that I lacked.  I must, must, must be certain not to force them into anything.  I know well enough what that is like.
  5. I will work harder to make time for my Geek passions.  (And the pattern falls!)  Real life rears its ugly head oh-too-often.  I have obligations to family, friends, work, home-upkeep, etc..  I am not complaining, but this does take up nearly all of my time.  I will work harder to live up to these obligations in a more timely manner, so as to open up the time for my Geek.

Looking over my list, it seems I want to focus on being myself at all times, teach others about my Geek hobbies, as well as bring others into the hobbies.  Perhaps I’m not being too ambitious, but I’m happy with it.

 
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Posted by on Thursday, 15 September 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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Speak Out With Your Geek Out – Hands Off My Dice!

BeefGriller's Dice Collection

For my third installment in Speak Out With Your Geek Out, I’ll focus on the pride of every pen-and-paper RPG gaming geek: dice!  In a previous post, I showed off my dice collection.   Now, I’d like to share some of my rules, habits and obsessions I have with my dice.

  1. Hands off my dice!  I don’t think I’m alone in this rule.  I simply don’t like other people touching my dice.  Now, if you ask, I’ll likely give you permission – that’s only good manners.  Also, if you do touch my dice without my permission, you’re certain to be blamed when the bad rolls start coming up – so don’t rub your bad luck on my dice!
  2. At the start of the gaming session, I dump all my dice out of the bag.  This is a necessity, of course.  As you can tell by the picture above, I have many, many dice – how else could I possibly…
  3. Select three complete sets to use during the game.  Mostly because I am likely to need to roll more than one of any given type of die (d6, d8, etc.), this is only practical.
  4. Before use, roll all dice until the highest number shows.  Like athletes, dice need to warm up before the game.
  5. Organize the dice by sides first, from d4 to d20, then colors, in neat rows and columns, with the highest number showing.  OK, so the d4s are put together in a semi-circle because they fit that way.  With the highest number showing, they’re more likely to roll that way, right?  My theory is that gravity causes the bottom to become more dense, effectively weighting the die in my favor.
  6. If a d20 has a run of low rolls, I have a pep talk with it.  If it continues, I give it a “time out.”  Let’s face it, all dice want to roll the best numbers.  If the d20 causes too many failures, you have to let it know that you expect better from it.  If it keeps under-performing, it obviously needs a rest.

I’ve come to realize, oddly enough, that I only do these things as a player.  As a GM, I don’t observe these rules, other than numbers 1 and 2.

How about you?  Do you have any superstitions habits for your dice?  I’d love to hear them.

 
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Posted by on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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RPG Collection (Partial)

image

Submitted for your perusal, I give you my entry for Day 2 of Speak Out With Your Geek Out.

A big part of what defines my Geek is my love of RPGs.  You might expect this from a blog called Elf Steaks & Halfling Bacon.  But, to me at least, Geek is more than just collection – it is obsession.  It is not enough to have the most common books, you must have all.  It is not enough to have what you need, you must have what you might need.  No, scratch that – if you see an RPG book that you know you will never, ever play, but you like the artwork, or you heard a friend talk about it once, or maybe you like the designer or the dice mechanics, then you must have it.  And, come hell or high water, you must never, under any circumstances, rid yourself of any book, ever!!!

The picture you see is not my entire collection.  What you see is only the top half of those two bookcases.  And not all of my RPGs are in these two bookcases, either.  (N.B. I admit, there are some non-RPG books here.  Sue me.)  Now, I know that my collection is not the largest by any means.  But I do know that my non-geek friends don’t understand my need to buy, read and keep all of these books.  Other than obsession, I can’t really explain it.

So, to me, part of Geek is the need to collect, and never lose.

 
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Posted by on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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I Am A Geek

Speak Out With Your Geek Out

I am a Geek.  I have been for as long as I was aware of what it means to be a Geek.

I do not advertise my Geek at work, or church, or in my neighborhood.  But, I do not deny it – not any more.  It took many, many years for me to feel confident enough to get to this point.

I imagine most of my old girlfriends would be surprised to learn that I played Dungeons & Dragons while we were dating.  I imagine that most of my high school and college friends would be just as surprised.  That was due to my Geek Shame.  I learned early on in life to hide the Geek within me.

But everything I am today I owe to my Geek.  My love of math, science and logic helped me earn my degree and get the jobs I have had since college.  My love of reading, science fiction, and fantasy has opened my mind to what could be, and provided countless hours of entertainment to myself and my family.  In my daughters, I see and encourage the growth of their imagination, and delight at their creations.  I also do my best as a father to instill in them the self-confidence I never had as a child.

My name is Mark Perotti.  I play Dungeons & Dragons, and other RPGs.  I love science fiction and fantasy.

And, I am a Geek.

This is my first post in participation of Speak Out With Your Geek Out.  Tune in tomorrow for more.

 
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Posted by on Monday, 12 September 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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Mendrök – A Minotaur Potable

What?  Who’s there?  Come closer to the fire so Nachor can see you!  Oh, you’re the visitors Demnos told me about.  You shouldn’t sneak up on a minotaur like that – you’ll get your head crushed like a egg.  Now, just wait a moment for me to put my maul back over here.

So, Demnos wants me to put you up for a night, eh? Very well.  I guess, as a host, I should pour you some mendrök, eh?  Here, hold this drinking horn.  I’ll fetch a bottle from my tent.

Me?  Well, like I said, my name is Nachor.  I tend the herds of yaks that my clan owns.  It ain’t glory like a battlefield, but it gives me lots of time to think.

Here, have some mendrök. Heh – what’s the matter?  Is it the smell, or the way it looks?  Smells like sour milk, eh?  And looks like it, too, don’t it?  Well, guess what – that’s kinda what it is.

How do I make it?  Well, it’s not just me, y’see?  It’s simple enough that all us minotaurs make it.  See, up here in the mountains, we don’t get much time to build and take care of none of them fancy stills or breweries the soft peoples like you do, oh no.  Most of our time is spent hunting or raiding for food and other supplies.  So, like everything we do, we make it quick.

Now, to make mendrök, you start with yak’s milk.  Yeah, that’s right – yak’s milk.  Sometimes we use milk from mares or mountain goats, too, but I mostly like yak.  It sorta makes sense of what I do all day, too.

Now, the shaman blesses the yak herd about once every week, right at sunrise.  He says it infuses the herd with the spirits of the mountain.  The spirits, in their ways and wisdom, make the herd produce superior wool, meat, fat and milk.  That last thing is what we’re interested in.

Now, you get the milk, fresh, you see, and put about five gallons in a pot.  Then, you take a mugful of your last batch of mendrök and you pour it into the fresh milk.  That’s the key, you see?  That one mug makes the rest of the milk begin to ferment.  Without it, you just get sour milk.  Why?  I dunno – the shaman says it has to do with the spirits in the mendrök having to grow.  No spirits, no mendrök, get it?

So you let it sit in the pot for the next three days.  You gotta stir it up two or three times a day so the curds don’t settle and grow too much.  After that, I like to add about a gallon of honey.  Some other taurids like to use sugar they get from the south, but most of us use the honey.  Anyway, you stir it up, then pour it into the skins.

Now, here’s the part where it gets fun.  We take these skins and hang ’em outside on our tents.  Now, you do that, and everyone knows what’s in ’em.  So, it’s tradition, in just about every clan around here, that when you see one of them skins hanging on a tent, you punch it.  Not too hard, you see – you don’t want to waste it.  Punching the bag, like hitting a wasp nest, makes the spirits angry and stirs them up.  Doing that makes the mendrök ferment faster.  After about two weeks, it’s ready.  Take it down, strain out the curds, and store it in skins, bottles or whatever you got.

Go on, taste it.  Yeah, sweet, sour and thin like water, right?  That’s a good batch I gave you, there.  Now, you can drink a quart of that, and not feel too foggy from it.  But we don’t drink it straight too often.  Most times, we add it to whiskey, ale or barley wine that we get from down the mountain.  My favorite way, though, is with the blood of a particularly worthy foe.

I am a minotaur, after all.

 
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Posted by on Thursday, 8 September 2011 in Gaming

 

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