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It’s H.G. Wells’s Birthday September 21, 2017

Posted by jkahane in birthday, book hut, history, reading hut, science hut.
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For those who are unaware of such things or just plain don’t necessarily care about them, today is H.G. Wells‘s birthday. Well, would have been, if he were still alive.

An outspoken socialist and pacifist, Wells is considered one of the two “Fathers of Science Fiction” (the other being Jules Verne). He led a remarkable life, wrote some fascinating books that were and still are considered science fiction romances, but had other claims to fame as well.

While I first read Asimov’s Foundation as my introduction to science fiction when I was 9 or so, it was Wells’s The Time Machine that may well have cemented my love of the genre, and taught me that “modern” sf in 1965 or thereabouts had predecessors that were just as important to read and know about.

Rest well, George Herbert Wells. You earned it.


Happy Jewish New Year! September 20, 2017

Posted by jkahane in holiday, personal.
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Today at sundown marks the start of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

So I would like to wish all my Jewish friends and followers l’shana tova, and best wishes for the New Year. May it be filled with happiness, health, prosperity, joy, love, and everything else that you would wish from the New Year.

And for all my goyim friends out there, a good (Jewish) new year to you, as well. You’re welcome. 🙂

Arrrrr, Mateys! September 19, 2017

Posted by jkahane in holiday.
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Soo, as p’r the usual, ’tis the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Therefore, me hearties and mateys, this be the day when ye all haf ta talk like the scurvy dogs and wenches, pirates though ye be, that ye are!!

Good wishes an’ raisin’ a mug o’ froth to all me LJ salty sea dogs and lovely, briny wenches!

Arrrrrrrrr!! 🙂

Getting Ready for Sunday Afternoon Gaming September 17, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, food hut, gaming hut, health hut, personal, roleplaying games, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg.
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Getting ready for an afternoon of gaming with the Sunday gaming group.

My feet are bothering me pretty badly, a lot of pain in the left foot where the blisters haven’t broken (but I feel like I’m walking on a small pocket of fluid or whatever), and my left shoulder is bothering me a lot. Here’s hoping the gaming will distract me from the pain that’s going on and focus on something else (i.e., the gaming).

The Sunday gamers and I will be wrapping up the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG scenario that they’re doing for the moment, and if time permits we’re going to start in on stuff for the The Dark Eye campaign that I’m planning to run, though probably won’t get to character creation until next weekend.

Meanwhile, it’s time to head into the shower, and then hobble upstairs to make some lunch.

Have a good afternoon, folks.

Friday Night Game Report – Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG Session 10 September 16, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, gaming hut, personal, rpg hut.
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Last night, the Friday night gaming group continued playing in the Coriolis – The Third Horizon campaign that they’ve got going on. You can read about the previous game session by following the link. This post is extremely long, so I’ve put it behind a cut for those who don’t want to read about my roleplaying game campaigns.



Naima Saab (KathyB) – Trailblazer (Scout)
Hafisa darRouash (Angela) – Pilot (Freighter Pilot)
Zouma Abid-Arif (Ellie) – Stowaway/Ship Worker (Engineer)
Moustafa Harouz (DavidM) – Negotiator (Peddler)
Tafik Sharoun (Mark) – Scientist (Archaeologist)

First Triad, Dancer Segment, Day 13, CC 58

Blake Harold starts to draw his weapon, but Moustafa Harouz advises him not to do so; there are too many of the intruders around. One of the interlopers, a tall man with dark hair, five o’clock shadow, and a beard, wearing desert robes and a flak jacket and armed with several lethal looking weapons (one of which Naima Saab recognises as a Sarbinder rifle, a weapon unique to the Menau planets of the third binary star of the system), steps forward, and introduces himself. Afir Mibraanh says that he and his associates are rebels from the Menau system. Moustafa asks what their purpose is there, but Afir counters with the same question of the player characters. Tafik Sharoun tells them he is a friend of Professor Darfal ibn Salumar, and he’s come to Mira to find out what happened to the Professor. Afir says that’s not all they’re after, as he knows that Tafik and the others have been in contact with the “Miran officials”, among others. Moustafa attempts to defuse the situation, and eventually Afir and his rebels calm down – and part of the truth comes out.

It seems that Professor ibn Salumar got some of his information about this dig site from records that were obtained through questionable channels about a ruin found on Menau several years back. ibn Salumar convinced some of the Menau rebels that something important to their cause was to be found at a set of ruins on Mira, ruins that not too many people may have been aware of. With backing from the Colonial Agency, Professor ibn Salumar was able to establish an archaeological site on Mira, but also brought along several dozen of the Menau rebels as per his agreement with them. The attack by the rebels against the Professor and his team was by someone else, someone who could benefit from whatever it was the Professor had found that would also make the rebels look bad. Afir says he doesn’t know what it was that Professor ibn Salumar found, but obviously someone who wanted it very badly led to the attack. Afir confirms Sumala Fadros’s belief that the Professor fled into the ruins themselves, below ground, though he knows that his lieutenant (and wife) Kamala accompanied him along with three others. Afir agrees to lead the characters down into the ruins to see if they can find the Professor and Kamala, but he says he will leave several of his people to protect the surface area.

The player characters gather their belongings they intend to take down into the ruins with them, but Hafisa darRouash says that she doesn’t trust Afir and his people. Zouma Abid-Arif tells her that she’s got a good feeling about the rebel leader; when Hafisa asks her why, she states that he reminds her of herself. A couple of hours later, the player characters prepare to follow Afir and and two of his other people, Halma and Martuf, to the ruins. Halma takes a shine to Naima, much to the scout’s amusement, and the group starts into the ruins. Afir warns them that there are several predators and vermin that make their homes in the ruins, so the group will have to be cautious. As they make their way to the edge of the surface ruins, the player characters (with the exception of Tafik) marvel at the odd shapes and patterns that the Portal Builder ruins seem to take as their form. Afir leads them into the wind-swept ruins, and Afir tells them that there is only one place the Professor may have made for. When Tafik asks him where that is, the rebel says, “You’ll see…”.

As Afir leads the characters and his fellow rebels through the ruins, they are attacked by a horde of ruins bats, but easily drive them off. Afir has everyone check for wounds or scratches, as the bite of the bats can be toxic and lethal, but the group comes through unscathed. He leads them over to one of the sets of stairs leading down that the team had excavated, and tells them that Professor ibn Salumar must have taken the shelter in the artifact cave. Tafik looks at the others, but both Zouma and Naima are able to see a glint of something (perhaps greed?) in his eyes. The group descends some 30 metres below the surface, and find themselves in a cavern with piles of rock and other debris around them. It is also much cooler than above, and is lit by a faint glow. Afir leads the characters towards one of the many openings out of the cavern, Halma scouting ahead a bit, and at her “okay” signal, leads them into a chamber that makes Tafik gasp. The room appears to have some sort of moebius strip-like central “console” (if it can be called that) and what appear to be symbols all over the walls of the 3-metre diameter chamber. Afir grins at the archaeologist, and says that’s the way Professor ibn Salumar reacted to the room as well. Sumala points to one of the walls, stating there are no doors out of this room. Tafik and Naima go over to the walls to look at the symbols, and the archaeologist excitedly says that these look like runes/symbols found in other Portal Builder sites. Hafisa goes to check out the central, raised area, and calls Tafik over. She says that some of the symbols remind her of piloting notations. Afir tells them that there is some sort of energy in the room that the Professor had been unable to identify.

A disappointed Tafik gives up after a couple of hours, telling the others that he’s never seen anything like this chamber before. He feels that there’s something important here, but they lack the knowledge to figure things out. Afir says that this concurs with what Professor ibn Salumar said, and leads the characters to another one of the entryways out of the cavern chamber they had found before. The opening leads to a large, long hallway, and Afir leads them along this route. As they make their way along the hallway, Zouma shouts a warning to Afir about a small box that is attached to the left wall; Afir tells her all is well, and presses what Naima tells her is a sensor. Afir beckons them ahead, and walks right through the wall at the end of the hallway…

Martuf chuckles, and walks through the wall as well followed by Halma, who tells them it’s perfectly safe. Tafik tells Moustafa to follow a hunch, and both he and Hafisa walk through the wall at the same time….

…to find that Afir is hugging a somewhat thin, but rugged looking, woman [this is Kamala, his wife]. As the others come through, Tafik says to another man there, “Professor ibn Salumar, I presume?” The man is older, dressed very similarly to Tafik, but wearing what appears to be a pince-nez. The Professor tells his former student there’s no need to stand on ceremony, and introductions are made all around. The Professor explains the situation to Tafik and the others, and says that this is the greatest find of artefacts of Portal Builder origin ever found in the Third Horizon. Tafik and Darfal talk about matters for a short period of time, while the other characters and the various rebels confer and talk as well. The two archaeologists discuss the find and how the Portal technology discovered here could benefit everyone in the Third Horizon, but Sumala Fadros has been listening to them and tells them both they’re wrong – the technology should never have been found, and it will doom the Mira system and anyone who uses it. Tafik comes to realise that she’s right, and eventually Professor ibn Salumar also realises this is true, but he’s already prepared for that eventuality. He had Afir and his rebels place charges at strategic points around the ruins, and was and is prepared to use them since it comes right down to it. A massive debate about the plan ensues, with various rebels taking opposite sides, but the player characters talk to Tafik and realise that it’s the only option. If such a mother lode of Portal Builder technology should fall into the hands of some of the factions, it would be a disaster. Humankind is not ready for such technology or power.

Tafik leads his fellow professor out of the chamber, the other characters and rebels following in their wake, and head for the surface once more. Tafik says they need to get Professor ibn Salumar off Mira and to safety, perhaps to the main Foundation headquarters for now. Asked how they can accomplish that, Hafisa darRouash says she may have a plan. But the plan is de-railed slightly as they reach the surface to find the bodies of the other rebels left behind, and a rather snarky young woman leading some mercenaries waiting for them, armed to the teeth.

Professor ibn Salumar is shocked to see her there, addressing her as Layla. She is his daughter! Layla tells the player characters to drop their weapons and surrender. With lightning speed, the player characters dodge for cover in the ruins, as several shots ring out from the carbine weapons being used by the [Sunset] mercenaries. Tafik loses track of Darfal ibn Salumar, but when he attempts to find him, sees [spending a Darkness point] that the Professor has been shot, and is down back near where they emerged from the ruins. A firefight ensues between the player characters and the rebels on one side and the Sunset mercenaries (led by Layla Saluma) on the other. Layla kills one of her own mercenaries upon realising that he’s the one who took down her father, and has no heart for the fight. She does admit during the fighting that the mercenaries were the ones who attacked and destroyed most of the expedition to the ruins, as they work for the Colonial Agency. She refuses to explain why they did so, saying that the CA will make their agenda plain when the time is right. Kamala tells Afir and the player characters that she knows where the explosive are and how to set them off, and both Naima and Hafisa go with her and Afir to do so, the others keeping the Sunsets at bay.

With a modicum of luck [and the expenditure of Darkness Points on both sides of the GM Screen], the ruins are detonated, collapsing key areas down around themselves, and with that Layla Saluma calls off the mercenaries. Since there is nothing to fight over, Layla tells Moustafa and Tafik there is no point continuing the bloodshed. The mercenaries leave, but not before Layla tells them that she will have her revenge for what has happened here today. The player characters congratulate themselves on a job well done. Tafik tells them they’ve lost today, as Professor ibn Salumar’s death has been a costly one. And there’s still the matter of what to do about the ruins and the cache of Portal Builder artefacts. Hafisa says she still has her plan…

Several days later, the Ruby Flower is on course from Mira to Aiwaz carrying its latest cargo, agricultural supplies, and with an extra passenger aboard – Sumala Fadros. Moustafa congratulates Hafisa on her plan, and she says it was (relatively) easy. She had one of their contacts on Mira station arrange for the cargo to be ready for delivery when they arrived back on station. The crew of the Ruby Flower were able to convince both Governor Demorna din Soubar and Foundation representative Sariha Milmasine that the professor’s death and burial among the ruins he loved so well was a suitable way to end matters, and that his notes were “irretrievably destroyed” in the initial attack by the “Menau” rebels [in fact, Tafik has his notes encrypted onto his job specific computer]. The player characters feel this will keep both the Colonial Agency and the Foundation, as well as Miran authorities, away from the dig site for some time, and the demolition of the ruin site through the use of explosives and with the help of Afir, Kamala and the rebels will keep the cache of Portal Builder artefacts out of the spotlight for some time, if forever (or so they hope). Sumala Fadros decided to accompany the characters aboard the Ruby Flower, as she felt it would be safer if she disappeared for a while, and took leave of her family, telling them that she needed to go offworld but that she’d be back “soon”.

The scene shifts out to a view of the Ruby Flower travelling towards the portal station that will take it to Aiwaz… while in his quarters, Tafik Sharoun plays back a holographic message several years old from Professor ibn Salumar :

“My dear Tafik,

I trust you are well, my boy. Layla sends her greetings, and I would like to commend you on your engagement and…”

Fade to black.

This game session of Coriolis – The Third Horizon went pretty well, and it wrapped up the second adventure of the player characters with a storyline that had some turns and twists, and some very enjoyable (the players’ words) fight scenes. There was a lot of roleplaying in this one, and the player characters made some new friends and enemies. There’s a lot of potential for the future of the Coriolis – The Third Horizon Friday night campaign that came out of this one, and it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold here when I get back to the campaign. Lots of unanswered questions, both about some of the events on Mira station and matters that took place down on the planet.

Look forward to the next session of this brilliant science fantasy roleplaying game – whenever I come back to it in the future.

Getting Ready for Friday Night Gaming September 15, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, food hut, gaming hut, personal, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg.
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Well, it’s Friday evening.

Time to get some Friday night gaming in with the regular players. It’s been a while since we gamed for a period of time on a Friday night. I’ve spent the afternoon reading some of The Dark Eye RPG gaming materials, but am not ready to run the system just yet. So tonight’s game will be another session of the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG campaign.

I’m looking forward to gaming this evening.

In the meantime, I need to make some supper.

Have a good evening, folks.

Getting Ready for Wednesday Night Gaming September 13, 2017

Posted by jkahane in board games, food hut, gaming hut, personal, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg.
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Getting ready for an evening of gaming with the Wednesday night group.

This will be the first time that the Wednesday night players have gamed in some time (since the middle of June, in fact), as they took the summer off. I don’t know what we’ll be playing this evening, but I suspect they’ll want to play a board game of some sort, rather than rpgs, so as to transition back into gaming somewhat. I do know that Donna has expressed an interest in seeing some of The Dark Eye RPG gaming materials, so that will likely happen after gaming tonight.

Looking forward to playing with the Wednesday nighters once again! 🙂

In the meantime, I need to make some supper.

Have a good evening, folks.

A Terrible Anniversary September 12, 2017

Posted by jkahane in personal, tragedy.
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Sixteen years ago today, a terrible series of events occurred. We call it 9/11.

Once more, it occurred to me today that I was at the sf bookstore I owned and ran back in those days, Basilisk Dreams Books, getting paperwork done for the morning and getting ready to open the door, when the kind lady who owned the store next door (a video store that also sold tvs, vcrs, and dvd players) knocked on the door, and said that I needed to come to her store and see the terrible tragedy that had occurred and was still ongoing.

Needless to say, the complexion of the rest of that day was forever changed. And the world changed that day forever as well.

I want to once more offer my condolences to those who lost loved ones on that day, and my heartfelt thanks for those who toiled and struggled and bravely survived that day.

On this day, take the time to remember where you were on 9/11. And how your life was affected by the terrible, tragic events of that day.

Friday Night Game Report – Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG Session 9 September 9, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, gaming hut, personal, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg.
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Last night, the Friday night gaming group continued playing in the Coriolis – The Third Horizon campaign that they’ve got going on. You can read about the previous game session by following the link. This post is somewhat long, so I’ve put it behind a cut for those who don’t want to read about my roleplaying game campaigns.


Naima Saab (KathyB) – Trailblazer (Scout)
Hafisa darRouash (Angela) – Pilot (Freighter Pilot)
Zouma Abid-Arif (Ellie) – Stowaway/Ship Worker (Engineer)
Moustafa Harouz (DavidM) – Negotiator (Peddler)
Tafik Sharoun (Mark) – Scientist (Archaeologist)

First Triad, Dancer Segment, Day 12, CC 58

Failing to dodge her attacker, Naima Saab tries to roll with the impact and is relatively successful [she takes 2 Damage Points]. She attempts to use the attacker’s momentum against them and is able to dislodge her opponent, rolling away. Zouma Abid-Arif draws her dura knife, while Sumala Fadros cowers against the nearest wall. The attacker turns out to be a young boy, likely a street urchin, Kef, who tells them after everyone calms down that he was merely exercising his prerogative to rob a house that had obviously been broken into. Once they are convinced Kef is telling the truth, Naima lets him go his own way, but she retrieves her 50Birr tag that he attempted to pickpocket from her during the “attack”. Naima and Zouma enter the building, a cautious Sumala bringing up the rear.

Back at the Foundation rep’s office, Tafik Sharoun asks Sariha Milmasine if she has any of the data from the archaeological dig that Professor ibn Salumar was working at. She tells him she doesn’t, saying that her representative, Hamid al-Fazoulis, hasn’t yet returned from the dig with his initial report. Moustafa Harouz knows that she’s lying to him [he spends a Darkness Point to make the Empathy check]. He gives Tafik a speculative look, and the two player characters say goodbye to the Foundation rep and leave her office. She says that she’ll expect their call when they’re ready to head out to the archaeological dig. They discuss what happened in the office, and Moustafa speculates that she’s lying, given what Sumala Fadros told them; Milmasine is either double-crossing the Foundation (and in cahoots with the Colonial Agency) or something else is going on that they don’t know about. Either way, they need to make preparations for going to the bin Salumar dig site.

Back aboard the Ruby Flower, Hafisa darRouash is conducting ship tests and checks when Scherza informs her there is a message incoming from Mira Station. The message is from Dr. Asima Siwaal of the Colonial Agency, and the crew’s Patron, and informs them that since they are currently at Mira Station, there are two cargo runs they can make, either back to Coriolis or on the Miran route at Tarazug (which lies dangerously close to the Odacon system). She expects them to decide which job offer to accept and to get back to her before they leave the Mira system.

Back at Hamid al-Fazoulis’s home, Naima, Zouma and Sumala Fadros find that the place has been trashed completely. Based on her experience, Zouma tells Naima that she can’t tell for sure how many people did this, but it was a professional job. The three women cautiously search through the house, but find no evidence of foul play occurring to Hamid. Sumala says she can’t tell whether anything has been taken or not (since her most recent visit to his home), though Naima notices that Sumala is nervous about something. After some quick talking and questioning on Naima’s part, Sumala admits that she and Hamid were lovers during the archaeological dig, and that he was always scared of something. Naima’s scout’s eye notices that one of the cupboards appears to be missing stuff, though there’s no real trashing there. Sumala tells her that it’s his expedition gear. She has no idea where it is. The three women leave Hamid’s house, just before the authorities arrive there.

Returning to the Ruby Flower, the player characters bring each other up-to-date on what they’ve learned. Tafik tells the others that it’s time they visit Professor Darfal ibn Salumar’s dig site, and he makes the arrangements with the Foundation office for the sub-orbital shuttle transport. He asks Hafisa if she can fly one of those vehicles, and she tells him she can. “Good,” he says, “because I told them that we’d take the shuttle to the archaeological dig site ourselves.” The others are surprised, but he just touches his hand to his nose in reply. Moustafa tells the others that until they’re ready to leave Mira proper, he’s not going to look at the two cargo job offers that Asima Siwaal has suggested for them. First things first.

The next morning, after spending a night at the Miran Arms Hotel (since the crew decided they didn’t want to stay on the ship when they could breathe actual atmosphere), the player characters go about some business and learn what they can about the social and political situation on Mira. It’s not good, and Tafik realises that the timing on Professor ibn Salumar’s dig could not have come at a worse time. The characters and Sumala along with Blake Harold board the sub-orbital shuttle that Sariha Milmasine has put at their disposal, stowing some gear that they figure they’ll need with them in the Miran “outlands”. Hafisa pilots the shuttle flawlessly according to the navigation coordinates provided by the Foundation offices, and the player characters are soon on their way to the ibn Salumar archaeological dig site.

Several hours later, the player characters arrive at the site of Professor ibn Salumar’s dig site, to find it…lifeless. The surface ruins seem to be intact and while there’s some animal life in the area, Naima tells the others that the sensors aren’t finding any humanoid life at all. She says that she’s suspicious of the results, as there are some “sensor ghosts” in her readings that she can’t explain. Searching for a landing site, Moustafa tells Hafisa to land the shuttle within walking distance of the archaeological dig site, as they don’t want to disturb anything. Hafisa locates a good site, within half a kilometre of the camp buildings, and brings the shuttle down without a bump or a scrape.

The various characters descend into the oppressive, dry heat of the southern continent, and Moustafa asks the others if they’re now glad that he made them pick up certain clothes and gear for the trip to the dig site. The others merely grumble in reply, only Tafik and Zouma feeling comfortable in the oppressive climate. Making sure they’ve got their weapons and equipment properly ordered, the group are led by Naima in the direction of the archaeological dig, her scanner held in front of her. As they reach the site of the archaeological dig, they see that the habitat structures have been ransacked and seemingly torn to pieces. Tafik looks around worriedly, pointing out that they’re a long way from civilisation. As the characters wander the area, Blake Harold is the first to spot the tell-tale signs that they’re not alone. Half a dozen robed individuals, carrying weapons of various type step out from the ruined buildings and their surroundings, telling the player characters, Sumala, and Blake to stand very, very still.

Last night’s gaming session of the Coriolis – The Third Horizon Friday night game campaign was quite a lot of fun, and to be honest, very relaxing for me. The players did some excellent roleplaying that put them on the right track (with a couple of red herrings thrown in for good measure), and I was pretty happy with the Darkness Points expenditures balance throughout the session. The next game session will likely be the wrap-up of the Coriolis – The Third Horizon game for a bit on Friday nights, as the players are quite eager to play The Dark Eye after we wrap up the Coriolis scenario.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to next week’s game session.

Getting Ready for Friday Night Gaming September 8, 2017

Posted by jkahane in board games, coriolis rpg, food hut, gaming hut, personal, rpg hut.
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Getting ready for an evening of gaming with the Friday night group.

Not sure what the players want to do yet tonight, but there’s a strong interest in the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG campaign, as they were having quite a bit of fun with it. So I’ve spent a bit of the afternoon refreshing myself on the system and the campaign scenario they’re playing to this point.

Looking forward to whatever the players decide to play this evening.

In the meantime, I need to figure out what to do for supper tonight.

Have a good evening, folks.