My adopted state of Florida was just hit by a category one hurricane; my adopted city of Tallahassee sustained considerable damage. A week after the storm hit, there are still people in the city without power. There are also people who suffered considerable property damage. Fortunately, there seems to be only one death attributed to the storm here.
I was rather lucky; though my power was out from Friday to Monday, my house sustained no damage and I was well-prepared. I also had the good fortune of leaving the city on Sunday morning on an already scheduled program review at St. Francis University. While I normally dislike airports, it was great having access to AC and electricity again. While I waited for my first flight out, I enjoyed the cool air and recharged my laptop.
While random chance is a major factor in storms, it is wise to be well prepared for them. I did the usual stuff: checked the area for things the storm could pick up and hurl around, had the trees trimmed two years ago and inspected them again, stocked up on canned and dried goods, filled the tubs with water and made sure my phone was charged. I also went beyond the usual preparation and thought I’d share some of the things that worked.
Being a runner, I have a stock of those cold packs that I use for swelling and pain-I made sure those were all in the freezer well before the storm. I also moved the food to the lowest part of the fridge and freezer. I then filled up sturdy freezer bags with water and placed them around the food (do not overfill these!). After the storm knocked out the power, I quickly moved some of the ice into the fridge along with some of the frozen meat. As the meat thawed, I cooked it and ate it. As did my husky. This was a great week for her.
I was able to cook because I had a camp stove (butane fueled) and a propane BBQ. These are well worth having and it is a good idea to have a stock of fuel on hand. As always, be sure to cook in a well ventilated area and be aware of fire hazards.
While some people bought generators ahead of time, I elected to do without due to cost and the hassle of storing fuel. I did, however, have solar chargers on hand. Nekteck and Anker make small panels (also great for hiking and camping) that are easy to store, but will charge USB powered devices. I also have chargeable battery packs on hand; specifically the Brunton Freedom. This handy device can charge from USB or its own solar panel and holds plenty of charge for small USB powered devices like phones and tablets. Florida is a sunny state, so solar is an excellent option for an endless supply of power. The fact that these panels can be stored indefinitely (unlike batteries) makes them very useful indeed. And, of course, I have an assortment of crank charging lights, lanterns and radios on hand-these are very useful.
I also have a bow saw, garden shears and axes–all very useful for cutting up trees and they do not require gasoline or electricity. These saw a lot of use over the weekend. I did not have a chance to use my tent, but I have one on hand in case my house is too damaged to live in.
A Visit from St. Nicholas
The Kindle version of Pirate Fort will be available free on Amazon for 5 days, starting on 12/13/2014.
After the Empire expanded into the Aegus region via the transport towers, Imperial scouts searched for valuable resources. Investigating tales about a mountainous island containing wealth and monsters, Imperial scouts (Althus, Altus, and Ulthus) located caverns that contained rich veins of copper-already being mined by Troglodytes. Eager for the resources, the Empire slaughtered many of the troglodytes and enslaved the rest as miners. A small village, Ulthus, grew up around the mines and a large town, Altus, grew on the coast. The influx of wealth enabled the town to thrive and even construct a theatre for the entertainment of the people. While the theatre was originally a place of the finer arts, as the Empire became more debased, so too did the performances. Eventually, corruption spread throughout the town, infecting even the church.
When the Cataclysm struck, Altus was cast into ruin. The theatre and those who frequented it became the focus of much of the curse. They were transformed to match the evil and depravity in their souls, creating a dangerous and vile show upon the accursed stage. The church also met a terrible fate, becoming a haven for undead beings.
While Ulthus was mainly spared the direct effects of the Cataclysm, the destruction of Altus gave the troglodytes the chance they had been waiting for. They rose up and fought their enslavers. The battle was brutal and costly, but eventually the troglodytes won and were free to go back to enslaving their own kind in order to work the mines for their mysterious masters.
In more recent years and far away from Althus Island a great power arose in the lands of the Old Empire. Servants of this power have captured numerous Imperial transport towers and have made use of these to expand into areas once controlled or visited by the Empire. Recently a force of humanoids arrived on the island and established a fort. This fort serves as a base for a variety of pirate operations in the area. These pirates have been raiding various small islands in the area including Althus Island.
See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
The most recent offering in Blackwell’s Philosophy & Pulp Culture Series is the appropriately named Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophy. I was offered a free copy in return for mentioning the book on my blog and I am making good on that deal. If time permits, I’ll write a review of the book as well. I am not one of the authors and wasn’t asked to contribute, so there is no conflict of interest. Well, other than the free copy.
Here is the back cover info for the book:
“Does justice exist in the drow city of Menzoberranzan?
How does one cope with the death of a player character?
Is it ever morally acceptable to cast necromancy and summoning spells?
Is Raistlin Majere the same person over time?
Do demons and devils have free will?
First introduced by war-game enthusiasts Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons developed into a cultural phenomenon that continues to cast a spell on millions of gaming aficionados around the world. Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy delves into the heroic quests, deadly battles, and medieval courtly intrigue of the legendary role-playing game to probe its rich terrain of philosophically compelling concepts and ideas. From the nature of free will and the metaphysics of personal identity to the morality of crafting fictions and the role of friendship in collaborative storytelling,D&D players and gaming enthusiasts will gain startling insights into the deep philosophical issues that underlie a broad swath of role-playing tactics and strategies. Put the broadswords away and letDungeons & Dragons and Philosophy transport you across the philosophical divide.”
To answer the questions:
1. No. Or yes. Traditional drow are always chaotic evil, so they have no justice. Except that which is dispensed by the adventurers who give them the deaths they really, really deserve. New drow can be any alignment, but tend to be evil and crazy. So, justice is possible, but usually not actual. But, in D&D justice is whatever the DM says it is.
2. Roll a new one.
3. Yes. Necromancy includes healing spells like cure light wounds (look at the spell descriptions). Healing people is morally okay, in general. Summoned creatures are (in the standard game) not permanently harmed by their battles. Also, most of the time they match the summoner in alignment and usually advance the cause of the alignment when summoned to fight. So, summoning them is fine. Plus, they are often things that really like to fight. In D&D that is most things.
4. No idea who that is. I’m getting vague memories about the Dragonlance books I never read, though. I’ll go with the usual answer about games: whatever the DM says.
5. Depends on the DM. Metaphysical issues in RPGs are settled by the dungeon master. In my campaign, they get free will. So yes. For me. Some DMs take devils and demons to always be evil and without free moral choice. That is AD&D Monster Manual-they are always evil (lawful for devils, chaotic for demons). So no. For them. D&D metaphysics is easy.