Thursday, September 29, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ewan Steps Out

A glimpse of Ewan's first confident steps on his own. (He wore his Batman-onesie out on Batman Day, September 17, for good luck!)


Monday, September 12, 2016

Ewan Turns 1

My wife, Yumeko, spent the better part of a week preparing our home for Ewan's 1st birthday on September 3. And what a beautiful handcrafted job she did!
Nana and Grandpa, too, came out to help us celebrate.
Naturally, Ewan was king of the day!
Crayons! Bon appétit!
Much better to color with, as it turns out.
Nana swoops in to marvel at the young artist.
"This is fun!"
"You wanna try, Daddy?"
"Oooh, yummy crayon…"
"How's the menu in this joint?"
Pineapple, much better than menu!
Back at home, it was time for presents then cake and ice cream!
"This book talks! Cool!"
"I can open it. I can open it. I can open it."
"New shoes and a handmade puppet and cake plushy! Too. Much. Good. Stuff!"
Mommy showing off Ewan's new puppet and cake plushy.

You know what that means … it's cake time!
"Nom-nom-nom!"
"Baloooooooons!"
Then, a week later, Uncle Trevor came up from L.A. for a visit! (With Ewan wearing his best Batman-face.)
Ewan looks ready to nap after buffet lunch at Round Table.
But not too tired to play on his favorite new birthday gift: his green scoot-scoot from Nana and Grandpa!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Soundtrack to Rogue Blood

Felt a stirring need to post the soundtrack that I listed to—dozens of times over, hundreds of hours worth—when I was writing my first full-sized novel (go nominate it now!), Rogue Blood. I can't help but think of scenes from the novel when I hear these tracks. Each one is significant of a feeling that dresses certain scenes from the book in the perfect tone. This list comes highly recommended as a companion piece of listening when reading the story.

Artist (Album) — Track Title

Apocalyptica (Cult) — "Path"
— "Struggle"
— "Romance"
— "In Memoriam"
— "Beyond Time"
— "Hope"
— "Kaamos"
Apocalyptica (Inquisition Symphony) — "Toreador"
Billy Joel (Greatest Hits: Volume 3) — "The Downeaster 'Alexa'"
Bon Iver (Bon Iver) — "Holocene"
Dead Can Dance (1981-1998 [Box Set]) — "Bylar"
Led Zeppelin (Mothership) — "When the Levee Breaks"
Ludovico Einaudi (Divenire) — "Fly"
Massive Attack (Blue Lines) — "Unfinished Sympathy"
Massive Attack (Danny the Dog) — "Polaroid Girl"
— "Danny the Dog"
— "I Am Home"
Massive Attack (Mezzanine) — "Angel"
— "Teardrop"
— "Inertia Creeps"
— "Dissolved Girl"
— "Man Next Door"
Massive Attack (Protection) — "Heat Miser"
Massive Attack (100th Window) — "Future Proof"
— "Everywhen"
— "Special Cases"
— "Butterfly Caught"
— "Antistar"
Moby (Everything Is Wrong) — "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters"
Moby (Play & Play: B Sides) — "Natural Blues"
— "Everloving"
Nine Inch Nails (The Fragile) — "Just Like You Imagined"
— "La Mer"
Nirvana (Nevermind) — "Something In The Way"
Orbital (In Sides) — "The Box (Part 2)"
Pixies (Wave of Mutilation) — "Where Is My Mind?"
The Smashing Pumpkins (Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness) — "To Forgive"
The Smiths (The Sound of the Smiths) — "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want"
Sneaker Pimps (Becoming X) — "6 Underground"
— "Becoming X"
— "Low Place Like Home"
Talvin Singh (Café del Mar, Vol. 6) — "Traveller (Kid Loco's Once Upon a Time in the East Mix)"

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Brothers in Arms in Uncharted Lands

Nate and Sully have had each other's backs since Drake's Fortune. Now that the series is at a close (for now, anyway) with A Thief's End, I figure these two popular characters are due their d20 treatment.

NATHAN “NATE” DRAKE (born MORGAN)
(circa Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)
Male Human Strong Hero 1/Fast Hero 2/Smart Hero 1/Dedicated Hero 5/Relic Seeker 4; CR 13
Medium Humanoid (height 5' 11", weight 178 lb.); Age 32

Init +3; Senses (core) Listen +7, Search +6, Spot +7; Senses (house) Listen/Spot +15, Search +15
Languages English, Latin (read/write only), Morse Code (read/write only), Spanish (speak only)

Defense (core) 24, touch 24, flat-footed 24; Defense (house) 24, touch 15, flat-footed 24; Dodge (+3 Dex, +11 class)
hp 81 (13 HD); Mas 15
Fort +7, Ref +10, Will +9
Action Points 9

Speed 30 ft.
Melee unarmed strike +11/+6 (1d6+3 nonlethal, 20) or
Melee by weapon +10/+5 or
Ranged Beretta 92FS autoloader +11/+6 (2d6 ballistic, 20, 40 ft., S, 15 box) or
Ranged by weapon
Space 5 ft. by 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +8; Grp +11
Atk Options Point Blank Shot, Shot on the Run
Special Qualities none

Abilities Str 14 (14), Dex 16 (15), Con 15 (15), Int 14 (14), Wis 16 (14), Cha 13 (13)
'(-)' indicate original ability scores.
Allegiances the Drake name, his friends, good, treasure; Rep +4; San 65
Feats Athletic, Brawl, Dodge, Educated (Knowledge [arcane lore, history]), Mobility, Personal Firearms Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Simple Weapons Proficiency, Shot on the Run, Studious, Surface Vehicle Operation (powerboat)
Skills (core) Balance +7, Bluff +8, Climb +15, Decipher Script +13, Disable Device +7, Drive +6, Hide +7, Investigate +5, Jump +8, Knowledge (arcane lore) +11, Knowledge (art) +7, Knowledge (history) +10, Knowledge (streetwise) +6, Listen +7 (+6 to avoid surprise), Move Silently +7, Navigate +5, Read/Write English, Read/Write Latin, Read/Write Morse Code, Research +8, Ride +4, Search +6, Sense Motive +7, Sleight of Hand +8, Speak English, Speak Spanish, Spot +7 (+6 to avoid surprise), Survival +7, Swim +9, Tumble +10
Skills (house) Athletics +18 (+2 on Climb, Swim), Control +7, Deduce +15 (+5 on Decipher Script), Disable Device +7, Drive +6, Escape Artist +7, Knowledge (arcane lore) +12, Knowledge (art) +7, Knowledge (history) +11, Knowledge (streetwise) +6, Navigate +5, Perceive +15 (+6 on Listen, Spot to avoid surprise), Persuade +10, Read/Write English, Read/Write Latin, Read/Write Morse Code, Research +8, Ride +4, Sneak +15, Speak English, Speak Spanish, Survival +7, Tumble +13
Talents (Strong Hero) Melee Smash
Talents (Fast hero) Evasion
Talents (Smart Hero) Savant (Knowledge [arcane lore])
Talents (Dedicated Hero) Aware, Cool Under Pressure (Climb, Escape Artist, Investigate, Jump, Search, Sleight of Hand), Skill Emphasis (Decipher Script)
Talents (Relic Seeker) Improved Evasion, Improvised Tools, Improvised Weapons, Uncanny Dodge 1
Starting Occupation (core) Adventurer (Bluff, Climb as permanent class skills; Brawl)
Starting Occupation (house) Adventurer (Athletics, Persuade as permanent class skills; Brawl)
Possessions (carried weight 5.5 lb.) Beretta 92FS Brigadier Inox (3 lb.), casual outfit (long-sleeve shirt & jeans; 2 lb.), concealed carry holster (shoulder; 0.5 lb.), various personal items
Wealth Bonus +13

VICTOR SULLIVAN “SULLY”
(circa Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)
Male Human Strong Hero 2/Fast Hero 1/Smart Hero 1/Charismatic Hero 4/Field Guide* 4; CR 12
Medium Humanoid (height 6' 1", weight 190 lb.); Age 57
* See Dark*Matter

Init +1; Senses (core) Listen +8, Search +2, Spot +8; Senses (house) Listen/Spot +14, Search +2
Languages English, Italian (speak only), Morse Code (read/write only), Spanish (speak only)

Defense (core) 19, touch 19, flat-footed 18; Defense (house) 19, touch 13, flat-footed 18; Dodge (+1 Dex, +8 class)
hp 64 (12 HD); Mas 13
Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +5
Action Points 10

Speed 30 ft.
Melee unarmed strike +10/+5 (1d6+2 nonlethal, 20) or
Melee by weapon +9/+4 or
Ranged S&W .44 revolver +9/+4 (2d8 ballistic, 20, 30 ft., S, 6 cyl.) or
Ranged by weapon +8/+3
Space 5 ft. by 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +7; Grp +10
Atk Options Point Blank Shot
Special Qualities none

Abilities Str 14, Dex 13, Con 13 (14), Int 14 (13), Wis 15 (13), Cha 16 (15)
'(-)' indicate original ability scores.
          Note: Sully has age penalties and bonuses due to middle age.
Allegiances his friends, treasure, good; Rep +5; San 60
Feats Aircraft Operation (heavy aircraft), Alertness, Brawl, Dodge, Guide, Personal Firearms Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Simple Weapons Proficiency, Surface Vehicle Operation (powerboat), Trustworthy, Vehicle Expert, Weapon Focus (revolver)
Skills (core) Bluff +9, Climb +7, Demolitions +10, Diplomacy +15, Drive +7, Forgery +7, Gather Information +13, Hide +4, Jump +5, Knowledge (business) +6, Knowledge (current events) +6, Knowledge (streetwise) +5, Listen +8, Move Silently +4, Navigate +10, Pilot +7, Read/Write English, Read/Write Morse Code, Read/Write Spanish, Sense Motive +7, Speak English, Speak Italian, Speak Spanish, Spot +8, Survival +10, Swim +5
Skills (house) Athletics +11, Demolitions +10, Drive +7, Forgery +8, Gather Information +14, Knowledge (business) +6, Knowledge (current events) +7, Knowledge (streetwise) +7, Navigate +10, Perceive +12 (+2 on Listen, Spot), Persuade +18 (+2 on Diplomacy), Pilot +8, Read/Write English, Read/Write Morse Code, Read/Write Spanish, Sneak +7, Speak English, Speak Italian, Speak Spanish, Survival +10
Talents (Strong Hero) Extreme Effort
Talents (Fast hero) Evasion
Talents (Smart Hero) Savant (Navigate)
Talents (Charismatic Hero) Charm (females), Fast-Talk
Talents (Field Guide) Jury-Rig +2, Skill Mastery (Diplomacy, Gather Information, Navigate, Pilot, Sense Motive), Well Traveled
Starting Occupation Mercenary (Navigate, Survival as permanent class skills; Personal Firearms Proficiency)
Possessions (carried weight 6 lb.) Smith & Wesson Model 629 .44 Magnum (3 lb.), holster (hip; 1 lb.), casual outfit (collared embroidered tee & slacks; 2 lb.), cigars, various personal items
Wealth Bonus +14