# 2008-06-09 Back

We’re back! We ate like gourmets, drank like gourmets, listened to Les Têtes Raides, and took some pictures. I haven’t added any text, yet. And when we visited Salses I forgot my camera and had to use Claudia’s father’s camera. Those pictures haven’t arrived yet.

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Welcome back!

Those pictures are great…is that the largest bridge in the world circa the 14th century? Where are the cherries?

Yes, exactly. The old bridge is the very “Pont du Diable”.

We ate all the cherries, sorry.

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-09 11:57 UTC

Welcome back, Alex & Claudia. Loved the photos!

GreyWulf 2008-06-09 12:56 UTC

Did you like France ? I hope so

XavierMaillard 2008-06-10 06:54 UTC

Yes I did!

I’ve had some bad experience in Paris with unfriendly people, but down here in Pyrénées-Orientales everybody seemed friendly. So what’s not to like? I speak their language, the country is beautiful, and they know how to eat & drink. Yumm!

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-10 07:35 UTC

Bienvenus à la maison tu as fait des photos formidables ! Moi, je viens de terminer mes dernières corrections, je termine mes notes de bulletins… Enfin le week-end…. Bisous, maman

– mum 2008-06-14 17:38 UTC

# 2008-06-11 CVS Question

What does this mean:

~/oddmuse $cvs up cvs update: warning: directory CVS specified in argument cvs update: but CVS uses CVS for its own purposes; skipping CVS directory Has somebody tried to check in the CVS directory itself? Tags: Comments on 2008-06-11 CVS Question Isn’t it like trying to pull yourself up by pulling your own hair? RadomirDopieralski 2008-06-11 19:38 UTC I’ve seen this warning when a user commited files to one CVS repository that he previously had fetched from another one, and forgot not to add the CVS sub-folder during their commit. Jean Pierre 2008-06-12 08:34 UTC Thanks! I removed my current repository and checked out a new copy. The message is gone. So I must have tried what you said at some point in the past. AlexSchroeder 2008-06-12 09:15 UTC Add Comment # 2008-06-11 Television and Optimism TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests. – David Foster Wallace, cited by Kevin Marks in How not to be viral The stupidity of TV and the intelligence of people around me – including the ones that watch TV – has always mystified me. I kept refusing to believe the simple “80% of people are dumb” explanation. 80% rule: 80% of everything is something. – my own quote! :vee: At least the Wallace quote acknowledges that most people have something to offer. Even if it is not something you particularly appreciate. Tags: Add Comment # 2008-06-12 Hiking Must start planning for my next leg of the AlpenPassRoute. Ever since I started using Google Calendar, my ability to plan ahead has increased dramatically and when I looked for an opening to go watch a movie with a friend of mine, I discovered that my next evening off is the sixth of July. Aaargh. That’s why I carefully blocked some days for hiking. And the first set of days is June 16 - 19. Weather doesn’t look too good: “Am Mittwoch im Osten noch vereinzelte Schauer möglich. Dann Wetterberuhigung und Uebergang zu teilweise sonnigem Wetter. Wärmer. Am Donnerstag teilweise, in den Alpen ziemlich sonnig. Am Freitag wechselnd, teils stark bewölkt und zeitweise Regen.” At first I just decided to not leave until Wednesday. But when I sent an Email to move my reservation at the Gorneren, I got back a reply saying there is still a lot of snow on both passes and that I should wait at least a week if not two before taking those two passes. (“Es liegt immer noch sehr viel Schnee auf beiden Pässen und als Wandererung noch nicht zu Empfehlen! Auch ist bei diesem Wetter wieder Neuschnee angesagt. Besser ist, Sie warten noch mind. eine Woche, besser sind noch 2 Wochen.”) I think I must start looking for something closer to home. Comments on 2008-06-12 Hiking Man… I’m going to miss a really nice leg of the trip. I even know someone in Kandersteg where we could probably ‘couchsurf’. Meh, never mind. I’ve been there before. I hope the next leg is as good as that one. Marco 2008-06-13 06:46 UTC Bist du da alleine unterwegs? Kennst du eine gute Wanderkarte dieser Region im Internet? Die Links, die du angegeben hast zeigen sehr gut die Region, aber nicht den Wanderweg. Helmut Schröder (Vater von Alex) 2008-06-13 21:45 UTC • 254 T – Interlaken • 264 T – Jungfrau • 263 T – Wildstrubel Online kannst Du natürlich hier anfangen: Und so weiter… Die beste Quelle für tausende von Links ist die Seite über die Alpenpassroute auf dem Wandersite von Ursi Brem. Dort gibt es einen Link auf eine Karte mit eingezeichneten Wanderwegen – vielleicht willst du dich damit herumschlagen? AlexSchroeder 2008-06-13 22:13 UTC Habe die Seite der Alpenpassroute angesehen. Tolle Fotos! Der erste Tag mit Bahnfahrt und dann noch 8 Stunden Wanderung ist volles Programm! Der 2. Tag mit 10 Stunden Wanderung ist auch nicht ohne! Am dritten Tag geht es bis auf 2800m hoch. Hoffentlich hast du gutes Wetter. Im Nebel würde ich da nicht herumkoffern! Helmut Schröder (Vater von Alex) 2008-06-14 23:58 UTC Add Comment # 2008-06-13 Burning Empires Have Games, Will Travel #109 by Paul Tevis gives you a quick overview of BurningEmpires. I already know BurningWheel, and I’ve leafed through the Burning Empires book, so I was able to understand what he was talking about. If you’re interested in either game, and haven’t heard about either, give this Podcast episode a try. Then buy the books, and go play!! I don’t think I’ll be playing this game with my current game group. Should one of the campaigns fold, I’ll try a Burning Wheel game. At least that’s the plan. And plans never survive contact with reality, right? Oh well. “Die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt” (English: Hope dies last) as we say in German. My Burning Wheel via Skype game is going quite well, but I don’t think I want to continue it beyond the six sessions I planned at the beginning. And I really recommend the two comic volumes of Iron Empires by Chris Moeller. Tags: Add Comment # 2008-06-17 Advanced Rsync Issues So I’m trying to use rsync to backup stuff on my various servers out there to my newly acquired external disks. Just in case the hosting providers are having backup issues. The source system is a GNU/Linux system using ext3, the target is a Mac using HFS+. That is, the target uses a slightly modified normal form D instead of normal form C UTF-8 , and the target is not case sensitive – it is case-preserving only. The mind recoils in fear! The first part of the problem is addressed in the rsync FAQ rsync recopies the same files: rsync --archive --verbose --compress --delete --delete-excluded \ --exclude '/org.emacswiki/logs' \ --iconv=UTF-8,UTF8-MAC \ aschroeder@thinkmo.de:/org/org.emacswiki thinkmo.de Except: rsync: --iconv=UTF-8,UTF8-MAC: unknown option Oh no, here we go again… Update: Building rsync from source was painless. Yay!! But now: rsync: on remote machine: --iconv=UTF8-MAC: unknown option Noooo! Tags: Add Comment # 2008-06-17 Firefox 3.0 and my laptop My old iBook still runs Mac OS 10.3. That also means it doesn’t run the new Firefox 3.0. I can download it, I can mount the disk image, I can copy the file, I can click it – but it won’t run. No error. Nothing. Update: It works on my Mac Mini running Mac OS 10.4. It’s all shiny and full of glitz. I’m not sure I like it. Tags: Add Comment # 2008-06-17 ImageMagick’s Montage Assume you have n directories, each containing 7 pictures. You want to somehow assemble them into a single image. ImageMagick’s Montage does just that – “create a composite image by combining several separate images”. Here’s a Makefile for you to use: %.jpg: d=basename$@ .jpg; echo $$d; montage$$d/* -background black \
-tile 4x2 -geometry 236x364+10+10 d.jpg

Nice. It took me a while to realize that -size, -resize, -page, and all the other options that take a geometry parameter are the wrong thing. The -geometry argument is listed in the manual as “preferred tile and border sizes” – somewhow it never occured to me that this is just what I needed. Instead of specifying the size of the end result (1024 × 768) I specified tiling, tile dimensions, and the border – and get the same effect.

My build of the tool – MacPorts? – doesn’t seem to know about any fonts, by the way. That’s why I can’t use the -draw argument to place text on the montage. Oh well, it turns out that I don’t want any text anyway. convert -list type produces an empty list.

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# 2008-06-17 Turncoats

All you turncoats and Wendehälse† – stand and hold! D&D 3.5 FTW!!

Wendehals; the sort of East German citizen that transmogrified from communist into capitalist overnight when the Berlin Wall fell.

I see lots of positive reports about 4E. What happened to good ol’ stubborness? When did actual play experience and rational thought enter the picture? This is the Intarrnetz!

Eventhough I promised myself not to invest into another campaign setting (seeing that the restrictions and variants imposed by the Kitsonemori setting were not greeted with much enthusiasm by my players) I feel strangely attracted to Paizo’s Golarion campaign setting. And that’s why I think I’ll be buying their setting book.

And there’s always Wilderlands of High Fantasy by Judges Guild as republished by Necromancer Games. Oops. And now I just bot the PDF copy of the player’s guide. Damn!

And I continue to be amazed by our Shackled City Campaign Wiki.

Paizo Remix

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LOL! We’ve not completely converted yet, and are still undecided whether to stick with it long-term. 4e definitely plays better than it reads, but we’ve a lot of investment in 3.5e that we’re unwilling to ditch, and definitely don’t play to throw cash at Wizards’ just to buy 4e versions of stuff we’ve already got.

I reckon we’ll end up playing some kind of 3.5e/4e hybrid combining the stuff we like from 4e with the familiarity and sheer volume of source material we’ve got for 3.5e. I suspect we won’t be alone in that decision, either.

GreyWulf 2008-06-17 11:19 UTC

I’ve got the books in hand, Alex. I will bring their shiny goodness to our next game, just so you can page through and decide not to buy them

Marco sent me an email with the following link: Killjoy Cooking With the Dungeons & Dragons Crowd. I think he’s trying to tell us something…

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-18 09:52 UTC

# 2008-06-18 Indian Memories

So, what have I been listening to, lately?

Indian classical music for the win!

Now I need to read up on classical music and Indian classical music.

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# 2008-06-18 Sorcerors beat Wizards

Sometimes I feel that sorcerors beat wizards in D&D 3.5. Maybe my next campaign will have the following house-rule:

1. There are no wizards.
2. Sorcerors can have spellbooks.
3. Spells can be scribed out of spellbooks.

What does that mean? Some sorcerors will transcripe scrolls into their spellbook, and scribe scrolls not based on the spells they know but based on their spellbook. All the wizard spells will still be around, but only from scrolls.

Maybe that gets rid of the long spell-picking process at the table?

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Comments on 2008-06-18 Sorcerors beat Wizards

Yep. I like sorcerers, a lot, and so do players as there’s none of that Vancian memorization silliness to mess with. Give them spellbooks as essential hand luggage, and you’re done.

GreyWulf 2008-06-18 15:45 UTC

Interesting idea of getting rid of wizards, and having sorcerers basically be the arcane spellcasting class. However, you still have clerics or druids that have long spell lists and need to choose spells – wizards aren’t the only culprits.

That’s true. But in our Monday group we have a Mystic Theurge – twice the spell list to look through.

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-19 08:41 UTC

Suggestion: remember the magister from the AE playtest I ran? They have access to a long spell list (like the cleric), but they can only ready X spells per day, but then can freely choose what spells to cast off this spell list (kind of like the sorcerer).

What if a wizard had a spellbook, and each day could select a subset of spells (greater than the number of spell slots he has) to prepare/ready. From that point forward, he casts spells like a sorcerer.

The Magister is a step in the right direction, but as a player I can still ponder and change my spell list every in-game day. Making it easy to have utility spells available but have the lengthy spell picking happen when you gain levels – that’s the kind of compromise I’m looking at.

The problem as far as I can tell is that in my Monday group, five people sit around talking while the Mystic Theurge prepares his spells. If you’re a sorceror, you only ever consider your spells when you level up. That’s the kind of simplification I’m looking for. I’ve also never found the use of scrolls to be a problem – maybe because they still cost money to scribe and thus people don’t have many of them. It would be interesting to test this…

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-19 16:02 UTC

# 2008-06-18 US Terrorism

Yeah, I have have been very quiet on the political front. But sometimes things just pop up…

Wikileaks reveals doc that proves US really are the evil bad guys. No surprises there, then. http://tinyurl.com/4q46zz

Indeed, the extract is gut-wrenching:

Rights on the legality of detention or imprisonment of personnel (for example, habeas corpus) may be temporarily suspended. This measure must be taken as a last resort, since it may provide the insurgents with an effective propaganda theme. PRC [Population & Resources Control] measures can also include curfews or blackouts, travel restrictions, and restricted residential areas such as protected villages or resettlement areas. Registration and pass systems and control of sensitive items (resources control) and critical supplies such as weapons, food, and fuel are other PRC measures. Checkpoints, searches, roadblocks; surveillance, censorship, and press control; and restriction of activity that applies to selected groups (labor unions, political groups and the like) are further PRC measures.
How to train death squads and quash revolutions from San Salvador to Iraq

Then combine this with Noufal’s find on YouTube: Americans are NOT stupid - WITH SUBTITLES. Via Noufal [1], Mere Islam [2].

God help us all.

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Did you know that George W. Bush's Grandfather plotted a Fascist Coup against FDR? Where he failed, his grandson has succeeded. I still can’t understand why he’s not a) in prison, b) dead or c) both.

GreyWulf 2008-06-18 15:43 UTC

The involvement of the Bush’s goes even further back to granddad Bush. There is another political interesting movie I saw recently: Zeitgeist

Horrifying how personal interest lead to sacrifiying people - even in so called civilized countries.

– Mircea 2008-07-03 13:32 UTC

# 2008-06-21 Fool’s Gold

The party gained access to the white key by talking to the Regis’ couple, promising them to either return the diamond, or pay 10k. Unfortunately the party was attacked by an elder xorn at the entrance and Silas was killed. He was subsequently raised by Jeffar in Bostwick, but that put a little dampener on the players. And on top of that, Nic announced that he preferred playing board games and was going to quit the game! Oh well… Thus, Silas will be quitting the game.

The party then made a second entry, explored tunnels, and finally found some treasure. When trying to sell it to Angus Carl in Twain, however, it turns out that it’s all enchanted copper and glass beads! Damn! Fooled by Larin Karr…

## XP

Challenges overcome: Elder xorn CR 8, two wraiths CR 5, pit trap CR 2.

Corian
39030 + 843 = 39873 (Sor-9)
Belflin
38237 + 843 = 39080 (Rng-9)
Auroleva
35438 + 1075 = 36513 (Drd-4/Clr-5)
Silas
31985 + 1075 = 33060 (Cle-8)
Flax
13118 + 843*5/9 = 13586 (Rog-5)

New level for Auroleva!

I thought they gave us the gems as a ‘gift of good will’ in the hope that we would return the ‘good will’, should we happen to encounter upon a certain green dragon that has started making trouble in the area.

Marco 2008-06-21 08:16 UTC

Claudia agrees with you.

But Regis will remember the following:

1. They handed over the diamond because you’re helping the people in the valley.
2. When they asked you to kill the green dragon in addition to doing whatever you were going to do, you declined and said that maybe you would do it, if they were appropriately helpful.
3. Then they gave you the diamond to use for whatever you wanted to use it for.
4. You promised to either return the diamond, or replace it if you cannot. The price for replacement would be 10’000 gp.

Claudia maintains that we spent a lot of time on discussing the last point (#4). I continue to believe that we talked a long time about whether you should promise to kill the green dragon or not (#2).

Interesting…

I’m hearing Corian threatening the poor guy already.

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-21 21:59 UTC

I’ve started planning for our next campaign! After the VaultOfLarinKarr we’ll be playing in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy by Judges Guild and Necromancer Games. I think the adventures will all be homebrew stuff and the end of the campaign is not a demon lord or something like that. And I already have a wiki for it: The Alder King Wiki.

I’m been looking at allowing some monster races for players. This entire Level Adjustment thing is… Yikes. How about this: Scale all the races down to standard zero adjustment, and have racial abilities available as Feats?

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I’ve seen that suggested before, and I like it, a lot. It means that the players can pick and choose what abilities their Drow has, instead of being just like all the rest. If they want to play one of the races that are Level Adjusted due to high STR (an Ogre, for example) allow them to ‘purchase’ blocks of +4 STR (ie, a +2 bonus) per feat, up to the racial maxima. Same for other 18+ stats.

The tricky part will be agreeing on a baseline +0 LA package for the race, but that can be done on a case-by-case basis.

Level Adjustments is one of the things that’s badly broken in 3.5e, but a part of the fun is coming up with kewl fixes

GreyWulf 2008-06-22 10:19 UTC

Yeah, I checked a lot of LA+x races, and they never work properly. Those missing HD really hurts and there are evil spells which depend on the enemies HD, like blasphemy.

There are 2 steps to “solve” the problem. The “savage progression transition class” (googable) which first strips down the race to a level 0 race, and when you change level you can choose the racial traits instead of the class levels (but you won’t get HD, BAB, saves…), and then the LA buyoff (also googable) system. Never tried it, though….

– Sektat 2008-06-22 21:36 UTC

Hm, Level-Adjusted Races does in fact sound exactly like the solution I had in mind. Not getting hit-dice, base attack bonus, or saves is a bummer, though. For drow, for example, I’m not sure the spell resistance is really worth it (considering the other class features to be peanuts).

Maybe I’ll talk to Claudia again to see whether she’d be interested in playing a sinister generic elf instead. Perhaps the Wilderlands’ player’s guide will offer some more ideas on this.

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-22 22:19 UTC

“It’s a rules variant from Unearthed Arcana.

Essentially, once you gain HD equal to 3x your LA, upon gaining sufficient XP to level up, you may instead reduce your LA by 1.”

– Sektat 2008-06-22 22:31 UTC

Yes, I read the copy on the d20srd site and some discussion on a Giant in the Playground forums. I felt that the solution by Sean K Reynolds seems simpler than the solution by Monte Cook.

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-22 23:58 UTC

Why not amp up all races to LA +X, where X is the highest LA of the available PC races? It wouldn’t be too hard, I think. Bonus feats, additional ability score bonuses, additional skill bonuses, etc., can add up pretty fast.

Hobgoblins are already LA +1. Fey-touched are +1. Drow are +2. Bugbears are 3 HD and +1. Svirfneblin are +3. Half-fey (from Fiend Folio) are +2.

# 2008-06-24 More House Rules

I’m still trying to assemble my House Rules for the next campaign. I recently added a few items:

Hitpoints
At the end of the encounter you take a minute or two to catch your breath and you’re back at full hit-points.
Duration
Spells lasting a few rounds last for a single encounter. They never run out during a fight. This includes summoned creatures and similar effects. Spells lasting a few hours last for a single day. (Get rid of tracking time.)
Flight
Forget about the movement details. (Too complicated.)
XP
Use more story awards, award less XP for combat.
Scrolls
Once scribed, there is no longer a distinction between arcane and divine spells. If it is on your spell list, you can cast it.
Multiple Attacks
Roll to-hit and damage once, then use these two rolls for all your attacks. (Not everybody is fast at adding up numbers.)

I wonder whether the last one helps poor players that are have multiple attacks, possibly hasted.

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Comments on 2008-06-24 More House Rules

> Roll to-hit and damage once, then use these two rolls for all your attacks

Only the players, I suppose, not the monsters? Otherwise tripple critical…

– Sektat 2008-06-25 13:33 UTC

Hm… Good point. As a DM I would also like to use something that speeds up play, actually. Full attack by a Vrock is five attack rolls. Gaaah.

Some possible solutions:

1. Separate rolls to confirm crits. The number of crits on average will remain the same, but variance will go up, ie. crits are more dangerous.
2. Roll to confirm and only the first attack is considered to be a critical. The others just hit. The number of crits on average will go down, but not by much since second and third attacks will be harder to confirm anyway.

What do you think?

Another one I’m thinking of:

Spellcasters
No limit on the number of zero level spells per day. No need to memorize them, and no need to keep track of them.

But I haven’t gone through the list of spells to check whether that makes sense.

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-25 13:46 UTC

I like solution (2). It’s a good solution.

Level 0 zero: I hardly ever use them, and our party hardly ever uses them, and since all are healed after a battle anyway there is no problem with a free cure minor wounds (1 HP) at will.

– Sektat 2008-06-25 16:12 UTC

Thought some more about it. Vrock with 5 attacks: After “old” rule you will be hit 20% of the attacks (with the correct AC), with the “new” houserule there is a 20% chance that you will be hit 5 times (and 80% that you won’t be hit at all). However: those 5 times will hurt you big time. Makes the game by far more deadly for the players. I LIKE IT. However, I might be the only one…

And: rolling damage only once only works if all attacks actually do the same damage (claw - bite - talon …)

– Sektat 2008-06-25 22:01 UTC

Well, two attacks at +15 and three attacks at +13… But it’s true: Monsters with the Multiattack feat get increased variance on their damage. If you roll well, changes are higher that all five attacks will hit.

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-25 23:24 UTC

I think unlimited cantrips and orisons is a good idea – perhaps keep the current spell slots, but change it into which ones you can prepare, and those are the ones you “memorized” that day and can cast at will.

For monsters with multiple attacks, why not have them instead either (1) make a single attack, or (2) take a single attack at a penalty (maybe -2 or -5) and gain additional damage dice (perhaps +1d6-1d8 per natural attack) to mimic making a flurry of attacks?

Hm… Right now the effect would turn the following Vrock full attack

2 claws +15 melee (2d6+6) and bite +13 melee (1d8+3) and 2 talons +13 melee (1d6+3)

into this one:

claws +15 melee (4d6+12) and bites and talons +13 melee (2d6+1d8+9)

which in turn means:

full attack +13 melee (2d6+1d8+9), bonus damage 4d6+12 if to-hit exceeds AC by 2

Suddenly it looks very deadly. I’m not sure I like my own proposal.

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-10 13:24 UTC

Give the vrock 2 claw attacks, which it can make as a standard action.

As a full attack, let it take a -5 penalty (-2 instead because it has Multiattack), and add 1d12 damage to each claw attack, or some other damage expression (I think 2d8 or 2d10 might better approximate its original damage potential, if you don’t want to nerf that). You are still only rolling 2 x d20s to hit. It still feels like it makes multiple attacks (2 claws). But when it stands and really rakes and bites at a target (full attack), it does additional damage.

Actually I just saw the following in an EN World thread: “The only thing I’ve found that slows down high level combat is the trailing math of iterative attacks, which we’ve killed in favor of 1/2 BAB damage bonus.” That would get rid of the “exceed AC by 5 or 10” thing. Just add more damage to the output. Then again, I’m not sure whether the original idea behind this change is the encouragement of more movement and other actions during combat instead of full-attack.

Some of that could be fixed by the DM using more skill checks, I guess. Fighting a giant? Make a climb check DC 30 and automatically crit (instead of a full-attack). Make a jump check DC 20 and automatically charge even over difficult ground (encourage movement). Give fighters access to the Pounce feat or let them make a jump check DC 30 to make a full-attack at the end of a move. There was an interesting article on “cinematic combat” in KoboldQuarterly.

I guess for the Vrock all the DM needs to do is figure out what the multiple attacks are “worth”. I’d probably approximate 2 × 2d6+6 + 2 × 1d6+3 = 6d6+18 (and ignore the bite damage; in return, forget about the -2 to-hit). Critical damage would be 8d6+30 (not 12d6+36).

Wulf Ratbane only uses his suggestion for iterative attacks, not for multiple attacks, though. [1] Perhaps he’s right and multiple attacks are not really a problem. I think I have to watch my game for a while longer before deciding what to do, if at all.

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-11 09:41 UTC

Multiple attacks also serve to differentiate monsters from PCs and humanoid monsters/NPCs, which use weapons rather than claws, jaws, tentacles, talons, etc.

I really like the 1/2 BAB damage bonus replacing iterative attacks in theory. I have not seen how it works in practice. The major changes this would cause:

1. How would Two-Weapon Fighting work? Probably the same. But how about the Improved and Greater versions? Maybe progressively reduce the TWF penalties?
2. A related question is how would a monk’s flurry of blows work?
3. How does this alter the mechanics and/or power level of feats like Rapid Shot, Manyshot, Spring Attack, and Whirlwind Attack?

# 2008-06-24 U2 and R.E.M.

I’ve been listening to all my R.E.M. and all my U2 tracks. One of my favorites is Elvis Presley and America by U2 – a track on the Unforgettable Fire CD.

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# 2008-06-25 Have Games Will Travel

I really like Paul Tevis’ podcasts Have Games, Will Travel. He manages to review games by giving you a short run through the rules and explaining the significance of these in two, three short sentences. I prefer this style of review to the reviews that focus on the chapters in the books and the artwork and all that. Those are like reviews of the physical product and the actual text. Paul Tevis’ reviews are more gameplay reviews. Just goes to illustrate the importance of actual play reviews.

Anyway, in his latest episode he talks about two games and makes me want to try them. Both are not traditional roleplaying games.

So many games, so little time…

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# 2008-06-25 Inkscape for Mapping

I’m using Inkscape to create a multilayer map. Unlike my previous project (→ 2007-06-08 Old School Hex Mapper Getting Better) I’m now using Inkscape to draw the map directly.

I’m using four layers:

Hex
This is a light blue hex grid I got from a grid PDF generator [1] [2]
Geography
Rivers, hills, forest
Civilization
Dots for cities, ruins – my goal is for every hex to offer something to do
Unknown
All the stuff my players don’t know yet

The Alder King is going to be a game of exploration. There are no detailed maps available to the players.

If you have a crappy browser, the above PNG file with a transparent background will probably look borked. Get Firefox instead.

The above map without the Hex and Unknown layers, of course.

I like it!

In fact, I wrote a tutorial for those interested in doing something similar: Old School Hex Map Tutorial.

Now that I’ve placed a few things on the map, I will need a little campaign plan.

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# 2008-06-26 EN World

Uuuuuuuhhhhhh!

That reminds me that I paid them USD 40 over half a year ago and never got my community supporter benefits even though I sent various emails and posted in the right threads. (→ 2008-01-20 EN World Disappointment)

Yes, I’m a hard to anger and slow to forgive.

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Strange. They’re usually pretty quick about such things too. Keep pestering ‘em after the upgrade!

GreyWulf 2008-06-26 10:55 UTC

# 2008-06-26 Gamer Personality – Again

Yeah, just to check I’m still where I think I am – confirming my prejudice and all that: Law’s Game Style quiz, again.

You scored as a Storyteller
You’re more inclined toward the role playing side of the equation and less interested in numbers or experience points. You’re quick to compromise if you can help move the story forward, and get bored when the game slows down for a long planning session. You want to play out a story that moves like it’s orchestrated by a skilled novelist or film director.
 Style Today 2007 Storyteller 100% 100% Method Actor 58% 25% Specialist 42% 25% Tactician 33% 33% Butt-Kicker 17% 8% Casual Gamer 8% 42% Power Gamer 8% 8%

Scary. I might be turning into a method actor!? This can’t be true.

Previous post on the topic: 2007-07-23 Player Types

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# 2008-06-26 Overland Movement

I’m often tempted to use the overland movement rules. But then I look at my hex maps with five or six miles per hex, and I get caught up in all the details. Waste of time!

So we’ll go with the following (useful for five mile hexes):

 Condition Hexes Mountain, jungle 1 Forest, swamp, hills, desert 2 Plain 3

In my Alder King campaign we’ll start with a jungle and no roads: Movement will be one hex day in the jungle and two hexes a day in the hills. I don’t have to discover an elegant rule that simulates overland movement with horses and travels on roads through mixed terrain. Phew!

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# 2008-06-26 Partitions

Remember the 1TB external hard disks I started using for my Backup recently? I did all the backup stuff from the Mac Mini, because I hadn’t used the iBook in a long time. Recently I started working with the laptop again, and so today I decided I need to make a backup.

I connected the external disk to be greeted with a message saying that my Mac OS 10.3 (the iBook hasn’t upgraded from Panther to Tiger) cannot read the disk.

<insert various four letter words here>!!!!

If I change the disk type I’m sure that all the data will be lost. Redoing the backups from the Mac Mini will take about four hours of copying. It can run unattended, but it’s a bother either way. Or I can do backups via the Mac Mini using SSHFS.

Damn.

I need a free tool that will change the partition type from “new Mac whatever it is” to “old Mac whatever it is”.

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# 2008-06-26 mkhexgrid

So I’m trying to build mkhexgrid.

1. libpng :ok:
2. ignore libjpg for the moment :ok:
3. FreeType 2 :ok:
4. libgd :sucks: – I had to configure and build this inside a X11 session!
5. fortunately I already have libz!
6. and I need the Boost C++ Libraries – I had too add -I/Users/alex/Source/boost_1_35_0 to CPPFLAGS in the Makefile
7. mkhexgrid :ok:

The X11 dependency was surprising. I assume there’s a better way to do it, but I don’t know what it is. The error I got without X11:

Pyrobombus:~/Source/gd-2.0.36RC1 alex\$  gcc -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -I. -I/usr/local/include/freetype2 -I/usr/local/include -I/usr/local/include/libpng12 -g -O2 -MT gdft.lo -MD -MP -MF .deps/gdft.Tpo -c gdft.c  -fno-common -DPIC -o .libs/gdft.o
gdft.c:1405:35: error: fontconfig/fontconfig.h: No such file or directory
gdft.c:1468: error: parse error before '*' token
gdft.c:1468: error: parse error before '*' token

I also noticed that SVG output required px units, which is not true. I submitted the following patch to version 0.1.1:

diff -c /Users/alex/Source/mkhexgrid-0.1.1/grid.cpp\~ /Users/alex/Source/mkhexgrid-0.1.1/grid.cpp
*** /Users/alex/Source/mkhexgrid-0.1.1/grid.cpp~	Wed Jan 10 14:37:42 2007
--- /Users/alex/Source/mkhexgrid-0.1.1/grid.cpp	Thu Jun 26 14:06:37 2008
***************
*** 646,652 ****
throw runtime_error(string(o) + " is not in px");
break;
case SVG:
!          if (u != "px") throw runtime_error(string(o) + " is not in px");
break;
case PS:
if      (u == "pt") ;               // 1 point per point :)
--- 646,657 ----
throw runtime_error(string(o) + " is not in px");
break;
case SVG:
!          if      (u == "pt") ;               // 1 point per point :)
!          else if (u == "cm") d *= 72/2.54;   // ~28.35 points per cm
!          else if (u == "mm") d *= 72/25.4;   // ~2.835 points per mm
!          else if (u == "in") d *= 72;        // 72 points per inch
!          else throw runtime_error(string(o) +
!             " has unrecognized unit `" + u + "'");
break;
case PS:
if      (u == "pt") ;               // 1 point per point :)

Diff finished.  Thu Jun 26 14:08:15 2008

I just used copy & paste to use the same code that was available for PS output.

And finally this is the specfile I used for my map:

output=svg
outfile=hex-layer.svg
hex-side=1in
rows=8
columns=5
grid-color=B3B3FF
coord-color=B3B3FF
coord-size=10pt
coord-distance=0.7in
coord-column-start=21
coord-row-start=11

Yay!!

I also found a python extension to generate hex maps in Inkscape via the Cartographers’ Guild thred index. There seems to be a bug that prevents the hexes from actually having coordinates. I’d have to investigate.

AlexSchroeder 2008-08-01 00:53 UTC

I had a group called “Vault of Larin Karr”. It contained the players in my VaultOfLarinKarr game. Including a guy called Nic. Recently Nic decided he no longer wanted to play. So I removed him from the group. Except that he kept on popping up. No matter what I did. Just now for example I removed him from the group, verified that he was no longer listed, logged out, logged back in, verified that he still wasn’t listed, composed a new mail, typed the name of the group using the down arrow to pick it, hit enter, the group name was expanded to the recipents, and – lo and behold! – there was Nic again!!

Grrrrrr!

So now I deleted the group, and created a new one.

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When you are in gmail there is no escape!!!!!!

GreyWulf 2008-06-27 19:00 UTC

# 2008-06-27 More Hiking

2008-06-12 Hiking didn’t work out because of the weather. But now we’ve had some very warm weather, and it seems that it will stay warm. I’ll be picking shorter sections:

Saturday
Kandersteg - Bonderchrinde - Adelboden (6.45h)
Sunday
Adelboden - Hahnenmoospass - Lenk (4.30h)
Monday
Lenk - Trüttlisbergpass - Lauenen (5.15h)
Tuesday
Lauenen - Chrinepass - Gsteig (2.40h) / possibly walking from Chrinepass down to Gstaad instead

I’m planning to take the 7:32 train to Bern, arrive at 8:29, take the train to Brig at 8:39 and get out in Kandersteg. I’ll arrive at 9:42, early enough to get started and arrive before the evening rain or thunderstorm.

The area has plenty of tourists, so I’m not planning on making any reservations.

The “Wandersite” is an excellent source of information, as always. Interested in the weather when hiking? Here are some links.

Diesen Abschnitt der Route finde ich besser (kürzere Wanderzeiten und es geht nicht so hoch hinauf) als die vorher geählten Abschnitte, speziell wenn du alleine unterwegs bist und das Wetter nicht besonders stabil ist. Habe mir das auf der Karte angesehen, da sind schon einige richtiger HATSCHER dabei!

Helmut Schröder (Vater von Alex) 2008-06-28 13:40 UTC

Hehehe!

Ich habe die Fotos vom ersten Tag schon auf Flickr hochgeladen. [1] Mit den Bergen kenne ich mich leider nicht so aus, und oft finde ich es schwierig auf Grund des Fotos und der Karte den Berg eindeutig zu bestimmen.

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-01 17:29 UTC

# 2008-06-27 Snirfneblin

Adrian asked about the snirfneblin. He suggested we upgrade all classes to the highest LA in the party. I suggested we downgrade them all to LA +0. He said that would turn them into the races in the PHB. I’m not sure. Here’s what I would do:

## Svirfneblin Traits (Ex)

The default gnome traits no longer apply.

• -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma.
• Stonecunning: This ability grants deep gnomes a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework. A deep gnome who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as though actively searching, and can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A svirfneblin can also intuit depth, sensing the approximate distance underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.
• Darkvision out to 120 feet and low-light vision.
• Automatic Languages: Undercommon, Gnome, Common. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, Orc, Terran. This trait replaces the rock gnome’s automatic and bonus languages.
• Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—blindness/deafness (typical save DC 13), blur, disguise self. Caster level equals the svirfneblin’s class levels. The save DC is Charisma-based and include a +4 racial modifier.
• Nondetection (Su): A svirfneblin has a continuous nondetection ability as the spell (caster level equal to class levels).
• +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) and Listen checks.
• +2 racial bonus on Hide checks, which improves to +4 underground.
• Favored Class: Rogue.

Traits no longer available (supposedly worth three levels):

• All the other gnome traits not mentioned above.
• Spell resistance equal to 11 + class levels.
• +2 racial bonus on all saving throws.
• Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by svirfneblin.
• +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids.
• +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against all creatures (figured into the statistics for the character presented here). This trait replaces the rock gnome’s dodge bonus against giants.

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Hmmmm. I’d be inclined to take out the Spell-like abilities and replace with

• Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells. Take out the ’…cast by svirfneblin’
• +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids.

for LA +0.

Allow the other abilities to be gained in place of Feats, should the player wish. Spell Resistance should have a prerequisite of the Spell-like Abilities because that’s particularly powerful, and have the +4 AC be bought in chunks of +2 AC (ie, it’s two feats). These can be gained as Fighter bonus Feats.

This means that a Svirfneblin could take the Spell-like Abilities in place of their 1st level Feat and get Spell Resistance at 3rd Level. A Svirfneblin Fighter could do that and gain +2 AC at 1st level too, taking another +2 AC at 2nd level with another bonus Feat.

What d’you think?

GreyWulf 2008-06-27 10:06 UTC

Would the svirfneblin retain nondetection?

If you make those changes, you end up with a race that is very similar to the PHB gnome, with darkvision 120’ (very nice, I admit), different ability score modifiers, and no spell-like abilities (a normal gnome still gets a few cantrips). It doesn’t seem much different than a gnome, or a gnome/dwarf mash-up. I’d settle for weaker spell-like abilities (I think blindness is in particular quite good).

I am also morally opposed to abilities like the +1 vs. kobolds, goblinoids, and/or orcs that gnomes and dwarves currently get, and the +4 dodge bonus to AC vs. giants. They always seemed kind of silly to me. Along with elven weapon proficiencies and elven secret door radar.

On a somewhat unrelated note, from a pure game mechanics perspective, dwarves/elves/halflings/humans >> half-elves/half-orcs/gnomes in the PHB. That really annoys me. All the races should be equally interesting and viable. I shouldn’t have to sacrifice capability to RP an interesting race.

I don’t know: I wouldn’t like this (downgrading the races to LA 0: With the exception of the savage transition classes where you get it back).

Reason: All the fun from playing “other” races (than those in the PHB) comes from the fact that they are different. Different means that they have spell like abilities, other stats, resistances, etc. If you strip those away, well, you get the PHB races like Adrian said, or something which is only “a bit” different.

I like the idea of upgrading the other players so that everbody has the same LA. I think the players will like this best, and isn’t this whats it all about?

– Sektat 2008-06-27 11:40 UTC

Hm. I like the low level game. This essentially means that the human cleric will start on third level. Do we really want that?

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-27 14:10 UTC

No, I was suggesting in upgrading his race (human) to max(LA) of all players (even better: suggesting a cool template to him/her like “celestial creature”. Who wouldn’t like that?). So he would still be a level 1 (class level) cleric and we don’t have HD differences in the party.

– Sektat 2008-06-27 14:28 UTC

But… but… I like low-power (to avoid saying low-level in this context) play!

Then again, many people don’t like 1st and 2nd level, and D&D 4E also seems to start players at the power-level of level 3 or 4. So maybe that’s not such a bad idea.

Let me think about it some more.

AlexSchroeder 2008-06-27 16:22 UTC

Hmm, in that case just give’em 3d6, for their stats. No joke: really think about it. LA+2, but low stats

– Sektat 2008-06-27 16:39 UTC

I don’t like 1st level in 3E, because I spend a fair amount of time designing my character, and suddenly one crit or bad roll and my character is dead. It is not so bad for fighters and barbarians, but it is atrocious for wizards and sorcerers, and bad for anyone with a d6.

Here’s the problem with LA: the abilities are good, the powers are pretty potent and sometimes abusable, but at low level, nothing can compare to BAB, saves, and hit points. A 4th level human character or a 1st level svirfneblin? No contest, I’ll take the human PC every day of the week, in terms of power.

The way you could approach it is to remove problematic abilities that are contributing to the LA. Spell resistance, regeneration/fast healing, >5 damage reduction, blindsight, and some of the more potent spell-like abilities stand out, to me. As do bonuses that you can’t normally get, like a svirfneblin’s +4 dodge bonus to AC (no magic item grants such an awesome AC bonus). If you strip away the problem abilities AND replace them with other abilities that are interesting but not game-breaking, the players can play cool races with more options, and the DM doesn’t have a headache with high-powered PCs.

For example, here are some of the problem abilities I see in some of the races mentioned so far for the Alder King game:

Feytouched – immunity to mind-affecting spells (blanket immunity against a very broad spectrum of effects is generally annoying for the DM)

Svirfneblin – spell resistance (though if you play it by the book, it has some drawbacks), +4 dodge bonus to AC, continuous nondetection (I am not sure on this one, but I bet I can abuse it if I try hard enough), +2 bonus to all saves (very nice, but achievable with relatively low level magic items, so it might not be game-breaking)

Drow – spell resistance

So I think the stuff Alex pulled out of the svirfneblin is reasonable, though I was drooling over the +4 AC. Oh well

Hmm… I’m not sure what kind of template I’d want to apply. Plain old simple human works perfectly for my purposes.

But since we’re on the topic… would there be some way to make him undead to start with? Now that would be cool (though I guess I can kiss those ranks in diplomacy goodbye).

Marco 2008-06-28 12:54 UTC

I had a flick through the monster manual yesterday, and spotted two cool templates: the half-fiend and the lich. Two problems: they’ve bot got EL adjustment +4, and the lich requires a caster level of at least 11 to create his own phylactery.

Might be a cool long-term goal though.

Marco 2008-06-29 09:08 UTC

Another idea… you could start my plain old regular cleric off at level 1, and assign him a 20% XP bonus until it totalled 3 levels worth. That way you get the low level gameplay and equality.

And if that’s not your cup of tea, just leave him as human and be done with it. Clerics are pretty powerful in their own right.

Marco 2008-06-29 15:59 UTC

You like the the half-fiend template, and I like the half-celestial template…..

– Sektat 2008-06-29 16:27 UTC

Hehe, Alex mentions the possibility of having dark elves and other LA races in his next game, and now we’re talking about svirfneblin, liches, and half-fiends

Well, a simple Tiefling has a LA +1…

I do think it’s getting a bit out of hand, though. I mentioned goblins as player characters and they have a LA +0. Claudia mentioned Drow because those were the only obviously sinister sorcerous humanois she knew. But there are several other races in the Player’s Guide for this setting that might fit the bill and that come without level adjustments. As I’m not a power gamer, playing strange races for their cool powers seems pointless and weird. The Player’s Guide mentions Dark Elves on page 23, for example:

Description: Soot-covered ivory white skin, singed bone white hair, red eyes, 5 ft. 4 in., 100 lbs., lean build, typically Chaotic Evil.

Racial Traits: as per the PHB for Elf with the following modifications or additions:

• Abilities: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, and +2 Charisma.
• Darkvision (120 ft.)
• Light blindness
• Favored Class: Cleric or Sorcerer
• Dark elves do not gain any automatic weapon proficiencies.
• Cantrips: A dark elf may choose any four 0-level Sorcerer spells that he or she may innately know and use, as a spell-like ability, each once per day as a Sorcerer of his or her character level.
• Languages: Starting languages as per the PHB, plus Abyssal

This would be much easier to handle than the positive LA races. Maybe somebody else can DM a high-powered game based on non-traditional races?

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-01 14:23 UTC

LA is a headache, I agree. The longest 3E game I played in started using LA +1-4 races, and we ended up using racial levels instead of LA. It worked out ok, except that the spellcasters largely ignored the racial levels, since spellcasting >> everything else.

I didn’t mean to open up a can of worms with the svirfneblin. When I saw drow/dark elf, I assumed the MM version, and didn’t even think to look in the Player’s Guide.

I might go with a forest gnome (basically a slightly better version of the standard PHB gnome with more forest flavor), and perhaps go illusionist instead of rogue. I dunno. Illusionist might be lots of fun in this game.

I just had a look at The Complete Guide to Fey by Goodman Games – and it has four LA +0 fey races in it. Hmmmm…

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-03 22:42 UTC

If you need a list of all LA +0 races, look here:

– Sektat 2008-07-04 07:35 UTC

There’s some lovable races in there. Any chance that those LA +0 races will be allowed?

– Sektat 2008-07-04 08:19 UTC

Thanks for the link. As for the LA +0 races: You mean for the Monday Group? Sure…

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-04 11:37 UTC

Cool! I always liked races/templates which includes something with a celestial heritage. Holy! Good! I already mentioned the half-celestial template, but that is LA +4 which is no fun. But there is also the aasimar race (strange that this is a “race”), but even that one is LA +1. But the solution is: Lesser aasimar! LA 0. Manual of the planes, according to the link above. Just for flavor I will look at that race as a human with celestial heritage and not as a race itself.

– Sektat 2008-07-04 14:15 UTC

Well, that’s exactly what they are: “Planetouched is a general word to describe someone who can trace his or her bloodline back to an outsider, usually a fiend or celestial.” The examples I have seen also included humans and half-elves that lived for a long time – generations – in the outer planes. They start taking on features of the planes that surround them.

I like it how in D&D Lamarckism wins over Darwinism.

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-04 14:40 UTC

if you want the exact racial traits from the lesser drow and the lesser svirfneblin, tell me. I can send you a screenshot.

– Sektat 2008-07-05 06:32 UTC

# 2008-06-28 Von Kandersteg nach Adelboden

Die ganze Route von Kandersteg bis Gsteig ist auf der Karte 263T zu finden. [1] Ideal. In Kandersteg sieht geht es erst mal der Bahn entlang. Der Autoverlad is nicht zu übersehen und zu überhören. Dann geht es unter dem Geleise durch und man wandert der Kander entlang. Sehr schön, und rechts imposante Felswände. Richtige Berge, halt!

Später geht es dann den Alpbach entlang nach rechts hinauf Richtung Usser Üschene. Linkerhand erheben sich dramatisch die Felsen hinter dem Bach. Ein kleines Teilstück des Weges ist gesperrt. Da wird einem schon etwas mulmig. Ich treffe ein englisches Paar und wir reden miteinander bis wir beim kleinen Restaurant sind. Ich laufe ohne Pause weiter. Der Weg im zig zag rechts auf die Alpschele geht in die Beine. Einmal sieht man bis zum Oeschinesee.

Oben geht es dann wieder Richtung Kandersteg, und schon meine ich, den Pass vor mir zu sehen. Erst im Geröllfeld wird mir klar, dass es sich um den Alpschelehubel handelt, und ich noch vorher links hoch zur Bunderchrinde muss. Das Geröllfeld ist steil und die letzten hundert Meter mühsam. Die Bunderchrinde ist einfach ein kleiner U-förmiger Spalt zwischen Gross Lohner und Chlyne Lohner. Das sieht beeindruckend aus, und kaum erreicht man den Pass sieht man bis Adelboden. Genial!

Beim Abstieg kehre ich in einer kleinen Hütte ein. Es gibt Sennenrösti und zwei ältere Semester blasen das Alphorn.

Der Schluss des Weges verläuft auf einer Strasse ohne Trottoir. Unheimlicherweise haben Kinder mit Kreide überall “Vorsicht Kinder! 30!” hingemalt. Wer wohl auf die Kinder aufgepasst haben, als sie das gemalt haben? Ausserdem ist mein Kopf nun voller Autos die hier mit sechzig um die Ecke jagen.

In Adelboden übernachte ich im Hotel Viktoria Eden – dort gibt es im vierten Stock ein paar Einzelzimmer mit Dusche und Klo auf dem Gang inkl. Frühstück für CHF 65. Und zum Abendessen geniesse ich einen wunderbaren Pangasius in einer pikanten Zitronensauce. Ausgezeichnet!

Das nächste Mal muss ich noch ein paar Dinge in Kandersteg anschauen. Von Leukerbad über den Gemmipass nach Kandersteg, beispielsweise. Vielleicht auch mit Übernachtung in Schwarenbach oder auf der Lämmerenhütte. Und natürlich der Oeschinensee.

Hast du jetzt nur diese eine Route von Kandersteg nach Adelboden gemacht, oder kommt der Rest noch?

Helmut Schröder (Vater von Alex) 2008-07-01 18:43 UTC

Der Rest kommt noch!

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-01 18:48 UTC

# 2008-06-29 Von Adelboden nach Lenk

Für diese Wanderung ist Moni mitgekommen. Sie habe seit zwei Jahren keinen Sport gemacht, meinte sie. Und letztes Jahr hatte sie ihren grossen Zehen beim Zügeln gebrochen. Aber diese Wanderung sollte kein Problem sein. Von Adelboden is zum Hahnenmoospass ist es ja ein normaler Wanderweg und kein Bergwanderweg. Super schön dem Bach entlang, nachher auf die prächtigen Wiesen – nur die grosse Ansammlung von Liften und Gondeln ist etwas störend. Dafür kann man auch an solchen Orten bequem etwas kühles trinken und Alpkäse mit Früchtebrot geniessen.

Der erste Teil des Abstieges ist ebenso leicht, doch dann passiert Moni ein Unglück: Das Material zwischen Sohle und Schuh löst sich nach 15 Jahren schlagartig auf – zerbröselt förmlich. Auf der einen Seite hängt schon die halbe Sohle runter, auf der anderen Seite öffnen sich schon grosse Spalten. Dann fängt sie an zu kompensieren, dann tun ihr die Beine weh, und am Schluss ist alles nur noch eine elendige Qual. Mit den mitgebrachten Sandalen ist es etwas besser, aber auch nicht wirklich gut. Am Ende entscheidet sie, hier abzubrechen und nicht in Lenk zu übernachten.

Und am Abend kommt dann endlich das lang angekündigte Gewitter und der Regen. Ich bleibe, obwohl die Chancen auf schönes Wetter morgen nicht sonderlich gut sind. Aber jetzt wo ich in den Bergen bin, will ich nicht auch schon wieder aufgeben. Das wirkliche Wetter will ich morgen wenigstens noch sehen. Und wenn es nicht regnet, werde ich einfach zur Bergstation laufen und mir das Wetter dort oben mal anschauen. Aber das kommt erst morgen.

Those pictures are glorious! I am hoping to go to Kandersteg and hike around the Oeschinensee this weekend, and then do Leukerbad-Gemmipass-Kandersteg next weekend. I just hope the weather and the views are as nice as these pictures!

Thanks. Are you going from Leukerbad up by foot to Gemmipass? And if so, will you continue to Kandersteg, stay at Lämmerenhütte, or continue on to Schwarenbach?

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-03 08:59 UTC

The tentative plan is to go by foot from Leukerbad to the Gemmipass, and then on to Kandersteg (or maybe catch the cable car at Sunnbuel down to Kandersteg, if we are too tired). Then head back to Lausanne from Kandersteg.

# 2008-06-30 Von Lenk nach Lauenen

Am dritten Tag war die Wettervorhersage schlecht. 60% für Schauer und Gewitter, und zwar nicht nur am Abend. Die Nacht hindurch hatte es schon geregnet. Ein Blick hinaus zeigte verhangene Berge und einen dunkelgrauen Himmel. Frühstück war kurz vor acht, und danach fing der Regen schon wieder an.

Um neun war der Regen vorbei, und ich habe das Wetter eine Weile beobachtet. Nicht so schlecht. Ich würde der Gondel entlang wandern und könnte entweder an der Mittelstation Stoss oder an der Bergstation Leiterli einfach wieder zurück fahren. Also los!

An der Mittelstation gab es im Restaurant super guten Fruchtkuchen (Aprikosen Wähe) mit “Nidel” (Schlagrahm, Sahne). Kurz danach habe ich wieder einmal einen Alpensalamander gesehen. Die feuchte Luft passt den Tieren! Und mir passt der bedeckte Himmel eigentlich auch. Am ersten Tag habe ich mir einen Sonnenbrand am Nacken entlang vom T-Shirt Rand geholt, am zweiten Tag habe ich mir die Hosen Mitten auf der Wanderug verkürzt und vergessen die Waden mit Sonnencrème einzuschmieren, so dass diese jetzt rot leuchten wie die Bremslichter am Auto. Grauenhaft. Ich kann nur noch mit langen Hosen rumlaufen. Ist auch besser gegen die Bremsen. Die Mistviecher werde ich natürlich nicht los. Wikipedia meint: “Vor Bremsenstichen schützen handelsübliche Repellents, die auf Basis von ätherischen Ölen wirken, nur kurz oder gar nicht. […] Sie werden speziell vom Schweiß angelockt.” Das erklärt einiges…

Das Wetter hat gehalten, und die Gegen oben von der Bergstation Leiterli am Betelberg bis zum Stüblenipass ist fantastisch.

Das nächste Mal muss ich mir den Lauener See & den Wasserfall anschauen!

Im Abendlicht sind die Berge ob Lauenen sehr beeindruckend.

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Comments on 2008-06-30 Von Lenk nach Lauenen

Now that I discovered that iPhoto has a very simple “increase colors” effect that actually does what it says, I’m starting to feel the urge to add brilliant green, luminous yellow, and deep blue skies… As some of the pictures show, however, the fact that some of these mountain ranges seem pale is because of the haze. I picked pictures where you still find a strong green in the foreground, just to show that the pale mountains in the back are in fact as pale as they seem.

It gets worse when I look at all the other pictures I did not upload. There, I’ll find brilliant grass in the morning sun next to cold blue forest shade with dry wooden bridges… And I think to myself: Were the colors really that cold? And I can’t remember.

As the camera detects a different light and switches it’s white balance, pictures change in surprising ways. And I’m not sure I actually have an opinion on the light, and so I decided to not mess with the pictures for the moment. I guess eventually I’ll have to evolve as a photographer away from “I’ll just show it as it was” to “I’ll show it as I believe it was” – remember to edit the pictures because if I don’t, the camera will just pick the color temperature on its own and do it’s own little artificial cleverness editing of my pictures…

AlexSchroeder 2008-07-04 15:37 UTC

Ich habe auch schon einige Fotos farblich frisiert. Vor ein paar Tagen, habe ich sie jedoch wieder zurückgeändert, weil ich gemerkt habe, dass die Farben wiklich so blass waren und nicht so herrlich farblich, wie es der Editor gemacht hat.

Ist schon ein tolle Gegend, die du da durchwandert hast.

Helmut Schröder (Vater von Alex) 2008-07-04 21:43 UTC