Vacation, At Last

I hate it when I get into long non-blogging spells. I’ve been meaning to write a lot lately but I’ve occupied myself with so much that I’ve not really been able to achieve the focus it takes to sit down and blog. I’ve a few things to write about today, so thankfully this entry will make up for my long silence.

Ravi Zacharias and Tough Questions of Faith

I’ve been struggling with my faith this year. It’s not because of suffering or angst, though that certainly helped. I don’t need to give the reason here, but I do wish to give the resource that helped me get over the hump, by the grace of God.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias is a Christian author and apologist whose ministry aims to reconcile reason and faith in the Christian context. A lot of times, the world seems to draw a sharp dichotomy between the two, thinking them incompatible and irreconcilable. In the same way, even we Christians have bought into this flawed world view.

Since I started using my iPod, I’ve been downloading Dr. Zacharias’s podcasts from his ministry’s website. He has a daily podcast show entitled Just Thinking, as well as a weekly program entitled Let My People Think. Both of these typically engage tough questions about the Christian faith–how can one prove that God exists, what is the meaning of life, why does God let bad things happen, etc. While presenting his arguments, I find that Dr. Zacharias maintains a clear, level-headed demeanor. He speaks with authority without demagoguery and bluster, which I find very respectable. By the grace of God, I’ve been able to reconcile my place in the academe without compromising my core beliefs.

Whether you’re a Christian whose faith is rocked by worldly philosophy or a skeptic who would like to learn more about the subject, I highly recommend Dr. Zacharias’s programs.

Eyes of the Lich Queen

I purchased this Eberron campaign setting D&D adventure earlier this year, but due to my current ongoing campaign I haven’t been able to make time for it. However, thanks to a few interested students, I finally got a chance to actually play D&D instead of DMing it.

Originally the other guys wanted to play a homemade adventure set in Eberron, but due to time constraints, our DM (Kelsy, who plays as Lesa in my Forgotten Realms campaign The Black and the Purple), said she’d just get a premade adventure. Remembering that I had the module sitting around inside my backpack, I offered it to Kelsy, and everyone agreed it would be a good one to play.

Initially, the 4-man party had a problem: it had no casters whatsoever.

The original roster was:
-Finn, a human ranger who liked throwing boomerangs
-Drei d’Deneith, a human swordsage from the Dragonmarked house Deneith
-Fox, a changeling rogue who nobody likes
-Flamberge-Two, a warforged Fighter 2/Warblade 3 who is basically Drei’s property, and my character.

Two was formerly a trooper in the Karrnathi army, but after the Last War he was purchased by House Deneith and indentured as a bodyguard. Two still has the Karrnathi red wolf emblem on his chest, but has since had the chimera crest of House Deneith painted onto his shoulder armor.

redwolfdeneith

Two’s massive, bulky adamantine body is the type used in the most recent Karrnathi shock trooper designs that House Cannith built towards the end of the Last War. His headpiece has a broad, flaring plate around the neck, and his legs and feet are built for stability. The adamantine plating gives him a deep, slate-gray tint. As a later model, Two has not had much of an opportunity to fully develop his personality and still speaks in third person.

Instead of choosing a greatsword like most of his contemporaries, Two prefers to use the executioner’s mace—a combination between a greataxe and a giant morning star.

emace

Since the start of the campaign, Two has been performing well. He has killed five blackscale lizardfolk so far, including one priest, plus a dire wolverine. The only part where he had any severe difficulty was the very first encounter, where the thick undergrowth and camouflaged enemies made it very difficult for him to land any blows. (Not to mention that I was rolling really low.)

However, the party has recognized the need for a support character. With Finn and Drei severely weakened by poison from the initial ambush, we found that hurting monsters was difficult when your own strength was low. I thus brought in another character: Elzikki Caalvaran d’Cannith, human Artificer 5.

A 17-year old Morgrave University-educated prodigy, Elzikki is significantly more prone to wanderlust than her bookish cousins. Cannith South appreciates this, and has sent her on several archaeological expeditions.

Elzikki is whiny at times, but she justifies her behavior by saying that she does what is asked of her anyway and that whining is her way of seeing both sides of the issue.  Whatever the case, Elzikki and her homunculus dog Clash are going to be a very powerful addition to the party.

The adventure itself has gone fine so far, apart from the painful smiting Finn and Drei got in the first encounter. Cornering the little Poison Dusk lizardfolk in that battle was really difficult, but after we were able to raid their camp for poison vials, we were able to take down several Blackscales guarding the temple we’re raiding.

The current encounter we’re facing puts us up against two very young Black Dragons. Although they’re weak because of their small size, they are going to be incredibly maneuverable and hard to hit. I hope the others use their ranged weapons, because I’m sure Two isn’t going to do much against them.

~ by J. R. R. Flores on December 21, 2008.

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