EMU Visit

The first of the college visits was yesterday.  EMU had a really nice schedule planned out and it was…all right.  EMU did not convince me their school was worth going to and is not my top choice anymore, but it was an enjoyable day…despite the weather.

I had looked over the schedule beforehand but was totally unaware that I had a tour guide for the campus tour.  Even more surprising, it was a student and not a faculty member or the like.  She did a good job putting the campus map in my head, pointing out where everything is and giving a brief rundown on information concerning a certain area.  Oh, and she was mega-cute too.  Having a smart, attractive woman pal around with a prospective visitor for half an hour is a great way to convince someone to attend a college.  Hell, it almost convinced me!

The meat of a college, though, is the education…and it wasn’t too satisfying.  Sure, it’s only one class but that is the impression.  The teacher was passable but talking with her later revealed some nice tidbits about EMU’s education.  This teacher is also a member of the history department, history being the major I’m most interested in.  Since I’m not planning on teaching, a history major limits most of what I can do.  While fine, EMU also passes over a few events that are probably important to teach.  Their pacifist beliefs restrict what they can teach.  They gloss over the American Civil War, for instance, for more social and cultural events.  Well, what causes social and cultural events?  What events truly leave a mark on history?  You can’t leave war and violence out of that discussion.  Those two are also the reason I got into history in the first place and I have considerable interest in them, so a school that glosses over them is just jading.

While we’re on the subject of pacifism, it just reminded me what I’d be dealing with every day…philosophies and beliefs I don’t believe in or find logically appealing.  My friends have downplayed this a bit, saying it’s not as intense as the high school.  Now, I realize they say this because (a) they already believe in those ideas anyway and (b) those who say it’s not as intense usually didn’t care to begin with.  I went to EMHS because I couldn’t get homeschooled and hated public school.  I also had a good time in spite of hearing beliefs that aren’t rationally sound.  The difference between then and now is that I didn’t really have an alternative in high school.  Sure, public school was always a possibility but never one I seriously considered because of too many negatives.  EMHS had many positives to outweight that one (huge) negative.  EMU could be the same but now, I have alternatives.

After going to a class and meeting with the instructor, I had a good conversation with the director of housing.  In spite of recent events, living on campus isn’t as appealing as it once was.  Even now, the idea of having a suite with Steve, Dustin and Gabe is looking bleak because Dustin’s cross-cultural is next year.  Besides, I have my own house now.  Gas would suck but having the freedom of my own home is totally worth it.  Still don’t want the price to rise, though…

Overall, it was an enjoyable visit.  Too many negatives, though.  I think I’d enjoy Bridgewater’s educational envirionment more, but still need to visit them.  UVA is still a long shot and probably won’t visit them, but damn, it would be awesome to get in.  While EMU’s social scene might be top notch, it’s not a priority.  Friends are nice and I have a bunch going to EMU, but I don’t want my future decided by “I want to spend two years with friends.”  I want my future decided by educational opportunities.  Isn’t that the whole point of college?

Current College Standings
Bridgewater
EMU
UVA
Finish college with an associate’s degree

I’m really glad that worked, those would have been terrible last words.

College Visitation

So I’m visiting EMU this Friday, followed by Bridgewater and UVA sometime next month.  I’ve heard some good things about Longwood but I’m not exactly planning to visit.  I’d probably have more fun at Bridgewater but EMU has made such a deal “recruiting” me.  Bridgewater is rather conservative, which is good because I hate liberal tendencies.  However, I know they use a different form of writing (APA citation as opposed to MLA…which is a real pain in the ass).  UVA would be prestigious and nice.  Who wouldn’t want to study history at a school founded by one of our own Presidents (and, arguably, a founding father)?  It’d be sweet but my GPA isn’t high enough.  EMU is closest, has made it a priority (it seems) to get me there and some of my friends want me there for…I don’t know why.  Because it’d be sweet, maybe?  EMU has lost points because one of the guys we’re planning to room with might be out of the state (maybe even the country) sometime junior year, so getting a suite would be impractical.  I sure as hell don’t want to room in a dorm.

Speaking of which, my mom’s moving…but I’m not.  So, I’m getting a whole house to myself for around $350 a month.  Roommates would be nice to split the cost, but I don’t know anyone who could (or even want) to room.  Okay, there’s one person who might want to.  Even so, it’ll be nice regardless…even if I end up broke…

Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark, but they’re wrong, because it’s not irrational.  It’s Vashta Nerada.  It’s what in the dark.  It’s what’s always in the dark.

D&D Session 3

Belenus falls dead once the party is through questioning him.  The shadowy figure the party has been seeing the past two days heads off into the distance, telling the party not to camp at the stone ring for the night…”for their own good”.  The party now has a sense of direction.  Belenus provided the names of the Storm sisters; Dorean, Elysia and Nevada.  Each are located in a region of Albion (Celt, Mercia and Scotia respectively) and, although they are not members of the druid’s circle, they do hold considerable clout.

The party takes the shadow’s advice and returns to Amesbury abbey with the freed informants (with Belenus’ body in tow).  Come morning, the informants are feeling better after nearly being sacrificed the night before.  They provide any additional information the party couldn’t get out of Belenus and then some.  They reveal that the druids were able to find out who they really were, even though both of them could speak druidic and didn’t have Alasteir’s tattoo branded on them.  The informants were supposed to be imprisioned but were kidnapped by some loons who wanted to sacrafice them on the spring equinox.  Luc speculates that there is a druid prison nearby, but the party decides to stay focused on their main objectives.

The players decide to go after Dorean.  Dorean is located on Anglesey island in the Celt region of Albion.  The informants suggested she would be the easiest to find, although Elysia is closer.  Anglesey island was the site of a mass battle between the Alliance and druids of Albion nearly 1,000 years ago.  It culminated with the forested island being torched and numerous deaths on both sides, although the druids definitely came out on the losing end.  The druids spent much of the next millenia replanting and recultivating the land there.  Why Dorean is there, the informants don’t know.  They do speculate that the island’s history may be reason enough.  The party sets out immediately…

GM’s Note:  There were a few encounters along the way I threw at the players, just to see what all they would bite at.  They ended up biting at almost everything.  Most notable of all was the Coach and Horses tavern, which they bought.  They also found out about a ghost ship and a map detailing where it will be traveling.  This is also where session 3 ended.  At the beginning of session 4, Luc explored an abanonded dwarf quarry while Maverick and Herschel went fairy-hunting in the nearby forest.  When they regrouped and headed off to Anglesey Island, they defeated a druid masquerading as a bear.  They get no useful information out of the druid.

After 18 days of travel, the party finally reaches the Bluerock Lodge.  The Bluerock Lodge is on the outskirts of Bangor, a small port village.  From Bangor, the party can reach Anglesey Island.  On their last day of travel, though, they come across a dead body…

To Be Continued

Sessions 3 & 4 were supposed to be one session…but ended up being two because of some difficulties getting together.  The great thing about playing D&D in high school was that it was easy to organize these things.  Everyone knows what everyone else is doing, at least work-wise.  There might be a few people who work but nothing major.  College changes that.  With all of us going to different schools, it’s tough being on the same page.  Anyway, session 4 will be up next week.  Hopefully, it’ll be better written.

In other news, Gabe’s thinking about DMing.  If he goes through with it, it’ll be interesting to play.  Let’s hope it’s not a one-shot either…if it even gets off the ground.

The Supporting Cast

This was supposed to be up earlier, but I got lazy after I got back from class.  Then I watched Rudy Giulani and Sarah Palin kick all kind of ass at the GOP convention.  If there was a reason to vote Republican, Sarah Palin would be it.

Anyway…

There are many NPCs in the world, but here’s a few the party has met.  On a side note, Gabe fleshed out an ordinary shopkeeper.  Instead of being a vendor for general store products, he was a vendor for general store products with an annoying kid who wanted a pony.  Since the party spent about 80 gold in his shop, he ended up buying the kid the pony anyway.  Future plot line…the kid grows up to be really spoiled as a result, so the vendor hires the PCs to discipline the kid!

Name:  Gamros
Race:  Human
Class:  Cleric

One of Pelor’s many clerics, Gamros was kidnapped from his home in the Amesbury Abbey.  held in captivity by Ianamoros, along with Maverick and Caine.  Herschel wasn’t required to rescue him but did so, proving that he’s an all right guy…once you get past the fact he’s a sociopathic assassin.  Gamros has traveled with the group ever since.  He doesn’t take part in actual fights, but is always ready to cast a heal spell.  Strangely enough, he has not expressed any interest in returning to the Abbey.  Also, why he was imprisoned is unknown.

On a side note, I completely glossed over his return to the abbey last session.  The party rested there for an hour, but one would think after being kidnapped…his brethren would be glad he’s back.  We’ll just retcon the whole scenario by saying he was in a hurry, as was the rest of the party.

Name:  Alasteir
Race:  Half-Elf
Class:  Upper (get it?)

Not much is known about this half-elf noble.  He’s hired Hershel for two jobs now and is paying good money to see those missions accomplished.  Curiously, he wanted Maverick and Caine alive, but made no mention of Gamros.  Alasteir has a lot of influence and power but is relatively unheard of.  How a noble could have so much power and influence…but remain a relative engima is a mystery.  A mystery that will probably remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Fine, I’ll do all the actual work.  As usual.

The Players

I mentioned them briefly last time, but one sentence isn’t enough to provide background.  So here’s the cast of characters (listed in alphabetical order) for our latest campaign!

Name:  Hershel
Race:  Human
Class:  Rogue
Played by Ian

A 6’2, 160 lb. male cloaked in black leather armor, Hershel definitely fits the profile for “intimidating figure”.  He was taken as an infant by bandits and raised in their camp.  The bandits trained him in their trade, a trade Hershel learned quickly.  In fact, the bandits may have trained him too well…because once the boy matured, he slaughtered them all.  Ever since that bloody night, Hershel has worked as a hired assassin.

Hershel was recruited by Alasteir to rescue Caine and Maverick and to assassinate whoever was holding them prisoner.  The first session had Hershel complete his objectives, which no doubt pleased his employer.  Impressed with the results, Alasteir hired Hershel (as well as the rest of the party) for the current hit on the druids.

Name:  Luc Arbogast
Race:  Human
Class:  Fighter
Played by Gabe

The party’s newest addition (pronounced “Luke” not “Luck”) is the son of a blacksmith from the Ascalon region.  The second son in a decent-sized family of seven, Luc was one of the many in the realm gripped by the “adventurer’s fever”.  This is not an illness, but rather, a desire to move out from cities/settlements and explore the world (which had been halted by a near 200 year dark age).  Luc adventures for many of the traditional reasons; notably for fun, knowledge, money, self-improvement…plus, his father was an adventurer before him, so it could be in his blood.  His travels have taken him to Albion, an island nation separated from mainland Eutopia by the Corelleon Channel.

Luc was introduced last session when Caine, Gabe’s old character, left the group.  Tackling the druids with only three people (none of them worthy of being frontline fighters) was a recipe for disaster, so Luc was recruited.  Luc is a fighter but is built more like a ranger (he specializes in archery, wears studded leather), so it’ll be interesting to see how their tactics and how they take down their enemies.

Name:  Maverick
Race:  Human
Class:  Sorcerer
Played by Steve

Maverick is the sole survivor of a necromancer purge (even if it isn’t banned, necromancy is always frowned upon).  While his home village was sacked, Maverick fled into the surrounding wilderness.  It was there he was eventually found by a wizard.  Despite the wizard being a hermit, he raised the boy as his own.  He also noticed the boy had a natural aptitude for magic.  Because sorcerers don’t need to learn how to cast magic, the big question for them is learning how to control their innate abilities.  Luckily for Maverick, the wizard taught him how to control those abilities.  Unluckily for Maverick, tragedy struck again.  He returned home one day to find that the royal guard had slain his mentor.  Maverick has traveled ever since, perhaps coming to Albion where magicians are tolerated…thanks to the presence of the Arcane Order.

Maverick was captured by the wizard Ianamoros and held in captivity along with Caine and Gamros.  All three were subject to the wizard’s sick experiments, but were rescued by Hershel.  Free of his bonds, the group killed Ianamoros before heading back to the capital city to recuperate.  Alasteir wanted Maverick and Caine alive so they could help Hershel with his next target, the druids.

GM’s Note:  Steve has more of a fighter mentality, so it’s interesting he decided to play sorcerer.  The idea of him playing a spellcasting class came about when I joked he could “fireball Gabe and Ian while they are in melee combat”.  This might be why both Gabe and Ian have their characters built around ranged combat…

Tomorrow, I’ll introduce the NPCs they’ve met so far.

That’s the most retarded thing ever, Coby.