Tag Archive: Tympest Books


Electric

Look at me being late with this again. I swear, I’m not trying to do this, it just sort of keeps happening. Busy with work. Busy with other stuff.  But I’m here now and I’ve got dice to talk about. These guys are Dice Envy’s Electric set, initially from this January’s subscription box, you can currently get your hands on a set of them at the site. Let’s roll!

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The entire black and yellow electric theming for the Electric dice set is something I enjoy, like it makes me think of Saturday morning cartoon rival characters and comic books and any number of things that are a little silly to associate with this particular set of dice but that make me smile nonetheless. What can I say, some times it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

The little lightning bolts that surround the numbers bring the dice character without making them so busy that they can’t be easily read. Which is helped along by the contrast between the black and yellow. Much more, I feel, on the main set than on the mostly yellow advantage d20 but the contrast is good and most of the set winds up being highly readable from a good distance. The exception here being the d20s and that is mostly down to the size of the numbers for them rather than a pattern flaw.

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The inking is done in a thick paint that has a few pits or cracks throughout the set, but it doesn’t seem like it’s in danger of falling out or wearing away any time soon. The material used though does mean that, if I wanted to, I’m not sure I would be able to re-ink these without prying the existing paint out and risking damaging the dice. Not a real concern for me, but I also kind of want a set in black and blue now.

As to feel, they’re pretty standard for acrylic dice. There’s the occasional rough bit from the inking that’s texturally interesting. They’re nice and light and seem to roll well, no notable favored sides with this set. So definitely enjoyable to use.

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So, of course I love this set. They look nice. They feel nice. Even with the inability to reink it if I chose, the Electric set is just overall one that I enjoy. So it gets a five out of five.

I really want to use this set for an engineer or hacker rapscallion type in Starfinder or maybe build my own Tracer and go for a speedy tech rogue. They do feel more sci-fi than fantasy for me despite having the advantage die for 5e, so it would definitely have to be a sci-fi campaign either way.

Not Even a Proper Meeting

Not sure how effective it’ll actually be, given that spirits are ephemera rather than solid, but I found a gym that offers boxing classes. If nothing else I feel a little better about if we ever have to fight a possessed person again.

And it fills the time.

Keeps my mind off the fact that we let a couple of heavily TB infected Uratha wonder back into Pearly Oaks where vulnerable humans live nice and crammed close together. Which I didn’t even think of after the fight and we would have never learned about if Skip and I hadn’t headed over to see if we could learn more from them. So many people getting sick while Brook and _ had recovered completely.

Even more than Brook vibrating after drinking anything with caffeine in it or having seen their wolf forms running off after the fight, that really drives home how not human the Uratha are. Which adds an extra flavor of weird to Alpha Storm seeming interested in Viv’s health but not seeming to care at all what had happened to Louis. Not sure what’s going on there.

Brook asked if Louis was doing better. Maybe the others just seem odd by comparison to her since we interact with her more than the rest of them?

I suggested that maybe we should meet somewhere else where there was less of a risk of anyone getting infected but all anyone would say to that was that they were too busy keeping order at Pearly Oaks for anyone to leave. Didn’t seem too orderly to me, but who am I to say? Maybe Storm figures that with Consumption out of Viv it isn’t our business anymore. Maybe he figures that they don’t need us anymore. He’s wrong on either count but I’ve seen people be more stubborn over dumber things.

I’m not going to go risk getting infected to try and learn things they don’t want to teach me. I can always hit up the forums that I first found the First Speak in.

Which I have since then, of course, there’s an item that might help us keep tracking Consumption, the Judge’s Eye, it seems like it should be some kind of lens for scrying through. It’s smoked with an incense that I’m just not familiar with the ingredients for. Not sure if that’s a matter of it being common things with names that the Uratha use that just don’t translate well or if they’re something completely new that I’ve just never heard of. Google isn’t any help either way because of the First Speak. It also mentioned needing a “gift of essence” as part of its crafting and needing to be smoked in the incense beyond the Gauntlet. I’m assuming that the Gauntlet and the veil are the same thing, which might be dangerous, but the context seems to bear that out. Talking to Viv about it, “essence” is what Consumption called the stuff it took from ghosts. Might be some kind of needed sacrifice?

Both of those leave me with no clear idea of how to continue. I’m sure there’s a way to get the essence for this, but I’m not sure what it is or if it needs to be freely given to qualify as a “gift”. Likewise, for this thing to exist and have as much information available as it did, there has to be a way to cross the Gauntlet or veil or whatever you want to call it, do the ritual, and come back all while still alive.

When I talked to Jimmy about it he thought it might be more trouble than it’s worth, that maybe I should go back to working on that spell to see spirits. That would work for me, but only for me. The Eye should work for anyone who uses it.

At any rate, Jimmy’s running a class tonight with some of the other more experienced magic users in the alternate religion side of the club about warding and spiritual protections. He invited me to come help and I think that Skip and Matt are coming too. I might have more to add on that later.

House Keeping 7/7/20

So, I finally found a job. Pretty sure I mentioned that last time, but it’s finally sinking in that I am once again employed. Not the worst feeling ever.

I’ve also fallen behind again.

No worries, dice review is coming up on Friday, we’ll see if I can’t get this thing in order once again. Book review should be up sometime tomorrow. “Consumption Incident” post should be up Thursday.

Then I get to start plotting the next few weeks because fun things are coming.

Fun things like a first book from a writer I’m really excited about and Sailor Moon themed dice. Things that make me happy to think about and that I hope you all enjoy seeing me yammer on about.

This week is a short one, I don’t have much to worry over or any serious complaints.

I do want to mention, there’s a retail blackout planned today. Blackout Day 2020, it’s an economic protest of racial inequity in America, the idea being to not spend any money today. If you absolutely have to buy something, go for a local black owned business and support them instead of the big boxes. It feels very worth supporting.

That’s about it. Stay safe, stay healthy, and have a great rest of the week!

So, guess who got hit with a fun little dose of anxiety about actually starting her new job back on Wednesday. It’s me. I spent so much time getting up and looking for things to do that I got just about nothing done. All the same though, I’m happy to share this one with you all. The nice folks at Tor Teen sent it to me ages ago and I’m finally talking about it. By an author I’ve reviewed several times before, Ann Aguirre, this is Heartwood Box. Enjoy!

Heartwood Box cover

Araceli Flores Harper’s parents sent her to live with her great aunt Ottillie for her own safety. On paper, the town is safer than nearly anywhere Araceli could possibly be. No crime. No outward threats. But people, her great uncle included, have been disappearing for years with no trace found. That’s concerning enough on its own. But between her new pen pal from World War 1 and the disappearance of her best friend Araceli will need to dig deep into the town’s mysteries for the truth regardless of the danger.

Ann Aguirre’s Heartwood Box does an interesting job of balancing the mystery of what causes the disappearances and Araceli’s attempts to figure them out and the sort of romance across time between Araceli and Oliver.

Aguirre is one of those authors that I adore with major exception to how she writes romance, Heartwood Box is a fascinating exception to that. Something, I think, about how she balances the romance against the plot and Araceli’s feelings about other characters. The plot is allowed to happen without being entirely devoured by the romance. As the plot gets more serious it feels like Araceli leans more heavily on the impossible romance with Oliver. And yet, the only thing that feels lost to the romance was the possible love triangle with the boy next door class clown, Logan, which did not feel like a loss at all given the characters involved.

It actually becomes difficult to talk more about the plot, beyond going over how it balances with the romance, without spoiling the climax. Which is a bit frustrating because the real mystery only kicks in later in the book, the first half or so of the story is introduction and lead up. And yet, it is introduction and lead up that is done well enough that I was almost disappointed when the end started getting closer. I was enjoying seeing Araceli trying to figure out how she was communicating with Oliver, seeing her finding out more about the town, even her interactions with Logan made for good character work and made him feel like more of a character than just the third wheel guy. The character work over all is good actually, I enjoyed reading the interactions between Araceli and her friends. I wanted to see more of them, more of their stories, it made for great side characters because they felt solid and like they had their own stories going on off page.

My problem, if I had a problem at all, with Heartwood Box is the ending. Trying not to go too far into it, it feels way beyond Araceli’s scope. By nature of the narrative and the book to that point, the reader has to stick with Araceli for the ending but then the things that happened seem vastly out of step with what both the reader and Araceli herself know and could expect. It leaves her feeling unmoored in a way that could easily have been the start of a completely different story. This is definitely a matter of necessity, again the reader has to stick with her or it would be way too jarring, but the difference has to be tremendous enough for the reader to get the sheer magnitude of how much changed from the comparatively small scope of Araceli’s life in this small town in New York. It is a trade off that I’m not entirely sure works, but acknowledge had to be made.

Which brings me to this, I liked Heartwood Box a great deal. It falls pretty far from my usual genre preferences but the characters were interesting and the mystery was well constructed enough that I got hooked. It reminded me of the parts of Ann Aguirre’s writing that I really enjoy and made me want to check out more of her YA works. So it earns a four out of five from me. If I felt more confident with the ending it would have gotten a five.

Meeting 8 (Meeting 7 follow up??)

We saved Viv!

Ish.

She has just, so much TB. Like, the folks at the hospital were amazed that she was alive much less that she’d been able to walk into the Old Drugstore. That badly infected.

Louis, Brook, and the Uratha Elder who was actually there to do the exorcism ritual were also all infected.

Louis and Viv’ll be in the hospital for at least the rest of the term. Skip, Matt, and I all had to be tested and are quarantined again. Some old law apparently. I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have. And the Uratha can apparently just sleep off their TB infections no big deal.

Which is cool but weird.

I want it noted that things didn’t start off this badly.

The Meat Market was a bust because the haunted part could only be accessed through the current business. So we moved on. It just didn’t seem like the kind of place we could both get into and do anything with. The Crumbling Pioneer House definitely had powerful ghostly activity but, of the three there, the only one actually in the house was super aggressive. It seemed more likely to go ahead and attack us itself instead of letting us set our trap and wait. The other two didn’t seem dangerous, but then they just seemed to be bratty kids.

Note, right, note that this doesn’t mean that the Drugstore ghost was harmless. Salt and iron do not block supernaturally created, I think it was at least, ether from spreading throughout the room. The ghost himself wasn’t aggressive at all, he was just working on whatever he’d been working on when he died, but also leaking horribly flammable gas. I would bet my last dollar that that was the cause of all those mysterious fires.

Note also, tasers and stun guns produce major sparks.

So, what I’m saying is that, after deciding that the Drugstore was our best bet for the trap. Setting everything up. And, in face, managing to actually trap Consumption in with us with the needles and what not.

What I’m saying is that we set Viv on fire and then had to rush out of our own carefully set trap in this carefully chosen building so that we didn’t kill her before Consumption had the chance.

We mostly managed to pin her after that. Between the needles and the Uratha pinning her and the exorcism, Consumption was separated enough from Viv for Louis to blast it a couple times before. That was enough to make it separate and to chase it off, but it’s still out there.

It still could do this again.

I denied it out of hand at the time, but we got it out of Viv. She’s going to be fine eventually. Matt’s already doing everything he can to help her get things back to normal, calling her professors, canceling her classes, everything he can to help her and, maybe, make himself feel less like he failed her somehow. We could just let things go back to normal and leave it be.

Let the Uratha deal with whatever Consumption comes up with next and go back to being a normal college occult club. Stop having to worry about if this’ll get one of us killed.

It’ll probably be like that for awhile any way. I mean, people need to recover. There’s not much we can do with half a team. But it also feels wrong to even think about letting Consumption keep going with whatever it has planned.

Recovery first though.

Things’ll be quiet for a couple weeks probably. I can’t say that I won’t have anything to report to you guys, but it seems unlikely.

House Keeping 6/30/20

Little bit of a head ache today, I haven’t gotten much of anything done as a result.

I had a job interview yesterday. It went really well and I go back later this week to fill out papers and, hopefully, find out when I start.

Book review should be up tomorrow. I have a fair idea of what I need to do with it and the skeleton down, just need to finish it.

“Consumption Incident” post is good to go live Thursday morning. I’m working on getting more of those posts worked up, it’s been being a lot of fun to go back and work on these.

This is a short one, that’s about it.

Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. I enjoy seeing what people think of what I’m doing here. And, of course, if you want help me keep the blog running full speed, you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Or you can treat yourself to some new dice. Either way, any way, stay safe and have a great rest of the week!

Running late with this. I had something important earlier in the day and just sort of checked out afterwards. It was an exciting thing, but kind of exhausting. Away from that and on to the dice, these guys are from Dice Envy, the Carina Nebulaset. Let’s roll!

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These dice are sharp as all get out. The red solid red and translucent black with its included glitter and the silver inking work together so nicely. The swirling folds of red in the black give this nice sense of depth, playing into the nebula theming. It kind of makes me want to just sit and turn them in my hands, there were no bad sides on any of the individual die.

The silver inking stands out fantastically against both colors, making them easy to read. They’re nice and fairly neat, there’s no places where the paint used comes out onto the dice themselves. Though there were a couple odd places where it looked like a little extra paint had dripped into the numbers themselves. It doesn’t effect reading them and it doesn’t seem to effect the way they roll, so no real issue just interesting. I’m left curious how it got that way.

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As is expected of acrylic dice, the Carina Nebula set feel nice in hand and roll enjoyably well. It almost feels like there’s a little bit of bounce to them, which is fun. They don’t seem to have favorite sides. There’s plenty of random chance to how these dice land so they should be more than fair for game night.

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I would like these dice even if they didn’t roll acceptably for game night though. The Carina Nebula set is just so pretty that it makes me want to find one of those jumbo d20s in this style to add to my display set. It also makes me want to get my hands on one of the other sets that are in this same general style but different colors to see if they all turn out this well. I give them a five out of five.

I’m thinking that I would wind up using these for a spell caster of some sort, probably a sorcerer or a warlock. Something that has an inborn or traded for style of magic rather than a learned style. Maybe a character that splashed rogue in with the casting class. It’s the swirls and the glitter I think.

So, this was something I’ve been excited for for a good while. I’ve covered Cerberus’ #DICE4MASKS campaign before, because it still feels like a really awesome thing for them to be doing. Now these guys are randomized between something like a hundred different sets, so it’s pretty exciting to have gotten a color and style I like as much as I do these. All that said, let’s roll!

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I don’t generally bring much attention to the bag for things like this, but I liked the design and that the bags are meant to be reusable. They feel a little flimsy compared to the cloth ones I’m used to, but they reseal well and made it through shipping no problem.

We’re here for what’s in the bag though, so on to the dice. I do not know what this set is called, but I do know that I like the look of them.

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As ever, I am a fan of sparkly things, so the combination of green and silver foil glitter is much appreciated. There’s actually so much color from the glitter and enough of it that the clear acrylic takes on a pale green color as well, which is delightful for me. Plus, it manages this without feeling busy, which is also appreciated.

Part of that not feeling busy is probably down to the inking being in that nice contrasting gold. The inking itself is nicely clean. There weren’t any notable over fill places and the places where the inking is thin are uniformly down to being places where the glitter came through the acrylic. Those places aren’t noticeable from table distance though and the numbering seems to be the only place where the glitter has come through, so it isn’t a tremendous complaint.

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In hand, they feel as nice as any other standard set of acrylic dice could be expected to. Again, there aren’t any strange places from the glitter coming through. They don’t seem to have favorite sides, so it can be assumed that they’re acceptably random for game night.

I like this set of dice. They’re a nice color combination and read easily, even in the comparative low light I’m in now. I do have that quibble about the foil peaking through in the numbers, which loses it some, but the numbers are deeply cut enough that it doesn’t effect the feel of the dice in hand. Plus, I like that I felt like I’d done something nice ordering these guys. I give this set a four out of five.

As to what kind of character I would use them for. I think I’m going to use them for my upcoming tiefling bard. The sparklies are a nice tie in for bardish flamboyance, while the green ties in nicely with the earth and flower tones I want to use for her dice.

Meeting 7

Right, just not talking about the danger doesn’t work for either of you. Got it. You guys are worried that I’ll get myself into something I can’t come back from.

Maybe have a seat or do some breathing exorcises before reading this one?

So, lot of research, same as ever. Skip and Louis worked on their weapons, something to get another charge out of the stun baton and a drive for the detector grid to store data for later going over. I think at least. I could really have asked better questions on that, but I was kind of burning up my own research.

Got a big copy of a map of the city from the library. Working from sites mentioned in local folklore and place that Brook, our Uratha contact, scoped out for us. Those give me a solid idea of which places had ghosts, which had spirits, and which were busts from the start. Between those and Brook reporting which places she’s been that were already hit, we figured out where it’s headed and that we can probably get ahead of it and trap it.

Like, Skip figured that it probably doesn’t have a base of operations. It doesn’t seem to be doubling back or staying in any one area long, and it’s moving fast. The more or less direct line it’s going in suggests that it’s just grabbing everything it can as fast as it can, which could tell us that it’s got a plan to put into place that it wants the power. Maybe it’s worried about the Uratha catching it.

I don’t think it plans on them catching it any time soon either way, so I lean towards it having a plan. I don’t think it’s counting on us being a threat to it, so that plays in our favor.

The fact that our current plan has us bringing the Uratha with us and making use of their exorcism ritual and greater experience should just tilt things more in our favor. They should be able to separate Consumption from Viv, assuming that the fusion hasn’t gone too far, leaving us able to attack it without hurting her.

Our general plan is to find a place in the line Consumption is traveling in to set our tap. A site with a powerful enough ghost to definitely be on its radar but also easy enough to lock down that it can’t make a break for it and double back or change directions and leave us having to track it down again. That would risk Viv way more than I think any of us are comfortable thinking about.

Side bar, my research turned up something called a Shadowblind Cloak that, if we can get our hands on one, should make ghosts and spirits less interested in Viv once we’ve gotten her free. I asked Brook about it, but she didn’t know anything about it. Though I’ve apparently been digging into things that concern her. I mean, I know that Google doesn’t like some of my research, especially the First Speak, but Brook’s reaction suggests that I might be getting further into things that regular mortals aren’t meant to know than is safe. But then none of this is safe, is it? Best not to think on that too much just yet.

Back on track though.

Skip, Louis, and I are going to go scout out the three likely locations we’ve found for setting our trap. While we do that, Matt and Brook will head back to Pearly Oaks and collect the Uratha who’ll be helping us. Once we’ve picked the location and let Matt know, we’ll get the trap set. Then it’ll just be a matter of getting everyone settled in and waiting for Consumption to kick the plan into action.

I think Skip’s excited to be looking into the locations we zeroed in on. He called it a job that seemed made for him.

All three are historic locations. The Underground Meat Marker has a new butcher shop built over it, so there’s no telling if we could even get in. It isn’t like Consumption hasn’t broken into places with proper doors and locks and all before, but it hasn’t really broken into a business yet. Might be too much trouble for it.

The Crumbling Pioneer House is a semi-active archaeological site, theoretically we should ask the city for access to it. But then that would take weeks that we don’t really have and most of what was there has already been taken to local museums. There’s a lot of reports of strange activities there, so definitely ghostly things happening. At least, Professor Croft had a lot of stories going weird when she was working there a few years back. She really doesn’t seem entirely the type to make things up just to pull her students’ legs.

The last is the Old Drugstore in the old down town. It’s near some museums and what not. Nothing really big in the area. Most of what I could find about it was reports of mysterious fires.

Full honesty, we’re heading out right after I send this, so try not to worry too much. Hopefully I’ll be able to update you on the situation in a day or so. Just, try not to worry for a little while.

House Keeping 6/23/20

So, no dice review yesterday, I wound up working on a couple of life things and playing a video game to distract myself a little. We live in interesting times. And the longer times stay interesting the more I understand why that used to be a curse.

I got things done though. Even if they weren’t things for here.

Crocheting is going well, I’ll probably have at least this blanket done by the time the pandemic lets up. The next one’s going to be hair pin lace and Red Heart’s Neon Stripe, so it’ll wind up with blocks of bright colors and black. It’ll also show cat hair like no one’s business, but that’s just how things go some times.

I am probably going to wind up postponing the book review again. I’ve been reading a book for way later in the year because it just sounded that enjoyable but the peace of just sitting and reading continues to elude me. So it’s been slow going as I keep getting up to see if something that needs my attention has magically materialized while I wasn’t looking. It’s like going back to the refrigerator to see if something you want to eat’s shown up but somehow worse.

Aiming not to postpone the “Consumption Incident” post again. Been picking away at notes for that, just need to do one fell swoop and get them all down and collected and then get to work. One of those things that isn’t going to be nearly as bad as I’m making it once I actually force myself to get it done.

Dice review should be out Friday. For real this time.

And that’s about it for this one. It’s been a weird, at minimum, Summer for everyone so I appreciate you all sticking around.

Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. Ask me about the blanket I’m working on or what possessed me to start reading a book I can’t review for months yet. That kind of deal. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi or you can treat yourself to a set of glorious math rocks over at Dice Envy. Either one helps a lot. In either case though, in any case, stay safe and have a great rest of the week!