Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 19

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 18

Most people in Gurutama fear the Grez, but one group doesn’t, the Empire Dwarves who still believe in their original mission to destroy Navillus, no matter how corrupted that mission became.

We also see the splitting of the Elves into two groups, those who stay behind in Halusho and those who build a new home in the Eastern Maw. This move also coincides with the start of Hykma’s rise to power as the commercial center of the world. Hykma will remain on top by the end despite facing many challenges. Hykma hasn’t been mentioned in the Timeline since 245 NA when the city was founded (Part 9), but it’ll be showing up a lot more from now on.

620 NA:While the rest of the world feared the Grez, the Syluki Dwarves reveled in the destruction of the Demon’s city after so many crusades. The Great Alliance, created so long ago, finally paid off. Not caring that the Hero died in the carnage, the Syluki Dwarf nobility sent a congratulatory embassy to the Grez. The Grez thanked the Dwarves and said they were happy to do their part to remove the Navillus threat.

622 NA: The Syluki Dwarves began to gather their forces once again. They planned to retake the Najaran cities, crush the Bwarlor, and punish the Merfolk for their betrayal. Secretly the Brotherhood was in control and a new crusade would begin.

625 NA: The Farpoint Dwarves officially split off from the Syluki Dwarves. They no longer wished war with their Human neighbors. The Dwarves of Syluk vow to subjugate the Farpoint Dwarves as well.

630 NA: The mighty Najaran Empire faded into ashes and the cities gave up their last false pretenses of supposed unity. Cynelle, the youngest daughter of Old Najar, was the first to proclaim herself a free city. Emissaries were sent to the nations of the world, suing for peace and offering prosperous trade agreements

637 NA: The Elves enacted their long thought out plan. The Homestone Bridge was built at great expense over the Great Canal. All but the most stubborn Elves waved their corrupted forest home goodbye. They traveled into the east and set up a new city in the Lower Maw called Rotandean. The elves struck up a positive relationship with their new neighbors, the Hykmans and the Rana. The Bridge of the sylvan folk was covered by a great ward. Only non-Hobgoblins may pass across the Homestone Bridge.

638 NA: The Hobgoblins continued their barbarity after the majority of the Elves left Halusho.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 20

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Thanksgiving Traditions

For those of you who don’t know, today is Thanksgiving in the USA! Turkey time!

My family has a few Thanksgiving traditions.

First, we set up the table for everyone who is coming over. This involves adding extra leaves to make it bigger as well as covering the table in butcher paper.

The butcher paper is not for butchering, but for writing on. We write and draw things we’re thankful for, like each other, or well-made bread, or that more Star Wars movies are coming out.

Then we have the usual food traditions of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

Additional food is for my wife, who is a vegetarian. She likes making spanikopita instead of turkey. Spanikopita is a baked dish made with filo dough, butter, cheese, and spinach. Its really good!

We all eat the dinner and usually avoid the awful drama of arguments with your relatives.

After dinner is pie time.

My sister is the one who usually makes the pies. The typical number is eight, which ends up being about one per person at Thanksgiving dinner.

After eating everything we spend the rest of the night cleaning before falling asleep early.

But the fun isn’t over there! The next morning there is still plenty of pie left to eat! My sister invites all her friends over to eat the leftover pies. I know most of them, so its good to catch up with them and eat sugar for breakfast.

Most of those traditions are getting disrupted this year. My sister has moved to Ohio and is staying there this year. My dad and step-mom are going to my step-mom’s aunt’s house for the holiday, so they’re not in town either. I’m spending Thanksgiving with my lovely in-laws!

Most everyone in my wife’s family are vegetarians, so there will be no turkey this Thanksgiving. The spanikopita will be replacing it. Everything else is still going to be here though! Stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, and people that I love.

There’s also talk of going on a hike before cooking begins.

I miss seeing my direct family, but I saw them last month and I’ll get to see them all again in December for Christmas. At least I get to see the family cat because I’m taking care of her while they’re away.

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving wherever you are and however you celebrate it!

-Mister Ed

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 18

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 17

Now I know I said the great figures were named from now on, but there is one notable exception, The Hero. The Hero is like everyone’s favorite folk hero, but larger. Greek mythology gives a decent comparison. Theseus is the local hero for Athens. Agamemnon and Jason are the heroes for Argos. Odysseus is the hero for Ithaca. You get the idea. Every Greek city had a local hero. The Hero of Gurutama is like that, but he is the local hero for everyone. And not how Hercules is the national Greek hero. I mean that almost every city on Gurutama has a myth about how The Hero visited them and learned so and so skill or slayed so and so monster.

Every society claims The Hero as their figure. The Dwarves say The Hero was a Dwarf. Najarns say he was Najarn. Elves say she was an Elf. Rana say she was a Rana. And if you’ve caught on at this point, patriarchal societies say he was a man while matriarchal societies say she was a woman.

One thing is clear in each culture’s tales about The Hero is that s/he is an enemy of evil. S/he journeys the world and then goes to back to Najar with a Rana sword to defeat a great evil there. That much is true, but all other information on The Hero is in dispute. Whether a particular myth is true or not will be up to the DM that is in charge at that time.

563 NA: The Dwarven host issued forth from Syluk and crashed upon the walls of the Holy City of Najar in the largest battle in history. The Dwarves suffered under the arrows of the Najar and their strategies seemed to be constantly given over to the enemy. The Dwarven army attempted to storm the city, but they were repelled. The retreat to Syluk, at first organized, turned into a rout due to constant guerilla attacks in the night. The army scattered into the mountains. Many Dwarves were captured and enslaved. Others escaped and small Dwarven communities sprouted up within the Red Peaks.

564 NA: From the carnage a Hero was born. His initial years were sculpted by Najaran passion and the growing philosophy of Dwarven mechanization that had seeped into the Empire during the Dwarven occupation and integration. He drifted for decades throughout the continents of the known world. From the mighty Tiers of Golden Mach to the heights of Cui-Xoloc, the young man studied under sages and common men, learning mastery over all. And from his travels he gained incredible insight on the true plight of the Najar under the rule of their Black Emperor.

603 NA: On the misty shores of the Tonsil, the Rana forged a legendary sword for the young Hero, and at last he returned to his home, the Holy City and the seat of the Demon-God.

No one is certain what happened in the crypts below the fiery mountain, or if The Hero vanquished Navillus or died in the attempt. But silence sunk into the place in his wake, and the doors to the holy crypts were sealed. If The Hero returned, he did so without his sword, and he refused to speak of what transpired in the caverns. Regardless, all felt the Dark God’s influence shrinking away. The city of Najar nervously breathed in the freshness of the world…

The dwarves of Syluk rejoiced at the victory of the Hero over the Prince of Gorgoth.

619 NA: The Grez learned the ways of siege warfare. They prepared ice catapults, glacier towers, and icicle rams in the frozen north for an invasion that had long been brewing. The polar ice extended over the land connecting Ksilartlu to the Red Peaks and Najar. The Great Volcano of Najar fell dormant and blizzards and ice covered the ancient crater. The Grez sent all their strength to take over the city and kill all the inhabitants. Many died in the battle, including, some say, the Hero. Those who were not slain froze into terrible ice sculptures made by Grez magic. The world cowered in fear. None knew what to do in response.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 19

Weekend Trip to Disneyland

Jack Skellington comes out for Halloween and Christmas
Jack Skellington comes out for Halloween and Christmas

Last weekend my wife and I took an unplanned trip to Disneyland!

We were talking on Friday night about how some people take vacations by going to the airport and just asking for a ticket to the next plane leaving the runway.

I said that doing that was unreliable. “What if you ended up in a boring place? Or a place that you couldn’t afford? It makes more sense to go to some place that you know you’ll like for a vacation, like Disneyland.”

My wife and I went to Disneyland for our honeymoon, so going again will always bring back happy memories for us.

She said she was actually interested in going. Disneyland is fun so I wanted to go to. We decided we’d leave early Saturday morning and spend all day at the park before getting a hotel room and returning Sunday morning.

We looked at plane tickets first, but those cost about $800 for both of us to fly from Sacramento to Anaheim.

We drove instead. A little over 400 miles and 6 hours not counting breaks and traffic.

This was the first long road trip i’d bern on where I was the person driving. It was exhausting, but definitely worth it!

We went through a lot of farm land and dairy land. My wife is a vegetarian and when we passed the occasional stockyard she would clasp her hands together and say, “I love you moo-cows! Someone cares about you! I hope you are safe!”

We checked in to our hotel and headed on over to Disneyland for lunch. It was great being back where we’d had our honeymoon.

After lunch we rode all our favorite rides, Pirates, Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Peter Pan, Splash Mountain, and Haunted Mansion (seen above). Dinner fit in there somewhere as well.

At the end of the day we saw the firework display and got to watch the Fantasmic water and light show. I LOVE Fantasmic because of the animatronic dragon near the end. It rears up out of the stage and breaths fire on the river. It’s amazing! I’d love to show you, but the show is difficult to capture on video because most cameras aren’t able to handle the sudden changes in light that the show has. Your eyes can handle it, but mechanical cameras are too slow.

Afterwards we went back to the hotel and collapsed. We drove on back the next day!

It was a super fun trip and my first unplanned vacation ever. Plus I had my best friend with me, my wife!

-Mister Ed

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 17

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 16

The lull continues. But as we get closer to the present day the great figures start having names! Or at least we were more motivated to give the great figures names. There have been gods and direct servants of gods with names previously, but that hardly counts.

We also start seeing the Rana develop a different branch of foreign policy besides the typical pacifism of the Monks of Gossamer Waves. Violence is a reality that cannot always be successfully confronted with pacifistic magic and healing techniques. Sometimes the best way to reduce suffering is to cause pain to others. The Monks are unwilling to engage in righteous combat themselves and after witnessing the pervasiveness of human cruelty, they aren’t willing to arm the masses either. The Monks instead elect to arm a few champions of order and good with the finest weaponry the world has ever seen. If you read or watch Game of Thrones then you can think of Rana swords as being similar to Valarian swords.

539 NA: A new generation of Metal Dwarves was still racked with indecision. Navillus clearly must be defeated, but their grand invasion failed miserably. The world must be united in peace and harmony, but even the good Merfolk and the Bwarlor, sworn enemies of Navillus, turned against the Dwarves. The Books told them that the world must be made to follow the Dwarven way to be a good and just place, but this new entry into the cycle changed the predictions of the Books. The Dwarves knew not where to strike next with physical force or where to push with gentle words of encouragement. Lost, they descended into isolationism. They interacted only with the Gnomes and Halflings of Hearthland. The Dwarves still traded through the little people with the Merfolk, but few Metal Dwarves left the seclusion of their mountain homes. Fearful of the outside world, the Dwarves formed armies to defend themselves from the retribution they feared would come.

541 NA: The Elves, seeing that their forest was no longer safe, enacted a plan to evacuate. The Elves lived long and thus could plan for many generations ahead of time. They constructed a road through the forest to the east. The Freedom Road was defended by magical traps that similar to those that surrounded Crodolan. The Road stretched all the way from Crodolan to the Great Canal. Bridges spanned the various rivers and streams along the way. The Elves planned to construct a huge bridge over the Great Canal, so high that the mightiest ship could still pass underneath.

553 NA: The Rana, able servants of the world, began to expand their perspective as their Monks traveled the world. They learned the necessity of might even as they taught compassion and the peaceful way. The Rana lived to serve and so with somber hearts they began to make tools for the righteous to instigate change when faced with the towering forces of destruction. Practice and perfection came simply to the Rana, and soon Rana-forged swords became legendary. Rarely used and rarely gifted, the blades are an art form.

562 NA: The Empire Dwarves saw the corruption in their society, but only a rare pure soul could rise to a position of power within the Empire Dwarf society without being tempted and corrupted by bribes offered by Najar. The cycle ended with Lord Cormak, not a pure soul, but an exceedingly cruel one. Cormak gathered the Syluki Dwarf forces and marched to Najar. They brought along all their luxurious attendants, followers, silks, fine wines, and sweet desserts. After all, what is a conquest without a victory banquet afterwards? They planned to delve into the caverns of the volcano and smoke out Navillus.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 18

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 16

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 15

The wars between the Dwarves and Humans experience a lull in this update. The split between the Empire and Metal Dwarves is solidified when the Metal Dwarves disown their Empire Dwarf relatives in treaties with Humans and Merfolk.

This post serves as a transition period from the second age of our Dawn of Worlds game to the third age. We’re not quite there yet, but its coming. The events in the Upper Maw set the tone for things to come. The Dwarves and Najarns fight with each other and occasionally a great figure emerges to tip the scale in one direction, but that figure’s lifespan is not infinite. The status quo takes over once more.

The slow expansion of the Grez continues and people start to get worried, but who has the resources to do anything about it? You can fight the Grez or engage in the wars of dominance for the Upper Maw. Fighting the Grez is optional, but it weakens you city for the conflicts among mortals that happen anyways, so you might as well not fight the Grez. What does it get you now?

There will be new events coming in the other parts of the world. This post is in many ways the calm before the storm.

479 NA: The Metal Dwarves only heard of the later events on the Maw through rumors told by traders and merchants. The crusade failed. The Books made it clear. The Dwarves must excise the Black Prince from this world, but they were not strong enough to overcome the Beast from outside the cycle. The cycle of worlds could forever be altered, but what could they do? The Metal Dwarves sued for peace with the Najar and the Merfolk. The terms were accepted.

494 NA: After nearly two centuries of occupation the Humans in Syluk and Farpoint began to accept their new masters. The only real rebels were religious fanatics or those who snuck into the cities from the outside. The commoners, most of whom did not follow Navillus, built a new society within the Dwarven-Human cities.

512 NA:The Grez expanded their army’s size even further. The rest of the world noticed and ominous feelings were felt in the hearts of every mortal during the winter’s storms.

523 NA: An uneasy peace fell over the Maw. The Merfolk commemorated their victories on the Northern Continent and the Metal Dwarves returned to their Tiers. Small conflicts still plagued the competitive Najaran cities and Syluk still sent token attacks against Najar itself, but nothing on the scale of the rebellions or the original conquest of the Dwarves. The Bwarlor set out to know the world in an age of great exploration. Soon, the first complete world maps were published by Bwarloran captains, with patronage for these explorative voyages provided by Merfolk aristocrats.

525 NA:The Hobgoblins descended into reckless barbarism. A few escaped from their horrid Dwarven fathers and reproduced amongst themselves in the Halusho Forest. They soon learned to stay away from the woods surrounding Crodolan due to the traps and Elven arrows that seemed to shoot from the trees themselves.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 17

TAing at Sac State

One of the lab benches of the room I teach in.
One of the lab benches of the room I teach in.

For the past few months I have been assisting in teaching a introductory biology lab at Sac State.

I TA Bio 15L which is a general education course for non-science majors. The course uses interactive labs to go over all the basics of biology, like ecology, speciation, DNA, genes, and that good stuff.

The class has been a lot of fun for me for a lot of different reasons.

I like helping out the students. Its nice to see some of them so interested in biology even if it is nowhere near what their major is. One of them is even considering switching her major.

It’s nice to go over all the material again. I learned it all years ago and everything is easy for me now. Obviously I should know the material in a class that I teach, but its still fun to know that I could get any of the questions in the class right if the teacher called on me, even when I am the teacher.

The experience of being on the other side of a class is also interesting. I have to deal with making quizzes, grading, student absences, and preventing cheating.

Student absences is probably the hardest part. This is a college level class, so they’re free to not show up if they don’t want to. Its just inevitable that the ones who don’t show up do poorly on the quizzes that cover the material they missed or they miss the quizzes entirely. And this is college so there are no makeup quizzes.

There’s nothing I can really do about absences, but I’d like to be able to tech the students that do come to class so that they can all understand the material and use it in their own lives later on.

Learning biology is important for a number of reasons. How can you be an informed voter on GMO issues if you don’t properly understand what GMOs are? How can you vote on global warming initiatives without knowing more about that? And wouldn’t you like to know how genetics work when you start planning a family to see what genetic risks your potential child could have?

I try to teach the students that sort of stuff. I feel like I’m just learning how the labs work this semester. I know I’ll do way better next semester when I can focus more on directing what we are trying to learn with the labs and giving the students more specific strategies for learning.

Also, I can hopefully be more enthusiastic when I give lectures. The mid-semester student evaluations indicated that the only place I really needed to improve was in how enthusiastic my voice sounded when I was presenting the material.

-Mister Ed