Characters of Cimmeria: Korm

Some of the Cimmeria posts I make will be about two characters. Smaller characters have smaller posts but I don’t want to deprive you all of a decently sized blog post on Cimmeria every week. The information for this week’s two characters is pulled from a forgotten note I wrote a few years ago on how magic items can possess people in D&D. So let’s get started with our two characters of the week, Cecilia (again) and the magic talking dagger, Korm!

Cecilia

Cecilia returned home after traveling with Jovy and spent many years there before the Dragon War erupted. What happened during those years? Continue reading

Advertisements

Shalerton

Shalerton.png

Shalerton is a city-state with a population of about 50,000 people. Herds of sheep form the economic backbone of the city. Close to a million sheep live around Shalerton and there are enough pastures and vegetable farms to provide for a healthy diet for the livestock and the people of the city-state. The town itself is small for the number of citizens in the city-state. The necessary businesses like smiths, tailors, and mills occupy the majority of the real estate within the town walls. Government buildings such as courthouses, fire stations, police headquarters, the jail, and city hall fill out the rest of the space in town. There are almost no permanent residences separate from a person’s place of work. With so few residences, hotels and inns compete ruthlessly for customers. The three main hotels are: the Pot of Comfort, run by Jusilia, a mother goose character; the Traveler’s Home, run by Hardigan, a big fat bearded man; and the Yurgastraplax, run by Tgfjklwharydfbi the foreigner, whose nickname is Bill.

Only about 6,000 people live inside the town’s walls working in businesses or for Shalerton’s government. The government workers are part of a bureaucracy that is headed by the police chief. Lieutenant Hunter is a large man who controls everything in the town. Extra taxes usually go in his pockets instead of to the town treasury. He unofficially appoints all the bureaucrats, judges, and police in the entire town. He inherited this role from his father and his father before that. While the town is effectively a monarchy, the Lieutenant family (yes, their first name is Lieutenant and it is their family’s surname) has always stayed away from officially declaring their power.

In the past only police were allowed to carry weapons within the city. Spell books and anything else that could be magically offensive were not allowed inside the town walls as well. If somebody did wish to bring in a weapon special permission had to be gained from Lieutenant Hunter directly. Those who were granted weapons were made members of a special operations police force that occasionally acted as spies or secret police. Shalerton’s participation in the Second Alliance War has caused a shift in this policy. The general weapons ban has been lifted as Lieutenant Hunter believes an armed populace will assist in the defense of the city alongside the police force.

The large police force ensures that crime is close to nonexistent in Shalerton. Theft, murder, and rape are rare and punished severely soon after the crimes are committed. This reduced crime rate and swift response is not just because of the restrictions on weapons but also due to Lieutenant Hunter’s almost complete monopoly on magical power in Shalerton. All magic users must join the special operations force and the practicing of any simple magic within the city is highly regulated. Some magic users chafe under these rules, but Lieutenant Hunter does his best to keep his special operations force happy with gifts and the occasional party in their honor. Using these bribes, Hunter is able to keep the magic users power in his court. With liberal application of divination magicks he is able to predict most crimes before they happen and discover the culprit of those that do fly in under the radar.

Lieutenant Hunter also plays a hand in the town’s economic system through price controls. His grandfather started this practice and he continues it. Price controls on most commodities eliminate excessive time spent on haggling allowing the people of Shalerton to spend more time at work or at home. The price controls also serve to protect both producers and consumers depending on market conditions. Initially the populace resisted these controls and there was even a revolt, but since that time the citizens of Shalerton have grown to love the predictability the price controls bring. Few would dream of returning to the old unregulated system.

In recent years Shalerton joined the Second Alliance against Xoria, not out of good hearted nature, but because Lieutenant Hunter feared his town might be one of the first on the Xorian invasion route. Unfortunately, due to Shalerton’s history of restricting the public’s access to weapons the people of Shalerton have little real martial experience. Their troops were kept out of the early battles of the war to train and were not present at the Siege of Phoenix. Training continues under the eyes of Junai and Gradorian and soon the Shalerton militia will be a formidable force indeed.

-GoCorral

GVG Meta Shifts

The meta has been shifting in Hearthstone which is predictable after the release of a new set. GVG is shaking things up just like Blizzard wanted.

So what are some of the biggest new decks? Well, Mech Mage is one of them.

The expansion came with plenty of new minions to flood the board early such as Clockwork Gnome, Mechwarper, Micro Machine, and Snowchugger for Mages.

Chugga-Chugga-Chugga!
Chugga-Chugga-Chugga!

For the mid game there’s Piloted Shredder, Madder Bomber, Bomb Lobber, and Goblin Blastmage. Each of them brings a decent body of their own along with an ability that will usually trade with an opponent’s minion while still leaving your minion alive, either through a damaging battlecry or the Shredder‘s deathrattle.

What are you doing with that stapler and an Arcane Missiles card? Stay back!
What are you doing with that stapler and an Arcane Missiles card? Stay back!

Add in the normal strong spells of a Mage and the deck is quite solid. What makes it devastating is the new Spare Parts cards. They’re cheap and the deck has Clockwork Gnome, Tinkertown Technician, and Mechanical Yeti to create them.

Flip-flop! Now my deck's on top!
Flip-flop! Now my deck’s on top!

The cheapness is wonderful. They can activate Mana Wyrm to pump it up. They can activate Gadgetzan to draw cards. They can activate Antonidas to create three Fireballs on the turn you drop him. They also work with the new legendary, Gazlowe, to create tons of mechs for you to play.

Mage also got a new toy with the epic spell, Echo of Medivh. The spell is used in the old Freeze Mage Giant deck which focused on freezing out their opponent and drawing cards until they could play giants and Duplicate them. Well now you can duplicate them another way!

I don't really know who or what Medivh is.
I don’t really know who or what Medivh is.

Say you’re at 10 life. You feel safe because you’ve got two Molten Giants that you gave taunt to on the board and you have an Ice Block secret. Now throw in Echo of Medivh and suddenly you have two spares of one of the most powerful minions in the game! Day9 has a video where he fills his board with 6 Molten Giants in one turn using this trick.

The deathrattle aggro decks that Warlock, Priest, and Hunter run all got some improvements with Clockwork Gnome and the Piloted cards. Mechwarper and Micro Machine also help out with mech aggro decks.

Ramp Druid got some new tools. Grove Tender helps them ramp up faster while also providing a body. Tree of Life allows a full reset of life when you’re facing an aggro deck.

Handlock got Mal’Ganis, so now your opponents can’t even rush you down if you drop that. Fortunately, some cards were added to counter Handlock and any other oppressive control matchup. Goblin Sapper and Clockwork Giant are perfect against decks that like to stock up on lots of cards.

There are tons of other cool cards that have slightly altered existing deck. Shrinkmeister and Voljin for Priest. Muster for Battle, Quartermaster, and Bolvar Fordragon for Paladin. Gahz’rilla for Hunter. A slight Murloc focus for Shaman along with Crackle for burst based decks. Rogue got some awesome new mech cards along with the means to possibly create a viable pirate deck. I haven’t seen one yet, but I’ll bet its coming.

So lots of new cards to try out! I’ve only just now finished spending out all my gold on Arena runs to learn the new cards in that mode. Now I have to see how what I have works in Ranked. I just got a Mal’Ganis for a Demonlock deck in my last Arena run. Maybe I’ll give that a try!

-Mister Ed

Montana Home Invasion

A still from a security camera of Diren Dede stealing from Markus Kaarma's garage.
A still from a security camera of Diren Dede stealing from Markus Kaarma’s garage.

What topic do I want to write about tonight?

Hurray! It’s another sketchy self-defense/homicide case that went international on the news! (sarcasm)

I read this on the New York Times. You can check it out at this article.

So what’s the story?

Diren Dede was a 17 year-old exchange student from Germany going to school in Montana.

He thought it’d be fun to go out and steal stuff from someone’s garage.

He found an open garage and went in to take some stuff.

The owners, Markus Kaarma and Janelle Pflager, were cautious because there had been other burglaries in the area.

They’d installed cameras and motion sensors in the garage.

They chose not to actually close the garage all the way because they like to duck under it to smoke outside.

Not closing the garage didn’t make sense to my Californian mind at first. Why not just open your door to go smoke?

The case is in cold Montana though. The couple probably smoke in their garage and just duck down to breathe the smoke outside.

Anyways, Markus Kaarma saw the motion detectors. He grabbed his shotgun and fired into the garage.

Janelle Pflager says she heard someone in the garage shouting, “Hey! Wait!”

Montana law gives someone the right to use a gun against a home invader only if the trespasser is violently threatening someone in the house.

That’s pretty clearly not the case.

To make it worse, Kaarma had spoken with his barber recently about wanting to “shoot some kid.”

And there’s a purse at the back of the garage that was placed there with marked items, so that if it was stolen they could track down the thief.

So… it’s almost a clear case of premeditation.

They didn’t burglar proof their house. They set up stuff to tell them if a thief was in the garage. And Markus talked about wanting to kill someone.

The facts as I see them make the case clearly second-degree murder, if not first.

People have the right to protect themselves and their property, but there is a limit to how far that protection goes.

Kaarma could use his gun for intimidation, but when he heard Dede telling him to wait, he should’ve realized that firing his gun was a bad choice.

All that aside, I’m also a little surprised he could afford bail for a murder case.

That’s all for tonight!

-Mister Ed