Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roll your character

Female Human Cleric 7 (Jehovah (Christ))
Neutral Good

Strength 11(+0)
Dexterity 14(+2)
Constitution 12(+1)
Intelligence 15(+2)
Wisdom 18(+4)
Charisma 16(+3)
Size: Medium
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 140 lb
Skin: Pale
Eyes: Green
Hair: Dark Brown
Domains: Healing Knowledge
Energy: Positive [Healing / Turns Undead]

Total Hit Points: 40
Speed: 30 feet
Armor Class: 12 = 10 +2 [dexterity]
    Touch AC: 12 Flat-footed: 10

Initiative modifier:+2 = +2 [dexterity]
Fortitude save:+6 = 5 [base] +1 [constitution]
Reflex save:+4 = 2 [base] +2 [dexterity]
Will save:+9 = 5 [base] +4 [wisdom]
Attack (handheld):+5 = 5 [base]
Attack (unarmed):+5 = 5 [base]
Attack (missile):+7 = 5 [base] +2 [dexterity]
Grapple check:+5 = 5 [base]

Languages:Common Latin Greek
    Stop Roof Leak
    Find Money
    Easygoing Focused Honest

Skill Name





Appraise Int 2 =


Balance Dex* 2 =


Bluff Cha 4 =


+2 [persuasive] -1 [honest]
Climb Str* 0 =


Concentration Con 2 =


+1 [focused] 
Disguise Cha 3 =


Escape Artist Dex* 2 =


Forgery Int 2 =


Gather Information Cha 4 =


+1 [easygoing]
Heal Wis 12 =

Hide Dex* 2 =


Intimidate Cha 4 =


+2 [persuasive] -1 [easygoing]
Jump Str* 0 =


Knowledge (architecture) Int 6 =

Knowledge (religion) Int 12 =

Listen Wis 11 =

+8 -1 [focused]
Move Silently Dex* 2 =


Ride Dex 2 =


Search Int 2 =


Sense Motive Wis 2 =


-1 [easygoing] -1 [honest]
Spot Wis 3 =


-1 [focused]
Survival Wis 4 =


Swim Str** 0 =


Use Rope Dex 2 =


Public Speaking Chr 12 =

Fundraising Chr 9 =


* = check penalty for wearing armor
Know Religion >=5 ranks gives +2 on turn/rebuke the undead.


1 lb

1 lb
2 lb
4 lb

Healer kit
Holy symbol (wooden)
Holy symbol (silver)
Spell component pouch

    Book of Common Prayer
    Spare Collar 
    $20 in small bills

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Song of a Million Million Stars

The one who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning,
and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea,
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the Lord is his name.
Amos 5:8

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why fishing is important

Biblical World of Warcraft reference:

Luke 24
36 While they were talking about [the rumors of resurrection], Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.
And the only question that came to mind yesterday morning in Sunday School was:

So, how many fish do you have to eat to recover your health after a self-res?

Sunday, November 7, 2010


A friend of mine just came back from her denomination's conference, where the attending clergy were informed that the state of Missouri has an "oversupply" of churches of her denomination.

I hear that, and all I can think is, "Really? An 'oversupply'? Is that what they are calling it now?"

This particular conference has a school of thought that claims that young people will not attend an old church (or a church with old people in it). Money is given exclusively to new church starts, rather to the renovation and renewal of the old.

This might (might) be somewhat contrary to what I believe, and the life I live. My house is 113 years old. My current church is 106, to replace a building built over 50 years earlier. The previous church was constructed in 1868, to replace the building that was not big enough for the growing city. The one prior to that (where I visited last weekend when I was at a wedding out of state) was built in 1928. The last is also the youngest congregation I was a member of, having been founded in 1917. For me, it's almost a new church. I'm in my mid twenties, and I have, as an adult, only been attracted to and a member of old churches.

But it isn't just about me. It's also about the singles, couples, and young families who are also members of these congregations. I am fortunate that I have been able to witness a church come back from the brink of closure three times now, in all three congregations, to go from an average member age in the upper 70s to somewhere around 50. That's a huge drop. It reflects that I am not the only young person called to an older church with traditions, with elegance and graciousness, and to a church building that needs work.

It's also about the older members, mature in faith and life, who are trying on limited incomes and limited physical and emotional resources, to make their churches live. It's about the people who have given up on going to church, on being active members of a Christian community, because the administrations of their denominations have given up on them.

I don't know that the conference has an "oversupply". I think they may have "under-enrollment." Churches are not schools - we must seek and find members, encourage growth within our communities, as communities. We know how to do these things - there have been a lot of books written on it, and many of the same strategies that work for new church starts work just as well or better with congregational growth where there is a base to start from. One cannot build without a foundation, and an existing congregation, building, and tradition are often that solid rock, held together with faith, love, and a determination that is awesome to behold.

We would not tell a Christian of many years that their faith is no longer valid because they are Old. We would not presume to say that their life does not matter, their Christianity is in question, because they have held their beliefs as an adult for more that 30 years, to say nothing of the years of formation in that faith. Why is it ok to say that a Christian community is no longer valid because it is old? That their faith and beliefs don't matter, because their membership, their building, their congregation is no longer young? Is it not better to take this community, full of the resource of experience, and help them share that with others? Is that not the mission of the church, of the community?

These are churches, first and foremost communities of Christ, and in Christ is renewal. Taking older building and older congregations does a couple of things for these communities - the newer members find an established home, without having to create something from whole cloth. And older members who are mature in their faith are renewed in that faith - taking something that has become rote and bringing new life back into it through the infectious enthusiasm of the young. The older members also balance the new, being the steadying influence that has been here before and will be here again, knowing that God is with us in all tests and trials of life. They should mentor and exemplify what it means to live a life in faith and a life in the church...and how to do so without burning out. 

I will not argue that there are not churches that should close. Sometimes, rural population shifts mean that there really just aren't enough people in a geographic area to be a viable congregation. Sometimes the politics and personalities that caused declines in attendance and membership are still around, tainting any effort. But 240 churches with those problems? In one state? That argues for misallocation of resources.

New church starts primarily attract people who are also new in their faith, seeking a home. They are bright and shiny, attracting people who are young and enthusiastic. Their faith has not yet had time to mature. And when they run into problems, when the personalities fueling the new congregation move away or have life occur, the churches often sputter and decline. When the money from the diocese or district or sponsor runs out and they have to be self-supporting, they find that the resources they thought they had aren't there...and there is not enough of a solid faith community of people who understand how to make a church work and be viable, who are also willing to put in the enormous amount of effort and money to keep that new church going.

Older churches understand what it is like to slog through tough times. They have members who are willing to work, who have tried to keep going in the face of adversity...and they've mostly succeeded. If we give those churches a hand, spend money to repair their buildings, bring in someone of vision to help others see possibilities, create a viable plan for renewal, and put some weight behind it...that solid foundation can be built upon again, renewed and strengthened in faith, in tradition, in love.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Sister Mary Elizabeth met a man down by the docks this evening...Benny was slightly odd. Forked tongue, scaly, all about playing cards, finding something to tempt someone with.

Good ol' Benny. The flunky, the field agent, the one who keeps failing at full execution of his duties...Beelzebub.  They got into a discussion. About propriety, protection, business in Bel Noir...

"I made a mistake. Backed the wrong team. And the Big Guy kicked us all out."
"I'm a demon. I'm from Hell."
"They kicked you out. You live in Bel Noir now. You're only stuck here as long as you are under their authority."
"Sister, I'm not a human, I have no soul to be redeemed. Also, the big guy wasn't big on forgiveness back then."
"Have you tried anytime in the last two millennia?"

She's about to have a demonic hit squad on her...she upset the status quo.

(this is what is commonly known as breaking the GM. "Oh my God, I can't believe you just did that."  Yes, yes I did. All who repent can be redeemed...eventually.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bel Noir

I love my Friday night gaming group. We recently started a new campaign (GURPS, though we'd discussed QAGS) based in the city of Bel Noir.

Bel Noir is an interesting place. Take a stereotypical 1920s dark, gritty, film noir city, and shift it...sideways. Much like Amber, it is the city at the center of all things, but unlike Amber, existence is a two way street. If something is present in all cities, then of course it is somewhere in the twisting, ever-changing street maze of Bel Noir.

May I introduce Sister Mary Elizabeth, of the Special Executive Action Branch of the Poor Clares*? Recently summoned to Bel Noir at the ascension of her predecessor to higher things, she's of the branch that deals with...internal remonstrances within the Church and holy artifact recovery. What she blesses is blessed, and what she curses is cursed (she's also more than a minor healer). She also prefers Italian leather and bespoke suiting.

She is based out of the chapterhouse of the Poor Clares in Bel Noir...because this is a city at the heart of all things, reflecting the existence of all places. Where there are cities, there are the poor...and where there are poor, there are sisters, ministering to that need.

Christ said, “The poor are with you always,” and in constructing this fictional, fantastic city, where gods are truly faith-based, belief-made-flesh (or possibly, a real person that filtered outward as so fantastical that it could only be deity. This is an unknown cause-effect relationship), the DM and I discussed just that. A city would not be “real” without the poor, the depressed sections, the people who are criminal just to survive, or because they don't see other choices, or because it's easier than anything else. There will be people without enough to eat, and people who have no home to go to. But, in hope along with this, there will always be those who see it as their mission to help, to ease the suffering, soothe the afflicted, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give shelter to the homeless, and comfort the weary.

If the poor are to be with us always, and we are called among them to minister to their needs, what city would be complete without both parts?

I don't know where the DM will go with this. He may just use it to add color to an already colorful city. On the other hand, I know my DM, and while he is not as...passionate about solving these problems as I am (he has a different ministry that effects all income levels), he may, just possibly, have other plans. 

He *is* an evil DM.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten; 
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

*source cannon is available here, in a very fine book by Jim Macdonald

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blue Screened

I do a lot of my composing of posts in Notepad, and a Blue Screen of Death ate the last one that I hadn't saved. I may get around to re-writing later today. Maybe. The same BSoD killed most of the newsletter articles for our monthly real estate newsletter and those take priority.