Final Hint of Snow?

March was pretty dry along the Colorado Front Range, especially given we get more snow in March than any other month. However it didn’t take long into April for a cold front to move through and snow to fall…yea, we need the moisture and all, but I’m pretty much over the snow at this point. Cooler and rain…bring it on…colder and snow, nice to see you, but please go away until later this year.

Luckily for us it’s back to the 60’s for the weekend and the sun is already peaking its head out today. Hopefully the trails will melt and dry quickly.

Heroes Accelerated, Eclipse

Busy times as winter rolls into spring around here, so a quick one today…another player character, this time by Bill Garrett, for my Tavern Keeper play-by-post.

Eclipse aka Dana Carpenter

Refresh: 3
High Concept: Light Bending Super Ninja
Secret Identity: Half-Vietnamese Alaskan Lowlife
Trouble: The Cult Wants Their Goddess Back
Aspects: Street University Alumna, The Road to Redemption Is Long, We All Wear Masks

Careful: +2 | Clever: +1 | Flashy: +1 | Forceful: +0 | Quick: +2 | Sneaky: +3

Power
Because I Fell in With a Mysterious Cult, I can absorb, re-emit and manipulate light…but, I Need Sufficient Light to Work With.
• Special Effects: Extra Movement, Inflict a Condition
• Power Facts: absorb, re-emit and manipulate light; invisibility/illusionary disguises; holographic images; zones of darkenss or disorienting flashes of bright lights; trained in various martial arts styles

Stunts

Because my Illusions are Photo-Realistic, I get a +2 to Sneakily Create an Advantage when visually deceiving someone about what is or isn’t there.
Because my Powers are Perfect for Distraction and Evasion, I get a +2 to Sneakily Defend against attacks when I’ve got my light-affecting powers active already.
Because I Habitually Create Decoys of Myself, once per session I can declare that an attack or condition affected a hologram instead of me, thus negating its effects. 

Stress: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ]
Consequences:
Mild (2):
Moderate (4):
Severe (6):


Personality

Dana is reserved, cautious, willing to take risks but careful to make a sober assessment of them beforehand. She models her persona after the ninja of Japan, the sulsa of Korea, or the Lin Kuei of China. She works independently, going where she wills, and enjoys life from a safe distance.

Her feelings of respect or disrespect are very strong. She has no patience for people who get themselves or others into needless trouble, but she has strong bonds of friendship with anyone who shows care and consideration for others.

Background

Dana Carpenter is the daughter of a Vietnamese mother and an American GI. Her first memories are living alone with her mother in the state of Alaska.

She fell in with a rough crowd growing up – children of the frontiersmen who call the state home, and live in such inhospitable conditions for their own reasons. She spent part of her teens working in bars catering to Asian expatriates, and did many of the assorted odd jobs that one can find in port towns or in the grubbier neighborhoods.

She loved watching Asian chop-socky films, the cheap and disposable media coming out of Hong Kong. Many talented fighters had made their way to Hawaii and Alaska and brought their styles with them. The street demanded that you be able to protect yourself, and she refined and streamlined her technique based on what worked.

She fell in with a religious cult, called Astral Insight, that operated throughout the state. She acquired her powers around this time – though she doesn’t say whether through association with the cult or whether the cult’s interest stemmed from her powers. Regardless, the rank and file saw her as a “child of the stars”, a goddess figure who could lead them to a new world filled with light. The leaders knew better, but were happy to use her to keep the money and influence the cult provided them.

Dana, never one to stop moving and always wary, used her powers to investigate Astral Insight’s back rooms and secret goings-on. What she found was not merely the seamy religious cult she thought she worked for, but a cesspit of dark dealings that went far beyond making money from the black market. She exposed what she could, then fled. The group’s enforcers were not far behind.

She came to Pacific City – the Mecca that all Alaskans must visit once in their life – and tried to settle in. This was a chance to lead a better life, to escape the hard times she remembered, and also to protect herself against Astral Insight’s reprisals. There was this new thing happening – heroism – and she resolved to be a part of it. She wouldn’t be used by anyone. She would help people.

If only she knew better how to do that…

Identity

Dana is a mixed-ethnicity woman. She is moderately attractive, in that way that both Westerners and some Asians might describe as “exotic”, and her body is physically fit for running and endurance rather than strength.

When acting as Eclipse, she normally wears black body armor and a face-covering mask, using her light manipulation abilities to disguise or conceal herself as needed. When disguise is more important than protection, she will dress in whatever way seems most appropriate to her surroundings.

Has CrossFit Jumped the Shark?

Okay, let me preface this with a big I’M PRETTY MUCH A CROSSFIT ADVOCATE…at least an advocate of the core concept of CrossFit and High Intensity Resistance Training as a part of a whole and balanced fitness regime. Much has been said and written about boxes with bad programming…there really isn’t much more that needs to be said on that subject…programming and scaling need to be done smartly and consistently.

What recently got my goat was seeing a post about someone doing Double Grace with 225 pounds…um, excuse me?!?! Bueller?!?!?

See, if you aren’t aware, the CrossFit workout named Grace is 30 clean and jerks with 135 pounds…okay, easy to grasp and understand…not easy to do going full throttle though. However for someone to say they did Double Grace with 225 pounds is just unnecessary bragging and bravado…it’s like these monsters of CrossFit are telling us mere mortals that Grace isn’t enough…nope, now you gotta have the benchmark of Double Grace with 225 pounds.

Now, I’m not knocking these beasts…I watch and marvel at the CrossFit Games on television…it’s motivating and fun to observe, however it’s HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY doubtful that I will (or could) ever attain such heights. There are a ton of folks out there just like me…doing some of these named WODs as prescribed with a decent time is a great accomplishment for us.

However why can’t they just say I did 60 clean and jerks at 225 pounds? That’s a valid way to describe a CrossFit workout, no need to up the ante and make Grace in and of itself no longer valid or a sub-par workout. Don’t crap on the feeling us Average Joes get when we crush (okay, crush for us!) a workout.

Blaring Music…On a Trail?!?!?!

beginrant/

I was out Sunday, early as usual, for my weekly long run…the weather was spectacular along the Colorado Front Range, I didn’t even get past the first climb before I was stripping off my arm sleeves. Shorts, short sleeves and no jacket or vest but still a hint of coolness in the air…best running weather ever. I typically hit the trails early because I like to get out and get done, it makes me feel great the rest of the day and it’s easier to avoid the crowds…especially on a warm day after we’ve had a cold stretch.

Well, Sunday was not different than usual…two other cars in the lot when I pulled in and jam packed when I finished. But as is typical I didn’t really start encountering many people until I was nearing the end of my run. Most encounters as you would guess are fine and friendly…a quick “howdy” or perhaps an exchange of trail information or trail running talk if other runners are encounter. Well not Sunday…

…I came over the top of a climb for a final quick out and back stretch before heading down to the trail head when I saw three ladies hiking towards me in the distance…not big deal, they were out enjoying their day just as I was. However as I got closer I heard music…not music escaping from earbuds, but music coming out of a bluetooth speaker one of them was carrying hung over her shoulder.

Say what?!??! Messing with my mojo.

I love music…I listen to it a good portion of the day at my desk…I rock out in my car…I usually listen to music or podcasts while running streets around my house…I rarely listen on the trails unless I’m going long and need a boost. I get it, music is great, the world would be a sadder place with music…all kinds of music. However I don’t want to HEAR YOUR MUSIC when I’m on the trail.

You want it…fine and dandy, put in earbuds and keep it to yourself.

/endrant

Heroes Accelerated, The Revenant

Well, it’s been a week or so since a post…been busy since the last update with training and other geekery. Thought I’d post up a quick Heroes Accelerated character from my play-by-post game…The Revenant courtesy of his player, Frank Hampshire.

The Revenant aka Amos Klein

Refresh: 3
High Concept: An Unsleeping Street Vigilante Driven By Revenge
Secret Identity: Enigmatic Loner of Cortez Heights
Trouble: Driven By My Own Private Demons
Aspects: I Can Fix It But I Can Also Break It, I Know Pacific City’s Darkest Secrets, Veteran Vigilante

Careful: +2 | Clever: +3 | Flashy: +0 | Forceful: +1 | Quick: +1 | Sneaky: +2

Power
Because I Never Sleep, I’ve trained myself as an expert in combat, science, investigation and gadgetry…but, Because I Never Dream, I Experience Unpleasant Flashbacks.
• Special Effects: Inflict a Condition, Scene Effect
• Power Facts: polymath, expert investigator and gadgeteer, cannot be rendered unconscious

Stunts
Because I have a Gadget for Every Occasion, I get +2 to Cleverly Overcome an obstacle if I can describe an item I might have on my person.
Because my Gadgets are Very Useful In a Fight, I get +2 to Cleverly Create an Advantage, in a conflict, if one of my gadgets would help.
Because I Know Pacific City, once per session I can appear anywhere in the city, as long as that would be possible.

Stress: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ]
Consequences:
Mild (2):
Moderate (4):
Severe (6):


Personality

The Revenant, a man who cannot sleep, stalks the night streets of Pacific City. He seeks out criminal, corrupt police and politicians, determined to rid Pacific City of these “sinners”. He’s ruthless, and driven by revenge for his parents, murdered when he was a child.

He uses his intellect and self-taught skills, to solve crimes, track the culprits, and bring them to justice. He’s a fearsome combatant and uses a wide array of gadgets when fighting.

Background

Amos Klein has never slept a wink in his life; it’s just how he was born. His parents were deeply religious and believed that seeking medical attention a deeply sinful act. As a baby he never cried, complained or seemed tired, and so his parents accepted his odd condition.

He learned very quickly, he was reading at the age of three, and never sleeping, spent his time devouring whatever reading material he could.

When Amos was five, poverty and successive bad seasons drove the Klein’s off their Midwest farm to Pacific City in search of a living. The family remained poor and were isolated by their ultra-conservative religious beliefs. His parents hated the city, its noise, sin and decadence, but Amos loved it, and was soon sneaking out and night whenever he could exploring the darkest corners of Pacific City.

One night, at three in the morning, someone broke into the Klein’s house, brutally murdered his father and mother and abducted his four year old sister. Amos was absent from his family’s Cortez Heights apartment. The police had little to go on, the family being so isolated from the rest of the community, meant that no in the area could say anything useful about the horrible incident.

Amos was twelve years old. He was taken to Juvenile hall. He lasted three days before he escaped to the streets.

Klein raised himself, scraping by with jobs, living in squats. He dedicated himself to exacting vengeance on the criminals of the city that so cruelly disposed of his parents.

He learned from the teachers of obscure forms of combat. All the strange martial arts from the varied cultures of Pacific City

He used his sleepless nights to become an expert in Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Pathology

He shadowed police detective, watched and learned how to solve crimes, also learned about the deep, incurable corruption of the city’s law enforcement.

He took a job an a repair shop, learning how to work with electronics and mechanics, and how to put together ingenious gadgets.

Identity

Amos Klein doesn’t need to work, he made enough money in the stock market a decade ago. Although, he could live comfortably, he lives in a rundown apartment that has seen better days. The apartment is above an old garage that serves as his workshop in Cortez Heights.

Although most people avoid him, there are some people that can’t seem to take a hint and understand the “loner” part of “enigmatic loner”.

Celia Yang is a young psych student and works with the underprivileged in Cortez. No amount of Klein’s surliness has been enough to deter her from becoming friendly. She’s drawn to Klein as a case study and also out of sympathy. Celia is the same age his lost sister would be, and is a constant reminder of her abduction and his parents murder.

Oscar Rodriguez owns a corner store on Chance Avenue and remembers Klein’s family. He feels sorry that Amos never got over their deaths. The shared history of growing up and living in the area makes Oscar the closest Klein has to genuine friend.

A Spark for Heroes Accelerated

Heroes Accelerated, cityMy online group over at Tavern Keeper just finished up our Spark for Fate Core campaign creation for Heroes Accelerated and we have kicked off the first scene. While we are using Fate Accelerated as the basis for our game, the Spark works just the same. Some of the steps such as Media Inspirations, Genre and Scale were already set as we pretty much knew those going on. However things really shined once we moved on from those. Everybody pitched in some great stuff to make the setting of Pacific City setting start to live and breath.

Here is the campaign elevator pitch and the listing of our Media Inspirations…you can see all the other steps in the Google Doc.


It’s another time, another place… a world where street gangs rule their turf with an iron hand and the tendrils of organized crime are everywhere. Pacific City is decaying…the law is corrupt and has lost control. The Cold War is at its height, every corner holds a secret and the enemies of a nation lurk in the shadows…who do you trust? The streets overflow with danger and corruption…the citizens of the shattering City don’t sleep at night, fear in their hearts.

The citizens define themselves by the neighborhood or borough where they come from…districts with names like Richmond, Highpoint, the Sprawl and the Battery. Each neighborhood connected to the other by streets in disrepair, an aging subway and/or a rickety elevated train system. This is an urban landscape where life is cheap, fame is fleeting, gangs prowl the shadows in some boroughs and practically rule in others.

But a new breed of hero is starting to rise and take back this once proud metropolis; you are those heroes…steadfast, vigilant, and patriotic…welcome to Pacific City.

  • Arrow, The Cape, Flash: General dynamics and relationship between a team of heroes.
  • Gotham, Streets of Fire, The Warriors: The appearance of the city, visuals and the mix of technology.
  • Heroes, Tomorrow People: Regular people with newly found powers trying to cope with them.
  • Kick Ass, The Punisher: Vigilante characters whose actions have consequences.
  • Spectacular Spiderman: Mix of ongoing personal drama tied into episodic action.