Busting ghosts and hunting critters

I went for a very long walk tonight. It started with a walk to Eau Claire. I wasn’t there to play Pokeman Go, but to finally see the new Ghostbusters. I chose a late night showing because I wanted a less crowded showing and because I haven’t been able to get motivated enough to leave my condo in time for a matinee. The 10pm showing at Eau Claire was perfect.

I enjoyed the movie, pretty much as I expected to. In fact I enjoyed it more than I expected. I particularly loved Holtzmann.

Erin Gilbert: What year is it?
Jillian Holtzmann: It’s 2040. Our president is a plant!

I also loved the new gadgets, particularly the power fist variant. I wholeheartedly agreed with Abby’s reaction to that one.

Abby's Proton Fist

Abby’s Proton Fist

There were only six or seven other people in the entire theater which allowed me to choose a position with lots of personal space. Oddly, it was almost too roomy. Quiet moments between advertisements had me self conscious of how loudly I was chewing my popcorn.

Every criticism I’ve read of the movie was reasonably accurate. Chris Helmsworth’s “Kevin” was a little over the top. While I understand the message, and the humor was there, it became a tired joke with overuse. The villain was as forgettable as the character complained himself to be. They played his dysfunction a little too realistically. The joyride with Slimer and his girlfriend was gratuitous and… meh.

But in general it was good, and I’ll see it again.

After the movie I did walk to the park and mingled with hundreds of people playing Pokeman Go. Everyone there appeared to be in their very late teens or early twenties. It was amusing to watch the herd occasionally stamped when someone shouted the name of what I assume was a rare Pokeman. I didn’t bother following the heard, though. I just did a few laps around the park, checking in at the various pokestops (of which there are many, of course) and picking up what Pokeman I encountered. I saw a few new variations, but then they’re all new to me. I have no idea if I picked up anything rare or not, although if the cost of evolving them is anything to go by then I imagine that floppy fish thing is fairly valuable.

Magikarp is my spirit animal

Magikarp is my spirit animal

Okay, I did my research and the flopping fish thing is called a Magikarp and it’s pretty much useless. Looks like it’s an inside joke.

When my phone battery hit 25% I started home, tagging the occasional pokestop on the way. When my phone warned me of low battery power I put it away and concentrated on walking.

I definitely walked more tonight that I have in the past couple of weeks. My feet are killing me and every joint from the hips down aches to some degree. All a consequence of my weight, of course. But it still felt good. Mostly.

Now that I’ve caught up on my internet and wolfed down a bowl of blackberries and vanilla greek yogurt, I think I’ll be heading to bed.

With this image keeping me company.

Holtzmann: lick it!

Holtzmann: lick it!

Finding a new watering hole

I dropped in on the gaming group again last week. It’s been several weeks since I first went. This time, however, I announced on facebook that I would be going and invited others to join me. I tagged a couple of people who’d expressed an interest in the past. Both of them responded with a “maybe”. I knew there was little chance of them showing up as they had busy lives and my announcement was less than 24 hours from the event. It was short notice.

But Colin surprised me by responding with interest. He asked if it was near any transit. I reassured him that the pub was very close to the trains and was easy to get to. He didn’t promise anything but suggested he might surprise himself and show up.

I packed a couple of games with me just so I wouldn’t show up empty handed. I know a lot of the people who attend bring games, and there is a stack of games behind the bar, but I felt like I wanted to actively contribute.

The first thing I realized was: If I’m going to bring my games with me I need to bring smaller games. More accurately I’ve decided I need to take the games I have and repackage them into more portable boxes.

I brought my “Big Box of Carcasonne” and my newest game “Dixit”. The Carcasonne game is just a bunch of cardboard tokens and player pieces. The box is nearly two feet long by a foot and another half. The box barely fit into the huge water tight backpack I use for travel. I barely managed to squeeze Dixit in along with it.

Dixit, as a game, is just a deck of cards and some voting tokens. The rest of the entire box is taken up by the scoreboard. If I were to keep track of the score on paper the entire game could fit into a pocket. If I reduced the Carcassone game down to just the pieces and kept score on paper the whole thing could easily fit into the bag Ronya sewed up to select the tokens from. The little meeple pieces wouldn’t take up much more room than that, and the instructions can be easily folded. I’m pretty sure I could reduce both games to something easily carried in a shoulder bag.

Lacking the smaller variation, however, I lugged the full games down to the pub at around 1 in the afternoon and discovered Colin already there. I hadn’t kept him waiting long, thankfully. “Just a sip” as he put it, indicating his cold beer that was still almost full.

We spent the next couple of hours just catching up. Colin has gone through some rather onerous financial losses and is, thankfully, back on the path of recovery. I myself identified the stage I am at with my own downward spiral and sincerely hope I don’t hit bottom quite as hard as he did.

We commiserated on the trials of being single in a circle of couples and the struggles of socializing. Neither of us has ever been good at reaching out to other people for contact and when we weren’t single both of us got even worse at it, riding on the social wake of our respective partners. Now it’s entirely up to us to get out and visit and we’re just not good at it. Often it’s just simpler to start up another movie or open the next book. The hours slip away uncounted and uneventful, but it’s easy.

I expanding on my theory that it used to be much easier when my circle of friends had a common “watering hole” that people just showed up to. In our very young years that was school, later on it became the comic shop and computer labs. After that there were regular social events we could look forward to. I remarked on how, to this day, I still miss the regular Movie Mondays at Connie and Colins’ place. There hasn’t been anything like it since.

We both agreed that there was once a place for the neighborhood pub, the central location to just hang out and drink with everyone else on your street. I do wish we could have that here, but our culture doesn’t really lend itself to it. Our dwellings are spread out far and wide. We drive everywhere, even to the store for our food, and the neighborhood pub relies on regular foot traffic wearing a regular path through it’s door. The neighborhoods that do have pubs have them because the neighborhood itself is a location people drive to to walk in. Ronya and I used to do that on 17th Ave. We’d actually get in our car and drive twenty minutes to attend a neighborhood in which we walked down the street and shopped. There’s nothing quite like living in the middle of that location to point out how it only thrives because of the people who travel the distance to visit it. The original “neighborhood market” is long dead. At least in North America.

Then I pointed out that I’d hoped the meetup groups I’d subscribed to would provide that regular watering hole service. It allows people to collect together based on a common interest. Chances are good you’ll see the same people at events, and even if you don’t you’re much more likely to have something to talk about.

So far this hasn’t been much of a success. The atheist group I joined was… interesting, but the most interaction I got with people was a nodding agreement that we weren’t alone or wrong. The coffee meetup was just a chance to get pegged by financial advisers looking for new customers. The motorcycle meetup group… well, it consisted primarily of weekend riders on expensive bikes. Dentists and lawyers and retired couples. They weren’t quite sure what to make of me, someone who chooses to ride his bike on a daily basis, just to get around. For them the motorcycle was an event, an occurance that they made plans for. For me the motorycycle is my summer vehicle. There was less common ground there than I’d been hoping.

But the tabletop gaming group is diverse and interesting, easily as interesting as the games they bring. And there are groups within the group. There are those who love their tactical strategy games, and there are those who love their magic derivatives, quasi-collectible card games of various themes. There are those who love the quirky and diverse games coming out of Europe and Japan these days. And there are those who use the meetup as a way of bringing a regular role playing group together.

But the common element is that we all enjoy games and are all there to play. People bring their favorite games, or the new game they just bought, and are always eager to show others how to play. And then we play. We’re not sitting around awkwardly trying to find a topic of conversation, we’re moving our pieces and rolling our dice. We’re making decisions and debating the odds.

Colin and I played a quick game of Carcassone to get into the feel of the group and, essentially, to let them know we were there. Our second game included a couple of other guys from the group. In both cases I had my ass utterly handed to me, but I didn’t much care. Carcassone is one of those games I rarely win but always want to play. It’s just fun.

Then a lady in the group brought out her newly purchased copy of Resistance and I got to introduce Colin to a game with tactics I suspected he would be well suited to: misdirection and subterfuge. He took to it very well. There were a few hiccups as the lady running the game was fairly new to the task, but we quickly worked around it and had a very rousing game that tested everyone’s skill. We even managed to rope in a random stranger from the pub who’d only come in to grab a bite to eat. She was some kind of professional from Texas in town for business. New to her traveling job and very new to the city she was quite surprised and grateful to stumble on our group. She played two games of Resistance and then got detailed directions to the games being held at The Sentry Box the following day.

So I will attend again and again in the future. I will cut my games down to travel size and see if I can figure out what else to bring along. I may have found my watering hole.

A page a day, day fifty-four: Skyrim Trifecta

The Expo starts tomorrow and I’ll be busy all weekend. Then again, I’ll be taking care of the VIP attendees room so I know I’ll also have a lot of moments with nothing to do. So I’ll be taking my netbook with me and getting some writing done.

I’ve started playing Skyrim again. Having finished Bioshock and burning out on Fallout 3 New Vegas I finally put Skyrim in again. I received a new Xbox for Christmas so I don’t have my old saved games anymore. But that’s okay, because now I really know what I’m doing in the game and I’m making amazing headway.

There are a handful of skills worth focusing on right from the start: Smithing, Enchanting, Alchemy, and Speech. Actually, Alchemy is just helpful, the other three are essential.

You need Smithing to make new armor and new weapons. The higher your skill, the better your weapons and armor. But that’s the end goal, not the method. The method involves combining the three over and over again. Kind of like grinding and crafting in Warcraft.

Smithing allows you to make armor out of metals, eventually, but at first you’re making armor out of leather, which you can get from hunting animals. So there’s an abundant supply of materials. The beauty of this is that you never stop gaining experience from making armor out of leather, even when your best armor is being made out of Dwarven metal. So you can always gain more experience in Smithing by making any kind of armor at all.

In addition to armor and weapons, however, you can also use Smithing to make Jewelry. Gold and silver combined with all the gems you keep finding in chests allows you to make rings and necklaces. Which is fine for re-sale value, but also fantastic for Enchanting.

Anything you can Smith you can Enchant. Any amount of enchantment on an object automatically increases it’s value. Any kind of enchanting you do also gradually increases your Enchanting skill.

Combine the two and you create a ton of things to sell with high value. So much, in fact, that I quite often have to travel from town to town just to find merchants with enough money left over to afford what I have to sell them.

Which improves the skill of Speech. Every exchange you make with a merchant improves your Speech skill, and a higher Speech skill improves your interactions with other NPC characters granting you additional experience, alternative options, or giving you a more favorable outcome on a quest.

There’s just two more things you need to make this never ending cycle perfect: Soul Trap and Transform.

Soul Trap is a spell you cast in battle to catch the soul of a defeated opponent. It’s tough to do on your own because you are, by definition, in a middle of a fight, and the spell doesn’t cast very quickly. It also expires after a limited amount of time so once you cast it you have to make sure you kill your opponent quickly. It’s awkward and difficult to manage with any degree of regularity. But, there’s a way to make it infinitely easier: Enchanting.

You learn how to Enchant items by finding items are already enchanted and destroying them. By destroying the enchanted item you learn that item’s particular enchantment and can there after apply that enchantment to other items as often as you want. But there’s still another catch: in order to enchant an item you need a Soul Gem, and that Soul gem must be charged with a Soul. You can buy these Soul Gems from merchants, but they’re incredibly expensive to buy if they’re already charged. They’re about 10% of the price if you buy them empty and charge them yourself. Which you do with the above mentioned Soul Trap spell.

So your holy grail in the game is to find a weapon, any weapon, enchanted with the Soul Trap spell. Once you have that, you can Disenchant it and learn the Enchantment yourself. From that point on you always make sure you have a weapon with Soul Trap enchanted into it. That way in every single battle you have the chance to charge up any Soul Gem you might be carrying. Then you buy every empty Soul Gem any merchant will be willing to sell.

Soul Gems come in five different sizes, from Petty up to Grand, with prices to match. When a Soul Trap spell captures a soul it will automatically store that soul in the smallest Soul Gem available. But if the soul is only of the “Petty” size and the only empty Soul Gem you have is a “Grand” size, the spell with unthinkingly charge up the Grand Soul Gem with a Petty soul… which effectively turns it into a mere Petty Soul Gem. Which is a waste of money. You can still use it, but it isn’t going to work very well.

So when you’re using a Soul Trap weapon you do your utmost to keep as many Petty and Common Soul Gems in your backpack as possible. That way you won’t waste the big gems on capturing smaller souls. Luckily these smaller Soul Gems are incredibly cheap. You do need to travel a fair bit, though, as the merchants will quickly run out of soul gems to sell you and the stock doesn’t refresh very quickly.

Sound ghoulish? Well, I didn’t design the rules, I’m just using them to their maximum effect.

So… charge up a hunting bow with Soul Trap. Go hunting for elk, deer, bear, rabbit, goat, dog, wolf, and saber tooth cat. Even hunt some of the woolly mammoths if you feel you’re strong enough to fight off the giants herding them. (Hint: if you’re at all new at this, you are NOT ready to fight a giant. Or a mammoth, for that matter.)

The bow kills the animal, the spell traps it’s soul, and you get hide out of which you can make leather armor. Use the Soul Gem to Enchant the armor and… voila. Cash machine. A cash machine that steadily improves your Smithing skill which rapidly provides you with better armor and weapons.

Trust me, this works wonders.

There’s one final trick to take this whole cycle into overdrive: the Transmute spell.

Your character learns spells from tomes you either buy from other wizards and merchants or find lying around. Transmute you can only find in two or three spots. I know of one particular spot in a mine held by numerous bandits. The mine not only provide you with the Transmute spell, but also provides you with dozens of chunks of Iron Ore. In the game you actually mine your own ore to turn into metal ingots which you then fashion into your weapons, armor… and jewelry.

Jewelry is only made out of silver or gold, which are naturally incredibly hard to find, but with the Transmute spell… you get to turn iron ore into silver ore, and you then turn that silver ore into gold.

So… buy up and mine all the cheap iron ore you can find, turn it into gold, increase your Smith skill over and over again by turning that gold into jewelry… enchant the jewelry, thus improving it’s value and increasing your Enchanting skill… selling the Enchanted Jewelry not only make a ton of money, but also to vastly improve your Speech skill.

Repeat. Become a God. Win Game.

A page a day, day thirty four: gaming with strangers

I spent the evening playing games tonight. I once again mustered my social courage and went out to join a social group organized around games. They have a regular Sunday thing that I’m thinking of joining on a semi-regular basis, but this was a special anniversary for the group and they reserved a room at Ceili’s on 4th ave.

Now… I like pubs. I like hanging out in pubs and talking with friends. It’s one of my most favorite things of all. I looked forward to adding the extra dimension of playing games to the mix.

Unfortunately… Ceili’s isn’t a pub. It does have much of the decor of a pub, but it has the seating capacity of a large nightclub and despite having a dance floor roughly the area of a family dining table they insist on blasting… BLASTING, mind you… dance music. Even though our group in the private room easily outnumbered the rest of the patrons, none of whom looked like they would have any inclination to dance… ever… the DJ was still pumping out the overplayed hits of the eighties and nineties.

It was, quite honestly, both annoying and sad.

The playing game part was pretty good. I quibbled over what game to bring and finally decided to go with the one that would take up the least amount of room. I took my Super Munchkin game.

As it turned out the group wasn’t made up entirely of strangers, I did know one person there albeit just barely. Dianne’s half sister M was there and as we were both new we kind of gravitated towards each other as quasi-familiar territory. Two others joined out table, a woman M knew who’s name I almost immediately forgot, and another fellow who had brought his Space Munchkin game to share.

Since we both had Munchkin games we decided to combine them into one game for the four of us.

I actually had a pretty frustrating time of it. Both of us guys did. We simply didn’t get any good cards and remained at lower levels through most of the game. The girls were both relatively new to the game yet still somehow managed to rack up amazing amounts of treasure cards. The lady to my right wound up with three or four Origins and thus was able to hold onto about five special powers, many of which she kept forgetting about as she played.

M managed to power up steadily with equipment and… hands. She gained a sidekick who provided her with four additional hands and a piece of equipment that gave her yet another one. She had seven hands and a weapon in four of them. Then she gained a card that provided her with a plus three for each empty hand. Before we knew it she was virtually unstoppable and we all had to gang up on her several times to keep her from winning the game.

Which, of course, meant that the other lady won the game by virtue of steady attrition and quiet profile. By the time we realized she could win the game with her next combat we were all out of preventative cards having spent them on M.

I still had a good time, though, and will be trying to make it a regular routine.

A page a day, day thirty-three: Bioshock revisited, briefly

I watched the Sourcefed review of Bioshock: Infinite yesterday and their enthusiasm for the game was incredibly infectious. I have yet to finish the first Bioshock game but I still own a copy and was inspired by their review to re-visit the game and see if I could make it all the way through.

There’s a problem, though: Bioshock is to games what Breaking Bad is to TV shows. At least for me. The result being that I cannot play the game for more than a few hours at a time, and when I do I have to make sure I leave some time afterward to watch or play something lighthearted and possibly funny before going to bed. If I don’t, then I will have images of Bioshock in my head as I try to sleep and that will guarantee me nightmares.

Bioshock is incredibly scary. It’s gory, it’s dark, and it is frequently lit with flashing lights shorted out and sparking. The creatures jump out at you shouting barely coherent phrases that are just that much creepier for almost making sense.

But it is a good game and I do want to finish it. I’ve also seen the previews and some of the reviews for Bioshock: Infinite and I want to have the full background for it by the time it hits the bargain bins and I can afford to play it.

After about two hours of game play I finally had to save it and set it aside. I cleansed my palate with a couple of episodes of Big Bang Theory before going to bed.

As a weird side note I actually slept reasonably well for the first time in a long time last night, and bizarrely I think it’s because I broke my new mask for the CPAP machine.

A few months ago I bought a new mask for my CPAP machine on the advise of the salesman (whom I do trust because he has been INCREDIBLY generous with me with all the trials I had to go through to find the right mask that worked for ME and then gave me an insane deal on my machine when I found out I didn’t have coverage… long rambling sentence is long. And rambling) because my original mask was definitely showing signs of wear and it was difficult to keep it tightly secured to my face without setting it so tight that it pushed my sinuses closed.

*deep breath*

Anyway… I’ve been having trouble keeping the new mask in place lately. It starts out fitting perfectly but by four or five am is stupidly loose again. I can’t figure it out, unless my head swells during the day then returns to normal in the middle of the night. In my frustration I’ve been wrestling with it in the early hours, trying to find the right position to place it in where it’ll stay sealed as I fall asleep again. It hasn’t been working very well.

In fact, night before last I pressed it against my face in so much frustration that I broke it. I snapped the span that reached from the nose up to the forehead, the part that helped brace and keep it in place. So I finished the night without the mask entirely.

Fortunately I kept my old mask in storage as I feared I would need spare parts one day. I was able to swap out the base frame from the old mask in with the new one. I didn’t even need to adjust the straps. It all fit perfectly.

And, for some reason, it fit perfectly all night and right through to the morning. I’d be thrilled by this except that I can’t understand why. The part I broke and replaced is hard and unyielding, it doesn’t stretch or adjust. There’s no reason I can think of why swapping it out would improve the late night / early morning fit.

More often than not I have the strong suspicion that I will never truly become used to wearing this stupid CPAP mask. Except now I’m dependent on it so I don’t have a choice.

A page a day, day twenty-eight: International Tabletop Day

I’m so exhausted and very much looking forward to going to bed. But I have to post my daily page first or I will break the chain. I’ve been doing so well I don’t want to stop. It has been such a hard few years that I really, really need a sense of accomplishment.

Did I just say that out loud? I said that out loud.

In other news…

Today was the first ever International Tabletop Day as declared by Felicia Day’s Geek and Sundry crew to commemorate the 1st anniversary of Wil Wheaton’s show “Tabletop”. The response has been insane and there are, from what I’ve heard, millions of people around the planet participating. I don’t know if that’s an exaggeration on my part, but I do know the response has been huge. I really wish I could have watched their live broadcast throughout the day, but I was in the back of the game shop.

Yes, I actually went out for this and socialized with strangers. Alone. This is a huge thing for me. You have no idea.

I went to Myth games at about noon. I packed my motorcycle saddle bag with food and drink in the form of tea, club soda, tea biscuits, and a tupperware full of grapes, cheese, and sugar snap peas. I knew I’d get hungry and I didn’t know what would be available. Plus I also knew if I brought my own food I’d be much less likely to eat junk food. And it worked.

I also shared my food.

I played a number of games, all of which I’d played before. I would have liked to have tried a couple of new games but there was a limited selection. There was a game about giant b-movie monsters fighting it out over Tokyo that I really wanted to try and may have to track down some day. The games I did get to play were still great games, however.

I first played a few games of Munchkin, which is always fun. Then I played a couple of games of Flux, which is a very random game in that just about every card you play changes the rules of the game in some way. It’s not a game for everyone as you can become very easily frustrated trying to keep track of it all. It can be quite hilarious as well, as two brothers joined our second game in the middle and one of them wound up winning on their first hand.

Much more Art than Reason

Much more Art than Reason

We followed that with a couple of games of Dixit. I really do love this game and would like to get more people to try it with me. I bought a copy last year and only managed to convince my friends to play it once. It’s a highly imaginative game that is competitive without being directly confrontational. The results of each turn are surprising, more often than not, and it definitely awards artistic creativity over rational tactics without any actual need for artistic tallent. If you’re curious about it, let me know. It works best with more players than it does with a few, and you need a minimum of three.

Finally we played a couple of games of Pandemic, which I have played a couple of times before and it is fucking tough. It’s another game well worthy of my love, though, as you are not playing against the other players, but rather all players are cooperating against the game itself. The goal is to prevent a worldwide pandemic that will wipe out civilization as we know it. Each player gets a role in the world theater, from scientist to researcher to medic and dispatcher. Each role has special abilities that can help the other players. Having played it only four times I can definitely say you are best off if you have both the medic and the dispatcher. There’s a potential set of six roles, but a maximum of four players. You’re never going to have all six roles in play and the selection of roles at the start of the game is random.

Even on the "easy" setting Pandemic is a damned tough game.

Even on the “easy” setting Pandemic is a damned tough game.

It is a TOUGH game to beat. Being very new to the game (I’d played it before but it was YEARS ago and didn’t remember the rules) we decided to go with the “easy” setting. We lost very quickly in the first game as we floundered around, learning how things worked and where the real threat was likely to come from. We won the second game but only because we lucked out on how slowly the epidemic cards showed up. We still had a few tense moments.

And that is the other thing about the game. It can really get you worked up, more than any competitive game I’ve ever played. Partly because it’s an exciting game with lots of tension, but also partly (in my opinion) because you are all able to get worked up TOGETHER without anyone feeling they’re being ganged up on and without any one person coming out appearing to be a poor winner.

Blank, good to the last drop. Answer: Elf Cum

Cards Against Humanity: not your family friendly kind of game.

Lastly, Mav and Tony invited me over for dinner where I got to gorge myself on some fantastic barbecued pork, after which we played a game of Cards Against Humanity. They already have two expansion packs mixed into their set with the third expansion ordered and on it’s way. We finally had to call the game after 10pm because we were all exhausted. It was a great time as always, though, and well within the spirit of the day.

The only game I won all day was the second Pandemic game, and with that game you can only win if everyone wins. I was never the sole victor in anything I played, and I had a fantastic time all day long.

I also spent the day on my motorbike, going from place to place, which was the cherry on the top. It’s still rather cold out there (definitely felt colder than the reported four degrees outside on my midnight right home) but the chill is worth the feeling of the engine between my legs and the wheels on the road.

All in all I’d have to say to day was a fantastic day.

A page a day, day thirteen: Teleportation!

What super powers would you have and why? Part 3.

3) Teleportation

Okay, while telekinesis and telepathy would both be, in my opinion, the most useful, this power would be the most fun. Especially if you are able to use it on other people at will.

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler was also one of my favorite Xmen characters

For a brilliant example of why this would be so enjoyable you won’t need to look any further than the book (and subsequent movie) Jumper. The story follows David Rice as he discovers he has the ability to teleport and gradually learns the capabilities, and limits, of his abilities.

I’m actually involved in a role playing game in which this is my character’s primary power. His other power is the ability to store stuff in a pocket dimension, just about 100 pounds of stuff that he can literally pull out of thin air at will. This power is colloquially known as “Hammerspace“, which is something that apparently started with anime and not Bugs Bunny cartoons like I thought.

But… teleporting. My character is in his early teen years and acts it. With the ability to teleport others at will he has made many of the school bullies intimately familiar with the school’s swimming pool. Particularly the deep end. The only reason they aren’t being made familiar with the asphalt of the playground is because he knows the teachers of the school are more than capable of issuing even greater punishments.

Still… his greatest tactical move to date has been to swallow the key to a set of handcuffs. It’s worth remembering that some of the biggest results can come from some of the smallest decisions.

“If you disable the enemy’s hand, the enemy cannot press the button! Medic!”

The power of teleportation encompasses two of the greatest abilities you could ever wish for: The ability to get away from your problems and, alternatively, if you’re rather fond of where you are at the moment, the ability to make the problem get away from you.

You also don’t need to be able to project blasts of energy or throw powerful punches to inflict damage, all you need to do is move your enemies into the path of damage already occurring. A fall from a great height is just the start. You could also teleport someone into the path of a train, or out into the ocean in the middle of a school of sharks, or into the middle of an active volcano.

Because with teleportation, it’s just like real estate: the most important things are location, location, location.

As gamers we loved playing with the interpretation of teleportation as well. One character we created didn’t actually disappear from one spot and reappear in another, instead he was simply able to move fast enough that it appeared as if he was teleporting. He would be unable to move through any barriers or across empty space. He needed a surface to travel on and open space to move through. So normal prisons worked on him just fine.

Another character didn’t teleport himself, he instead created an exact duplicate of himself somewhere else, complete with all memories and personality, while the original body was instantly disintegrated in order to provide the energy for the new body’s creation. He wasn’t held back by barriers of any kind, however he was unable to carry anything with him other than clothing and objects that he had had enough time to analyze so as to create a duplicate for the new bod

A page a day, day eleven: Superpowers!

Okay, less than two weeks into this challenge and I’m already getting stuck for topics, so today I’m going to grasp at some cliche straws and go for:

What super powers would you have and why?

Honestly, any super power would be fantastic just so long as I was able to fuel it with fat… because then I’d be able to work myself thin in very fun ways.

Oh, and let’s get one thing straight up front: Super powers do not automatically make me a saint. I have no illusions about how power corrupts, and if I had a special power nobody else had, I’d definitely use it to my advantage. Who the hell wouldn’t?

#1) Telepathy. It’s a close call, the other two powers I list later being so incredibly tantalizing, but if I’m forced to pick just one power, I’d honestly go for Telepathy… provided nobody knew I could do it.

I already have the hairstyle, I just need the chair.

I already have the hairstyle, I just need the chair.

Why? Well, for one, I always want to know what other’s are thinking. I’ve seen confusion jump up so many times when I’ve misread a situation that it would just be really great if I could get the cheat code and find out what’s really going on. Or what the other person thinks is going on, because so often awkwardness and confusion stems from someone else misinterpreting my own actions. I can try to be as clear as I want and other people can still get the opposite or twisted interpretation.

I constantly TRY to get my point across as clearly as possible, and it so often either goes horribly wrong or I’m just not making myself clear. The verbal and written languages are horrible tools for expressing ideas, even though they’re the best we have. If I could just get a direct connection, even just one way, it would make things so much simpler.

Plus I’d make a ton of money playing poker… although I wouldn’t be able to stick around. If you’re always winning people will begin to assume you’re cheating, even if they can’t prove it (and, of course, I am, but not in any way they would believe) and eventually they’ll just get mad enough at you to break your legs. But, still… easy money. For the most part.

On the altruistic side I’d be wandering around “listening” for people thinking of crimes and then calling in handy anonymous tips to guide the appropriate officials in the appropriate direction.

But, I have to repeat the caveat, NOBODY must know I can do it. Anybody who could figure out I could read their minds would, at best, avoid me like crazy out of fear and discomfort or, at worst, have me killed for knowing too much. If everyone knew I would be shunned by those I’d want to trust and hounded by those who’d want to use me.

If people started to suspect then my best retreat would be to hide in plain sight: become a mentalist, and entertainer. I don’t have the flare for entertaining people but that’s what you hire agents and trainers for, and if my ability became public knowledge they’d be lining up to sign me on. Then I could have the resources to protect and distance myself from a society that would no longer trust me, and I’d be able to start feed rumors that my “power” is just a stage gimmick. Get a few skeptics in to prove my abilities aren’t real, let them win, and I could eventually fade into obscurity. If I was lucky.

Best case scenario? My powers expand to the point where I can not only detect malicious intent at any distance but could then plant suggestions into the minds of everyday investigators to lead them towards capturing and convicting the criminals. I’d focus on massive government and corporate cover-ups first, serial killers second (at least they tend to only kill one at a time) and then sexual predators third. Ideally I could do this from home in my off hours, or just during the daylight hours, while I maintain my lifestyle by consistently coming in third or fourth at poker games, earning enough to live on but not so much as to draw unwanted attention.

Do I think about this stuff too much? Nah, I’m a comic book fan. We think about this stuff all the time.