The Rise of Tiamat

Here are some scenes from my first session as a player in more than 20 years. We are playing the official The Rise of Tiamat adventure. To be continued… (or not, it took me ages to draw this, and the style is mockman@’s). Lessons learned: Being a player is awesome. Whether you play a published adventure or a homebrew matters much, much less than I imagined. What really matters is truly the people.

My favorite books and movies of 2018

2018 is about to end, but before it does, here are the books and movies I enjoyed the most this year. Books: Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. Self-improvement from first principles. While some meditation techniques and philosophies like Vipassana and stoicism teach you how to become robust to emotions and thoughts, Tony shows how to use them to your advantage (antifragility). I find both approaches complementary and I’m getting great results from both.

S08E06 – Mountain Caves

Previously on Zhymballa The heroes arrive at Pelor’s Academy and they convince Mabur, the headmaster, to lend them some paladins in exchange of the heroes finding out what happened to two missing brothers who should have arrived days ago. The heroes start the search right away because of the heavy snowstorm that is buffeting the region. During their search, the heroes find a cave with a pentagram and poisonous plants but with no people.

S08E05 – The Lowoack Brothers

Previously on Zhymballa The heroes frustrate two attempts to kill Davos and capture the assassins, two dragonborns members of a mercenary group hired by a Ridgeport merchant called Falgrom. On their way to Pelor’s Academy, up in the mountains, the group endures a strong snowstorm that doesn’t prevent them from reaching their destination. Flash-back — “Bharash, you’re not a good dragonborn” After setting his clan’s shrine on fire, a twelve year old Bharash gets scolded by his father who expels him from their village until the boy is willing to follow the clan’s rules.

S08E04 – Interruptions

Previously on Zhymballa The heroes return Gighur and the rest of the kidnapped villagers to Rockbreach and they accept Minnesota’s offer to cleanse the abandoned monastery from goblins and undead in order to join The Caretakers Syndicate. Getting more muscle Still at the party, the heroes regroup to plan their attack. They barely escaped with Salazar, their tank, alive, so they decide to get more muscle at the Academy of Pelor, where Salazar trained to become a paladin.

S08E03 – Party

Previously on Zhymballa While exploring the caves below the abandoned monastery, the heroes rescue Gighur and seven other prisoners. While looking for an exit, the group meets a goblin who offers them a way out in exchange of the heroes killing as many undead as they can. The heroes accept, but the monastery is so packed with skeletons and zombies and they barely make it out alive. The province of Ridgeport.

S08E02 – The Abandoned Monastery

Previously on Zhymballa Minnesota, a well-fed female dwarf, has hired the heroes to rescue her brother Gighur Shatterheat from a group of goblins. The heroes get their way into the goblin’s lair through a crate of full of corpses. After killing the goblins unloading the cargo, the heroes find the entrance to the crypts and explore it in full. A presence in the walls Til warns the group of a presence in the walls which then goes away.

S08E01 – Rescuing Gighur

Setup Minnesota, a well-fed female dwarf, has hired a group of adventurers to rescue her brother Gighur Shatterheat from a clan of goblins that recently set up shop in the abandoned monastery near the lake. The group consists of Dawn, a male wood elf ranger; Salazar Astorio, a male human paladin; and Til Grassthorn, a male halfling rogue. The group has split to gather intel and secure a way into the goblin’s lair.

Thirty days after my first Vipassana meditation course

In the last 40 days I have spent 160 hours meditating and it’s been the best investment I’ve done in years. Here is why. Earlier this year I came across an interview with Yuval Harari in which he talked about Vipassana, a meditation technique that he has been practicing for 17 years. I found it interesting that a lay person would spend two hours per day and a full month per year meditating, so I looked for more information and this is what I found: you learn the technique by attending a ten day course where all you do is meditate for ten hours a day.

Heidiland: love of nature, vineyards and brown grasshoppers

A few days ago we went to Maienfeld to hike near the area that Johanna Spyri used as a setting for her 1881 novel, Heidi. Since I moved to Switzerland I been reminded of Heidi weekly because at work there is a weekly social event whose start gets announced with a broadcast of Heidi’s theme to the whole office. So when I saw that there was a hiking area named after her I talked to Loes and she agreed to go.