24 February 2010

Mystery Sprain

I somehow managed to sprain, or maybe just strain, something in my thumb. It's not the joint that connects the thumb to the hand. I think it may be the muscles/tendons connecting the two other joints. I'm not really sure how I managed to injure it, but I have a few guesses.

It started on Saturday. My shoulder had been twinging, and at roughly the same time, I felt some tingling in the tip of the left thumb. At the time, I figured something in my shoulder was just pinching a nerve. Then Sunday evening, the area between the two outer joints was very sore and tender. By Monday morning, it was noticeable swollen. I made a makeshift splint out of a chopstick (broken down closer to lenght) and the tape from my desk. This was a trifle odd-looking, but it kept the sore part from moving and reminded me not to use that thumb. After I got done teaching, I stopped at the dollar store. No real thumb splints there, but there was some self-sticking wrap (the kind often used when people donate blood) and a package of tongue depressors. From that, I was able to construct a splint that looked a bit more professional, and kept the thumb immobilized for most of the day, and most of Tuesday.

It's quite a bit better this morning, though I'll probably immobilize it before heading to work, and I think I've figured out part of the cause. I'm still missing a piece, though. On Saturday afternoon, I went to Westwood Discount (they get damaged/clearance/overstock goods, mainly, plus some stuff like you'd find at a dollar store) and didn't bother to get a basket. I was holding my items awkwardly, and my shoulder was complaining from it. I suspect I was using the left thumb to put pressure on something to keep it from falling and either overworked or overstretched something along the back of the thumb. As it wasn't swollen the next morning, it wasn't actually injured yet. That morning, I printed out some D&D tiles and spent some time cutting them out with an Exacto knife and a straight edge (tip: get a straight edge with cork backing; they don't slide nearly as much), and probably used that thumb to keep the ruler from sliding. As the pain didn't start until evening, either there was some final thing that sent it from "overused" to "sprained" or it was just very slow coming on. My bet is on the former, but I have no idea what the final trigger might have been.

Ah well. It wasn't a major sprain, since one of the described symptoms is "unable to pinch thumb and forefinger together." I could pinch, it was just painful to do so for very long.

I've discovered a list of things that are much easier to do with a functioning left thumb, now. "Putting contacts in" is at the top of the list. "Putting ice trays in the freezer" is next; I'm much less proficient at that with my right hand and spill a lot more water. "Adjusting the left strap of a backpack." "Wearing gloves." "Buttoning trousers." I'm sure there'd be even more if it were my right hand, however.

And I keep meaning to post some of my self-made dungeon tiles here... I've borrowed freely from stuff I've found, so I might as well add to the available resources with the ones I've made.

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09 February 2010

My First Stint as DM

We finished up Jeremiah's scenario last week. I put in a very brief segue to lead into my scenario, and this week we actually got started on my scenario. Everyone knew there would be shopping opportunities, so we took care of those mostly by e-mail, and, to make things simpler, I had a fair going on outside the town we'd be getting to. Among other things, it gave my character an opportunity to stock up on things before she gets disappeared for a while.

The story so far:
As the heroes ran from the halfling wizard's tower, it exploded. Most likely the fire (from the fire-elemental-in-a-stone) caught up to the odd randomizing device (among other things, used to switch John Theta's head with that of a goblin ... and back ... twice). They were far enough away that we were not in any danger. As it was cold and snowy outside, they took shelter in a cave. Inside the cave were some blue veins of stone called isildiril. They learned that this stone had teleportation properties, and was likely the source of many of the halfling wizard's powers, and Dovra found that when she cast her light spell on it, the stone would absorb the light and then emit it all at once.

As the sun began to rise, they heard whuffling and pawing outside the cave, and connected it to the wolf-sign they were suddenly noticing. Four gray wolves, two vicious dire wolves and two wolfogriffs (basically flying wolves) attacked. Dovra, keen to try out some new powers she had, cast a Zone of Avarice and used it to keep pulling the wolves away from the cave, and through the attack area of a Fire Pillar that she cast. The wolves were eventually slain, and skinned, and the heroes journeyed on down a path that led through a coniferous forest and to a water hole. Near the water hole was another cave, a sort of crack in the mountainside, and all the visible stone this time was isildiril. Rather tentatively, the heroes scouted through it and found that it was a tunnel going under the mountain to another forest clearing on the other side. When the scouts were convinced it was safe, they waved for everyone else to come through. As soon as everyone was inside, a magical light began rolling through the isilidiril. It teleported people as it caught up with them, taking them to a rather similar tunnel in a different mountain, but this time there was a village visible through the exit, and a fair going on outside the village.

And, yea, the heroes did go about their shopping with much gusto*, and learned that the volcano visible in the town appeared at the same time as a warlock disappeared, and that an evil warlock was controlling the elf who ran the magic-item-shop. They also met up with a dwarf blacksmith and his eladrin, artificer daughter**, whose experiments with area burst grenades greatly impressed them. The sun was going down as they made their way into the city, and the Captain of the Guard simply assumed they were yet another batch of heroes come to rescue Ridol from its curse*** and made them fill out paperwork indicating their preferred burial arrangements.

Next time, we begin in the cursed city with the sun down. ^!^

*I find it inordinately amusing that the only female character was happy to buy exactly two items, and otherwise stock up on necessities like food and alchemical reagents, and learn a few new rituals, whereas most of the males have gone overboard to get as much as they possibly can, particularly of magical items.

**No one seemed to find this odd, which I find extremely odd.

***The captain was designed to be as uncooperative as possible, but they finally managed to convince him that they really didn't know all about the curse already, and got more useful information out of him than I had planned on. So far they haven't drawn the correct conclusions from it, however, so it will probably still work out.

Final thought: I need to get Dovra out of the scenario as soon as possible. There's an exit planned for her, but I think I may activate it a bit sooner than originally planned. It was a bit disconcerting to be half-cheering at how well the pillar/zone combination worked and half-cursing at it for killing off all my beautiful wolves. Also, I think the group can handle rougher encounters than the one I used last night, so I've got a bit more leeway to ramp things up (heh-heh-heh).

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