Hungry Heroes Get Cranky

Bang! Kapow! Superheroes Battle It Out Over Burgers

from AFP

LONDON - Their fictional counterparts might be tireless battlers for truth and justice, but when three British men dressed as Spiderman, Superman, and Batman came to blows the reason was far more prosaic - a shortage of burgers.

Police were called to the superhero bust-up after the three men in fancy dress traded punches at a fast food van located on a main road in a suburb of Canterbury, southern England, local police said.

It was believed that the fight in the early hours of Christmas Day started due to a shortage of food at the van. A 23-year-old man suffered facial injuries but declined to press charges, Kent Police said.

"Spiderman, Superman, and Batman were involved in a minor altercation at 12:32 am at Wincheap on Christmas Day. The injured party declined to take it any further," a spokesman said.

Shadowfootwork: The Ninja

With the Complete Adventurer on the horizon, I decided to finish up my ninja core class.

[Nja] The assassin and spy of the Oriental world, the ninja creeps through the shadows like a breeze, using fighting prowess, mystical abilities, secrecy, and agility to defeat his enemies.


Thanks, Santa!
[Half-Elf Brd 16]

Complete Arcane
Libris Mortis
Monster Manual III
Spider-Man 2 DVD
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Extended Version DVD
Sinbad & The Eye of the Tiger DVD


Illustration of the Week

From Frostburn in the Best of the D&D Art Galleries...


Illustration of the Week

From The Eberron Campaign Setting in the Best of the D&D Art Galleries...


Doctors Diagnose Gollum

Poor Diet, Inherited Disease Made Gollum Mad

from AFP

PARIS - The Lord of the Rings character Gollum was paranoid and had a split personality, but this was because he probably suffered from vitamin deficiency, anaemia, hyperthyroidism, and a metabolic disease called porphyria.

That's the conclusion of a group of British doctors who sift through Gollum's symptoms in a tongue-in-cheek diagnosis published this Saturday in the British Medical Journal.

"Gollum's diet is extremely limited, consisting only of raw fish. Vitamin B-12 deficiency may cause irritability, delusions, and paranoia," they say.

"His reduced appetite and loss of hair and weight may be associated with iron deficiency anaemia. He is hypervigilant and does not seem to need much sleep.

"This, accompanied by his bulging eyes and weight loss, suggests hyperthyroidism. Gollum's dislike of sunlight may be induced to the photosensitivity of porphyria. Attacks may be induced by starvation and accompanied by paranoid psychosis."

Porphyria is an inherited disease of the metabolic system.

The "study," lead-authored by psychiatrist Elizabeth Sampson of the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London, describes Gollum as "a single, 587-year-old hobbit-like male of no fixed abode.

"He has presented with anti-social behaviour, increasing aggression and preoccupied with the 'one ring.'... He has no history of substance misuse, although like many young hobbits, he smoked 'pipe weed' in adolescence."

The diagnosis concludes: "Gollum displays pervasive maladaptive behaviour that has been present since childhood with a persistent disease course.

"His odd interests and spiteful behaviour have led to difficulty in forming friendships and have caused distress to others. He fulfills seven of the nine criteria for schizoid personality disorder."

In J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy - subsequently turned into a trio of Oscar-winning films - Gollum, a thin, pale, gangrel creature, is enslaved by a magic ring made by the evil Sauron.

In his desperation to retrieve it, his mind persistently fights between a "good" personality, Smeagol, and a nasty one, Gollum.


Shadowfootwork: The Apostles of Alignment


When I first posted my sentinel of sin and vanguard of virtue PrCs, I'd always intended to follow up with priests focusing on the other alignments, and for a long time had a bastion of balance nearly complete. But then I decided to revise and expand those two classes, using that revision as the template for the additional classes. Now, after literally months of work - I haven't worked so intently on something since the witch (do you have any idea how many tenets I created - even though only 100 made the cut?) - I've finally finished and have posted them on the WotC boards. Now I may resume living my life.

Apostle of Anarchy
[ApoA] For priests who practice a philosophy of Chaos. By adopting tenets representing various aspects of Chaos, the apostle practices what she preaches, becoming anything from a passionate advocate of freedom to a violent herald of discord. The apostle of anarchy chooses from the following tenets: Abandon, Bedlam, Calamity, Change, Chaos, Confusion, Disobedience, Entropy, Freedom, Fury, Havoc, Heresy, Imagination, Instability, Luck, Passion, Trespass, Unpredictability, Vim, and Violence.

Apostle of Balance
[ApoB] For priests who practice a philosophy of Neutrality. By adopting tenets representing various aspects of Neutrality, the apostle practices what she preaches, becoming anything from an indifferent agent of stasis to a philosophical proponent of perfection. The apostle of balance chooses from the following tenets: Centricity, Counteraction, Counterbalance, Equilibrium, Existence, Harmony, Indifference, Karma, Nature, Negation, Neutrality, Null, Perfection, Philosophy, Restoration, Stasis, Symmetry, Synergy, Thought, and Zen.

Apostle of Order
[ApoO] For priests who practice a philosophy of Law. By adopting tenets representing various aspects of Law, the apostle practices what he preaches, becoming anything from a vigilant enforcer of justice to a restrained advocate of control. The apostle of order chooses from the following tenets: Civilization, Composure, Control, Conviction, Courage, Defense, Faith, Fate, Justice, Law, Loyalty, Obedience, Orthodoxy, Peace, Resolve, Restraint, Sequence, Stability, Tyranny, and Vigilance.

Apostle of Sin
[ApoS] For priests who practice a philosophy of Evil. By adopting tenets representing various aspects of Evil, the apostle practices what she preaches, becoming anything from a decadent practitioner of sloth to a malicious disciple of murder. The apostle of sin chooses from the following tenets: Avarice, Corruption, Decadence, Deception, Dishonor, Envy, Lust, Malice, Murder, Perversion, Prejudice, Pride, Profanity, Seduction, Sloth, Temptation, Unholiness, Wickedness, and Wrath.

Apostle of Virtue
[ApoV] For priests who practice a philosophy of Good. By adopting tenets representing various aspects of Good, the apostle practices what he preaches, becoming anything from a humble advocate of silence to a joyful disciple of love. The apostle of virtue chooses from the following tenets: Benediction, Benevolence, Charity, Cleanliness, Compassion, Good, Glory, Grace, Holiness, Humility, Industry, Joy, Love, Mercy, Nonviolence, Purity, Silence, Truth, Valor, and Zeal.

The classes can be customized for any campaign or for any deity simply by limiting or expanding the tenets (and domains, both requisite and bonus) available to the character. The apostle of evil can become an "apostle of sloth," for example, by allowing only the tenet of Sloth to be chosen, while the apostle of order can become an "apostle of St. Cuthbert" by allowing only those tenets that support that deity's portfolio, such as Justice and Law (but not Sequence or Tyranny), and limiting the bonus domain to those already granted by that deity. By creating a custom list of tenets from the different classes - such as Decadence (ApoS), Freedom (ApoA), and Joy (ApoV) - you can create entirely new classes, such as an "apostle of pleasure."

The PrCs also include several new feats (Resolute, Aural Centricity, Evasive, Divine Preparation, Inspirational, etc.), new spells (neutralizing strike, wyrm's cunning, mantle of equilibrium, colorless spray, power word: deafen, etc.), new domains (Art, Murder, Neutrality, Night, Love, etc.), and new formatting that I will incorporate into future classes (links to homebrew material, immediate source listing, font sizes, four-character abbreviations for PrC names, etc.).


X-News: Magneto, The Movie

X-Men's Magneto To Be Spun Off

from Cinescape

Twentieth Century Fox is moving ahead with plans for a second spin-off film from its successful X-Men franchise. Unlike the previously announced Wolverine film, based on the heroic mutant healer/beserker in the X-Men, the new film is instead based on the villain Magneto (played by Sir Ian McKellen in the two X-Men movies).

Screenwriter Sheldon Turner (The Longest Yard) will write the script for Magneto after pitching his idea, which he described as "The Pianist meets X-Men," to Fox. Magneto will be set during the character's younger years, shortly after his mutant powers of magnetism awakened. A short scene at the opening of the first X-Men movie showed a young Magneto being seperated from his family by Nazi soldiers and the child trying to return to their arms. During the struggle the young Magneto used his nascent powers to bend the metal gates separating him from his family.

Sheldon's screenplay will show Magneto seeking revenge for the murder of his family in a Nazi concentration camp, watching him discover the extent of his powers, and the start of his friendship with Professor X (played by Patrick Stewart in the X-Men films.) Xavier was an allied soldier that helped liberate the prisoners in the concentration camps during World War II. After the conclusion of the war Xavier and Magneto meet and become friends, united by their mutant powers that they hide from the public's eye. Eventually their two different perspectives on the rise of the mutants begins crumbling their friendship, turning them into rivals.

It's unclear whether McKellen would be used for the Magneto movie or even if there are any scenes set in the present day. Younger actors are likely to be cast as Magneto and the Professor during their early years.

'Shadowfoot, Lord of Glencairn'...I Like It!

Become a Lord for 29.99

from Reuters

LONDON - The British aristocracy has long been an exclusive club but now anyone can become a Lord or Lady - for as little as 30 pounds ($58).

A raft of British Web sites are offering one square foot of the Glencairn Estate in northeast Scotland and, with it, access to the prestigious-sounding title of Lord/Laird and Lady of Glencairn.

Buyagift.co.uk is offering the "fun" title as the "ideal gift for anyone who aspires to greatness" for 29.99 pounds, which includes a deed of ownership, a map of the Glencairn estate, and a card which proves their title.

Lastminute.co.uk and thanksdarling.com are also offering shoppers the chance to lord it up as a Glencairn, which is believed to be nothing more than a small plot of croft land with the title invented for it.

One incensed aristocrat is fighting back at what he sees is a scam and is warning potential shoppers that buying the title of Lord, Viscountess, Baron, or Earl is meaningless.

The Earl of Bradford, whose own title dates from the 1800s, set up www.faketitles.com, after someone fraudulently passed himself off as Lord Newport, which is his son's title.

"I will put it very simply: You cannot purchase a genuine British title," he warns on the site.


Illustration of the Week

From Sharn: City of Towers in the Best of the D&D Art Galleries...


Good Mouse = Dead Mouse

World's Scientists Admit They Just Don't Like Mice

from The Onion

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Nearly 700 scientists representing 27 countries convened at the University of Zurich Monday to formally announce that their experimentation on mice has been motivated not by a desire to advance human knowledge, but out of sheer distaste for the furry little rodents.

"As a man of science, I deal with facts, and the fact is that mice are gross," said Dr. Douglas White, chair of the Oxford biogenetics department and lifelong mouse-hater. "They're squirmy, scurrying little vermin, and they make my skin crawl. I speak for all of my assembled colleagues when I say that the horrible little things deserve the worst we can dish out."

According to a 500-word statement, scientists hate mice for "their beady little eyes," "their repulsive tails," and "the annoying little squeaking sounds they make."

At the press conference, several scientists detailed their involvement in the centuries-long ruse of "conducting experiments" and "curing diseases."

"For years, I've used lab mice to research cell breakdown in living tissue — and I've been lucky enough to make some pretty important medical advancements along the way," said researcher Ellen Gresham of the Harvard Institute for Advanced Studies. "But even if there were no scientific benefit to the work I do, I'd still experiment on mice, just to watch them suffer."

"The truth is, mice are particularly ill-suited for our tissue study," Gresham added. "We could construct a computer model that would yield more accurate results, but we don't care."

According to Gresham, scientists have enjoyed dissolving mice in acid, spinning them in centrifuges, blowing them up in vacuum chambers, and forcing them to navigate exit-free mazes for years — all the while towering above them, laughing.

"Every high-pitched squeak from the holding area is a warm reminder that the mice desperately want to escape," said Dr. Frances Villalobos, a contagious-disease researcher at the University of Mexico. "All they want to do is get out from behind those bars so they can chew on everything, defecate all over, and poke their filthy twitching faces into piles of garbage. Well, I know of at least 80 little test subjects who won't be doing any more of that. They're headed straight for the dissection lab."

Villalobos said he spent six months writing a grant proposal that provided him with funding to inject mice with the smallpox virus.

"It kills me that I can't infect the control group," Villalobos said. "Unfortunately, if I infect them, I'll throw off my results. But once I complete this experiment, I'll rotate the control group into the hot seat. Don't you worry. They'll get what's coming to them."

After applauding the scientists for coming forward, anthropologist Brent Wrigley suggested that the hatred of mice may be the single most important factor in the evolution of modern science.

"Despising mice may have pushed humanity out of the Stone Age," Wrigley said. "After all, the cave habitats of early man must have been infested with the horrific little monsters. The entire history of human advancement via the scientific method may be a byproduct of the higher forebrain's natural revulsion toward the nasty critters."

Mouse-killing isn't solely the province of organic and medical scientists. Many other scientists kill mice, as well.

"As a physicist, I don't really have much cause to use mice in my regular research, which mostly requires the use of theoretical math," said Dr. Thomas Huber, author of the 1996 study Mouse Elasticity And Kinetic Rebound In High-Acceleration Collisions. "But when I have the time, I like to send them flying into walls. Even just seeing them in a cage makes me feel kind of good inside. I like knowing I'm depriving them of their freedom, even if my research doesn't provide me the opportunity to cut them open."

"I hate those little fuckers," he added.


Mmm...The Perfect Crim-D'oh!

Police Follow Doughnut Trail, Solve Crime

from Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Police followed a trail of doughnuts to find a stolen Krispy Kreme delivery truck. "It has a happy ending," Swatara Township Sgt. Robert Simmonds said. "The evidence was brought back to the police station, and the cops are eating the doughnuts."

It was 12:45 a.m. Thursday when Krispy Kreme deliveryman Tim Trostle stopped at a Swatara Township convenience store and left the engine running as he made the delivery. Someone fled with the truck, but since Trostle had left the back doors open, police were able to follow a trail of doughnuts.

The doughnut trail ended before long, but police in a nearby township found a doughnut cart near the Harrisburg city line. City police found the truck near a downtown bar.

No arrests were immediately made. The truck was returned to the company.

Although Simmonds had been joking about police taking the contents of the truck, he acknowledged seeing Krispy Kreme doughnuts in a station conference room Thursday.

"I suspect that the manager from the Krispy Kreme might have given us a little thank you for our efforts," he said.

Illustration of the Week

From the Monster Manual in the Best of the D&D Art Galleries...