Monday, June 15, 2009

Retroactive Interpretation

Ok, so I finally figured out, over the course of a couple months of active posting, what my blog topic is going to be. Obvious to anyone who's been reading along, it is roleplay (primarily Dungeons & Dragons) and anime. By no means a new combination, but as I rarely combine the two I felt a little bit of explanation was in order.

For this explanation I point out the name of this blog; the Iron Wolf. Certainly the words making up the title have little in common. Wolves are commonly used as symbols of wildness and natural things, where iron is representative of civilization, technological progress and warfare. Even the banner for my wordpress blog expresses this contradiction.

But if you get creative enough it's easy to link the two. Iron can be used to make daggers which are sharp as wolves' teeth. Even my name, Lironah, contains both iron (in the spelling) and wolf (in the inception - Liro has always and ever will be tied to the wolves in some way). So let us equate the title of this blog with its content and claim it as intent, even though it was incedental, that both contain two different aspects of myself.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Warlock Class Feature: Familiar

Warlocks with the Familiar class feature have bound a spirit into physical form. To select this class feature, you must give up the pact boon associated with your Eldritch Pact.

Familiar: You gain a familiar, its type determined by your Eldritch Pact. Its physical form may be anything from a tiny animal to a simple construct. The familiar is capable of whatever tasks its body is equipped for (i.e. a mole can dig, a bird can fly, a doll can walk around), and may range in size from a mouse to a small dog. It has no combat abilities and may not be targeted by an attack as long as it occupies the same space as its master. If it leaves this space, it may be attacked as normal; any damage taken returns it to its master's space.


  • Ability Scores: Strength 6, Constitution 12, Dexterity 16, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 10, Charisma 12
  • Size: Tiny
  • Speed: 4 squares
  • Defenses: AC 14 + level, Fortitude 10 + level, Reflex 14 + level, Will 10 + level
  • Hit Points: 1
  • Trained Skills: Perception, Stealth
Directing the familiar is usually a minor action. The familiar may move on its own to any distance, and may return to its master's square as a free action when directed or summoned. A familiar understands all languages its master speaks, and can communicate freely with its master, but not with others. It is intelligent and can execute complex commands such as using an item, but it must possess the necessary appendages for the task, and instructing it takes the same type of action as it would take a character to perform the action.

A familiar's level is always equal to yours, and its defenses improve with level. Its ability scores increase in the same way a player's do. A familiar always has low-light vision.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Broken Barriers

It's hard to say exactly how long I've been studying Japanese now. I'm pretty sure I'm approaching ten years; I'd have to look at my college transcript to tell for sure. I'd be interested in finding out how my vocabulary compares to that of an average 10 year old native speaker.

I've been translating song lyrics for most of those ten years, as my only real translation practice. I did once translate Yu-Gi-Oh! as I watched it with my husband (I'd seen it twice all the way through and there was a great deal of repetition in the dialogue), but my first actual attempt at translating a complete episode of anything was a disappointment. There were words I'd never heard before, spoken so quickly I didn't have a chance at looking them up, even if they'd been in the dictionary. My speed was nothing impressive - more than a week for a single episode - and the group I was translating for quickly decided to go looking someplace else.

It's probably been 4 years since then, and despite the lack of any real practice in between, my Japanese has somehow improved so much from simply watching anime that I can now finish the translation of an entire episode of Pandora Hearts in less than 10 hours. Granted this last one was a little shorter on dialogue than the one before it, and I've read ahead in the manga (and also have the raw to use for reference), but that's still an amazing leap for me.

The real surprise, however, came this morning as I was opening up the shop. I'm one of those people who thinks aloud when I'm alone, and I frequently do this in Japanese as it's my only speaking practice. I've long attempted to perfect my accent when, after saying something aloud, I'll realize that my inflection is completely off. But this time, my tongue took over and filled in the gap that even my conscious mind has never been able to bridge. My inflection was perfect. Because I'd heard the phrase so many times my subconscious took over.

Now, I realize that my vocabulary is far from complete, and even familiar words are nearly incomprehensible to me when Alice speaks them as B. Rabbit. But I've finally broken a barrier I've been banging my head against for ten years. That's a greater accomplishment to me than any number of overnight translations.