Attempts to Shop

There must be a memo I missed because I’ve tried twice so far to pop down the road to get a couple of supplies in, and each time the queues have been longer and more fraught – to the point where I’ve given up each time.

The first time was early in the day and I hadn’t realised that the elderly and infirm were having their early hour today. Well I didn’t realise until I saw their queue snake round the carpark and felt the weight of some hundred-plus pensioners giving me the evil eye.

When I tried again a few hours later, they had finished that queue but then the main queue was somehow four times longer. I couldn’t face that either. I’m now weighing up if I can face another attempt. At least its not holding to Sunday Trading hours, or I’d have run out of time today.

On the other hand it does mean that I have managed to have my threatened tshirt cull and have items I can offer round the polycule before donating anything unclaimed. Lady M has already nabbed several plain tops that she has declared suitable for workwear.

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Day 372 of Isolation

What is days? What is space? Oh wait – hang on, I can go outside – ah, nope. Okay, so instead, while in between sorting a few odds and ends out with emails and remote access to some things, I’ve been experimenting a bit with some of the map pack options in Roll20 to make some maps for “just in case” – because if I’ve learned anything over the years, its that players are distracted by the slightest thing faster than you can yell “Squirrel!”

With a roleplay-heavy group like the current DDC, this may not necessarily be a bad thing. I plopped them down in a generic inn map while assembling things and it turned into at least two sessions of them making breakfast for each other, singing, and trying to teach a tiefling to catch apples with their tail. All the derailments so far have been purely character-chat – aside from the sudden desire to go find a training ground to practice combat.

Fortunately there are a great number of free map graphics made up. They’re searchable through the assets menu, but these all take time and I couldn’t find anything generic enough.

In the end I used a semi-random map for that particular moment. It did prompt me though to have a look at the various map pack options available to purchase through the Roll20 marketplace – rather than so many of the pre-made pretty options.

I ended up with three that look fairly flexible in that they are modular graphics with connectors – I can use the layers to blend the rough edges and the intended size and proportions so far have been quite user-friendly. I

‘ve been practicing with the Stone Building set to make some sort of generic mansion layout. Its not for a particular planned encounter, but is the sort of thing I plan to archive and keep to hand the next time they try something felonious or otherwise random.

Longtime gamers won’t even blink at the option of felonious in the above paragraph – and as this group has designated the rogue as their financier, I feel entirely justified in making up places that may suffer security lapses in the weeks to come.

Now my only concern is going to be what effect having lots of small graphics for the map will be like as opposed to having a single graphic that I’ve made elsewhere and imported. I’m using .png format graphics, so they should be reasonably swift but I’ll report when I start using them in anger. The other difference is that the group is currently five players plus myself, as opposed to the eight or so that the previous Wartorn Campaign had – I’m hoping this imposes a much lower hit on bandwidth and loading times.

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Out of Isolation

Yay! Its officially been two weeks of self-isolation and it’s over as of today – I can go out and – oh, wait… Well then everyone, um…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty much a hermit at the best of times, but today has been an exercise in trying to post out some supplies and eBay sales to people so I’ve had the fun experience of turning up to a couple of post offices that claim to be open on their websites, but actually aren’t.

In the end I resorted to putting out a plea on the local Facebook group and someone was able to identify somewhere in Lower Sunbury that wasn’t lying – mission accomplished!

It does mean that I’ve finally been able to pass on a couple of things for myr s and the cub – an antlered headband I commissioned for them for the delayed Red Dragon 6 Convention, and a 3D-printed Disney-style nameplate for the cub – and some paperwork – so that’s a relief to be able to get those out at least. So now I’m back home, watching a Barry Lewis livestream and sipping a fresh coffee. There are worse ways to spend a lunchtime.

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Game Night Returns

Well, that happened… That’s actually the title of the game that I’m running and it seems entirely appropriate for a heavily roleplay-orientated group with similarly dry senses of wit as my own.

The mix of character personalities bubbles gently as we have a mix of introverts and extroverts at play – fortunately the most extrovert of them is Lord S, who as an opera performer delights in elevating everyone around him. Taking the royal of a flamboyant rogue of a noble halfling, he took us on a good five minute babble about the difference between asking someone nicely to do something and asking someone nicely to do something.

My notes on the session are as follows:

Key events – from memory: breakfast included another session of catching practice, where Caeluma switched up to using daggers rather than their tail for catching apples, and everyone thought a fight was about to break out. Alfonso and Briar took the stage to warm applause, but only after Alfonso nearly had a breakdown trying to explain to Caeluma the difference between asking nicely and asking nicely. The Secretary of Orcish Antiquities let people pet her Iron Defender “George” and her pet dinosaur enjoyed being snuck all the treats.

University IDs were handed out, a formal signing of the DDC charter happened, and a job was provided as a test run for the group to investigate a cave/ruin recently uncovered on the Thrane border by bad weather. Return tickets for the Lightning Rail to Fort Light have been provided.

Then there was a bit of a training session, first with a warforged ex-soldier called Speedy, and then with skeletons. The match was called after a minotaur skeleton KO’d Briar and sent them flying literally ten foot through the air.

We ended the session with a cut back to the bar and everyone covered in comedy bandages and moving in some discomfort to order dinner.

And then we mostly stayed up chatting until nearly four in the morning.

Dearie, dearie me…

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The DDC

I was telling my counsellor via video call last night that one of the absolute joys that has been lifting my spirits has been this new gaming group and the use of a Discord server to keep us all in touch. Everyone is meshing so well that we’ve got impromptu roleplaying on one of the channels that has tempted everyone in.

It’s leading to character developments from quirks and hobbies to re-evaluation of initial concepts and back stories – with our heroes being hired by a patron in the Wynarn University of Aundair as a field research group. They’ve settled on calling themselves the DDC, and to tell everyone something different when asked what it means.

The five players have decided on roles within the group, from scholar to financier, scout, fixer, and anthropologist. We will no doubt see what that actually translates to once we get to the meat of the adventure, but for now they are a happy group who sort breakfasts for each other, have discovered a love of knitting, try to teach juggling with knives, and sit excitedly on public transport sightseeing.

It’s a very different set of dynamics to previous groups, so there’s a delight in that, plus several people haven’t really played much or at all before so there’s a sense of excited discovery going on. I’m not using any premade adventures this time out so it will all be a bit more freewheeling. I can’t wait to see where it takes us*

*I actually have a fairly well plotted idea for the first few weeks, so I fully expect that to be thrown out the window in short order

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Cough and Splutter

Well the good news is that Lady M seems to be recovering, but I can’t stop coughing and the rattling in my chest is worse. I guess it’s my turn to be a bit pathetic when the cuppas need making.

Hopefully this is something that’ll blow over quickly. I’m already tired of the cough just today, and generally feeling very fatigued. Given I started asking staff how they’re doing as we’ve all been sent home, it feels odd to be doing it while stopping my lungs from detonating.

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Texted by the Government

Although they started making noises about it a few years ago, the UK government never actually got round to making any kind of formal emergency messaging system work. The cynical among us might think that because no one was lined up to get rich out of it that it never got the real push it needed – rather than being concerned that it would be a really sensible thing for a government to do to disseminate important information.

Compare this with South Korea, The United States, or the Netherlands for example. South Korea has been so aggressive in its development and adoption of it that they have reportedly been able to communicate the movements of infected people on their way to get tested or quarantined to minimise potential harm to others.

But no, here in the UK the govt had to ask the four major phone providers to send a text on their behalf to tell me to stay at home, just in case I hadn’t noticed the news in any way, shape, or form.

If it helps focus minds, then good, it’s better than nothing, but I’m already hearing from people whose phones flagged it as spam or suspected phishing attempts. That does not bode well.

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