Today’s Word: Meandering

Both Lady M and Charleesi have studies for exams in the near future, so after the riding lesson, they both buckled down to work while I played some if the new haul of games.

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The first mission of dragon Age Inquisition has me intrigued, but reminded me that I need to finish DA2 (and, technically DA:Origins too), and so I fired up Forza Horizons 2 after Lady M rage quit from it, and lost myself in its gorgeousness for a good portion of the afternoon. I’ve said before that I’m a sucker for sandbox games, and this Forza, combined with the import of drivatars from the previous game, has won me over.

This evening we had dinner at Demonic’s place as a birthday celebration, and came away with the awesome balloon pictured here. I also received a Good Book, sure to bring me relief in times of trial 😉 We didn’t stay late, but endured the horrible weather on the M25 with no more than the usual semi-horrified “what on earth?!” exclamations.

Now we’re home, with a bottle of rose wine with which to unwind. Truly a meandering path through the day, and hence the word of the day for the new journal. Tomorrow brings the Hooligan tabletop D&D game. Can’t wait.

Indulgent Birthday

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I have to say its been a lovely couple of days. I’ve had lovely comments and wishes from far and wide, and some truly awesome gifts. Being a massive geek – a confession that I’m sure will come as an awful shock to many of you – I was very pleased to receive a Funko Dancing Groot from Lady M. He now sits on top of the XBox 360, wishing us well in our console-hopping games extravaganzas. A veritable stack of new games is now waiting to be explored, with Lego Batman 3 currently the subject of my attentions.

From the Charleesi came the unusual journal in the picture. The idea is that you choose one word to describe your day. Lady M has challenged me to only use positive words, no matter what the day brings. I think I shall mirror the contents of that journal here too. I’ll either embed it in a longer piece like this, or make a standalone entry, depending on time and mood.

I also got a Jawbone UP24, which I’m getting to grips with, and so far I’m very impressed, now that I’ve finally got it paired with my phone and tablet.

We ate at The French Table in Surbiton last night. My meal was excellent: a terrine of rabbit and ham hock for starter, followed by venison and then a chocolate fondant dessert. Lady M encountered problems with her food, including shell in her crab cannelonni and alcohol still in the Madeira sauce with her beef. Her gingerbread bread and butter pudding with pear was amazing.

Unfortunately, the Madeira alcohol caused an allergic reaction (port and similar fortified wines do not react well with her stomach), so she has been rather unwell for much of today. On the plus side, we have finally replaced her green screened phone with a Samsung S5, so she is currently updating and configuring that.

We have the Charleesi with us this weekend, so it’s going to be fun. The words for the last two days have been ‘Indulgent’ and ‘Contented’. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s is.

Time off for bad behaviour

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All of a sudden I seem to have got quite busy, despite now being off work for the rest of the week. Next week will be World Book Day, for which we’ll be dressing up as literary characters and setting up displays. A week or so after that is Red Nose Day – and I’ve got talked into helping out with an event at a pub with Ladies M, past and present, Lady P, the Charleesi, musicians and a cast of misfits. I’m also now running two Dungeons & Dragon groups, which is simultaneously joyous and terrifying.

Oh, and it’s my birthday tomorrow, so Lady M has prevailed on the library to book me off duty until next week. We’re apparently going somewhere nice for a meal…

Meanwhile, I’ve written up Monday’s game session, and that can be found under the Wartorn Chapter Three section as usual…

Hypoglycaemic episode

Yesterday was going quite well, until a little before closing time when my body decided to throw me a curve ball and give me a hypoglycaemic episode. I suddenly grew very tired and dizzy, broke out in a clammy sweat and found it quite hard to form coherent sentences. Fortunately I had other staff members nearby and I was able to communicate intelligibly enough that there was a problem.

With the rapid application of water and then sugary drinks I was soon recovering, though banned from doing the usual end of day routines like shifting crates. The cold air outside helped clear my head for the walk home and I had a quiet lie down until Lady M got home.

Hypoglycaemia is a sign that blood sugar levels have dropped below safe levels, and I rarely get them, so I’ll be looking closely at things to see if I did anything unusual yesterday to prevent a recurrence. The symptoms and signs of hypoglycaemia can include:

feeling hungry
sweating
dizziness
tiredness (fatigue)
blurred vision
trembling or shakiness
going pale
fast pulse or palpitations
tingling lips
irritability
difficulty concentrating
confusion
disorderly or irrational behaviour, which may be mistaken for drunkenness

It’s an unnerving thing to happen because you know something’s wrong but unless you recognise it, the urge to just be withdrawn and grumpy overrides decisions to do anything about it. Getting sugar, preferably in solution, is a good quick fix if caught in time, so cans or bottles of coke or lemonade are essential survival tools.

Does that sound dramatic? Well, if unattended, it can deepen to coma and death, so if you experience me with combinations of the symptoms above do check with me. If you get a really snappy or grumpy response, insist I have some water at least. I’ll thank you later

Tabletop Baby Steps

Well, that went well I thought. Four potential players of the six were able to attend, so we took over a corner of the coffee house and I produced stacks of paper, pens and a Deadpool mask full of dice to begin the process of creating characters from scratch.

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Everyone there had played some form of Dungeons & Dragons before, but crucially none of them had played version 3.5 except Lady M; and it had been a couple of years for her too. It quickly became an exercise in shuffling books and dice, with some picking up concepts more quickly than others. Some had a basic concept in mind already, while Lady M let the dice decide her concept for her.

For me, it was a useful exercise in gauging how things were likely to play out. Who was clued up on searching out information, and who was intimidated by the walls of text? Who was looking for the highest combat modifiers and who was thinking how their rolled statistics would inform their roleplay choices?

Over the couple of hours we’d set aside, the first four characters began to take shape. An elven sorcerer, a dwarven cleric, a human ranger (loosely based on Merida from Brave) and a half-orc monk took on substance as skills were chosen and feats debated. With that development began the formation of rudimentary battle plans as each person took onboard a clearer mental image of their characters’ strengths, weaknesses, aptitudes and interests.

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There are two more people confirmed as wanting to play, and another potential player from my Monday group who only lives down the road. If he joins, he’ll have the clearest understanding of how I GM games from the off. Lady M and Charleesi have played a couple of short games, while Lady P and the others have only heard stories or read the blog entries here.

The buzz is quite different from that around the Roll20 screen on Mondays – the mix of personalities is younger and less scarred by enduring my GMing than the grizzled veterans I’m writing about in the Wartorn campaign. In addition, this (probably) Sunday group has an even mix of genders, so I’m expecting some different approaches to the game than the usual testosterone-driven games that I’ve typically had over the years. I’m really looking forward to it.

When gamers get excited

I’m gathering the new tabletop gamers group together tomorrow afternoon, and as there’s a few who haven’t yet met in person, I took a leaf from the Monday Roll20 session. I set up a Facebook shared conversation, introduced the topic and gave it a snazzy name. Then I gave it a bit of a stir and let the geekiness fizz over.

It started quietly, with questions about the game, and then the ice broke and this afternoon saw a torrent of geek conversation comprised of as many quotes from different fandom’s as possible. We skipped between Disney, Friends, superheroes of various stripes (although Guardians of the Galaxy seemed most popular), and on until  we ran out of steam.

It bodes well that most people got most of the references, and that they dived into it so eagerly. Tomorrow’s session will be for creating characters and the whole exercise has given me a good idea of the types of players we have as anything else.

With that in mind, I found this list lurking on my hard drive from a few years ago. I’m not sure who originally did this, lists like it have been circulating for years, but it made me chuckle, so I’m sharing it here:

  1. The Real Man – “Hot Diggity!! Gnoll outpost at twelve o’clock!! CHAAAAAAAARGE!!!”
  2. The Real Roleplayer – “Don’t start yet!! I need my two minutes to get properly into character.”
  3. The Lunatic – “I sheathe my longsword and kiss the ogre on the lips.”
  4. The Munchkin – “Five arch-devils and two demigods? That’s ALL?! I guess I’ll only need to use six of my rings for this encounter.”
  5. The Coward – “Yikes! Three kobolds!! Retreat! Retreat!”
  6. The Troublemaker – “Just before the Mayor gives his speech to the town, I cast ‘command – vomit’ on him.”
  7. The Novice – “I just rolled a 2 on my ‘to hit’ roll. Did I want high or low?”
  8. The Tactician – “The archer will move silently into position behind the podium, carefully aiming at the sergeant. The mage will remain behind the door in preparation of a ‘sleep’ spell which will be centered at the table around which are the bulk of the guards. Meanwhile, the fighter and I . . .”
  9. The Quiet Type – “I dunno . . . I lob off another arrow at the monster this round, I guess.”
  10. The Punster – “You know how many clerics it takes to fix a light bulb? One to cast ‘cure light’.”
  11. The PC Infighter – “Since Ruth’s been such a twit, I hit her in the face with my flail while she’s casting her ‘find familiar’ spell.”
  12. The Rules Lawyer – “No, if you look in the DMG, page 87, paragraph 5, you’ll find this spell won’t affect griffons.”
  13. The Whinger – “Three points?! I take THREE POINTS OF DAMAGE!?! Frank, what the hell kind of grudge do you have against me?”
  14. The Bully – “Are you sure I don’t make my saving throw? Are you ABSOLUTELY sure? Do you want to keep your nose the way it is, Lou?”
  15. Mr. Greedy – “So it’s not evil? And it’s not attacking? So what! I WANT THAT XP!!!!”
  16. The Cheater – “I roll an… 18! It hits!” [Quickly grabs dice.]
  17. The Chastiser – “And you DIDN’T SEE THAT TRAP COMING? Hahahaha!! Just how long did you say you’ve been playing this game?”
  18. The Kamikaze Guy – “I jump off our perch, taking careful aim to land dead center on the hobgoblin patrol. Just before I hit the ground, though, I set off the “fire trap’ on all my nine flasks of oil.”
  19. The Good Roller – “Oh, looky here. An 03 on percentile dice. If that door was trapped, I just found something.”
  20. The Bad Roller – “Oh, damn it all!! *Another* critical fumble!!”
  21. The Braggart – “The thought of you attacking me isn’t even interesting. I could get off a ‘sleep’ spell and slit your unconscious throat before you even get your longsword out of its sheath.”
  22. The Reminiscer – “Say, y’know, this is like the time our party thief spent twenty minutes trying to lock-pick an unlocked door.”
  23. Goody Two-Shoes – “Wait a minute. Even if they are orcs, we just can’t kill them when they’re asleep and can’t defend themselves.”
  24. The Overoptimistic Daydreamer – “After we get through this campaign, and have gained about nine, ten levels, I’m going to buy me the finest battle axe +3 money can buy.”
  25. Short-Attention-Span Man – “Hmmm? What? Are we attacking now?”

Another week whizzes past

hobbit barbarian riding a dinosaur
More reasons to hate Bagginses

Where’s this week gone? Having had Monday off to spend time with the Charleesi, my perception of the week has gone into overdrive. Combined with a busy week, I’ve just turned round and realised that it’s Saturday tomorrow. All in all, I’ve been quite pleased to have a relatively slow day then.

I’ve mostly spent it writing, with side excursions to shop for a niece’s birthday present and play Dragon Age 2 – which I only discovered I’d downloaded for free as a Games with Gold a while ago this week. As is the case with many games, I haven’t actually got round to finishing Dragon Age Origins, but now I’ve started 2, I’ll have to do that too, in between the Assassins Creed games. Oh boy…

I’ve had a number of conversations recently about setting up a tabletop D&D game, and today’s seen a bit of a leap forward in making that happen. The manager at our local coffee shop has agreed to let us make the place untidy, so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and get the various miscreants around the table. Guess I’d better arrange some material for that then…

I’ve set up a new shared message channel on Facebook to start organising people and begun fielding questions. Pretty much everyone is new to 3.5, so that should actually help as we begin rolling up characters on Sunday. If nothing else, it should give rise to all sorts of new anecdotes and dialogue – some of which will no doubt end up in stories.

Oh – in addition, I’ve finally got round to writing up Monday’s game – so that’s in the usual place above, and features traps and wandering monsters for the most part…

Traumas, adaptivity and aggravation

It’s been a bugger of a day, with two significant people in my life receiving bad news and there not being anything I can do to make things better, or do much to comfort them beyond offering hugs, time and keeping most of the trite platitudes at bay. Some might say that’s pretty much the best thing under the circumstances, and at least I didn’t go straight to the jokes and cynical sarcasm.

I also got into a debate with someone about the impact of traumatic  environments on children as compared to the impact of specific traumatic events. When I get into Facebook debates, I go for the deep ones.

Pausing then for a quick mental check, I’m okay – merely frustrated in my ability to do the impossible. I obviously need to up my awesome rating somehow. For now, let’s just Look On The Bright Side of Life

General Geekery

I had an interesting evening yesterday down the pub with Lady M, the ex-Lady M, Charleesi and an old friend we’ll call Lady G and her partner – as you do – and we got on to the topic of games. Lady G used to be part of a tabletop gaming group I used to run many many moons ago, but has little interest in roleplay games these days.

What we did discover though was a shared love of Cards Against Humanity; and that she is also a backer for Exploding Kittens, so plans have now started to get our calendars aligned so we can break out the depravity, or at least the laser pointers, and have some old geeky fun.

This really is starting to almost sound like we have a social life. How very ordinary. I’ll do a review of Exploding Kittens when we get a game or two in, looks fun and best played with a glass or two in hand.

More Dungeoneering Incoming

I still haven’t got round to writing up Monday’s game sessions, but the day’s not been without developments on the gaming front. I’ve been having casual conversations with a number of people about running a tabletop D&D game too, and putting some thought into the logistics. Today I followed up on a suggestion originally made by Charleesi, and asked the local coffee house manager if he had any objections to our setting up at one of his tables from time to time, and he has no problem with that at all.

So now I’m just in the process of confirming players, at which point I’ll start setting up shared files for online reference and sending out calendar invitations to start creating characters. I’ll start things off with 3.5 as I’m now feeling confident enough from the Wartorn campaign, and because I’ve not got any 5th edition books and don’t fancy learning all the changes on the fly.

So, we’ll see how that goes.