What Do You Mean I’m The Adult?

If there’s one thing I think most of us recognise, it’s that situation where you realise that you’re not the newbie any more, and indeed that people are looking to you to lead – and you look round for a more adult-y person, but there aren’t any so you’re it. Yeah, had one of those today.

To give some context I usually am the one to whom people defer so being “the adult” isn’t exactly new. Whether that’s as a manager, or a leader, or DM, or Dom it’s usually me making a decision or giving approval, or well you get the idea.

Even the opening situation described above isn’t exactly new either. It tends to happen every month or so in one context or another. I blame the silver in my beard I think.

Today’s revolved around a conversation with one of my peers about someone seconded to a position recently. Among other things, we talked about areas that some quiet words may be needed about – to help keep pace with the demands of the job and certain situations.

Halfway through, it dawned on me that I was being agreed with, and was leading the conversation. As the other person has been in post longer than I have there is usually an expectation of leaning in on that experience, but not this time. This time I was the adulty adult being asked for experience and guidance.

What’s the problem? Well, nothing and something. Having my opinion taken as equal weight is a good thing, as is recognition of skills and experiences. What quails is the inner child that doesn’t like having expectations put on him because it reminds me of past pressures and mistakes. It’s that very young place that lacks self confidence even as adult me takes ownership and takes charge – despite, or perhaps because, there’s no one else willing or able to step up.

Perhaps that’s why it felt so important later in the day to acknowledge, congratulate, and thank an apprentice for stepping up, taking ownership, and resolving a situation (with one or two prompts). Seeing them straighten in their chair where they’d been bowed with worry they’d screwed up made my day.

Not Long

I know that there isn’t some magical tickertape explosion due to wipe the woes of 2020 away at the end of the week, but I am looking forward to symbolically saying goodbye to this year. If nothing else there’s a mental shrug to be done, like splitting a big job into smaller slices, with stepping into 2021.

I’m back at work for a few days, providing a click and collect service, so at least I can feel I’m making a positive difference in the lockdown. The biggest difficulty is retraining my brain to wake at a reasonable hour, so I’m setting lots of alarms tonight.

And We’re Back

Merry Christmas everyone, much food and drink has been consumed and a state of pleasant befuddlement has been enjoyed. All this despite the last minute lockdown.

We spaced out presents through the day, and enjoyed spoiling each other rotten in the unexpected quiet.

And then this evening we ran an online version of what I’d been planning as a tabletop one shot – or at least the beginning of one – in what I’ve started calling the one point five shot session.

It is a goblin themed one shot, set in a goblin village. We have:

  • Truxi the Bard played by Lady M
  • Angre the Wizard played by myr s
  • Dranverk the Barbarian played by the cub
  • Morrus the Monk played by Lady W
  • Meekface the Artificer played by Lady B

All the characters are goblins, and this has given license for a certain degree of silly voices in the stream and for some reason 80s and 90s-themed football references to the retired hero, now brewer, called Cann Tonna and his missing rival Red Knapp who disappeared while raiding the New Castle to the North.

If it weren’t for the lockdown we would get out more.

Oh, and a goblin scout was chased into the village and shot down by elves wearing the insignia of the Silver Flame before the goblin heroes could drive them off. In two days a force of these fanatics will raid the village. They will attempt to steal away the goblin children at the height of the Winter Festival.

Christmas Eve

Lady M has been working today, I have not. I’m enjoying the fruits of the decision to take time before Christmas even with everything else going on in the world. By fruits, I mean putting my feet up, reading, playing games, watching YouTube videos, and maybe a couple of quiet drinks between snacks. There’s a definite feeling of overdue indulgence to today that is very welcome right now.

Inspired by a friend’s post on social media, we have given each other a pre-Christmas Funko, and resisted pressing each other to open any more. It’s a nice little thing I may do next year too, in line with our habit of giving little birthday presents in the week leading up to them.

All in all, it has helped keep positivity up, despite everything. It may not be the Christmas we hoped for, but it will be a good day tomorrow for us here. I hope it is for you too.

Christmas Eve Eve

I decided to deliberately have a day of doing very very little today. I managed to break the back of preparations for the one-off yesterday so I’ve given myself the day off. Instead I’ve watched The Muppets Christmas Carole and The Muppets Treasure Island while stretched out on the sofa.

On a not unrelated note we also did a lot of Christmas supplies shopping the last couple of days for basics, fun stuff, and yes alcohol. If we have to be in lockdown we’re going to do so in comfort and ease.

My biggest problems today have been checking in on a colleague (Lady Sz) for reasons, and resisting the urge to start passing presents to Lady M to open early. There are worse problems to have.

Changing Tack

We had planned to have a very poly Christmas this year, having our first Christmas together in the almost three years we’ve been bumbling along. Oh well.

I was going to go pick up myr s, the cub, and Lady W as metamour in chief on the evening of Christmas Day. That way they could enjoy a family meal with myr s’ father and Lady M and I could have a quiet morning to ourselves. A quick dash down to Portsmouth and back in the evening and we could then have a few days cosily in our flat. In line with the then-restrictions we would also be able to welcome Lady B during that period and have a table-top dungeons and dragons extravaganza.

Because that’s how we roll.

Instead, I am now busily making up details for that one-shot game to convert for Roll20 and our usual Sunday Twitch slot. No pressure or anything, I had been planning to largely wing it for the table but now I need to at least draw some maps. I’ve even written a four part structure for the characters to completely derail.

So, there will be other Christmases, and certainly plenty of other opportunities to get us all together again, no matter what coronavirus throws at us. For now, we’ll stay safe and do our bits to keep others safe.

Tales of Lockdown: Games Night

Okay – Tier 4 lockdown just happened, affecting everyone in our polycule and wider social and work circles, so there’s been a lot of angst and anger as we all dropped all our plans. One thing has remained – Games Night – our now-regular Sunday evening D&D sessions streamed through https://www.twitch.tv/princessleah1980 between 7.30pm and 10.30pm (ish). As ever we had fun – and there was more than a little silliness, including this gem: https://clips.twitch.tv/NiceBovineDonkeyKeepo

The whole evening’s show can for now be seen by following this link: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/844296990?t=3h1m41s and we are still working on converting them all for watching on YouTube. The channel is called Well That Happened and for now there’s a couple of introductions on there. Perhaps being in lockdown will give us collectively time to get more material up.

Tim wearing a green tshirt with the caption: Dungeon Master - It's not my job to kill you, it's just one of the perks
Would you trust a DM like this?

So – what happened? Basically the whole episode was set on a travelling Lightning Rail train, with the adventurers travelling home from their previous adventure. With it being a seasonal festival, they became aware that there was much frivolity, eating, drinking, and general carousing taking place in the restaurant cars next door – so they joined in. Then they started to notice that things were a bit off, with people consuming food and drink to excess, staggering off to be ill or use the toilets, and then returning for more. Then they realised that their DM’s exhortations to Eat! Drink! Be Merry! were actually telepathic urgings from somewhere that were affecting them too.

It all ended up with a corrupt train official, cultists of the Dragon Below, and an Otuygh in the waste carriage that frankly was just living its best life until the adventurers came along. Never before have I seen our tiefling go from “awww, I’m going to knit Santa a hat” to “I’m going to kill Santa” quite so quickly. It was great fun, and I think we really needed the laughter.

Next week will be a seasonal one-shot that I need to start working on urgently, featuring Christmas Goblins and Elves. Feel free to drop by and say hello!

Okay, Holiday Time

That’s it, I’m on holiday now. I normally take time between Christmas and New Year, but this time I’ve opted to take the run-up instead. In part it’s to give my peer managers a turn at that stretch of time, and in part to just stop and enjoy the amble towards the celebrations.

I may have spent time today at work joking with my staff about whether it was time to go home yet, but now I’m home, feet up, fed by Lady M, and most of a bottle of rioja downed while we watch the Masterchef final. All in all I’m happy to call this a good start.

The next few days should be quiet. I have planning to do for a D&D one-shot featuring Christmas goblins vs elves, and we’ll have some visitors from Christmas evening for a couple of days – but that’s all that is lined up. Just as well with the new restrictions.

All Ending In Tiers

I couldn’t resist the joke.

Within ten minutes of the announcement of Surrey going in to Tier 3 restrictions I had people coming in wanting to grab as many books as possible. They were afraid we were about to close our doors.

Thankfully I was in a position to be able to tell them that while they were very welcome to carry as many books as they could, we would be remaining open so they could relax. Our existing precautions and spaces, along with the fact we don’t serve food or drink meant we don’t need to alter the service we provide.

There was much relief, and slightly less worry as a result.

I have one more day of work and then I’m off until after Christmas. I feel I’ve earned the break.

Jawdrop Moment

I was shelving books the other day, and was approached by a customer, book in hand. Nothing unusual there, it’s part and parcel of my daily work routine.

The customer wanted to know if we had the latest book by the author they had just finished reading – which was a bit of a problem because they held in their hand The Quarry – the last book written by Iain Banks before his death in 2013.

I gently broke it to them that this wouldn’t be possible – barring an upcoming non fiction work due out next year based on his notes and drawings around his Culture series of books. I thought that perhaps this was what they meant when they asked after his next book

And this is where the conversation wandered sideways a little: I was berated for keeping the books of a dead man on the shelves if there weren’t going to be any more books by them.

I’d love to say that I had the presence of mind to sassily spread my arms to encompass the many, many works by dead people on our shelves, but they turned on their heel and walked out, leaving the book on top of the desk beside us before I could gather my wits.

I love working with the public, and sometimes it is precisely because of the surreal conversations I have with them.