Oh, The DDC…

For those who haven’t caught up with Sunday’s streamed game, well where have you been? I knew it was probably going to be a bit random but I wasn’t expecting them to end up in a BDSM club.

On the one hand it was perfectly plot driven and was kept on the tasteful side, but it’s a stark reminder to DMs that any throwaway line can and will be used as a plot hook against you.

In this case it came from some abandoned and near ruined diaries found while investigating a deserted and haunted house. I was establishing the back story linking the owner of the house with another character that had previously been mentioned. A previous throwaway line of that character being a fugitive chemist and drugs being involved segued into the two mentioned characters being lovers.

This then led to a throwaway line of the DDC finding some erotic poetry between the two while searching through rubbish, and mention of some clubs that they’d frequented together. Having had a glass of whisky at the time I then made up some risqué sounding names.

This week, having rescued Coal, the DDC decided to go searching after the missing alchemist, and went looking for his previous haunts. This was where everyone produced their notes and said the name of the club they wanted to visit.

So instead of hunting after Warforged terrorists as I’d expected, they went clubbing, leaving Coal and Kerne behind to protect innocent eyes. Caeluma compared knitting and knotting techniques with a semi pro rope rigger, Thorin found his burgeoning pit fighter career made him a bit of a celebrity, and Valenia shmoozed for clues.

I have a vague plot now writing itself, but who knows where it’ll all end up…

Three Years

It’s been a strange journey of ups and downs in health and oddities, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Its been three years since myr s accepted a collar from me, and cemented a place in our collective lives.

Despite the best efforts of covid-19, lockdown, and the general vagaries of life we’ve kept a strong if sometimes frustrated bond – the joys of living in separate cities and all that.

The collar is a mark of trust and partnership, not unlike a wedding band, but a little less subtle in its symbolism. Since the first chain mail one, I’ve since bought a more masculine one for them as their gender identity has evolved. There have so been some more casual ones for comfort or blending in.

I was vaccinated yesterday, another sign that we seem collectively to be moving towards all being able to see each other again. I love myr s deeply, and cannot wait.

How’s Lady M?

This is how pretty much how most of the conversations with colleagues have started this week. It’s lovely to hear the concern both from those who know her from our conversations and from those who know her from our debauched pub meet-ups.

It has been my great pleasure to be able to say that she is doing very well, and healing quickly. More importantly her grin and laugh are back. I’ve missed those, and it’s wonderful to have the old Lady M back.

The DDC Game Design Theme

We had a great session today, bringing to a head the mystery of where Coal had disappeared to and what had happened to his former compatriots. Last week had brought the group to a war damaged slum, and the zombified remnants of the gang, and a wight that controlled them.

And then this week, as they thinned the waves of zombies out, the wall next to them came down revealing a roughly rebuilt Warforged Titan – a towering engine of destruction from the Last War – which had Coal patched and embedded in it as a jury-rigged power source.

And they fought among the ruins, fighting their fears for Coal, and were triumphant. The wight escaped, but they were able to rescue their companion. A huge victory, all the better for the emotional investment for everyone.

And it’s those connections I’ve been watching build, and encouraging as we go that rises to the queer experience of this set of adventures. There’s an underlying theme of the consciously built family in place of their various fractured backgrounds.

All the characters are outsiders and have bonded together in mutual support and love, but they are adventurers first and foremost. The characters original backgrounds are now being developed with new connections, and I’m enjoying weaving those into the story and hearing my players reactions.

Hearing my description of Coal being literally forcibly enfolded and assimilated into this relic of the military and wars he had fought so hard to reinvent himself away from, there were gasps around the table. There may also have been joking threats from myr s of what might happen if Coal died.

Music to my ears. Passion and determination fought fear and desperation this evening for stakes that felt important to everyone around the table. The discovered family fought the clutches of the abusive past, and won.

Well, Not Technically Wrong

I was rather pleased with being able to get a simple but effective display up in one of my libraries marking LGBT+ History Month. I was even more pleased at the positive feedback from staff and public. Even more so that it has inspired at least one more colleague to start their own.

Today I was informed by a member of staff that we had received congratulations and thanks from a member of the public for our support of the NHS.

With a waved hand towards the display.

Not pictured, any NHS logo

My colleague resorted to the tried and tested nod and smile technique. We do indeed support the NHS. The multiple LGBT+ History Month signs and logos might as well have been invisible.

Life’s too short to be anything other than amused, but I may have quietly rolled my eyes at the confirmation that people just don’t read signs.

Rollercoasters

There’s a certain joy at witnessing the very visible emotional roller coasters experienced by myr s, particularly at the positive end of things.

They’re a soppy thing – and I say that with love – who wears their heart firmly on their sleeve. This occasionally turns into sobbing floods of tears in response to emotional moments on screen or in text, or in little moments in our Dungeons and Dragons game when nice or beautiful moments of wonder occur.

I wasn’t at all surprised therefore at the response they got recently when they asked on social media what people mostly recalled about them. Almost universally people responded by saying: “your laugh” – and rightly so, because a laughing myr s includes giggle snorts, full on belly laughs, and breathless chuckling. Usually all at once like an explosion of surprised joy.

File this under partner appreciation things I think…

Decorating with Rainbows

February is LGBT+ History Month, so I’ve spent a portion of today decorating a library’s windows with flags and logos. As we’re largely closed to the public we can’t do our usual approach of book displays and historical posters, so I’ve improvised.

There are some nice packs of flags and bunting available on Amazon for reasonable prices so I grabbed one to provide the base elements for display.

The subject theme for this year is Mind, Body, and Spirit – a focus on mental health and support – so a raid on the shelves is imminent to build it properly.

Three Years

Three years ago, our triad actually got together for the first time. There was laughter and silliness, pub visits, and shopping. Its a pattern that has continued and evolved ever since.

We’ve had ups and downs, good times and not so good times, but no more so than anyone else. Above all there’s love and support, understanding and honesty, and no small amount of teasing.

Even with the lockdown, these amazing people have stuck around, challenged, and cherished me. I’m a very lucky man.

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.

Hello Winter

So, the clocks went back last night (or this morning, depending on your sleep patterns). As a result, anyone listing their activities in terms of GMT is now accurate for the next six months. So there’s that. I definitely needed that extra hour as our Pirates D&D game went on a bit later than planned – with a Halloween Beetlejuice-inspired caper.

Spooky is as spooky does

Oh, how we laughed. Well, more like screamed imprecations at the players who summoned him before finishing the containment bindings, but it did make for a fun and chaotic battle through a dollhouse.

The players learned that there was a reason I’d been grabbing and scrimshawing so many bones (healing potions reskinned as bones to break to activate). They also learned that my cleric’s version of turning undead was to shake bones and tell the zombies to f*** off back to their graves in fluent Draconic. And that said zombies tended to then explode when he did so. So that was colourful.

All of which was a good contrast to the week or so of prepping and undertaking interviewing of prospective saturday staff for the library I’ve just had. A night of mayhem was a good antidote.

Oh, and I did have time during the day to go see myr s for a few hours as well, which was also much needed by us both.