Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Sewing machines again

Sorry to bombard everyone with this ongoing saga, but I'm finding my own ineptitude both funny and frustrating.

I put out a plea for the loan of a sewing machine last night and got two immediate offers.  Wonderfully.  So I went and picked up the volunteer this afternoon.  Threaded it and bobbined it up with no trouble at all.  Felt smug.  Too soon.

The machine works just fine - except that it seems to have tension problems.  Half an hour, a ruined top and a small screwdriver later, I too had tension problems.

I'm buying my own machine.  I really can't deal with breaking another one that doesn't belong to me.

It's due to arrive on Friday.  Lay your bets now for how long the all new idiot proof machine lasts in my hands.  It was recommended by the WI, so it ought to be safe enough, but at this point I don't trust myself.

There will be an inevitable delay on the costume front.  Sorry, Antigone cast.

Monday, 30 January 2012

A-Z blog challenge

This is getting a bit ahead of myself, but I really enjoyed NaBloWriMo back in October - so just signed up for the A-Z blog challenge in April.  For more about this, click here.

We'll just quietly forget about the epic failure of NaNoWriMo.  Because that would be tactful.

For goodness sake, give me a blasted break technology ...

Rant warning ahead.

I've got on fairly good terms with the borrowed sewing machine lately - to the extent that of the 32 clothing items I need to finish by Wednesday I've done all but the last eight and half.

The motor is giving up.

I am giving up.

I cannot find an easy way to replace the motor.

Have to admit, right now I want to do nothing more than throw jam jars at the nearest wall and scream a lot.  This was my mum's solution to the insoluble and it sounds incredibly tempting.

Rant over.  Blood pressure still up, but rant over.

Friday, 27 January 2012


I have spent most of this week engulfed in curtain liner.  The result is many pairs of vaguely functional trousers.  The tops come next, but late last night, bludgeoned by an unexpected fever and reeling from my fifteenth pair of cotton trousers, I went online and looked at the recruitment forum.

Imagine if you will, my astonishment at seeing some hopeful players hunting for a DM to guide them through a short 4e adventure.  On the Paizo boards, that's a bit like finding hen's teeth.  As the publishers of Pathfinder, the bulk of the PbP games use that system. 

You can see where this is leading, of course.  I volunteered.  A couple of old lags chimed in.  Suddenly there is a six strong party wanting thrills and noble deeds.  They'll get them.  One of the players had an outstandingly cack-handed first experience so I feel honour bound to try and put that right.

The tops are on the way too.  Dye buckets may get a look in tomorrow if I can keep the sewing machine from crashing.  That part will be fun, but I'm not counting my chickens just yet.  I had to take the whole thing apart earlier today to extract some rogue lint.  Adventurers are easy meat in comparison.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Hysterical laughter v How to die horribly

As is typical for comedy, Twelfth Night rehearsals are fairly dour affairs.  We are wrestling with the language ( "Erm, why is this hilarious?"), the set and in my case my ability to stand upright and not knock someone over.

Tonight a new thing was added to this already heady mix.  Our director wants to set up Malvolio's big entrance as an audience collapser.  It's signposted a long way ahead and it needs to be a killer of a sight gag.  Clever old Will gives us several scenes without seeing Malvolio at all.  We wait and wait, as the description of what he's up to gets more elaborate.

The prime mover in all this is Maria, who writes the original letter (supposedly from Olivia and suggesting none too subtly that she's in love with Malvolio).  In it, false Olivia lists some things she particularly likes about Malvolio - his yellow stockings, his cross-gartering and his smile.  In the interim, Maria must spend  a lot of time spying on him, because all her entrances from this moment contain a progress report on how much of twit Malvolio is making of himself. 

Which brings me to the point.  Hysterical laughter on stage without losing the sense of the lines.  It's a technique, and it requires well placed breath.  Do that a few times in a row to find out exactly how fit you aren't. 

It's an interesting contrast with Malfi.  Here we're also dealing with a lot of highly technical effects, but this time with the intention of freaking the audience out.  Last week we had strangulation, manual neck-breaking and a re-run of all the fights.  Hilarity all around. 

In both cases, we're building a magician's trick box to get the response the play demands.  It amuses me that behind the scenes the comedy is often rather dull and the tragedy is often gut-wrenchingly funny.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Getting the dice out

Our potential recruits came around today.  There was much joy as piles of dice were pulled out, piled up, test-driven, rejected, re-selected and finally banished to the outer darkness.  The outer darkness in this case being the two daughters who took a huge fancy to the glittering piles and made them into an impromptu jewellery shop.  The dice were hugely popular.

Many minis reappeared as well.  "Oh, this is my one sci-fi mini.  And this needs repainting.  And these I should paint sometime."  A whole lead mountain. 

It was a fun afternoon.  You could see the old memories flooding back as ex-gamer started making fire-ball noises.  Wife and children took it well, but I don't think they're necessarily converts.  Not yet anyway.

We left in in the middle of the final battle with all to play for as attention spans were failing.  So far only the healer has been unconscious - impaled by a gigantic ambulant thorn bush - but the rest of the fey themed party are doing nicely.

The rogue is being a bit more cautious after spending the first two rounds of the introductory encounter neck deep in mud being hugged by a mud slinger.  He punctured it in short order and got out, but he's low on surges now.  Brian Fightbrain was a weak link for wilderness wandering.  He fell into huge nettle patch and got attacked by insects.  The ardent, rogue and fightbrain are (of course) the experienced players. 

For the record they are an eladrin wizard with few social skills, a drow outcast rogue, an elf ranger, and two half-elves - a battlemind and an ardent.  They are an efficent group who diced up the first encounter very neatly and wrapped up two skill challenges with some good teamwork.

We'll see how things go once we mop up the encounter - hopefully in the next week or so.

EDIT:  One final thing - I may not be able to make a fey panther sound like anything other than a very feeble cat, but I have a deft line in mud-slinger gurgling.


Numbers are looming over me.

Number of Antigone trousers made and fitted - 6
Number of Antigone trousers to make -  10
Number of Antigone tops made and fitted - 3
Number of Antigone tops to make - 13
Number of Malfi costumes made and fitted - 0
Number of Malfi costumes being made - 5
Number of Malfi costumes that have unassembled parts - 11
Number of Malfi costumes that don't exist at all yet - 15 (Urk.  This is a bad number.)
Number of Faustus costumes that can be made - 8 (I know what the devils will wear)
Number of Faustus costumes unconfirmed - 33 (there are many changes and it is a big cast)

Number of rehearsals to Antigone get in - 6
Number of rehearsals to Malfi get in - 12
I'm not even thinking about Faustus in those terms yet.
Number of words learned for Twelfth Night -  0 officially, but about 50% in reality

Number of online games being run - 3
Number of online games played in - 3
Number of live games prepared for - 1
Number of pre-gen PCs for live game printed - 0
Number of Mikelmerck posts achieved in last week - 0

I look at this and realise why I don't like maths.  It keeps telling me things I don't want to know. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

Tax return


In my case, a ridiculously simple process which takes, at most about 15 concentrated minutes.

Why has it taken me a month?

Apart from basic procrastination issues, there's the whole "Urk, I can't remember my login number or my password" thing.  This involves deciding within about 30 seconds that I'm never going to.  The website is packed with helpful stuff, among which is the information that if you make three errors attempting to get into it, your account will shut down for two hours. 

Decided not to risk that.  Rang the tax office.  As they invariably are, they were sweet, helpful and soothing.  They agreed without fuss or bother, to send me a new login via snail mail. 

That accounts for 6 days.

Spent a day yesterday wondering if I could claim petrol money and deciding I couldn't as ironically, I don't earn enough to offset it against any tax.  Saddened by this thought, I stopped filling in the form.

Accounts for another day.  7 days.

Finished it today in a flurry of energy which took a whole five minutes - including the various "Error on this page" messages.

This means I spent at least 21 days procrastinating. 

I really need to take myself in hand.

Potential new players

For various reasons, our home gaming group has been depleted lately and our live games are rather in abeyance.  In an interesting twist of fate, I went to husband's work Christmas party and discovered in passing conversation that one of his colleagues used to play D&D.  It was the work of a moment to invite him and his wife to come on a taster adventure.

Sunday is the day. 

The colleague hasn't played at all for years (but has kept his minis).  The wife not at all, but is intrigued.  One of the old guard and my husband will be on the player team to hand-hold and help out, I will run a short adventure for them.  There will be food and hopefully it will be great fun and they'll want to come back.

We will provide pre-gens based on expressed preferences and I'm sleuthing for an entertaining short adventure with lots of variety - preferably involving a dragon. 

The only problem is that I'm terrified of stuffing the whole thing up, making an embarrassing mess of it all and putting them off entirely.  It's stage fright with bells on.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

23 answers for Zak

More from Zak S.  Bunch of questions.  Answered below.

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
A ritual combat in which the important thing was not to kill your opponents, but to push them out of the square.  That was great fun to create and run.
2. When was the last time you GMed?
Today, on the internetz.  Last face to face game was in November 2011.
3. When was the last time you played?
Today, on the internetz.  Last live session was on January 1 2012.
4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.
Demon-infested mall opens for business. 

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
Make trousers, at the moment (online games).  Live games, I just plot tactics and remind them about anything they've forgotten.  "Yup, that's a lava pool."
6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Online games, I restrict myself to coffee and cigarettes.  Can't break any more keyboards.  Live games, we usually host and there is food.  Players tend to bring snacks for communal grazing.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?
This is stupidly hard to answer.   None of my PCs do particularly spectacular things.   Possibly Akahale the dragonborn warlock intimidating a bad guy with his in depth knowledge of by-laws.
9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
Not so much in online games where the immersion is better.  Virtually impossible to retain atmosphere in a face to face game, but sometimes the magic happens and it's wonderful.

10. What do you do with goblins?
I prefer kobolds.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
Mikelmerck - my fantasy version of Yorkshire that's being evolved here.  Very slowly.

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
 An encounter requiring a party with zero Charisma or diplomatic skills to talk their way into a farmhouse without upsetting an old lady.  The results were both hilarious and pathetic as we frantically scraped through our skill lists thinking of ways to get in.

13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?
Mythic Russia.  It's a beautiful book and I'd like to run a game sometime.

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
Di Terlizzi.

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
Oh yes.  I've scared them a few times.  I like swingy, dramatic battles and try quite hard to build encounters around that notion.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)
Last time I GMed live.  It was a one shot delve for some level 15 PCs and came incredibly close to killing them all.  It really all came down to one round of the dice.  Not because of the near TPK, but because the battle itself was so cinematic and engaging.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
A room devoid of mobile or other phones with plenty of food around.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
Possibly Houses of the Blooded and 4e's Heroes of the Feywild.

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Renaissance art history and the Civil Service Legal Department.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
People who are pro-active and bring interesting PCs who push plot along just by doing stuff I didn't think of.

21. What's a real life experience you've translated into game terms?
A University.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?
 I'd love a book of maps ranging from cities to countries to all points between.   In my head, this book provides maps in many different styles and is stupidily heavy as it will be A3 size.  It may exist for all I know.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?
Not really.  A lot of conversations I have about drama could just as easily be about RPGs though.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Trousers. Not as simple as they look.

Despite my best efforts, the Antigone trousers are making slow progress.  The legs are simple.  The top end?  Ugh.  You have to leave enough space for anatomy.  Not hard in fact as if you do what I did (in my innocence) you end up with something that will comfortably accommodate two cast members at least.  This plainly would not do.  The poor kids would have been wallowing in unseemly yards of  fabric.  Plus, I don't have enough material for such indulgence.

I ended up cutting out a random chunk and re-stitching and now have a pair of vaguely functional trousers.  They are neither elegant nor anything a person would choose to wear, but that is the nature of costumes.  Since then I have disembowelled a pair of ancient pajama bottoms and things are going better.

Oddly enough, I have no problems with really quite difficult things - like outre robes and dresses for the damned, but plain simple trousers have been eating my life for three days.

Mikelmerck Bestiary, your turn is coming.  I have earned you.

Most excellent stuff from Zak S

This from Zak S at Playing D&D with Pornstars is simply the best summation of the mythical One Game to Rule Them All I've yet seen.

Among other huge merits, it is utterly non-judgemental about play styles and preferences and brings nothing to the table except its intention of everyone finding something they like. 

Now that's a system I can get behind.  So, I suspect, can many others.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Testing, testing

Band of noble, but morally inferior wood-elves
I am not much of a one for wargaming, mainly because I have the tactical sense of a doughnut, but I do enjoy watching others pushing little lead soldiers around.  That and I paint the occasional mini and it's always nice to see them in use.

This afternoon saw a playtest on our table and very entertaining it was too.  Good and Bad (with a definite capital "B") faced up to each other across some randomly assigned terrain. 

Using trees for camoflague, the good team consisted of the wood-elves pictured above, a small dwarf unit, Donaar K'Baab the dragonborn hero, Friar Ducaine the robust healer and some random halflings teleported in from an alternate dimension. 

On the other team, assorted dark elves, some leftover scaven, a few rats, a selection of blood cultists masquerading as ghouls, Karolina the vampiric bard, Davy Powys the mighty dark elf hero, a giant toad and Madskillz the troll.  They appeared from behind a small hill and around a (possibly) strategic tower.

As it happened, most these units were ranged, so battle joined fairly fast.  Unlike some other minis games I've witnessed it was not only speedy, but pretty lethal. 

The dwarf unit dropped almost at once due to good rolls from the ghoulish cultists, but revenge was taken almost immediately when they were wiped out in turn by the wood elves. 

At the centre of the battlefield, the heroes good and bad accummulated to challenged each other to duels.  Donaar and Karolina both fell and the wood elves were so demoralised that they turned and fled.  Madskillz never even made it into combat, felled by the anachronistic halflings.  "Big, smelly chap at 4 o clock.  Take him down."

Considering the whole combat was bodged together on the fly, it was amazingly well balanced.  The whole thing took about an hour and a half including setting up.  I'm seriously tempted to give it a go.

What was I doing?  Making a costume is the answer to that one.  We have a big table.  The sewing machine behaved impeccably.  Clearly all it needs to keep it happy is a battle raging two feet away.

Friday, 13 January 2012

An admission and an apology

I have terrible co-ordination.  Ask me to follow a set of moves or try to dance and hilarity will result.  Sometimes pain will result too - occasionally not for me.

Case in point.  Twelfth Night is back in the rehearsal swing after the holidays.  Last night the light of attention was shone on the first four scenes.  One of these consists of Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Maria lowering the tone - which up to this point in the play has been lyrical and rather wistful.

Our director has decided that Maria should slap Sir Andrew for making crude honking noises and gestures at her.  We did this a couple of times and it was fine (a slap often isn't that painful if you know it's coming).  Then I realised I'd be in flat shoes and took my boots off.  Disaster.  I completely mistimed it and sent Sir Andrew's glasses flying across the room.  I hadn't taken account of the new height difference.

There isn't really an excuse, so I'm just feeling guilty.

My record is poor in this regard.  University productions were littered with people I'd accidentally walked into.  In one memorable case, I managed to fell two hapless guards with blows to the groin while attempting to shrug them off.  I was playing Antigone and walking out through the audience.  A merry directorial voice shouted, "Just push them off you."  So I did and the entire cast collapsed laughing apart from two agonised "oofs" behind me.  Lucky it was the dress rehearsal.

Anyway - apologies to Sir Andrew.  I shall rehearse in low shoes from now on.

In all other respects, Maria is huge fun to play.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


I have finally bent the sewing machine to my will.  It's taken the best part of a reel of cotton and more bad language than I thought I knew, but mission accomplished.  It is threaded.

Now all I have to do is sew something with it.

A new favourite

The bizarrely talented JasonS's blog is a constant source of amusement and inspiration.

The Dungeon Dozen

Brazier of infinite imps?  I think so.

I have a very soft spot for randomised lists and these are wonderful.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Going to the Wall (Mikelmerck maybe)

This is one of my favourite places in the world.

I badly, badly want to add it to Mikelmerck and the only thing that's really stopping me is that it's not in Yorkshire.  Northumbria and very close, but not in the county of choice.  Think I'm going  to do it anyway.  How can I resist an adventure following the path of a ghost legion?

Sewing machine ... how do I hate thee?

Let me count the ways.

  • You will not let me thread you.
  • If you do let me thread you, you will break said thread as I push up the needle.
  • If the thread does not break, you will disgorge your bobbin.
  • Should I be so fortunate as to get a piece of cloth into you, you will blow a fuse.
  • Having replaced the fuse, you will stitch beautifully for one half of a garment and then your thread will run out.
  • You will sulk ferociously while I rewind thread onto your no-longer extractable bobbin.
  • You will make me go through this whole process again.
  • And again.
  • You are not my sewing machine.  I cannot, therefore, take a hammer to you.
Dear sewing machine, you are making my life utterly miserable.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Let hostilities commence

Or rather, let them not commence.

With Wizards of the Coast announcing that they will be introducing 5e D&D, 4e's short and tempestuous reign comes to an end.  I'm very saddened by that as it's an edition I really enjoy playing and running.  It's the edition I learned to GM with and that gives is a special place in my heart.  I love its robustness and elegance and it does feel like D&D to me - maybe because I came to it 6 months into returning to the hobby.

All that aside, I'm interested to know what the latest baby will look like.  There is (reasonably enough) little concrete information at the moment, bar the expressed intention to ask players for input.  That will please a lot of people.  It could also lead to an unholy unplayable mess if it tries to be all things to all players.  That's not possible, so some overall design elements should hopefully get a look in as well.

Why the hostilities? In the end all RPGs boil down to rolling some dice and using a lot of imagination.  That basic fact hasn't stopped the community from leaping about and starting flamewars over trivia that passes imagination.  Change is not a welcome thing.  New stuff is good but outright change - not so much.

Can I just add a major disclaimer here?  I'm a game whore.  I'll play any system and enjoy it.  I still have preferences.  I found the 4e/3e/Pathfinder edition wars extremely tedious and mostly avoided them.  I'm not looking forward to many months of people announcing gleefully that it's all for the best and a game system I personally like is bad-wrong-fun. 

Note to self.  Stay away from threads that can't be properly answered and will only be upsetting.

Other note to self.  Sign up for playtest and try to speak up for the elements of 4e that are really, really good and I'd like to see survive into the next iteration.

Because if I do that, it might still be my game.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Mikelmerck - Thurizhelm

Thurizhelm is an oddity.  Consisting of three large circles, each linked by a broad processional way, it is the ancient meeting place for the old races of Mikelmerck.

The linking paths are lined with barrows - for only the greatly honoured were buried here.  In the early days of the Duchy, before humans got the upper hand, Fey, Dawners and giants met once a year on neutral ground.  Here they held Tynwald (discussion) and renewed their agreements about land and custom.

No blood is ever to be spilled in anger at Thurizhelm.  Much treasure may lie within its barrows, but none except the truly foolhardy would dream of venturing past its defences.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Mikelmerck - Bestiary continued

Black Pudding - not the breakfast foodstuff, but an unpleasant substance of unknown origin found mostly in mines.  It is said that the puddings are the congealed breath of The Owd Man - and that may be true.  Metal coming into contact with a pudding starts to dissolve instantly, to the ruination of many a good pickaxe.  Flesh fares little better.  They are hard to remove as, amoeba-like, the puddings simply become smaller puddings when hit.

Black Puddings
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: variable, depending on size (2-10)
Attacks: 1d8 but increasing depending on size
Special: Acidic surface, immune to cold, divides when hit for more than 6 damage with one attack.
Move: 3

Doom Hounds - are well known to presage death.  To see them is extremely bad luck.  For the most part they are found in castles and graveyards when there is no visible moon.   Their eyes glow with an unholy light, and they chase interlopers away from their preferred territory.  It is said that if anyone holds their ground and confronts such a hound, they may gain a boon, but this may be more optimistic than practical.

Doom Hounds
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 4–7
Attacks: Bite (1d6)
Special: Breathe cold, immune to fear, large glowing eyes
Move: 12

Dragons - are said to exist in Mikelmerck.  Reports suggest that they have been dormant for centuries and now form part of the landscape.  This is not to say that they cannot be revived.  The long ridge running across the top of the Telrick Dale is said to be a dragon's spine.  If so, the creature is enormous.

Dwarves - are rare.  Lead does not interest them much as a metal and their interests lie elsewhere in Albion for the most part.  There is one known dwarven enclave producing superlative weaponry and armour, but the inhabitants are clannish even by dwarf standards. Visitors are most unwelcome, but occasionally a dwarven merchant appears at Strangmont market.

Eagles - are well known.  Captured young, they can be trained and are efficent hunters.  It is illegal for the peasantry to catch or tame an eagle.

Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: Bite (1d6), 2 claws (1d4)
Special: None
Move: 3/30 (when flying)

Hulderfolk - the reclusive Hulderfolk seldom bode well for humankind.  They live in small family groups far up the Dales for the most part, keeping themselves to themselves.  Their connection with the earth and the Older is very strong.  In battle, Hulderfolk are fearsome.  With the exception of fire, little can really kill them and the creatures have long memories for those who try.  Hulderfolk have been known to raid villages for wives, typically selecting the strongest of the womenfolk as their prey.  A strong, but ill-favoured girl may even be offered to the Hulderfolk in an attempt to keep relations between the races pleasant.

Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 4+3
Attacks: 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8)
Saving Throw: 11
Special: Regenerates unless hit with fire.
Move: 12

Tis done

I've closed the doors on Rune Stones.  I'm very proud of it, but the time has come.  It was harder to do than I'd imagined  - the game has been a major part of my life for three and a half years and 15 levels.  It taught me pretty much everything I know about online DMing, spawned some astonishing characters and events, and made me some very good friends.  I'll always remember it fondly.

The characters went from novice adventurers to world-changing heroes.  They fought off duergar, disease, gnolls, university staff, a demented libary, assorted insects, a sorceress who spouted Jacobean verse, the land, ghostly shaman, the entire nation of Kargzant, a Roach Demon, the moonlit court and a lot of vicious formorians among others.  They had love affairs, got married, had expected and unexpected children, made friends and enemies, acquired treasure, lost things and people they loved and suffered an unexpected 12 year gap during a visit to the Feywild.  Not bad going.

When one door shuts, of course, another one opens. 

I can start planning a new campaign!  Slightly tearfully though.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Catching up

I have been a shameful laggard.  Not intentionally, to be sure, but even so, much has not been written lately.

What with the general festivities and our family trip to Cyprus, it's all been a bit busy.  Now however, the trees are down, the stockings put away and I can turn my mind to other things.  Gaming, naturally, comes to the forefront here.

To briefly update the games I'm running first:

Rune Stones has hit a road bump.  This saddens me, but was probably inevitable given that a major player has had to pull out for now.  Some games depend on certain characters for impetus and this is one.  I'm dithering about whether to call a temporary halt or not.  As it is the first game I ever ran online and has been going for over three years, I'm really reluctant to do that, but the thought is there.  New Year means reality checks.  In the end, it doesn't matter how much I love the thing if the players aren't biting and right now, they're not.

Tombs 1 and 2 on the other hand have recovered from their own slight road bumps and are both churning along nicely.  In the case of Group 1, they're neck deep in mummies.  Group 2 are advancing rapidly on the end of this section of adventure and have just met the relevant Big Bad.  He's a solo, which is usually doom to interesting fights, so I'm intrigued to know how he works out. 

Normally one of two things happens.  The Big Bad is piled with effects and demolished in very few rounds leaving the players feeling victorious, but underwhelmed.  The alternative scenario (Big Bad wipes out party in very few rounds) is equally bad.  I'm hoping for something a bit more knife-edge with lots of shifts of fortune.  Hoping.

Lost City is also doing nicely.  Having overcome the terror that was the stairwell, the party are dealing with a group of glass golems.  Thanks to Open Design's rather innovative approach to monsters, it is proving a toughish fight.  Hitting them hurts the party so they are having to think a bit about how they deal with the beasties.

Mikelmerck is due a lot of attention and should get it over the weekend.  A starting adventure is burgeoning and might conceiveably run on G+.  Many more monsters are pending, along with a couple more people and places.

Drama - the ever-present part of my life - resumes on Wednesday when Youth Theatre starts up again and we find out how many lines have been learned in the weeks off.  Costuming, props and lighting are getting closer to being nailed down in all cases.  The sewing machine beckons.

Damsons - is dependent on the weather.  So far we've had a mild winter and everything is growing.  Mind you, if I catch whatever blighter is digging up our winter onions and gnawing them, I'll turn the cat loose on it.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Familial visit

Due to the slightly bizarre nature of our family, we spent New Year in Cyprus catching up with my mother in law.  She's been living there for close on 10 years now and it takes us a while to get organised enough to go and visit her.  This also meant we caught up with my brother in law and his wife who live in the Cotswolds and are theoretically much more accessible.

Cyprus is a very mixed bag for us, I have to admit.  The place is packed with some wonderful historical places and  the winter weather is good (mostly).  It is also a building site.  Nowhere is immune.  Everywhere you go on this splendidly fertile island you will see two things.  A plethora of orange and lemon trees dropping fruit and half-finished blocks of flats. In the current economic climate, not too many people seem to be buying them, but that hasn't stopped the optimistic from trying to cash in on the un-cashinable.

There is also the whole issue of getting there.  That was special.  I rather pride myself on my abilty to find cheap flights/cars/flats online and this trip was no different.  What I had not taken into account was how drastically nasty a 5 hour flight on an airbus designed for 280 passengers but actually carrying 352 would be.  Breathing is a major invasion of your neighbour's personal space.  Plus you are bombarded from start to finish with trolley wielders asking for charity donations, offering hugely expensive snacks (for those who failed to book an inflight meal) and demands that passengers not move.  Passengers cannot move anyway, so this seems a bit stupid.

Never again.

What else?  Predictably (and quite understandably) Cyprus shuts down for New Year.  This meant that our planned tours of various museums turned into a succession of visits to closed doors.  Also that the highspot of any evening was a visit to the 24 hour bakery.

On the plus side, the mosaics at Pafos were spectacular enough to make the whole thing worthwhile.

Stopping whining now and will go and get my head around what's been happening while we've been away.

Back - and a belated Happy New Year

Returned to the land of connectivity.  Report to follow.