Friday, May 16, 2008

By bye internet

So hopefully... hopefully.. we will be moving into the flat tomorrow. It's pretty stressful- the forms have yet to come through, so we will be signing the contract on the same day as moving everything over. All the boxes are full and stuff, but meh.... We shall see, we shall see.

Whatever happens, we shall be sans internet and phone for a while, so expect a hiatus on internet communication.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No stress

So, many stresses today, with the lady who was meant to turn up for our statistical presentation not turning up, meaning it has got rescheduled tomorrow at the user friendly time of 8 am, and the useless southampton post failing to deliver a guarantor form to the flat agency so I had to desperately phone Alice's parents and get them to email me the thing so I could email it half an hour before the closing time so that we can sign the contract!

All good fun, and I feel fully justified in our evening meal of chips and beer. Although I'm thinking of branching out and having an ice lolly in a second....


Monday, May 12, 2008

The tea

Miss Alice is standing watching the television, while the tea is in the other room. It is sad. The tea wants to be drunk, and yet. Ooh, she is moving over.... she is picking up the shower curtain. She is folding the shower curtain. The shower curtain is folded. She is examining the curtain. She is taking it into the bed room. Who knows when she will come back. When will the tea be ready???!!! Alice is back. The tea! The tea! it is being made!

I have the most exciting of existences.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Packing Up

Today was spent packing up, readying for the move next weekend. Things are mostly sorted, although thanks to a slight mis communication we will be a week without a phone. The major task for today was taking our bed to pieces. Which was actually relatively easy- we are now sleeping on the floor. Well, on a mattress on the floor, which is probably for the best as that bed was somewhat old and broken.

Many phone calls were made, and many addresses have been changed, readying ourselves for the grand move. Moving van booked, insurance transfered. All should be fine. More to do tomorrow, but meh!


Friday, May 09, 2008

Dark Heresy Session 7


The party had succesfully obtained an invite to the pit fight, but had no real plan as to what to do next. Deciding to play it by ear, they turned up to an abandoned warehouse on the edge of the city, where the party was searched for weapons. Describing his gun as an "entertainment stick" (that still makes me laugh even now...), Nicodemus managed to give a hefty enough bribe to bring his weapon in- the rest managed to smuggle in a few knives as well.

The fight produced little productive apart from visceral entertainment- while men and wolves fought, there was no sign of the eldar. However, it was mentioned that those with special passes could come talk to the bookie. Bluffing his way through, Nicodemus managed to obtain a special pass, leading to a big exciting fight the next day, on level 5, one of the noble controlled levels.

On leaving, they heard someone being attacked in an alley way. Looking in revealed two guards beating the hell out of a very much down and out of his luck guy. Seeing them approach, an enforcer told them to back off. Nicodemus did not do so, and instead paid off the mans debts. Confused, the enforcers wondered off. Nicodemus then took the suddenly fortunate unfortunate, who was rather grateful, and pumped him for information, revealing that there definitely was an alien fighting, and that there was a fair amount of guards. He also described a sonic effect that the eldar used, and the party decided to guard against it.

Turning up the next day revealed a huge Colosseum, where once again the party were searched for weapons. This time they had bought up a large quantity of grenades, and attempted to conceal them in a bag. Despite a rather poor distraction, the searchers did not notice most of the grenades.

Wondering around the large waiting area, the party discovered some locked rooms, and also Lek stumbled across a loud drunken man at the bar. Further investigation revealed he had something to do with the back room.. a plan was hatched to follow him, and despite three of the party sneaking behind, the bodyguard assigned to the drunk failed to notice them.

Slipping into the bathroom, Barak slipped a hallucinagen grenade into the toilet, and quickly exited. This had the desired effect, and soon they were able to slip in and grab the keys without being noticed. As they made it for the door, however, they heard the guard begin to regain his senses, and swiftly killed him. Standing around discussing this, and intimidating the crap out of the drunk, led to a noble wondering in on the scence, but he was also persuaded to be kept quiet....

Swiftly the party headed down to the staging area, and, after a brief discussion, burst through and attacked, with ear plugs firmly in place. This led to a full up brawl, but while the guards did some damage (and set off an alarm), the party prevailed.

As the alarm had gone off, Lek, who had remained upstairs thanks to a constant tail of enforcers, bore witness to members of the redemption starting a full on war inside the building, causing a mass stampede.

The party then quickly decided to kill the eldar. Killing the stasis field, they opened fire. Not being able to hear it attempt to converse with them, they ignored it and continued shooting. In frustation the eldar desperately found strength enough to cut through the bars in front of it, but it was not enough. The unending fusilade ended it's life, an unglamorous death.

Grabbing the eldar, the party loaded it into the truck, and drove for freedom. They attempted to pick up Lek by bursting through the front door, but utterly failed, and decided to leave him to his fate. Bursting through a gate at high speed, and managing to lose any pursuit, they high tailed it for freedom.

Meanwhile, Lek, surrounded by chaos and death, decided it was best to make a run for it, and leapt out of the window, joining the crowds of fleeing nobles.


An enjoyable session, certainly. My favourite part was probably when Nick decided to investigate the guy getting beaten up. I had included that purely for flavour, and had not planned an encounter, but managed to deal with it fairly well, and the party got some useful informaton out of it. There was one point where I needed the party to get a special invite, but because they were mostly sticking in the background, assuming that the eldar was going to appear at the first fight, they did not make enough of themselves.

The route chosen for victory was a reasonable one, although they could have been somewhat more subtle, following the guy to the toilet and getting keys was the plan I thought they might follow. If they had failed to come up with any ideas, the redemptionists would have set everything alight, and that would have counted as a distraction. Of course, this would have made things harder for them.

I was amused by the ear plugs shutting out all sound. It meant the party didn't hear the fighting, and also didn't hear the eldar, who would have asked them to kill it, seeing as it's life was hardly worth anything anymore. Sadly the eldar did not get a great deal of dignity in death, but never mind.....

I now have to plan for the conclusion of the campaign. I know pretty much what is going to happen, theres just a couple of events currently muddled in my head I have to sort out....

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Defining a Hero

I think super heroes suffer from a problem that no-one seems to have talked about before. This is very much tied up with the rules of the genre.

The thing is about any super hero/science fiction/fantasy film is that there is a need to establish the rules. You aren't existing in the same universe as yours, and things like, for example, people flying may happen here. The viewer needs to have a good idea of these so they can not feel cheated if a hero does something unexpected- as long as they are following the rules the film has set itself. This is important, and is what many people miss when they laugh at people pointing out odd continuity errors or jumps of logic "it's a world in which people can fly!" Well yes, yes it is, but it doesn't mean they can also inexplicably take a bullet then just get up a minute later and not mention it anymore. This is, by the way, why the excuse "a wizard did it" does not really work....

Now super hero films usually only have a few rules to tell- our characters power and abilities. Normally this is easy to find out. The issue comes in terms of mortality. Spiderman is clearly mortal. He's fast, strong, and tough, but bullets are still going to kill him, so we can guess how much danger he's in. When doctor octopus claw almost rams into his head, we know if they hadn't, he would have died.

But then you go up in the power level- Hulk, Iron Man, Superman. These beings are damn near invunerable. So tension is harder to generate. A plane is about to fly into our hero.... will that even scratch them? We don't know, as often the powers are ill defined, so we can't really feel that worried. Even super man's nemesis, kryptonite, appears to only deeply inconvenience him- he just looks a bit ill when it's about. Some films with big nasty heroes and villians will end with a big old brawl, but it will be meaningless. An excellent example of this is Neo versus Agent Smith in the final matrix film. Ignoring the rest of the nonsense, theres a big fight going on.... but theres no way to tell who is winning! They blast energy at each other, but it really doesn't have a huge amount of effect, and the only way to guess how each one is doing is the expression they are pulling.

Fights always have more tension if we recognise our hero can lose, and are very much aware of the conditions when they are going to lose. If we are told that superman is fighting someone with a kryptonite blade, which, if it cuts him, will kill him, then we can become involved in the fight again, because not only do we know our hero is in genuine danger, we know exactly what that is.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Weekend wonderland

That title is meaningless, but fun. I have had a fairly busy few days, taking some time off to travel to London so see family, and, more importantly, the Doctor Who exhibition. This was fun, but was spoilt by there being goddamn children everywhere! I wanted to play on the dalek voice changer, but nooooo. Stupid kids. You'd think the exhibit was designed specifically for them.

We also went on monday for a walk in the new forest, and got rather muddy, as while the sun has come out, the ground has not dried completely yet. Or at all in many places. About half way through the walk, already fairly mud covered, the walk guide mentioned the section we were coming to "gets very muddy". This was a cause of worriment....

Also, yesterday I gave my very first statistical consultancy, which written like that sounds like a childrens product. After various training videos where the client was a nervous flower, our client basically spoke at us and we interposed the occasional question. Admittedly we had planned for that to happen, but it sort of occured without any prompting. Still, we got the information we needed, even if I'm not entirely sure how to interpret the data, seeing as I haven't done the relevant module!


Sunday, May 04, 2008


Baldur's Gate 2 is a game based on role playing games, indeed using the same underlying system of dungeon and dragons. Along with it, it inherits inane traps.

Traps are part and parcel of designing a dungeon- ways to stop and kill adventurers wondering about. Sometimes they are packed full of them. These often don't make sense. Some do a pitiful amount of damage and are randomly scattered about- often they are unavoidable unless you disarm them, thus making the dungeon inaccessible to the people who are actually using the bloody thing. Also, when traps just irritate the players, they're really not worth it. They should challenge the players.

I prefer traps as part of a puzzle. They need to make sense in terms of the adventure, and they need to be avoided. In the case of my recent adventure, there was a few traps set up, but these were hastily erected by a party only some time ahead of my characters. They were somewhat ramshackle, and fairly easy detected. The inital trap had nothing to do with a puzzle, but provided a solution to the next one, which I thought rather neat. In this case traps made sense, as the party in advance had no intention of returning the way they came.

It is difficult to come up with puzzles in roleplaying. They need to make sense in terms of the universe they inherit, they need to be solvable by the players within a certain time period, and the penalties for utter failure cannot be to halt the game. A bizzare riddle doesn't make much sense most of the time- a passphrase only friends of the villain knew would make far more sense- why give others the chance to proceed? Also, if the players can't solve a puzzle, then the game stops being fun, so it can't be too hard. Along with this, it would be ideal to have something a bit original- the old spelling a word on the floor puzzle is neat, and often makes sense, but is a little done to death thanks to Indiana Jones.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Dark Heresy-Session 6

(This brings me up to date, so these posts will become less frequent! They have been somewhat self indulgent admittedly, but what the hell- my blog is surely for self indulgence...)


Having retrieved the chalk, although not being able to find where exactly the rest of it and those who had taken it had gone to. Marr seemed fairly happy, although he was somewhat disappointed to discover that the two men that were killed had apparently been vaporised in the explosion, as no-one had the fore thought to drag them out....

Marr then gave the party their next mission- a wealthy collector named Lord Yarl had a bone of Saint Drusus, and Marr wanted it. Unfortunately, so did a lot of other people, and rather than directly conflict with them, he sent the party and a card with a lot of credit on it with them.

Visiting Lord Yarl, he made it clear that money was not enough- instead he wanted Lady Tabitha's aspect warrior. Rather mystified by these words, the party headed back and conducted some research, revealing that Lady Tabitha was the head of the gambling rings on level 6, including some not so legal pit fights. An aspect warrior was apparently an Eldar fighter of some kind- a dangerous alien.

Nicodemus (who was played by Mike for this session, Nick being ill), came up with a simple plan of making some rather large bets to attract the attention of the bookies, and thus get themselves an invite to the next pit fight. This plan worked fairly flawlessly, although the psyker and tech priest were treated with some suspicion, they seemed to fall for the act of decedance, and gave an invite to tomorrow's fight. Taking it, the party then headed back to a plush hotel to spend the night.


This session went well. I had decided that I wanted to have more roleplaying based sessions, as I find those more fun generally speaking, although variety is of course the spice of life. I was unsure exactly how long this adventure would take, it depending on the party's plans and methods, and this session went somewhat slowly, thanks to waiting for Mike to replace Nick, and then some general disorder that happened for quite a while.

Still, the party latched on to what I feel is a decent plan fairly quickly- there were several other solutions they could have tried, and still could, and I was willing for anything that sounded plausible to be used, roleplayed right. As it was, few missteps were taken, and the party progressed.

I think the next campaign I run may well be more focused on this kind of style, although I don't mind the occasional big brawl of course, but roleplaying shouldn't just be about that. Combat should be the last resort ideally, although it depends on the situation.

I'd managed to put in more planning for this session, so there was little the players wanted to do that threw me, which was good.

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