Nov 21, 2021


I took this week off work. This is the most contiguous time off I’ve taken since July, so it was very nice to have a break.

Once again, my financial dependence on an employer makes me very sad.


This week, no books. I think I need to get some new reading material again: most of the unread books I’ve got left are RPG rulebooks and nonfiction, and I only read those when the mood strikes.


Ars Magica

I ran the first session of my new Ars Magica campaign this week. The player characters were enlisted to help find the missing village children, who nobody had seen for some hours. It was the vernal equinox—a night of folklore and magic—and the children had fallen under the influence of a kelpie, which was intent on acting out its story of drowning unwary victims.

There wasn’t really much to do, the characters just had to (1) find the entrance to fairyland, (2) walk in a straight line through a fairy forest which would try to confuse their sense of direction, and (3) drive off the kelpie somehow. Very straightforward to run, and not much choice for the players. I came up with an intentionally simple plot so that we’d be able to ease into the system, and this turned out to be a good idea, as even with just this we had to consult the spell creation rules a bunch (which I’d expected). What I didn’t expect was that, initially, they saw this large faerie horse beast and thought “well, we don’t have any spells to ward against the fey, guess we have to physically defeat it”. But after one of them almost dying (doing the Ars Magica equivalent of making death saves), and another realising there was a magical solution, I hope they’ll be more likely to try magic first next time.

I definitely failed to predict how long it would take though, I had a whole second adventure (visiting and making a favourable impression on the abbot of a nearby monastery) planned which we didn’t have time to get into at all.


This week I got into Inscryption, a weird deck-building / escape-room game which feels like you’re trapped in a cabin with a mad game master who’s making up rules as he goes.

Or at least, the first part is. There’s a second part which seems very different based on the little of it I’ve played so far, and I’m not sure if I’m going to give it much of a go, as it was the weird atmosphere which really attracted me to the game initially. Maybe the weirdness returns? I’m not sure I want to put in the time to find out.


We’ve got a release date for Minecraft 1.18, the 30th!

I’m not much of a Minecraft player these days, I tend to get bored once I’ve got a self-sufficient base up and running (which doesn’t take very long at all), as building big things doesn’t interest me that much. I’m definitely not the game’s target audience.

But I do like giving it a go every now and then, and playing on servers with friends, and 1.18 brings some pretty fundamental changes to world generation I’m looking forward to trying out.


This week I caught up on some TV: I watched The Mandalorian and Foundation. Both were pretty great, lots of very cool visuals (like this FTL jump from episode 1 of Foundation1). I’m looking forward to more.

If I had to make a criticism, it’s that I’m finding the Empire storyline of Foundation much more enthralling than, well, the Foundation storyline of Foundation. I think this speaks to the sorts of stories I prefer. The Empire storyline is about large galaxy-shaking events, and the collapse of a dynasty. It’s more about the events than the people. Whereas the Foundation storyline is much more about the individuals, and the events themselves are much smaller in scale. But I much prefer the large-scale things!

I also intend to check out The Wheel of Time, probably sooner rather than later; though I’m a bit worried by some of the aesthetic and story changes I’ve heard they’ve made.

  1. In fact, I think this is the single coolest rendition of FTL jumps I’ve come across. If this series had come out before I started my Traveller game, I would have been very strongly tempted to re-do all the standard ship deckplans to have a big rotating black hole-powered jump drive.↩︎