Feb 12, 2023


I took this week off work, and spent the whole time lazing around: sleeping in, watching anime, reading light novels, and preparing for the next arcs of my RPG campaigns.


This week I read:

Roleplaying Games


This week we got through the second act of Chariot of the Gods, it didn’t take the full session but we spent about three hours on it. It was a lot of fun again, though I think some of the character agendas didn’t work that well: Miller’s in particular felt tough to realise, and indeed the player didn’t really act on their agenda at all this session. The players are generally liking the mechanic though, and want to see each other’s agendas when we’re done.

We hit a bit of difficulty with the panic mechanics. Some of the panic effects cause other chaarcters present to make panic rolls. I like that. What I didn’t foresee is that this leads to a potential loop, where character A panics, which makes character B panic, which makes character A panic again… it’s not so likely with two characters, but with three characters we had three rounds of indirect panic after the initial trigger, which felt a bit much.

It was funny when it started, but after three rolls it was getting towards slapstick. So I rolled that back and instead ruled that a character can’t indirectly cause themselves to panic, which nips this in the bud.

Next week is the third, and final, act. I’ve decided to not bring in the optional mercenary encounter, since it feels like enough is going on as it is. So it might be a slightly shorter session, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as I have no idea how the characters will act. How they resolve this situation is really up to them.

Cartographic Curiosities

I’ve started to think about where the campaign’s going to go from here. Last time we played, we got to a minor milestone, not the end of a story, but a threshold nevertheless: they completed a job for the spooky forest druids, which is the most non-violent contact they’ve actually had with them; they heard a bunch of legends about a water dragon which is terrorising shipping and driving people mad; and they learned that the spooky druids are connected to the water dragon somehow.

I think I want to pull on that thread over the next several sessions.

They’re nowhere near powerful enough to take on the water dragon, but they are in a somewhat dangerous location, so I can use that as an excuse to give out some more magic items (hidden in monster lairs, for instance) and power them up a bit.

The water dragon is a good spirit, and is trapped within a nightmare (which physically manifests as the monster). The players don’t know that yet, so it would be nice to work towards that realisation and, further, the realisation that slaying the nightmare-monster will save the dragon. So I’m going to need to drop some more lore on them, probably through the medium of spooky-forest-druid quests.

I’ve also kickstarted a dungeon about fighting your way through the rotting corpse of a dead god that could be relevant here. I need to figure out how, though. Two possibilities come to mind:

  1. After defeating the nightmare-monster, the water dragon awakens enough to realise the PCs are trying to help it, and it magically transports them inside its body so they can drive out the corruption.

  2. Before confronting the nightmare-monster, the PCs can significantly weaken it (and get more magical loot) by entering the body of the water dragon and driving out the corruption within.

Both would be fun. The nightmare-monster is very tough, so option 2 would give a lower-powered party a chance to defeat it. But how do the players discover that it’s an option? “Let’s swim up to a sleeping dragon and crawl inside its mouth” isn’t a normal thought to have. I could have the spooky forest druids just send them to do it, but it would be better for the players to figure it out for themselves.

Sylea Rising

We started the second arc of the campaign this week, with an enemy of the PCs sabotaging their ship and causing them to misjump to the opposite side of the map. They’re about a year away from home! The next big chunk of the campaign will be about getting back.

…or so I’d planned. In actuality, the players liked the planet I sent them to, and have been talking about staying there. They don’t actually have much in the way of ties to home, and if they go back home they have to continue paying their spaceship’s mortgage, so maybe… staying here is a good idea?

I didn’t see that coming at all. A planet I’d intended to be an interesting diversion for a session or two is now possibly becoming the whole campaign.

Time to come up with some vargr adventures.

Moving out, again?

Back in January my landlord emailed me asking if I’d like to renew my tenancy for another year. I like it here: it’s comfortable, a nice area, reasonably priced, and has good transport links. So of course I immediately replied “yes.”

A month passed with no response.

This week I emailed back: “hey, any update on this?” “oh, I’m actually deciding whether to sell instead.”

Oh no.

This happened with the last flat! That’s why I had to move here! Not content with receiving over £1200/month for doing, frankly, very little (I’ve lived here over three years now and had to call them to fix four issues, it’s not a high-maintenance home), they want even more money! And so, I get kicked out.

My tenancy ends in May, so I’m here for a while yet if they do decide to sell, but it’s just such a pain! I’m pretty fed up with renting: there’s no security, you can live in a place for years and then have to move with only a few months notice; you have to undo any changes (eg, painting) when you move out; can’t have a pet; and the price goes up every year despite nothing materially changing.

So I’ve been looking at houses to buy. I do want a house, not a flat, because leasehold is just another form of renting and I don’t want that. But since I have to come into the office once a week, I need somewhere in reasonable distance of London (say, no more than an hour and a half). Of course, commuting is another cost to pay, so that has to be factored in as well.

Unfortunately, most houses in the UK suck.

Even a small house tends to split up the living space into a living room, a dining room, and a sitting room. In principle a sitting room is where the family spend their time together, whereas a living room is more for entertaining guests, but who has guests over often enough that they need an entire separate room for just entertaining? That makes sense for, like, Victorian aristocrats, but I don’t think it does for the common folk. Surely it’d be better to have one, large, combined living / sitting room which suits both purposes and more, because it’s large!

Room size seems to be pretty strongly correlated with number of bedrooms:

room_size = base_size + num_bedrooms * growth_factor

However, the base_size tends to be very low. A few square metres at most. So if you want a decent amount of space, you need more bedrooms. However, more bedrooms tends to mean that new rooms get added instead: a second sitting room, a sun room, a breakfast room (what is the point in having both a breakfast room and a dining room?). So you don’t just want more bedrooms, you want an open-plan layout as well.

It’s like we design houses in this country from the assumption that people don’t actually spend that much time at home, so small specialised rooms aren’t a problem. But if you do spend a lot of time at home, it’s just annoyingly limiting.

I don’t think what I want is that bizarre. I just want a large open-plan living space which functions as a combined living / sitting / game room (optionally also dining room, but a separate dining room between the open-plan living space and the kitchen is fine too), but I’m having to look at 4 bedroom family houses to get the space I want.

Now, to be clear, my current flat doesn’t have that much space either. It gets a bit cramped if I have more than two guests over at a time. I have to rearrange things if everyone wants to sit around the dining table at the same time, since I use the dining table as a desk, because I don’t have space for a separate desk. But if I’m buying a house, I want to fix those annoyances. It boggles the mind that to have enough space for one person and a couple of guests, I need a large family house.

Oh well, I guess I’ll just have a lot of spare bedrooms.