Back at work this week, but fortunately past-me had the foresight to book my week off immediately before a bank holiday weekend, so I had Monday to laze around as well.
This week I was involved in a call with a client, which was pretty interesting since I don’t usually interact with that part of the business. We’re doing some work on our side to support something happening on their side, and I’m the one answering questions which need a developer’s input.
In addition to my other work, I also continued sortbeting up some of the team’s code, and have got one part of it in pretty good shape now. There’s more to go before I’m fully satisfied, but it is a start. One benefit I didn’t expect was that sorbet’s run-time type checking forces tests to actually call the code in the way it’s supposed to be called, rather than supplying dummy values. This is good, tests should reflect real usage.
This week I read:
Volume 16 of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime by Fuse
This book had a good beginning and end, but didn’t really have an overall story. All it achieved was to wrap up the story of volume 15 and to set up the story of volume 17.
This is because, unfortunately, the author finally fell for the temptation to quantify everything.
The middle third of this book felt like a list of pregenerated RPG characters: numbers and skill lists. The skill lists are just lists of names, and because this is isekai they’re weird names that don’t explain what they do, like “Lord’s Ambition”. The numbers don’t even seem that useful; in the afterward, the author says that they correlate more or less linearly with combat power (but why does that even need to be quantified in the first place?) but in the actual story, the main character keeps making comments about how a character with skill level X was able to hold their own against (or even beat) a character with a significantly higher level Y due to being more practiced.
The author also notes that the editor was really against this and stopped it happening earlier, I guess the editor finally gave up arguing against it. But I wish he had kept up the fight.
The Halls of Arden Vul
We last played this campaign three weeks ago, and in that time I gathered feedback from the players about how they felt the game was going. This is something I like to do every few months, and I have a set list of questions I use. The feedback this time was that the game is a lot of fun (one player said that out of all the games they’re in right now, this is the one they look forward to the most, which is great to hear: say that sort of thing to your GMs more often!) but there were a couple of wrinkles.
One player said that not only were they not really enjoying their character class, they had never enjoyed it, should have brought this up sooner, and wanted to change. Oops. I hadn’t noticed, which isn’t ideal. They were absent this week, but when they’re back we’ll just roll up a new character for them at the same level as their current character (I don’t want to punish them for choosing a class they ended up not enjoying by starting them back at level 1). And all the players agreed that the accounting was a bit fiddly at times, especially now that they’re dealing with thousands of gold coins most days, but then still needing to pay coppers and silvers for food and lodgings. So I abstracted all their regular expenses away into a monthly cost-of-living fee.
So, back to the game.
This week was pretty exciting, because previously the players found a historic book which detailed the connections between dungeon levels, and over the break I figured out which connections specifically it detailed. So I gave the players vague in-universe directions to ten level connections they were unaware of, and of course being in-universe these directions aren’t totally obvious and refer to landmarks the players haven’t found yet. For example:
- “south of the entrance to the catacombs, east of the Hall of Judges, north of the Glory of Thoth beneath the pyramid” (they know about the Glory of Thoth but were discussing a few possibilities for what the catacombs or the Hall of Judges could be), or
- “beyond a secret door east of the Greater Hall of Columns, where the corridor turns north to the Lesser Seat of Contemplation” (they know where those two things are and were able to find the secret door this session), or
- “the clerical offices north-west of the Court of the Troll Thegn have a passage to Marius’ outpost at the floor of the chasm” (they don’t know anything about the level the Court of the Troll Thegn is on).
So now they have landmarks to track down (by exploring or by gathering rumours) which will then lead them deeper into the dungeon. Great!
The players also decided that they wanted to ingratiate themselves with the local Lady, and so did a bit of rumour-gathering on what it is she wants. They’ve been talking too about possibly funding the construction of a temple, which I would give them XP for (I give XP for philanthropy but so far they’ve just been “donating money to the needy” rather than funding anything specific) and which would definitely make the local authorities take note.
And of course the players still have their goal of finding a safe way into the middle parts of the dungeon which isn’t in the territory of any other faction, since the two they know of are.
This dungeon is so much fun.
I have a new project in the works, but I want to wait to see if it bears fruit first before sharing it more widely. Watch this space.