Jan 28, 2024


This week I read:

Roleplaying Games

The Halls of Arden Vul

This week the players returned to the old Archontean HQ near the Obsidian Gates to recover the last of the contents of the army pay-chests. There, under the watchful gaze of the dozens of large, sad-looking toads, one player finally said “I have to know what’s up with those toads”, and cast Speak With Animals.

The croaking of the toads turned into cries of despair, cries for help, cries to be killed and put out of their misery; the cries of unfortunate adventurers who had fallen victim to the foul chaotic magic in the area. One toad described how she and her party had been trying to find a way through the Obsidian Gates and, in their prodding and poking, activated some sort of trap: in a flash of brown light, two demons appeared and began to tear apart her friends, she took a fearful step backwards and felt the cold obsidian against her, then the agonising pain of her body contorting and twisting, breaking and reforming, into that of a toad.

I’m not sure what the players were expecting, but it definitely wasn’t that.

They did manage to leverage their connections in town to get a high-level NPC cleric turn one toad they brought out of the dungeon back into a human by casting Dispel Evil (they tried Remove Curse first but that didn’t work).

So the players have decided to take upon themselves a noble quest: bring the toads out of the dungeon and restore to them their humanity. But it’ll take a lot of time (Dispel Evil is a high-level spell, you can’t just cast it willy-nilly) and money (miracles don’t come cheap).

Solo Roleplaying

This week I started a new Ironsworn campaign. I decided to play someone obsessed with lost knowledge and arcane secrets, trying to gain the power of magic in a world where everyone thinks it to be a myth or a trick. I was going to figure out their background vow—the driving force of the campaign—in play, starting with a quest to recover some sort of legendary magic item and then seeing how I could tie that into something bigger but, after rolling up the NPC bonds and working out the details of the inciting incident, I felt that I just had to make the background vow “become a witch”.

I’m trying out running this game in Miro, so I can have the visual element of the Ironsworn cards without actually needing to buy them first (though I do intend to get the physical cards), and it’s working pretty well. I’m also keeping pretty brief notes this time, unlike my previous campaign where I was typing up full prose and dialogue for everything.

I’ve got a blog post in the works about Ironsworn, which should be coming next week.


This wek I switched my backups from duplicity to restic.

What sold me on restic is that, by treating backups as a collection of file-chunks plus metadata on how to turn those chunks back into a directory tree, rather than as a copy of a directory tree, is that it eliminates the full / incremental backup distinction. When it comes to taking a backup, every backup is incremental (only new chunks need storing); but when it comes to restoring a backup, every backup is full (it’s not just a diff of the previous backup).

The downside is that taking a backup is more computationally intensive, since it’s got to break files up into chunks and hash them. But it means you transmit and store far less data if things don’t change much between backups, which my files don’t.

My hope is that this will reduce my cloud spend, as S3 for backups is one of my bigger costs. The old duplicity backups will get rotated into S3 Glacier (cheap-but-hard-to-access cold storage) over the coming months, and my restic backups are stored in Backblaze B2 instead which is cheaper than S3 for hot storage.

I’ll comment on this later when I’ve seen what the monetary effect is.