Yesterday my friend Scott and I playtested [livejournal.com profile] emprint's Swords Against Darkness, a two-player narrative driven RPG. Below is a write-up of our session from yesterday. We have a few questions and found some stuff in the rules that needs clarification or fixing; we also found that as first time players we probably made a bunch of mistakes...

First up, the actual play:
Actual play )
The above is an after-the-fact retelling; we made plenty of mis-steps along the way. Here are some of our unresolved questions:

Questions and comments )

barrington: (pirate)
Tomorrow is Talk Like A Pirate Day! Always fun. I'll have to wear my pirate T-shirt and possibly call up my Mum and talk to her like a pirate.

But even the joy of tomorrow's celebrations can't stop my mind from returning to the piece of news which has vexed me since yesterday: Eoin Colfer, author of the Atemis Fowl books, has been commissioned by Penguin to write a sixth Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy novel, titled And Another Thing...

This really is blowing my mind. I have never been shy about saying that Douglas Adams' non-fiction was much better than his fiction; his ideas and comedy writing were always excellent, but he couldn't string together a coherent story to save his life. And yet, HItchhikers is such an important cultural touchstone for my generation, and indeed my entire youth; I could quote entire passages of the first book/radio series/television series by the time I was 10, and reread the book every year until my mid-teens, getting more and more jokes every time. Mostly Harmless was the first novel I can remember for which I waited for its release, and I bought the hardcover from a bookshop while on a trip to the Gold Coast, finishing it before the day was out.

So it's little wonder I feel weird about another book, and also have become obsessed with a desire to read all of this Eoin Colfer's books and see what he's about.

At least he has a great attitude; he's scared to death of filling Adams' boots, but at the same time determined to make this the best thing he's ever written.

Arthur Dent isn't too happy about it, either.

Games have crept back into my life in so many forms, and I'm very happy about it. On the video front, I'm enjoying the hell out of Castle Crashers on the XBox 360 (and Kate, if you're out there, I'm still waiting for you to look me up so we can play Ticket to Ride!).

So,uh...I'm in the Herald-Sun today. Not in a small way, either; you can't see it on the web site, but my face covers nearly half the first page of their education supplement, Learn. It's a weird feeling that my first major media interview is in a paper I don't often read, but hopefully the exposure will do me some good. I do really like the photo.

I should also mention that, while I don't write here much (though I'll try a bit more often), I am now regularly blogging about at least vaguely science-related topics over at labcoatman.com.au, which now runs on WordPress. You can probably add it as an RSS feed if you want to read it here, but if enough of you would like me to I'll set it up to automagically cross-post.

I've watched a little of the Olympics over the past few days; I'm not much of a sportsman, but I did enjoy the women's volleyball, since it's one of the few games I've competed in myself (though not women's volleyball, obviously) and thus understand. I was rotting rooting (thanks Halo) for Poland, but China beat them - it was a hell of a match.

The other one I enjoyed watching was the archery, the men's team event, where Italy took it down to the wire but were narrowly beaten by Korea. The Korean women had won the team event too, and scored a world record into the bargain. It reminded me that I keep thinking every now and then I'd like to take up archery; I had a go a few times in my youth and rather enjoyed it. It seems like a very relaxing and satisfying sport, though I must say modern bows are even more elaborate than I remember, with counterweights on the front resembling one of those toy lightsabers that extends outward...
Been a while between drinks, I know, but here I am! Just a quick update this time: today I went to Melbourne Museum to see the dissection of a giant squid. If I'd been more on the ball, I may have been able to organise a camera and a press pass, but as it was I only found out about it late yesterday afternoon. It was pretty packed - anyone watching the live webcast would have had a better view than me! Since a couple of weeks ago I got to scratch a giant tortoise at the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, I'm feeling like I've fulfilled my giant animals quota for the year. Not that I wouldn't mind meeting a few more - especially if they're alive!

Speaking of giant animals, I'm picking up the dice again to run a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Not owning any of the core books for previous editions, I decided to give the new fourth edition a go. If you're curious, feel free to ask me about it my verdict so far is it's a lot of fun and easier for new players to pick up (lots of people say it has much in common with modern online RPGs, and they're not wrong), but the actual roleplaying aspect suffers a little because it's a little harder to separate the mechanics from the game world.

Anyway, I run my first session next week. The group is a nice mix of new and old roleplayers, most of whom I haven't played with before, and yes, my girlfriend is playing. Should be a blast!

In career related news: I'm now artistic director of The Crew, and I have been trying to provide direction to our art for a month or so now. We've moved to a new venue - the Bella Union at Trades Hall, and it's awesome. No Al Swearengen Cy Tolliver though. (Thanks Leah.) If you want to know about our gigs, you can get on our mailing list (see the web site) or become a fan on Facebook (it's what all the cool groups are doing now). I also have some other shows: the Anarchist Guild Social Committee (no web site yet) is a monthly live sketch show, also at the Bella Union. The second one is this Sunday, July 20. It'll be a corker. I also have a couple of projects for Fringe Festival, a new solo science show for Science Week, and I'll be doing Not the Nobel Prize at the Museum again this year, if all goes well. More details on these soon.
So many people I know are playing it, I figured I might as well resurrect my crew. That's right: I'm reactivating my World of Warcraft account, which has lain dormant since December 2nd, 2005. That's a good ten months in which I didn't miss the game much, what with hardly ever getting to play with people I knew.

How I feel about playing it again? I guess that depends how much I do. But with a quietish period approaching as the projects I have are only simmering rather than alive, and finally a pay rise from work... Well, I figure I'll give it a shot.

It still takes forever to install, this four-disc bastard, even with my spanky new PC and it's faster than light DVD-ROM drive. Ten months down the track, no doubt the accumulated update patches will take an extra two hours to download and install, and every character will have to choose new talents. And I'll have to install whatever mods used to use, if I can remember their names...

I've no idea even how the game will look now - before I had the minimum spec video card required to play, as in the one written on the box. Now I have a beast with a 7 in its name and half a gig of memory in its brain. I suspect it will like putting my glasses on after doing a show without them.

Anyway, let me know what servers I should be on, times I should be playing... I'll move my old characters around a bit if I have to, rather than start all over again - I doubt I'll have any friends left on the old servers, and I like my characters.

February 2012

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