Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Being Boring

So I had this whole blogpost. And it was so boring; I didn't want to inflict it on you.

So you'll be pleased to learn I haven't.

I'm so interesting I have a series of novelty t-shirts. This is the latest:
My Mother does not approve

I have had many compliments from people in the pub. Well, it is the height of wit and sophistication, after all. 

That settles it: I shall buy some more.

I've always wanted a t-shirt that says 'The band on your t-shirt is crap.' You could have a whole load:

'All your opinions are rubbish'
'Why do you work at that place?'
'You're the Dungeon Master...' (I hear that a lot.)
'Why that outfit?'

They could really have an impact. Thought-provoking and fight-inducing Tees.

I should also write my guide-book for elderly - 'Around London in 13 toilets.' 

That's a good dollar, the toilet market.


I spent the weekend with friends in Hampshire. I'm very lucky to have friends like these - proper friends. Always there for each other.

Their dog Douglas is a golden Labrador and he is lovely. He's very calm and loving. 

I do love dogs as you know.

It's lovely to have them in your life. I've come to believe animals are nicer than humans. Well, I don't personally know any Komodo Dragons or stonefish, but you get what I mean.

Rupert (human) is very nice too. I keep calling him Wilbur (dog). I have no idea why.

Typing and flab

My typing is getting worse. Much worse. I'm having to correct so much of it as I go. I do have bad days and good days with these things.

In fact I've just raised the chair and I've already improved my typing...

But with FTD while you have ups and downs, your head will never be clear of the fog again.

So while the panic is over, I do notice decline in certain areas.

I'm properly flabby now too. 


So I am improving my breakfasts with porridge with seeds , berries and real honey. I had it this morning and it took almost the same time to make as toast. Easy. And delicious too.

I also need to borrow my sister's bike and ride around as my legs are like Crazy Legs Crane's.

Exhibit A

TV and Shit

So, as new TV series drip-drip through after the actors' strike in the US, here are some what I watched recently.

For All Mankind on Apple TV. Started off interestingly with an alternate history where the USSR beat NASA to the moon. It then focuses on the families of the astronauts. I started to fast forward through those bits to the actiony bits. This is not what sci-fi really is. I'd say it became rather like Eldorado in space. 5/10.

3 Body Problem on Netflix. Based on a 4 part series of sci-fi novels by Liu Cixin. It features lots of improbable cigarette smoking in Western offices and the Wow signal from 1977, which a Chinese scientist decoded and replied to, which turns out not to have been the best idea. It's interesting. I binged it over a couple of days so it must be good. 8/10

Fallout on Prime. Interesting and beautifully styled. But like a book I didn't watch it the next night and then 2 weeks passed. DO I care about the people in it? Not really. 6.5/10

The gaming bit you always ignore

On my 2-part session of DMing for the kids over Easter, I asked them in preparation to specifically use the old analogue method of character creation with dice, pen and paper: creating the character from concept, through to rolling for their ability scores, selecting their skills, abilities and spells, then methodically working them up to level 4, which makes them more powerful and involves some thought and some arithmetic.

2 of them did, and 3 didn't. 

The three who didn't just pressed go on the computer charactermancer and ended up with characters whose ability scores were random, so you can get a super intelligent barbarian who has the physicality of a middle-aged librarian, and the kids get frustrated because their characters are useless.

It's not much fun when you can't even pick up your battleaxe.

The modern world is all about labour-saving, shortcuts, saving time. The offshoot is deskilling: being oblivious to processes and ultimately being unable to fix or improve things.

We are reduced to pressing a button on a computer which number-crunches in microseconds, making the decisions for you.

The next session I run we are going to roll characters in the old way, which is actually part of the fun, but it does involve some thought.

I know reading big books can be a bore, but you really could force yourself to just read the bit that's applicable to your character. 

I made a late start to photography after buying a terrible digital camera in 2003, and then I went to college and learned photography using a totally manual, large-format camera and made expensive mistakes using 5"x4" Polaroids and film. 

I learned to use my own judgement when using any camera after that. 

Similarly with masonry - some people calling themselves masons can't use the hand-tools, and some places on site you can't get to with an angle-grinder - mallet and chisel is the only way.

We have deskilled ourselves over generations. Understandable as many of the jobs were exhausting and let's face it, horrible. 

But the upshot of this is we are becoming Eloi and Morlocks. And fast.

Conclusion: you can never learn too many skills. 

Icewind Dale

I'm currently preparing the above title for our next 8 month long Dungeons and Dragons adventure. Like Tomb of Annihilation it takes place in an extreme environment, and is epic in scale.

But what is slightly off-putting is the size of these adventures: this book is 300 pages long, and details new monsters, characters who the players will meet, environmental hazards, small quests, side-quests, the main quest(s). 

Let's play humans!

I can imagine this being very off-putting for new players/Dungeon Masters.

When I started 40 years ago, an adventure was 12-30 pages long, written by computer programmers (without being computer programs) and you needed to almost decode the entire adventure in order for it to make sense and be playable. 

But they were concise, the information was all there, and once you got used to them they were easy to run.

Now they're 10 times the size. That's a big difference.

But we started last Thursday and had a good time. The session zero was great - we fleshed out the characters and they are already very distinctive. 

Let's go!

1 comment:

  1. Re your: "But the upshot of this is we are becoming Eloi and Morlocks. And fast." I often think this. You may like watching the humans in the modern animated Disney fable for family viewing that is Wall-E. I highly recommend it if you've not seen it. That's our future l fear!
    Heard on Radio4 a year or 2 ago that medicine courses were needing to build up dexterity in medical students' hands as they were so unused to doing manual, skilled stuff that they weren't dexterous enough to perform surgery. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!