Yeah, that’s what we’ll call this. Obviously the pandemic, new work, and cat drama made it hard for me to focus on the blog. I also don’t know if I have enough to talk about on a regular basis? I don’t want to bore anyone who reads this blog, I also don’t want to make this a bundle of stress for me to manage. This led to me deeply considering what I’m doing. I’m not going to take anything down at this point, but sort of change what is going on when. I did publish more, but updating the website just didn’t happen. (And then WordPress updated and I’m not 100% sure my theme is fully supported anymore, so if you see something broken, please yell.)
In terms of blog posts, it is going to be pretty quiet here until after the new year. I’m going to use that time to build up a buffer. There will be a post in December I hope because I’m doing a hardback anthology for the first three books in Sun’s Guard, but I need to hear back from Johnny about cover art to set that date in stone. There’s not a huge rush, I’ll get the text formatted and then once he’s good, we’ll go, so putting a pin in that.
I’m going to try to do some things seasonally so I can kinda work ahead in some regards. There would basically just be an update from me whenever something is confirmed going to be out. So like I’m starting Sun’s Guard: Queen this month, I’d post when I finished the rough draft to confirm the publish date, and then obviously a post when it does come out announcing it’s available. (And updating the various pages to show it.)
So summer I am going to do a month where there’s a review once a week for a month (so 4-5 reviews depending on which month I do it in, I haven’t decided yet, and the calendar), so I can borrow books from the local library in support of that service, as well as try and be positive? I want to be more positive about my review process. So we’re going to try for that.
Autumn is going to eventually be Nuzlocke updating in November, I am hoping to get back into that game in the spring so I can pick it up again. We’ll see. I don’t want to over extend myself, which is obviously where so many of my problems are coming from. I do have a very rough idea of where I want elements to happen, but finishing the game first is my best bet to know when to weave those in.
Spring is going to seem like a dead season because that is my busiest time at work. Right now, I do not see me having time to do anything extra on the blog unless I also manage to finish a book in the spring. That may change as programs shuffle around and if we get to add new positions, but I’m not going to count on it with this plan. If it does happen, I also don’t know what I’d do. It depresses me to build DnD characters I’ll never get to play, so that’s out. I’ll think about it.
The only thing that isn’t going to be annual is what I’ve been working on to build up a buffer. I’m getting inspired by Lord Mettlebright’s Man over on forthright’s blog, only I know I don’t want to do that with Sun’s Guard. That’s part of a bigger universe that could become a tangled mess if I let it. No, I’m going to do something with my swan maidens, especially to celebrate that Hurrocks Fardel is posting again, albeit it’s having to build up the backlog again and the creator has decided to redo the earlier pages so it all matches where it left off better.
So twice a week there will be a 100-word drabble posted featuring Eira and the swan maidens. There will be time skips, but so far the first 100 are set in Eira’s childhood, I think the next 100 will be her adolescence, etc. If something else happens that week, such as my update post or it’s time for summer reviews, then there will only be one drabble that week. Update days are probably going to line up with my work from home days, that just seems like it will be easiest.
Hopefully this new schedule will make sense and be something everyone can enjoy. I’ll see you either with an update on the anthology or the first swan maiden drabble, which ever happens first.
Tabletop RPG: Serenity the RPG System Thoughts
(After a long drought, finally an RP post! Sorry ya’ll, I had the plague and it will not go away.)
So I had bought the Serenity the Roleplaying Game’s book ages ago, along with a big old Verse map and a giant book about a specific cargo run. Why? Because I was interested in seeing how playable it was. Now, the book itself isn’t laid out in the most logical of senses, and sometimes it seems a bit screwy to me. I’m not going to critique the system as a whole, but instead, talk about how it plays.
I ran it this last weekend for a group of three players. It was specifically meant to be short, one or two sessions, three at an absolute maximum that I didn’t see happening, and so in an effort to keep it short, I chose to use one of the episodes of the series (“The Train Job”) as my framework. Bonus, most of my players had either never seen the show, seen only a small percentage of it, or hadn’t seen it in well over ten years and had since forgotten a large chunk of it. I had no worries about them actually recognizing what I was up to.
The game started off a little shaky–I’m not used to DMing, and I was trying to think of how to describe something I had seen in a show to convey exactly the right tone. But as the players started to make their plan and I got comfortable, we all started to enjoy ourselves. This is where the good parts of the game really started to show themselves. It isn’t loaded down with rules and schematics, but instead relies on the imaginations of the players and the DM, and on the way that they RP things out. It also gives some players a bit of flux.
What I mean by that is the use of Plot Points. I know of other DMs who will deliberately fudge rolls if a character rolls poorly and it may lead to someone having a bad night, or for similar reasons. Serenity makes that almost unnecessary with the use of Plot Points, provided the characters haven’t been just slinging them around. By really using them when they can tell a roll is important, it lets them get the desierable outcome without some…somewhat shady but good intentioned shady…actions on behalf of a DM, which I can appreciate.
That being said, 1’s still happen, and critical failures can lead to problems. But I’ve taken the stance that just because you failed the roll it doesn’t mean something catastrophic has to happen, and depending on what it is, the party isn’t screwed. In my most memorable case from this last weekend, one failed the hiding roll with a 1 while the other did really well. So I did something like you’d see out of a comedy skit to explain how both got hidden because of how well the other person rolled covering for both of them. Everything still proceeds, and everyone at the table got a laugh out of it. Failures don’t have to mean instant-death, and I was glad to get to DM something like that.
Is the lack of detail sometimes annoying? Oh very. And the rate of lethal damage applied to the weapons, while realistic, means that combat is never going to go well, and I’m still thinking about how to balance that out in a longer game. I also have to figure out whether I’d want to do something similar to Whedon’s work, where there is a long arc that we’re building to but a lot of it plays out in small moments, or if I want the long arc to be the focus with occasional side jobs. But that comes back to the flexibility of the system. It really lets you run the type of game that you want to run.
I don’t know if I would recommend this system for a newbie DM and newbie group of players. It’s not laid out in a way that’s neat, there’s a lot of holes, and the combat is harsh. But for a group that has messed around with a few systems, it is pretty forgiving to let them let their hair down for a bit. As a newbie DM, I had the advantage of knowing the world best, which gave me the measure of control that as DM I need to have any kind of confidence. With a group of die-hard Firefly fanatics, that isn’t going to be the case…but other new DMs may not have my anxiety crutches, so your mileage is just going to vary on that front.
If I can trust my players to stay off my blog, I might talk about the planning I go into for longer campaigns, but that’s a big maybe. I wouldn’t want to accidentally spoil anyone’s backstory or arc for them, and that will cause sour feelings. (Plus some of the players are uber private, which I respect.) In the meantime, if you can get your hands on the book or a PDF of it, it’s worth a page-through at the very least.
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