See You Next Wednesday
Wednesday, January 31
Played a game, which was nice.

On Thursday evening last week, after a day of retail exercise with the charming Emma-Jean, I went to the rpgMeetup’s inaugural DMies award night. Twenty-odd people turned up in semiformal wear and were pleasant company, which was nice. Things which happened to me include: Alex and I beat all comers at the pool table; I won a Best DM Exploit award for naked party in the brig of a pirate ship in a coliseum and a Best Setting award for the Othermoon Institute; and I had a lovely chat to Princess Shy which was all too brief. Everybody thought it was totally brilliant and should happen again in one form or another. Afterwards some people unsuccessfully attempted to go for coffee, but we were too late.

Friday I started out browsing around the stalls at Cancon before heading over to the nerdfarm to listen to the JJJ Hottest 100. Emma and Gavin also visited and games were played such as Thurn and Taxis and Ticket to Ride. I went to Cancon, again, during the weekend and bought many dice: some polyhedral dice and some ten-sided dice (for Ars Magica). Dave bought some Ebberon books at the Mil Sims auction, he wants to use the setting with another system, and caught some Mage Knight undead miniatures which we will use for Eagon’s undead minions in World’s Largest Dungeon. Simon caught AEG’s Guilds sourcebook which may never be used for anything. Many other people I knew were there, they waved hello and then vanished into the crowd.

Also on the weekend “Team Bubblehearth” was brought into the World of Warcraft. Dave, Jimbo, Linda, Simon and I have created a group of blood elf characters for the new Burning Crusade expansion. We have been exploring the new game areas, together and separately depending on who is online when. On Sunday night, after a great time killing bad things, we sat around in an inn exchanging witty banter and performance enhancing drugs, which was great fun.

On Monday evening I joined John, Peta and Shy for Peter’s play-by-phone Ars Magica game. Peter is in Sydney and runs the game using Skype and PmWiki. Everyone was simply lovely and it felt good. The session was about John’s companion (Bertrand, the grog captain) leading a small army to recapture a castle for a dispossessed covenant, so the rest of us created grogs (Anseau, Henri and Phillipe) and marched off to battle. Discovering our foe had learned of our intention to besiege them Bertrand sent a pair of spies (Màili, the Welsh archer, and Olivier, the weird urchin) to infiltrate the castle posing as peasants fleeing our approaching army. Using inside information provided by the captain from the dispossessed covenant they opened a secret passage which allowed our strike force to enter and open the gates for the rest of the troops. We won! With the storyteller present only as a flashing blue speaker box there was not a lot of scope for sundry chat, except when the connexion dropped out which it managed to do at dramatic moments with uncanny frequency. It was different to have everybody attending to the story for the whole session and I think it will encourage a “story focussed” style of play, which is nice.

Last night Dave, Jimbo and Simon ploughed on with the World's Longest Corridor, discovering new lows in AEG's mapping and descriptions including a "square" room which was twice as long as it was wide. The climax of the evening was a drider wielding a variety of magical weapons, disguised as a demon in a magic circle, suspended over a lake of lava. In the text read out to the players the book described the drider instead of the demon he was disguised as, and it suggested he would fight for five rounds and then tell the adventurers they were judged worthy to join the driders (as if!). In the end he lasted 6.2 seconds and Gruk has a new keen flaming greatsword. Earlier the party had found a well-equipped forge so there will be a brief period of armoursmithing next while Eagon outfits his raised chimera skeleton in fire resistant studded leather. I expect characters without forge-based craft skills will do some reconnoitering, and if any drow get in the way it will be their own fault.

The bear is a comedian.

Muppet Labs has a new piece of the set for the upcoming season. The new flat looks okay but it was poorly constructed; it works well enough as long as Beaker remembers to duck. After this season it can be reconstructed in a better way. On the other hand, as Gonzo suggested, we could get Scooter to ask his uncle who owns the theatre for more money and hire “emergency chickens” to do it immediately. Kermit said it’s not broken so don’t fix it, which Fozzie took as a challenge. He says it may not be broken but it can be fixed in time for rehearsals, which started yesterday. Of course, there will be no money for chickens. Beauregard, who built the thing, is quite busy fixing sets he built last season. It will be me who has to fix it.
Hooray for Gruk!
Huzzah for flaming greatswords and rectangular squares!
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This may not sound like the snappiest line from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), but it evidently caught the imagination of John Landis, who has worked references to a mythical film of this name into most of his own movies - memorably as the grotty British skinflick watched by an assortment of lycanthropes and zombies in the climax of An American Werewolf in Paris [sic] (1981). Ghastly Beyond Belief, Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman

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