Interesting things from the last few weeks:
I saw Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves. It’s well put-together, shows a tonne of obvious love for the source material, and by the end I was rooting for the heroes. My only real complaint is that it took a while to get going.
I recommend listening to Dana Stevens talking about it on the Slate Culture Gabfest. She entered the cinema annoyed at having to watch the film, and ended up raving about it. It’s particularly entertaining because she doesn’t know anything about D&D: she enjoyed it on its own merits.
Speaking as a player, I loved the bits I could absolutely see happening in a campaign. For example, at one point the paladin — an obvious GMPC — leads the party to a bridge and explains the rules they need to follow to cross. Stuff like only stepping on the second and fourth stones on the even rows, and then halfway through it changes to and so on and son on. And then, behind him, one of the party members accidentally steps on the bridge and it collapses. Classic D&D.
There’s some beautiful camerawork and inventive scenes. I can complain about the pacing, or some of the characters not having enough spotlight, but it’s good.
I was in the kitchen one day to make a coffee and I heard a loud noise. So I looked over, and the glass from my window was pouring into my apartment. I had enough presence of mind to drop to the floor, because there were also windows in the kitchen, and I didn’t know what was going on.
It turns out a tree fell into the building. It smashed my window, my downstairs neighbour’s window, and gouged out parts of the siding. I still don’t know why it happened — it was a perfectly calm day. My theory is that the roots under the road weren’t strong because they probably didn’t get that much water. Perhaps the tree was unbalanced?
Anyway. We’re all OK. The owner of the builder is responsible for fixing the siding and replacing the windows, and despite all the glass, I don’t think anything I own was actually damaged. I’m just glad I wasn’t sitting on the couch with my laptop, because that would’ve been disastrous.
I miss the tree.
RPGs! A while back I started listening to the Savage Interludes podcast, because I was running the Pirates game and wanted to learn more about the Savage Worlds system. The podcast is over now, but Syd on the Discord organized an online convention this weekend.
I played a session of Brindlewood Bay. Think Murder, She Wrote, but with creepy hints of the supernatural. You play retirees who know each other from a murder mystery book club, and (for some reason) you help solve crimes.
In this case, the local sheriff asked us to try to keep a wealthy family from leaving town in their yacht while his people investigated the death of the family patriarch. So we barged onto their boat, used our “Meddling” skills, and looked for clues. Once we’d gathered enough information we came up with an explanation for what went down.
I failed some rolls. That gets dark — the DM asks you what’s the worst thing that could happen, and then narrates a version that’s even worse. My character, Madge, followed the captain to see the engine room, and then suddenly hands came out of the dark with a garrote and killed me. But there’s a nifty mechanic where you can rewind time and change what happened, but at a cost. That’s why I ended up hearing mysterious chanting coming from under the boat. I imagine that the characters get increasingly off-kilter over the course of a campaign.
It was fun!
Then I ran a session of The Wolverines Take the Highway to the Danger Zone. Again. When I ran it last summer, it sprawled over three sessions. I wanted to know if I could run it in a reasonable amount of time, and … I can!
This time I set things up in Foundry VTT. It was more work to set up, but it functioned pretty well. There were some minor glitches, but I should be able to do better next time.
The players all had fun. I had a rough moment at the end, because I hadn’t put in enough time preparing an encounter and had to wing it, but otherwise I had a good time, too. Next time I’ll try to have more moments where the players need to convince friendly NPCs that they have to fight back, and try to draw on player hindrances more.