Catering this weekend

Please respond to this with offers on the catering side.

So far Jake has offered to cook a curry for the evening meal.

Iain has also suggested bringing pizza – would pizza for lunch and curry for dinner be a bit too heavy? is such a thing possible.

Still waiting on the other major food groups – beer, pringles, jaffa cakes and coke.

I can do the coke but it will be Diet.

A New World Idea

A dualistic world caught between two sources of power, an aetheric energy whose source is the sun and a cthonic energy whose source is the earth. Each energy source is antithecal to the other and yet also capable of interacting with it – the surface of the world is the point of interaction.

Each energy is associated with a major and a minor element. The major aetheric element is Fire, the minor element is Air. The major cthonic element is Earth, the minor is Water. The two major elements cannot interact with each other, but they can influence the opposing minor elements. The two minor elements can combine, but the result depends on which is the dominant element in the combination. Air and Water with Air dominant is Foam, with Water dominant is mist or miasma.

The cthonic power is served by the cthonic beings. These are cold blooded, from the lore-wise dragons down through various orders of lizards and lizardmen. The aetheric power is served by its own range of creatures, from angelic faeries down to men. The higher creatures of each power are pure, the lower creatures are alloyed and impure, which makes them less powerful but more tolerant of the power of the other. For example the faerie are pure creatures of light, they are filled with aetheric energy but find the touch of metal deadly since it is cthonic in origin. Dragons are pure cthonic creatures – they cannot fly or breathe fire but can shake the foundations of the earth. They find the very touch of light hard to bear though.

The middle races, men and lizardmen, have no such power and suffer few such problems. They can feed upon both sources of power, the earthpower the flows from the ground beneath their feet and the lightpower than shines down, although they find their preferred power easier to comprehend. For all of them though, power is something that they are blind to and need to scrabble for.

Theory of RPG – DM-Player interactions

Its interesting (and has only just occured to me) that in the same way that there are different playing styles that people prefer and feel most comfortable in, there are styles of DM’ing as well. Or rather, its obvious there are styles of GM’ing, there are styles of player-GM interaction. I guess there are probably a few dominant DM’s out there who like to pull all the strings and micro-manage the players, but I am very much a ‘world-builder’ DM – I like to create a coherent and consistent world and for the players to create their characters and define their own goals within that world. I am then there to help them acheive their goals and make them worth acheiving by having struggled on the way. Its no fun if you don’t acheive your goal and its no fun if you acheive it easily.

I also tend to be very protective of the ‘feel’ of my world – I like the players to create bits themselves but I demand a veto over their creativity. Its all part of my obsession with internal consistency – anything that doesn’t fit right breaks the suspension of belief. The biggest problem that I have is when the real world is plonked into a fantasy world. Classic example is Dun County – I can never see the Old Sun Dome temple as anything other than Fountains Abbey, because it is.

Interestingly David is a completely different sort of DM, he likes detail and characters and plot. He is very good at designing a scenario and great characters for it, but doesn’t mind if they are no part of a world. He is quite happy playing one-off scenarios, whereas I find them pointless because there is no scope for character development – he like the problem solving. Its my biggest frustration with Call Of Cthulhu (which I otherwise enjoy) – the inevitable degradation rather than ascension of the characters.

I’m not sure how many styles of DM-player interaction there are. I can think of:

  • God – where the DM wants to control every aspect.
  • World Builder – me – create a great world and want the players to define their role and motivations in the world. I tend to be very protective of my creations as well.
  • Crossword Setter – creates problems for the players to solve. Consistency from scenario to scenario is not necessary, nor is playing the character – its a problem solving game. Most CoC has to be played like this I think.
  • Story Teller – very popular nowadays – the players and the DM are there to create a joint narrative. Characterisation is everything. Doesn’t work with problem solving because it is as much about character growth through failing as it is about winning (or surviving). Different from World-Builder in terms of approach and focus – Story Teller is normally bottom up rather than top down.

Sci-Fi Campaign

Generated a star map for the new campaign last night – an area 20 parsecs by 20 parsecs with 150 odd systems and 11 terran planets – so its fairly sparse. But thats realistic – there will be a lot of empty systems out there.

I originally was going to be hyper-realistic and do it all in 3D, but mapping it and showing it to people became impossible. Its just too difficult to work out routes and borders and things like that. Maybe I will make it 3D when they invent holographic displays, but even VRML wasn’t really doing it properly and even with VRML you can’t just print it out and scribble on it.

Still a map is always a good first step in anything.

My Traveller books

To remind myself when I’m at work but am also looking on eBay, these are the Traveller supplements that I have:

Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 5 – High Guard (x2)
Book 6 – Scouts

Supplement 1 – 1001 Characters
Supplement 2 – Animal Encounters
Supplement 3 – The Spinward Marches
Supplement 7 – Traders and Gunboats (x2)
Supplement 8 – Library Data (A-M)
Supplement 9 – Library Data (N-Z)

Adventure 1 – The Kinunir
Adventure 3 – Twilight’s Peak
Adventure 4 – Leviathan
Adventure 6 – Expedition to Zhodane
Adventure 7 – Broadsword
Adventure 8 – Prison Planet
Adventure 9 – Nomads of the World Ocean
Adventure 11 – Murder on Arcturus Station
Double Adventure 1 – Shadows/Annic Nova
Double Adventure 2 – Mission On Mithril/Across the Bright Face
Double Adventure 3 – Death Station/The Argon Gambit
Double Adevnture 4 – Marooned/Marooned Alone
Double Adventure 5 – The Chamax Plague/Horde

The Saga of the Waterbutt

Last weekend I set out to buy a waterbutt. I realise that this is shutting the door after the horse has bolted, but I thought I could at least catch whatever little rain we might get this summer. I had always thought that I couldn’t fit a waterbutt near either of my drainpipes, but a friend showed me some very neat little slimline waterbutt he had bought.

At the Wyevale round the corner from me, they had run out of the slim waterbutts, but they did have the drainpipe connector kits so I bought one of those.

At the B&Q in Watford (having tried several other places) they had one slim waterbutt left, slightly dented, but I grabbed it anyway. It was only when I got to the checkout that I realised that it didn’t have a tap. We had a good search, but the tap was missing and they were out of spare taps. So they gave me some money off.

In Homebase, where they had also sold out of slimline waterbutts, I found a Sankey universal waterbutt tap. Fits all Sankey waterbutts. My waterbutt was a Sankey waterbutt. Problem solved.

Bought tap. Took tap home. Tap did not fit waterbutt. Bugger.

Looked at fitting. Slightly too small on butt and tapered. No problem, I thought, I’ll drill it out. The universal tap has a nut, so it will just fit through the hole. Drilled out hole (having spent twenty minutes looking for the correct sized bit). Turned out that the plastic of the socket wasn’t just a thin sleeve, but a great big glob, so I couldn’t get the thread through. Ho hum. At this point I was getting quite cross and started questioning the parentage of the people at Sankey, especially since my arm wasn’t actually long enough to fit all the way down the waterbutt to put the nut on the tap, even if it had fitted through. At this point I gave up, screamed abuse at everyone involved in designing and selling the waterbutt and went inside.

Half an hour later I had calmed down a bit and though of a solution. The solution, obviously, was to cut another hole in the waterbutt for the tap. Obviously it wouldn’t have the reinforcement of the mount for the first tap, so it might just pop out under the pressure, but its not as if the waterbutt was any use at the moment anyway. Drilled that through and fitted the tap no problem. There then just remained the problem of the bloody great hole that was the original tap. The solution, as always, was silicone sealant. I squeezed an enormous blob of silicone sealant into the hole, smoothed it down on both sides and then glued a new patch of plastic sheeting on the outside with polystyrene cement and insulating tape.

Its not a thing of beauty any more, but so far its 1/3rd full and holding. When the rainy season comes and waterbutts are in supply again, I’ll get a better one and relegate this one to the end of the garden. Still, its one way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Tau colour scheme #1

I’m thinking of starting a very themed non-Tau Tau army – lots of drones and ‘suits and allied races.

The big question is the Tau colour scheme. I want to avoid the standard brown one, although I like it and I want it to be different from the other ones at the club. Attempt #1 is a red-blue colour scheme – which hasn’t turned out as bad as I thought:

Gubbins – Regal Blue highlighted with Shadow Grey

Surfaces – Bestial Brown u/c, Scab Red topcoat, highlighted with a mix of Bleached Bone and Scab Red.

Risotto rice at Sainsburys

Today I went into Sainsburys to buy some risotto rice and was faced with the normal choice betwern own-brand and branded, in this case Gallio or somesuch. Normally I am a bit wary of own-brand, especially as in this case it was half the price, but I decided to go for it, on the grounds that it was rice, so it wasn’t as it they could adulterate it too badly, especially as it was organic. When I got home I was pleased to discover that at least part of the price saving was that rather than coming in a sealed plastic bag inside a cardboard box, this was just in the cardboard box! Saving on producing and then throwing away the plastic bag, saving on the price – win-win.