Prep Weekend Post Mortem

I spent most of my weekend in game prep. A good chunk of prep was piecing together what I’d done and what I’d planned to do five years ago. Some of my notes were helpful, some confusing. I ended up sending a timeline to the players that included two game sessions of stuff that we hadn’t gotten to yet because I’d done so much prep for those sessions that I thought we’d actually played them!

Much of the rest of my prep was figuring out (and in some cases retooling) the metaplot. I like the adventure path for setting and encounter details, but the metaplot of Queen Ileosa eating huge bags of stupid-evil for breakfast with a generous dollop of weirdly anti-queer misogyny… just doesn’t work for me. And it wouldn’t work for my players, either. Leaving aside the problematic gender politics, when you have smart players, you need a smarter villan (or set of villains, or in my case, factions of ‘tagonists all with different, complicated, sometimes overlapping, and always ethically complicated agendas).

I had a mini char-gen session with Bryn and Adrienne. Bryn played a social rogue con artist (Renata/Arenzia) in the first iteration of the game, so we spent some time going over the new-to-us unchained rogue mechanics, pricing and selling the treasure that never got sold five years ago, and talking about the long con her character has been running and how it has progressed over the past six months of in-game downtime. She already hates her courtly foil, Lady Melia Arkona, who has set a fasion for wearing gaudy jewelry – lots of it – at court, meaning that “Lady” Renata can’t attend as many functions as she needs to. I suspect Lady Melia is not long for this world.

Adrienne is newish to gaming (she avoided it for years and then fell hard with Bryn’s L5R game), so char gen with her was a little different because she doesn’t have that gamer thing of having grown up steeped in the books and knowing all the possibilities open to her that she’s wanted to play but hasn’t yet had a chance. However, she’s a big fan of the sharks of Same-Z (especially Shumoku). When she jokingly asked if she could have a shark, I took her seriously (my philosophy of GM’ing is that there’s always a way to give a player what they want and still keep things true to the setting — you just have to think creatively). Jigsaw sharks are a thing in this setting and module, so at first I kicked around the idea that she could be a necromancer who only animated dead animals… for ethical reasons?

And then I googled ‘landshark Pathfinder’ and went, “oh right. Bulette!”

bulette_by_katemare

Now, also in the setting module, they mention that the local Shoanti tribes (who got booted out of Korvosa by Chelish colonizers about 300 years previous) hunt bulette and bring it to the city to sell. So again, the setting-as-written supports this outrageous idea. Having a Shoanti PC works great for my modified module (because of course part of the story I’m telling is going to be critical of the massacre and displacement of the Shoanti in ways that the real setting materials… aren’t).

So I pitched to Adrienne the idea of a nomad princess with a landshark animal companion (druid, using a hybrid snapping turtle/crocodile template because a real bulette would be so overpowered). She loved it. The bulette is a runt with a hammerhead mutation. His name is Olon Toms (which I’m informed means ‘hungry potato’ in Mongolian?) I suspect he’s going to win a lot of hearts and minds to the Shoanti cause.

Did I say win? I meant eat.

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Queerness and FTL Travel

I often brag about the brilliance of , but now I'm going to prove it. Instead of ranting about the stupidity of the current kerfuffle over the sexuality of love interests available in Mass Effect 3, she wrote a story emphasizing the stupidity. And it is a little piece of awesome.

Don't let the gay get on you! You'll never get it out!

And may I just add… which is more implausible? That a love interest will be attracted to Shepard no matter if she's male or female? Or that  love interest will be attracted to Shepard no matter if she's a xenophiliac do-gooder or a deeply racist asshole?

Old Writings

About a decade ago now, the Fox ran a tabletop Changeling game for a small group of us. This was before Tale of Winter, though some of the threads from that early game ran through the larp.

My character, Bryn, was a troll knight who ended up swearing service to (and falling in love with, in the chivalric sense) a knocker inventor/clubber named Violet. Violet was an NPC played by the Fox. She had a whole purple and black industrial goth thing going on, and she was wicked hot! She was the girlfriend/prisoner of a redcap named Mortag the Red, and he was a pretty nasty piece of work. He pretty much just kept her around to make weapons and munitions for his gang.

I woke up one night after a gaming session and wrote this sonnet in a fit of inspired, frenetic passion. Recently, the topic of sonnets has come up on WoW, and it sent me to search out this piece. I think it’s rather good for being something I wrote ten years ago.

Violet
What fairest beauties pierce mine eye,
With flashing looks and floating hair,
Can contest thy beauty’s symmetry,
Or with thine wisdom doth compare?
Thou’rt fair as black-winged night.
Bright Luna in thy features dwells,
My heart, my soul, mine eye’s delight,
Sweet Lady of the urban dells.
Nature’s whim hath made thee wild,
Her purple wine thy lips doth stain,
And many a heart hast thou beguiled,
Yet all who love thee love in vain,
For one has chained the wild-grown flower,
Who feels no love, but lusts for power.

–by Dame Bryn Copeland, in service to the Lady Violet