Dice over Discord

So, what have I, and my brain, been doing since last I wrote? Not much. Work. Bought a new pair of headphones and the S26 Doctor Who set. 3 versions of Battlefield to watch, a new cut of The Curse of Fenric and an enormous pile of supplemental material (Scripts and production paperwork!) to make my way through! I don’t know why I adore making of material so much, but it certainly brings joy and then some. Tracey and I watched Detective Pikachu tonight and while it was enjoyable, I can’t help but wonder how Bill Nighy got involved (Outside of the obvious fact that the man has bills to pay), and I suspect I’d get a lot more of the jokes and background details if I knew anything about Pokemon.

Thanks to a subscriber deal I also picked up the PDF of the John Carter of Mars RPG for free, and it’s very, very pretty. I haven’t had time to delve into it yet beyonf the opening pages, but upon hearing about it my wife all but demanded to play a Thark, as in her words “I want green babies!” For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, just imagine the following picture tinier and cuter:
John-carter-mars-14

I don’t know if I’ll ever run it, despite my wife’s “You buy it, you run it” policy. I need to dig into it more beforehand to see if I can think of adventure ideas. I know comparatively little about the setting, mostly what the film gave us, the glorious beautifully designed mess that it is. I wasn’t a fan of the prologue, feeling it took too long to get us to Mars, but oh, once it did… Making Dejah Thoris more than a damsel in distress was a sensible decision and getting to see/hear the likes of Willem Defoe and James Purefoy chewing scenery as only they can is a delight. Plus a mini Rome reunion with Ciaran Hinds!

Staying on gaming, I ran Destination Mongo, my Flash Gordon adventure, for some friends over Discord yesterday. While fun was had, or certainly seemed to, I’m still not fully sold on voice chat gaming. I was hoping for video, but my tiny laptop couldn’t hack it sadly. It’s not that it’s bad, and I certainly feel I could have been a better GM, but it really makes me miss the communal feeling of a group around a table. Yes, it meant that friends from far away could join in the fun and that’s wonderful, but only hearing people’s voices means I miss a lot of visual cues. Also, they can’t see it when I’m distracted writing down funny lines from them, some of which are below.

“Everybody follow me! After you…”
“Did you learn cooking in the Jackie Chan kitchen?”
“Stop talking and hit something!”
“I will happily let you use that skill for violence.”

I’ll certainly do more of it, if only in the hope of getting better, but also to scratch the itch. If this is all the gaming I’m going to be doing for the forseeable future, then I’d like to get better at it. We had one of our regular games last week with 1 player on video, and it helped an immense amount in focus and reactions. I’m trying not to worry about when lockdown ends and take it day by day, but there are times when the uncertainty does weigh heavy on me.

To end on another emotional note, it was the 9th anniversary of the death of Elisabeth Sladen last week, and a tribute was put online. Written by former Who producer Russell T Davies, it’s a wonderful tribute to both Sladen the actor and Sarah Jane the character. And yes, I couldn’t help but hope for a few words from Tom Baker or Jodie Whittaker, but my head-canon (along with a lot of Twitter) is that given the Doctor is referred to as he throughout, that no-one noticed the 13th Doctor up the back.

You will cry. I certainly did.

Sleep beckons. Be seeing you.

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