Fallen London Exceptional Story: Daylight

image copyright Failbetter Games Ltd Fallen London is a free to play browser based Victorian Gothic text adventure. Their premium subscription service offers a new Exceptional Story to play through each month. For December 2018 I wrote Daylight: an Exceptional that sees you travel to a mysterious island shrouded in blinding daylight in order to face the monster that haunts it and rescue its stranded architect. http://www.failbettergames.com/decembers-exceptional-story-daylight/
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Today I got a little done despite depression.

I felt pretty solid this morning. I dropped Emily off at the train, came home and had a bath and breakfast but by the time I settled down to do the writing I needed to I was in pretty heavy not being able to do things depression mode. I managed to wash some linen and take a good selfie and tune in to Erin’s playthrough of Donut County which is amazing. But my actual writing output was pretty abysmal. This not being able to make myself do things keeps being such a fucking bugbear in my life, as long as I can remember, and it makes me hate myself sometimes.

What I did manage was some a few solid words and a really good stream of Blades In The Dark and I am proud of those.

Tomorrow I’m gonna try and find my writing groove again and then go and see melody in the evening. 😁

W.R.I.T.E. GM Moves

As a GM I often run a game on the fly by the seat of my pants with very little reference material in front of me, and I really appreciate games that let me do this. One of the things I struggle with, for a lot of PBTA games is long lists of GM moves. I often forget to have a list in front of me and I don’t want to go digging for them every five minutes. I know GMs who have a more measured pace for whom patiently consulting a list of GM moves works for but my style is too hectic for that. This tool is intended to be a helpful fallback for when you don’t have the game’s actual list of moves in front of you. It’s not intended as an outright replacement for the GM moves of the actual game you’re playing. The tool is this simple acronym: WRITE Warn them Rob them Injure them Twist the outcome Escalate   Warn Them Introduce new things to worry about or make distant worries more present. Reveal unwelcome truths. Let them know what’s about to happen, or what’s happening in the nearby or far away. This move is one of the most important because it’s the one you use to create narrative flow and make sure players don’t feel cheated. When they later get completely obliterated by dracula’s moon laser, it’s ok because you warned them. “In the distance you hear the rumbling sound of many feet and warcries. A warband headed this way, to be sure.” “A bullet ricochets off the wall inches from your head, wherever it came from, the second one probably won’t miss.” “A smirk fills the councilman’s eyes. He’s not afraid of you anymore.” Rob Them Take away or destroy the things their characters care about. Equipment gets broken, dropped, used up, or left behind. Hurt, kill, or kidnap their companions. This move is valuable for making risks and consequences that feel real and grounded without always falling back on the threat of potential injury and death. It’s what powers resource management based games and it reminds the players that even superheroes need to eat. “The kobold deftly disarms you and your sword clatters into the chasm below.” “The torch gutters out and someone’s belly grumbles in the cold dark, though it could have been anyone’s.” “The others squeeze through the gap without trouble but there’s no way your plate mail is making it through.”   Injure Them Bruise them, bleed them, break their bones. Take their lives or whatever made their lives worth living. This is the simplest move, the classic. Use it to make a point. This is a thing that can kill you. When hitpoints drop players sit up and take notice. “The ogre reaches through your hail of arrows, grabs your arm, and rips it off.” “The sweltering sun beats down on you as you travel without respite. Your skin burns and your blood boils in your head.” “You’re only barely still standing with the poison seeping through your veins and so you don’t notice the kobold trip wire at the top of the stairs. The tumble is all it takes to rob you of that last inch of life.” Twist The Outcome Give them what they want but with a cost or twist. Show their actions affecting much more or much less than they had intended. Turn their move back on them. Have success look different to what was assumed. This move is super useful for adjusting the pacing of things as well as making players think about possible fictional outcomes of their actions. “The fireball explodes on the mummy and fills the entire chamber with flames. The sacred scrolls nearby start to smoulder as embers pock their pages.” “You break down the door before hearing the groaning of the stones above as they tumble down with the wall collapsing into a giant pile of rubble.” “The necromancer recognises your holy symbol and is struck silent. As his minions flee he drops to his knees, begging for his life.” Escalate Make the situation worse. Separate the party. Put someone in a tricky spot. Bring in backup. Turn the floor into lava. This move is incredibly versatile, especially in tandem with Twist The Outcome, and drives a lot of narrative. Use it to ramp things up, move things forward, and never look back. “As you stop to catch your breath over the corpse of the man you used to trust, the entire house shakes and then lurches as it’s lifted into the sky by nazi helicopters.” “One of the bandits reaches out and grabs your companion, pulling them close with a knife at their neck. They start to retreat with their hostage.” “Bullets slice through the air around your jeep as the mercenaries fire from their bikes. One gets lucky and gas starts spraying from the engine bay and it’s only a second before the hood is blazing.”
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Antiquarian Adventures

Antiquarian Adventures Antiquarian Adventures is a pulpy tomb raiding and treasure hunting Blades In The Dark hack in the style of Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, National Treasure, and The Mummy. It is currently in early access. You can purchase it on Itch.io: https://machinespirit.itch.io/antiquarian-adventures Or you can access the full text of the game for free: https://docstyle.machinespirit.net/index.php?id=11wJ2HIV-2GkPV8jjieT6vxV_uPT6ncv3AFPCTID5blU
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Today I was AVCon adjacent. I spent most of the day in a coffeeshop near the con, got a bunch of writing done, went for a wander of the con main show hall, realised I’ve kinda fallen out of love with a certain kind of fandom, got to catch up with a bunch of people I love dearly, and then went to a quiz night where my table lead the whole night only to come second at the last moment.

Today I was AVCon adjacent. I spent most of the day in a coffeeshop near the con, got a bunch of writing done, went for a wander of the con main show hall, realised I’ve kinda fallen out of love with a certain kind of fandom, got to catch up with a bunch of people I love dearly, and then went to a quiz night where my table lead the whole night only to come second at the last moment.

This morning I watched Adam stream Caves Of Qud so I decided to spend my afternoon streaming it as well which was lovely when Adam sent a raid my way! Afterwards I mostly just fiddled with some game stuff and then Em and I spent the evening watching The Expanse which was super nice.

This morning was really really tough because I forgot to take my meds yesterday and slept really poorly last night but Emily was an amazing support person and we got to dress up and go see Ocean’s 8 with Em and Mel and Kate which was an excellent time.

Roll20 Sheet Import Field

So I’ve wanted to be able to have something like the roll20 compendium for In Which We Live And Breathe but one that would be community expandable, creating a growing world of corps, gear, and contacts. As a result I’ve ended up developing some data import functionality that should be able to be plugged into just about any roll20 sheet to allow JSON users to paste JSON formatted data into their character sheet directly. Video Demo Code: <label>IMPORT:<textarea name="attr_import"></textarea></label> <script type="text/worker"> on("change:import", function() { getAttrs(["import"], function(values) { var text = values.import.replace(/(?:\r\n|\r|\n)/g, ''); var vals = JSON.parse(text); var truevals = {}; for (var property in vals) { if (vals.hasOwnProperty(property)) { if(typeof vals[property] === "string" || typeof vals[property] === "number"){ truevals[property] = vals[property]; } if(vals[property] instanceof Array){ for (i = 0; i < vals[property].length; ++i) { var currentRow = vals[property][i]; var currentRowId = generateRowID(); for (valProp in currentRow) { if (currentRow.hasOwnProperty(valProp)) { truevals["repeating_"+property+"_"+currentRowId+"_"+valProp] = currentRow[valProp]; } } } } } } setAttrs(truevals); setAttrs({import:""}); }); }); </script>
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Early Access

I make games. But I’m also messy and anxious. I believe my work is good and that I should be paid for it. But I also want people to have my games without it stressing my finances. So here’s the plan: I am going to continue making games, both solo and with friends. I am going to share the very earliest versions of those games with my Patreon patrons. When a game feels like it’s at a point I’m ready to share it to the larger world, I will release it as “Early Access”. Early access from me means that you can purchase an early access copy of the game that entitles you to all future digital versions of the game. Early access from me means that it is released for free on the internet for those who can’t or aren’t ready to back it financially yet. Early access from me means that I haven’t finished with the game yet and I will likely release updates, but who knows when. Early access from me means the work is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. When the game is done, there will likely be publishing and such, at which point it will stop being Early Access and those who purchased it get a digital copy of the finished game. I hope that sits chill with all of you.
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Today I did a bunch with mum’s help.

Mum rocked up at nine this morning and we went for a nice long walk for some exercise and then, because Emily wasn’t home yet she helped wash the dishes, take out the rubbish and helped with some other cleaning. I rushed through the shower and we headed out and did grocery shopping. By the time we got back Emily was home and I was exhausted. We went over to the vardo where Emily painted and I napped. Then we made savoury muffins together, after which it was time for the finale of our game of Court Of Swords which was pretty damn excellent in my own opinion. Now though, I am super sleepy. I definitely defied my spoon count this morning and that felt victorious, but I’m being realistic and not assuming that will be the norm ongoing.

Today I did adventures despite being super tired.

This morning was the first day on increased meds and I managed to get through the finale of our Girl By Moonlight game but afterwards I was SO EXHAUSTED. Gwen came around at around lunch time and we all went on an adventure to get some indoor plants and then when we got home I managed to work on and post an update to The Republic, before basically crashing. I got to listen to Sarah reading a story for her patreon patrons and then basically spent the rest of the night watching Court Of Swords and Brooklyn Nine Nine. It’s very very strange being in this place of mental health… crisis? Cause some of the time I feel fine and even good and I can’t work out what all the fuss is about, and then other times I’m just completely out of my own head in different ways. I’m trying real hard not to hate on myself for being a burden, especially on Emily, And instead trying my best to just be thankful for the people supporting me in a really scary time.

Today I crashed hard but was cared for.

I was up at a good time this morning and pretty quickly got onto having a long shower which was a big struggle but I managed it. I got myself dressed, got a little work done, had some lunch, and then just fucking broke down. I found myself on the bed having some of the most intensely rough and dangerous mental experiences I’ve had in a long time, which is impressive considering where I’ve been at so far this year. I managed to message Emily and she came and helped me through the second half of it and then organised a care plan for the rest of the day. She kept me company, kept me occupied, even while doing her own work. Dave came around for the afternoon and evening and we worked together a little, him doing actual code stuff and me writing a game over the course of an afternoon. We all had snacks and Emily made delicious pasta for dinner and then we watched Logan, which was very disappointing, and then the first episode of Dirk Gently which was very not. I felt more cared for, loved, and supported than I tend to think I deserve, but that’s the crux of it I guess, nothing is ever fair, good or bad, it just is.

I’m not sure what my plans for tomorrow are yet, but I think I’m probably streaming in the morning and playing Torchbearer in the afternoon? That will be nice.

Today I fell asleep after character creation.

This morning I was slow to start and so by the time I was ready for the day it was time to get on a call for character creation for an RPG stream. In the end the call took WAY longer than I anticipated and afterwards I was exhausted and fell asleep on the couch for a few hours. After dinner I managed to get SOME work done but not a lot cause the work I did do was so anxiety inducing.

Tomorrow I’m gonna try and get more solid work done. Hopefully Dave coming around for coworking will help that.

Today I got tired.

I slept appallingly last night and didn’t make it out of bed till nearly ten. I got on stream by ten thirty and went through til 2pm with a break in the middle to pick up Emily. After streaming though I passed out on the couch for a few hours which wasn’t very pleasant and then, once I managed to rouse myself I very slowly did the dishes, until finally it was time for another little rest before Damon arrived and we spent a lovely evening hanging out.

Today I wasn’t much fun but I managed to send emails.

I had a long shower this morning, after a lot of procrastination and it was pretty rough but it didn’t completely knock me out. I managed to send a few big important emails which was good. I dabbled around during the day otherwise and watched some streams and then Dave and I went for a walk after dropping Emily to her mum’s and spent the evening watching a nature documentary and playing Assassin’s Creed Black Flag.

Tomorrow I’m streaming in the morning and Damon is coming to visit in the evening which will be lovely.

Today I was at least not so sad.

I was still super low energy and tired but I managed to get some small tasks completed. In the evening Hen had dinner with us which was delicious and then Emily and I spent the rest of the evening watching The Expanse which we’re really digging.

Tomorrow I’m gonna chase leads and try to work out where I’m at.

Today I let myself be depressed.

I felt fine getting up and having breakfast this morning but after that my most warned me that it was gonna struggle with a shower. I attempted a shower anyway and managed to get through it but crashed immediately after and spent an age alternately sobbing and being catatonic. I managed to get myself together eventually and got a bit of work done at my desk but then by body decided that crashing into torpor on the couch was a good idea and that lasted until Emily got home. Once Emily was home we ate and ran some errands and then came home for a Cave Date Minecraft stream with Andrew which was extremely lovely.

Today I worked on spare tasks.

I wanted to get down to work hard today on some of the paid games stuff I thought I’d be doing but delays and things meant that I couldn’t do any of that. So instead I helped Emily with her website, got most of the dishes done, posted updates to my Patreon, fixed up some RPG stuff, and ran a playtest of In Which We Live And Breathe. The playtest was really freakin rad and I’m so glad to see the game working as well as it did. It feels like the game is through its initial trial by fire and is now something rad worth continuing.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to hear from people who make decisions about whether they want to pay me to do work, and, honestly, it’s terrifying cause it feels like my future is in their hands. If I can get enough games work to support myself it feels like I might be able to pull myself out of this burnout and depression spiral, if I have to go back to mostly working my day job I’m not really sure how I’ll cope.