Today I laid about in bed till eleven while Emily went for a walk with a friend. We ran some errands and got tidied up before heading out for the afternoon where I dropped Emily off at an appointment and then went and got some new RAM to replace the sticks that died the other day before heading to Melody’s. We had a really chill evening and I managed to play a few Apex Legends which I’m really enjoying.

Sunless Skies: Felined Eccentric and Queer Rep

Sunless Skies is a gothic horror computer roleplaying game with a focus on exploration and exquisite storytelling. I was initially contracted to provide consultation on queer representation in the game through my involvement with Queerly Represent Me. As a result of that consultation I joined the team to help develop the character and story of the Felined Eccentric, a brilliant engineer you can recruit in the game if you don’t mind her bringing her three cats with her. You can find more about Sunless Skies here: https://www.failbettergames.com/sunless-skies/
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Today I arrived home. I slept at Cammi’s last night and she gave me a lift home around lunch time. Emily and I shared lunch and then it was time for game date with Erin. We tried to play Dawn Of War 2 but it wasn’t having it so we played Stardew instead. Afterwards though I had to have a nap on the couch cause I was so hot and tired. Afterwards Emily and I spent the evening watching Court Of Swords which was really nice.

Yesterday I flew home.

I was up at 3:30am and Karri picked us up at 4:15 to drop us at the airport because she is an angel. My flight was at six and Melody’s was at eight so I listened to a podcast in the air and then waited at Adelaide for her flight to get in. We headed back to Mel’s place where we napped for a few hours before she dropped me off at Cammi’s and I just crashed there for the night.

Today was the second half of Arcanacon.

I woke up exhausted but perked up with some breakfast on the way to the convention centre. I ran Oracle for the first and last sessions of the day again, with a nap on the grass and a trip to Muji in between. The reception Oracle received over the weekend was awesome. The last game of the con was the best because everyone was so bought in from the hype from previous sessions. I was still completely tired out at the end of it but at least I finished the con on a real high note.

Today was the second half of Arcanacon.

I woke up exhausted but perked up with some breakfast on the way to the convention centre. I ran Oracle for the first and last sessions of the day again, with a nap on the grass and a trip to Muji in between. The reception Oracle received over the weekend was awesome. The last game of the con was the best because everyone was so bought in from the hype from previous sessions. I was still completely tired out at the end of it but at least I finished the con on a real high note.

Yesterday was the first day of Arcanacon.

I ran Oracle in the first and last sessions of the day and Delaney ran one session. The game worked really well which is encouraging but also slightly frustrating cause I’m finding it hard to spot where polish is needed. I at least have a few notes though. I had a lot of free time during the middle of the day which I tried to use for some napping but it wasn’t super effective. Even though my responsibilities were pretty easy I still found myself totally exhausted by just being in the convention environment and basically just crashed when I got back to the apartment.

Yesterday was the first day of Arcanacon.

I ran Oracle in the first and last sessions of the day and Delaney ran one session. The game worked really well which is encouraging but also slightly frustrating cause I’m finding it hard to spot where polish is needed. I at least have a few notes though. I had a lot of free time during the middle of the day which I tried to use for some napping but it wasn’t super effective. Even though my responsibilities were pretty easy I still found myself totally exhausted by just being in the convention environment and basically just crashed when I got back to the apartment.

Today I settled in for the weekend.

This morning Maize and Thom and I ventured out into the heat to get brunch at a place I think was called bric-a-brac? My banana bread was delicious regardless.

Then back at the apartment I spent the day playing Caves Of Qud, not streaming it, getting upset about the fact that I wouldn’t have my nice new Oracle cards for Arcanacon tomorrow, and napping.

In the evening we headed out to bar SK for the Global Game Jam Yarra launch and spent the night hanging out there and getting Vietnamese with Maize, Thom, Karri, Izzy, and eventually Melody, which was lovely.

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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