Wednesday, 25 March 2020


Self delusion is not generally something one would consider a healthy pastime. I presume one is not consciously aware of it so that would be the important dividing line between a LARPer dressed as a superhero and someone actually trying to leap tall buildings in one go. However confinement raises the bar on this and gives escapism a rather more sobering aspect. Spending weeks at home with potentially nothing to do is a real bane to those with an active imaginations and may well be a small glimpse of the lives of the incarcerated. It only been a day and I'm already struggling with the lack of routine. My point is that I may have to dig out the Christmas tree again in order to fool myself back into holiday mode - at least I get to eat mince pies and buy myself presents.

I'm beginning to think that the iso cubes from Judge Dredd are not so far from reality at the moment but I would gladly walk into a San Angeles Crypto Penetentiary or perhaps don a halo from Minority Report. I would have gone for a carbonite casing but I'm not talking to Star Wars at the moment.

There are few RPGs based on waking up from hibernation - Aliens notwithstanding, there is the classic Gamma World (TSR), Mutant (Target Games), arguably cryo chambers in Traveller (Mongoose) and SpaceShip Zero (Green Ronin). The list goes on but the best bet may well be to plug myself into the internet and succumb to the on line community for now. As much as I try to take a break from the computer world, perhaps I never left.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Pandemic Legion

It has begun. Whilst 'Diversity is Strength' sounds more like IngSoc Newspeak, on a Darwinian level it's suddenly quite poignant. Whilst our genetic similarities will mean the current pandemic will take its toll, there is enough diversity in our species to ensure the longevity of our race for now. Basically our post apocalyptic games will thankfully remain so, although it is always prudent to maintain ones skill levels.

Our DNA is not just diverse but exhibits somewhat Star Trek like characteristics in that over the millennia we have absorbed our genetic enemies into our own sequence with, as far as nature is concerned, acceptable losses to the collective. In other words we have added the biological distinctiveness of foreign bodies to our own and adapted their function to serve as ours - in truth, we have been winning the eternal molecular battle, at least so far. We are Borg.

Speaking of which, GM Jon is arranging an off site Star Trek in the back of his mind and the duly imposed self isolation should be giving him plenty of time to bring it to the fore and when the time comes, I should be able to report back from the New Emporium on London Road, the upcoming venue for the relocation of Dice Saloon.

Until then our roleplaying will face an exile through the cursed earth as our meetings will suspend for now and we will wander our own imagination.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020



This week on the not particularly shady role playing grapevine, I have heard that Dice Saloon is moving from its current location. Given the transfer of the world's high streets into out of town retail parks and the amazon warehouses its a struggle to see why one would go into town at all. The challenge now is to offer an experience in town rather than just a service and whilst Brighton and its arts scene will always attract tourists, by the time you are in the backwaters of London road, it gets a little more cyberpunk. So, as far as I have heard, they will now present a shop front which is an interesting decision.

To be fair the DS directors seem to have hit all of the right buttons and built a great community and it's all contained behind a steel door on an industrial unit secreted from the high street. It's far from an ideal retail environment but its hidden ambiance lends it a special sort of shady identity and a retreat for the subculture, a home for wayward adventurers no less. Whilst a shop front is desirable by default it will be interesting to see what the atmosphere becomes but it may well be just a case of going into backrooms or upstairs - its hard to imagine that they will get the same footprint as an industrial unit.

As for our enterprise at the Railway Club, we have consolidated into three games now as whilst there are a lot more role players around there are also a lot more games in town so it's been s struggle to fill two D&D games though what is extremely frustrating is people signing up to come and not turning up - we had about six people all due to come along and not one of them appeared or even communicated the fact. In my day this would be considered extremely rude but online interaction simply doesn't trigger the social side of the brain that face to face meetings do. People need to get real.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Cold Calling

Murder mysteries are not quite what they used to be. Though that is system dependent of course D&D does attempt to pour water on some puzzles where the recently departed are concerned and with the 3rd level necromancer spell "Speak with Dead" there is always a danger for the unprepared GM. Summoning the dead can and should be a  double edged sword really and to be fair the spell has some restrictions that may not quite gel with a necromancers expectations. There are only five questions allowed and even within this, the spirit will not necessarily be co-operative - it is not a truth spell after all. Indeed if the party are recognized as an enemy then they will get treated appropriately and language may also be a barrier depending on the characters. I also note that trying to talk to entities that do not have mouths poses its own problems.

So with cryptic responses and hazy repetition I think enough mystery can be retained in an adventure without the party resorting to some sort of undead database of bodies they may decide to cart around with them. Personally I prefer the more dangerous and violent reactions but as a GM I should really respect the character involved but I would say it's reasonable to suggest that being violent and aggressive in life should carry over to the afterlife - the spell does indicate that an animating spirit is active but not a full soul so if animating means just that then there is no reason not to allow some adverse cadaver choreography.

I did have an Archmage once in a Rolemaster game and sadly for one of the beloved party members who came to a grisly end, their corpse was reanimated as an undead butler for everyone - a somewhat prickly reminder not to do stupid things but they knew the risks when they met me.