Sunday, November 22, 2020

Where there's Smoke ... Update.

 If you have noticed some inconsistencies in the audio lately,the reason is that I still have no studio space. No mics, no cables... not much at all.  I have had to patch some segments of the show with audio captured on my phone.  It results in a different tone, unwanted reverb, etc. 

As a result of the fire here (currently I have new drywall, but no floors and all my belongings are in a warehouse) I will be forced to reduce my output, for the next little while, to my original 2/month schedule.  I am a little worried that even in doing that I still might not be able to meet my own deadlines, but I will try.  

Hopefully I will have a place to live within a week.  After that, things should get a bit easier.  

Gruenmawg's Shrine Map

 I love the Dungeon Scrawl online map maker.  Between it and Inkarnate, I am one happy guy.

(huh, I wonder where that North door goes...?)

Saturday, November 14, 2020

The inspiration for the sunrise scene in Episode 21

 Most of what I write in TOTM just gets plucked from the recesses of my hotpot of a brain, but occasionally I do have a concrete image in mind.  That was the case in the last episode during the scene where the party departs Duervar before dawn and watches the sunrise from above the cloud line.

I had this experience exactly one time in my life - it was when I climbed Mt Fuji in Japan.  I have a photo of this spectacle on my wall (actually I did... my condo is still gutted post fire).  I couldn't find a digital copy of my photo to share with you... I hope to hell the photo wasn't taken with a film camera... but I did find something kind of similar online, so please forgive my having to post someone else's photo.  If I find my own in future, I'll post it here.

Friday, November 6, 2020

On Slow Gaming

 I'm not gonna let a little fire (or total life upheaval) keep me from TOTM. The show must go on! (You might notice that the audio in the upcoming ep21 get's weird at the end - I had to record using my phone for the thank you's... well it just goes to show that a good mic is money well spent.

But that's not what I wanted to write about today.  I have been thinking about one of the many happy accidents that has occured in my gaming life as a result of making TOTM.  One of the biggest is what results from gaming very, very slowly.  How slowly?  Maybe ten or twenty times slower than a live game.  A live game takes, what 3-6 hours and takes a story from A-B.  I take days to cover that same fictional distance, but... I prefer it this way.  I make better, smarter moves.

To illustrate.  Have you ever toyed with a mechanic that awarded characters with high INT extra time to think, or allow map-making on paper but say it's all in the character's memory?  Something to account for PC skills that are higher than ... er ... PC skills?  We've probably all considered something like that.

This same effect is happening to me in my game, both as player and as DM.  An example: let's say that as DM I roll a 6 on a d6 for Wandering Encounters, indicating there is one.  In a live game, I would consult my charts, roll and discover that 4 hobgoblins are encountered.  How does this encounter go in a game? "You round the corner and come face to face with 4 armed hobgoblins.  Roll for surprise!"

But in TOTM, I might roll the Encounter, consult my list, see the 4 hobgoblins and then go for a walk, or have dinner, or go to bed, or go to work.  Something in my brain plays with the upcoming scenario and by the time I return to the 'table' I will have something much more interesting - maybe the party finds some strange totems that they then follow and are led to a ritual sacrifice.  Maybe there are 6 hobgoblins but they are fighting an ogre.  By the time the party arrives, the ogre and 2 hobgoblins are dead.

More interesting, more colourful and more dramatic moments can be had this way.  I have heard that PBP enjoys the same advantage. Perhaps I should be giving that a try too, sometime.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Where There's Fire, There's Smoke

 Normally that expression goes the other way around, if I'm not mistaken.

You might have noticed that I am a little quieter than usual lately.  I haven't lost interest in TOTM or anything like that - nope, that's stronger than ever.  But I have had a setback.  Christine (who voices Aradine) and I have had a kitchen fire in our apartment.  We confined the flames to the kitchen by unloading no fewer than 6 fire extinguishers on it, but the smoke damage has been extensive.  We've had to move out and all our stuff - like, all of it - is currently at a warehouse being sorted into salvageable and non-salvageable piles.  This includes my desktop computer, all my mics, preamps and other gear with which I make TOTM.  I did have the forethought to remove all my backup drives to a safe space, so my work to date isn't lost - thank Mazigar.  I might not be able to keep up my publishing schedule however.  There's a chance I'll miss a deadline.  I really hope it's just the one (or none).  Thanks for your patience and understanding.

I'm pleased to say that no humans or cats were hurt in the accident.  We will be back up and running as soon as we can.  Shownotes will be delayed for episode 20 and possibly beyond.  Sorry about that.

Perhaps this will be an opportunity to streamline my process, set up a far less cluttered studio and, if nothing else, that Spring Cleaning we never got around to, had gotten around to us.