Derik Badman's Journal

2021-05-03 08:32

Effort on this journal seems to fade the more I get caught up in other projects. Spending a lot of time working on some coding projects. I've refactored my RPG Table Randomizer into ES6 Modules and Classes, cleaning up the code a lot, adding some improvements to how it works. I've also been working on an online version of my Hadleyville RPG, using Angular (which I only chose because I need to learn it for work). That is coming along, though it is so far mostly unstyled. Thanks to the randomizer library I've got all the tables showing up and you can click a button to get random results from each. Working on a way to create notes and add the table results to them, so you could have a list of NPCs and some town details and maybe create a starting list of events. Angular makes a number of things simpler, but adds so much overhead and new syntax and modules and build steps, that I'm not sure it's all worth it. Some things that in vanilla JS are super simple, seem exceedingly complicated to do the Angular way.

Watched Bergman's The Virgin Spring and maybe decided Bergman just isn't for me? I don't know, I should rewatch Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries, as I do recall liking those. This one was fine, but often felt really play-like. It had a small element of Norse mythology in it that felt unresolved.

We watched Easy Living (1937) on Criterion last night, part of their Mitchell Leisen program, this one written by Preston Sturges (before he started directing his own movies). An amusing enough film about a woman who gets an expensive fur coat dropped on her head and then... ends up probably getting married to a rich banker's son. And looking it up now, I see it's based on a book by Vera Caspary, the same woman who wrote both Laura and Letter to Three Wives (which were both made into good movies).

Started watching Mariano LlinĂ¡s's La Flor this morning (as it's leaving Criterion this month). It's a 13 hour movie in 6 episodes, each of a different genre but using the same 4 lead actresses. We'll see how far I get into it, but I read reviews about it when it was first released, and it sounds quite intriguing.

Finished Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls rather quickly this week (a few times I read 100+ pages in a sitting). It's a sequel of sorts to Curse of Chalion, featuring the same world/history but with secondary characters from the first one becoming primary in the second. I enjoyed it a lot more than the first one, it seemed more assured in the world and its theology/magic, the plot had a little more going for it. Also the protagonist was more interesting. It reminded me of Le Guin's Tehanu, as it also features a middle aged widow as a protagonist, not exactly common in fantasy fiction. In both cases that provides alternate perspectives on aspects of the world, and also removes a reliance on physical violent conflict as a staple of the drama.

Got the first dose of the covid vaccine Friday.

Ran a third session of our faux-Warhammer campaign. Parts of it felt anti-climactic, like I maybe should have pushed the danger/conflict a little more, but also sometimes it feels like that just draws out the inevitable. I don't know. I'm still re-finding my footing running a game and how to use less rules. At times I feel like I'm calling for rolls just so the players can roll some dice (I know they like rolling), rather than because I think it's necessary. I have to keep in mind the idea that it's only worthwhile if failure or a complication will be interesting for the game, rather than just making things not happen automatically. Or at least make sure there is something in place I can use to make a failure/complication interesting... Also, I could just ask the players for ideas when they fail a roll too, which I should try next time.

We finished the first little adventure (little, but it took 3 sessions) and have decided to continue playing, so I need to work up more ideas, maybe a few tables (or gather some tables I already have for easy reference). Trying to solicit ideas from the players about their characters that I can use as a springboard, something I have often failed at before. Sometimes I think that comes from a mismatch between what the players create as backstory and what is... part of the setting... or interesting as a group session. It's one thing to write a complicated backstory for your character, but it's hard to make an adventure from a backstory that is more personal history than... goals, desires, hanging threads, etc.