Derik Badman's Journal

2021-05-24 08:21

Once you get out of the habit...

Lots more work on my Hadleyville online version. I'm learning about Angular and not particularly liking it. I have the main parts in place (town, npcs, notes, tables) and you can save to local storage, and the layout is coming along. Need to clean up the UI a good bit and maybe I can then call it a 1.0. Would like to experiment a little with some kind of cloud storage solution for saving the data, something that won't require me to install a lot of server-side code/programs.

Finished up the first Mass Effect in the new edition, in the end, it's the one that is least interesting as a game. The side missions really suffer from repetition of concept and environments (you always knows the layouts of every place you go inside). I think I recall it as better than it is, because of how better the subsequent two are. Looking forward to the second one, we'll see if I just jump right into it or hold off a bit.

We played our regular game yesterday, third session now in the new campaign. This one was basically the extended version of "you get to town, find an inn to stay at for the night, the night passes." Lots of interactions with the locals, and finding our way into some kind of mystery by way of talking to too many people. Finding out my character is not very nice, being run on the "haughty sorceress" model, which hopefully will not end up annoying everyone else. I enjoy it, though.

Rewatched Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels last night which is interestingly both a didactic movie and a critique of same. The director protagonist ends up abandoning his idea about making a serious meaningful film in favor of comedies that make people laugh, but Sturges' film itself is both, focusing in (rather naively I'd say) on poverty and homelessness during the Depression, but also being a funny comedy.

Reading The High Book of the Grail which is a translation by Nigel Bryant of the 13th century Arthurian Perlesvaus. I read about it in Steven Moore's The Novel: An Alternative History and it sounded interesting and kind of D&D-esque. Moore describes it:

The novel [The High Book of the Grail (Perlesvaus)] recounts the various adventures of Arthur and these knights, most of which are undertaken as affairs of honor. Any knight asked by a maiden to right a wrong done to her -- and this novel is thick with wronged maidens -- is duty-bound to help her, at the expense of whatever personal quest he may be on. Invariably, such assistance leads to further complications, for a dastardly knight killed for his wrongdoings usually has a wife or son now obliged to avenge his death, which leads to further encounters. Consequently, adventures don't simply follow one another but are linked, as in Icelandic sagas; the novel's events are not just sequential but consequential. The author masterfully juggles all these linked events while maintaining the overarching quests for the Grail that each knight is engaged on, suspending one narrative strand to pick up another, then returning to an earlier one in a dazzling feat of narrative engineering.

The adventures themselves are often ritualized and ceremonial, rich in symbolism, all taking place in a land of enchantment.

Which sounds very much like the "emergent narrative" of a D&D game where the actions of characters end up creating the subsequent (consequent) events.

While the book follows a general Arthurian romance pattern (questing knights, tournaments, hermits, castles, maidens, Christianity, etc.) there are also a bevy of supremely weird additions. In one section we learn that Arthur's son, Loholt (who I have never heard of before) "had a strange custom: whenever he killed a man he would sleep on top of him..." Say what? We never learn more about the whys or wherefores of that.

At one point Perlesvaus (who I guess is a version of Perceval), captures the lord who has been trying to steal Perlesvaus' mother's kingdom. To execute the man, he beheads all the lord's knights (that he also captured), collects their blood in large vat, and then drowns the lord upsidedown in the blood... ??? That's... something... It's not usually that weird or violent.

Yesterday, I dug up this plant that keeps sprouting where our new grass is. I guess it is something that was growing there, that didn't get totally pulled out when the grass was put in. It's come back twice now with these tall straight romaine lettuce looking sprouts. It ended up having a big white root the size of a softball just below the grass... I couldn't believe how big it was. Really wish I were better at identifying all these plants, as I'm curious what they all are as I go about weeding. Though, it is already starting to feel so futile as more and more sprout up. I just can't keep up. I guess that's what people turn to weed killers. Probably be better if we had more plants filling the beds that we wanted to keep around.