Went biking after work yesterday and managed the usual 18 miles. Looks like there’s a 50% chance of thunderstorms on Saturday (boo!) and a 100% on Sunday … wonder if I’ll still be able to work in my (hopefully) 40-mile ride on Saturday morning?

Have now entered the post-Casus Belli “scheduling” and planning phase but, as expected, I’m already struggling to get the players to actually respond. That means I’m likely going to get irritated soon and shift all of my focus onto Red Sky, my other game (the Friday face-to-face one.)

Post Casus Belli

Finished up my run for “season 2” of this campaign and have entered the hiatus period where I play and plan for the next “season” (or run my Friday game.) Recap for 2×13 is online and it was pretty decent overall, though I do wish I’d had more for the other players during the big duel at the end. This marks (I think) the first time with the Saturday group that we’ve actually had a PC death and honestly, even if it hadn’t been planned, I don’t know if the character could have survived. He had failed a death check already and was thus, mortally wounded, but the poison in his system was going to keep going for quite a while, so … ah well.

Now I’m on to brainstorming for season 3 and am wanting to change things up a little, mostly in regards to the PCs having more of an active role with regards to determining what they do next. Am already planning a 5 year timeskip and ideally, I’d like to emulate that cool war table thing from Dragon Age: Inquisition. If that’s remotely possible, that is. I’ve already discovered at least one problem – the mod I was running with Crusader Kings 2 for the map (aka “The Winter King”) isn’t cooperating with the latest update of CK2, so I can’t even login to make a new screenshot!

At any rate, I also have to figure out overall story arcs for all of the main PCs. One of them – Marcus – is really easy as he’s going to be obsessed with locating his One True Love who has vanished, but everyone else? Urgh. Going to be tough. Am trying to farm that out to the players but sometimes, that’s like pulling teeth just to get them to logon … I’ve got at least one player who I’ve been trying to get me his character sheet for like a month now.

So, we’ll see what we see. I’m trying not to set the expectation bar too high lest I get frustrated at the complete lack of response.

Casus Belli Update

So, Saturday will be the conclusion of “season 2” of this campaign run and I’ll (gladly) go into hiatus for a time. This will be 13 episodes, which is better than the 12 I’d originally planed but not quite twice. I had material for at least two more eps after this one (probably three or four given how the PCs prevaricate) so why stop now? In a word: death.

One of the players whose character is one of the primary if not the primary driver of the story had an idea about killing off his PC for dramatic effect; he has said that he’s been enjoying the campaign and will miss the character and I have no reason to doubt him (even though I’ve made more than a few missteps along the way), but he was completely right in that having this character die will radically shake things up. And, as luck would have it, this upcoming installment fits the story narrative for that perfectly. So, in an ideal world, we’ll end at the normal time with his character’s tragic and (mostly) unexpected demise due to poison and treachery. (One other player is aware of this plan but I use him as a sounding board for some things and he is playing the druid so…)

This death accomplishes a number of things for season 3: not only does it shake up the entire status quo, but it also allows me to get real-world history back on track and it will (hopefully) force other players to step up as their characters suddenly gain importance. Depending on certain elements planned for Saturday, this may also give the PCs a new enemy to be aware or or contend with, one who has a direct hand in this death. Of course, the PCs may remain entirely oblivious to that aspect, which also works out nicely.

I had originally planned to end season 2 with a five year timeskip for all of the PCs but one – long story: he was going to end up in the Otherworld or the Nevernever as it is known in the Dresden Files universe – and initially, I was concerned this was going to throw those plans into shambles. Instead, I’m probably going to stick with the time jump for dramatic effect by picking up season 3 (whenever I run it) five years (or so) later with the characters all having moved on with their lives after the tragic death of their leader.

Here’s to hoping this doesn’t blow up in my face…

Biking, Weight Loss and Gaming

Managed 26 miles on the bike yesterday and, if I’d really wanted to, I think I could have managed 30. Will probably try for that this coming weekend. Of course, with September coming up, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do once winter arrives … guess I will have to stop with the procrastination and join a gym.

Related, my weight is currently down 27 lbs following said ride (so how much of that is lost water due to sweating, I can’t quite say) which is pretty good since today is Day 78 of the “eat less, exercise more” regimen that has been paying off at least a few dividends. I don’t personally think I look thinner but I am having to tighten my belt on my pants, so I guess I have lost a bit,

On Saturday, I ran the ninth installment of “Casus Belli” season 2, which is two more than I ran last time we played this campaign. Recap is here. I’d planned for 12 sessions but right now, I’m thinking we may go a little longer, in which case I’d really like to do 14 which would literally double the length of season 2. The coming session is going to be a bit combat heavy and there is a serious bad ass (a “level boss!”) waiting at the end of their pseudo-dungeon crawl who will very likely kick quite a bit of ass. I’m not targeting any characters specifically but I probably will completely take the safeties off because this dude is supposed to be a bad ass.

We’ll see, I guess.

Casus Belli, 2×06

Recap for this session is up at the Portals site I spun up for this campaign.

The next installment coming this week is going to start out with a 4 month time-jump and will involve the aftermath of the Battle of Crecganford (“Creeksford”), which took place in 457 and is a major defeat for the Welsh. Originally, I was worried about this since the problem with PCs is that they could drastically change the outcome, so instead, I’m going to kick off in the aftermath, following the defeat. That way, I can just say “The Saecsens (Saxons) kicked your ass and sent you packing.”

Skipping forward four months is also going to be interesting with regards to one of the PCs in the group as that character is pregnant. Honestly, never had a PC give birth in a game…

Random Status Updates

Went biking this weekend with the fixed road bike … and yeah. My arms are seriously burned. Sunday made it worse cause I intentionally sought out a shirt with exposed arms. Sadly, the darned sunscreen I applied didn’t seem to do a whole lot. Which makes me think that it would be even worse if I hadn’t applied the sunscreen.

Session 2×03 of Casus Belli went well on Saturday, albeit not exactly how I expected. Recap is here.

Also, did a major “cleaning” of my apartment in another attempt to “get my head right” – not entirely done; I have to clean out the dresser which has sort of turned into a second junk storage instead of for clothes, but I did find my old Kindle that I’d thought I lost. Despite having a Fire, I promptly charged the old one up and re-registered it. The Fire … I just don’t like it as much, probably cause its a tablet so the screen doesn’t have that cool “Paperwhite” tech which I frankly kind of love.

In weight news, after Sunday’s bike ride and the shower afterward, I weighed myself and am down 18 lbs from when I started this whackiness. Which is awesome, but still not good enough. Buddy of mine is down 60 lbs from portion control alone – I’m doing that and exercise. Ideally, I’d love to hit 200 again cause that would be awesome.

And in other news, it looks like the US is poised on a race war kicking off. Fantastic. We’ve been “fundamentally transformed.” Ugh.

Casus Belli, Season 2

Using Fantasy Grounds 2. Session went pretty well and I learned more than a handful of neat tricks, not the least of which being the capability to record a TeamSpeak session … and man, I do not sound like I thought I did. Fricking bizarre.
Thought I did not have quite enough planned for the session but ending up skipping an entire fight for time because the first actual fight took a lot longer than expected. This was the “second neat trick” that I learned – I can share NPCs with select players so they can help me run the characters. Awesome.
So, overall, I’d consider it a success with a couple of places that need improvement.