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Shimmin Bloeg

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About this blog

Mostly long-winded articles about design, writing and GMing

Entries in this blog

 

Talking Weird in China

It's 2.30am here in China, but that's fine because I spent most of yesterday asleep due to yet another cold. The classic campaigns really don't showcase the real-world travelling experiences: constant assault, not from the forces of the Mythos, but from an endless array of unfamiliar viruses. A diet of throat medicine and whatever is within arm's reach, rather than exotic Parma kippers.   Something I should probably have mentioned ages ago, but didn't, is that I've ended up giving a sh

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Update from China

Hello there! I noticed that some folks have been kind enough to wonder where I've evaporated to, and worry about me (sorry). I'm okay, just snowed under.   I moved to China in August, and have been teaching several courses at a university here. This also involves writing those courses, and as I wasn't given any information about the requirements beforehand, I had almost nothing planned until I started here. So basically my time is spent either teaching, marking, or preparing my ne

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Shimmigration

My daily activities have, of late, been thrown into some confusion by a sudden development. There is, as so often, a young lady in the case - be that as it may, to cut to the quick of the matter, the East calls to me. Within mere weeks, I must gather my humble possessions (or rather, a small and portable selection of them, the remainder hopefully finding refuge in the attic of one relative or another) and depart for the Middle Kingdom - to Chang'An, the immemorial heart of China.   To

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Off to Germany

I am about to head on a business trip to Germany; alas, unconnected with the scenario I'm writing and not taking me to its intended location T_T   I will keep an eye out for Lovecraftian and related goodies while I'm there, and may try to pick up some gaming swag. I've already made the pleasant discovery that Hiveworld is just round the corner from one of my hotels! And both the others are also nearish gaming shops, which is promising. I'm not sure how much time I'll have to explore historica

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Additional Ogham

Quite a long time ago now, I made a Cthulhu statuette for Paul. Early last year, I felt crafty again, and put together another one, and I've just put a description of the process, and the package of plot I assembled for it, on my main blog. It's dated February 2017 as that's when I started drafting the post, but I did in fact just finish it...   I'm considering whether I might be able to make these to order. I still have some suitable materials, and I could definitely use the money (I'm not in

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

New Year, old scenarios

So as 2018 rolls in, let me see how things are looking with writing.   The Perishing of Sir Ashby Phipps - secondary revisions relating to Victorian theories of dreaming Echoes Will be Found - remembered this exists, need to plan to run it The Man Who Wasn't There - on hiatus, needs substantial work The Sprawling Campaign - have recruited friendly archaeologist advisor, need to do some reading and knuckle down to it, also reread the Archaeologist's Handbook The Neighs Have It - purely skeletal

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

YSDC Games Day 2017 audio

The annual Yog-Sothoth.com (YSDC) Games Day took place in October, and I was lucky enough to make it for the third time. As always, it was a great, relaxing weekend full of regrettably short conversations, delicious food, and of course, games!   I managed to get a couple of recordings, and one partial recording, and am posting them on my main gaming blog, but of course I need to flag them up here as well. Steve Dempsey's The Fallen World     Fearful Symmetries is a campaign for Trail of

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Shimmin Beg

 

Playtesting again

Having just apologised for not really doing anything recently, I can offer this game recording by way of consolation. It's the second playtest of an occult-y, Hammer Horror-y modern day scenario set in Devon, which I wrote last year and have been slowly getting round to running. Link to my generic gaming blog here for downloads: http://librarians-and-leviathans.blogspot.com/2017/10/upon-their-backs-to-bite-em-scenario.html   I should mention that I ran a sort of weird hybrid of 6e and 7e, if

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Vague rambling updates for October

I once again haven't been around much on YSDC. To an extent that's because I haven't done very much Cthulhu gaming recently (lots of Pathfinder), and I also haven't had much free time for my usual meandering blogposts on theory and stuff. I do want to come back to Fun-Sizing in the future though, it's been good.   I've also been ill repeatedly, which is a bit frustrating, but one of the hazards of working with the public, alas. They will carry pesky human diseases, and so most of the last w

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Bradford Literature Festival 2017

A couple of months back, I discovered the existence of Bradford Literature Festival. I also found out that an old friend was participating in the brand-new (and therefore apparently completely unadvertised) Comic Con attached to the festival, so of course I went along. It's not far from my own Yorkshire home.   I've written up the first part of my trip on my non-Cthulhu blog. May be of interest to some, and it includes an interview with my friend, a professional comic artist. When I get ti

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Writing progress for March

So thanks to a combination of a sanity-restoring cruise (well, holiday), the onset of spring sunshine, the tireless efforts of supportive friends, and potent mind-affecting substances, I've found myself once more reasonably on form and able to resume something approaching my usual productivity. Not being asleep most of the time helps a lot, I find.   I'm still in first draft mode, but today I finally put the finishing structural touches to chapter two of a campaign I've been working on. I've

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Playtesting

This Sunday, my regular Pathfinder game was off due to GM commitments. It gave me the opportunity to volunteer to cover with a one-shot. Naturally, rather than attempt Pathfinder, I offered to drag one of my Cthulhu scenarios out of the cupboard, dust it off and try to entertain the folks.   As it turned out, between one thing and another, only one of the group turned up. A tragedy! What were we to do? How could we possibly run an RPG session with only one player?   Oh, wait, this is Ca

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Spring creeps reluctantly in

Spring would finally seem to be beginning hereabouts, and I've been doing very little gaming recently.   One reason is that I was struck down by a mystery illness and spent a week in bed, too tired to do basically anything. The other, more cheerful reason is that I went on holiday for a fortnight. I paid a return visit to both central China and southern Japan to visit a few friends there. Between the lingering aforesaid illness, cripping jetlag and devoted socialising, devising elaborate Ct

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

British pulp adventure and travelogues

So the scenario currently known as Lincolnshire II is still sat on my hard drive, waiting for the right conflux of me being in the mood, my group being available, time, energy, and possibly some feedback from beta readers, before I subject them to it.   Technically I am working on Lincolnshire III, but my writing tends to have to go where my mind wanders, which means I am so far 25,000 words into a campaign instead. It's going to be pretty railroady, which seems tough to avoid with prewritten

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

On Spells and their Multitudes

The Call of Cthulhu rulebook - which is to say, the 6th edition, because that's the copy I own* - has a lot of spells in it. A lot of really quite specific spells. Things like Attract Fish, and Bring Pestilence, and Detransference, and Become Spectal Hunter, and Enchant Inflatable Dinghy (okay, I made that one up).   *Nothing against 7th edition, mind. I'm not actually running any games at the moment, and if I were one of my players could tell me the necessary rule changes. More important

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Shimmin Beg

 

Fractal Skills in Call of Cthulhu

I had some thoughts about Mythos skill while listening to some podcast or other - I can't remember which one now. Possibly RPPR. You can read a tome about Hastur and suddenly know about Ithaqqua. Or you can sometimes know about byakhees, and sometimes not. It's weird. An idea came to me that you could introduce a fractal approach to Mythos skills (and indeed others, but let's stick with Mythos for now). This would be a tweak specifically for games where there's quite a lot of Mythos going on,

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

December musings and self-pity

It's a while now since I made did very much Cthulhu-related, the Derelict post being the exception. I've had low-level health problems for the last few months which have just cut my available energy, and also made it hard to focus. Since work demands quite a lot of that focus, there's not a lot left for hobbies.   The following self-indulgent, self-pitying whinge is skippable, but there might be some broader points of interest in here somewhere...   Gaming writing (be that scenarios or blog

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Reviewish: The Derelict

This is a first impression of The Derelict based on reading the scenario and listening to the YSDC Actual Play. I should highlight right now that it is chocker with spoilers for absolutely everything in the scenario.   Secondly, I should emphasise as always that this is very much a personal take on the scenario, given my own tastes and Keeping inclinations, and the people I tend to game with.   Introduction   The Derelict has an interesting premise, being set in the frozen north and ship

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Winter Writings

So it's been a hell of a year in various ways, but I have made some progress with various bits and pieces.   I'm pleased to have turned out a reasonably functional version of my second major scenario (a second Gaslight Lincolnshire piece) and am waiting to hear back - I've had some nice initial feedback that I need to act on.   I've also managed to do a little fiction writing, which is always nice, and worked on a couple of non-Lovecraftian RPG projects because that's the butterfly-like way

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

"Polaris" and "He": thoughts on handling difficult protagonists

I've been re-listening to the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast archives recently, because it's awesome and I currently need a lot of undemanding familiar distraction.   It's actually an excellent fit for this mood, because it has the advantages of literature (some very skillful prose); talkshows (entertaining banter which doesn't mind if you can't catch every word); and non-fiction, in that although the show has an arc and direction, it's not actually a dramatic narrative, which means no delibera

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Passing realisations on summoning

So I was reading up on monster summoning spells... for no reason (ahem)... and just noticed this in the sidebar:   If a success, one being appears per spell, 2d10 game minutes after the chant concludes.   2d10 game minutes. Not "immediately". I'm pretty sure it's been immediate in most of the games I've heard feature summoning spells, because summoning things in combat seems cool. But no, you can't summon a byakhee during a fight, even by blowing a magic whistle.   Am I unusually dense?

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Shimmin Beg

 

Reviewish: Grave Secrets

This is a spoileriffic review of Grave Secrets, by Brian Courtemanche.   Grave Secrets falls into an common spot for me, but for uncommon reasons. That spot is "scenarios that seems intriguing but I'd find very difficult to actually use". The reasons are that there's an interesting premise with a whole bunch of stuff I don't like behind it.   The scenario begins with a paragraph to set the atmosphere, and a one-page overview for the keeper that thoroughly outlines what's going on, includin

Shimmin Beg

Shimmin Beg

 

Keeping the ball rolling

So things have descended into a certain amount of inactivity on this blog, basically because my attention is elsewhere. I still plan to write up my experiences running The Perishing of Sir Ashby Phipps more thoroughly, but have been sidetracked.   My main reason is that I've moved almost seamlessly into writing another scenario, also set in Gaslight Lincolnshire. I'm actually trying something a bit different here and at Paul's suggestion I have a thread in the Silver Lodge where I'm posting

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Shimmin Beg

 

The playing of Sir Ashby Phipps

So this weekend I finally managed to run the long-awaited playtest of The Perishing of Sir Ashby Phipps.   (This post is spoiler-free.)   Amongst other benefits, this means I no longer have to try and keep the details of the scenario to myself; I can actually discuss it with the close friends with whom I typically talk about all things gamey.   I was very nervous about running things. First off, in purely practical terms, it’s a really long time since I ran anything, particularly Call o

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Shimmin Beg

 

Professional skills

How skills work is of course a much-chewed-over topic here on Yoggie. The BRP system is inclined to be somewhat swingy, and while usually more or less fine for the rules-light game I want, it sometimes produces results that feel unsatisfying. The most common of these are when characters who are skilled professionals nevertheless fail to do something that's part of everyday routine in their profession.   To be more specific, this usually means the character is attempting something their prof

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Shimmin Beg

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