Saturday, 31 August 2013

In which I become a mushroom farmer

Here is @CourierGo's mushroom farm all laid out, complete with the end-of-life book from Oxfam that will act as the field. It has a broken spine and looks like a historical romance, in which a young woman becomes pregnant after the local laird forces his attentions on her. Meanwhile, his wife is desperate to conceive but can't. @OxfamBooksTW  offered me several options from the recycling heap -- a Roget's Thesaurus and a copy of Middlemarch with a torn cover (both of these were too thick).

I thought it would be a fun activity to do with Alec,  but when I invited him to come and help he ran away shouting about Rastamouse. His loss.

First I soaked the book. It bubbled a lot and I left it in for longer than the recommended 15 minutes because Bettany started rooting and chewing on her fists so I had to bub her, and then she needed a nappy change and then Alec wanted help with the pot and would I find him another episode of Rastamouse.

Next I had to spread the spawn on the pages -- every 40 pages or so. It's mixed in with millet seed. I'm sure there's a good reason for that and before I had children I would have researched it and reported back. These days, I just accept most things in the same way that I accept all the physics stuff that stops us flying off into the sun. I think I'm happier for that.

The last stage is elastic banding the sodden spawn-stuffed book so it stays shut and stuffing it into the bag provided. I don't have a photo of that because Rastamouse finished.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Botanising and ghost-busting with Meredith

Meredith has very kindly agreed to run a spin-off of her World of Warcraft Tuesday Knights campaign for my character the night elf Galatea Dusklight. This means that Galatea will keep up with Panril and the guys in terms of level, skills and character development; and it means that I get a fortnightly dose of gamey goodness.

Two weeks ago Galatea was dismayed to find herself framed for murder in her own home town. She put on her gumshoes, enlisted the help of her fiancé Tyrion and walked the streets of Darnassus until she caught the murderer. It turned out that the murderer was their childhood friend who had gone mad from jealousy. She abducted poor Tyrion and Galatea had to rush in and save him. I was surprised at how irritated I felt about the whole relationship with Tyrion -- he's apprenticed to Galatea's father and is eager to settle down. Galatea, it seems, now has a taste for adventure and is not happy with the idea of laying aside her druidic path in order to please him.

The next adventure, played out yesterday, had Galatea's mother, a herbalist, sending her out to a distant ruin to collect some rare purple lotus flowers from the ruins at Emet Erith. The adventure started with a few embarrassments: she had to borrow three gold off her mother; and then hired a big cat to ride, tried to mount and ended up facing the creature's tail. Time for some riding lessons. The flower-picking was complicated by banshees in the ruins and a distraught druid named Sirilian who had woken from the Emerald Dream to find his wife a troubled ghost. 'Can you free her by severing the connection between her body and spirit? I can't bring myself to do it.' Galatea, it seems, can't resist a love story so she signed up. She dispatched three banshees and was surprised to find that when slain these dishevelled horrors turn into solemn, grateful High Elves ghosts who bow and then vanish. Fighting banshee was OK; fighting two was a close-run thing that needed a fair bit of luck and lot of Cure Light Wounds.

The quest turned up a goodly haul of loot: a necklace giving +1 to armour class from Sirilion; and a robe that gives +1 to Galatea's healing spells from the Archdruid who was impressed by Galatea's ghostbusting and was grateful to hear news of Sirilion. Also, she managed to flog some surplus purple lotus to a herbalist in Darnassus which much improved her cash flow situation.

I only played a couple of sessions with the other Tuesday Knights and I'd been finding it hard to get a handle on Galatea: she doesn't have any stand-out flaws (like Clodius who with his low, low intelligence would hit first and ask questions much, much later) or any strange gifts like Sister Justinia's singing. Playing Meredith's more character-led games (I'm not a huge fan of combat rounds, although playing them out with Alec's toys helps me to visualise it) has really helped to flesh out my night elf druid. I knew that she was reckless -- when we met her she was hugely in debt after a bet that went wrong. I didn't really appreciate the effect this would have on the people around her -- her... I suppose the Archdruid is technically her boss does not get on well with her, but is now gaining a grudging respect from him. I feel rather sorry for her fiance -- but not so sorry that she will eschew her adventuring ways!