Work

This week I finished off working on the email subscription stuff I mentioned last week, so we now have a general mechanism to have email subscriptions which are based on something we know about the user, that we can change when we what we know changed, and these subscriptions will follow the user if they their change email address.

Next I just need to migrate the Transition Checker-specific email subscription data and get rid of the old endpoints.

I also did a general code quality review, looking for missing cases in our API tests, setting up a couple of smoke tests for logging in (which is hard to test at the app level, as that involves GOV.UK, a separate auth service, and some CDN configuration), and reviewing our database validations.

Finally, I did some work towards moving the account “dashboard” page out of the account manager prototype and onto GOV.UK. That’s still ongoing.

The Plague

Last week I discovered I couldn’t book a coronavirus vaccination due to missing medical records. Well, this week, I still haven’t heard back from my old GP. But I reached out to my new GP and they were able to book an appointment for me, despite 119 saying I’d need to get my records sorted out first.

Welcome to the UK public sector: really fragmented, and the people in the middle only have vague knowledge of what’s going on at the periphery.

But at least I have an appointment now. If it’s 8 to 11 weeks between jabs, I should get the second one in late August or early September.

Books

This week I read:

  • Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany.

    This was, I think, the first time I’ve been disappointed by the SF Masterworks series. Ok, maybe “disappointed” is a bit strong: the book was still a fun read; but the big plot twist that the mysterious acts of sabotage were caused by innocent people who learned Babel-17, as the language was designed to corrupt the mind, is kind of ridiculous.

Gaming

Pulp(?) Cthulhu

Last time we finished off the current chapter of our Pulp Cthulhu campaign, and it was really pulpy: there was a zeppelin, the zeppelin was attacked by flying monsters and exploded, one of the players summoned a god who destroyed the flying monsters with spears of lightning. It was exciting. It was fast-paced. It was chaos.

But… I don’t think most of the game sessions are like that. Most of the time it feels like we’re playing normal Call of Cthulhu with some more powerful player characters.

So I’m wondering about how to make it a bit faster-paced and a bit more pulpy going forward.

Godbound

This week I ran a one-shot of Godbound, a high-powered fantasy system where the player characters are demigods. The scenario I wrote was that they had been granted divine power by God so that they could defeat the evil wizard Zargothrax and prevent his ambitions of becoming a new Dark Lord.

This was with my usual Call of Cthulhu group, plus a couple of new players. I prepared a very linear scenario, which started out with a really easy challenge (which the players could actually have totally ignored, and one suggested doing just that) to get them thinking about how their character’s powers can be used, and then progresses through a series of challenges in a predetermined order until the final battle. It’s pretty on rails, but that’s fine for the occasional one-shot so long as it doesn’t become actual railroading, which is definitely not the case here.

We’ll be finishing off the scenario in a fortnight.

What next?

I’ve also had some thoughts about what to do after Call of Cthulhu (if such a thing can even be imagined: there’s likely close to a year left in the campaign). I think I’d be up for running a Traveller campaign, full of sci-fi space adventures, so I’ll have to write some campaign pitches.

Roleplaying Games