Work

This week I finished off some work that had been in progress for a while, like getting the account home page moved out of our legacy account manager prototype app and onto GOV.UK, and then I wrote a lot of code to migrate email subscription management out of the account manager too.

That can’t be merged until we make some frontend changes, so I’m waiting for the designs for those to be ready, which should hopefully be tomorrow. Then I can merge a bunch of PRs, shuffle some data around, and then delete a lot of code.

I’m off work the week after next, so I want to get that migration finished next week. When it’s done, we’ll be in a much better position for migrating to the eventual replacement auth system, as the email subscription stuff was a major non-standard part of our sign-up journey.

Books

This week I read:

  • Olympos by Dan Simmons.

    The second part of Ilium, which I re-read a fortnight ago. It finishes off the story, and does a great job of it. Though, like all of Dan Simmons’ books, the major characters are incredibly literary and speak through references and quotations a lot. Which works well enough for the story, but it’s kind of hard to suspend disbelief if everyone talks like a Shakesperean actor and quotes poetry every other page.

Gaming

Call of Cthulhu

Next week my Call of Cthulhu campaign starts the next chapter of its story, so I’ve been reviewing the campaign book and making preparations for that.

I tried running an “interlude” between the previous session and this upcoming one where the players had the opportunity to track down and capture one of the cult leaders through a series of skill rolls. In other words, a D&D-style skill challenge. I decided to do this asynchronously over the group chat because there’s really not enough content there for a full session, and I didn’t want to start a new chapter of the campaign mid-way through a session.

So they had a sequence of rolls to make, some optional, where the results of earlier rolls impacted later rolls, and what they’d done so far affected their starting position. In hindsight, I made it too easy, but it was a neat idea.

I think this sort of thing might work better in Traveller, using its “task chain” mechanic.

Traveller

Speaking of Traveller, I’ve been studying the rulebooks this weekend and condensing the core mechanics into cheatsheets. These are mostly for me, but I’m also going to share them with my players.

I’ve now got cheatsheets for:

These might change before the campaign, which won’t be starting for a few more months yet, but making these has really helped cement my understanding. I found a few cases where I didn’t really understand a rule just from the book, and so turned to Seth Skorkowsky’s youtube series for clarification. Some more examples in the book would have helped out (a problem Seth also complains about).

Depending on where the campaign goes, I might make cheatsheets for some more niche subsystems, like trade, asteroid mining, or space piracy.

Roleplaying Games