Saturday, April 29, 2006

My little Old World

Here I've been then preparing to restart the campaign after a long layoff. Unanticipated as it was, this left a penultimate episode hanging. It would be pretty dumb just to carry on from there after my players have had such a long time waiting- all my build-up has just fizzled out long ago. So I've been hard at work fleshing out the plot to set up a more gripping finale.

Fleshing out an rpg plot comes down in the end to your NPC's: they are what will make your rpg plots unique and interesting. I mean to say, it has often been said that there are only 6 plots (some ubiquitous literary saying for which I have no immediate source to hand). However someone might want to take that statement, what power it does have is all the more forceful when it comes to plotting a roleplaying game: whatever fiendish convolutions you as GM might have in mind, your essential plot will be a tried and tested oldie.

So I'm not sweating plot.

I'm not sweating NPC's much either really. Most of the detailed NPC's I have in play at the moment are lifted from the Ashes of Middenheim book. Where I have had to create my own NPC's I have used this handy WFRP character generator from A 6-career WFRP NPC a few mouseclicks away? Great stuff! An indispensable aid to the WFRP GM. One to add to your bookmarks if it's not already there. ;)

Mounting Tensions and Precipitous Anticlimaxes
- #1 Famous last words...
- #2 Back to the drawing board...
- Index:- My little Old World: Ashes of Middenheim

Friday, April 28, 2006

While I was away...

Black Industries announced that the long-awaited 40K rpg is officially slated for release next year.

I wanted to roleplay 40K on sight back when it was first trailed in White Dwarf, and was disappointed when the game turned out to be a tabletop miniatures game. So this really is a long-awaited game for me!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Back from the depths!

So I haven't blogged in weeks of spod and lurking, and there's been no WFRP in longer still. But the workmen have nearly finished and summertime days are here. I'm back on the GM's track getting ready for Sunday. I've been playing sh*tloads of Memoir'44. And David Tennant's Doctor has premiered as sweet as you could wish a couple of weeks ago. It's been another slog though. Here's something I wrote 2 years ago about my experience of the old bipolar affective...


Something in my head…
Most readers will be familiar with the biblical story of Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, and of how the 'Damascene moment' has passed into everyday usage to express those moments when we experience a sudden and potentially life-changing insight. My own Damascene moment came in The Academy bar in Great Western Road. Sitting with an ex-girlfriend, I decided that it was a fair cop, and yes, I was a manic depressive. I can't for the life of me remember what we were talking about that made me come out with that statement, but it was a very important turning point in my experience of life with mental illness. Effectively, it marked the end of a ten-year period in which I suffered from my illness without medication or any proper contact with the mental health services.

It's not that throughout those ten years I had been in complete denial of my mental health problems (heck, I'd referred myself to a psychiatrist when I started hearing voices, and I'd been in hospital for several months after a particularly severe psychotic episode). No, rather I had preferred to believe that my problems were in the past, that I had suffered from acute episodes instead of suffering from a chronic condition that I would have to live with for a long time. But, by the time of that evening in the pub, this self-deception could no longer be sustained.

However important that moment was, it didn't actually mark an upturn in the fortunes that had led me to admit my situation. No, it was several years after that night before I finally accepted long-term medication, and began to get support from the mental health services beyond sporadic spells of occasional visits to psychiatrists who, however nice, could actually do very little to get me out of my worsening situation. And before I even found this basic level of support, I had to endure life in a dank slum of a bedsit, more extreme psychosis, the deepest, darkest depression of my entire life, homelessness, and the dancing scalpels.

Ah, the dancing scalpels. They were the moment when depression and psychosis reached out and joined hands to torment me from both sides at once (something I only accidentally found out was possible, talking to a psychiatrist some time later). They could have lasted for weeks, or for months, I just can't remember. But for as long as they did last I would be sitting in my little slum, hallucinating these scalpels dancing about on my wrists, slashing them to ribbons. And this at a time when my future bore down upon me as a more than merely metaphorical utter void, a darkness in which I could see the end of my lifeline, approaching. I was in a very bad way, and I knew it.

A few months later I had moved into another slum, in which it turned out I was technically an unwitting squatter. I was so low that I didn't even bother unpacking. Then, the next thing I knew I was homeless and had lost nearly everything I owned. This actually turned out to be the old cloud with a silver lining. Within months, I was on lithium, had a CPN, a GAMH support worker, DLA, and my own flat. I felt reborn. This is it I thought, finally the life I'd always wanted was mine for the taking.

That was seven years ago, and it turned out that my falls would just be shorter, my landings softer, and my bounces easier than they had been in the past. The lithium simply wasn't enough. It just stabilised me into a perfectly predictable cycle of barely manageable highs and lows, a situation which itself proved too unstable to last. The crisis, when it inevitably came, was resolved with new medication, more intervention from the mental health services, and more long-term support. As a result I am mentally stable for the first time in some twenty years.


Mwah hah ha, etc! ;)