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Sunday, January 4th, 2004
12:27a - D&D Jan-03-2004
This was a very good session. We were all on the same page about what sort of game to play, and we got a lot of nice roleplaying.

It was a more low-key session, without any combat. But there were a lot of conversations with NPCs. And there was a funeral for the Emperor and a naming ceremony for a new baby, both of which were very touching.

Mike's portrayal of Kyle was especially fabulous in this session. This unsent letter Kyle wrote is a fabulous example of Kyle's bluntness and his emotional disconnect. (For context, the letter is addressed to a girl who swooned over him in an early adventure, and who gave him her handkerchief as a token of her love. But Kyle's only mention of all that is "I have your handkerchief."

I could have been better prepared for this session with more speeches from NPCs, but I improvised them adequately. I felt pretty happy with my pacing, though--at the time we ran out of things I'd prepared, I was feeling ready to end the session.

Another good thing: Monica came up with a viable plan for rescuing the other PCs, so I don't have to fudge much to make a rescue work.

Their plan involves using a bracelet of friends to rescue the others into a magic circle against evil where a hired priest of Kord will cast break enchantment. The thought occurs to me that since Kord is a god of strength and a patron of wrestlers, the priest might like to have the crowd cheering and clapping for him. ("Let me hear you all say YEAH!") But it would be anticlimactic to describe that and then just say 'Brand then casts the spell'. I could turn it into some sort of wrestling match for Turok, but that might neglect the other players. I must ponder this further.

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4:43p - Year in Review/Year in Preview
This was a fairly stable year, actually. In general, I have the same friends, the same social life, the same house, and in general the same life as I did in the beginning of the year.

There were exceptions, of course. The biggest one was that I got laid off from Queria and managed to get a new job at Apple. That did shake up my life, certainly, but I've gotten settled into my new job, and I seem to be happier there than I was at Queria.

Another exception was that Heather moved out of our house, but this too doesn't feel like that much of a change--perhaps it's just that it happened early in the year.

But many things were stable:
- Still married to Lori (whose life has had more shakeups with her transition from grad school to teaching), with that relationship feeling much the same as a year ago.
- Generally the same set of people at Sunday dinner (with the occasional addition of the Maltzes)
- Still running my D&D game and playing in Kevin's D&D game. Still playing other games, but still doing so fairly infrequently compared to my huge enthusiasm in the last half of the 90's.

All this is pretty good. There's a whole lot to be said for stability.

~//~

I don't foresee a lot of big changes in the next year, either. Lori's teaching is likely to go through some bobbles as the teacher she's replacing returns--even if she doesn't return, there will be associated bobbles.

We're going to have big financial challenges in the coming year, though. It looks like what I'd described as short-term financial crunches in the last few years are actually long-term financial crunches. Our current version of our budget is pretty close to breaking even--and there are reasons to believe that's too optimistic. Certainly, that budget does not include some big-ticket items we need to save for, such as plumbing work on the drains and painting the house. And Lori's father is really urging us to get new cars. We're going to be really strapped to do that.

This is, frankly, incredibly frustrating for me. I'm very financially disciplined compared to many people, I know--and yet we're still having to struggle to stay afloat. This is like getting cavities even though you've been good about brushing your teeth.

Well, we'll get through somehow--we always have.

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