Jaws expanding?

I'm talking to a few people about the prospect of pulling together their adventures and setting tweaks into an expansion book for Jaws of the Six Serpents. Signs are positive.

If it comes off, it'll be the first thing I've published that I haven't written myself. I'd like to pull it together really quickly if I can, to tie in with an upcoming event, but we'll have to see whether that's workable.

I'm just emerging from a few days of nasty coldy stuff, and hopefully from some weeks of sinus-related unpleasantness, so fingers crossed that I'm about to get more thinking and doing capacity online. Other RPG projects I'd like to get on with are the Albion supplement (mainly GM info about the otherworlds), getting older products available in print at RPGNow/Drivethru, and writing up a minisystem I've been noodling with.

Beyond that, I don't know how much more RPG stuff I'll do. I certainly don't have a major thing in my head waiting to be made. (Though there are some little possibilities, if I make a connection that fires them up.) Might look at work hooking into more commercial rulesets. Might just leave it for occasional fiddling. It's one element of a life navigation phase in which I am in.


Back on 15 Aug I took myself off for a day trip to Lincoln, which is not too far away. It was an important town in Roman times and has racked up a bunch of history since.

I spent a good while wandering around the street plan. It's the main town for a flat, agricultural county, and was pretty busy with shoppers and tourists. There's the Brayford Pool area near the station, where the River Witham passes through and forms a bit of a marina, with eateries along the front. The university is nearby. Then you pass through the shopping area; then up the hill - including a street called Steep Hill, which is, and has a nice art gallery or two - to get to the main historic buildings up top.

For me, by far the town's most interesting feature is the cathedral. I'm not turned on by architecture or church history, but I do like places. When I visit Lincoln Cathedral I'm always struck by the amount of detail in the stone and wood carving, and the clear impression that these were people tuned in to the natural environment. I've put some photos up on Flickr, and here are a couple of them.

Lincoln 031

Lincoln 030  Lincoln 015

I was reminded that this is not just a tourist attraction, but a working church, as when I arrived a funeral had just finished. Later on the choir was practising - a lovely soundtrack to walking round. On the way out I was ambushed by an area set aside for quiet contemplation, which brought back recent events, so I left a candle.


Spent the weekend at this gaming convention in Cambridge.

It's a small con and very laid back - to the extent that it didn't have preset timeslots for games, and most stuff seemed to happen by brownian motion rather than sign-up sheets. I was there primarily as a trader, with Albion and Jaws on a stand in the dealers' room. Might have liked to go in a game or two and spend time chatting to people, but folks seemed to disappear into the woodwork for most of the time, and I was clawing my way back from being ill with a sinus infection or something for most of the previous week, so lacking in initiative.

So I spent pretty much all my time in the trade room, chatting to the other traders, which was no bad thing. It was pretty quiet all told, but a few people bought books and more had a look at them, so it was a decent bit of promotion. On Sunday we resorted to Carcassonne between customers. Food was better than the average con, which tends to be stodge-heavy: salad bar plus baked potato decent veggie lunch for me.

I arrived on the Friday lunchtime, aiming to walk round Cambridge as I'd never been. After a couple of hours Mr Body pointed out that we were in recuperative mode and a return to base was in order. I'd gone through most of the centre though: nice town, felt like busy shopping centre first with heritage college buildings tucked away, but I can imagine it's very different when it's term time rather than tourist season. The feel of it didn't grab me as somewhere to return to. I also had a bit of a walk round the grounds of Murray Edwards College, where the con was held: obviously someone/s paying a lot of attention to gardening, with loads of container flowers dotted about and veg and herbs alongside the rear car park. I was particularly impressed by the long row of espaliered (I think) vines, with loads of grapes on the way.

People destroying stuff for kicks

So, hearing about the riots in London is bad enough, but now it's spread to Nottingham, where I live. By luck I don't live in the areas affected, but still.

The BBC site's round-up of what's been happening seems to include a lot of fire bombing. They've targeted police stations, cars, and one of the main local colleges, which is the thing that gets me most. Lots of reports of people having their car and house windows smashed.

There's a good article on This Is Nottingham, which is tied to the local paper. Lots of comment from local people, who pretty much agree that these are groups of bored, stupid youngsters copying what they've seen in London. This quote from an anonymous youth worker stood out to me:
“People aren’t doing it because they are linked in London. They are doing it because they think they can get away with it.

“They are not interested in any issues. They aren’t real anarchists. They are just bored people and they’ve seen it on the news. They’ve seen what they are doing in Tottenham and thought they can get away with doing that.

“I just think it’s stupid. It’s a stupid thing to do. It’s just destructive.”

Unfortunately the comments to the piece have plenty of racism, consipracy theory and general ugliness.

Our Member of the European Parliament is recorded as calling for the army to come in and shoot looters and arsonists. I get the wish for decisive action but, er, no.

A thought struck me last night, when someone told me this had been going on: there's going to be a lot of broken-hearted parents out there when they find out what their kids have been up to.


Have mainly been pootling around doing stuff in the house, getting into cleaning and tidying, including stuff that's not been looked at since I moved in nearly three years ago. Things get moved from place to place and gradually the piles go down...

Have now got a working CD player. Bought an energy efficient fridge freezer, which I'd been thinking of for a while, to replace the one that was a present from Dad and Beryl on moving into the flat 17 years ago! Sad to see it go after such faithful service; but looking forward to lower bills. Also got a graphics card in the PC so I can play games occasionally - currently trying to make my mind up about Majesty 2.

Am currently in what feels like a saga of making jam (well, jelly) with blackberries from the garden. There's a big bush on a rubbly bit, and I haven't used the fruit before so this year I'm giving it a go. My only previous jam-making experiment was a long time ago, so there's room for a lot of learning...

Now that my sister's wedding is out of the way we're embarking on the process of clearing Mum's house ready to sell it. It's going to be hard, and we're trying to be very practical about it. Lots of memories as we find things in cupboards.

Can't say I've done much work after finishing at the day job. This is partly due to summer sinus congestion, and partly to lack of organisation. That's OK as long as I only allow myself a bit of it. Have got books into a couple of retailers; joined the lightning proofreading crowd on FATE Kerberos Club for a bit of practice in the RPG field (it's out now); and am attending the Consternation convention in Cambridge in a fortnight. Have done some blog posts at

Next steps include getting some of my older RPG products into the RPGNow print programme, and coming up with some magazine articles and sending query letters. I've got a generic RPG minisystem I'm partway through writing up - my brain likes it and it should be pretty snappy in play once it's working. Oh, and I need to do that Albion supplement! Albion has had some very positive feedback, but it hasn't gained a lot of profile and sales are only ticking over. If you're in a position to leave positive feedback around the place, that'd be much appreciated!

Linda's wedding

My sister Linda (younger, only sibling) married Robert on Saturday here in Nottingham. All went well, and the weather held fair for us.

With all their daughters there were 6 bridesmaids - they're a scary clan but fortunately they like me. ;) Dad looked very snazzy in a purple waistcoat with dragonflies - Rob's idea rather than his! So now we've given her away once each! Of course it was sad that Mum wasn't there - he made a nice little mention of that in his speech.

My job was basically to wear a suit, provide moral support and eat things. I think I did OK.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


London trip

Was in our esteemed capital Wed-Fri as a few things I wanted to go to aligned themselves neatly.

Travelled down Weds afternoon. The evening was Scanners Night. This is a monthly get-together for people who identify with the 'scanner' label: interested in lots of different things that they move between rather than diving deeply into a single area of interest. The speaker was Mark Walsh of Integration Training on 'Beyond time management - the Dalai Lama, Doctor Who and Fierce Integrity'. Given the limited time this was a rapid canter through an approach that relates time management to whole life stuff rather than making it dry and academic - interesting, but I felt I needed more time on key bits to make things stick. Will review my few notes. Handout at the end would have been good. There wasn't any structured networking of scannery folk after the talk, which I and the people I spoke to thought was a bit of a missed opportunity, especially as there were so many there for the first time.

Thurs daytime I was free. As my accommodation was round the corner from the Science Museum and Natural History Museum I visited those, which, actually, I haven't done before. They were good, but my eyes were a bit irritated and the dim lighting didn't help. The high point was the butterfly house out the front of the Nat Hist - full of beautiful tropical butterflies (and peculiar caterpillars lurking in the bushes). Spent quite a while in there. Apparently this is its last year, so do check it out if you're around.

In the evening I went to the Inspired Entrepreneur meeting, where the speaker was, on the face of it, an unusual choice: Kim Rosen on 'Saved by a Poem'. A lot of this was Kim performing poems by people like Rumi and Rilke to background music, around the theme of finding your own path and living authentically. I guess that could sound like hippie nonsense if you read it a certain way, but it was actually quite a powerful experience (and would have been more so if I'd been a little less tired and more focused). It was also an ephemeral one, as the details soon go, but I have Kim's book and accompanying CD so I'll look in there. Again the organisers hadn't built in structured networking, and I wonder if there's an unconscious assumption that people know each other by now.

Friday, I was at a day course on Climate Change: Effective Communication organised by Talk Action and run by Chris Church. (I met Chris long ago in Friends of the Earth and these days he's doing work with about a million sustainability and community organisations.) It was a good overview of issues, approaches and general tips for verbal communication on this broad and tricky issue. I don't think I got much that was new to me, but good to revisit it. Good group, with quite a mix of backgrounds from local authority and business folks to postgrads looking to get in to this area of work.

Pottered round London a bit, dropped in to Orc's Nest games shop, hung out in Covent Garden and got a highly indulgent ice cream, got train home. Phew! Need to spend a bit of time reviewing what I picked up at these events.

New blog

I've started, as a place for me to write opinion piece mini-essays about whatever takes my fancy: climate, health, politics, personal development, that sort of thing. Probably won't feature gaming much. It's conceived as a public-facing thing, to show my writing and even do a bit of brand-building, as well as getting stuff off my chest. This here blog will still be the place for personal stuff, and more personal/sensitive stuff is here for friends list only.