A Penny For My Thoughts – Character Writeup

For some more information about A Penny For My Thoughts, refer to my previous post and the official game website.

Sadly my wife threw away the memory triggers we came up with, so I only have the ones that were selected by each player. As I recall, each player wrote a total of 5 triggers, for a total at the start of 30 possible triggers. We didn’t really keep note of who did what when, or the guiding questions, so I’m just writing up the complete characters.


Character 1
Player: Me

  1. Recall a pleasant memory
    When I think of a championship tennis match I remember killing the #1 tennis player in England for al-Qaeda. We had chosen such an unconventional target for the simple reason that it would be broadcasted live internationally and give the world a clear message that we could get anyone, anywhere – even right up close to the Royal family itself. I’d trained for years in deep cover to get to Wimbledon and face off against the #1 player in the country and after beating him, we shook hands and I used a poison needle to inject a fast acting neuro-toxin into his palm. He died almost instantly.
    What was pleasant about it?
    I succeeded in my mission.
  2. Recall an unpleasant memory
    When I think of ring a ring of roses I remember my nephews birthday party. I remember he and my wife getting killed by counter-terrorists during a raid. I ran, stealing a taxi and driving to a safe house without trying to save them.
    What was unpleasant about it?
    My family died and I did nothing but ran away. I put the mission first and suffered crushing guilt from that moment on.
  3. Recall how you came to be here
    When I think of sea waves I remember being on a luxury cruise, looking for the reports of my exploits on television, murdering someone and starting my new life. I’d quickly left the country after the incident with my family. It was clear the authorities knew it had been me and I’d been laying low, but I’d slipped up, staying in the country for my nephews party and getting my family killed for my mistake. The cell put me on a luxury cruise where I would stop off in the Caribbean and leave ship to take on a new identity and life from a contact there. I was still charged with pride and excitement about the mission success and was being sloppy, looking for reports on the news, but surprisingly there was very little coverage which made me angry. Eventually, someone did recognise me so I had to kill them. Of course, it might just have because I was a famous tennis player, they might not have heard about the assassination, but I could take no more chances, especially after being so reckless.
    How did you lose your memory?
    I went to meet my contact at the docks, got my papers and new identity and left to meet up with the people that would smuggle me off the island we had docked at when during my run to the pick up point I slipped and hit my head.

Do you want to remember your past? No.


Character 2
Player: Barry

  1. Recall a pleasant memory
    When I think of the sounds of screaming I remember when I went to the funfair with my best friend. We dared each other to go into the haunted house. I was planning to scare my friend whilst in the house, but something jumped out of a wardrobe in the haunted house and I ended up screaming.
    What was pleasant about it?
    I got to go to the fair with my best friend.
  2. Recall an unpleasant memory
    When I think of falling down the stairs I remember trying to escape a hospital. I was patient zero in a growing epidemic and whilst sick and delirious I fell down the stairs while trying to find my way out. As I fell I pulled over a medical cart with me and got a syringe full of an unknown substance embedded in my knee, which I accidentally injected into me whilst trying to pull it out. I managed to get out of the hospital but passed out before I could get very far.
    What was unpleasant about it?
    I was sick, delirious and in terrible pain and to make matters worse possibly injected with something dangerous.
  3. Recall how you came to be here
    When I think of scraping my knee I remember fleeing the custody of some paramedics that were taking me back to the hospital. I ran through an alley way, convinced I had to get to my best friend’s house in my feverish delirium to see her one last time before I died from either the illness or this mystery chemical I was injected with. I stole a car and drove to her house but on the way there I crashed.
    How did you lose your memory?
    As I lay in the crashed car, I realised that my friend was actually at the hospital all along and that I needed to try and get back to her because in my delirium I’d unwittingly abandoned her. The shame and pain of the accident was too much and I passed out.

Do you want to remember your past? No.


Character 3
Player: Greg

  1. Recall a pleasant memory
    When I think of the smell of lavender I remember looking for my cat in my grandparents back garden. There were lavender bushes in their garden and as I searched for the cat, I came across a stranger stood over a shallow grave at the bottom of the garden.
    What was pleasant about it?
    I loved playing with my cat and hiding in all the various places in that garden.
  2. Recall an unpleasant memory
    When I think of the crunchy feeling of leaves underfoot I remember skinny dipping in the lake and the cat coming to get me. When I got out, I stepped barefoot onto the leaves covered the lake shore. I got dressed and went back to the house to find policemen there. They told me my grandmother was attacked and had been rushed to hospital.
    What was unpleasant about it?
    She later died in A&E. She lost a lot of blood.
  3. Recall how you came to be here
    When I think of a wasp sting I remember how my granddad died. We were at his shed when he got stung and he was allergic. I also got stung but didn’t have my injector with me so we only had the one shot from his injector between us. It was a choice between him or me and I chose to live. I had to call funeral services and the house didn’t feel like home any more.
    How did you lose your memory?
    The stress and guilt and grief was all too much and I just broke down under the pressure.

Do you want to remember your past? Yes.


So, the doctor yesterday didn’t exactly have any answers about this condition of mine. I have many of the symptoms of IBS and I’m now on a course of pills to deal with that in the hopes that’s what I have. However, I have a bunch of additional symptoms that are somewhat concerning even though all my tests so far have shown no issues so I’m getting referred to a consultant. Hopefully these pills will sort me out but if not at least there is this consultant to hopefully fix me in the future.

Things have been crazy busy recently but I seem to finally be getting on top of things. Been having fun dealing with git-svn – I’ve been using git locally and syncing to an svn server for coding at work and I’ve found it generally quite nice though working out how to do merges between branches that are tracking svn branches is a bit of an arse. I think I need to be looking at rebase for pulling changes from master (which is tracking trunk on svn) into my development branch (that’s tracking a dev branch on svn) but I’m having issues doing so, which has been annoying and confusing to say the least. I need to experiment more I guess. I wish I was just using a pure git setup but oh well.

I’m also writing this on my phone using the new wordpress android app. It seems quite nice so far, reasonable interface and generally gets out of your way. I also have been using GDocs for syncing with google docs which has been useful. Nice to have a note taking, document writing app that can do that well.

I saw the Sonic 4 trailer the other day and wow, everything I could want about a classic platform game brought to the present day. I generally don’t enjoy modern games and am somewhat indifferent about them. Sonic 3 & Knuckles was probably the last truly great sonic game and I’ve glad to see a return to the roots of the franchise. This is what sonic is about, not this bullshit 3D action games with bad stories and crappy characters. Sonic 4 looks like it is back to focussing on what Sonic games shoulfd be all about – fluidity of movement and speed. Momentum, even. I can pick up Sonic 3 & Knuckles any time and enjoy it like I did the first time around. There are few, few games nowadays I can do the same with.

I feel a little sad because, working at a company that is heavily focused on multiplayer PC gaming, I feel a little off. I’m just not interested in the latest FPS, regardless of the awesome features and enhanced tactics, etc. They all boil down to the same thing for me and I’ve just got bored of the genre. Quake 1 was the last FPS I truly enjoyed and I still have fond memories of it, back when I used to write maps and mods like crazy for it. Quake 3 is fun, and I occasionally play on Quake Live to relive those days but it just doesn’t have the same charm Q1 did.

Final Fantasy VIII was released on the PSN today and so I will be getting that most likely. I enjoy the Final Fantasy games and it is one of the few franchises I’ve found I actually enjoyed the transition from 2D to 3D of. Speaking of PSN, I find I enjoy playing Fat Princess quite a lot. It’s fun, cute and simple, while still having enough bite for it to not be an entirely throwaway casual experience. It’s lightheartedness also makes it easy to pick up or put down whenever you like though and I think that ability to easily engage or disengage with a game is a key feature for any modern game, sadly most in my opinion require more of a long term commitment just to play effectively. I want the challenge to be one of skill, not of who can slog the most hours. Conversely, I also find many games far too short, which is why I tend to stick to RPGs. I can sink easily 70 hours into a quality RPG because of the rich world and storyline combined with the ways battles work and are paced. In most other games I tend to complete them too soon for my liking and end up feeling disappointed. Either that or I end up getting frustrated when games ruin the difficulty curve to force you to grind or otherwise drastically change your play style without warning in order to inflate the hours you need to play. I’m not much of a gamer, and what little gaming I do tends to be console based these days, much like in my youth. PCs are patently superior for certain games such as RTS and FPS games but there are just not enough decent ones that introduce something new enough and interesting enough to make it worth the effort to deal with both Windows and the eternal hardware arms race that seems to exist. I don’t have the money to spend on components I will only use occasionally and need to be replaced when broken. My PS3 is an appliance I can replace relatively easily, it’s convenient. I just can’t be bothered with dealing with things on a PC.

I tend to enjoy more indie/non-mainstream things nowadays as well I find. My music tastes are eclectic and spread pretty wide and I’m open to new things. I enjoy playing oddball, often unheard of roleplaying games and the odd weird indie computer game. I like experiencing the new ideas and expanded boundaries people are creating when making massive profit from majority markets isn’t a primary concern. I think that, most of all, is why I generally play fewer games, especially from the FPS genre, nowadays.

I really need to work on mmy games programming course but I still have next to no spare time, sadly. I hate having a bunch of ideas in my head and no way to express them. I also need to get back into writing. Between doing this judging on protagonize and work I’ve had little time for anything else. Many ideas that need releasing there too. The DRYH game on Google Wave is going well, it’s very enjoyable. The D&D I’m playing on there as well is quite good, though it’s progressing a little slowly. Hopefully things will pick up soon though.

Only a few weeks till Dru and I will be in Canada. I’m really looking forwards to it. I need a holiday and some time to just hang with my wife and my friends so this will be a welcome break.

Anyway, that concludes this rambling test of WordPress for android.

This last month or so

Well, it’s been a while since my last post. What’s been happening over this last month?

Well, I’ve been ill – still. For the last six months or so I’ve had stomach cramps and generally unpleasant gastrointestinal issues which have come and gone and they’ve been rearing their ugly ahead again this month. I’ve had bloodtests and given various samples and what not so hopefully they can figure out what it is and get me sorted.

In happier news, I’m enjoying the new job. Multiplay is a cool place to work, full of fun people and interesting projects. Sometimes I get the odd surprise when I realise just how big they really are, having not had much experience working for large companies wheeling and dealing with heavyweights in the gaming industry. It’s pretty exciting and even though it’s a complete arse to get there, it’s totally worth it. That said, I will be so glad when I can drive there. This commute as it stands is slowly killing me. At least everyone there is really understanding about the commute, my various ailments and so working from home is an option, though I try not to take advantage of it too often because I feel bad shuttered off at home and miss out on the working atmosphere in the office.

Which leads me on to the driving. So far, so good. No major incidents as of yet, no remnants of children to be scraped off the instructors car quite yet. It’s been interesting, I started off my first lesson on hills, my second lesson was on ice and in my last lesson I had the pleasure of being on a steep hill I couldn’t see over, when two buses came over all while I had a white van man right behind me. Considering this was my first time ever on roads with other road users, this was mildly concerning and I screwed up a little, but not so badly anything bad happened. To me shame the instructor (who is a very nice woman working under the AA) had to intervene a bit on that particular incident, but not to worry, it’s early days yet. The main issue I find I have with driving is getting feedback from the pedals. My feet are often pretty numb and so I find it hard to tell whether I’m pushing down on them or not. Gentle pressure on things like the accelerator I can’t feel at all and so I have to judge by ear. It also doesn’t help that my giant clown feet in my huge boots keep catching on the footwell when pressing/depressing the clutch. Hopefully I’m going to get some trainers at some point which should alleviate some of those issues.

The AA website is a bit shit and makes paying people a bit of an arse. You’d think something like that would be fairly important. I might have to resort to cheques or something.

At the end of February Dru and I are heading over to Canada to stay with our good friend Asheyna, whom we met on Protagonize. Collaborative writing, bringing people together – NickB should use that as a sickeningly cheesy tag line :) I’m really looking forwards to it, I could do with a holiday, this commute and busy period at work has taken it out of me a bit. It’s odd, I never really saw myself as the kind of person who needs a break from work. I’ve always enjoyed what I do and so holidays have mostly been “you don’t have to come in” days to me, rather than a respite from working. With this commute though, that has changed which makes me feel a little sad. Something else that I find mildly depressing is that I rarely do any coding outside of work any more. Admittedly, I rarely do much of anything outside of work at the moment – I get up at 0530, spend and hour getting ready then get to the train station for 0711 to reach Southampton by 0800 where I catch a bus to the ferry terminal for 0810 where I catch a ferry at 0835 to reach Hythe by 0855 where I then get a lift into work. Then I do the whole thing in reverse, starting at 1800 and arriving home at around 2030. That leaves me barely any time to do anything and the weekends are spent mostly recovering on lack of sleep so thinking isn’t high on my list of pursuits, usually I vegetate to mindless internet browsing, watching TV and the occasional PS3 game session because I’m just too exhausted for anything else.

Now, that sounds a lot worse than it is. It’s not like I’m zombified the entire time, but I am sufficiently tired that it’s just hard to do anything that I want to do, because I never feel very ‘fresh’ mentally. Squeezing in a Warhammer fantasy roleplay on Thursdays and a D&D 4th Edition on Sundays is taxing enough, but I’m glad I do them, if I did nothing at all every night I’d go insane. Monday nights on the G3 Show are becoming problematic for me at the moment. Admittedly, this is mostly due to the poor performance of the train system. The weather recently has thrown a complete spanner in the works and it takes them forever to fix anything. To their credit though, I’ve found SouthWest Trains’ twitter information feed very helpful and it’s been nice to actually know I’m going to be late before hand so I can give people warning or decide to work from home.

Speaking of roleplays, I’ve decided to fulfil my ambition to play a Don’t Rest Your head game by playing it from the other side of the screen as a GM. Normally I don’t GM very much, it’s both a lot of work and I don’t like my game-running style meshes well with a lot of my players, at least not to my observations, which whether it actually is the case or not still demoralises me enough to make most of my games fail miserably. However, these Don’t rest Your Head games I’m running are different for two reason. Firstly, Don’t Rest Your head is an awesome systems that seems likes it was designed for the exact kind of narrative control I like to use, with an awesome setting to boot. Secondly, I’m running the games on Google Wave for players I’ve never played with before. Running it in a non-real-time way gives me time to perfect things and think ahead, so there isn’t so much pressure to plan ahead before each game or on improvising quickly during a session. So far, I’ve found Google Wave works very much like running a game on a forum or site like RPoL.net is. The real-time aspects are useful and I plan on writing some gadgets to help with things like dice rolls in the Don’t Rest Your Head format, which should be nice. All my players are also from Protagonize. That site is slowly becoming the center of my internet life. Don’t rest Your Head is such an awesome system and setting, I highly recommend it. I also bought the supplement Don’t Lose Your Mind which has some really awesome Madness talents. I strongly urge you to check out DRYH and DLYM at Evil Hat. You can buy them in the UK without paying crazy international delivery prices from Leisure Games. I’m also playing in a D&D 4th Edition game on there

Speaking of Protagonize.com, I volunteered my services as a judge in the current unofficial poetry tournament. It’s been pretty fun and I’ve tried to make a real effort to give some good critique on each poem, though this last found has suffered a bit due to being busy at work. I’ve had some nice feedback on my feedback – it’s always nice to be appreciated.

February looks like it’s going to be yet another busy and interesting month. I’m looking forwards to Canana and meeting Asheyna in person and hopefully some of my other friends from Protagonize that happen to live in Vancouver including NickB himself.

And that’s this last month or so.

Wedding, work and roleplay

Well, the wedding is creeping up on us, only 2 months to go or so now, eep! We’ve still yet to sort thing out like honeymoon, etc. Things are just so complicate and expensive. It looks like we might be going to Seattle for our honeymoon now rather than Iceland. Iceland is an arse to get to for any reasonable cost, which is a shame. We were looking at Switzerland or Norway, which both seemed quite nice, but the dates we wanted didn’t seem to work out very well for getting reasonable costs/tours/etc.

I’ve been knackered most of the last week. Extremely large amounts of overtime are to blame for the most part. Note to self: 32 hours of solid coding at work is not conducive to good health. However, the end result was very worth it and we got a kick-ass site out the door.

Yesterday we were buying books (yes, more books) one of which was a funny anecdotal kind of tale about D&D consuming the freetime of teenage boys and the sales clerk happened to mention he thought it looked funny and that he played D&D himself. Awesome, we remarked and we promptly exchanged details, so we might have a new recruit in out little cabal of roleplayers. He’s played mostly AD&D and the 1st ed basic set, while most our my group plays D&D 3.x and are moving to 4. I mentioned we play a lot of systems, storyteller (White Wolf stuff) and what not and he seemed interested. I might get him to come along to my Wushu game, which I must remember to write up stuff for, as well as make my proposal to my brother for him to comicify it or something.


Well, angry ranting over.

In other news, I’m enjoying GTA IV quite a lot, I’ve bought my wedding suit and a new table and chairs to replace the crappy ones we have now and everything seems good.

I’ve probably mentioned it already, but I’m going to be running 2 roleplays. One is Dockyards a mostly/completely freeform game centred around on off-shore platform dedicated to criminal activities and the other is a Feng Shui action roleplay called Future’s Past.

Let me know if you’re interested and don’t mind heading to my place every Wednesday. If I don’t get any responses within a couple of weeks, I’ll start trying to round up players personally from my existing gaming groups (rather than see if they turn up first come, first served via here or elsewhere). If I still don’t get any responses, I’ll run it on RPoL instead.

Epic Fail and Psychopaths

On Sunday we engaged in our Epic battle against the Blue dragon. Our cleric didn’t think to prepare any dispel fears, so everyone except him and our wizard we’re running around panicking for most of the game. Some bad decisions got the mage killed, but some miracles later and he was up and spell-flinging again. My ranger did ridiculous amounts of damage, enough to kill the beast in 2 rounds. The rogue/shadow-dancer got some hurtin’ in and that was about it.

Basically, it turned out rather badly. Due to some confusion on certain rules, some bad decisions and bad planning and the GM forgetting to do some awesome and ruthless tactics (as a Blue dragon should!) we killed it rather quickly once we stopped panicking. When you let a ranger use Rapid Shot and then use Many Shot for every attack that round things get stupid. First round I attacked and did 250-odd damage, next round I did 400. Now really, that shouldn’t have been possible, and if we had got our rules straight I would have been doing (on average) about 64 points a round rather then 200 to 300. Also, the GM had a contingency spell on, but thought he could have 2 with meant when I did my 400 damage the dragon should have been in a different area (he had thought he could do mirror image and teleport) but instead just the mirror image was in effect, not the teleport so my arrows did hit (since the dragon and it’s mirror image were super-imposed at this point). Also, our cleric wouldn’t have been able to do as many miracles as he had done, since that would have knocked his XP down a level.

Oh well. It was a learning exercise and in the future I hope we do another game, but with no hold barred. Ridiculous amounts of summon monster, nice combos of creating water and lightning breath to do massive, wide area damage.

In other news, I watched Dexter on the recommendation of a colleague at work and I enjoyed it immensely, enough to watch the whole first season last weekend. I have a bit of a thing for psychopaths and often enjoy stories that involve them, even if they can be somewhat stereotyping and melodramatic at times. I also really enjoy it’s soundtrack. Mmmmmm, creepy! Dru and I find the intro sequence very clever and it’s one of the few intro sequences for a show that we don’t just skip when watching an episode. I might get the books the series is based on, which reminds me I want the books for Fight Club and American Psycho.

I’ve also passed by RPGA GM herald test, finally. Woohoo!


Well, I finally got around to replacing my blog… again. This time I’m running wordpress since it does most of what I need it to do and actually runs reliably on TextDrive’s servers. It’s been a while since I last posted, mostly due to it being such a painful process, but hopefully things will be different now.

Over the past month or so, I have discovered RPoL, asite dedicated to roleplaying. Not being content with the table-top gaming I do (currently a D&D3.5 Eberron campaign that’s a little too hack’n’slash for my tastes and a Vampire: The Masquerade game with only one other player) I’ve joined up with several games on the site and it all seems to be going quite well. The games I’m playing spend across the spectrum of settings, with one being a Forgotten Realms campaign using the GURPS system, to a Unisystem modern-day zombie survival horror to a freeform Firefly-esque game. I’m really enjoying the games I’m currently playing in, especially a fantasy one where all our characters have no memory of who they are and are trying to escape some kind of prison. I’m also playing some female characters for a change, one because it was the only character available (I was taking over an existing character in a game) and one out of choice. I don’t often play female characters because it’s harder to get into the role and actually roleplay properly, which I much prefer to just running around killing things and levelling up, I have computer games for that.

Speaking of roleplay, I’ve decided to make a go at doing a proper Feng Shui campaign, instead of just winging it as I usually d. I’ve been planning it all on Obsidian Portal, but you can’t see any of it yet other than some public notes. Can’t be having my players know what coming can I? I’m also doing my best to resurrect my Triad – Hath Three Part Wrought story, this time mostly as an encyclopaedia covering the setting that the story takes place in and it’s history. I’ll be writing the story too since that’s where the world is coming from, but as I have ideas they’ll be integrated into the encyclopaedia first before being mentioned in any stories. I like the idea of building a world I can dip into at any moment to create a new short story or adventure, having that kind of resource will hopefully help me pay more attention to my writing. To craft this tome, I’m using Zim, a desktop wiki application, so far it’s turning out quite well, but then again, I’ve only got one page in it, so it’s a little early to tell.

In other news, generally life seems to be going okay at the moment, nothing particularly bad or good has happened, it been rather plain sailing really. The only mildly interesting thing to happen recently (that I can recall in any event) is that I bought a robotic vacuum cleaner a few days ago. It’s quite good and the floors have never looked so clean. Unfortunately, hair tends to clog it up a bit, and I’ve had to take it apart a few times to pull out enough hair to make at least a full wig out of. Evidently Dru and I malt quite a lot, though hopefully now that Marvin (the robotic vacuum cleaner, brain the size of a planet and all you have me doing is cleaning floors…) has cleaned the floors, he wont get bunged up as much as long as we put him to work regularly.

Well, I think that’s it for now.