Thursday 23 July 2020

Expo Awards - Judging in a time of Social Distancing

In previous years, it hasn't been quite so much of a problem to be able to judge the awards, as getting them to the individual groups hasn't required that we be aware of protocols including not being able to meet up in person.

So what, I hear everyone ask, there's always PDF's of the product to look through, not seeing the problem.

Historically, the expo awards have been judged on several different criteria, and many of the products submitted can't be judged objectively by a PDF (or indeed, don't have PDFs of them), so meeting up was agreed to be the best way forwards.

For the last two weeks, I've been journeying up and down the country and taking all submissions to the judges, or they've been coming to me and we've been doing the judging out in a garden with whatever lights we could find to make the best of things when the daylight started to give in.

As always, the judges are appropriately bribed for their services with a good meal and as much as they can drink, and as always, we never name the judges, except to be clear that none of the judges have worked on any of the awards submitted, and range in age from low teens to mid fifties to get a good range of different perspectives on what has been put forwards. 

As Expo has grown in popularity, so too have the awards, and we had to split them into categories a few years back.  For these reviews, we won't be giving the judges marks or making comment on how well the product did, but we will be noting what was particularly noticed about it and if there were particular positive/negative things said about the submissions.

After six hours of judging, even the coffee couldn't keep us at it.
With that, a big thanks to all the judges for all their work in this, we couldn't do it without you.

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Corona’s Virus Adventurers Guild Briefing - Messiah's and Morons

Morning Everyone

Busy weekend, good weather contributed to a whole bunch of idiots buggering off down the docks to sit on the beach, thanks to all of you who gave up the Easter Sunday to work crowd control, and of course, the announcement that our glorious leader has managed to fight off the virus and has risen again to lead us in our time of need…

Risen again… On Easter Sunday…

I don’t pay much attention to what politicians get up to most of the time, but when someone’s constructed a narrative that has him as the Risen Lord, I have to ask one thing…

What was he doing in the previous 40 days…? What had he give up for Lent?

Oh yeah, he’d given up caring about everyone but himself, good job there.

Still, we’ve had a report from the brewing house, there’s a lot of beer that about to be spoiled and we’re going to need volunteers to…

Sit down Lebowski, I’m not finished yet…

We’re needing volunteers to take the beer that’s nearly gone and get it over to the baking guilds, turns out that if you mix beer and flour, add a little sugar, you get bread, and we’re needing bread more than beer at the moment.

That’s not heresy Lebowski, that’s facts, there’s more than a thousand barrels down there, and that’s enough to make bread for most of the city and then some.  We’re running low on a number of supplies, so until the relief ships get here, we’re going to be prioritising keeping essential services running and repurposing buildings as they’re needed.

I’m glad to see that most of you didn’t take the caravan north to rejoin the army, can’t say that I’d have relished losing you all to that, and as we figured, the local criminals took the announcement to mean that they thought you’d all take the chance and get out of here.  City watch reports that it’s had some of their uniforms lost, nothing else taken, but it means that we’re going to be getting a lot of fake watchmen out there for a while.  We’re circulating advice on flyers delivered by the air elementals about not letting watchmen in the house, but there’s only so long that’s going to hold, so we’re going to be called in for more and more domestic matters as this goes on.

Never thought I’d say it, but I miss being in dank dungeons covered in entrails and fighting for my life, that was easy compared to this.  Zargolds president has reported that he’s got it all under control, but remember that the last time he recommended anything, it was household bleach because “It’ll clean all the Germs out…”  In the meantime, you all know the score, Messiah’s and Morons all around, Just remember.

Let’s be careful out there…

Thursday 9 April 2020

Corona's Virus Adventurers Guild Daily Briefing - Mogs and Moguls

Morning Everyone

We’ve had word from Rashenjot that they’re mobilising the army to keep the capital safe, all reserves are ordered to report there as soon as possible.  I know several of you were reserves once and may wish to go and help those who were your comrades, you owe this place nothing, so if any of you wish to go, take my blessing for safe travel and be out here tomorrow, there’s a caravan heading north to the capital with supplies enough for everyone to make it there well fed and rested.

News for this morning, we did the inventory on the city councils warehouses, seems that the only thieves we should have worried about were those that had the money to buy everything in advance.  More Iron rations than I’ve seen in many years, and enough clean water to wash the whole of the city.  I’ve sent a runner to the safe haven that the council are all using to report our failure in managing to protect their goods from the thieves guild, and promised that retribution and justice will be swift and merciless.

Which it will be…

To the crime of hoarding while pretending to be righteous - Guilty
To the crime of running away when you should have stood with your people – Guilty

Sentence to be redistribution of all hoarded items to the places where they should have been in the first place, the people.  By our reckoning, there’s enough here to feed every household in the vicinity for more than a week, volunteers for handing things out would be appreciated.

In other news, widespread reports of animals carrying the virus have come to us, we’ve had a word with the shapeshifters who in turn have reported back that there’s nothing going around the animals they’ve spoken to, beyond a complete bemusement at how most of the two legs are behaving.  Reports of a gang of cats on the west side terrorising their way into a butchers by climbing up on the window sill and then sneezing are to be discounted, the shapeshifters have spoken to the Feline Fellowship, who deny all such practises and condemn them as deplorable.  That the shapeshifters smelled a quantity of fresh beef in the back of the Fellowship halls is also to be discounted.  You catch any cat guilty of sneezing with intent, bag the furry fraudster and bring them in, we’ll see what strenuous disinfecting does to dampen their antics.

Things seem to be quietening down a little, hopefully we’ve done enough to make the difference and things might soon start getting back to normal, I know I prefer a bit of straight forwards crowd control to all this social engineering, and I’m sure all of you do too, just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Corona's Virus Adventurers Guild Briefing - Idiots and Ironworks.

Corona’s Virus Adventurers Guild Briefing

Morning Everyone

City watch has thrown us a number of reports of large groups of people breaking lockdown, they’ve requested our help in making sure people stay in and observe the rules.  I have to say that for once, I’m not inclined to help and here’s why.

In the beginning, there was doubt, everyone thought this was just the flu and that it’d roll over soon, gatherings continued and it’s likely that a whole lot of us caught the damn thing before the council made a decision to keep everybody locked down.  Can’t say as I blame them, Balion citizens are notoriously independent, or “Stubborn” as most other continents call us, so responding to calls to stay inside when it wasn’t seen as anything dangerous was never going to happen.

Now we know it’s lethal, and there’s still people going outside, knowing what’s out there. You’ve all seen the junior adventurers on their first run charging into fights with Minotaurs that are going to use their head for Doomball practice, they do it because they believe that they can handle whatever’s out there, and that’s why a whole bunch of them don’t make it through their apprenticeship.

Because there’s no training room for the real world, and when you find yourself out there, calling time out just means it knows it’s got you.

And that’s what we’re going to get here…

Can’t threaten them with jail, just turns the cells into a breeding ground for the virus, and there’s more of them than there are of us, so sitting outside their house with a meaningful stare isn’t going to help either.  It’s clear they only care about themselves, so we’re going to work with that…

After apprehending Oldarov yesterday, he’s offered to help us in return for not being put in jail with magecuffs, so tomorrow there’s going to be reports of Air Elementals wreaking havoc in public areas, and we’re going to ignore them.  The following day we’re going to put out an apology that we were too busy trying to police the lockdown to deal with the Air Elementals, and that if people stayed inside, we’d be doing a lot better at dealing with actual threats, rather than truculent tossers…

In other news, the Flame sisters forge just announced that they’re doing a special on custom weaponry and armour. With the virus going around, they haven’t been getting the usual repair trade that they rely on, so if you get chance, put something their way rather than ordering from Zomaza up in Desel.  We don’t support them now, they’re not going to be around when this all lifts, and I like having competent smiths on my doorstep rather than having to wait for a giant workshop to get around to delivering what I ordered three weeks ago.  That’s everything for the morning, Idiots and Ironworks, just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Corona's Virus Adventurers Guild Briefing, Plagues and Protection

Morning Everyone

Hell of a thing this morning, we had a report from the rangers over at the Tolran forest, there’s a band of plague cultists on their way over to us, be here in a couple of days. It’s not what you’re thinking, they’re coming here for sanctuary.

Yep, devotees of the plague god and they’re coming here to get away from the virus…

Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s what they said to the rangers, and they were convincing enough that the rangers didn’t fill them with arrows and leave them to the sky, so there’s probably something in it.  Trouble is that while they’re fleeing from one plague, they’ll be bringing more than one with them, so we’re going to take the high ground on this one and allocate them a space outside the city with a bunch of tents so that they’ve got somewhere to be. The Paladins have already offered to go out there and take them supplies, but if those cultists get near the city, they get a short sharp warning and if that doesn’t work, a short sharp end, take no chances, we at least have a clue what we’re doing with Corona’s

All well and good to exist outside of society while it suits you and then want to come back in when the world gets a little rough, and we take the vows of hospitality seriously, but we look after those who’ve worked to keep the city in one piece before we look to those who’ve been working to bring it down.

On that note, with the council out of town and their guards with them, we’re looking for volunteers to go around their various properties and make sure that they’re secure.  We’re not doing this out of civic duty, we’re doing this because we’re absolutely sure that the thieves guild is already sending their people out there to make sure that they’re not secure.  We need inventory on everything that’s in there, because we’re not thieves, and anything that goes missing, we’re going to go looking around certain thieves’ homes to make sure it didn’t end up going there.

Anyone remember when we went on quests and did heroic things for a living?

A word on that, because we’ve all been doing what needs to be done for a few weeks now, and I can see that it’s weighing heavily on some of you, so here’s the thing.  We started out as Fighters, as Mages, as Thieves, and now we’re here using talents that could find us far more money elsewhere and we’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do.  But we’re more than that now, people need us, you saw it when we confiscated all the Gelatinous Cube, you saw it when we made sure all the food got distributed fairly, and now they see us as the lifeline that no one else can offer them, and maybe we are, maybe we are.  It’s difficult to appreciate that what you’re doing is making a difference when you have to do it all the time, but we are making the difference, and without us, there’d be a whole lot more misery out there.  We get our thanks from the breath of the living every day, and I never thought I’d say it, but for me, that’s enough.  But you all know the score, just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Monday 6 April 2020

Corona’s Virus Adventurers Guild Briefing - Scammers and Sailors

Morning Everyone

Lot of reports of Scams going around the province recently, people hearing nothing but bad news are more likely to want to believe good news, and that in turn plays into the hands of those who are willing to put good news out there, even if it isn’t true.

Case in point, we’ve had official paperwork from the Illenia Ascendant requesting permission to cast off and leave port towards Tyravig.  Any other ship and it wouldn’t have made the briefing, but that ship’s been laid up for more than six years, recently got bought by a private individual through a consortium of merchants, and now they’re offering passage to Tyravig where there’s no infection, bargain price of three thousand golden rails a head, more than any of us make in a year.

Now, you know, and I know, Tyravig’s just as infected as everywhere else, and even if it wasn’t, it would be if all the people who are going to get on that ship got there, but we don’t think that’s the consortiums aim.  We did a little checking on the crew roster, not one of them ever served in the Navy or the Merchant Marine, so the chance of that ship making it anywhere isn’t high, and the chance of it making it all the way to Tyravig?  The captain’s name is Tyrus Oldarov, Mage, used to be a swimmer in the Balion Olympics team till they caught him using Water Elementals for a speed boost and disqualified him for life.  Way we figure it, he uses the Elementals to get the ship out into reasonably deep waters, and then sinks everything and they take him to another country where he does the same again.  We’ve seen that he’s already overloaded with passengers and there’s a waiting list that he’s working down.

Problem here is that we can’t stop people leaving, the lockdown is on the city, and if anyone gets out of it, short of force, there’s nothing we can do or say to them that’s going to convince them that staying here is a better idea.

With this in mind, I need a show of hands to repaint a mages tower…

Yep, repaint a mages tower…  The only way we save all the people on that ship is to get it to sink in the harbour, and to do that, we need something that can repel the Elementals.  Rayelle Srenas is willing to do it, but on condition that someone cleans all the “Take your virus with you” slogans scribbled on her tower and mount a guard on it for the next month or so.  City watch will provide the guard if we do the cleaning, all those volunteering get a boon from the city reserves. 

In other news, the Alliance of Affordable Companions have applauded our efforts in the last two weeks, and are offering their services for free, to any member of the guild.  You all know the score with this, I don’t mind them applauding us, I just don’t want them clapping us, so just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Saturday 4 April 2020

Corona's Virus Adventurers Guild Briefing - Pitchforks and Pillocks

Corona’s Virus Adventurers Guild Briefing

Morning Everyone

We had a few warrants in this morning, but rather than put them up on the board and let everyone go looking for them, I’m going to tear them up and send them back short form and I’ll tell you why.

Warrant one was for the apprehension and beating of one Beaufort Williamson, for, and I quote, the crime of singing at the top of his voice every morning for forty minutes.

Warrant two was an open bounty for the pursuit and beating of anyone found walking more than once in the green hills just to the north.  Emphasis on pursuit and beating.

We’re going to get more of these before this is done, some people handle isolation just fine, some, well, you don’t need to be in a cell to be in a jail.  Warrants like these are what happens when people look out of their window and they’re not able to ignore what they used to be able to do.  Things that they found a minor annoyance very quickly become things that they’d happily murder for, and when I say happily murder, I mean happily murder someone else. 

I’m sure this isn’t the only place these warrants are going to be placed, and I’m not going to stop any of you going after any of them you want, but just remember that sooner or later, some bored bugger is going to watch us all wandering around helping and decide that a battle royale would be a great way to spice up the day, and I’m not wanting to be around on the day that one lands.

Two more things, we had a report of indiscriminate damage to two mages towers, one of them had “Take your virus back” painted on the side afterwards. I don’t need to tell all of you that it’s nothing to do with our mages, but be on the lookout for our mages in the coming days, some idiot decided to blame all mages, and all those who lack the brains to question things for themselves got a few pitchforks and went painting.  We’re lucky they only targeted buildings and not the mages inside them.

Finally, we lost one of our own, “Fast” Edward Branchwalker, he was sneezing the last time people saw him and they found him dead this morning on the docks, so the words got around that it was the virus.  Let me be clear, Eddie was once a Paladin in the service of the Revelations and he had hayfever, the sword that did him in wasn’t wielded by the virus and no matter what the healers say, we ain’t reporting it that way either. Service is in two days, Eddie’s request was that everyone dress really badly and bring jokes that only adventurers would want to hear. 

That’s everything for today, be on the lookout for Pitchforks and Pillocks, just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Friday 3 April 2020

Corona's Virus Adventurers Guild Daily Briefing - Of politicians and politics...

Morning Everyone,

Whole lot of you been wondering what happened the last two days, and I have to tell you, first day was April fools, and I have to say, there’s enough fools out there for all of us, didn’t want anyone thinking this was one more. The second day, well, that’s why I’m here today.

I had to attend a city council meeting yesterday, and it took most of the day.  A lot of you are wondering why it takes so long to do these meetings, and here’s where I’m going to share a few things with you.  The city council is made up of people who may once have been just like you and me, but somewhere along the way, they got some power and they wanted to keep it. There’s a whole lot of interests going on in any council meeting, not all of which are lined up with what’s best for the people.

The people, that’d be you and me, not them…

After about eight hours of listening to people argue about why we couldn’t do anything because it got in the way of something that was important to them personally, my natural diplomacy failed, and I cleared my throat to try and get their attention.

You’ve never seen a room clear so fast…

A minute previous, they’d been arguing that they’d been on the front line looking out for all their people, one second after, the chamber was clear of everyone but me, Watch Commander Tarven, and Captain Ortren of the Queens guard.  Bright side up thought, it turns out that without politicians watching out for their own interests, you can get a lot done.  All overtime is hereby sanctioned, the mages guild have been paid off to provide all those magical anti virus helmets that were ordered by the council.

Don’t get your hopes up, they only ordered ten of them…

What good are ten masks I hear you say?  Well, the council numbers ten, so maybe they were valiantly testing them on our behalf… I’m not looking for comments, and I’m not giving any, we take what we can and we do what we can with it, masks will be here tomorrow.

In other news, word from Invicarn is that they may have found a test to show if you have the virus or not.  I’m going to hold fire on announcing that, as the last time I saw their test, it was sitting you in a room for a day and seeing if you coughed in that time.  One more thing, got a few questions on the council reports about what is or isn’t essential supplies, the questions came from the National Adventurers Association, so let me be clear in this.

Longswords are not essential items in these times, Magical trinkets are not essential in these times, and that shipment of dark fruit chocolate from the western continents is not, regrettably, an essential item.  Keep it simple everyone and just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Tuesday 31 March 2020

Corona's Virus Adventurers Guild briefing day 8 - Murderhobo's diminishing

Morning Everyone

It’s been an interesting morning so far, we’ve had an envoy from the Ratlin council in the Illenial hills come down this morning, not the usual complaints of too many adventurers straying from the agreed treasure drops to get easy wins, but an enquiry into what we were doing different that’s caused the attacks to cease entirely.

We sent a few of you out in the day to see what’s been going on, turns out that all the local non-human population have been experiencing far lower levels of attack from overzealous idiots trying to make a quick win.

Seems that the fear of the virus is keeping our local Murderhobo population inside, drinking and eating to forget their problems.  Net result, a whole lot of the people who normally get the brunt of their attacks are wondering why there’s been no attacks.  I have assured them that this isn’t some grand strategy by the Murderhobos to put them in a false sense of security before they come back, but I have recommended that they spend the time putting up better defences while they’ve got chance. Tuckers kobolds were travelling through the area a few days ago, and I’ve put in a recommendation that they get in touch and see if they can’t make life a little harder for our resident lunatic fringe.

It does raise an interesting point though, as most of the work we do is out there in the wilds working commissions for people we barely know.  No pension plan for adventurers, and the city council considers us to be self employed, and we all know that regular wages isn’t something that any of us can prove, so we’re unlikely to be getting paid any time soon.  We’ll continue to offer contracts where we can and we’ll vet them where they can, but you need to be aware that we don’t know how well the virus transmits to other races, or indeed if it does.  We know that it affects Humans, Wilde, Aetherics, and Samca, but we don’t know if it’s going to transfer to anything else.

That said, word back from the shapeshifters squad, they’ve been running a few experiments over the last few weeks, just to see what the situation is.  Several of you have reported that there’s been a sneezing wolf running around the outskirts of town, I can now let you all know that that’s Freya Ironclaw, she’s had the virus for a while and was working to see if her lupine form might be able to throw it off any faster.  Turns out that the only thing that goes faster is the time between sneezing and going to the toilet, she’s resting up the in the temple at the moment, the paladins have got her under care for now, so if you see any more sneezing wolves out there, be sure to let us know, she doesn’t think that the virus transmits, but we need to keep an eye on it in the meantime.

Nothing else for the morning, stay away from the Ratlin encampments, you know what Tucker’s get like, and we’ve got enough trouble without you lot coming back perforated, just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Monday 30 March 2020

Corona's Virus Adventurers Guild Briefing Day 7 – Enough for everyone.

Morning Everyone

Street patrols have picked up an increasing amount of almost fresh food being thrown away with the rest of the rubbish, looks like a number of people went out and bought everything when the lockdowns were just coming into force, and in some cases, it looks like they went out and bought everything somewhat before the lockdowns started. 

Watch Commander Frith went to the city council and checked for the level of response that they wanted to put in on people who’ve been hoarding food.  Word came back that they wanted to come down hard on all those who’ve been caught hoarding, so for the last week, we’ve had the street teams monitoring the houses who’ve had the most fresh food dumped outside of them, and in each case, we’ve put a team on that house to make sure it’s not some enterprising hoarder who’s decided to leave their rubbish outside someone elses house…

Turns out we were right to keep an eye on things, seems that one of the rich folk had word from the watch that we were going to be keeping an eye on things, so had their servants dropping the food outside of the church halls to throw everyone off.  Now we’re not going to find out any time soon who’s on their payroll in the watch, but we had to take steps so that no one got the briefing before we’d already apprehended them.

Anyone here familiar with Chancellor Tonil? 

Yes, that Chancellor Tonil, the same one that voted down our wage rises for the last two years and cut the spending for the street squad because, and I quote, it presented an unacceptable increase in public spending.  There’s about a quarter ton of not so fresh any more fruit and vegetables, and he gets released from the stocks as soon as he’s finished it, his family can volunteer to help with it if they like, but they don’t get fresh food from anywhere until they’ve finished all the excess they kept from everyone else.

Hopefully, those who think the rules don’t apply to them and still have any continuing thoughts about hoarding, they might think twice when they see this.

In other news, south side task force is reporting that the Remian street party is scheduled to go ahead, so I’m going to want a few of you to go along to keep up the social side of things by making sure that no one gets into the party.  You’re going to be the least popular people in the city for a day, but only amongst people who can’t comprehend basic instructions, so the chance of you upsetting someone who’s actually going to cause a problem is not very high at all.

That’s everything for the morning watch, Chancellors and Chancers all over, just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Sunday 29 March 2020

Corona's Virus - Adventurers Guild Briefing Day 6 - Merchants and Mobs

Morning Everyone

We’ve been asked to provide a mobile patrol for the market today, we’re getting new supplies in and the merchants figure there’s going to be more than a few people looking to get an advance purchase in before the goods are on the shelves.  We’re going to put the market on in the middle of town, goods will sell from one shelf only and will be brought in through the rear with us walking point.

Everyone gets a turn, walk them in single file, I don’t care if it’s Lady Cries or Grim Jim from third street, rationing knows no privilege and therefore, neither do we.  Swift word on crowd control, we normally get to exercise reasonable levels of force when it comes to breaking up undesirables, but the people we’re going to be watching for here are civilians, they’re scared and panicky, like the rest of us, so braining them in the name of the law isn’t the way forwards.  Mages guild have offered us the use of feeblemind spells for the duration, but as you all know, a mob is a creature with a few hundred legs and no brain, feeblemind means they follow the person closest to them, and they’re all going to be looking to take food, so it’s not going to make any difference at all.

What we are going to do is keep the mages on standby with a few illusions.  If you see something starting up, get your weapon in the air and the mages will throw something noisy in your direction.  You use the distraction to get the crowd thinking about something other than grabbing everything and you close ranks, the only thing a mob has second thoughts about is another mob, and that’s the approach we’ve got to take here.  I see that several of you have put in for time so that you can get supplies for your families, and you all know the city councils thoughts on that. Let me put that in perspective, because we all know that the only chance we get to go for anything is after everyone else has already raided it, and the city council is very much All for one, as long as they’re the one.

With this in mind, I’ve negotiated with the merchants for them to pay us in goods, rather than coin, all of you do your job today and you get your supplies from here after shift. It’s the least we should be doing for all of you, and it’s all that we can do for now.

In other news, we’ve got a small group of giants out on the west side, we don’t know if they’re infected, but take it from one who knows, a giant sneezing on you is like getting caught in a storm of snot.  Anyone gets caught by one, report round the back when the paladins come back in, we’ll make sure you get cleaned off properly, but my advice is to make sure you’re not there when it happens.

That’s everything for the morning watch, Shopping and Snotting all around, just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Saturday 28 March 2020

Corona's Virus - Adventurers Guild briefing day 5 - Clerics and Cures

Morning Everyone

You’ve all heard by now about the clerics just outside the city, and I know that you all know that what they’re selling isn’t anything that anyone should be buying.  We’ve had the order of Jued down here and everything short of Wishes isn’t touching this bloody virus.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

Cure Disease…  Doesn’t…

Problem is that they’re clerics of the mind union from way north in Tyravig, so they’re covered by diplomatic immunity, and they’re being careful with their wording.  They’re not calling it a cure, they’re calling it a health boost, even though the wording says that you’ll instantly feel better and last a lot longer while under the influence of it.

We gave some to the labs to test, what we found were a whole bunch of compounds that the Alliance of Affordable Companions reported stolen a while back, so what those clerics are selling is accurate, you will last a lot longer while under the influence of it, but perhaps not in the way you were after.  Can’t do anything about it, people everywhere are just looking for hope, and remedies from regular sips of swamp water, because if you can survive that, you can survive anything, to staying out in the sun because the Lord of Light protects, are being touted everywhere.  We’re not here to police peoples superstitions, we’re just here to keep the peace, keep the everlasting clerics outside and if you’re going to take what they’re selling, make sure it’s only one of them, I don’t want to find any of you flying flags around town, y’hear?

In other news, we just got word from the city council, they’ve put word out for volunteers from the prison at Hydra to help us.  Owens and Resec will be handling the applications, most of them will be looking to make a break for it, so the first two weeks of any assignment are down the sewers.  If we lose them down there, they’re already dead, and if they’re coming back after two weeks, they’re genuinely trying to help, although I wouldn’t be holding my… Well, I would be holding my breath, but you know where I’m coming from.

That’s everything for the morning watch, Convicts and Charlatans are the order of the day, just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Friday 27 March 2020

Corona's Virus - Adventurers Guild Briefing Day 4 - Essential Work Only...

Morning Everyone

You all know that we’re rationed at the moment, and that the city council has issued orders that you only get to go out if you need to exercise, get food, or do essential work.

Problem there of course, is that the council haven’t really defined too well what essential really is, so the Thieves Guild are insisting that thieving is essential, the Cartographers Council are insisting that going out and mapping is essential and the Alliance of Affordable companions… Well, you get the picture…

We’re here to keep the peace, so as long as whatever they’re doing isn’t spreading the virus or causing a problem, we live and let live.  That said, I’ve personally seen the Thieves guilds most recent high bounty offerings, and let’s just say that they’re robbing a different sort of throne to the one the Thieves normally get asked to rob.  If you find anyone carrying a ten foot pole that’s got nine foot occupied by toilet roll, make a polite enquiry as to where they’re going with it and make sure they’ve got enough for themselves and nothing else.

On other news, over the water in Zargoldand, rumours have reached us that their self appointed God-Emporer just declared that if everyone goes back to work, their collective enthusiasm will be enough to defeat the virus.  I’ve seen what enthusiasm is good for, it’ll decimate a buffet in less than a minute and be completely ineffective against anything requiring a clear head and a plan, so we’re going to be following approved protocol till someone with the aforementioned clear head tells us otherwise.

That’s everything for the morning watch, Thieves and Tempters all around, but remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Thursday 26 March 2020

Corona's Virus, Adventurers Guild Briefing Day 3 - Be aware of Wizards and Teleporting

Morning Everyone

We’ve had a report this morning of several bags of supplies going missing from the merchants guild last night.  Guards report no one came in and no one got out, but the inventory count was down by more than thirty bags of grain, two boxes of salt, and a backscratcher with an extending handle.

We had a suspicion that something like this might come to pass, so we’d been working with the merchants guild to fit tamper proof locks to the bags that also contained a short range spell that would go off in the event of magic being used near it.  These locks are removed when someone buys a bag legitimately, but if they get moved by magic, they detonate after twenty minutes, covering the whole area with luminous manure that also acts as a nauseating agent.

At around 05:00 of the morning watch, the tower of Vladimir Renderov, freelance mage, was reported to have been lit up like a Christmas tree in a sewer, and upon investigation after the area was cleaned, was found to have the missing supplies in his tower.  We’ve cleaned him up and ensured that he’ll be spending the rest of the outbreak in magecuffs on the lower levels, but as times go on and supplies get shorter, we’ll be seeing more of this I don’t doubt.

In other news, the naturists guild just announced that they’ll be doing a sponsored hugging session to raise money for research into the virus.  We’ve allocated them a space just outside the city and as soon as they’re all outside, we’ll be throwing them some tents so they can wait it out, out there.  We’ve got no problem with bare-arsed deviancy, but we’re pretty sure it’s going to break the social distancing the rest of us are having to observe, the captains comment on it was that they can get as close as they like, as long as they stay away from us.

That’s everything for the morning watch, manure and mooning for everyone, just remember

Let’s be careful out there…

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Corona's virus - Adventurers Guild Briefing Day 2 - Justice has dirty hands...

Morning Everyone

We’ve had some assistance offered from the Revelations, they’ve offered their entire core of Paladins for the duration of the virus, and our higher ups have taken them at their word.  They’ll be working mostly the poor quarter and ensuring that we get reliable intel without having to risk any of our people roaming in the streets.

And that brings me to the other problem we’re going to have.  They report to this station and they’ll be coming back in at the end of every shift to give us the details of what they have.  You all know that the Revelations have a god given immunity to diseases of all sorts and that includes this one, but if I’ve learned one thing in all my time dealing with people who are immune to something, it’s that they take that immunity for granted, so the chance of them following proper protocol and cleaning themselves up before coming back here is hovering around zero.  Most Paladins I know are dirty buggers at best, too busy dealing with injustice to wonder about the niceties like cleaning up after themselves, they figure they prove their worth with the amount of evil they’ve been wading in.

In summary, they’re immune, we’re not, so when they come in, we’re going to be waiting with the scouring team around the back.  They’re not going to like it, but I’ll be happier if they debrief when we’ve cleaned all the injustice off them.  I’m going to be drawing up a roster for who’s on hose duty each day, and if any of the Paladins get narky about it, you come and get me and I’ll minister to them about it.

In other news, we’ve got a convoy of Samca coming in from the east after Mit Tarmin closed all the bars between here and Desel, I don’t care how many arms they’ve got, they’re the best bartenders in the world and they get the same rights and safety that everyone else does.

That’s it for the morning, insects and injustice for everyone, just remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Corona's Virus Adventurers Briefing Day 1: Gelatinous Cubes can't be used as Hand Sanitiser

Morning Everyone

We’ve all been having to wash our hands a lot more recently, and the number one item on everyone’s pack list after Iron Rations is now soap.  Of course, we all know there’s been a shortage of soap since the start of the disease, and we know that everyone is doing their best to make do with what they’ve got, and there’s been some reasonably inventive things going on in the adventuring community at large.


We got word this morning of a merchant coming in from out of town with a fresh supply of soap bars, big load, plenty of soap for all concerned, seemed to be too good to be true, so we checked it out.

Turns out that free enterprise runs as far as casting Hold Monster on a gelatinous cube and then carving it up into chunks and wrapping it for selling so no one notices till you’re washing your hands with it…

All those laughing at the back can do one, nothing buggers up your day faster than realising that not only are your face and hands burning, but your soap is making a run for it…

So, take precautions people, any new soap you buy, leave it on the side for a day before you use it, if it’s still there, it’s probably good.  If it’s made a break for it, be cheerful you didn’t end up with a face like mine this morning.  The glass bowl on my desk contains a sample of the cube that we rounded up, don’t get too close, and remember…

Let’s be careful out there…

Daily Adventurers briefings in the time of Corona's Virus...

In the spirit of trying to brighten the day, for the next three weeks, I'm going to be doing a briefing for adventurers every day. What would happen in a fantasy world if an evil mage called Corona had engineered a magical virus that was resisting all attempts to take it down. Every day, I'm going to post the latest briefing from the guild, and if anyone's got any ideas on what would make a good brief for adventurers, get in touch.
Todays briefing: Gelatinous Cubes can't be used as Hand Sanitiser...

Wednesday 19 February 2020

To the Memory of an Excellent Man

When you run conventions, you get the sense for those who are like you, who would love to play the games on offer, but know that someone has to be there to make sure it all works, or others can't have any fun.

Most of the volunteers I know fall into this category.

But there are some who literally never get to make it to a convention to enjoy it, and those people have an understanding, a bond between them that it's not about them, but their people.

Vince Kingston was such a man. When we came to run the Yavin open and asked for who people would recommend as Judges, there was no one more highly recommended.

When I met him, I knew that he and I had the same goals in what we did, and we talked often on the nature of what it was that we did, of that service to others that makes our lives better because everyone else being happy makes us happier.

I learned tonight that he passed away quietly at the age of 43, no details yet, but the world is a far poorer place for the loss of him.  We will not forget him or the fairness and calm that he stood for, we will go on making things better to honour our friend and all he did.

So say we all...

Monday 17 February 2020

You don't notice that you're dying when all you're doing is surviving...

Well, I made the mistake of trying for something better, in a place that wasn't ready for what I was planning.

Nothing wrong with that, but I've done the same thing at this place two times previous, so when I took the new job back in June last year (notice the coinciding of my disappearance with the taking of that job), I told them that if the only thing that had changed in three months was that I was working twelve hours a day, five days a week, then I'd be going back to what I was doing before.

Three months came and gone, and there'd been opposition from people at work who didn't understand what it was we were doing, or how we were doing it, so against better council, I gave them three more months.

Twelve hours a day, five days a week.

You don't notice that you're dying when you're doing your best to survive, it's not how the human brain works, and trying to survive is what I've been doing for more than six months.

Well, that and help run Worldcon, organise Dragonmeet, help with Eastercon, and take up a supporting position for Contingency.

Normal stuff, y'know...?

So I stepped down about a month back, went from 60-90 (that's the ETA in minutes for getting someone out to one of our jobs, not recommended hours to work a week.) down to less than thirty.  Finished off one novel in between writing a grand space opera that's going to end up larger than any of the other books I've written so far, and started to see that there's things I can do that don't involve me giving my health to a job that won't adapt with me.

Things are doing better than they were by an order of magnitude, and so last week, I took Jude to the Blackthorn windmill down in Oxford for valentines.  This is the way the world should be, good times, better people, and work that makes a difference, not just for me, but for all those around me as well.

For those who've inspired me always to do better.

Many people have a spirit animal, something that guides them and protects them in times of need.

I have a Jude...

And now there's a brighter morning, and a better world awaits.

I'll be around more often, promise, and for those wondering when the expo rpg submissions are opening, they're already open...

Games for the Dice Gods...

And here's the thing, I didn't feel that bad when I was working all those hours, I revelled in making the difference every day. Even when I couldn't see what it was doing to me, especially when I couldn't seen what it was doing to me.  We have friends and family for a reason, and when they tell you that things have gone bad, listen to them, there's every possibility that they can see something you can't...

Equally though, when they tell you that something is good, listen to that too, because all too often we can't see the things that are best for us till they've gone sailing past...