Seems I have some catching up to do and a few things to report. October has always been my favorite month for a number of reasons, and so far this one has definitely been a good one.
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First off, Jenny and I really enjoyed our weekend trip up to Cunningham Falls State Park with some of our camping buddies (including a few new ones). Most outdoor camping accommodations at state parks are much the same nowadays, but we enjoyed our little set up. There was actually a small troop of Boy Scouts staying in the same campground site as us, and it definitely took my back to my own scouting days, as I constantly put those skills into practice all throughout the trip.
We started the weekend off right with Burgers a la Campfire
In the afternoon we took a leisurely hike up to the actual Cunningham Falls…
Cunningham Falls – though with the recent low rainfall there wasn’t much “falling”…
Of course, Saturday evening/Sunday morning it decided to start raining fairly persistently, but we had the foresight to strike parts of camp the night before so in the morning we packed up, albeit in the rain, rather painlessly all things considered. It’s why you go camping in the first place, right… to rough it..?
Jenny and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary on the 10th, and we had a nice dinner at one of our regular local haunts, the Baltimore fixture Valentino’s Restaurant. Their Smith Island Cake was a particularly nice surprise to sample. I also celebrated my birthday a few days later, and was quite touched with all the kind outreach I received from friends new and old, both local and afar. I am blessed to know a ton of very cool people. And the dry-aged rib-eye Jenny picked up from Cerillo’s (the same place that catered our wedding actually) for my birthday dinner was downright epic…
Also, while I failed to actually meet up with Wimsaur when he was in town visiting, I did manage to complete the feedback he’d requested concerning a new occult manuscript he’d recently finished writing. He first introduced a select few of us to some of these ideas in a little talk he gave at his home back in April (before he moved away to lovely Colorado) but that occurred when this site was down and I seemly forgot to write about that little occult gathering when it came back up a month ago and I was trying to recap the highlights of the previous five months before. An oversight to be sure, but more the better, I guess, considering the material he shared I’m sworn to secrecy about anyway (at least until he publishes). But now that he has a manuscript, that hopefully won’t be for too much longer.
I had my fair share of constructive criticism for him, but I think what he’s put together is a real accomplishment, though as I’m really not sure it’s even cool to discuss the title (let alone the subject matter) of the work, it’ll just have to all stay his secret for now. I did offer to help him with some of the graphics he was having trouble with in certain places, and it’s sounding like he’ll be taking me up on that.
IONS: Institute of Noetic Science
I also heard by way of The Friend that the Baltimore Friends of IONS (Institute of Noetic Science) will be moving their location from Reisterstown down to somewhere (pretty sweet) in the city (though not yet officially announced). Regardless, their new proximity means Jenny and I can more easily attend their events. The Friend also suggested she introduce me to the IONS program coordinator as they have expressed some interest in me coming to give one of my magick lectures there. Naturally, I’m quite interested, but as I kinda still owe the Theosophical Society at least one more talk, I really gotta put any new focus (within that particular arena) into that first.
But, I’ve had other things on the brain of late. Mainly Blackspire…
And on that front… after long agonizing over it, I finally finished the write-up of my recap of the Blackspire Campaign up to this point… and while my personal bias as GM certainly shows here and there, I feel I was fair and honest with my interpretation of events, so to speak… I also took my fair share of artist and poetic license all over the place, added nuance in some places, cut the details that didn’t pertain later to the plot at some point (or add texture to the world), and even consolidated a number of events over multiple sessions into single entries. I tried to find a nice balance between summarizing events and detailing campaign flavor.
Now keep in mind, I recapped this all based pretty much solely on memory, and trying to remember stuff we played out sometimes years ago had its challenges. I also wrote a lot of it “gazetteer” style so it’d serve as good reference for my players, as well as potential fans down the line, and perhaps even one day as the backbone for publishing a Blackspire source-book of some kind. I also plan to record me reading it all one day, and turn that into podcast content as well… and which will also be ideal for generating useful fan art that we can later use in the video series down the line.
The one currently unfinished section is Session 73 which has the info in the pamphlet inviting the citizenry to the Prince’s Ball, a major event I’ve been long hinting at playing out. I know my players are excited(ish…) to play that adventure out, but at the time of this post I’m still working on it, and as it’s still a ways out in game/recording time, I reserve the right to keep that part fluid until I know for sure what I want to do with that adventure.
COMING SOON: The Blackspire RPG Podcast & Web-Series
Now, our actual recording date for the next Blackspire session had to be moved to November 4th (which is fine, it gives me more time to plan) but in the meantime, one of my players, Garrett, came over last night and we recorded the first of the Blackspire Side Sessions, where he, Jenny, and I discussed the background of his new Player Character (PC) for the game, the satyr musician Jolly Paul.
We ended up recording close to two hours worth of content and by the end I think we ended up with some really good concepts to flesh out that character and give Garrett a versatile backstory to play his character off of. I’m quite pleased with how clearly my new Snoball mic managed to capture our conversation, and so now I have another audio file in need of editing and the music/SFX magic touch. But first, I need to take another crack at Episode 1, and finish edits on Episode 2.
I also heard from our good friend Brother Enlil that he’ll be visiting us again the week of 11/11. Since it’s been a good long while since we had a Temple of the Western Gate meeting (but we’re not really in the position to host one currently) we instead decided to throw a little dinner party for some esoteric folks the Friday he’s visiting. Invited guests include: The Friend, Frater Superabo and his wife, as well as Brother Yale from IOT and his girlfriend. I was also glad to see Superabo is recently back on YouTube and is blogging now as well. He’s going to be talking about his experience with the Abramelin ritual soon, and I’m hoping he comes to our dinner because I’d love to catch up (it’s made him MIA the last six months naturally). It should be an interesting mix if everyone can make it.
But, Brother Enlil had been expressing some serious interest in playing D&D, so I’ve offered to run a game for him and Jenny while he visits. For now, since he’s never actually played before, I want to give him all the richness I typically layer in for new characters, while still giving him a classic style adventure to cut his teeth on… so I’ll probably start them off in a dungeon… and try to make it the most interesting dungeon crawl ever.
And I’ve even been mocking up a new miniature for his character (and his giant scorpion buddy) for him to use, and will probably utilize a number of the Dwarven Forge sets I have (especially Dungeons and Caverns) to really make his first time something really fun.
Enlil helped with the broad strokes the last time he was here, but I’m still making the final tweaks to his character in HeroLab, and kinda want to get at least get the beats of the adventure down in my head before I settle on the final build and send him over a PDF of his character sheet.
Of course, the plan is to actually record the game and turn it into yet another of the Blackspire Side Sessions… and if everyone involved continues to be interested, perhaps even turn it into something episodic we play again and again (maybe with additional PCs to boot), and that one day might even cross paths with the original Blackspire story line again…
It’s got epic written all over it. It’s lighting in a bottle if I can just capture it.
Moon: Scorpio (New)
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