Weekly Round-up: I Hit the Wall, Big Damn Hero 2, & One-to-One Play

I suppose the way to sum up this week is to talk about last Saturday morning. I didn’t start my day with a hike or a jog, or a nice breakfast, or even a terrible breakfast… I literally crawled out of bed, started a bath, and got in the tub.

My wife was like WTF? I was doing the thing I tell my son never to do; I was starting with a pause. I wasn’t sick or underslept or depressed…

I had finally hit the wall.

Some combination of COVID-19 coverage, 6 weeks of home-schooling, trying to keep the apartment vaguely clean, and hiking everyday with my son had just worn me out. Worn me out beyond the ability of a “good night’s sleep” to fix.

So last weekend, at least by our standards, we mailed it in. There was more screen time and FaceTime for the boy. I didn’t try to run any Mecha Hack, but I did play in my Sunday D&D game. (Sadly, even as a player I struggled with my energy level.)

Believe me, I get that there’s nothing special about me or my situation. We are all going through stuff, many far worse than me. Still, what our family is going through is tough, too.

Sometimes I ask myself, why not just go to sleep at 8:30 with my son, or just stream garbage Netflix? But the answer is always the same. I wouldn’t find it satisfying, and I’d just get frustrated with myself.

And, as it turns out, we only get so much life, and this is part of it.

In the end, I’d rather be tired while I try to keep writing and gaming, maybe doing both badly, than just give up…

spider mechMecha Hack Prep

So, even though I punted on running something last weekend… I’m still looking ahead and making plans. Or should I say “plans.”

My Mecha Hack episode 3 prep is still in the back of my mind from last weekend. Back-of-mind prep is all I have time for anymore, so it means I’m table ready. If you tuned into to my last Mecha Hack recap, you’ll remember that the gang leveled up. Xander didn’t manage to increase any of his Stats except Presence, which he found less than satisfying. “But Dad, we never even roll Presence!” (It is hilarious to me how all the classic player behaviors organically emerge from my son.)

Funnily enough, I was just getting ready to send Starian and Thumper on an emergency diplomatic mission to Fortress Husqvarna to find out why the Neo Dominion decided to attack them out of the blue. So, we’ll see what the boy makes of having a decent Presence after a few rolls to influence folks.

Xander also requested that they fight a tougher Voidmaw opponent in our upcoming session. No spoilers, but I think that can be arranged!

Big Damn Hero, Episode 2

MadJay and I are still playing Ron Edward’s Champions Now. Episode 2 is now available. (We’ve recorded 3 and 4 as well, and they are in post-production.) When I finally got the time to listen to Episode One, I realized I needed to trim down the Uhs and Ums when I’m thinking out loud. It’s a special kind of discipline to just stop talking for a moment when you are considering something.

I like where Big Damn Hero is heading. It’s gritty and dark, but it’s “about” (among other things) how hard it is to change your life in a meaningful way. And I think it deals with superhero culture in a fun way, too. If you want to start at the beginning you can find Episode 1 here.


Since Jay and are having a lot of fun with our one-to-one play, I’m wanting to share the experience with other people. I’ve never GMed that way, so if nothing else it would be an interesting experience. I just don’t know where the energy will come from! In any case, I’ve had my eye on a few purpose-built two person systems…

I just picked up the Gumshoe One-to-One collection over at Bundle of Holding. I’ve actually got a copy of Cthulhu Confidential, the core One-to-One product, but I’ve never locked down the rules/procedures. Every time I get into a situation where a game has fallen through, except for me and one other player, I curse myself that I’m not prepared. Also, now that my wife and I spend a lot of time together, I might see if she’s interested in giving it a whirl.

maelstrom_dreamers_coversI actually did a little editing on Maelstrom Dreamers by Davide Pignedoli. It’s the rare riff on Vincent Baker’s influential Apocalpyse World that isn’t itself a Powered by the Apocalypse title. Davide wraps a story game around the idea of the psychic maelstrom, and those that hear it calling to them to fix a broken world. This is a two person slow jam game where the players’ actual dreams are, in effect, the randomizer. An innovative concept whose time has definitely come. If you are interested, the two books you need for Maelstrom Dreamers are pay-what-you-want during the pandemic on DriveThru RPG.

With the end to home-schooling in sight, I’m going to aim at getting a two person game going with someone or other next month…

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