Wednesday, 24 July 2013


We just achieved something in a game and I am surprisingly happy about it

By achieved I mean that one imaginary construct fell into place in a certain way. Its meaning was suggested by the GM then reinforced with an explicit challenge. Then failed multiple times. Then the quest revoked through loss of time. Then its meaning re-generated through the spontaneous movements of a number of people reacting together. Then actually achieved.

We rescued some dryads.

The evil thing at the bottom of the dungeon is still there. The magical thing it’s guarding is still there. But we stole back some hostages, after several weeks of effort. After taking my character through unlikely courage, to intrepid boldness, all the way to a borderline-nihilistic self-destruction, he is still not dead. He seems to be in some kind of peace. Maybe he will calm down.

We could go back into the dungeon and kill the minotaur, but chances of us managing that are minimal. Plus, someone keeps locking the door behind us when we break in, which is irritating.

If the bad guy has any sense he’ll come out of the dungeon and kill us in the open while we are tired BUT THEY NEVER DO THAT, even though they would win.

It’s true that a highly-focused team of ruthless dungeoneers could probably have done the same thing in less time with no casualties. But we are not those people. And what would have been learned? Only the solution to a problem.

I asked Francis Bacon for his opinion on our dungeoneering skills. I cannot say that any of us come out well from his review.


“This is well to be weighed; that boldness is ever blind; for it seeth not dangers and inconveniences. Therefore it is ill in counsel, good in execution; so that the right use of bold persons is that they never command in chief, but be seconds, and under the direction of others. For in counsel it is good to see dangers; and in execution not to see them, except they be very great.”


“Ambition is like a choler, which is a humour that maketh men active, earnest, full of alacrity and stirring, if it be not stopped. But if it be stopped, and cannot have his way, it becometh adust, and thereby malign and venomous. “


“It is a miserable state of mind to have few things to desire and many things to fear; and yet that commonly is the case of kings; who being at the highest, want matter of desire, which maketh their minds the more languishing, and have many representations of perils and shadows, which makes their minds the less clear.

..for.. lack of some predominant desire that should marshal and put in order all the rest, maketh any mans heart to hard to find or sound. Hence it comes likewise, that princes many times make themselves desires, and set their hearts upon toys.”


“Things will have their first and second agitation: if they be not tossed upon the arguments of counsel, they will be tossed upon the waves of fortune and be full of inconstancy, doing and undoing, like the reeling of a drunken man.”


“There is surely no greater wisdom than well to time the beginnings and onset of things. Dangers are no more light, if they once seemed light and more dangers have deceived men than forced them. Nay it were better to meet some dangers half way, though they come nothing near, than to keep too long a watch upon their approaches”


“We take cunning for a sinister or crooked wisdom. And certainly there is a great difference between a cunning man and a wise man, not only in point of honesty but point of ability.”


“It is a poor centre of a man’s actions himself. It is right earth. For that only stands fast upon his own centre; whereas all things that have affinity with the heavens, move upon the centre of another, which they benefit.

And certainly it is in the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will set an house on fire, and it were but to roast their eggs.”


“Affected dispatch is one of the most dangerous things to business that can be. It is like that which the physicians call predigestion, or hasty digestion; which is sure to fill the body full of crudities and secret seeds of diseases. Therefore measure not dispatch by the times of sitting but by the advancement of the business.”

“Give good hearing to those that give the first information in business; and rather direct them in the beginning than interrupt them in the contrivance of their speeches; for he that is put out of his own order will go forward and backward, and be more tedious while he waits upon his memory, than he could have been if he had gone on in his own course. But sometimes it is seen that the moderator is more troublesome than the actor.”


“Communication of a mans self to his friend works two contradictory effects; for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halfs. For there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more: and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less.”

“For friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections from storm and tempests; but it maketh daylight in the understanding out of darkness and confusion of thoughts. Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel, which a man recieveth from his friend; but before you come to that, certain it is that whoever has his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and understanding do clarify and break up, in the communicating and discoursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he marshalleth them more orderly: he seeth how they look when they are turned into words; finally he waxeth wiser than himself: and that more by an hours discourse than by a days meditation.”

“The calling of a mans self to strict account is a medicine, sometimes too piercing and corrosive. Reading good books of morality is a little flat and dead. Observing our faults in others is sometimes improper for our case. But the best receipt (best I say to work, and best to take) is the admonition of a friend.”


“If a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune: for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The way of fortune is like the milken way in the sky; which is a meeting or knot of a number of small stars; not seen asunder, but giving light together”

“And certainly there be not two more fortunate properties than to have a little of the fool, and not too much of the honest.”

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