April 16th, 2007

Tea-drinker par excellence

No change!

The Open University has followed MIT's lead and put a lot of learning material online: http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/index.php . There's not a ton of stuff there at the moment but the society section will be particularly interesting for anyone wanting to be a school governer.

In other news, we went last night to see Gormenghast at the BAC and it was everything morbdifrog promised. The sense of decay was tangible (literally if you sat in the front row) and the very physical nature of the piece really brought the characters to life. The guy playing Flay, with his creeky knees and strange gait was magnificent. Doing two books in two and half hours was a stretch but by focussing on set pieces they captured the essence of the book.

It's on tour to the provinces now:
Northernstage, Newcastle, 18th to 21st April
Capitol, Horsham, 24th to 25th April
Playhouse, Liverpool, 8th to 12th May
Tea-drinker par excellence

Culture Vultures

So far since Christmas we've partaken of many art forms:

The first, architecture
Sagrada Familia and other Gaudi structures in Barcelona

The second, sculpture
None in particular but there's no end to the municipal sculpture on view round these parts, including some Lutyens Lions. We did see a Mobius Strip in Islington on Saturday.

The third, painting
Gilbert & George at the Tate
A slap in the face! Vorticism at the Estorick

The fourth, dance
The Rocky Horror Show has at least one

The fifth, music
We're going to see the Wildhearts in two weeks time

The sixth, poetry
We went on a Yeats literary walk which included a few recitations. This probably should also include theatre but that's also got its own category

The seventh, cinema
We've managed not to go to the cinema. However, the London SF film festival is coming next month so I hope to remedy my neglect.

The eight, theatre (also TV or photography)
We've been to the theatre five times:
Young Dick Barton
Rocky Horror
An MR James recitation
The 39 Steps
Gormenghast

And we've also got:
Carbaret (tonight)
Hound of the Baskervilles (Thursday)

The ninth, comic books
I bought a complete set of Tintin plus we've had our regular updates of Fables, BPRD and others.

The tenth art, video games (or model railways)
The latest spyro, Civ III and Quake 4 are our main offerings in this area. I've not done any railway modelling although one could, I suppose, extend this to all miniatures, giving Games Workshop an art form.

Do roleplaying games count? Certainly Wiki includes it in the debate. So here goes:

The eleventh art, roleplaying games (in play)
So far this year I've played several games of GUMSHOE (Fear Itself, Cthulhu) and one pulp Victoriana - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Guerilla Roleplayer

Gormengame or Gamenghast?

A germ of an idea of a Polaris-y variant.

This is a game for four players. Each has a different role during the game which is set at the start. Before play starts you should also decide on the type of setting. This should be some enclosed domain of some sort. You could use the default setting of Gormenghast but you could also use any kind of fishbowl, including a fishbowl.

There can be other characters present in the setting, these are introduced by the other players as needed, but there doesn't have to be anyone else except for these four.

The four roles are:
The Incumbent who is currently in charge of the domain.
The Heir who will inherit the domain on the Incumbent's death
The Master of Rolls who is responsible for the laws of the domain
The Other who is outside the society of the domain in some way

Players can sit round the table in any order but the two who sit opposite each other must be opposed in some way. For example, I-H-M-O opposes the Incumbent and the Master of Rolls, the Heir and the Other. The nature of this opposition is key to the relationship between these characters and should be decided at the start of the game.

Finally, before play starts, players should agree on some general tone for the game. Is the setting a decaying castle like Gormenghast, a sterile spacestation, an expanding company?

The game is played in rounds. At the beginning of each round the Master of Rolls gives, from his book of ancient law, the duties to be performed that day by either or both of the Heir and Incumbent, and any non-player characters. Play proceeds from that point to explore the issues raised by this duty for each of the player characters.