April 23rd, 2007

Tea-drinker par excellence

Señor Ol-mez

We saw The Hound of the Baskervilles at the Duchess last Thursday night. It was a pretty decent pastiche with a high percentage of gags, some slightly dull filler and a Spanish Sherlock Holmes. It was along the same lines as the 39 Steps but not quite so good. It didn't quite manage to catch the Holmesian ambiance in the same way that Steps had got Edwardian England. The filler was fun enough - they broke the fourth wall to talk about safety notices and ghosts, but the time could have been better spent on the characters - especially the running gag in which Watson never got anything to eat which pettered out instead of being really exploited.

I'm not sure if there was much comedy mileage in having a Spanish Holmes. His accent was extremely heavy which made him quite hard to understand at some times. But I suppose it was a change from the usual cut-glass.

That said, we only paid £7.50 a ticket and it was well worth it for that kind of money.

The evening was all the more pleasurable that we bumped into tonymitton and Sandra outside the theatre and were able to share a pre-theatre drink and post-theatre meal. We went to the Loch Fyne fish restaurant just opposite where everyone had fish (2 grilled salmon and one stew with chorizo) and I had a rather scrummy pork chop with caramelised apple, sweet potatoes and some kind of creamy oniony sauce. Yum.

We don't have anymore theatre trips planned now, having managed seven since Christmas, but I've got my eye on Surrealism at the V&A which is half-price (£9) if you go by train using the leaflet you can get from any station.
Tea-drinker par excellence

De plus en plus curieux

Whilst I was wandering round Paris on Saturday morning I found a shop of antique curiosities in the Rue Dante. It was shut (aren't they always?) but in the window was a bell jar over some kind of glove. On closer inspection it turned out not to be a glove but a hollow filigree hand made entirely of what looked like lichenous threads, or possibly the kind of thing left attached to a wall when you pull ivy away. I've got a rather poor photo on my phone but it doesn't do it justice.

I'm not sure what the point of it was, perhaps there was none but it sounds like the kind of thing some magician might use.
Guerilla Roleplayer

SteveCon Paris

Yesterday was the occasion of SteveCon 14 or so. Well, the fourth French one anyway.

As it was a nice day and our usual venue, La Fourmie Ailée, had bounced us two days previously, we played in the Jardin des Plantes, in the 5ieme near Gare d'Austerlitz. We had a bit of trouble with parkies as most grass in France is interdite but we did find a small patch that was autorisée. There's a nice photo of our picnic here. I'm just out of shot on the left. About 10 miles out of shot is Ben who organises these things. His house had been burgled the day before and he was getting all the locks changed.

So poor Ben missed the first session. I ran Esoterrorists, a little scenario that I had mostly written on the train that morning, about about 7pm. SteveCon France gets me out of bed at 5. It seemed to go pretty well. The scenario was called Amsterdamned and probably needs a little more mayhem. Our intrepid investigators managed not to have a single fight that I can remember, although I did have to drop the Finnish in Lappeenranta. Lappeenranta being a free port in Finland. Did you see what I did there? Finnish, finish? No? Oh, well.

The evening game was at the Mayflower, a pretty decent bar which sells Framboise on tap. That's further up in the 5ieme on a street packed with restaurants. I ran a game of 1001 Nights and our three stories were The Three Monkeys, Death and the Merchant and the Fall of Baghdad. Squeeze, we tend to refer to each other by our French forum names, is an old hat at Story Games, I've played Dogs and Polaris with him too. He's a big help when running these because he's generally also read the rules which makes it much easier. Especially when groping around for the French terminology. But 1001 Nights doesn't really have any funny terms and was pretty easy to introduce to the group.

Other games that were played were Dread and Everway in the evening and Revolucíon, Wild Talents and a game of Eric's called Royaumes Troublés (a bit of a pun on Royaumes Oubliés - Forgotten Kingdoms). Revolucíon is the roleplaying version of Junta. The GM is the Dictator and if the dictator should be replaced during the game, the GM also changes. Each players choses one of the templates which range from Soldier to Vodoo Priest, each with it's own powers. The dice pool system has been kept simple and the tone of the game is fairly comical. It's sounds quite fun and you can download it free from this site, in French of course. Eric is a proper game designer who has had several things published including StarDrakkar, space vikings in a eutopian universe, and dK, a modular d20 light game. His latest game was described as extremely high level AD&D, except that all the rules crunch has been stripped out to allow players to define what their characters can do in play. It's rather narrativy (in the common sense).