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Just a place for the odd thoughts, updates, and the detritus of my mind that doesn't belong on social media.

Posted: Jun 27th, 5:02am

5E Fey Reincarnation

I've been running a campaign of 5th Edition D&D since the day it reared its head in the form of the Lost Mines of Phandelver boxed set. Over the years we've had a number of deaths, and a few cases of ressurection via Raise Dead, but recently one of the founding characters, Kerri, died in a way that Raise Dead couldn't fix (spontaneously dissected by the Headmaster of the Nothic College.

Enter the party Druid, Arra, and Reincarnate, which sent me off to think about how I wanted Reincarnate to work in my campaign.

The Original D&D reincarante could bring you back as a variety of monsterous and animal forms, with plausible Player Character races being very much in the minority. Delta's Spells Through the Ages has a great run down of what reincarnate (in both Wizard and Druid forms) used to do. The 5E version, on the other hand, brings you back as a boring adult member of one of the standard player character races.

Boring! I thought.

My own take was that, as a Druid spell, Reincarnate should create fey things, natural things — sprigans and boggans and banshees, oh my! (Not any of those actual things, as it turned out, but natural things nevertheless). More than influenced, I admit, by Ortwine's reincarnation in the fantastic Tales of Wyre. So I set out to comb through the official and fan fey races and compile a list I was more comfortable with, and this is the result.

Posted: Jun 26th, 9:01am

Night Animals : Invisible cats

When humans go to sleep, the Night Animals come out to play.

Invisible cats are the bane of light sleepers. Though they cannot be seen, they can be both felt and heard. They delight in leaping from heights onto bedspreads, scratching at doors, and knocking small objects from shelves. Should a nearby human wake, the invisible cat will freeze, remaining absolutely silent until they start to sleep again — at which point the harassment resumes. Invisible cats live in family groups of up ten, who take it in turns to torment individual insomniacs. If you think you may be suffering an infestation, you are advised to throw catnip through your open windows. With luck the cats will follow, and you can then close the windows to keep them out. Of course, since they are invisible, you won't be able to tell if it worked.

Night Animals is an occasional series of strange creatures drawn from dreams.

Posted: Jun 7th, 8:55am

Night Animals : Dresserwinkles

When humans go to sleep, the Night Animals come out to play.

Dresserwinkles are molluscs the size of coffee pots, with black bodies and shells the colour of fading walnut veneer. They make their homes in wardrobes and chests of drawers. By day they lurk unseen amongst the empty shoe boxes and balled up sweaters that litter such places. At night they press themselves against whatever doors, panels, or drawer–fronts their environment possesses and — by means of their strong, muscular (but singular), feet — push them gently open. The night time creaks and groans of opening cupboards are a certain sign of dresserwinkle infestation.

Night Animals is an occasional series of strange creatures drawn from dreams.

Posted: May 23rd, 4:39am

Housekeeping

It is amazing how much housekeeping a website can require!

Recently I began a project of updating my website in a few small ways, one of which was adding support for this blog. At the same time I addressed a few code bugs, and added a few features to the CMS (Gecko) with which the site is built. So far, so much normal code-tinkering.

But then I made the mistake of looking at the Site Map — and I was struck by the accumulation of ancient pages, and even categories of pages, that I'd entirely forgotten about. I got sucked into pages about the Battlegrounds card game, pages about old RPG campaigns, pages about Playmobil.

And then, of course, the errors began. I found old bits of code that no longer worked. Pages marked out in obsolete versions of the page templates — lacking my new navigation or editing elements. I found dead links — so many dead links! I found pages that were wrappers around projects that no longer existed. Out of date pages describing things I planned to do with the CMS two decades ago! (Urk!). I've removed a whole bunch of "Pages I like" or "Links" pages where no link worked.

Even this was only the upper reaches of the rabbit-hole. As soon as I started to look at older templates (e.g. the plain template used for Duality v.2.4) and add things that were missing (open-graph properties, facebook comments, font-encoding meta tags), I realised all the other things that none of my templates had: skip navigation links, screen-reader headings, aria-tags, semantic use of heading/nav/main/footer tags, so I had to add those to all the templates, not just the old ones — and if I am doing that, I reasoned, then why not turn the breadcrumbs into ULs, and the floating divs into ASIDEs and ... and ...

Somewhere along the way I found myself adding Bootstrap for the css (and coping with undoing the bits of Bootstrap's Reset that I don't like), and then the js on some pages (for image carousels), and then more js (to implement new admin-mode editors), and so...