30 days roleplaying – a motivational start into 2019

Part I: Preparation

01.01.2019 What advice would you give a first-time GM? (Roundup)

No matter what you prepare, your own world, a premade module – never forget you and your friends at the table. For me the key on roleplaying and especially as a dungeon master is understanding what you want to experience. A good dungeon master knows which background should be integrated to captivate players and he prepares for this. Your group might enjoy living a stream-lined, “railroaded” adventure to find out what is the outcome, which is (in my opinion) totally fine. Especially a new game-master might be overwhelmed by the choices and options on table, so efficient preparation is key. I tend to use notes (Onenote is a digital favorite, while paper is my analogue favorite) of strengths and weaknesses for every character as well as some hints on background which I want to take into account during game sessions.

02.01.2019 What are your favorite GMing tools or accessories? (Roundup)

My favorite tool for character generation is Herolab. I tend ot use this for Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Shadowrun and probably would use it for every other supported game as well. I think the pricing for the app, especially with modules, is high, but the quality delivered is really good. I enjoyed using this as player and dungeon master. The later for a character portfolio overview and management of the character sheets.
I also own a copy of Realm Works which I think is fabulous for world creation and in-depth preparation. In my opinion the best tool available to keep track on the wide picture, the storylines, especially when you’re having several interwoven. It’s a campaign management tool, allows a lot of portraits and map-management which I think can be a great success factor to visualize and help the imagination of your players which some “details”. The fog-of-war approach for dungeons is great, so you’ve 100% overview as game master and can reveal step by step more when it is discovered. It also helps with downtime communication, as platform for your players to get some information and jump right into your campaign.
Finally, for my last adventures I did prepare on Onenote which is in my opinion the most versatile notepad and I like the cloud functionality between mobile phone, tablets and laptop/desktop. It helps me structuring information, makes easy access for pdf, pictures and text. For me it’s an easy and quick tool, which I use when there’s no giant backstory, no large campaign and only few recurring characters. I also tend to use this as player, linking my herolab pdf chars with backstory and the ongoing adventure journal.

03.01.2019 How do you find players?

To be honest, I stopped searching a while ago. In the area where I live it was challenging but not impossible since Vienna is quite near. Since I’ve grown older I have to admit I enjoy playing with friends, those I know and I’m not hunting for new ones. With my current “2018-not-so-regular” round I’ve played for more than twenty years, some of them longer, others shorter. Some other friends back from my days at the HTL are also into the hobby. E.g. I had a blast with Ludwig and the newly formed Vampire 5th edition party and I really did enjoy dungeon crawling with Kathrin. I’ve tried playing with Karl again, but that didn’t work out for unknown reasons – probably me and my business trips (as usual). Anyways I think if you’re looking for a group, go to your local game-store (Planet Harry would be the best around Vienna) and – ask. The internet of course is also a vast resource but I think the former is much more personal and more likely to have you happy in the end of your search. One key thing that changed for me over the year: the game and rulework behind it got less and less important – the players and their personal style makes the game enjoyable – setting and rules are nice to haves but I’ve had fun in DSA with role-play-heavy gamers and I had a bad time with clueless rulessearchers in FATE. Pick your friends wisely, you might have the same experience and spend the next 20+ years with them, regularly.

04.01.2019 Do you use pre-published adventures or write your own?

I tend to write my own adventures, I’ve a (quite heavy) selection of adventures, adventures paths, campaign settings and use them, I’ve spent countless hours in taking ideas out, merging them into both digital and old-school DM folders. I’ve tons of maps (especially for Cyberpunk/Shadowrun) and love to use them. In the end-effect it depends very much on who I’m playing with, what their expectations and game-style are, but usually I end up with 30% written and 70% improvised dm-ing. If the term is correct, I would call it open-world roleplaying – a preference I have as player and tend to offer to my players as well. Meaning I have some basic plotlines, I evolve the world around them, whether they interact or ignore it and I prefer character based events and stories over third-party driven events. That goes best with a good chunk of improvisation, since your players will always surprise you. by the way the same is true for pre-published adventures, I only feel at home if the improvisation is working out, so if a character turns to Baldur’s Gate instead of Waterdeep during a pre-published adventure, I might give him one or two hints to stay, but would rather skip or adapt the adventure than force him at all costs to stay in the right “rail”.

05.01.2019 Stealing like an artist: what inspiration have you drawn from other games, books, movies, etc?

I guess a lot, over the years I loved “stealing” some game inspiration from books like Markus Heitz’ Shadowrun compilations and I’ve also drawn some hints from Paul S. Kemp’s Erevis Cale Trilogy and various of Salvatore’s novels. What I think the best hints and treasures were are not so much on single ideas. Building a consistent storyline, background ideas that went deeper and not so straight hero or villain, black & white characters tend to be easier, but especially with the right group it’s all about the shades.

06.01.2019 Worldbuilding–what’s your process?

My take on worldbuilding is – get some NPC’s to start, if necessary create a pantheon and a map to start with. Decide on the size and then, for me, it’s all start at the first city and some surroundings. Depending on your plan that might be all you ever need. I’ve fully adopted this “quick” route especially for Planescape and planes-hopping games. No need to fully draw this picture if you only need a glimpse on it before you go on.

07.01.2019 How do you prep for the start of a campaign?

I talk to the players. Honestly I think this is the most underrated and at the same time most essential preparation for a campaign. You can always look into regions, countries, planes, nscs and many other things, but nothing beats talking to the players. One by one tends to work best for me, to narrow down expectations and concentrate on the key points and bringing them into the joint first session to make them part of the unwritten manifesto for the campaign. Of course players (or you yourself) might change your mind, but that way the starting direction should be aligned and most likely you’ll have a lot more fun than just starting a campaign. I think this is true for both self-written as well as pre-written adventures.

08.01.2019 How do you prep for each session?

Depends very much on the game and whether I’m used to the players or not. For a campaign I tend to have outlines for the plot and a good selection of maps. Depending on the genre I’ve more material available and can start with a good selection or do my research through my shelf and the internet if necessary. If time allows, which hasn’t been of late, I love to give a wrapup for myself with all NPC actions taken since the last episode. One of the most important tools is our joint overview of the last session, makes sure everyone is on the same starting point for the session.

09.01.2019 Player “homework”: what do you ask of your players before and between sessions?

Nothing, honestly. It’s great if they find time, but I’m totally happy if we manage a game session nowadays. Given additional “homework” seems rather unnecessary to me.

10.01.2019 What are your tips for running a low/no prep game?

Pick a playstyle and setting  that suits your personal preferences. If you like high-fantasy, I would expect that your necessity for prep in this setting is low. When you like action games, I imagine you know combat rules and how to set scenes to make them interesting. Prepare some core milestones, pick some NPCs according to your players background to get them (en)tangled. And most importantly – enjoy.

Part II: At the Table

11.01.2019 House rules: what are your favorite hacks, mods, and shortcuts?

Wow, I would say for pathfinder that’s wound-points. For Shadowrun that’s an easy take on security and simple-rolls for hacking. In general I like rules-easy and speeding things up to have more time for ROLE-playing over ROLL-playing.

12.01.2019 Table rules: how do you keep players focused on the game?

We have an easy entry by wrapping up recent events from the last game with everyone present. Until we have a dinner-break usually that keeps most of us focused. If anyone has to take an urgent call, that’s fine – with most of my rounds at least. We’re all grown ups – so everyone is able to focus on the game. If he has other tasks (family, work, …) that’s fine with our groups.

13.01.2019 Rise to the challenge: how do you balance encounters in your system?

Usually – I don’t. I try to give players information on the opponents, but since I try to run more of an “open world” approach, I also think that you cannot attack everything in your line of fire (or shouldn’t for that matter). On the other hand, I try to give also an idea on the scenario and with rising levels or competency the team gets more choices for harder encounters, harder uses for skills and even the “roleplaying” tends to get a little bit more challenging when I know players found their way into their characters for a long-enough time.

14.01.2019 How do you facilitate combat? Any tips, tools, or cheats?

Well, I would say initiative tracking is one important key. A constant reminder of having players prepare their action before it is their turn, so they have an idea when it is finally their turn. As DM I think it’s incredible important to be fluent with picturesque language, infecting the rest with it – that heavily contributes in my understanding to raise the bar for everyone with getting deeper into the story and especially during combat with helping everyone to visualize what comes to pass.

In Shadowrun I love the cheat sheets, the more complex and more options a rulesystems gives, the more I rely on aforementioned helpers.

Finally I think maps are important. As DM I appreciate it if you bring a minature to the table, but having a map allows for using dice or coins or even gummy candy as your hero. Especially for a combat heavy game that’s great, leading everyone to see what they’re able to see, what is in their line of fire and whether the fireball will effect their companions before it actually came to 72 damage and is distributed to more than your enemies.

15.01.2019 Memorable villains: how do you introduce and weave the antagonist/s into the ongoing narrative?

That’s one great topic. I think the art of dungeon mastering evolves more around villains and a good use for the various different kinds of antagonists against the players. Twisted or straight-forward, conscient or by chance, vile or righteous… A well laid out campaign usually needs sooner or later a villain, and I admit – I don’t always start with one. Especially in quick/no prep games, I think a villain should emerge from the scenario, maybe from a background of another player, mayhap from the innkeeper that was severely harmed by the ruthless brawl the characters got into and that destroyed much of what he worked his whole life for… More powerful ones are easier to evolve over time, since you only need to introduce henchman and every one you introduce contributes to the bigger picture, allowing the expectations and (in)fame to take a firm grasp in the setting before villain and protagonists ever meet.

16.01.2019 Investigation and mysteries: how do you use foreshadowing, red herrings, and keep the tension rising?

Oh, I love foreshadowings very much. As player and DM alike. I tend to carry various sets of tarot cards (KULT, Shadowrun, DSA, cats, cyberpunk….) and really like the use of divination magic. As player I actively ask for insights and as dungeon master I try to provide useful hints and ideas whenever my players are using the later.

Red Herrings can be okay / nice / useful, but I’ve probably used too many and with my players most often on their ways in open world settings, I don’t need more distraction than the world itself provides. Of course I copy – as mentioned before – movies and books, stories and plothooks – since I like crime – that tends to be a good inspiration to have a diversion from the main plot or villain. Again, I would recommend to use what your own players hand you – background story, family, friends, villains – it gets a lot closer to them and keeps them involved – continuously having the tension level rising by itself.

17.01.2019 Structure and time: how do you use flashbacks, cut scenes, and parallel narratives in your games?

That depends heavily on the scenario. We’ve instrumentalized “flashbacks” in early Shadowrun campaigns, I also liked dream / vision like inspirations quite well, if I was out of convenient standard options. I’ve the feeling cut-scenes are more of a pc-thingy and don’t use them at all, while parallel narratives are great. I really mean great – that’s a nice inspiration for my next gamemastering session – maybe I let some of the characters participate in more timelines simultaneously – one as old guy, one as youngblood and one at the height of their existence. I really like this idea.

18.01.2019 How do you handle rewards, be they XP, magic items, or gold?

I’m miserly as dungeon master when it comes to rewards. I tend to give XP, but both gold and items are specials that are not overused. Actually that’s pretty much the gamestyle that my main gaming groups have developed, in Pathfinder we’ve specific houserules to give the characters a bit more of the level advancements to eliminate the potential level gap when we compare challenge and encounter ratings. As player I also think crafting items is more rewarding than waiting for the right item to hit you by chance.

19.01.2019 What was your worst session and why?

A worst session is very hard to define after many years, but I remember that some of my early players pushed me quite heavily to prepare for an evil party. So I did that. The group insisted on playing a mid-high level party in Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 or 3.5 with some exotic picks (I remember at least one drow) – so we picked level 9. Specifically I remember we discussed a lot on challenges and I named the “rule”: understand your mechanics if you play level 9 chars. So I decided to test them with, what I deemed to be a challenging but far from hard. I send against the group of 5 or 6 level 9 chars a hound archon and 2 level 6 fighters…

…I also remember that after a couple of rounds we decided to call it a day since the three fighters drained the life from the villains. While I offered a half-hearted restart, I concluded for myself that the players are not able to play at that level. I guess that was partly correct, but definitely not well dungeon mastered. Actually I would say one of the worst things I’ve ever done from accepting that “group” – not caring enough for the various visions the players had about the game and finishing them off, I could do a lot better and would hopefully do better if facing the same challenge nowadays.

20.01.2019 What was your best session and why?

My best session as dungeon master – that’s one tough question. I guess one dreamland approach in Shadowrun was a good one, while my best campaign probably was the one with twin siblings in “Midnight”, a d20 setting where my mid-high level group was able to defeat the evil black dragon by full blown sacrifices. I understand now that I made some mistakes to make this more cinematic, but I remember fondly how present and active all players were during that campaign. What’s the best part? It went over several months, starting where I took the (DM) scepter from Thomas and leading almost all of the group back into the next game, handing back be-said chapter of infinite dm power.

Why was it special to me? Because I think one of my definite strengths as dungeon master is darkness, despair and horror. I hope I’m not wrong to say I can make the players feel their hearts beat louder and I revel in it, as well as leading them out and giving them air to breathe again. I like this game of emotions and hard contrasts within it.

Part III: Meta

21.01.2019 What are your favorite books about gamemastering?

My all time favorite probably is Johnn Four’s blog I followed him from the early starts with an excellent newsletter. It made me rethink a lot of my early sessions, and I think I learned more from him than anywhere else on that topic.

22.01.2019 A novel solution: what’s the best advice you’ve borrowed from a totally different field?

Well, I think I’ve got two examples born from similar words.

Once I take a lot of advice from MAKRO photography. Sometimes it’s great to have a more detailed look – and specifically some details are great to work with – ever looked for a scary monster, description for foreign fauna or weird behaviour input? Take a makro photo and you’ll find inspiration.

Secondly I borrow from online gaming. Macro- & micro-management. A beneficial factor if you as DM don’t focus -only- on micro or macro details. I think players, characters, backstories need attention, so does your world. My understanding is that a healthy mixture of outside influence, grand schemes and good timemanagement are equally important as are tiny plothooks, detailed narratives on roleplaying and the well-being of the group itself.

23.01.2019 What effects do the system mechanics have on the setting or story?

Mechanics are a guiding system, I like weather mechanics, I really enjoy random encounters, randomizers in general, but I won’t let the influence the setting or story a lot. If the wedding of the king will most likely fall victim to bad weather, there’s not a dice roll that will change my opinion on it. If I’m open world running and need an interesting encounter, a good mechanic will come in handy and will be used to the max. That’s my take on it.

24.01.2019 Canon vs. alternate universe vs. homebrew settings? What are the strengths and drawbacks of each?

Well I like detailed works like the forgotten realms, planescape, dark sun, the shadowrun 2050 – 207x setting, dark heresy, but I’m no canon addict. A good world is defined by offering the players and dungeon master a lot of options, while not narrowing them down too much. Honestly I enjoy source-books, I’ve read plenty of them and they just add depth to (NP/P) characters alike. They tend to offer plothooks and variation, they are source for motivation, isolation, inspiration and desparation – depending where you look and what you need. Homebrew can offer that, but of course you need to detail them and make the information available to players, that can be beneficial or not depending on your approach. I’ve used a mixed form that lead several times to good times. I pick a canon area (usually FR) and add a spot somewhere on the landscape, a tiny part of Calimshan that has not been approached too much and where canon was lacking. I set a small town onto it and e voila – here we start, there we go. In my opinion that’s a great approach.

25.01.2019 Problem players and drama llamas: how do you resolve conflict at the table?

Oh that depends so much on the “problem” players. We’ve had experiences over the years. I tend to follow my normal approach from everyday life. Talk about it, try to sort it out, give it a shot – make sure the group is involved in the solution – and if it works out – great, if it doesn’t – make sure that does not spoil everyones fun. It’s better to settle some basics everyone has to follow, if this does not work out – I guess it’s about finding a new group – one that shares the “problem” players feelings and requirements. In the end effect I’m convinced that one player group’s problem is another one’s everyday enjoyment.

26.01.2019 Are GMs bad players? How do you step back when someone else is running the show?

Actually I think good game masters tend to be great players. My understanding is, it’s not about stepping back but working together, drive the story, be a part of it and include others. That’s also my experience with other dungeon masters, usually they are talkative but they understand game dynamics well enough to share spotlight. They tend to know a bit too much about the world, but that’s most of the time also fine – as long as you make your rules clear, or in case you’re on the player’s side – accept the final word of the dungeon master.

27.01.2019 Have you ever co-GMed? Would you consider it? What are the pros and cons?

I’ve done that in my early days, I think it needs much more preparation and alignment, I wouldn’t consider doing this again anytime soon. It works best for larger groups, but I simply don’t think I’ll have the time to ever experience this again.

28.01.2019 Transcending the material plane: how do you GM online?

I do not.

29.01.2019 Teaching the rules: how do you sell players on the system while running a demo or con game?

I narrow down the rules to the necessary minimum, basics rolls, stats and preferably pre-made characters for games where we’re learning to give an idea and not fulfill 100% from the beginning. I’ve had the pleasure to run a legends of anglerre game on a weekend full of fun a few years ago at a tanelorn weekend. With the right amount of preparation you can meet a good deal of expectations, make for a fun session and hope that everyone takes a good deal of ideas, emotions and experience from it. So

30.01.2019 How do we grow the hobby?

Enjoy it ourselves, by sharing our thoughts and sharing feedback between each other, the internet will help doing the rest. I’m 100% sold that enjoyment and fun grows itself. I also feel that a lot of great kickstarter campaigns help on diversifying the content available – making existing worlds deeper, creating new ones and fill necessary spots that are still untaken. Most importantly I think we need to be positive, inviting others to join our approach, sharing our experiences and helping each other out with words of wisdom – so called “advice”. I for myself try to be a regular in some FB fan pages for pathfinder, shadowrun and the like and contribute my

Amsterday – day three

Another day in Amsterdam, our third day started as the others before – with an excellent breakfast. This time we were heading for the Bakers & Roasters, only to find a long queue in front of it and quickly deciding it did not look special enough to wait in line. I think it was a great decision for we ended mere minutes afterwards in front of The Avocado Show – this one also with a (short) queue but definitely worth waiting. Juli enjoyed a salmon – avocado – egg combination and I ended up with a marvellous tropical bowl. It was crunchy, fruity, smooth and just a great starter into day three. And did I mention the nice mixture of funky music? It was just plainly enjoyable. Speaking of it, this day promised to be a bit rainy, so we were looking for a little bit of indoor options, deciding for the Amsterdam Museum. On our way there, we happened to drop by in a great shoe venue and I have to admit, it felt just right to buy a pair of New Rock at Taft in the Kalverstraat. From there it started a little bit with these tiny raindrops and we took a sip of warm ginger tea at the Museumscafe Mokum (by the way Mokum happens to be the jiddisch word for safe-haven and also for Amsterdam itself) before heading into the Amsterdam Museum. Learning more on the city and its surroundings was our primary task and – it worked quite well. Good visuals showed for example the city’s different levels below sea and above – so for example yesterday’s park was 2m below sea level – quite an interesting feeling if you learn about this. Also the organisation of the city itself, the transformations from catholic to protestant and towards the tolerant open city it seemingly is still today. It was stunning to see many transformations over time, from world-war I in which the netherlands were neutral to 1940-45 as besieged country with many losses – just 16.000 jews that were slaughtered by the overwhelming german force. It inspired quite raw emotions with many atrocities of the past from slavery to naval warfare to happyness and joy for having the first marriages for gay and lesbian couples in April, 2001. The story of the toy-rings that were removed to reveal tattooed marriage rings with one of the couples was for me particularly nice – just something to behold. After several hours between art, war, crime, trade we concluded to call it an afternoon when we headed onwards north to A’dam toren (Amsterdam tower).Since we had some time left, we decided for another ginger tea and mint tea at a cafe right next to it – but I have to say from our three days it was the first time I got the impression of a rather slow and uninspired service. Also the menu did not impress too much, so I’ll skip this “recommendation”. For the tower itself, with a preliminary booked time-slot at the swing we had a very, very windy experience of swinging freely 135m above ground. The progression to the top was a nicely done experience in itself and in my opinion seeing Amsterdam at night, from up there – is a definite must-see – breathtaking and adorable, stunning and exciting, where adrenaline meets serotonin. Having enjoyed not only that view we headed again for the (free) ferry and with the metro and line 2 to our final destination for today – the Happy Bull. So, if you like burgers – if you enjoy them with some homemade fries or coleslaw, if you enjoy a nice beer or ice-tea and maybe love some venecian ice-cream shake – then this might be just the best place to be – ever. It was special, the service was lovely and very attentative, the food delicious – just a great end for day three before we returned to our lovely place at innamsterdam4u for another night of sleep before we finally head towards Emmeloord in Flevoland tomorrow.

Amsterdam – day two

It felt good to sleep a little bit longer than yesterday. Juli decided to set her alarm for 08:00 – approximately 50 minutes before sunrise, wondering how it could still be that dark on the outside. We’ve seen our hosts for a few moments this morning when we already had decided to go for our breakfast at Dignita. We decided for a sweet start (me) and Black Forest Pancake Stack (Juli) and it was a simple exercise to enjoy. The tea was good and service very friendly. The weather was according to this time of the year quite cold and we decided for a walk through Vondelpark which took us around half an hour and gave us a beautiful green spot inmidst of also beautiful mansions. From there we took a short break for a cup of hot fresh mint tea and a sip of freshly squeezed orange juice at B&B Lunchroom Leidsestraat. Very unfortunately we were still too full from our breakfast so we didn’t get a chance at the supreme burger menu. After we got our hands and feet back a little warmer we headed towards Albert Cuyp Market. It felt a little bit like the Vienna Naschmarkt. Particularly fish and seafood was amazing, decoratively arranged so you wouldn’t mind having it in your kitchen or on your plate. Unfortunately we only strolled through, not convinced to try Stroopwaffels or Poffertjes or Apple Beignets or anything for that matter. Still definitely a nice place to go and get an idea on Amsterdams largest daily market. From there we decided for a gaming venue at Friends & Foes. Again while we didn’t decide to buy anything we felt at home, friendly place which serves a large collection of dutch and english board games, card games and there were a definite selection of gems. The clerk/owner was friendly from our very entry to our departure and I would recommend going there if you’re into that kind of stuff. It was close to 15:00 when foodhallen became our next stop, for obvious reasons? A few minutes on foot, a few on tram and we managed another nice view on a filled market giving plenty of different cuisines from all around the world their display. Close-by within the “hallen” were several small shops, creative and hand-crafted or at least carefully selected goods. At the close-by Kinkerstraat we finally got our late lunch, a healthy, tasty and great looking poke bowl from Poké Perfect. Now we were curious about a special theatre, built in the 1920ies for around 4 million gulden – the Tuschinsky theatre, nowadays a cinema. Since we missed out on fantastic beasts 2 (Grindelwald’s crimes) – we quickly made up our mind to catch up with this one. The venue was a phantastic settting, reminding me on the musical we watched in London. Enjoying movies at this place is definitely worth the experience, having a great time at the movie itself only a bonus. We came out with mixed feelings, but most likely will give it a try at home when it’s released on netflix, amazon prime or a similar platform. Finally we took a stroll towards the beautifully enlightened grachten and from Central Station we found two seats in a boat for the Amsterdam Light Festival 2018. A Canal Cruise through the Grachten and showing around 20 out of 30 artsy light installations, the tour should have taken around 75minutes but we could enjoy it for more than 90 due to heavy traffic. Definitely worth seeing and a great way to end the day with another memorable sight in Amsterdam on day two.

Amsterdam – day one

Woohoo, it’s a city trip end of the year, since we “received” or forced an invitation by my good friend Emiel and his lovely family. With our journey to Emmeloord at hand, we decided to celebrate New Year with our friends and take the opportunity to see a little bit of this wonderful metropolis Amsterdam when we’re here.

We started really early, that means getting up around 04:00 in Austria, caring for our pets before we leave, drinking a quick sip / cup of tea and enjoying a toasted brioche with jam before we’re out for the airport. As usual we parked the car in Schwechat and took the train to the airport. Dreamily we wandered around the airport to find our gate, where we had plenty of time left before boarding. While I took a nap during the flight itself, Juli already took some nice impressions from above the clouds. The sun decided to join us on our way north. Schiphol was exactly as I remembered it, a large airport but well organized. We managed to grab our luggage and head to our B&B within 90 minutes, taking the Sprint (fast train) and two stations by tram to arrive at the “amsterdam4u“. We were not just welcomed, but very nicely introduced to our room, our vicinity and even a brief history of Amsterdam. To be honest, it wasn’t even brief – but – hey that was a perfect start into a slightly cloudy day on December 27th given by our host Wouter, the rooms are comfy and clean – even a small kitchen included, really nice. We decided to make good use of the weather, take a refreshment at the De Bakkerswinkel in midst of the center of the city. The baked stuff is good, a great variety gives you several great options and then they had those tasty, self-made jams. I mean really tasty – raspberry just juicy & fruity, a ginger that’s enjoyable for more than three teaspoons – actually so good you could eat the whole glass and a passion fruit jam that obviously must have taken kilograms of passion fruit to manufacture this excellent exotic jam – oh wow – oh great – oh mhmmmm!!!! From there we continued our tradition on enjoying and spending time at the local zoo. We did this in Vienna, Dublin, London and Basel before, this Amsterdam zoo is called Artis. Since we “decided” to stumble into the city without much planning, we also continued “clueless” through the zoo – but I have to say it just worked out fine. The local zoo is lovely, a great variety of animals, starting at the size of microbes in Micropia – a great Insectopium, a reptile & bird house, giant aquarium, large cats and many other features we throughly enjoyed.  We ended our journey in before mentioned Micropia, a dedicated museum showing details on viral, bacterial and fungal counterparts in the everyday microverse by using a lot of easy to understand visualisations and even more magnification. On our way back we decided to savor a pho at a vietnamese restaurant. After filling our bellies we took a final stroll through the center and found our way back to our stay. What a wonderful first day, great impressions, incredible food – that’s just a great start into a city trip end of 2018.

Tawless (Stadt)

Angekommen am Strand einer großen Stadt mit fremden Sprachen und einem Begleiter, liegt es an Euch sich für die weitere Geschichte zu entscheiden. Natürlich ist es eine Möglichkeit weiterzureisen, allerdings müsstest ihr dazu einen geeigneten Gegenstand von Eurer Heimat finden, welcher im Ritual verbraucht wird.

Vorschlag von mir als Spielleiter: temporäre Zuflucht der Charaktere in der Stadt “Tawless”. Die erste Herausforderung ist Kommunikation mit den Einwohnern, wenn das erledigt ist, könnt ihr die Stadt erforschen (das ist der Zeitpunkt für einen kleinen Spielerleitfaden für Tawless). Was liegt denn nahe um den richtigen Weg zu finden? Magische Hilfe, Wissen, Wesen welche in den Ebenen reisen. Mehr Informationen über das Symbol… Es wäre für mich hilfreich hier etwas mehr zu erfahren um die zahllosen Optionen besser vorbereiten zu können.

Stadtleitfaden Tawless

Stadtregierung: Tawless wird von einem Konzil regiert. Diesem steht der Kommissar Igor Urnst vor, der in der Stadt hohes Ansehen genießt. Bekannte, weitere Mitglieder sind der Prinz der Kirche: Kirian Ylestos und die Erwürdige Mutter der Schwesternschaft der Stille (ein Mönchsorden) sowie der Gildenmeister Sorum Dandubal. Weitere Mitglieder sind vorhanden, haben aber in der Stadt selten einen Namen abseits vom Konzil der Münze (da diese im Volksmund dafür bekannt sind dafür Münze zu nehmen und die wohlhabenden zu unterstützen).

Die Stadtwache wird direkt von Igor Urnst geführt, deren Hauptwache ist in Dalengard in der Altstadt. Die Stadtwache selbst wird von zwölf Kommandanten angeführt, die bekannteste Namen hierzu sind Lord Dorant Khatru und Aoska.

Ritterorden die abseits der Wache für Ordnung sorgen sind die BeWahrer des Schleiers, der Orden des Sonnenaufgangs und die Ritter der Blässe. Im Turm des Ordens der Ritter der Blässe munkelt man von engelsgleichen Wesen die sich als Malkuth bezeichnen.

Verbrechen und Kriminalität sind keine vernachlässigten Punkte in der Stadt. Ganz im Gegenteil. Schmuggel, Spielerei, Prostitution, alles was der Metamensch begehrt und für das er bereit ist zu zahlen. Die Anführer zweier großer Organisationen sind Menon Balacazar, der die älteste Organisation anführt und Kevris Killraven der in den letzten Monaten sich einen Namen auf den Straßen gemacht hat nach diesem Imperium zu trachten. In und um den großen Friedhof und die Krypten gibt es die Aufgegebenen. Sie werden nicht umsonst so bezeichnet, wenige haben auch nur ein gutes Wort für die Todliebenden übrig. Aber das ist erst der Anfang, was unter der Stadt lauert, in zahllosen Kerkern und Katakomben ist nichts für schwache Nerven.

Geographisch sind die Edelleute am höchsten Punkt der Stadt untergebracht, direkt an deren Fuße die Altstadt gelegen ist von wo es weiter zur Mittelstadt geht.

Küche, Bad, Fenster

Es sind wieder ein paar Wochen ins Land gezogen seit der Unterzeichnung.
Was ist passiert? Markus hatte die Gelegenheit genutzt und ist nahtlos von Skiurlaub in Krankenstand (Grippe) gewechselt, war danach eine Woche Arbeiten (am Wochenende auf der Wohnen & Interieur Messe) und im Anschluss noch eine Woche mit Sinusitis (eitriger Nebenhöhlenentzündung) daheim. (Kurz gesagt: mir reicht’s mit krank sein für 2018).
Auf der Wohnen und Interieur Messe waren wir ganz positiv angetan von den Optionen die es für Küchen gab, die Firma Breitschopf aus OÖ hat einen sehr guten Eindruck hinterlassen, insbesondere auch bei den zwei Punkten: gute Staulösungen und rückengerechte Küche.
Die Bäderanbieter waren sehr enttäuschend, aber es gab zumindest ein paar Kataloge mit deren Hilfe man selbst weiter basteln kann.
Gestern Abend haben wir die Häusergrundlagen in SweetHome 3D angelegt und siehe da, mit den aktuellen Vorstellungen sieht die Außenfassade nicht aus als wäre sie von Picasso designed worden – yay.


Was steht als nächstes auf dem Plan für uns? Wir überlegen ob wir zu Teamdesign (Wien) gehen und uns dort Küche und Badezimmer planen lassen, oder ob es andere Firmen werden. Der Kredit ist auch noch nicht unterzeichnet und dann – das Projektcontrolling aufsetzen, da wir die ersten Änderungswünsche schon unterzeichnet haben.

Der erste Sonntag danach

Das Wochenende geht langsam zu Ende. Juli und ich sitzen relaxt im Wohnzimmer und klarerweise wird die Frequenz der Einträge jetzt ein wenig abnehmen, trotzdem sind die Erinnerungen von gestern noch sehr präsent, der erste Planungswahn liegt auch hinter mir, ein paar Entwürfe und Ideen für Küche, kleines Badezimmer beim Eingang und Badezimmer liegen vor. Die Katzen schnurren gemütlich vor sich hin, nachdem wir auch ein paar Ideen für die Kisterl und hoffentlich auch bald den Futterplatz haben usw.

Heute waren wir zu Mittag noch ein paar Bilder mit Kaufvertrag beim Grünstück schießen. Man sieht noch nicht viel, abseits von etwa Schlamm, Schnee und Grün-braune Tundra oder Taiga? Trotzdem ist schon ein tolles Gefühl, wenn man vermutet hier bald ein Fundament, einen Keller usw. wachsen zu sehen. Bis dahin sind wie gesagt noch einige Etappen zu nehmen. Das haben wir am Nachmittag in gemütlicher Runde mit Robert & Sanya, Franz & Andrea und Maria erst begossen, dann begangen in Form eines gemütlichen Sonnenspaziergangs. Das Wetter war prima und der Weg zwischen Roberts und unserem Grundstück lädt bei gutem Wetter dazu wirklich ein.

Dann gab es noch eine lachintensive Runde Stille-Post-Extrem und jetzt lassen wir den Abend ausklingen. Ich fühl mich nach wie vor Aufgekratzt – erst wenn der Kredit endgültig abgeschlossen ist werd ich mich etwas entspannen können.

Vertragsunterzeichnung

Seit ein paar Monaten haben wir uns intensiv mit dem Motto “Lebensraumveränderung” beschäftigt. Die letzten Wochen sind dazu noch durch die Themen Vertrag und Kredit intensiver geworden als ursprünglich geplant. Ende 2017 waren wir noch auf dem Weg nach Spillern, ein 2004 gebautes Haus, das uns im Ende aber nicht so zugesagt hat, wie das Neubauprojekt “Ahornsiedlung” in Leobendorf.

Achja, und heute war es übrigens auch soweit. Wir waren um 10:00 bei Famosahaus im 12. Bezirk unterzeichnen – die besprochenen Anpassungen an den Vertrag hatten wir zwar nochmals am Tisch besprechen müssen bevor sie aufgenommen wurden, aber wir haben uns auch diesmal gut betreut gefühlt. Danach haben wir die Gunst der Stunde genutzt und auf Julis Vorschlag das am Rochusmarkt beheimatete El Gaucho besucht – in illusterer Runde mit Ingrid und Paps darauf angestoßen und zur Feier des Tages auch ein kleines “Steakerl” genossen.

Was sind die unterschiedlichen Motivationen die uns zu diesem Schritt begleitet haben? Die wundervolle Lage “in Kirchbigeln” hat uns seit wir dort waren in den Bann gezogen. Die Möglichkeit ein Eigenheim auf Eigengrund zu beziehen und dabei nicht selbst die Bauleitung zu übernehmen sondern ein gutes Gefühl zu haben, dass man Profis beauftragt die mittlerweile knapp 1200 Häuser gebaut haben. Wir sind glücklich miteinander und trauen uns das zusammenleben die nächsten xxx Jahre zu. Die Distanz zu unserem Freundeskreis wird dadurch eher geringer als größer – was den Suchkreis für neuen Lebensraum stark eingeschränkt hatte. Die Wohngemeinschaft in Korneuburg schafft es seit knapp 10 Jahren nicht eine Erneuerung der Außenfassade / Dämmung umzusetzen, unser Balkon sieht zwar mittlerweile hübsch aus, ist aber zu laut um ihn nutzen zu können und es ist uns nicht erlaubt auf selbigem zu grillen – irgendwie uncool, wir grillen gerne. Badezimmer und Küche sind zwar bestmöglich eingerichtet, aber einfach noch ein wenig zu klein um sich wohlzufühlen.

Was steht uns bevor? In den nächsten 2 Wochen müssen wir die Finanzierung fixieren. Wir haben Zusagen von mehreren Banken, aber die Bedingungen sind durchwegs unterschiedlich. Bei so einer “once-in-a-lifetime” Entscheidung, prüfen wir das lieber noch 1-2-3-4-5-6x bevor wir fix zusagen. So haben wir das auch beim Kaufvertrag des Hauses gemacht. Nach dem geplanten Schiurlaub Ende Februar / Anfang März findet das Gespräch mit dem Techniker statt, dann müssen wir uns ziemlich genau ansehen was für Änderungen wir haben wollen die für die Einreichung relevant sind. Aktuell sind es primär Einreichung Garage/Carport, Fenster und Balkontüre ändern und die Terasse anpassen. Auch im Innenbereich werden wir uns flink überlegen was die wichtigsten Räume betrifft: Küche, Badezimmer, wohin kommt die Waschmaschine und können wir uns eine PV Anlage leisten. Die wichtigen Dinge im Leben.

Menüvorschlag für Maurach

Liebe Familie,
der Urlaub steht vor der Türe und ich habe mir vorgenommen die vor uns liegenden Tage zumindest einmal täglich in der Küche zu stehen – mit dem Verständnis, dass gutes Essen ein Teil eines tollen Urlaubs sein soll. Was ich dazu von Euch brauche? Das Angebot steht natürlich, dass ich nicht nur für Juli und mich in der Küche stehe. Also meldet Euch wo ihr “dabei” sein wollt – dann wird es für alle ausreichend geben.

Was auf der Speisekarte steht:

Samstagmittag
Käsespätzle und Speck-Käsespätzle mit grünem Salat

Samstagabend
Süsskartoffel-Avocado “Salat” mit fruchtiger Vinaigrette

Sonntagmorgen
Kaiserschmarren mit Zwetschkenröster

Sonntagabend
Original Wienerschnitzel von der Schale (vorausgesetzt ein guter FLeischer ist in der Nähe) mit Erdäpfelsalat (einen mit und einen ohne Mayonnaise)

Montagmittag
Chili con Carne

Montagabend
Krautsalat-Sandwiches mit Avocado und Krenmayonnaise

Dienstagmittag
überbackene Lachscanneloni mit Gurkenrahmsalat

Dienstagabend
Mozzarella, Basilikum und Paradeiser

Hier ist der Doodle – bitte bis spätestens 29.6. mit Namen eintragen wo ihr dabei seid. (Wäre ideal, weil ich mich dann auch drauf vorbereiten kann falls wir teilweise zu neunt essen und die entsprechenden “Reindln” (Töpfe usw.) mitbringen. Aka ich tät’s gerne wissen um Zeit usw. abschätzen zu können. PS: Im Doodle gibt es einen Tippfehler, wer ihn findet darf ihn behalten!
http://doodle.com/poll/tsume2494r7nfe58

Jam Session aka Marmelade Tag

Wow, was für ein Tag. Knapp nach 21:00, seit 09:00 auf und unterwegs, den Balkonkleingarten auf Vordermann gebracht und die lange geplante Marmelade-Jam-Session in die Tat umgesetzt. Ach und ein paar Kilo Erdbeeren hatten wir auch besorgt. Ein Drittel davon sieht übrigens so aus:

Lasst Euch nicht täuschen, das war unglaublich anstrengend – zum Zeitpunkt an dem ich den Eintrag um Bilder erweitere (Sonntag 08:30) tut mir noch immer alles weh. Trotzdem zu zweit macht alles mehr Spaß und es war eine olfaktorische Erlebniswelt.

Von den 3kg 3:1 und 2kg 2:1 Gelierzucker haben wir knapp 50% verarbeitet. Nachdem es unsere erste Jamsession war taten wir uns da zugegeben etwas schwer mit dem Schätzen, aber Zucker lagert man viel leichter ein als Früchte, also war’s okay.

Was ist es denn im Juni 2017 geworden:
Erdbeer Mango Ingwer
(1,5kg Erdbeeren, 500g Mango mit 2:1 Zucker)

Mango Papaya Vanille
(750g Mango, 250g Papaya mit 2:1 Zucker)

Erdbeer drei-Minze
(1,5kg Erdbeer, Minze mit 3:1 Zucker)

Erdbeer Weiße-Schoki Chili Rum
(1,5kg Erdbeer, 200g Schoki mit 3:1 Zucker)

Erdbeer Zitronenbasilikum
(1,5kg Erdbeer mit 3:1 Zucker)

Ich bin soooo gespannt!
Der Zwischenstand war dann in etwa so: