Hey folks!  I played Swords of the Serpentine!

You might be saying, maybe in private, perhaps out loud: didn’t you write Swords of the Serpentine?  And I would say, yep, setting stuff!  Because I love setting.  But I never got the chance to play the finished game.  I played loose early prototypes of the game, but not the finished product.

Now I have!  I have played it!  Very loose and fast, lots of player narrative control, easy for making up insanity on the fly, strong magic elements with sorcery, a pretty fly setting. We exercised many of the ‘bits:’ combat, travel, magic, sorcery, spirit sight.  And we destroyed a part of Eversink, so that’s a score!  It has all the parts I remember enjoying strongly about Timewatch but more dialed in and focused on the High Fantasy feeling.  Also, the system can endure me in a wacky frame of mind, so that’s a plus.  I had three dots of Laws & Traditions on my sheet and I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to accost some NPC with completely made up government bureaucracy.

The core of the adventure was a spirit wanting to get revenge for his murder.  We had one character with Spirit Sight, and at one point, the character decided to lie for the spirit. Kevin, playing the spirit, silenced his zoom and then yelled into the screen.  Hilarity, as they say, ensued.  The spirit did get vengeance for its murder but… probably not in the way that it wanted.

Big thanks to Kevin for running this afternoon! And big thanks to our players!  You guys were all awesome!!!!!  kermit arms

SotS is definitely not a D&D alternative.  D&D is all about the tactics, the grinding, the combat, and the crunch.  Swords of the Serpentine is all about collaborative storytelling.  Combat is something that happens because the party made the wrong choice or it’s required for narrative storytelling reasons. It felt much closer to Blades in the Dark, another game I adore, than D&D.  Yeah, I think.  If I was running or playing in a long game, SotS would be a strong contender.  And I’m not saying that because I wrote the setting.

Ok, maybe I am.

But it’s a really good game.

I’m already thinking about what a Cyberpunk version of this game would look like somewhere deep in the back of my mind.

So that was great.

In other news:

  • We tried to make these Sebastian’s Best Brownies out of the Dorie’s Cookies book and they were the first recipe out of that book to objectively fail.  They’re delicious, don’t get me wrong, but they’re so gooey and fudgey they didn’t cut or hold together well.
  • I keep chewing my way through the Murderbot novel.
  • We got on the bikes again this morning and this time I made it through the entire loop and up the hill, no asthma attack.  Still had the monster workout headache an hour afterward.  Next ride: longer loop.

I’m still trying to take a long break from the news.  I skim the headlines and everything is horrible.  There’s nothing I can do about 99.9% of it.  For the .1% all I can say is: if you’re going to be around lots of people, wear a mask.  Do it and stop complaining.


  • 35,512,916 total test results.
  • 2,868,866 total positive cases.
  • 132,060 total dead.
  • 69,728 cases in MD with 3,329 dead
  • 1 in 122 people have it in Howard County, MD

It looks like a) testing is still growing and b) results stopped coming in over the holiday weekend.  We’ll see revised numbers tomorrow.  Case fatality rate has fallen to 4.6%, so that means the infected are now in the more general population.

Florida reported 10,000 new cases today alone which is, you know, terrifying.