My twin loves of TTRPGs and superhero comics make me always on the lookout for
new and interesting superhero RPGs. Since I’m GMing a campaign of
Masks, I like to read other systems to see if
there’s any good ideas I can adapt. Since I’ve quite enjoyed Sentinels of the
picked up the Sentinel
spinoff RPG, but it was the recent System Mastery podcast
about it that convinced me I really needed to give it a try.
Though my current campaign schedule is too booked up to add another game, I
wanted to at least get a taste of Sentinel Comics’ detailed character creation. What
better way to do that than see how well it could make my favorite comic book
character, Squirrel Girl.
Cait and I play a fair bit of KeyForge together, and even go to small local
KeyForge nights when we can get childcare. But since we were going to the Albany
Vault Tour, we needed something we’d never had before: separate boxes for our
So I made a pair of these:
Inside is space for three sleeved decks (it was a survival tournament, after
all), a small component tray, and a storage area for our aember tokens and spare
The best part, though, is the three gears on the lid. Not only do they come off
so you can use them as key tokens in the game, they’re the keys to opening the
Learn more about how they came together after the jump.
Cait and I spent the last weekend playing KeyForge at the Albany Vault
Tour. We both
had a ton of fun and met up with friends old and new.
I wanted to write up a report so I don’t forget. It was a ton of fun and my last
game had an epic last two turns that was the most dramatic KeyForge I may have
ever played, and an emotional rollercoaster that followed when I started reflecting
Each team was made up of three people, and got six Worlds Collide decks to open.
From those, we had to pick three. One would be for standard Archon, one would be
for reversal, and the last would be for chain-bidding Archon. (Someone described
this as the three stages of Adaptive, just played in parallel. Deconstructed
Adaptive, if you will.)
Each teammate would take one deck for the four rounds.
I was very fortunate to play with two pals from New York City: Will and Jonesy.
Will I had met when he and his also-awesome wife Rowan came to Cambridge for the
at Pandemonium. (Will won it, by the way.)
In Albany they introduced me to Jonesy who,
besides being the most dapper person in attendance, was likewise tremendously
friendly and a great KeyForge player.
I was the least experienced of the three of us, and Will’s brain was fried at
that point from going 4–2 in the main event, so we nominated Jonesy to take on
the chain-bidding role. Will very kindly deferred to me for the choice of
remaining roles. I picked reversal because it was the best fit for my
less-than-complete familiarity with Worlds Collide, and because it sounded like
the most fun.
The format was actually blind reversal. Which meant that, after we got the
deck from our opponent, we weren’t allowed to flip through it or even look at
the list on the back of the Archon card. The only way you knew what was in the
deck was to draw it.
This is now my favorite way to play a KeyForge tournament. What got so exciting
was that, by the end of the tournament, I was very familiar with what was in the
deck I was playing against, so I knew what to watch out for, but had no idea
each game what my tools for stopping it might be. Every draw was a surprise.
Our reversal deck was Pvt. Barbaxe
which, at an SAS of 65, is actually not that bad of a deck. A bit above average,
Here’s what I learned to watch out for when playing against it:
2 Musthic Murmook, both
for the +1 key cost and the substantial direct damage.
Graft. Not that
hard to play around, though, especially as the decks I was handed weren’t
generating piles of AEmber.
A huge Brobnar board, hopped up on power counters from their various brews.
I lost the first two games (though as a team we ended 1-and-1) from not guarding
enough against that last point. I learned not to waste a board wipe on anything
less than a ton of giants.
I also learned not to hope that a Cauldron
Boil — which I kept seeing,
and holding — could do work for me. These decks were not giving me a lot of
ways to get the damage on in the first place. Doubling it would do nothing.
I was able to sneak in a win in my third game, though. I had a nicely-timed
Grasping Vines of my own
Fangtooth Cavern for a
little aember boost that put me over the edge. It was a good thing, too, as
Jonesy and Will split their matches, so mine was the one that gave us our second
Will gave me a thumbs-up.
I have to write about this because it was so dramatic. If you can follow
KeyForge, you’re going to want to read this. See you after the jump.
My custom theme for this
is derived from Gatsby’s
package, and I try to hew to it structurally, even as I build things on top of
it. When adding comments to this blog I came across
a part of Gatsby I hadn’t really explored: sourcing my own nodes, and
associating them with nodes from another plugin.
Comments for this blog are stored in a Cloud
Firestore database, keyed by the
path (i.e. “slug”) of the post they belong to. I chose the path because it’s a
stable identifier1, which I can’t guarantee of the Gatsby node IDs.
I rolled my own comment form using Firebase’s Cloud
Firestore as the backend (and
Akismet integration, so don’t try anything).
You can try it out below and at the bottom of most other posts.
I’m trying out doing this server-side rendered. The comments form POSTs to a
Cloud Function hosted on Firebase that does the spam check, writes to the
database, and triggers Netlify to re-publish the site.
My Gatsby blog
then sources the nodes from the Firestore database so they can get added to each
I learned a good deal about Cloud Firestore — which I hadn’t used before — and
combining Gatsby nodes from different sources together.
The Shut Up & Sit Down video
worth a watch and will give you an overview of how the game plays, why they like
and recommend it, and plenty of their own jokes and gags.1
Here’s the pitch for Bargain Quest: You’re in a fantasy town where adventurers
are going into dungeons below to battle monsters. Good for them! Keep the town
safe! You, however, stay on the surface, as the owner of a shop that is happy to
outfit said adventurers with all of the weapons, armor, and magic items that
they can afford.
Each turn, you’ll get one hero as a customer before they go and fight whatever
is dangerous this week. If the particular hero who came to your shop wounded
and/or survived their encounter with the monster, that’s great! You bask in the
good reputation with some victory points. If they didn’t succeed? Well, you got
their money anyway.
This setup is inherently funny, and the game builds on it by giving heroes,
items, and shop employees incredibly thematic abilities that help you tell a
story with each turn.
I’ve subscribed to her blog (remember we’re doing that again) and as soon as I
saw the motif go by in my RSS reader I wanted to make it. Though, of course, I
needed to do it in an on-brand color:
This is worked as 13 granny squares, which are then stitched together before you
crochet the top border and straps. The pattern was interesting but easy to
follow. Granny squares are great for working on the train, bus, or when watching
my kids at the park.
For best results, you need to block granny squares to make them square and even.
I may have also summoned something while doing it.
I’m depressed. I’ve been fighting with it on-and-off since I was a teenager.
It’s cyclical, so I can go for weeks or sometimes months without any problem,
and then it will knock me on my ass for a few days. Sometimes I just don’t want
to do anything, and can’t focus. Sometimes I can barely move my body and just
stare until my vision goes weird. Sometimes I just cry about all the ways I
think I’m hurting people.
I’m on medication, and I think the medication is helping. I don’t have a great
memory for my own experiences so I’m not sure. But I think I’m better than
before I was on it. I wish I had taken notes.
It took me some time to find a medication that was right. I went through 3 SSRIs
as well as Celexa. The SSRIs made me really anxious. The Celexa put up a wall
between me and other people. I felt numb and unable to connect to people I’ve
loved for years.
Now I’m on Welbutrin. If it’s not helping, at least it doesn’t have noticeable
I’m also on HRT. That might not be helping with the depression. I can’t take
much spiro as an androgen blocker because my blood pressure gets too low. So I’m
only on a little. We tried adding finasteride and dutasteride as alternate
androgen blockers but they made me more depressed. I cut myself for the first
(and so far last) time.
I worry that my T levels and my depression are linked. Like, if my T goes down,
I’ll just get more depressed. That’s apparently a thing. I just got more
estradiol patches that may be encouraging more conversion of testosterone to
estrogen (which is also a thing; bodies are weird). Of course, if I don’t get my
T down and keep on with HRT that will hurt my mental health in other ways. It’s
a nice transition catch-22.
This is just a stream-of-consciousness post. I don’t know if there’s any real
point. I guess depression is a part of me, and I wanted that reflected in this
It’s also a writing exercise. Can I just talk about my experiences without
needing to be authoritative or have supporting evidence or any of the things I
feel like my technical or gaming posts need.
This is now my LJ, at least for a moment. I haven’t been listening to music, but
if I were it would be The Mountain Goats. You know the song.
Maybe this will get me to post again soon. How long do I want this to be the
first thing you see on the blog? Does it matter, given that I have no traffic?
Can’t we all blog again?
Depression is real, depression is hard, depression lies. I’m lucky. I feel like
a burden to my family when I’m like this but they don’t feel like I am. How much
depressed can I be until I really am one, though? I worry about that, when I’m
wifinina-rs is a Rust client for connecting to wi-fi co-processor chips
(typically ESP32s) running the WiFiNINA firmware or its derivatives. (Including
the Adafruit PyPortal, which is
my target of choice.)
Sidenote: debugging wifinina-rs when the only way I was able to get output was
to set the name of its SSID is possibly my favorite development hack.