Back in action! (Sort of.)

…wait, what? What’s this? A post?

Yes, yes it is indeed a post! I am, in fact, still alive, and actually finally have the spoons to post something. I’m sure as heck not going to hit my “one post a month” goal I wrote about in my yearly celebration of the blog’s birthday (I still can’t believe that The Crafty Nerd has been around for a decade, holy crap), but I’ve at least got things to write about now that I’m actually regularly leaving the house again!

Doomslug: my new best friend

To kick this possibly long and rambly entry off, let me start off by introducing you to my new best friend: Doomslug.

A yellow slug with blue fringe and a smiley face sits on top of the Cytoverse box from the Year of Sanderson Kickstarter.

Doomslug and the box that started it all.

J ended up backing the Secret Novels Kickstarter by Brandon Sanderson at one of the “A Year of Sanderson” levels, and he’s been getting awesome subscription boxes every month full of fun goodies related to the many books Sanderson’s released. One of the early boxes, focusing on the Cytoverse novels (which neither J nor I had read at that point) featured a bright yellow silicone mold of a smiling slug, which confused the heck out of us, as well as an equally confusing Go Fish deck of cards decorated with similar slugs. After a while, I figured maybe I should go ahead and read those novels, and figure out what the heck that slug was about – so I picked up the first book in the Skyward series and read it.

And that’s how I met Doomslug, who’s a character in the series – and one I love so very much.

I’d never read any of Sanderson’s YA fiction before picking up Skyward, and it turns out his YA works are just as wonderful as the rest of his books – they’re just shorter. (Maybe more the size of a normal novel, as opposed to the thousand-page behemoths in the Stormlight Archives series.) And Doomslug is such a delightful little character. We get to know her, along with Spensa (the main character), over the course of three novels, and in the third novel there was such a touching scene between Spensa and Doomslug (I won’t spoil it) that I started tearing up, then immediately bought my very own plush Doomslug. And then I encouraged J to read the novels too – and now he has his very own slug as well! (His is named Gill, after another slug from the books.) If you enjoy Brandon Sanderson and sci-fi novels, and haven’t read the Skyward series, give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

I take Doomslug everywhere, haha. To work (yes, I’m back in the office three days a week now!), to visit friends, to D&D games – anyplace her adorable smile will cheer me up. She’s the best little slug ever. And probably the only variety of slug I’ll ever say I like. (Real slugs are… not my thing.)

The joys of narrating a legacy game

Lucas looking at a number of starship minis on a space-patterned playmat as we play Stars of Akarios.

Lucas, contemplating his next move.

It may be weird, but often I like just sitting around and watching others game, especially during the past few years where I haven’t really had the energy to play much. Recently, I started hanging out with some of my friends while they work their way through Stars of Akarios, a legacy game they’ve been playing for a little while now. After hanging out for the first game, one of the players jokingly dubbed me the captain of their starship, since I was just hanging out (much like it seemed their captain in the game did, heh) – and since the captain mostly showed up in the narration, I offered to read out the story parts whenever they turned up.

Andy gesturing excitedly to the Stars of Akarios board.

Andy’s really excited about SPAAAACE.

So now I’m narrating a legacy game! It’s actually kind of fun – and since Stars of Akarios doesn’t have pre-recorded narration available like Gloomhaven does, I’m helping everyone out by digging through the book to follow all the narration threads so everyone else can focus on playing. It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s a way to get involved without needing to play.

The long-awaited Kishar tabletop game(s)

You didn’t think I’d forget about Kishar, did you? Sure, going to games was a struggle when I was dealing with the worst of the grief nonsense last year threw at me, but this year, I’ve been to almost every game, and during both the April and May games, I actually felt like my old self again – which was really promising, and also made me feel so happy I got weepy about it. I really, really missed going to Kishar and not getting immediately overwhelmed.

Right now, Kishar’s in its mid-season hiatus – since the new site we use is also a summer camp, and since it’s so insanely hot out from June – August in the midwest, we started taking the summer off from games. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been anything Kishar-related happening, though: J ran two special sessions of Kishar as a tabletop RPG. Seats for the game were auctioned off as part of Kishar’s yearly Kismet Auction, and I really, really wanted to do an official Kishar tabletop game, so I bid a bunch of kismet (the special game currency earned by helping out at Kishar) on a spot in the game and ended up getting a seat! It was originally only going to be one game, but there was a lot of interest in it, so J ended up having to run two separate games. And since the group I wasn’t in needed someone who could deal some heavy damage, and I had enough kismet left over from the first game, I got to help out in game 2 as well.

Getting to play in a tabletop version of Kishar was a lot of fun! I was a lot more effective as a character when I didn’t have to rely on my own dexterity and aiming skills to make attacks work, haha. (Though I did get stabbed for quite a bit of damage during the first game and needed to be resurrected – which, amusingly enough, is not the first time that’s happened to Ëlinyr this season!) Between a courier mission that went terribly wrong, a sad story about an NPC’s injured son, watching Cyl get eviscerated by a werewolf only to turn out to be… completely okay? and rescuing Rahlee’s sister-in-law from some cultists, both games had a lot of excitement and I had lots of fun at both of them.

… captioning those pictures reminded me of something that happened last year that I never posted about on the blog: Ëlinyr’s wedding! I feel like I might need to do a Kishar catch-up post, because a lot has happened to everyone’s favorite thinblooded sun elf over the past couple of seasons of Kishar.

It feels so good to be out and about again. It’s been years since I’ve felt this good. I’m back in the office three days a week, actually socializing with people regularly (I’m even in a biweekly D&D game!), and I’m not feeling ridiculously overwhelmed by it all. (Exhausted? Yes. But not overwhelmed.) I’m still not 100% completely back to normal, though – I’m still re-learning how to exist in the outside world again. I’m still getting used to being around large groups of people. Peter wants to try to go to Gen Con one day this year, and while deep in my soul I really, really miss going to Gen Con, I’m also not sure I’m ready to be around that many people yet.

Still, this is progress. And I’m not complaining.

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