Midweek Check-In

This upcoming weekend is my first weekend off in what feels like months. It has been long enough since I’ve had a weekend without commitments that I would have to carefully backtrack to figure out when it was and I’m currently too tired to do that, which means it has definitely been a while. I also technically don’t have zero commitment this weekend, either, because I’ve got three or four tabletop things planned (four if my Friday group meets), for a grant total about ten hours of tabletop gaming. More than half of which I’m running. Plus, most of my “relaxation” plans for this weekend are about cleaning my apartment since I haven’t had a chance to do much of that lately. Not that I’m living in filth or anything. My kitchen is clean and my bathroom is as clean as most bathrooms ever get, but it’s been a long while since I’ve done anything other than spot dusting and vacuuming. So I’ve got a lot more going on than pure relaxation this weekend.

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Measuring Inter-Character Affection In Fire Emblem: Three Houses

True to my word, I’ve been playing a lot of Fire Emblem: Three Houses lately. It has stayed my evening game while Cyberpunk 2077 has taken over my weekends when I’ve got more than a couple hours to spare. As I’ve slowly ground my way through the early days of the game’s timeline (lots of XP and support grinding early so I can move a bit more quickly through the later levels, also so I can afford all of the Seals required to do the class changes since grinding levels also means grinding weapon skill levels and class skills), I’ve spent a lot of time having units follow each other around the battlefield so I can get those combat-based support points. Because you can assign units to act as “adjuncts” (doesn’t appear on the battlefield but can sometimes act to support the field unit they’re attached to) to units on top of earning points for having them near each other in combat (adjacent to the attacking unit or, in some cases, threatening the unit being attacked), I thought it was be a quick process. I feel like I remember it being a quick process. Turns out it only sometimes is.

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The Illusion of Choice And Video Games

I started playing Cyberpunk 2077. I have a lot of thoughts about the gameplay (as some of my friends have seen or heard) and even more about the themes of the game, all of which ignores the various controversies of the game from long before it came out, as it was expeirence the last few delays, and then as it crashed and burned during launch. I need to play the game way more than I have to really talk about the first two and the last bit has been written about so much already that I really don’t think I have anything to add (though I will link an article that sums up my feelings pretty neatly without going on a long rant about proper testing and the state of AAA gaming today). What I have to reflect on, a day after discovering that my computer CAN run the game for two hours without an issue when I forget to close it after going to make myself dinner and fold laundry, is how it has made me feel about the idea of open-world gaming.

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The Hardest Part Is Hitting Post

Maintaining a blog like this is a difficult task sometimes. Not because of the amount of effort required to write five posts a week and, at present, do either one special post or one relatively long chapter of a story once a week. That’s definitely a lot of effort, but it’s effort I find fulfilling and rewarding. I wouldn’t really describe it as “difficult” since it feels better to do it than not do it. The difficult part is maintaining a healthy relationship with the blog itself, my expectations for the blog, and my expectations for people I know interacting with the blog. One of things that made blogging long-term unsustainable back in 2018 (even though I managed to keep it up daily for over a year), was that I got lost in the numbers. Another was that I got incredibly focused on how social media and my behavior (by which I mean posting habits and content posted) drew people to my blog. I also was going through a lot toward the end there, so maintaining a one week buffer was not something I really had the time, energy, or creative focus to do. Now it feels easy. Not effortless, of course, but I don’t have to put much effort into actually doing the work.

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Watch Me Convince Myself To Not Buy A New TV!

I’ve been thinking about updating a bunch of my electronics lately. I recently did it with my Switch in an effort to have a better experience playing games online and using the console in handheld mode, and my only regret is now I have to sort through the feelings that come up every time I think about giving it to one of my friends who doesn’t have one because my old Switch was my constant companion and frequently the sole source of comfort during the last few pandemic years. Plus, you know, all the fun I had with it before then, too. The drastic improvement in my user experience has inspired me to consider upgrading some of the other pieces of technology that are older than my Switch and far more worn, such as my TV, my stereo sytem, and my computer. I mean, I’m not particularly interestied in a smart TV and I never really felt the need for 4K quality, but then I got an OLED switch and I feel like I finally get why people are leaving their crappy old LCD TVs behind. Plus, most of my electronics were bought on a “Tax Refund” level budget, something I could only muster once a year and now I can actually budget ahead of time, set money aside, and save up for something I want in a timeframe measured by months instead of years. Suddenly, replacing my entire computer or just my monitors feels like a reasonable thing to consider.

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I Could Write A Book About Why I Love Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Spoiler Warning: Here is your one and only warning that most of this post will talk about Fire Emblem: Three Houses and a whole lot of spoilers for the game. Anything below this paragraph might include spoilers for the various paths, choices, and secret of the game. While it has been out for three years already and that’s probably plenty of time for everyone who is going to play it to have played it, adding a spoiler warning doesn’t cost me anything and I want everyone who might become interested in the game to experience it. So stop reading if you don’t want spoilers because I’m running out of junk to put here so you don’t accidentally see a spoiler in one of the paragraphs below.

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Fire Emblem Is A Comfort In My Exhausted Evenings

I have once again dived into a replay of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I know there’s a new Fire Emblem game coming out in January. I know there’s a new Pokémon game coming out in just over a month. I know there’s a rerelease of a Kirby game coming out in just a couple weeks. But my heart yearns for entertainment now and what’s more entertaining than strategy games, my favorite podcast, and nothing but the cool darkness of a crisp, fall evening? Plus, they’re all comforting. Being under blankets, listening to familiar voices tell comforting stories, playing a game that engages my brain just the right amount (and maybe trying a new, more intense difficulty if I decide I want more than additional support conversation unlocks out of this play-through). I have a tendency to focus on familiar comforts when I’m stressed and BOY HOWDY am I stressed this week, so I’ve decided to go all-in on comforts in what remains of my evening awake hours now that I find myself dozing off well before my usual bedtime.

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I Am So Tired But Will Not Stop To Rest

After some initial bumpiness that involved scheduling sessions 3 weeks out, the Dungeons and Dragons campaign that used to be my Sunday game is now sorta back on track. It’s only been a coupla sessions of more regular playing, but it seems like it having the flexibility to schedule around busy weekend days should get us up from once every three and a half-ish weeks to every other week on average. Maybe a little less frequent than that, but not by much. I would enjoy that, even if it would be exhausting and stressful to be running that campaign on top of whatever winds up taking place weekly on Sundays, not to mention the Friday game I run or play in (it alternates irregularly these days), my coworker game on every second or third Tuesday, and the game I play in on Thursdays. And that doesn’t even mention my busy work schedule with my job, my non-tabletop roleplaying game obligations, and the endless labor that goes into being an adult with a household I must maintain. Honestly, as I look to the future (especially in light of the work news we all got today that makes it look like I might wind up doing more overtime than ever), I feel myself already growing tired and exhausted.

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Incorporating New Characters In On-Going Campaigns

I don’t have a Infrared Isolation chapter for today. It turns out that the chapter I’ve been working on is long enough to maybe become two chapters and I haven’t had the time or energy to work on it much due to some chaos at work (which will be an instrumental part of next week’s posts), my overall exhaustion, and my worsening burnout from all of this and more. I did finish the chapter, including an editing pass and some notes for my alpha reader about where and how I’d put in a chapter break, so it will be ready by next week if it not edited and set to post before this even goes live. Instead of trying to pressure myself and my alpha reader to get this all finished and turned around in forty-eight hours, I’ve opted to delay the post a week so it can mature properly (and so I’m not burning myself out even worse). Today, you get some thoughts about bringing new characters into established Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.

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