So this is exam week. Lots of stressed kids, stressed adults. General stress all around.
It’s also the start of Fencing Season. I have 22 kids on my team… it needs to be fourteen. Ack. I have a lot of cutting to do in the next few days. Or even now. It’s looking like I’m going to have a team of 15, or maybe even 16. There’s two kids I’d like to cut, but the Powers That Be may not let me cut them. I need to talk to them and find out what’s what. Maybe I should also talk to at least one of the kids in question, and see what’s going on.
I’ve been listening to W.H. Prescott’s History of the Conquest of Mexico on CD/iPod the last few days. It’s good. Strongly written, and for the most part a delightful listening experience. Prescott’s language is dangerously un-PC, which makes for a refreshingly good hearing. He’s not afraid to contrast the simple greed of the Spaniards with the complex refinements of the Aztecs — who despite having lovely crafts and an elaborate civilization, massacre around 20,000 persons a year in service to their bloodthirsty gods.
NaNoWriMo is looking like a wash. I have way too much going on between now and November 30th to finish. What I really ought to do is do a TeNaNoWriMo in June, after school lets out (Teachers National Novel Writing Month). Yeah, like I really need another project I can’t actually finish. Nope, don’t need that….
Went to ‘s house last night, and had a wonderful time. Lanb supper, spinach greens (dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper), arborio rice (my favorite), water and no dessert. Cuddle time on the couch, a great footrub, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I hadn’t seen it when it was out in theaters, and I was impressed. The conceit of the movie, of course, is that the LEG allowed Europe another 15 years or so of peace by preventing M’s machines from appearing. Of course, all of his machines with the exception of the armor-plated flamethrowers eventually made it onto the battlefield — submarines, tanks, machine guns/automatic rifles, RPG launchers, and more. Had war started in 1899, it’s possible that it would have done less damage then, than in 1914-1918. Unlikely, but still.
Speaking of military tactics, I’ve started reading Bruce Gudmundsson’s (sp?) Stormtroop Tactics, about German operational and tactical art, about the training of their infantry for blitzkrieg. The first few pages are about the taking of the Belgian fortress of Eben-Emael, which standard doctrines of the inter-war period said couldn’t be taken with less than a division or a month of operations. The Germans took it in a day (May 11, 1940) with a batallion of combat engineers and an additonal platoon. A batallion plus a platoon is what… about 450 men, maybe 500, maybe 400 depending on OB? So far, it’s a pretty good read.
Still no movement on the D&D game. I’ve decided that I’m going to take the group of players I have, the 5 or 6 who already have characters, and play with them. Every time one of them doesn’t show at the table, I’ll bring in another player temporarily. I spent the morning sports assembly (I thought it was tomorrow; turns out it was today!) working out all the leveled characters in a city. I think the numbers of experts vs. commoners are off for cities in the D&D town-generation rules. Only 600 or so Experts/craftsmen in a city, vs. more than 17,000 commoners? Unless one assumes that a lot of those commoners are actually engaged in positions of artisanry… but rereading the notes in the DMG for it, I see that commoners do have some skills and professions. What my numbers are saying is that there are 600 or so elite experts in the city, including lawyers, accountants, sages, armorers and so on. That’s not so bad, I guess.
Also had time to do the Kingdom Worksheet from the Medieval Magical Society workbook PDF during the Sports Assembly (It was a LONG Assembly….). So I now know that there’s a king and 5 great nobles, plus 19 major nobles, plus something like 1500 ‘gentry’. That seems about right for the kind of kingdom I want, so now I’m going to think about what the kingdom map looks like. Though in retrospect, I wish I had created 7 major nobles, so I could have two ‘ecclesiastical’ powers to pit against one another, in addition to five secular powers. I think I will also make the kingship weaker in the second draft, because as and have pointed out to me in other contexts, a weak central authority opens up more space and time for both adventuring and mischief.
That’s it for now. Have a great day, all.