With help from a friend who seeded this playlist, here’s my Spotify playlist that I’ve been listening to to satisfy my craving for all things autumn. It’s dark and broody, reminiscent of the darkening of the year, the deepening shadows, the amber light.
It’s a work in progress, so if you think of a song you’d like to add, let me know and I’ll toss it in there.
Today we dig into my favorite blog on D&D, or certainly my favorite D&D writer, Multiplexer. She hasn’t been writing for Critical Hits in the last few years (probably because blogging is slowly dying in favor of different media), but I thought I’d drag out a favorite story of mine.
This one is mostly true, only reskinned to make it about the D&D world.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I wrote a pretty well-know World of Warcraft blog. If anyone is still reading THIS blog, it’s likely that you knew me from Too Many Annas before you knew me here as Just One Anna.
Sometimes, as happens when you’re a woman with opinions on the internet, things go horribly sideways in ways that you cannot even truly begin to comprehend. Usually, when this has happened to me, it was a) fortunately in the days before doxxing and b) never escalated to my personal safety being threatened, but I did have a serial harasser for a long time.
Today I’m going to tell that story, because it’s Halloween time, and on Twitter for October we all have Spoopy Halloween Names, and I figure it’s been long enough that we can all have a good laugh at this particular one, and why I’d find it delightful to get to call myself That Witch Anna.
So Too Many Annas was a blog that was primarily about teaching people how to roleplay in MMOs. As such, I was the champion of the new RPer, of the just starting out, of the “maybe this could be fun”, of the dabblers and toe-dippers into the waters of creativity that RP can be. And another blogger, way back in Wrath of the Lich King, got an idea that she was going to run a contest where you were to grief “bad roleplayers” and take screenshots, and she was going to post them on the internet for people to make fun of and/or vote on the worst ones.
Needless to say, this did not strike me well, and I wrote a Strongly Worded Response whereby I called out asshole behavior for being a) griefing and b) against the TOS and c) generally a dick move.
She got a lot of angry traffic for it (I had a pretty big audience) and ended up deleting her blog, which is where things get … real weird. Because she picked up a champion in another blogger, who decided it was his personal mission to ruin my life in game. He’d crash my events, spam my blog with vulgar and inappropriate comments, write long screeds about how I was a terrible human being, and – at one point – even ran a contest on his blog to pay the wow subscription for anyone who could prove that they’d ruined one of my in-game events. Blizzard, since this was all happening out of game, did nothing.
But he did show up to a few Wildfire Rider events, and he got the mistaken impression that my friend Yva (whose guild tag was The Tricky Witch) was me (which is funny, because I made no secret of my character names).
And so he posted a giant screed one day, calling me “That Witch Anna and her Misbegotten Wretch Disciples”, which of all the things he could have called me, struck me as just straight up hilarious, despite what a royal wangrod this guy was being to me and my friends.
At the time I was stressed out and miserable, being harassed online by a huge cadre of people who were out to ruin my fun, but almost 10 years later it’s pretty funny to look back on. And so, for Halloween this year, I’m That Witch Anna – and if you’d like, you’re welcome to be one of my misbegotten wretch disciples.
I found a bazillion live mosquito larvae in the cats’ water dish this morning.
Now, granted, the mosquitoes in Houston are particularly bad right now. We’ve had 400% of our expected rainfall in the last month – some places having the rainiest month on record. It’s wet, and it’s constant, and there’s standing water EVERYWHERE.
Mosquitoes will breed in even half an inch of standing water. Nature walks locally are getting canceled because no amount of DEET and long sleeved shirts will save you right now. (And Houston is in West Nile and Chikungunya territory, and we’ve had cases of Zika here too, so it’s probably wise.)
But I live in a third floor apartment, and have never seen a mosquito on my porch. (I use mosquito dunks in my flower pots though, just to be safe.) But apparently one got in, bit me (or a cat) and laid a giant clutch of eggs in the cat’s water dish – probably immediately after I changed the water because it was looking scuzzy, because the water looked perfectly fine this morning except for the 200 or so mosquito larvae swimming around in it.
So they got washed down the drain with a bleach chaser, I’ve thoroughly bleached the water fountain in the living room just to be sure, and I’m trying to get over my utter bodily horror of what would have happened had I not noticed them there.
Can you even bug bomb an apartment for mosquitoes?
Monday night, from around 8 (I had some trouble finding the place, oops) until around 12:30, I got to hang with the new D&D table and see what that would be like. In reality, I only got to meet one new person – J I’d met before (we’ve been on a few dates), but K is their usual DM but taking a break, so he joined me as a player. J2 (yes, in a group of four players, we have two guys with the same name) had a flat tire and wasn’t able to make it last-minute.
So we spent a few hours shooting the shit, getting to know each other and nerding out together, which was fun and encouraging. I love being around other nerds, because nerds unabashedly, unashamedly LOVE things. (Sometimes this leads to gatekeeping, but these nerds are not like that, and gatekeeping can suck it.) We nerded out about D&D, about druidry and paganism, about the Astros. It was all around a good time.
And then we sat down and rolled some dice. K’s character was a bit of a douchebag, but Annie Mae took him right in stride and – quite frankly – saved him from being a victim of human trafficking, so she figures someday he’ll at least give her some credit. Being an urban ranger is fun too – all sneaky in back alleys and pass without a trace to get away from the bad guys.
Overall, it was grand fun, and I look forward to next week’s continuation.
Things I did notice – this is both an alcohol and a 420 friendly table, which is 100% new to me. I’ve played D&D slightly tipsy, but never with drunk or high people, and it did change the timbre of the game slightly. Not in a bad way, and in fact, it slowed the game down a little, which meant I had more time to think (and meant my quick thinking got us out of some scrapes). Nobody was pushy or anything, and they were all super polite (and due to both politeness and good ventilation I did not go home smelling of cigarettes or MJ).
The table is gorgeous and hand-made – but currently lives in an un-airconditioned garage. They have lights, full music and sound, everything you’d ever want to play D&D… just no A/C. So my planned outfit, which included a pashmina headwrap made of black wool and silk, was a little too warm. Thankfully the night was pretty mild – only about 85 outside – and they have fans running so there’s good circulation.
I will hopefully meet J2 on Monday, but so far the two guys I have met are super excited to have me there – which is flattering. I’m an experienced player, but I’m nothing compared to the folks who stream professionally. Still, I felt warmly welcomed, encouraged to roleplay and take risks with my character, and rewarded for rolling well and thinking quickly.
So yeah. I’m happy with how this turned out. I’m thankful for Critical Role, which brought me to this group, and which has given me so much to learn as a player and even inspired me to think about sitting behind the DM screen sometime in the future.
Here’s hoping things continue to go well.