Everett True

Murder mystery playtest: interested?

We're testing a new murder mystery game in London (at a centralish pub yet to be confirmed) on the afternoon of Sunday 26th January: would you like to come along?

It's called A Speakeasy Slaughter and is set in 1920s Chicago, with gangsters, showbiz, Prohibition and all that kind of stuff:

"Welcome to Fat Stan’s top secret underground speakeasy in Chicago.

It’s been a busy night. One of Stan’s pals, Scabface, was shot down by a masked assailant in front of everybody during the interval.

The doorkeeper swears that nobody came in or out of the only exit for the last hour, so the killer must still be in here. Is it something to do with the gang wars that have been flaring up all over the city, or is showbusiness the motive?

And more importantly: will the killer strike again?"

And here are some links to blurb PDFs with more details:
If you'd like to give it a go, or are intrigued but cautious and want to learn more, please do comment below or drop me a line (mo at freeformgames dot com). We want ideally a mix of experienced people and newcomers, so everyone's very welcome.
Everett True

Mass effect

One of the things I love about English is the quirks of its structure which native speakers aren't consciously aware of, but which bedevil learners. An example is the way it handles mass and count nouns. Maybe you got taught this sort of thing at school, but I never did: so here it is now, some actually useful grammar.

A count noun is the usual kind of noun, which has a singular and a plural form, like 'table': a table, two tables, lots of tables.

A mass noun doesn't have singular and plural form, because the thing it describes isn't quantized into discrete elements. So eg. 'cement': a little bit of cement, two kilograms of cement, lots of cement; but not: one cement, two cements, lots of cements. There is no such word as 'cements'.

Other mass nouns are usually substances, like cement (water, flour, sugar, metal…) or abstracts (cycling, traffic, heat, mathematics… you can't have two kilograms of these, of course, but they're still mass nouns).

Some of them can actually be pluralized (eg. rain is generally a mass noun but one can also talk about 'the rains') but with a different meaning then attached: it doesn't detract from the general mass-noun behaviour. There's also awkward things like 'chicken': when talking about the meat it's a mass noun, but when talking about the animal (or about a set of food orders) it's a count noun.

Mass nouns are not peculiar to English, of course, they exist in lots of languages. But in English there's the curious phenomenon of what might be called faux-mass nouns: ie. count nouns which disguise themselves as mass nouns by appearing not to have different singular and plural forms. An example is 'sheep': you can have one sheep, two sheep, lots of sheep: but not a little bit of sheep, two kilograms of sheep. Awkwardest of all are those which fall into this category and also into the one above, like 'fish': you can have one fish, two fish, lots of fish, but also a little bit of fish, two kilograms of fish.

Any other strange behaviours of noun pluralization come to mind? And those of you who have grammatical understanding of other languages, I'd be interested to learn how it works with those.
Everett True

Poll, and blog post – Consequences round-up

I've posted to my new games-related-stuff blog! – it's a round-up of what I played/ran at Consequences, the recent larp con that ran down in Hampshire. It was great!

And while I've got your attention (or not), a quick poll just to find out who's still here:

Do you read this LiveJournal?

Not saying!
You can't prove a thing, copper!
Everett True

Games blog

Gosh, it's been a while since I posted here, sorry about that. Rather hectic and in places stressful few months have left me little time for reflection. (And other such excuses.)

Anyway, the news now is that I've started a blog, at http://blog.ukg.co.uk. It is intended to gather together my ideas and thoughts about games -- those I've designed, played, dreamed about, whatever. It's only about hobby stuff -- not anything related to my work (which is also about games of course, but different sorts of ones). Up till now I've been writing this hobby game stuff here on LJ, but the audience is becoming increasingly limited, and quite a few of the people who still do read this journal aren't really interested in that sort of thing anyway. For those of you who are, I'll post links here when I put something new up there, of course, and I hope you will carry on commenting! The RSS feed is http://blog.ukg.co.uk/feed/, as you might have expected.

To kick it off, I've exported into it from here various past posts about game stuff, mostly about my own designs. This includes your comments on the posts. These were pretty much all public posts anyway -- those that weren't, it was to spare my embarrassment at the half-baked idea rather than for any reasons of privacy -- but if you'd like any or all of your own comments removed or edited, please do say.

Hope to see some of you over there as well as here!
Everett True


I just found a chunk of a YA novel I started writing, several years ago, which I'd forgotten about. I had it mostly planned out, but I never got past the first couple of chapters. As secretrebel (who should know) says, "Writers write", and I didn't and don't and so amn't. But I quite like this prologue, seeing it again:
This is a story about how sometimes you really have no idea about what’s going on underneath. What I mean is, you know how you see a swan on the river, and it looks like it’s gliding along so smoothly and peacefully? But if you could look underneath the water, you’d see all sorts of legs thrashing away like crazy. Just two legs, usually. But what if there was maybe a dozen legs, like some sort of crazy centipede or something – wouldn’t that be weird? Well, that’s what I’m talking about.
Anyway, it starts with my sister going missing. Or, rather, getting captured. Read on!