Monday, 30 April 2012

Small Changes

So one of the things I am finding especially helpful in the 4hour body diet are the number of small changes and tips that can make a big difference in fat loss.

I will be writing a more in-depth review of the book for a blog post next week (once I have finished reading it again!).

Some of the small changes I have found most effective and easiest so far are:

Have breakfast within 30 mins of waking up and make it high in protien.

I have been eating 2 eggs either scrambled or hard boiled. There is an excellent video about peeling hard boiled eggs here:

Drink 500 ml Ice water immediately upon waking up.

Take cold showers and use Ice packs.

In the book he recommends combining it with ice packs in the evenings and Cold Showers (Cold Showers are bracing). This ups your Resting Metabolic Rate (apparently) allowing you to burn more calories while doing nothing.

Perform a short set of exercise immediately before large meals (and again about 1.5 - 2 hours later as well if you can).

I have been doing 25 air squats and 25 wall push ups, and am increasing the reps each day.

Make it a game.

Ant  and I have a set of penalty points and forfeits that strongly encourage us to stick to it. His forfeit for me involves a leather mankinni, and as a result I have yet to cheat on my diet. Feel free to suggest forfeits for Ant in the comments.

Take Photographs.

One of the things that really got me to stick to my diet long enough for it to become a habit was photographing myself as a before picture and then taking a photo of everything immediately before I ate it. It forced me to think about whether I actually wanted to eat whatever it was.

Tell people about it (especially binge days).

All of my work collegues are a little bit bored of hearing me talk about my diet. Getting to show people all the food I get to eat on my binge day has also been very entertaining. Like so, the picture below is Saturdays Lunch.

Get people around you to keep you honest.
This can be a big help, never undervalue moral support and enthusiasm to get you through tough spots.

Finally; Exercise that isn't exercise.

I have set up a standing desk at work.  This is a slight exaggeration as I have put some boxes on my desk and moved my chair away!  But as a result I am now standing up for at least half the work day.

So what are your top tips?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Diet Update

Today I weigh 14 stone 6lbs.

The total measurement of my Biceps, Waist, hips and thighs is 158".

So far I have lost 8 lbs and 4" in total.

The Diet I am using is from The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferris 

The 4-Hour Body: An uncommon guide to rapid fat-loss, incredible sex and becoming superhuman: The Secrets and Science of Rapid Body Transformation

I'll talk more about the specifics of the diet and how I am finding it later in the week.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

This is Thracia Update

Thracia has been rocked by Scandal!

Perhaps the best way to retell it is in the words of someone that was there. Ceri plays Mouse in This is Thracia and can be found on twitter as @cnhwilliams88.

So without further ado here is her write up of the session.

A writeup of last night's session from Mouse:

Dear Ritchie,

I know in my last letter I said that things would have settled down here in Canacale by the time I next wrote and I would have had the chance to write up some of my research over the last few weeks, but I’m afraid that this letter might end up just as lengthy and farfetched as my previous. Partly this is my own fault for repeatedly being talked into evenings out with Diankus, who seems to have both a talent for persuasion and a knack for organising entertainment, although I do seem to end up several hundred gold pieces lighter whenever it happens; but in my defense I had planned to start my writeups today, on what I assumed would be a quiet and restful sunny morning.

Well, how wrong I was, for not only was I woken unhappily early by shouting, but the shouting itself turned out to be Iola and Xavian with dire, and somewhat confusing, news; and I learned in rapid succession that, firstly, the woman we have been teasing Magnicus about is none other than Diankus' own mother (a married woman, I was staggered to learn!); secondly, that woman was dead, that Diankus' own father had found them together and cut off her head; and thirdly, that now Diankus' father had run off with Diankus' mother's head, that Diankus himself had jumped out of a window to chase him, and that Magnicus was running around the town in naught but a loincloth, his boots and plastered in a hefty amount of blood. All this, and it was barely midday!

The temple was visited, the area scoured for Diankus' father, and I made various attempts at consoling Diankus (all of which were rejected) before a plan of action was made: Magnicus managed to persuade Diankus to attempt a resurrection, to bring back both Diankus' mother and Magnicus' true love (that being a whole other hurdle which I assume will be crossed at a later date). The problem was that Diankus' now missing father had escaped with the aforementioned severed head, a crucial component to the resurrection spell, to find which we would need a scrying spell, and even aside from that, we didn't have a resurrection spell either. Naturally I was the first one my companions turned to for a solution, as the reliable and level-headed mage my companions now perceive me as. I made several trips around town, to the only other mage available (who was unable to help) and to the nearby shop for components (a venture also in vain) before I finally came upon the answer. Now, with all the confusion and bizarre goings-on around me I can't quite even say how this idea occurred to me, for I cannot for my life recall how I learned about this: but I explained to my companions about the entity Ariadne (or Arachni, as Xavian knows her) who possesses a mirror through which you can see anything - effectively doubling as a scrying spell without need for scrolls, components or even ritual magic. We recalled a cave on the Table Map with many a warning of spiders, which seemed as good a place as any to search, and with that in mind we set off westward.

The cave turned out to be a near day's journey, which passed, for me at least, in relative ease and comfort: the drama had somewhat died down, the journey itself was fairly relaxing, and I was not bothered by the prospect of spiders. Iola assured me that the majority of them were huge, beastly creatures, mostly bigger than a horse - just the prospect of those seemed worth the journey. Well, the first spiders we found, upon scaling a small slope leading up to the cave entrance, were nothing of the sort: rather they were tiny, scuttling things cast at me by a robed Elf, scurrying and scratching and biting before bursting into nothingness - I am a little ashamed to admit that I almost fell from the cliffs in alarm at that. And besides that, there were Bugbears - and more Bugbears. Where these giant spiders Iola spoke of were hiding is a mystery to me, but admittedly we did not reach the end of the cave today, nor our end goal: perhaps there is hope.

The Bugbears guarded the entrance to the cave, and we were able to swiftly dispatch of them as well as the robed Elf who appeared to be leading them. We were able to press a little further in, passing a sinkhole, a 'bottomless' pit and a complex series of wooden drawbridges which I'm fairly sure Magnicus accidentally destroyed, but before we were forced to withdraw and turn back we found nothing of these giant spiders, no sign or word of Ariadne, and not even a glimpse of a mirror. The good news, however, is that I'm told that Diankus' mother is being held in a state of stasis, potentially unendingly, which means we have time to gather our resources and return to the cave to find the mirror. And who knows, maybe in that time Diankus' father will remember that he has little use of a severed head, even if it is that of his wife's, and that she could be resurrected if he brought it back, and also that Diankus would be much happier if he came back and they brought back his mother and they could be a family again, and maybe he won't kill Magnicus for falling in love with his wife after all. And maybe Magnicus won't mind so much that Diankus' father killed the love of his life and they'll all be able to work something out. Quite honestly I hope they do: I suspect Diankus' father will be able to best Magnicus in a fight, and Magnicus owes me quite a lot of money.

I'll be sure to write again as soon as we have found the mirror and saved Diankus' mother. I hope you are well and I can find a way of delivering this (and the other letters) before I return.

Love you, brother,


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Alternatives to carousing.

So I use the Carousing rules found here:

So far this has caused alot of interesting roleplay and  stuff but several of the Religious type characters don’t like the idea of Carousing, but might like to do offerings to the gods or go fighting in the arena.

So I am working on these as alternatives (all inspired by the above carousing mishap table)

Alternate Carousing activities
Hosting a religious ceremony
Splash a bunch of cash on incense and donations and stuff. Just like carousing the amount you can spend and therefore the amount of XP you can gain is limited by the size of the place you start your adventure.
Village or small town: 1d6 x 100 gp and xp
Town or Holy Day d8 x 150
Cathedral d10 x 200
The Holy City! d12 x 250

Clerics  who are active members of the local temple can spend 50gp more per pip if they so desire.

If you roll over your level or can’t afford the cash roll on the following table. (you can borrow money from allies or the Mob if you can’t afford it) If you can’t afford it you spend all of your money and only gain half of the xp reward as well as rolling on the table.

If the player can come up with a clever way of getting out of the result then let them make a roll to avoid the trouble.

1) Make a fool of yourself in public. Gain no XP. Roll Charisma check or gain reputation in this town as being out of favor with the Gods.
2) Gods are offended. Roll to see which God.
3) Come to the attention of a mystery Cult
4) Plea for charity (spend more cash)
5) Offend local Nobility
6) offend Local High Priest
7) Sign from on high, double cost of future Religious ceremonies
8) Quest or Geas
9) romance?
10) Mistaken Identity
11) Speak in Tongues spout a random prophecy

Training in the Arena
As above donate some cash (wagers, bribes, entry fees etc) and take part in some gladiatorial activities. spend is limited again:
Village or small town: 1d6 x 100 gp and xp
Town  d8 x 150
City d10 x 200
The Hippodrome or the Colosseum d12 x 250

Gladiatorial types who are members of the local guild can spend 50gp more per pip if they so desire.

If you get over your level you get messed up.
Roll on the following table. Again clever player action and a successful roll might negate the penalties.

1) Cursed by Ares
2) Blessed by Ares
3) Chariot Race
4) Wild Animals
5) Gambling debts
6) Asked to throw a match
7) Mob trouble
8) face/heel change
9) Lose horribly
10) Win but expected to fight again
11) Debt
12) Romance
13) Offend a Noble
14)  Mistaken Identity
15) Young monster takes a liking to you and tries to follow you home
16) Accidentally Kill a fellow Gladiator or member of the crowd

So now I am looking for more ideas to fill these tables, any ideas?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Jeff's 20 Questions

Inspired by this:

What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
Assume fantasy versions of mythical era religions. The most prevalent local pantheon is the Olympian but Egyptian and Babylonian pantheons would both be appropriate.

Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
Cannakale has a variety of stores the one most often frequented for adventuring equipment is The Trading Post run by Rannos Daval and Gremag.

Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
Constantinople. Full plate is only crafted by the dwarves and they very rarely sell it to anyone.

Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
A Wizard from Briton is studying in  Athens at the moment. He is supposed to be exceptionally powerful.

Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
The most respected Soldier at this time is Flavius Iustinus Augustus Head of the imperial Guard.
Foreign warriors of note are Thrasamund King of the Vandals is considered quite puissant. Theoderic the Great Ruler of the Ostrogoths and the king of Italy is responsible for the Sacking of Rome.

Who is the richest person in the land?
Emperor Anastasius I

Where can we go to get some magical healing?
The Olympian temple has some low level clerics and adepts that are willing to cast first level cleric spells for a donation of 250gp.
The Arena also has some skilled medics

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
Torendil The high priest of Hades knows some remove affliction and Raise dead rituals but charges heavily for them.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
Good Question. Wizards probably need to have attended a university. The nearest one is either Athens, Constantinople or perhaps Alexandria. Valtrun might have some spells and rituals for sale as well.

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
There is a sage in town named Valthrun. There are no alchemists in town but there are some crazy mages in a fort near Troy that sometimes bring potion to town.

Where can I hire mercenaries?
The Arena

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
The law in Cannakale is harsh and sponsored by the church of Hades. Unless you are a citizen, noble or Knight you may not have weapons larger than a Dagger in Constantinople.

Which way to the nearest tavern?
Cannakale’s Tavern is called The Falling Star.

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
There is something impersonating the cursed knight Sir Oni, probably any Dragon.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
The Western empire is overrun by Goths and Monsters (now that Rome has been sacked a couple of times). 

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
The Arena needs monsters and warm up fighters. Constantinople has the Hippodrome that is always looking for people to fight Lions and participate in Chariot Races.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
Yes there is probably a mystery cult for most of the Olympian Deities in town, probably a Mithraic Cult as well and maybe some for the strange foreign gods.

What is there to eat around here?
Greek and Turkish food.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
In Troy:
The sword of Troy
The Apple of discord
Bits of the Trojan Horse
Paris’ bow
Hector’s sword
Ajax’ hammer
Achilles’ Armour

Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
Cryofang the White Lairs in the Black Wood Mountain Southeast of Town.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Binge Day

I am on a diet. I have lost 3 lbs this week.

On Saturday I got to eat:
2 boiled Eggs with Soldiers
10 Bag of Walkers ready salted Baked Crisps
A Bag of Licorice Allsorts
A Bag of Wine Gums
Half a tray of Chocolate Fingers
Half a Cadburys dairy milk easter egg
a Dozen Yorkshire puddings,
Several Roast potatoes,
Some Haggis,
Veg and Gravy

By the end of it I felt a little bit sick.

Ant and I are also going to work out a system of forfeits for when we break during the week. The prospect of him being able to call in a favor at any time also makes me feel slightly sick.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Random Encounters

Last week Steve Winters at Howling tower was talking about Random encounters  and one of his posts reminded me of another post I had read from The Alexandrian about random adventures rather than random encounters.

As a result I have decided to add to all of the This is Thracia Random Encounter Tables some strange events and things that are not just straight fights with wondering monsters, as well as use something like the NPC reaction tables from the Ad&d DMG and add a start distance to events and encounters as well. (probably with a distance based on the terrain they are in which i think I first saw in third edition.)

So some of the things I am planning on making random encounters are:

A Knight that has lost his Squire
A Squire that has lost his Knight
Odd Weather
Divine Something or other
A Dragon flies over head
Unusual corpse (roll on random encounter table for region to figure out what of)
An Ogre mage impersonating the Cursed Knight

any more ideas in the comments please.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


I have had a great weekend of gaming but more on that later.

I wasn’t really paying much attention to Kickstarter until the Order of the Stick reprint drive and Double Fine adventures came along. After that it has popped up on my radar several times.

At the moment I have kicked (Funded? What would the correct word be?) several more endeavours for various reasons:

Mobile Frame Zero
Lego Mecha! I backed this one because it looked really cool. I found it after it was linked from the very excellent Penny Arcade.

Shadowrun Returns
This one is a 2d computer RPG based on one of my favorite gaming settings. They were successfully funded in just 28 hours and it looks like it is going to be really cool.

I backed this one because I am really enjoying my old school DnD (Dungeons and Dragons) game at the moment. Given the interesting and imaginative content I plan to stick the entire thing into my game map somewhere.

Friday, 6 April 2012


Today I have 2 session of my D&D Campaign "This is Thracia" planned.

It is a sand box game where I have stuck all of my favorite site based adventures into a hex map (made using the excellent Hexographer) and let the players explore.

I based it on the West Marches game idea from and so far it has been going really well.I am really enjoying getting back into an old school feeling game and having a larger pool of players and a changing player group for each session makes it much easier to game regularly.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Diet Dinner

One of the reasons I started this blog was to post about how my diet is going.

This was my dinner yesterday.

The diet I am on is taken from the book 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris . I was led to this point by ant Jones who also started the diet on the same day (but is apparently not man enough to blog about it).

The short version of it is I am not eating white carbs, and am instead focusing on lean meat, vegetable and beans.

the other highlight of the diet is once a week (on Saturday) I have to eat as much as I want or can of all the things I have to skip for the rest of the week. I am looking forward to Saturday...

Monday, 2 April 2012

Targets and Starting Point

I currently Weigh 15 stone. The total of the measurements of my Biceps, Waist, Hips and Thighs is 162"

My goal is to weigh between 12 and 13 stone, look great naked and fit into the Jeans I bought several years ago.

I also intend to have a fitness goals but I havent worked out a baseline for that yet.

The thing I want to be fit for is Live Roleplay Fighting but I can measure that in both skill and fitness and each requires a different sort of training.

This evening I have also taken "Before" Pictures that I have dropped into evernote so that they haunt me wherever I roam (or at least on all of my devices).

Feel free to state your fitness or other goals in the comments. Change starts by doing one thing differently.

So It Has Come to This

I have started this blog to chronicle all the gaming I do and to track my fitness in a public setting to encourage other people to be fitter and trash talking.

The next few posts will be a base line of where I am starting from and some of my favorite gaming links and ideas as I get the blog up and running.