Subtlety has to go. You can't expect people to understand subtle. Seriously, people aren't mind readers, stop treating them as such. Tell them unambiguously. See if there is a way to get them to understand. If not, you have the information you need to decide on a course of action. You can either stay with it, and get more of the same, or you can seek greener pastures somewhere else.
Scott Betts wrote:
No. It is most certainly NOT. It is like asking "how do I close the damn thing?". You really can't stop putting words in my mouth, as always implying I hold views I do not, and am stupid for holding them.
Microsoft made a version of Windows, 98, that set its sights on knowing what you wanted to do better than you did. They should have learnt that particular lesson then. A while after that came a windows 98 lite that dispensed with Active Desktop because people didn't like it. Not putting in a close button is arrogant and stupid. When I use my computer, it does get difficult to find the relevant window at times, and Microsoft wanting you to keep every single program you started up is not a good enough reason to have a few more. So, no, it is not a good thing. Your mileage varies. You are Scott Betts. Nothing more needs be said.
This is a struggle that will not pay you the dividends you hope it will. Obscuring information makes everything clunky and unintuitive. You are far better off sticking with normal descriptions for the most part, because it feels rewarding to the players and invests them in the setting, and using reskinned monsters to invoke a sense of wonder every now and then.
Bleh. If you actually need to do research for how to use your own abilities, I hope that applies evenly to all in the game. Sorry, GM, your wizard NPC doesn't know what creatures he can summon without devoting enough time to researching that. Sorry, GM, your rogue NPC needs advanced Stealth training for years and years to go above +10 in Stealth, and this rogue hadn't started this process when we last met him a year ago. Sorry, GM, your cleric NPC needs to research what gods there are to worship before he could cast a single spell...
Furthermore, with summon monster, it gets complicated FAST, and not having updated actual stats for the monsters you summon means it's not going to work at all. Saying the GM should do all that on the fly is unworkable.
America is fifty states. That's a bloody pile of countries, most of which are pretty similar. People there speak the same language (Spanish, sometimes English), they have almost no population, are ridiculously tiny, have no famous cities (Europeans, quick, name one thing that happened in Boulder!), have mostly the same incomprehensible city layout and same big companies, and most significantly, are all full of Americans. It's not surprising, then, that we poor Europeans have a hard time differentiating. If you guys were to put together your countries a bit more, along certain themes, that would make it far easier for us.
No... what annoys us is that you don't even try to understand what is unique about a given European country. For shame!
This whole "group comes first" business feels odd to me... I read the examples of play in 1st edition, where the talking was between the DM and the lead character, with the others only rarely getting even to talk. It struck me that this is wargaming. For fantasy stories and all other such things, we have an individualistic narrative, and I doubt many can, and are willing to, go beyond that. Simply put, the group is not priority one, and I don't think it should be.
I liked the early Elminster better. Not quite sane from the burden of responsibility he bears and the sheer number of friends he's seen die, he keeps sending people out to die or worse because there is no other option. Second edition had many things slanted toward happy-go-lucky in the Realms, but honestly, look just a little deeper, and there was darkness everywhere, even then. The various villain groups were powerful indeed, the evil gods were terrible things. Monster-infested wilderness was all over the place. Elves and dwarves were disappearing. All in all, Elminster was a reflection of this, and much that was written about him did not use him as a Mary Sue. He lived in Shadowdale, because he wanted to protect the freedom of the Dalelands, and so made himself a target. Even so, he was only moderately successful at even this.
Sure. The point is, people KNOW this. The bitcoin could fall to cents a piece within a month - but people don't think it will. They know it's speculation, and risky, but honestly, in a world where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac crash because of exotic financial instruments, why denigrate people who believe in bitcoins? It is a new technology, it shows promise, and some people think it has something that could become very interesting further down the line. Should we all keep our money in savings accounts for 0,02% interest for all time?
And no, as I said: The reason the dollar is worth anything at all is that many people believe it is worth something. The old mechanism during the days of the gold standard, that the money could be exchanged for a certain amount of gold/silver, i.e. the state guaranteed the value of the money, is long gone. The dollar is a fiat currency now, and the state no longer guarantees anything regarding its value. Which puts it in much the same situation as the bitcoin, really. But... there are far more dollars out there. That has the effect of dampening the rises and falls of the exchange course, and isn't a desirable trait in something you want to gamble on.
Everything has one single value: What someone is prepared to buy it for. Anything else is not economy, it is fantasy coo coo land.
Given that it is money, bought as money, by people aiming to use it as money... In what way is it different to any other kind of money? We have had serious dollar crashes too, and nobody claimed the dollar was worthless. With fewer bitcoins, prices will more easily go up and down... But do you honestly think people don't understand that?
Look... I had hoped you newbies knew some of the important stuff about dice. Apparently not. Here goes:
You can't expect dice to consistently roll good, or even to roll average. Luck is a finite resource. Push your dice too far, and they will abandon you. Once a die has "rolled out", you need to give it a chance to recuperate. Make a little shrine, put it in, and keep it near the TV, in any case a good distance from the RPG books.
Dice need attention, or they will punish you. Don't do things like rolling damage at the same time you roll to hit - that won't go over well. Don't roll several dice for simplifying iterative attacks - they really hate that.
You can't two-time. If you don't show your loyalty to the die, it won't care about you. That is why you must never have more than 1d4, 3d6, 1d8, 2d10, 1d12 and 1d20 in your dice bag. They tolerate other types of dice, but you'll never get a d12 to like another d12 enough to share you with its counterpart. By the same token, CERTAINLY don't touch another's dice. Die roller apps are right out, y'hear?
There is more, but follow the above, and you will have as good luck as you can. These data were brought to you as a result of countless sacrificed PCs in the halcyon days of the hobby. That it has gone so far as to this information being lost is... a tragedy.
I made a world once that was set "close" to the elemental planes. Around all this was the Ethereal. Like your setting, above, I had no fiends, but the elemental planes were breaching into the setting world. There were huge swathes of land that had been tainted by a certain elemental plane, like permanent storm systems up in the high air, irregular blobs of water out in the ocean, lava fields, ooze pits, and so on. The reason for this was arcane magic, which was being shunned, and the druids fought to protect the remaining natural world before the various elemental populations devastated entire regions with their genocidal warfare against each other and against the natives. This place also featured ethereal ships and travelers across the planes, which would be the latter part of the campaign.
Oh, I dare say they aren't my ideas. =)
An additional point is that the extralegal sphere expands in times of crisis and war. Thus, if you're not at war, start one as soon as possible. Preferably one that won't cost you all that much by fighting on your own ground, yet cannot be won. Andoran would probably start a War on Slavery against ill-defined enemies. That's a war that can go on for a very long time, and motivate all sorts of violations against what the country is founded on. If they find local slavery rings, even better, that will require a firm domestic security, which lets them control potential troublemakers. If no such activities exist, planting evidence of them usually works, especially if enough women and children were killed to make it convincing.
Other advantages of having perpetually ongoing wars is that voices that want to cut down on military spending will not be heard, you will have a seasoned army as a byproduct, and enough soldiers that you can then use to violently put down uprisings.
To corrupt a political system, you do the following:
Make sure you get rid of pesky non-career politicians. They have alternative careers if politicking fails them, so they have less incentive to be loyal.
Make sure nobody gets any real influence without producing blackmail-worthy situations. Ideally, you want every single person bound by you having stuff you could ruin their careers with.
Make sure you get your cronies on the parts of government that are protected from the law by classification. In particular, make sure the agencies and such that fight corruption are in your pocket.
Make sure what information comes from the political arena is shaped according to your desires. This is best done by mutual agreements rather than threats, because you may find yourself unable to enact said threats if you become outmaneuvered.
Make room in the laws for all sorts of extralegal shenanigans, disappearing people, torture, indefinite detainment, and so on, especially tied to crimes that are difficult to define. Such as, say, "helping the enemy", "treason", "working against the state" and so on.
It takes a while, but hey, it works every time.
I would say this: Nobody who went to see this movie could have expected ANYTHING but what they got. If they didn't like that, they probably didn't see it. Honestly, this movie brought the goods, and did it in style. If it wasn't the best movie ever made, seriously, who the f*%@ cares?
It's like Starship Troopers. As one reviewer said: "I expected exploding bugs. I got exploding bugs. It was a great movie!"
First things first:
Number of players: A campaign with EIGHT players is a big thing. It's exceedingly stressful, at least if everyone wants the spotlight. I have done many years of it, and I can't reliably handle more than six, maybe seven. To be honest, a campaign of four is a lot easier, and usually more fun. It also seems you have no real problem finding players, so maybe it's not the end of the world? Certainly don't call it quits over not having eight players anymore.
As regards to your dad... well, world building is time consuming. If you make entire continents, there's bound to be other things you don't do. If you still live at home, maybe a real problem does exist? When was the last time you met people outside of gaming? Has it consumed your life? If so... don't do that to yourself. As in everything, you need to find a balance. Far better to have a functioning life and play a bit less than to have only roleplaying.
Best part is... the idea seems to be that a) the PDT would start somehow working FASTER due to money for rulings, and b) the reasoning is that unclear rules could be avoided this way. First off, the PDT works as fast as it can already. Second, EVERY ruling will still interact with all other rules of the game, creating NEW unclear situations. Believing otherwise is hopelessly naive.
Or, for those who still think the question hasn't been answered:
Demons are cultural concepts, i.e. Mainly based on the PREJUDICES found in culture. Succubi are temptation incarnate, the concept of the woman who uses her beauty and wiles to get what she wants from men. Incubi are the predatory man who takes what he wants from women. As such, they fit beautifully. Note that in medieval lore, succubi and incubi were the same creature that could shift genders. There are also ideas of succubi being the direct cause of sex dreams, as a way to tempt the faithful.
Thing is... It wouldn't have wotrked without something to make it pop. It found this in the concept of drifting. It also examined the relationship to the kaiju humans had, plus you got a love story. For its genre, it was amazing. I would be hard pressed to say what you could do better in a movie about beating forty kinds of s+&% out of mega monsters.
What a challenge...
Spoilered for NSFW and possible TW:
A cleric who has a deeply seated taboo sexuality. What gets him off IS breaking the taboo. However, he is not a bad person at heart, this is merely a function of his sexuality - and he doesn't want to hurt anyone, not really. So he keeps searching for things that are deviant enough for his tastes, but he keeps treading the fine line and will not try to hurt people. Shocking them is a-ok, though. The important distinction is that he's not a sadist. So, he has a long-seated lust for his sister that he doesn't give in to, he has a thing for animals (but doesn't inflict pain on them) and corpses (which he's very careful that nobody gets to know about). He flashes people, he sets people in strange situations by telling them he likes their bodies and such, or kissing them. If he is charming enough, people will forgive him a lot, he has discovered. Having money lets him get away with even more. His worship of Socothbenoth is honest, it IS that central to him and his life... if only it wasn't so painful to be constantly tortured by his desires. Socothbenoth, for his part, finds this poor soul's plight endlessly amusing, supports him fully, and knows full well that in the end, he isn't going to keep up his alignment. Socothbenoth has time to wait.
Meh. Honestly, Scott, you're grasping at straws here.
The people who designed Thief this time around had miscalculated. They wanted to add major elements of action game procedures to a game that was always focused on something else. In doing so, they had misunderstood the brand of the game. The old Thief games were characterized by sneaking, brutal death if you slipped on that, and a certain amount of freedom in finding the proper way to deal with a situation. They were also fantasy games, not historical pieces. I can only speculate as to why they did this, but most likely: "Hey, can't you guys add more action stuff to get us into that market, you know, both Drake and Tomb Raider did good on that? That's a good employee." As much of a shock as it may come to you, Scott, the game designers don't make most of the decisions in a computer game development process. Bean counters and board members do. These people know nothing about game design, having oh, thirty minutes of collective game design experience, and see only what has recently sold well in the market. When they make a decision, so mote it be, whatever your doughty game designers think. Now, they do get to set up the nitty gritty details, but the major lines of the game are out of their control.
So... whoever made the decision to make Thief an action-game instead of a stealth game made a MISTAKE. Fans of the franchise pointed this out. Someone actually managed to reverse that decision, which is something to be grateful for. Nor is it a question of "the community likes X better than Y, so do X", but rather "these guys (with a collective several millennia of gaming experience) think we're doing a mistake here... there might be something to that". Changing a decision means that you agree something was wrong before. Left on the field is Scott, and those who agree with him, that since a decision has been made, it's automatically the best choice, regardless of evidence or anything else.
Next up is the brilligant idea that you should only ever criticize a finished product. Seriously... do you understand what you're saying here, Scott? They give info to hype sales. They want feedback on it. They use feedback to change or tune the product. The fact that they change the game means, literally, "we're going to make more money this way". Complaining when a process is OVER is the #1 best way to NOT influence it. Honestly, Scott, get even the tiniest beginning of a clue before writing, okay?
They keep approaching Nobel prize winners about sperm donations. One of these targets told them (paraphrased): "If you want children that become Nobel prize winners, then you should have talked to my father, who was a cobbler in Queens. My son is aiming for a career in playing the guitar and hanging out with his friends."
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Loved the riddle-master trilogy as a kid -- re-read it more recently, and liked it better, if anything. The only let-down was that the cartographer they got to draw the map in the frontspiece was geographically illiterate (Hint: rivers do not flow across a continent, connecting two oceans together. How is that supposed to work?)
I love seeing stupid maps. It imparts a feeling of authenticity like nothing else. And today, there isn't even a map in most fantasy books. =(
But the best one, bar nothing, is the cutaway view of Cauldron in the SCAP. The ruins in the cave lie well below the crater lake surface... and there is a large lake in the cave, which connects to the crater lake...
Any child of mine is precious... but not only for being cute as a child. I won't stop caring about that person just because he/she grew up. Since the things I am most grateful for are that there are LIMITS to state power over me, that I can vote, that I don't have to fear being disappeared because someone in government doesn't like me... that is the society I want my child to live in, same as I have. What would be the point in destroying that, knowing that dictatorships are far more dangerous places for children? Stupid people keep bleating that "if something could happen to ANY child in a democracy, we need to go dictatorship to PROTECT THE POOR CHILDREN!!!" In truth, all they prove is that they are ignorant at the most basic level of politics and history.
There is a massive inflation in how the word "sustainable" is used. As it stands, people use it as a synonym for "good", is my general impression. It means exactly nothing of the sort. Sustainable means "a status quo that can be upheld without modification in perpetuity". As utopias go, I would say it's a pretty s##@ty dream. The absolute best we can aim for as a civilization, as a species, is having a model we won't have to change, saying nothing of how good it is for people to live in? Second, are people truly so blind that they actually believe any such model exists? Change IS the only constant, and will continue to be so. What works in one paradigm will be impossible in the next. We will have wars for as long as humanity muddles on, and these will change conditions for us enough that "sustainability" becomes a bad joke. There will be other problems, other curveballs from the universe, that will cause the same.
Nothing is good just because it is "sustainable". Worst of all, the idea of sustainability means you believe the world's problems can be solved by setting a variety of limits to various observed statistical numbers - which has never really successfully been done, ever. And when pressed, the people preaching for "sustainability" usually eventually admit that yes, they do want authoritarian control of things, so that "sustainability" can be upheld. You know, like how democracy is fine, but we should take a pause on it, so we can fix things properly and sustainably for a while. One suggestion I saw a TV program about was that a huge mass of lenses should be put into space between the Sun and the Earth, that would limit the amount of sunlight coming in, so sustainability could be upheld regarding global warming. Even assuming the feasibility of such a scheme, would really destroying the possibility of solar power be the best idea in such a situation? Best of all, this program showed the projected results of such a program, which was sharply lower global temperatures, to the point where that would instead be a problem. Even so, the lean and hungry environmental scientist said: "We'd still have to build a society where use of energy is tightly controlled, of course".
Humanity is much more than that. We adapt, we discover, we change the world, and we should dream of higher things than "sustainability".
We are never going to give every child a good childhood.
Never. No matter what.
Sour taste in the mouth? Get used to it.
All we can do is make sure we help THOSE WE FIND who need it.
So, if we change our way of life to a severely more intrusive way of government, can we give every child a good childhood THEN?
No, even if it seems to be a popular idea these days.
A more powerful government with fewer checks and balances means so many other, even worse things. Accept incremental improvement assymetrically toward "everyone".
Evopsych isn't the root of this argument. Look at current crime statistics across every country that has it - men are perpetrators of violent crimes to a far, far larger degree than women. Look at who is the victim of this violence in statistics: Men. Look at suicide statistics: Women make far more attempts (10x or so), but men are twice as likely to die from suicide, sum total. This means men are 20x as likely to die from a suicide attempt than women, which is confirmed by the method chosen: Death by car or gun - more violent methods. Check medical research: Men are far more likely to have Asperger's syndrome than women. Women are far more likely to be anorectic than men. Men are significantly more likely to develop schizophrenia than women - and if women do get it, they get it ten years later in life, on average, and have less severe forms of it. Check psychology research: Women are far better at reading emotions of strangers - except anger, which men catch far easier.
All across the line, men's lives are different than womens'. Violence is a far more prevalent phenomenon to them. You're welcome to find statistics that paint a different picture, but you aren't going to find much.
Add to the above that we see massive differences in testosterone levels, growth hormone and so on, big differences on average sizes of various structures between male and female brains, and you will, again, need pretty serious evidence to make a serious claim that male and female behaviour doesn't differ on biological grounds.