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The military and their deindividualization programs... Seriously. When you end up in a horrible situation, one that scars you, the things that make you an individual are what keep you sane. The collective instead sends the useless piece of itself, discarding it for new recruits. True story, the military in the US has spent uncountable billions trying to find out what separates those who get PTSD from those who do not. With absolutely no answer in sight. Maybe, duh, you should let people remain individuals? Or, failing that, I dunno, pay them a decent pension if you scar them for life?
Conversion rates between coins of various metals were really an insane headache through history. True, the powers that be did not understand it well at the time, but the principles of supply and demand still worked. Different coins were used for different things, and the different classes got different coins as payment, the value of each shifted dramatically with say, new mines, and a fixed conversion rate was a distant dream.
See what people wrote above? Yeah. GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. A prescription for after-patent drugs (like most antidepressants) is actually dirt cheap. And the question you ask is the wrong one. No dad means kids who will always have to deal with that. ALWAYS. The relevant question is whether a depressed dad is better or worse than one who was depressed but got better and is now healthy. You know the answer to that one, don't you?
Trust is something people expect too much. In a somewhat complex world, the people the heroes meet will have differing motivations. This may be taken by some to mean they are all untrustworthy. However, there is a deeper issue here. If you make a shades of gray world, you really need a different plot than "you need to save the world from the Evil Dark Lord of Dark Darkness and Eternal Darkness". I mean, obviously every vaguely sensible person would be prepared to sacrifice quite a lot to prevent that guy from taking over. If they do not (due to inscrutable motives) they will quite rightly be seen as untrustworthy. Don't make betrayals massive and unexpected, and absolutely do not deny the heroes their entire victory because of betrayal, such a setting is random and mainly one-up-manship. Be satisfied with little betrayals, and if you aim for bigger ones, give warning. By the same token, make some NPCs fight unexpectedly hard for the heroes, give them victories enough to keep fighting.
Everyone says Leadership is so overpowered. I have not found it so. Sure, you can make a healer. Or a buffer. Big whoop. Fights last three rounds, leaving little time for buffing to be all that effective, and wands of CLW have superseded most combat healing. The fact of the matter is that the cohort will always be at least two levels weaker than the leader. Those two levels MATTER. And if the campaign goes mythic, Leadership is just a useless feat. The problem with Leadership is that it takes time. Then again, so do animal companions.
I have been called paranoid, a conspiracy nut, and worse so many times on these boards that I honestly don't care anymore. Perhaps it would be a good thing for me to explain my view of it.
I am an old-school liberal at heart. One of the closest ideological descriptions of my world-view can be found in The Road to Serfdom by Hayek. In short: The state has its role, quite a bit beyond the night watch state of the neolibs, in that it is the best actor for setting the playing field and a rather loose set of rules that are relatively unchanging, predictable and that do not apply differently to different people. It should not, however, keep making millions of little rules for shaping society - society can do that itself. Nor should it establish central plans, because the people in charge of administering those could never know enough for them to work, at least not in a way that supports a good life for the citizens involved. The scepticism against national decision-making is pretty strong, but even more so is that against international decision-making, because that is very far from democratic. Democracy is important, but is not merely a matter of choosing between two alternatives provided from a set establishment. It covers principles of freedom of speech, freedom of information, rule of law, transparency, accountability, the right to partake in the political life, and so on.
Why don't I trust the idea of AGW?
Because, at heart, the medial image of it has been mishandled to an awesome degree. Suddenly one day, it went worldwide with weeks of screaming in the media about the horrors of it all. There was no end to the doomsaying. Sea level rise!!! The forests will all rot away due to bugs!!! The POLAR BEARS WILL ALL DIE!!! IT WILL NEVER SNOW AGAIN!!! EVERY HUMAN CITY EXCEPT MEXICO CITY WILL DROWN IN TEN YEARS!!!!!!!11one
A few years into this, the temperatures have not risen further. The polar bears are apparently breeding like crazy despite not having styrofoam ice floes to cling to. People question, and the message is adapted. Global warming didn't materialize, so now it's climate change instead. Every year, a new explanation is advanced in the media for the absence of rising temperatures: It's the Gulf Stream. It's El Nino. Next year it's La Nina. The articles about it are copy-paste: Global warming didn't happen because <this year's somewhat famous weather phenomenon>. That won't save us next year, though, because reasons!!!
Doing some reading up on it, I find that more or less everyone at the top levels of the Climate Lobby is a former or current member of Greenpeace or the WWF. Greenpeace were the guys who sent out actors to club seals and torture kangaroos for money to "raise awareness" in the nineties. WWF is doing massive money by acting as the oil sector's conscience and ethics provider when the oil companies want to exploit untouched wilderness. In one particularly interesting case, they were paid by Big Oil to declare a part of New Guinea a natural reserve - meaning they could kick out all the indigenous, primitive human tribes living there. Kindly enough, the WWF also kept supporting the company's rights to drill for oil in those forests afterward. Greenpeace has time and time again been criticized for being antidemocratic. By and large, antidemocratic sentiment runs high through the environmental lobby, given by such suggestions as to "suspend democracy until the crisis is over". These guys are not the ones I want in charge of anything.
Looking further, I find Agenda 21, a massive central plan document, signed in 91, IIRC, by over a hundred world leaders. This document sets up what every little bit of resources on Earth will be used for. Private property and democracy doesn't seem to enter into it whatsoever. I believe democracy isn't even mentioned. Which is odd, because nondemocratic regimes have a stunning track record of a) destroying the environment and b) then lying about doing so. Some people are naive enough to buy their b@$#%%.
Regarding the IPCC, it's mainly two things: First, their stated task, their raison d'etre, is to find scientific support FOR AGW. Not figure out how the environment works. Not find the reason for global warming, but find a way to explain it by humanity's actions. I should say it comes as no susprise they found such evidence. Second, it's their quality Assurance process. The big seller is their "Information for policy-makers" or whatever it's called. It's a relatively brief summary of the stuff the IPCC has found. But when you check who gets the final editing pass on it, it's again all people from the upper levels of Greenpeace and such. And, given that opinions that didn't even come from scientific research data, like the "all glaciers will be gone in 35 years" sound bite, get in, the only possible conclusion is that their entire quality process is useless. Which in turn begs the question: How reliable is the rest of it?
There is more, but I would just like to add one. The pro-AGW crowd has a language that is purely awful. People who do not agree with them are called "deniers", likely to make an association to holocaust deniers. They are called crackpots, kooks, nutjobs, conspiracy nuts, and so on. Every dissenting opinion is explained by money from oil companies. It is a recurring motif with tobacco companies.
At some point, really whatever their science says, it is enough. It isn't even primarily the science parts that are f$&&ed up, but the politicos and the media handling. I suppose a part of it is that the message has been simplified to the level of "FOUR LEGS GOOD, TWO LEGS BAD!!!", but I will have no part of it under these circumstances. I AM willing to listen, but as it stands, the people involved have done everything possible to alienate me. If the situation is as dire as they make it out to be, the VERY LAST THING WE NEED is an authoritarian, undemocratic, centrally planned world. Say what you will about democracy, but it is a flexible system, and can change according to need. And, to me, democracy will always be a central issue in any large scale plans.
So, feel free to call me paranoid now.
I once made a character for Fallout. She had a 1 Intelligence/Intellect/Whatever.
She approached a villager and talked to him:
"Hnnnnnghhhh... wheeeer caaaaaave....?"
The very reasonable response:
"Go away. You're too stupid to talk to."
So, I made a new character, one that did not have a miserable intelligence stat. And you know what? I had fun despite not having uber-godly fighting stats! Yes, really! It's true!
ME 2 was a brilliant game... Excepting certain things. Like the very beginning. And then Shepard returning under a new flag and everyone acting like it doesn't matter. And the final boss, dear lord. These things aren't cringe-worthy, but awesomely stupid.
ME3 was better, but suffered from having to resolve everything from ME1 and 2. The ending was really an okay part of it all, both original and extended editions.
Again, we find a need to define an act of passion. I would consider almost every part of a succubus' body ripe for such, not merely her lips, with her being an incarnation of mortal desire and all. Thus, it becomes more an issue of logistics than action economy. Since she is a Medium creature, it is obvious that she could be adjacent to eight Medium creatures in a two-dimensional situation, but if you added in a third dimension, that number rises dramatically to twenty-six. Since we're grappling, we can add in the grappling creature in the same square, for nine or twenty-seven, respectively. I am uncertain if more than two creatures can grapple in one square. If we add in a bigger succubus or smaller other creatures, again, the number rises sharply. Conversely, only four ogres or similar Large creatures could be adjacent to her on a flat map. Thus, to optimize this situation, it is obvious that the succubus needs to be flying (preferably levitating), and enlarged as far as possble, with her assai... Vict... Ummm, the other creatures preferably quite small.
Also, move action kisses need to be a thing.
Nope. The GM getting his or her jollies through playing a real, bona fide PC is a thoroughly bad idea. Others disagree, of course, because THEY have the wrong idea. Usually, they are too blind to see this, of course.
Mental illness is actually not a very big cause of violence, if you except antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse. Certainly, there are situations when psychotic or confused patients can be violent, but it still doesn't add up to much. Bipolarity means a slightly higher lifetime risk of violence, but again, not much.
Morzadian: Not condemning anyone, as you can see. Merely stating the obvious, that all the people involved in churches that (say) condemn homosexuals have choices to make. Demand and effect change, or leave, or carry their part of responsibility for what the church does. Huge organizations are rarely a good thing. This is one of the reasons.
I believe the Bible is clear about it: (sorry about translation here) By their fruit you shall know them. Or otherwise put: What someone does is what tells you who they are.
The Green Tea Gamer wrote:
And going by their internal merits, all the Abrahamitic religions are a) in favour of slavery, b) in favour of cruel and excessive punishments even for things that should in no way be punished, c) in favour of detailed and extensive moralistic rules for every aspect of life. This is simply by the texts. If you instead go by what their respective power structures (churches) have done, the situation doesn't get much better. In some cases, unbelievably worse.
Some Abrahamitic followers are good examples of what humanity should be like. When they are, they are so DESPITE what the books say and what the power structures say. Faith yes, religion no.
When you play as a player, you invest emotionally in the character. You want things to go well for the character. You want to stop things from going bad for him/her. This emotional investment is a major part of the reason for the emotional payoff for playing the game. It works a lot like when you cheer for a sports team, I believe. This also makes you see the character in a brighter light than others do, and anyone working against your character will become more sinister than others would see them as. This is why conflicts between characters so often ramp up into the real world also, and why they become so difficult to solve. In short, the emotional investment in a character is both the thrill and many of the problems with playing the game. A big part of playing a PC is that you are allowed to be in the spotlight of the campaign, to change things in the world, to unapologetically fight toward your goals, and to live larger than life.
GMs are by no means immune to this. The GM's job is to provide a setting for the game, and various schools of thought put various focus on different parts (setting, plot, intrigue, whatever) of the gaming experience. As part of this job, they provide other characters the PCs can interact with. These characters are parts of the setting, nota bene, meaning they have a specific purpose for being there. This can be as people driving some plotline, people to act as obstacles, people who add local colour to a place, people who aid the PCs, and so on. Generally, conventional wisdom is taken to say that all these people should be played by the GM in accordance with their goals, their personalities, their capabilities, and their situation. None of this makes one of them a GMPC. A GMPC is CERTAINLY not just a character traveling with the PCs.
But when a GM wants the thrill of playing his/her own PC... a lot of this breaks down. The GM becomes invested in the specific character. It takes part of the spotlight, yes, but that is a minor problem, compared to the rest of it: The GMPC, with the emotional investment of the omnipotent GM, will invariably (in my experience, this is an absolute) become the real focus of the game. The temptation IS too strong. A mature GM will realize the problems with it, and refrain from using GMPCs. There is, of course, nothing wrong with providing allied NPCs for the party, but what truly sets these apart from GMPCs IS the lack of emotional investment of the GM. Ways to make sure they don't end up as GMPCs are: Giving them a rather short-term goal ending in departure, a new short-term goal or death, keeping them in the shadow of the PCs, and all the other suggestions that have been provided. An allied NPC is supposed to be as personally important to the GM as the bugbear chieftain in the bandit camp over there, at least if the chieftain is played decently.
When people see it done well, they see an allied NPC. When not done well, they see a GMPC.
Manliness is about attitude, words you choose, and style, not just actions. That said, delivering massive falling damage to someone by hitting them from orbit is pretty manly too.
So is beating the enemy to death with your own severed arm, before dying of blood loss.
So is drowning the enemy in your blood after he chopped off all your extremities.
So is launching yourself as a catapult stone at an enemy.
So is wrestling a gargantuan monstrosity to a mutual spiky death.
And so on...
The argument "players will not give you feedback about stuff they don't like unless it really stinks" is a good answer to the most frequent pro argument, "I have done it for ages and never gotten any complaints about it". Again, some people REALLY want to use GMPCs, and will grab onto any excuse to do so. Too few players (restructure encounters), nobody wants to play a cleric (make it more attractive to do so or add in systems for managing without one), the PCs need background or plot information (find other ways to do it and make the players enjoy those parts of your campaign), etc etc etc etc etc etc etc... All of these explanations are excuses for people who want to use GMPCs. The truth is, so long as the GM is impartial toward the NPC and ready to throw it under the bus, there are no problem with GMPCs... Because then there ARE no GMPCs. Forget that and there will be trouble.