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Mammon Cultist

Sissyl's page

7,263 posts (8,088 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 aliases.


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2 people marked this as a favorite.

The central issue here is the fact that people get punished (expulsion is not something most people enjoy, right?), but it's touted as an "administrative action" or some s@@~ like that. Worse, it's specifically designed to handle the cases where someone is NOT convicted of rape in the legal system. Presumably people get expelled if they get convicted of rape, no? This law allows a "second strike" against someone who was not convicted, with different, very much laxer, requirements for punishment.

Second, while it's important that rape victims go get checked at the hospital, there is a misunderstanding as to what can actually be shown. Sum total, such a check can determine whether violence was used and whether sexual intercourse happened. Possibly, with whom. Just like the accused can say "She said yes", the victim can say "he threatened me and I didn't dare struggle".

But hey, anything to get more people in jail, right? Proving your innocence is going to be a giant stride forward toward a society where the state gets to chuck anyone they feel like in jail.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

For the love of all that's holy, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT publish more monster info as binder looseleaf. *shudder* It was a horrible idea then and is a horrible idea now. Even the seemingly okay idea about making a binder with the actual creatures your homebrew/campaign uses is meaningless because massive sorting work and because non-included monsters on the back page will get included. And that's without counting the torn pages...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This has always been my take, really. Pratchett began as a journalist. You need something to drive you in that line of work. In every book, then, it has been a question of caring or not caring, and to my mind, perhaps the best example is Small gods.

Spoiler:
Chief exquisitor Vorbis, the most brutal and terrifying man around, expert in every kind of pain, is given a very lonely afterlife, lasting until Brutha dies, who is able to guide Vorbis away from loneliness by accompanying him along the way.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

All work and no play makes George a bad boy.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't often favourite Scott's posts. Feels kind of iffy.

However, Aranna, you put a few questions above:

Aranna wrote:
How does requesting a female option come across as "Your games are bad"?

Come now, the feminist wyld hunt in question has been falling over itself in trying to hammer home the message that there isn't a single shred of value in the gaming industry products. It wasn't the demands for a female option, it was the extremely vocal and toxic views that got the message understood as "Your games are bad". I find most AAA titles less than stellar, usually due to the unthinking action, the substandard writing and so on, basically everything but the graphics is weak. The exceptions are what is worth playing, and they do still exist, thankfully. I certainly don't mind having male and female options if they are possible to make, but honestly, Aranna, would Planescape: Torment have been a better game with a female protagonist? At the very least, it's a complicated question.

Aranna wrote:
How does it threaten you to include us in the fun? Why does gaming with a girl seem SO threatening to boys?

Everyone is welcome. Have been so for a good, long time now. But a subculture is an entity with its own principles, value systems, thoughts, perceptions and so on. Gamers are no exception. Join in if you want, and work toward the change you want, but understand that such change needs to come from shared experiences, discussions and so on, according to how the subculture does these things. Enough women in gaming and gaming will change with most people happy about it. Women, especially non-gamer women, TELLING gamers that they are bad, evil people (dried husks, wasn't it?) and need to change what they like, that isn't going to go over well, just like it wouldn't in regards to any other subculture.

Aranna wrote:
And trash talking? I assume you mean calling out the sexism in certain titles. IS sexism so much a part of your fun that making tiny little changes ruins the WHOLE experience of gaming?

I remember seeing a number of interviews in the "alien sideboob" controversy in Mass Effect, where a number of morons of various stripes were doing their level best to get their fifteen minutes of TV time by claiming a game they had never played was horrible because it revolved only around sex, all the time. These people aren't satisfied with "tiny little changes", and you know it, Aranna. Right now, the core of the conflict is about "who has the right to say what should and shouldn't be in computer games?", and the wrong answer to that question WILL lead to bad places. For comics, it was the Comics Code (read that until you understand it if you haven't already). In short, it sentenced an entire medium to pathetic writing, bizarre restrictions and elementary-school level plots, turning it to sanitized drek for decades (the views of Tracy Hickman notwithstanding). We do NOT want that, but it is still where a voice for complying with the wyld hunt will lead.

In short: This is a case of very much ado about nothing. It doesn't matter that these people like to stroke their ego by claiming that the gamer culture is dead. New things will happen, and eyes will find other things to look at. The hunters have no stamina for a sustained assault, and time will prove them wrong in a month or two. It may even be that they are right, that there is too much sexism in gaming. The sad fact is that even if we think so, the worst thing we gamers can do right now is agree with them. That would be giving them the authority they claim.


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Well... BNW... has there ever been a lack of sociobabble buzzwords in this particular debate?


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GUUUUUUURG HUUUUNGRYYYYYY!!!


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Seriously, there should really have been a trig warning on this.


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Such attitudes are of course toxic and destructive. However, we're all different. We come into this world with a set of capabilities and a personality, and are then put through various experiences. Not everyone handles these well, or is able to. Quite often, the result is that people retreat into what they perceive as a safe environment. Usually, this is a certain circle of friends, a club, or the like. Somewhere they can relax and be who they are in front of others and not feel judged. I think we have all experienced that at some point. Thing is, it's not easy to get someone to get back into the game if they have given it up. Not all people have an iron will and the strength of character to make the world conform to their needs. People break, they suffer and, at times, die. Not everything that is broken can be repaired. Schools today are a harsh, lawless land where the winners take all, and success is usually measured in status gained by kicking down on those below you on the ladder. Feeling confident and happy is reserved for those with the highest status.

It isn't primarily that these people don't want the culture they see as their refuge to change, it's that they (generally quite correctly) don't believe they have anywhere else to go. Fear is a terrible thing and makes humans do sorry stuff to each other.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't want a neverending mass of combat encounters in my APs. Paizo should remove all the monsters except possibly the bosses. If someone want it all in, they can add it themselves. That should free up space for some romance options.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Worth noting is also that in the 3.5 book, probably in PF as well, the smallest two categories (Fine and Diminutive) are not used as proper creatures, instead only as swarms.


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Krensky wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
They rebuilt you. They had the magic. They made you better, faster, harder, stronger...
I think you're confusing Steve Austin and Daft Punk.

Talk to the hand. =)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would say Elaine Cunningham's Forgotten Realms books are a decent example. Sort of. She wrote Elfshadow, Elfsong and Silver Shadows, three books that did tie together in various ways, and were among the better offerings of FR novels. After this, she added Dream Spheres, Thornhold and Evermeet: Island of the Elves, all worthy books. After that, she had planned to write a seventh book, tentatively called, I think, Redemption, which was to follow up a few things in Evermeet. However, she was pretty hard hit by depression, and when she would eventually get back to it, it was nine years later and she felt that was too long. Now, if she had written that novel, I would have bought it without hesitation, and many others would as well. It would likely have sold well, even after that time. However, she chose not to, instead explaining her reasons in a discussion about it. That is a respectable thing to do if you can't finish something. Heck, you are likely going to be quite a different person after nine years. Perhaps your fans would be better served by something the new person you are would write, rather than a continuation of stuff thought up by a much younger and less experienced person?

Now, just to clarify, my point is that Elaine explained the situation to her fans, thereby fulfilling much of what she "owed" them. I never heard a bad word about the situation, either. I doubt anyone thinks she's a bad writer for it. So, yes, a writer DOES owe something to his/her fans, but it doesn't take all that much to opt out in a decent fashion.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

When a sensible person of a larger group finds that an extremist, hateful part of the same group is making too much noise, to the point where the actions of the extremists taints the perception of the entire group, that person's job (if they still want to save the group) is to make sure people understand that they personally are taking exception to what the extremists are doing, work to marginalize the extremists within the group by strengthening the more sensible sub-groups, and support movements to exclude the extremists. This goes for ALL groups. If they do not do this, it is going to end up at the point where the sensible person must either break with the entire group or accept sharing the tainted perceptions the extremists gave rise to.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The semiofficial next step up in the 3.0 Spelljammer rules was Awesome size, used for the biggest ships. BECMI D&D also had a size table that expanded things quite far enough: The biggest category, Cyclopean, was planet-sized.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pan wrote:
So how does this sexism problem get fixed?

Same way all problems get solved in our postmodern age: By having lots and lots of people point out structures and calling lots of other people evil a~~@*@%s, except it is not them as individuals, they are victims of the structures too. If this is done enough, the problem goes away.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

They rebuilt you. They had the magic. They made you better, faster, harder, stronger...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Again, it is difficult to say that a lawful alignment requires commitment. All it reasonably requires is a sincere and honest discussion of terms beforehand. Depending on alignment along the good/evil axis, this might not even brush on things like various forms of coercion, intimidation, unreciprocated feelings or the like, but of course a paladin would make sure nothing such entered into it. That would be the entirety of what is necessary to my thoughts, though.

It is easy to assume current standards of morality and sexuality are what is good in a fantasy world, and perhaps american culture on the subject is alien enough, but what we have seen of Golarion at least doesn't confirm this in any way.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Excellent post, James. The truth is, as you say, somewhere in the middle, but much closer to the "b@$@*" side of the equation. Of course, Martin is about the worst example around, given his smash success with his unfinished series. The blatant truth is, the man is set whether he writes another word, and any more from him is only going to be icing on the cake. For almost all other professional writers, you're right.

However, I think there is another part to the unspoken contract. Put simply: The readers have the right to expect that the next book in the series will conform to the expectations of genre, style, continuity, quality and author that the first one established. You really shouldn't write one book, then start its sequel by drastic shifts in genre or setting. You shouldn't start ignoring your craft (writing as well as you can) just because you got a contract for a series. You need to be the one writing it, it's not enough to have a ghost writer. And... both in your style and your continuity, you need to make a decent effort to cleave to what you set up in the first book. Of course, the tolerance of a certain reader to each of these things varies, and some depend on the brands involved, but a radical break at any of these points is something that will have people say "I liked the first one, but then in #2 it just wasn't any interesting and I couldn't read it." As you say, promises the writer made that give returns as an investment by the reader.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Two parties of four and an extra GM.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is my favourite post in this thread.


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Lots of people claim physical maturity comes as early as with humans, too. The concrete problem here is that it doesn't account for different backstories. What would you say to a player who wanted his character to have been enslaved after a raid on his elven village at age twenty. Since then, the elf has fought tooth and nail in the arena and learned to become a lvl 1 brawler.

-"Sorry, you can't play an elf who hasn't gone through the massive time waste?"
-"Sorry, that is not a possible backstory, since all elven villages are protected by spherical walls of unobtainium?"
-"Sure, you are now a level 43 brawler after eighty years in the ring?"
-"Sure, only your character has been the mascot and laughing stock in the ring for eighty years without a single win since elves can't learn until they are 100?"
-"No because ultra-powerful elven commandoes rescue you and offer you an eighty year training program of becoming a lvl 1 brawler?"

Please, what would you say? Perhaps one could hope for "Sure, let's ignore the fossil age table and get you a character you'd enjoy playing."


9 people marked this as a favorite.

The people who say they do what everyone else does but take longer doing it miss the fact that in the typical harsh fantasy world with monsters and everything, nobody gets to relax in the sun for sixty years. Especially not in a race in decline. Those who did would not survive, period. So, if not that, they are doing or learning something. Studying nature for sixty years? Great, that would mean epic levels of Knowledge (nature). Same thing with farming, fighting, socializing, singing, running, swimming, starwatching, reading, sneaking, learning magic, learning about magic, ALL would give you pretty intense ranks in the corresponding skills. Yes, even the perennial favourites reading old elven history and poetry. The problem is not that they go around for a century before starting up, but that they DO NOT LEARN ANYTHING OF VALUE DURING THIS PERIOD. It is what turns it from a case of flat out unrealistic to completely b%$#&&& insane.

The next problem is that it also makes it impossible to play an elf who did not get this utterly useless "education". Even an elf growing up among humans is completely f*&&ing useless for a century. Even put by humans in the best schools that insane amounts of money can buy, for sixty years, would teach the little moron anything useful. Why? Because if he is a level 1 anything, HE IS AT LEAST A CENTURY OLD. The very rules of the game say so.

It is not enough to say that elves can't be judged by human standards. That is just a cop-out and doesn't answer the question. If they taught their children this way, they would not be like humans, I agree. They would all be very, very, very DEAD.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Elven children are morons. So bad they can't be potty trained for decades. It is... An undertaking. Usually, elven children are stored in what is affectionately called 'moron cocoons', cocoons of plant matter and magic that hang from large trees. When the kids finally grow a brain at about a century of age, they are released from the cocoons.


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The posters of seven years ago thank you, Scrapper. I am sure it's been nagging at them ever since. :-)


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Woohoo, no more hobgoblin devious trapsetter (tm), icefrostchoke elemental (tm), hobgoblin sadistic trapsetter (tm) and so on. That is, I must say, a major point in favour of 5th.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

At its heart, the problem is that a ruleset is something you apply to a story, not a story in itself. To make a Dungeons & Dragons movie is not going to work until you put something more to it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

MMMMMMMMMMMG!!! MG! MMMMG!!! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMG!


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"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Cowboy Bebop has the moon split in two...


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If it gets down to decimeter precision, which I believe is quite possible today, the government could track everyone outdoors by simply connecting these data to face recognition surveillance camera data, to have a realtime map of where everyone is and has been at all times. This would work wonders to chart how oppositional politicians move, should that information be necessary or interesting.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not just looking for sperm, but doing it in the heads of massive phalluses.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
The best I can do is treat you exactly the same as I would treat anyone else. If you demand more, I refuse. Does it make me a racist to refuse to treat someone differently because of their race or gender or whatnot?

Yes.

Treating everyone the same regardless of their social status is just as heinous as giving the same medical treatment to everyone regardless of their state of health.

This is about the best argument against having this kind of discussion at all. Seriously, if treating people the same is STILL racism, it is quite simply not something that can be avoided.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This is a very, very sad way of discussing. Starting by saying "you gotta acknowledge collective white privilege to be accepted in this discussion", claiming this is important despite a complete absence of things we as individuals can do to correct it, showing deplorable police policies as examples of this untouchable collectivist power structure (seriously, tear up the police departments enough and you will solve that particular piece of s+~!), all of it channeling into "white privilege is the central problem here, but we're not blaming you white guys, just know that the only reason your lives aren't living hell is because of white privilege and don't forget evil white men kept slave m'kay?" It is a collectivistic circle jerk. The way to solve this is to give up the crap about collective identities, ensure Rule of Law is reinstated (this would efficiently kill off all the driving while black offenses, btw), and yes, let us treat each other with empathy. Don't forget, what you're saying above is very close to saying people don't have empathy.

Blah.

It is also worth mentioning that the much vaunted "level playing field", at least in the area of university applications and affirmative action led directly to asian-americans getting an even worse deal than whites did. Should then the asian-americans be given restitution for this?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This would be a wonderful idea to watch... if only the participants were not the usual gallery of severe personality disorders. The site certainly seems to confirm they are. Calm, collected people who want to play well with others, who know things, who want more than fifteen minutes of fame... that would be a society-building show to see.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

We all like to think ourselves immortal, invulnerable and utterly sane at all times. We always think that what we perceive is more or less the definition of REALITY. This doesn't really change, to paraphrase one of the greatest thinkers of our time, until you get hit.

One thing that can provide that hit is depression. Slowly, over months, you stop seeing the good things in your life. You can't see that things can go right. You can't make mental pictures of succeeding. You, your close ones, your situation, your economy, your future look bleak, dreary, and unchanging. What you lose is HOPE. People tell you it's not that bad, and you can't see it. People tell you to fight on, and you REALLY CAN'T see the point. You slow down, you start thinking of yourself as a loser, you find it harder and harder to get out of bed. You lose your appetite and you wake up early in the morning with a bad feeling that doesn't relax until late morning. Anxiety mounts and gets harder to deal with.

And if you get medication for it, you can get out of it in around a month, get your entire emotional range back, start seeing light and colour again. Or, you can slog on, running a very real risk of death by suicide. Clinical depressions are dangerous, some studies show them about as dangerous as heart attacks. The medication you get will give you some side effects, like gaining a pound or two, some problems achieving sexual release (not that sex works very well when depressed anyway), dryness of mouth. Simple, right? Remember that depression colours your vision. Given the offer of such drugs, you may well find that you can't see the point. After all, everything is a mess and they aren't going to work, and besides, they have side effects, right? Much better to slog on and hope you can fix things... eventually... some way.

In this situation, yes, it IS a good thing that patients are forced to accept care, including medication. The only other alternative is letting someone take a very serious risk for reasons that are treatable.

Another situation is psychosis. This includes: Mania, where you are far too active, start massive numbers of projects only to lose interest very quickly, tell people a lot of unconsidered stuff (telling your boss what you really think of him might not be the best idea), spending massive amounts of money, being very angry with someone trying to get you help or prevent you from doing what you want, not sleeping, starting relationships you didn't consider, and the like. Paranoia, where you feel threatened unceasingly, isolating you more and more, making you react with fear or anger against the closest people around you. Schizophrenia, where you lose touch with reality, hear your own thoughts as voices, sometimes telling you horrible stuff like telling you to kill yourself, sometimes forcing you to obey odd or dangerous commands, where you can't make sense of things at all, where you could have a tangible sense of impending doom, or feel the people on the TV are talking directly to you. Where you can feel everyone else can read your thoughts, or you can control theirs. And of course, fear and anxiety on a level most people hopefully never have to reach.

All these conditions require pretty strong medication. These drugs certainly aren't much fun, mostly giving sedation, the truth is that they work in two to three weeks. In the case of mania, it takes a week or so to recover fully after that, but patients usually return to normal. Paranoia and other schizophrenia also gets treated well with the drugs, also in a few weeks, but usually the disorder leaves serious traces on the person in other ways - worse the longer they were psychotic. Now, manic patients don't feel they need medication at all, they need everyone to stay out of their way and let them forge ahead. Paranoid patients certainly are not going to accept horrible and threatening drugs. Schizophrenic patients usually can't understand the concept of medication at all. And... if they don't get help, each of these patients will systematically wreck every single corner of their existence: Apartment, relations, economy, health... and run a strong risk of suicide.

Again, they need help. Contrary to what some believe, it is NOT just a matter of being dangerous to others. If you are in a situation where you CAN'T make decisions that are vital to your entire existence, then it's not okay to say "He said he didn't want help, so it's on him". Because it ISN'T on him, since he was not in good enough shape to make those calls.

If I ended up in such a state, my view now is that I would want people to force me into effective treatment. It is the same if it was one of my loved ones. If the choice is between complete ruin for the foreseeable future and being forced to take medicine for a few weeks, that isn't even something a healthy me would hesitate on. If I said no due to my illness, and some moron took that as reason not to help me... if I ever recovered, I would see that person as utterly despicable, incompetent and dangerous. I should also add that when a follow-up study was made in Sweden regarding our forced treatment laws, the vast majority of the people who had been subjected to such care were grateful they had gotten it.

You are not the definition of sanity. We can ALL end up there. Certainly, it would be horrible to subject a healthy person to this - but that isn't what we're talking about.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Good questions. Let me try to answer this.

What existed before the DSM (and the ICD) was no system at all. Depression was one thing in France and another in the UK. Studies diverged hopelessly since the points measured varied so widely. In short, having a standard for psychiatry is a GOOD thing. Now, if someone in South Africa makes a study about depression, everyone will know that the criteria used were at least roughly comparable. I say roughly, because there are certainly other related issues that have not been solved (such as which rating scales are used).

The making of the DSM is not a secret process. Rather, it is open, widely debated, involving many, many people. Certainly, there is factionalism and people trying to profit, but they are far from alone in writing it. Note also that though the diagnoses are detailed in it, there are no recommendations for treatment there. Most significantly, though, psychiatry is much like foreign aid: Unceasing need and demand, always a lack of supply. Trust me when I tell you that nobody has a serious interest in "making patients". Yes, Big Pharma would love that, but every diagnosis is something a doctor needs to put and then treat. Psychiatric patients typically have the resources to pay for long-term care themselves, and so they only get it if someone helps pay for it. At the end of the day, it is the politicians who decide what psychiatric care looks like, which patient groups to prioritize, and so on. Sum total: Don't worry about too much psychiatry.

This becomes even more clear when you look at the ratio you describe. About half of humanity will have a serious depression in their lives. At any given moment, 8% of us suffer from depression. 10% or so will have substance-abuse problems at some point. 1-5% will be bipolar. 1% will have schizophrenia. Everybody has anxiety every so often, but 10-25% have clinical levels of OCD, panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, or such. Add in Alzheimers disease, psychiatric problems associated with other disorders (depression after stroke, for example). Suicides are expected to (or have already) overtaken accidents in various measurements of risk of death, after only cardiovascular disorders. All this points to one serious conclusion: Psychiatric disorders are ALREADY a massive problem that leaves noone or very few people untouched. The sad fact here is that we can't deal with what we have today due to a lack of resources. If people did more than give a collective shrug, the effect would be massive.

Drugs are not what most people think they are. Each psychiatric drug, like all other medical drugs, has been tested for more than a decade in very expensive and thoroughly exhaustive studies. The substances are purified and isolated to lower the risk of side effects. VERY few of them are addictive (Morphine derivates, bensodiazepines and central stimulants, generally). The side effects they do have are at least fairly minor. So... if we have a patient who can't have a functioning life without taking medication (schizophrenia, bipolarity, serious depression at least), why is it wrong to test a drug to see if it helps them? If they don't feel better for it, they will stop taking it. It is not uncommon that someone has to switch to another drug that suits them better. I don't see it as a problem.

Finally, it is worth addressing the principle here. As human knowledge grows and we understand the system better, we will naturally come to see certain traits as expressions of disorders that were not previously identified. Why? Because it gives us a handle on helping those people. It is all well and good to say things like "ADHD is just b$!&&!~@ designed to sell medicine" if you and yours do not have that particular problem - but should this be the basis for health care in our society? "Cut out cancer care, it's too expensive, and in my family we always die before sixty in heart attacks anyway", "Alzheimer's disease is a lie, and nobody in my family has ever gotten it, so who cares if there are medications that work?"


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Uh, no. If x=2, x-1/x=1.5. If x=3 then x-1/x=2.6666..., 4 means 3.75, etc. X=1 gets you 1-1=0, and x=0 means it's undefined due to division by zero. If you plot it you will find it approaches negative infinity in x=0.


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Two shields is flat out stupid, of course. No, the sensible way to use shields is having one shield in the left hand and using your right hand and legs to make unarmed attacks, yo!


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Which is, frankly, b$#~%+* insane.


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There are three ways to get summon spells cast without a 1 round casting time (start in one round, finish the next), as far as I know: Sacred Summons, Academae Graduate and the Summoner class SLA. YOU WANT ONE OF THESE. Thing is, you can't be an effective summoner without actually getting monsters into play, and much like buffing the first rounds of combat, you lose too much of the average battle time by casting 1 round spells. This can be mitigated if you cast before the combat begins, but with a 1 round/level duration of the summon spells, that carries the risk of not getting to do anything with the monsters. The exception is the Summoner, who gets a much longer duration.

My suggestion, though, would still be a cleric, for Sacred Summons. You need the shorter casting time which only applies with a few creatures, but if you get it with Lantern Archons or something else neat, that's okay. You are in the battle immediately. What happens after that is more up to you and if you have longer casting times later in the battle, that is also okay.

As stated, a cleric can work wonders with many different strategies even while focusing on summoning.


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SUCK-el.


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"Dammit! Time to... "

*would remove her glasses if she had any and make a badassful pause*

"...cheese it."

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