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I think that is too much excusing. If nothing else, that is a way to make it an issue. Asking "how do you identify, gender-wise?" is not rude, and I have found that many are happy that it was not made an issue. If someone gets angry, that is when you tell them about the form of questions and why.
How did it go?
Meh. This is not a situation for negotiation. When the dice start thinking it is acceptable to ruin things for you like this, it is time to take off the kid gloves. Punish the dice. Find the most egregious offender and execute it in front of the others. I find that hammers work well. Once this is done, you will find the dice roll VERY well a period afterward... But after things start to sag again, another example is needed. Get new dice to replace those lost, and treat those VERY well. Do this, and you will have shown your dice that they serve you, not the other way around. You should be able to reach 10.5 quickly, maybe even a little bit more.
Don't forget the Animate Rope spell. Also we should start figuring out how many atonement spells you all will need for getting this entangled with a chaotic evil being.
Honestly, I am thinking after participating in this thread, the succubus might be in need of an atonement as well. What IS the evil counterpart to this spell, by the way? Detonement? Harald's efficient blink puppy kicker?
A strong character that needs to hold back to not outclass your character means, even if it never does a single thing to be overbearing, that the entirety of your character's existence, motivation, struggle, whatever you call it, becomes meaningless in a single stroke. If Superman is with us, why doesn't Superman solve every problem with the villains? Your character becomes a supporting cast character in Superman's story... and feels completely irrelevant.
Reality is not as firm as we think, or want to think, it is. It is enough to be tired to see illusions, i.e. False sensory input building on something real. This is the twig against the window you see as a hand from a bit away. Even more strongly, hallucinations (genuine false sensory input) happen often to people falling asleep and waking up. Add in drugs, various reactions to sensory deprivation (listen to enough white noise and you WILL hear voices, especially if you expect to), various traumatic experiences, severe anxiety disorders, light versions of psychotic disorders, and so on, and you will realize that there is more than ample opportunity for the human brain to use the canvas we call reality as a sounding board. If we expect to see something, stand to gain from doing so, or want to see something, that is what we will see.
kestral: I think the answer to this can be clearly expressed best by the old adage about why people don't like the Forgotten Realms: Because there are dozens of ultra-high-power NPCs running around. Basically, since these exist, why don't they always deal with the current world-shaking crisis? What space is there for a hero in the presence of all those giants?
The central issue is this: Alice and Bob are out adventuring, fighting tooth and nail against an evil orc chief. Setbacks, crises and difficulties abound, but in the end, Alice and Bob manage to kill the orc chieftain. The year of struggling, the death of Charlie, the intrigue to make the threat known, the wounds, the uncertainty... it all feels like it MEANT something. Why? Because they fought through it all and won through their own skill and determination.
Now Alice and Bob hear of a new threat. A necromancer has risen in the North and needs to be fought. So they recruit Dave, a wizard. Dave is a massively powerful spellcaster, far beyond Alice's and Bob's growing skills. After this becomes obvious and leads to a conflict within the party, he tells them "Don't worry, I will only use my full power if it becomes absolutely necessary. The rest of the time, I will stay at your level."
That should have improved things, but didn't. See, as soon as anything seriously threatened the party, Dave blasted it, flew them through it, conjured something to solve the issue, at one point he even went toe-to-toe in melee against the blackguard and didn't break a sweat in killing it. See, Dave knew there was a serious risk this enemy might kill one or more of Alice or Bob, and thus it was "absolutely necessary".
They did kill the necromancer (or rather, Dave did). After this, Alice and Bob retired from adventuring.
Documentation is important later in a slow process, and it's good that you're seeing progress. Congratulations. And caring how you look is human, not narcissistic. Talking about it in a place like this is sharing good news, not being narcissistic. =)
I have been gaming for ages by now. I have done the extreme power character so many times that I find it a) too easy, b) usually boring to chew the rules that hard, and c) unnecessarily disruptive to a campaign which usually ends up with the GM flubbing the challenge for some participants (either challenge the power freaks and kill the others or challenge the others and bore the power freaks). I want my characters to have weaknesses, and if someone exploits these in interaction or story-wise, that is usually the sign of something that I will enjoy playing.
Sure, the rules system allows for freakishly strong characters, usually these are good at only One. Single. Thing. Glass cannon is a thing. Players who make these tend to whine insufferably if their One. Skill. can't be used in an encounter, say, a trip master who encounters an ooze. See, it's not just the mechanically strong build, it is also about players trying to shape the game to give the player in question maximum returns for the build. Other characters are designed to be so overwhelming (say, in damage output) that the GM has to adapt every encounter to counter tactic X or see the character flush it down the drain, which is also a drag after a few encounters. Encounter variety is a significant part of the interest in playing the game, at least for me, so anything that limits that, I will consider a problem.
Finally, the idea that it's a good idea to have a mechanically superior character, but not use it fully so as not to annoy the other players, is frankly a pitiful one. The only sense this makes is if you are so afraid of "losing" that you MUST have an answer for precisely everything. I can understand that playing with a "killer GM" may lead you to this perspective, but really, give it a rest. Relax, calm down, nobody is going to kill your character to show they are superior to you. And so, if you have a character that can kill any monster in the four manuals in a single blow, CONGRATULATIONS. YOU WON. Now let's put that character in a permanent retirement demiplane somewhere and make some new ones that can actually be challenged.
Laws are not necessarily lawful. Repeat that until it sinks in. Why must every alignment thread always rehash the same boneheaded arguments? Lawful laws are those that promote order, predictability and procedure, and strengthen organizations. Chaotic laws do the opposite, i.e. Break down order, predictability and procedure, and strengthen individuals. A law saying that the king can have anyone he feels like killed is the very epitome of a chaotic law. It is... Getting grating to hear the usual cries of "paladins must follow every law waaaaaaah".
Bluh... This again. EVERYONE has rules they live by. Everyone. The difference is where people find these rules. A lawful person gets these rules from an external, strictly codified source like a religious text, while a chaotic person thinks more in terms of traditions and an internal list of principles to juggle. These two do not match. A lawful person will consider a chaotic person dangerous specifically because they do not have a codified set of rules and are therefore unpredictable, something very problematic to a lawful person. A chaotic person sees the lawful person as dangerous to the freedom of action of the chaotic person, something the chaotic person isn't going to just accept. There is no common ground here, but these characters can work together on a case by case basis, because they share a more important goal, or because they respect one another.
It doesn't hurt me to consider those people vile for what they did. I have no problem feeling empathy, letting people close, caring, showing kindness, or anything positive. What remains is a sad, sad conviction that I am basically worthless. This, too, has gotten better, but it exists, and will probably stay with me all my life. Someone doing that to me is not someone I have to forgive, or would feel good about forgiving.
There is a current story in Sweden about a woman who was contacted by her bully twenty years after the fact, and asked to perform a stand-up comedy act at his pizza joint. She is decently successful today as a comedian. When she got this mail, she said basically that "I could have taken ten grand to tell everyone there about what you put me through, but I won't." However, she managed to unintentionally miss blurring his name in one location when she published her answer on the net. This caused an internet meltdown between the "you have to forgive and move on and not publish his name" and the "bully scum are subhuman s# who deserve everything they get" crowds. It is interesting to watch the outpouring of support for her, even if she did apologize for publishing his name.
What we need to see is the good cops starting to throw their bad cop colleagues under the bus and speak out about police corruption. A decent problem reporting system that doesn't get people threatened by the cops would also be a good idea. What many people don't realize is that accepting transparency and accountability lets you avoid having everyone judged by the behaviour of "a few bad apples". Ideally, this would not be necessary because the police sorted these things out in a way that worked already - but that is not the case. Trust is difficult to repair in all situations, even more so for people with power.
56. "Boom today!" (Trigger detonation from two extradimensional spaces)
Simon Legrande wrote:
The only code I follow is my own. I may agree with you sometimes, but don't think that means I agree with you about everything. Don't tell me what's good or evil, right or wrong, I'll decide that myself. I have no use for the oppressiveness of governments trying to tell me how I have to act. I do have rules that I believe in though and I'll always follow my rules. I treat every individual I meet as an individual regardless of where they come from or what race they are. I live my life as it comes to me, the only meaning is the meaning I give it.
This is what I woud call a textbook case of Chaotic Neutral. You have a firm rejection of external rules, and in every situation you look to the individual first, most and only. The rules you live by are your own.
84. So that... and this took some work to figure out... the only realistic way to become high-level fast enough for your tastes was to adventure. And now, ever since you started by killing some goblins a while back, it's been like you're on a path of adventure. For now, you're Neutral... but that's all going to change once you finish the big quest ahead. Heh heh heh. You are going to be the biggest, baddest wizard around, and nobody's going to be able to stop you... It is going to be just glorious. Some would say "the world is your oyster", but that's wrong. The world is not an oyster.
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.
I did that monstrous compendium crap for positively YEARS. Eventually, they got it into their heads to simply print a classic monster book, the Monstrous Manual. This became a smash hit. Now, it was a good book, but it wasn't THAT amazing. I suspect that the main point in its favour is that it did away with the looseleaf system.
Terquem: Normally I am all for being humble, you know me, right? However, in this case, no. A looseleaf/binder system is an objectively bad idea. I am sorry if you thought differently; being wrong is not the worst that could happen to a person. =)
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...
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.
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.
I don't often favourite Scott's posts. Feels kind of iffy.
However, Aranna, you put a few questions above:
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.
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.
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.
Rich miners that give gifts that are just as dangerous as if they actively try to hurt you, that want your women and are skilled enough in smithwork that they can barter it for sex with a goddess (!), that NEVER forget the merest slight, and have a thing for dangerous deals, chopping off heads and were originally created from Ymir's corpse worms, that's norse dwarves. On the other hand, the myths generally don't say much about beer, beards, armour, axes, clans, stamina, valour in combat, scottish accents, or any of the classic dwarven traits. They are short, usually seem to live in groups of under a dozen, and generally vile. It is very much an open question if they have women whatsoever.
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.