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Mammon Cultist

Sissyl's page

7,177 posts (7,994 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 7 aliases.


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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.


LazarX wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
And yet this happens to ALL elven children. Even one growing up among goblins. A century it is. I mean, you gotta uphold the long sword training and the five decades of useless elven poetry.
If you're going to base your arguments around hypothetical bizarre corner cases, there really is no point in discussing this further.

It is not a problem in bizarre corner cases only, however. It is a problem in any backstory that doesn't boil down to "my character lived in an elven village until the cows came home".


thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
And yet this happens to ALL elven children. Even one growing up among goblins. A century it is. I mean, you gotta uphold the long sword training and the five decades of useless elven poetry.

Which is why I prefer the "elves actually mature slower, both physically and mentally" approach.

Doesn't matter what the culture around you thinks you should be, if your body and brain are the equivalent of an 8 year old human, you're not going to be adult.

Which puts us at the moron cocoons.

Only in your mind.

Children are not morons. They're children.

55 year olds that are as smart as normal 8 year olds are, you know... not very bright. Children or not.


thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
And yet this happens to ALL elven children. Even one growing up among goblins. A century it is. I mean, you gotta uphold the long sword training and the five decades of useless elven poetry.

Which is why I prefer the "elves actually mature slower, both physically and mentally" approach.

Doesn't matter what the culture around you thinks you should be, if your body and brain are the equivalent of an 8 year old human, you're not going to be adult.

Which puts us at the moron cocoons.


thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Note that I said "since then". I did not imply eighty years of fighting. You did. As I pointed out, that would put the elf at lvl 43 brawler.

It's implied by the official starting age and the "enslaved ... at age twenty"part.

Of course the simplest fix to using that backstory would be to change the "at age 20" to "at age X", where X leaves the amount of time you feel appropriate to become a 1st level brawler in the arena.

This reduces the problem to the general case of "what was the elf doing before then and why don't they start adventuring sooner?"

Okay, one in support of the starting age table. Explanation falls under the sphere of unobtainium. Anyone else?


And yet this happens to ALL elven children. Even one growing up among goblins. A century it is. I mean, you gotta uphold the long sword training and the five decades of useless elven poetry.


Note that I said "since then". I did not imply eighty years of fighting. You did. As I pointed out, that would put the elf at lvl 43 brawler. So if a twenty year old elf is what the player wants, is the starting age table more important to you?


Two parties of four and an extra GM.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is my favourite post in this thread.


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."


3 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.


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.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

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


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Uh, no. Murder was illegal in London in the 1880s.


I can honestly say I have never found anything like such a rule over several editions of the game and its close cousins. Proving a negative is going to be a massive amount of work, but what you can do is check the few places where holy symbols are defined. I vote no without checking, for what it's worth.


Looooooooogue.... Need... More... Logueness...

Ehum. Well.

2: Richard Pett, Tim Hitchcock, Michael Kortes

But really... The competition is extremely stiff. The rest are not far behind.


Fire elementals LOATHE the material plane. How would YOU like being dumped in the antarctic death zone without proper clothes? Eh? Eh?


Oooooh I know I am so gonna plant unholy symbols of obscure deities on good clerics!!!


Except that is not how it works, really. Any adult can give consent, no matter who the other party might be. It becomes a problem only if the propositionee is in some sort of FORMAL position of dependency on the propositioner. Which of course a paladin or cleric would be in relation to their own deity, but without such a relationship between a level 1 commoner and a level 20 wizard, there is no problem. Of course, if the commoner knows the wizard could squish him instantly, it may still be too uncomfortable for him, but those are the breaks.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

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.


Other gods tend to take a dim view of their divine spouses' lovers, though.


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.


Precisely.


It is not really a problem that the paladin won't be around to raise the child, so long as this is communicated beforehand and provisions are taken to give the child a good upbringing. I would guess temples would have provision for this if they have paladins. Simply put, the paladin is out there to fight and die in service to the god in question and for Good. The paladin has other duties than raising a child. I doubt this would be seen as a problem by the church. And of course, the child might not like the idea, but that is not going to be first on the priorities of the other people involved.


I so wonder what I HAVE STICKS THROUGH MY HEAD!!! meant with her avatar...


Bad street planning. Fallen-over buildings. Signs of fights everywhere, up to and including severed body parts. Enslaved smaller creatures. Severely mistreated enslaved smaller creatures. Corpses, sometimes gnawed on. Public punishments for appreciative crowds. Starvation because raiding is not a good strategy to feed a city. No lighting. Few if any shops and inns.


Vod Canockers wrote:
Somewhere Mel Gibson is yelling, "SLAVERY!"

Or, you know, "Q'PLAH!!! Q'PLAH!!!"


thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Poor guy. Not everyone is cut out for massive attention. And if what you want to do with your life is code interesting little games, the money is likely not much of a consolation. Probably for the best for him.

I suspect the money probably is a consolation. With the money he can keep coding interesting little games without worrying as much about making money at it.

Beats having a job doing something you don't enjoy and making interesting little games in your spare time.

Possibly. It is also a good way to lose social contact you need, and has a tendency to make others react badly to you. It is not a common problem, but some find it a serious one.


Yeah, of course they do. I saw Bitey read its way through the entire Encyclopedia Taldorea in an afternoon.

Uh, that is a book. Big book. With lots of huge words.


Well, let's see. I read Amber, Lord of light, Eye of Cat, To die in Italbar, The dream master... probably something more. It isn't that the endings are particularly bad, it's more that they aren't really endings. I have just never felt any of his endings were spectacular. In several books, it feels like he just didn't resolve the storyline, one just simply stopped. But, as I said, all of them are worth reading despite this. That IS a pretty high mark for an author, I'd say. Lord of light ranks among my absolute favourite books.


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


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Cowboy Bebop has the moon split in two...


Thing about Zelazny is that he's clinically unable to make a decent ending for his stories. I forgive him that because the trip there is so much fun. Also, it is always a good thing to remember who is telling the story. Seconded that the first five books outshine the second five. The absolute cream of the crop for me was #2, the Guns of Avalon.


I am no expert either. *shrugs*


Poor guy. Not everyone is cut out for massive attention. And if what you want to do with your life is code interesting little games, the money is likely not much of a consolation. Probably for the best for him.


And the dutch and the greek, I seem to remember.


Among the most disturbed of the groups is the scientologists. They provide their own health care, typically based on vitamins. In particular, they hate psychiatry and refuse to let their own have such care. In one case, a young woman with (IIRC) growing psychosis STARVED TO DEATH while they had her locked in. There are other examples.


I... did...? Ow, my head...

The next poster probably remembers better than I do what happened yesterday.


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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.


My favourite is "Kill them all. God knows his own."


No. The sights are all there, just with different people. :-)


No argument there. I still maintain that the loss of your mental faculties due to a treatable condition should not mean complete and utter ruin for people.


It isn't odd that the rest of the union doesn't get to vote. That would make it a joke. The entire idea of independence is that a part of the group really doesn't want to stay with the others, so that is what should be allowed to decide. Another factor is that Scotland is doing this by the book, playing along. Refusing that isn't going to change their feelings - it's just going to make them stop doing it by the book.


It is?


The Commonwealth is the tape outline of the corpse of the British empire. Making it an active and important political unit again is not going to be easy.


The state taking custody of children of Jehova's witnesses to give them a needed blood transfusion is a good thing. Parents have power over their children, but killing them for the sake of the parents' beliefs as this amounts to is Not Okay. Not to mention that parents in this situation still go to the hospital with their children and usually don't object too strongly about it.


Nah. See, when they made 4th edition, they did add a few holes in the map and blew up a place or two such as Halruaa, but really, nothing else changed in that century. The towns, roads, inns and so on are still in the very same places.


Among the better 2nd edition stuff you might want is:

Faiths and Avatars, Powers and Pantheons, Demihuman Deities - the godbooks, stupendously informative books about all the Realms gods.

Fighters and Priests of the Realms, Wizards and Rogues of the Realms, Demihumans of the Realms - details the various classes in various areas.

The Volo's Guides - details what it's like to travel in various places in the central areas of the Realms with a focus on adventurer stuff.

Cloak and Dagger - details various secret societies and their doings during a period of a few years.

Aurora's Whole Realms Catalog - An equipment shopping book done in the style of early mail order catalogs.

Volo's Guide to All Things Magical - Details various non-standard ways to use magic, and details item creation and various artifacts.

Which supplements for what areas you want will depend largely on your campaign. For a cursory look, the different boxed campaign setting sets are a good deal.


When you ask the depressed patient about suicidal ideation and planning, he looks into the floor, takes a long time answering and says "No. I just want to go home."


Not at all. Diabetes is the faulty hormonal regulation of blood glucose levels, a disease that is lifelong. It is only in episodes of too low or too high blood sugar that the condition becomes acute, life threatening and the diabetic's mental faculties are affected. Sorry to come off as a pedant about it, but it is rather relevant to the discussion above.

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