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thejeff's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 15,434 posts (16,233 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 6 aliases.


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Quark Blast wrote:
[
thejeff wrote:

2) Your larger point has been answered, you just don't like the answer. The baddies are in the middle of unspecified large plots that come to the point where someone notices them when the campaign starts and the GM wants to use them. That's not "the villains sitting around waiting for the PCs to show up" any more than than Elvanna was waiting for PCs to show up to rescue Baba Yaga in RoW. Or the Runelords have been waiting for PCs to oppose them before they started coming back.

The opposite problem is in someways a worse (and more common) one: Why, with all these high level rulers and famous casters around do a bunch of upstart PCs wind up having to deal with the real problems?

Again, close!

Because these principle forces (Dalkyr, Blood of Vol, Lords of Dust, Dreaming Dark, The Mockery, etc.) have long-running and, one assumes, deep-thinking machinations, the right answer anytime PCs begin getting a little too close is to go to ground. The BEBG is functionally (or even worse, actually!) immortal. Just wait them out.

Or summon a Wraith-strike somewhere else to distract them. And if the PCs are not distracted, so much the better. Now they get to come home to a city full of wraith-spawn.

Khorvaire at least would be over-run in decades at most. Except for possibly Vol, none of the big players want to make something of civilization. They want to tear it to a bloody pulp. Dalkyr, Lords of Dust, Dreaming Dark, and maybe others, are not even as favorable to the races of Eberron as ISIS is to their enemies.

As 911 showed - when your only goal is to tear down - a group doesn't need to be particularly sane or skilled to let loose great havoc. And the BBEGs in Eberron, particularly the ones that can drop auto-spawn "bombs", are a great deal more powerful compared to the civilized folks of the realm, than al Qaeda are to the various nations they oppose.

As to your implication for other, more usual, Fantasy RPG Campaigns:

Why doesn't Elminster rule Abeir-Toril? Besides not wanting to, he's trying to keep the lid on Manshoon, or Fzoul Chembryl, and such.

What are the Lords of Waterdeep up to that they can't handle crisis X? Besides travel and infighting (they may all be Lords of Waterdeep but they are not allied except only in that one cause), Skullport spies and greater potential threats lay all about them.

PCs do handle real problems, just not all of the real problems.

Eberron doesn't have these types of options as explanations. At least, not coherently.

The real problems, most all of them, in Eberron are of such magnitude - both in terms of raw power and in scope - that the PCs simply cannot be effective.

And people will say, "Oh, but our PCs did X in an Eberron campaign".

To which I reply; "I believe you". And the circumstances that people describe to me seem to be covered under one of two possibilities.

1) That the campaign is/was in fact not run like it is designed with the DM wielding her Heavy-Hand-of-Fiat. Said campaigns require an inordinate amount of time to run because "official" material is not much help, or

2) While any given adventure can seem like it could have world-changing possibilities, in fact nothing the PCs do matter.

If you can keep #2 hidden from players like me, or run Eberron in the way it was not designed to be run, we can all still have fun. :)

I think we have some fundamental gap, but I'm not quite sure where it is.

In any but the most open-ended sandbox, there's an element of GM Fiat in setting up the adventure. (Probably in combination with player fiat as well.) If you're playing an AP, the GM (and the players) have chosen to start the campaign in a time and place where certain events are happening that will draw them into the larger adventure. In many cases, that involves some BBEG finally making his move.
The same is true in an Eberron game. Either you set the game when one of the main BBEGs is finally have their plans come to a critical stage or you don't. If you don't, then you deal with other things, life goes on and the horrible evils are only a background worry. If you do, that's likely what the campaign's going to be focused on. Once the starting moves are made and the plans come into the open, the villain can't just stop and wait for the PCs to die. Hundreds of years of planning went to set this up and things are in motion. They can't be put on hold and restarted at a whim. Especially not just because some upstart wannabe heroes have interfered with a few incompetent minions.

I don't understand the "nothing the PCs do matters" argument. That's a matter for the individual campaign, isn't it? How do you want the PCs to matter?
In many cases, if the PCs succeed there won't be much change. If they fail, it'll be catastrophic. Isn't that mattering?


Quark Blast wrote:
Jester David wrote:
... However, in simple systems there's less reward for dedicated players, less of an incentive to learn the system and invest in the hobby...

Good post.

One answer to this little part here.

Give your dedicated player more complex character backgrounds or classes.

and/or

Give your dedicated player more PCs to run. No law, outside PFS and the like, against running two or more PCs by one player.

There are also dedicated players who are more rewarded by character and world rewards and less by mechanical options. Put the complexity into who their character is and what they're going to do, rather than into what mechanical options they're going to take.

Of course, that doesn't sell books.


Quark Blast wrote:
Fabius Maximus wrote:
First of all: Since you avoid answering my question, am I correct in the assumption that no published campaign setting does what you'd like them to do?

But I did answer. Go back and read my 20+ posts earlier on this thread and you will see.

Fabius Maximus wrote:
You seriously underestimate the levels of Eberron "government officials". King Boranel might be only CR 10, but he doesn't have to be the most powerful NPC around. In fact, Keith Baker described Thorn, one of the common Dark Lantern field agents as having levels in the Assassin PrC, so she can't be of low level. The NPCs in "Five Nations" - among them another Dark Lantern and members of various other organizations - are almost all around CR 10.

<sigh>

This is a character from a novel. Thorn is, in the context of the novel, a PC - not an NPC.

Officially the novels of KB (or any of the other novels) are expressly NOT source material. Sorry for the CAPS there but KB has been abundantly clear that the novels should reflect the flavor of Eberron while not being source material. Yes, even though they are published through WotC. Whacky maybe but that's the way it is.

And if the king of the country is only 10th level then there is something wrong with The Mockery, or the Daughters of Sora Kell, that they can't bring him down.

Eberron is a place that, even by it's own terms, is impossible without Player Characters. And, this is the absurdity of it, when the PCs aren't there that portion of the world just <pauses> waiting for them to get back.

Fabius Maximus wrote:
So, while the mooks on the border might be low-level NPCs, there are special operatives on hand who have teleportation magic available and who can to a crisis in a literal flash. Furthermore, being low level doesn't mean the NPCs have to be stupid. They can withdraw. That particular border is sparsely settled anyway.
And withdraw is their only real option. Khorvaire ought...

1) It seems to me you don't want setting books, you want ready to run adventures. That's where you get " What I don't have time for is detailed plot interactions and room descriptions..." and "detailed maps". It's not like you find that kind of thing in Golarion's setting books. You get overviews and brief sketches of cities and personalities.

2) Your larger point has been answered, you just don't like the answer. The baddies are in the middle of unspecified large plots that come to the point where someone notices them when the campaign starts and the GM wants to use them. That's not "the villains sitting around waiting for the PCs to show up" any more than than Elvanna was waiting for PCs to show up to rescue Baba Yaga in RoW. Or the Runelords have been waiting for PCs to oppose them before they started coming back.
The opposite problem is in someways a worse (and more common) one: Why, with all these high level rulers and famous casters around do a bunch of upstart PCs wind up having to deal with the real problems?


MagusJanus wrote:

*facepalm*

Yes. It's in the post you first replied to.

Tone of post is not sarcastic; it's amused. I'm sitting here laughing at myself.

But your first post on the subject is hinting at something different.
Quote:
The question is, how is the reveal handled? If the reveal of who got the short straw is not until the end, then the math works out accurately. If the reveal of each straw is given as soon as it is drawn, then you're better off going last.

If you're cheating based on holding the straws and knowing which is short, whether they're revealed or not doesn't really matter.


MagusJanus wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:
The choices of others are your odds.
No, the choices don't actually affect your odds. They just determine the results.

Not mathematically true. Especially since odds exist to predict the chance of results coming about.

Let's take the math Steve Geddes posted on the first page and alter it to reflect the the first player drawing the draw one more game on average due to the manipulations.

2/4 x 2/3 x 1/2 = 4/24 = 1/6

That is the approximate chance, at the end, of the final player drawing a straw, just due to the first player drawing the short straw more frequently. It is not altering how many straws are actually short straws, but is altering how frequently the first player draws the straw.

Yes. If you magically change the odds so the first person is more likely to draw the short straw, it's better not to be the first person. Still doesn't matter whether you're second or last, unless you also decide to change those odds.


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MagusJanus wrote:
thejeff wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:
The question is, how is the reveal handled? If the reveal of who got the short straw is not until the end, then the math works out accurately. If the reveal of each straw is given as soon as it is drawn, then you're better off going last.
The reveal doesn't change a thing.

It changes your likelihood of drawing a straw at all, which in turn alters your tactical viewpoint of the game. While the percentage chance of you drawing the short straw is the same, the ultimate outcome is that you will draw straws at all the fewest amount of times.

Played right, it can give a psychological edge that can change the choices of others and potentially skew the results more in your favor.

Also, if you're drawing last, you're usually the one holding the straws, so you typically already know which one is the shortest.

It's unclear how a psychological edge can skew the odds in this simple of a thing, but I suppose it's possible. Knowing which one was the shortest would let you cheat, if you could give subtle cues to the those picking.

But knowing which one is shortest doesn't necessarily come with picking last and without that there's not much going on.

And yes, the later in the order you draw, the less you'll have to draw, but that doesn't really matter.


MagusJanus wrote:
The question is, how is the reveal handled? If the reveal of who got the short straw is not until the end, then the math works out accurately. If the reveal of each straw is given as soon as it is drawn, then you're better off going last.

The reveal doesn't change a thing.


Oliver McShade wrote:
Piccolo wrote:

Weird. Everybody seems to have different pricing for the creation of a magic item that reproduces Imp Invis.

I originally thought up the idea after having watched Lord of the Rings yet again. Just wondered how feasible it would be to create one in a game.

Lord of the Rings = The One Ring, is in essence, A phylactery for Sauron, and should be treated much like an artifact.

True, but OTOH, the invisibility is a minor power, essentially a side effect.

The One Ring being an artifact doesn't mean all rings that give invisibility (even continuous greater invisibility) have to be artifacts.


havoc xiii wrote:
Must explain why I get so much more enjoyment from movies, tv, games and music than others. ^_^

Or how you get so much less from books. :)

In fairness, there are a lot of people not fond of Tolkien's writing and many of them may like the over the top action of the movies more.

Probably the (vast?) majority of people who've seen the movies haven't read the books at all, so I don't know where they fall.


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thenovalord wrote:
Wrath wrote:

The card game lets me, my wife, my 10 year old daughter and my 8 year old son all play and enjoy the game. My wife hates roleplay games, but she'll do the card game because she thinks it feels more like a board game to her.

If Paizo can get that into mainstream shops like Target, k mart and Big W (Australian shop chains) then it'll be a win and it will grow the market.

Cheers

Yep. Cards is the way forward for Paizo, just look at there expanding product range now......to the detriment of (rpg) books I feel. Much wider audience and therefore cash for Card Based Games

It may be the way forward for Paizo, but I'm not sure how much it grows the market for RPGs. While I certainly wish Paizo well in whatever whatever they're selling, outside of the tabletop RPG market it's not really going to interest me.


thegreenteagamer wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Basically what ElterAgo said above. Lack of level appropriate gear isn't "designed for characters to commit suicide when confronting the enemy", if the GM (or the players) takes it into account when deciding who to fight.

And just how does a GM take that into account when half the party is martial and half casters? Cause only the martials are seriously screwed by that while the casters are minorly inconvenienced.

Meh. Caster/martial disparity is a thing, but casters need gear too.

And even if it throws off the balance between casters and martials, which already barely exists, that doesn't make it "suicide when confronting the enemy"


mechaPoet wrote:

Blech... my boss and my co-worker just stood by my desk talking about how they thought it was creepy how someone who used to work here would dress up as Santa to give chocolate to the adult employees...

Which led to them talking about a guy who wore "women's" clothing and being grossed out and saying it's "not okay." Right in front of the desk of the secretly gender non-conforming cross dresser. Torn between talking to my boss about her being a s&!&ty person and risking outing myself. Uggggggghhh. >_____<

Depending on what your companies policies on harassment and gender issues are, it might be worth politely reminding them that someone (not you of course) might take offense.


memorax wrote:

Another pet peeve. What is it about Wealth By level that annoys so many dms. It makes sense that by a certain level a player should have a certain amount of treasure and gold. Unless the character is roleplaying a Vow of Poverty.

If I'm starting at level 10. I sure as hell wan more than a rusty dagger and a codpiece. At the very least a good in game reason. And no because as a dm he or she does not like it is not good enough. I'm willing to play the poor adventurer between levels 1-5. After that I want more than just starting money. I try to talk it out with the DM. If that fails I leave. I don't play in games designed for characters to commit siucide when confronting the enemy.

Basically what ElterAgo said above. Lack of level appropriate gear isn't "designed for characters to commit suicide when confronting the enemy", if the GM (or the players) takes it into account when deciding who to fight.

Though a rusty dagger and codpiece might be a bit much - unless you're starting deliberately stripped for some reason, in which case there's likely gear available.


BigDTBone wrote:
thejeff wrote:
It's a matter of scale.
Agreed, seed the oceans.

There's also a matter of unintended consequences.


LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Asmodias wrote:
I am just asking in general, because it feels like the fabric of reality that holds everything together is falling apart...
I remember Plato seeing pretty much the same thing.... only in Greek. In between his complaints about "the younger generation".
OTOH, while such complaints have always been common, we're now capable of doing far more damage to the world than the Greeks could dream of.
Humanity isn't so mighty that the world won't survive what we do to it. A few centuries after we've driven ourselves to extinction, will be enough time to clear away most of our mark upon it. And that's a trivial amount of time in the long run.

In the long run certainly and I didn't mean to imply we would. The world will continue on without us. Though a serious nuclear war would leave a mark and the global warming changes will take centuries to stabilize. We're also quite possibly causing a mass extinction event only comparable to a handful in the past. That's going to be detectable in the fossil record - and the genetic one - long after we're gone, even in geological terms.

The Classical Greeks wouldn't even have been able to wipe humans off the earth, much less do the kind of damage we're capable of.


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Quark Blast wrote:
Fabius Maximus wrote:
Apart from that, her goals are nebulous. As are those of the Lords of Dust and especially those of the Daelkyr, because they are so alien. The only exception is the Dreaming Dark, who are trying to make the current Quori age last forever, but that doesn't have appeared on the slate of the Khorvaire nations yet.

And look, if you want to defend the esoteric nature of the machinations of Vol, the Daelkyr, etc.... Well, that plays directly into my point that:

On any time frame that we can reasonably hope to play in, the plots involving these entities are entirely irrelevant to actual play.
Like I said about the Dragons of Argonnessen. What are they up to? The pat answer then has to be - Who knows and who cares? Their plans (and the Draconic Prophecy) are turning on gears that move to the beat of thousand year cycles (or longer!) and so can't generally be played out in anything like real-time by us mortals camped out around a table-top here in 21st Century earth.
Quote:
Fabius Maximus wrote:
The Big Bads do not wait around. They are planning and moving pieces into position. Don't forget, they have massive amounts of time to do that. But the moment they start speeding things up, it gets noticed and the checks and balances start being active, the PCs among them.
Again, if the BEBGs operate at that time scale, then what the PCs do matters not at all for the Eberron Campaign Setting. All those "mysterious", "unknowable", and "centuries-long machinations" are completely opaque to PC play.

I think the point of "the PCs are important" is that those plans are all on the slow timescale until they're about to come to fruition and then things start speeding up, which is the point where your particular group of PCs gets involved in the problem.

All the set up has taken centuries or even millenia, which has kept everything apparently balance, but at some point things actually have to kick into gear for the plan to succeed. It's like Sauron taking centuries to rebuild both his form and his forces, but once he does move, the war takes place in real time.


MagusJanus wrote:
EntrerisShadow wrote:
thejeff wrote:


And all of that is without considering climate change.

Kind of surprised this hasn't come up more. We are in a unique situation where the doomsday warning aren't coming from religions or prophets or mystics - but peer reviewed scientific research.

Again, probably won't wipe humans out (EDIT: completely), but it'll be apocalyptic in that the world on the other side is going to look very different.

It's not unique. This isn't the first time science has predicted humanity's demise.

The first time is one of the pieces of science that led to China's one-child-only policy and many of the human rights abuses China has performed while maintaining that policy.

It's since been disproven, but that doesn't exactly do much to comfort all of the victims of implementing its suggestions.

"Disproven"?

Exactly which piece of science are you talking about?


BigDTBone wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Grand Magus wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:

Maybe, but everything I've seen suggests bioplastic is a dead-end technology and developing new plastics otherwise is just finding creative new ways to use oil.

Bioplastic tends to be a dead end because of either requiring a lot of water (running afoul of the increasing water problems) or specialized fertilizers once soil nutrients run out (which typically require oil to produce). The water issue is also why biodiesel from corn is a dead-end.

Increasingly, it's looking like we're investigating all of the wrong fields and, instead, should be investigating technologies that clean water and be rid of water pollution. Because, increasingly, we're finding we have so many solutions, but we don't have the water supplies for them to be practical.

So oil has other uses than rocket fuel? Yes, I see your point.

But, it seems fresh air takes precedence over water, because we can
always use hydrogen and oxygen to make water; given we have oil to
power the machines to manufacture it.

My appreciation for oil is increasing, as I realize it is super
powerful, multi-use stuff. Maybe we can find Oil on other planets and
bring it home. There's gotta be more oil on Venus.

It's all about energy. With sufficient power to work with we can make clean water. Scrubbing pollutants out of the air will be harder.

It also helps if the energy source is clean enough not to pollute your water source further.
Also, we can produce drinking water and maybe farming water, it's less likely we're going to clean the rivers and the oceans.

Bioplastics aren't a dead end. If you have another source of energy. If you're relying on oil for all the inputs, then it's not very helpful.

As for biodiesel, you're right that corn is too fertilizer intensive to be efficient. As the technology improves though, feedstocks that grow with less inputs may be viable.

CO2 scrubbing is easy. Algae farms and Cyanobacteria. Algae has the side...

It's a matter of scale.


Grand Magus wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:

Maybe, but everything I've seen suggests bioplastic is a dead-end technology and developing new plastics otherwise is just finding creative new ways to use oil.

Bioplastic tends to be a dead end because of either requiring a lot of water (running afoul of the increasing water problems) or specialized fertilizers once soil nutrients run out (which typically require oil to produce). The water issue is also why biodiesel from corn is a dead-end.

Increasingly, it's looking like we're investigating all of the wrong fields and, instead, should be investigating technologies that clean water and be rid of water pollution. Because, increasingly, we're finding we have so many solutions, but we don't have the water supplies for them to be practical.

So oil has other uses than rocket fuel? Yes, I see your point.

But, it seems fresh air takes precedence over water, because we can
always use hydrogen and oxygen to make water; given we have oil to
power the machines to manufacture it.

My appreciation for oil is increasing, as I realize it is super
powerful, multi-use stuff. Maybe we can find Oil on other planets and
bring it home. There's gotta be more oil on Venus.

It's all about energy. With sufficient power to work with we can make clean water. Scrubbing pollutants out of the air will be harder.

It also helps if the energy source is clean enough not to pollute your water source further.
Also, we can produce drinking water and maybe farming water, it's less likely we're going to clean the rivers and the oceans.

Bioplastics aren't a dead end. If you have another source of energy. If you're relying on oil for all the inputs, then it's not very helpful.

As for biodiesel, you're right that corn is too fertilizer intensive to be efficient. As the technology improves though, feedstocks that grow with less inputs may be viable.


I haven't tried it, but how about using the Troop rules to turn large numbers of weak creatures into effectively small numbers of more powerful units.


MagusJanus wrote:

I've noticed, which I always found amusing.

Personally, when it comes to nuclear weapons, my money would be on military bases and churches being hit first. Shopping centers as well. Done on a Sunday morning, that has the potential for the biggest bang for your buck in terms of kills. It would also be a very useful surprise attack; let the nukes announce your declaration of war and send in the ground pounders and air superiority while the nation's still scrambling in the chaos.

Which is how it is I suspect a real nuclear war would start.

Military bases, industrial complexes, government offices. We're talking war, not terrorism so civilian bodycount isn't really a concern. Besides, you don't target things like churches with nukes, you target cities. Your scale is all wrong.

You're talking the classic nuclear war scenario, though there's no real surprise, due to the various early warning systems so the enemy gets to launch nukes if he has them. In this kind of resource war/civilizational collapse scenario, I'd expect them to be used more as a last resort - either against invading armies, against the military of the country you were attacking and wound up losing ground to, or worse and probably most likely, in civil wars.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Fergie wrote:


The book doesn't talk much about exactly what happened, but I think it involved some catastrophic stuff on the coasts, followed by famine, disease, and lots of hardship. One of the themes of the book is that information beyond word-of-mouth just isn't available.
Then it's patently ridiculous. Ham radio with 1800s tech is trivial -- which in turn gives us universal Internet via packet radio for anyone who wants it.
That doesn't even make sense. You could get ham radio - or actual broadcast radio - with late 1800s tech, but you couldn't get Internet via packet radio without computers and you're not going to have computers with 1800s tech.
Goodness gracious, you can build computers out of water pipes and valves. (Yes, I'm serious. Look it up.) The ancient Romans could have built computers if they had the mathematical knowledge.
But you're not going to build an Internet with waterpipes, valves and ham radio.
No, that's exactly what I'm going to do if it lets me maintain decent trade communications.

No. You're not going to, because it won't work. You'll use the radio directly, because that's far more useful than trying to run an internet on packet radio and water pipe computers.

Quote:
Quote:
How does modern supply chain theory work when your supply chain is horse drawn (or sailing ship, at best)? Things change when you have to deal in those kinds of time lag.
Actually, that's exactly where modern supply chain theory works. I use modern theory to direct goods where they're needed instead of doing depot to depot shipping, in the same way that Wal*Mart avoids depots in favor of trucks. If I need something three months from now, I contact the home office via radio today and a wagonload is sent out directly to where I need it, instead of sending to a local warehouse and hoping that they have it in stock.

If you know exactly what you're going to need 3 months from now, sure. But you don't, so you try to have inventory on hand or nearby to cover whatever you might need. Far less efficient than only getting what you need when you need it, but that isn't an option. Businesses can't predict what they'll need 3 months from now today. (Mind you, shipments of those things you need regularly will work, but that's nothing new. That's always been done.)

Quote:
Quote:


More generally, you're ignoring the process of getting there.

Not at all. I'm simply noting that getting there would be a priority precisely because the first group that "gets there" wins, massively. If you're in the process of losing a war over resources, the army with the best supply chain management wins in a much more literal sense.

Basically, if we are able to maintain (or recover) 1800s technology, then that level of technology combined with modern theoretical knowledge will make further levels of development a relatively simple and short task. Earlier than that -- yes, if we've lost (for whatever reason) the ability to forge metals, then recovering even to the 1800s would probably not be practical no matter how much knowledge people have.

But if we're able to retain industrial technology at all, we will retain almost all of it, because we will retain not only the technology, but also the theoretical knowledge for further technological development.

In the chaos as population crashes, with wars, looting, burning, plagues and mass starvation, keeping libraries full of theoretical knowledge is going to be hard.

And if the wars go nuclear ...


Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Fergie wrote:


The book doesn't talk much about exactly what happened, but I think it involved some catastrophic stuff on the coasts, followed by famine, disease, and lots of hardship. One of the themes of the book is that information beyond word-of-mouth just isn't available.
Then it's patently ridiculous. Ham radio with 1800s tech is trivial -- which in turn gives us universal Internet via packet radio for anyone who wants it.
That doesn't even make sense. You could get ham radio - or actual broadcast radio - with late 1800s tech, but you couldn't get Internet via packet radio without computers and you're not going to have computers with 1800s tech.
Goodness gracious, you can build computers out of water pipes and valves. (Yes, I'm serious. Look it up.) The ancient Romans could have built computers if they had the mathematical knowledge.

But you're not going to build an Internet with waterpipes, valves and ham radio.

Yes, in theory you could, but it would be a gimmick. Just to prove you could do it. You're not going to build an economy around it.
Just like you can make a battery with a lemon, but you can't run a power plant off of lemons. It's a gimmick. Maybe an emergency MacGyver-like lifesaver. It's not going to rebuild industrial civilization.
How does modern supply chain theory work when your supply chain is horse drawn (or sailing ship, at best)? Things change when you have to deal in those kinds of time lag.

More generally, you're ignoring the process of getting there. I suspect it would be more a matter of trying to claw our way back up to the 1800s after the wars over the last of whatever resources were running out. Even with lemon powered radio and water computers, you can't feed the current population without modern levels of energy consumption. We can't revert to the 1800s (or even the 1920s) peacefully and quietly.

And all of that is without considering climate change.


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MagusJanus wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Fergie wrote:


The book doesn't talk much about exactly what happened, but I think it involved some catastrophic stuff on the coasts, followed by famine, disease, and lots of hardship. One of the themes of the book is that information beyond word-of-mouth just isn't available.
Then it's patently ridiculous. Ham radio with 1800s tech is trivial -- which in turn gives us universal Internet via packet radio for anyone who wants it.
That doesn't even make sense. You could get ham radio - or actual broadcast radio - with late 1800s tech, but you couldn't get Internet via packet radio without computers and you're not going to have computers with 1800s tech. Babbage engines, in theory.
The first modern analog computer was invented in 1872.

Could it handle the Internet packet radio protocol?

Hey, we don't even need the radios, we can just implement RFC-1149


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Fergie wrote:


The book doesn't talk much about exactly what happened, but I think it involved some catastrophic stuff on the coasts, followed by famine, disease, and lots of hardship. One of the themes of the book is that information beyond word-of-mouth just isn't available.
Then it's patently ridiculous. Ham radio with 1800s tech is trivial -- which in turn gives us universal Internet via packet radio for anyone who wants it.

That doesn't even make sense. You could get ham radio - or actual broadcast radio - with late 1800s tech, but you couldn't get Internet via packet radio without computers and you're not going to have computers with 1800s tech. Babbage engines, in theory.


BigDTBone wrote:
thejeff wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:


As far as population goes it is expected to decline in the long term after peaking in the next 100-150 years. This is based on aging population trends and slower reproduction rates in first world nations. There will be a time in our relatively near future (ie less than 500 years) where labor jobs will be unnecessary and virtually all occupations will be research or creative.

Assuming no crash.

Also assuming we manage to restructure society so that those who can't research or produce creative works for sale have some way to survive.

It won't be a reaction it will be an evolution. Similarly to how we don't train people to fletch arrows or show horses anymore. Sure, there are specialists who can do these jobs, but they are far from prolific.

So you are assuming the vast majority of people will be working and effective at research and creative jobs?

We don't fletch or shoe horses much anymore, but we still have plenty of labor jobs. There are things for people to do who aren't cut out for that kind of work. But less than there used to be. We're already having problems with not having enough labor to keep our population employed.


Fergie wrote:

I don't think the Mad Max world will ever really happen because running things like cars and oil refineries requires more then a good set of hand tools. Without modern manufacturing, you just can't produce the massive amounts of crap required to keep a car running, much less a big ass factory or refinery.

These days, everything is so full of electronics it won't survive a damp weekend, much less an EMP burst.

I think we are now living in a decline of cheap energy. That sounds strange to say when oil is $50 a barrel, but post peak oil is not about running out of oil, it is about running out of consistently cheap oil. Oil prices are expected to fluctuate wildly, which historically wrecks industrial economies.

The most thoughtful and entertaining book about post-collapse life is James Howard Kunstler's World Made By Hand. The super quick summary is that things go back to a lifestyle similar to the 1800's, not Burning Man.

I would also take a look at what happened in North Korea about 10-20 years ago. It is amazing what happens when the coal doesn't reach the powerplant, and the cascading effects of scarcity.

How does Kunstler think we get back to the 1800s? As I understand it, we couldn't support a fraction of today's population with that kind of society and infrastructure. A population crash of that magnitude would be ugly. I have a lot of trouble seeing how we stop at the 1800s.


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BigDTBone wrote:
Game Master Scotty wrote:

In the sense that massive changes are on the horizon that will change the way humanity currently lives forever..

Yes.

We can not sustain the explosive population growth indefinitely.

Our increased food production, transportation and technology relies on a non sustainable resource, fossil fuels.

We will run out. It is a fact.

Will we end up in a Mad Max style world?

No.

Will the way of life we have lived, the comfort we have enjoyed and much of the technology we have created become obsolete?

You bet your bum!

Just my opinion.

As far as population goes it is expected to decline in the long term after peaking in the next 100-150 years. This is based on aging population trends and slower reproduction rates in first world nations. There will be a time in our relatively near future (ie less than 500 years) where labor jobs will be unnecessary and virtually all occupations will be research or creative.

Assuming no crash.

Also assuming we manage to restructure society so that those who can't research or produce creative works for sale have some way to survive.


Atarlost wrote:
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
If you don't know that education policies forced upon conquered peoples has led to cultural genocide... you have a lot of reading to begin.

There's no such thing as cultural genocide. Cultures aren't people. You can't possibly compare changing or superseding a primitive culture to actually massacring people.

Superstition kills real people dead by blocking progress that saves real lives. Next to that a loss of culture is less worthy of tears than the demise of Betamax.

That's the spirit! Forced reeducation of all the children of primitive peoples into our superior culture.

You do know that we're not just talking about cultural change through contact with a technologically superior culture - which has of itself cost many lives, right? We're talking actual real world examples of forcibly taking children from their families to "properly" educate them. Generally to be second class citizens at best, since cultures willing to do this kind of thing aren't usually very good at treating others equally.


Game Master Scotty wrote:

In the sense that massive changes are on the horizon that will change the way humanity currently lives forever..

Yes.

We can not sustain the explosive population growth indefinitely.

Our increased food production, transportation and technology relies on a non sustainable resource, fossil fuels.

We will run out. It is a fact.

Will we end up in a Mad Max style world?

No.

Will the way of life we have lived, the comfort we have enjoyed and much of the technology we have created become obsolete?

You bet your bum!

Just my opinion.

Will our technology become obsolete? Certainly. Much like our parent's technology has become obsolete.

If, however, we do use up our non-sustainable resources without finding something that can effectively replace them, it will look like a Mad Max style world. Or worse.
Without cheap energy of some sort, not only won't we be able to sustain our comfortable lifestyle, but our population levels as well. Serious population crashes are never pretty.


LazarX wrote:
Asmodias wrote:
I am just asking in general, because it feels like the fabric of reality that holds everything together is falling apart...
I remember Plato seeing pretty much the same thing.... only in Greek. In between his complaints about "the younger generation".

OTOH, while such complaints have always been common, we're now capable of doing far more damage to the world than the Greeks could dream of.


Hama wrote:

So cowards have realized that they don't own a spine and backed down from bogus threats. Nice.

It'll surface on torrents most probably. And soon.

It's a corporation. Spine is irrelevant. So is cowardice. Bottom line and quarterly profit statements matter.


Sissyl wrote:
It would be everywhere, with no risk involved. I have no problem seeing the pirating sites handle it, and if this makes the hackers hit those sites, I doubt the movie moguls would shed a tear. If you have already written off the possible profits, the only difference is people get to see it.

It's not at all clear they've written off profits from future DVD sales/licensing.

Nor is it clear that Sony wouldn't be attacked for releasing it, however they do so. Even if it's by releasing torrents.


Ed Reppert wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:
Dungeon Master Zack wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
Well it does end with ** spoiler omitted **
** spoiler You mean the one whose only like, ten years old at the time of the Quest for Erebor? ... **
A more committed Tolkien geek can correct me but Aragorn would've been in his early twenties circa Bilbo and Smaug. And too young or not he was still the Heir of Elendil and that would've not been unknown to one such as Thranduil.
Jackson's timeline is already known not to match Tolkien's.

Maybe so. According to the Chronicles of Arda website, Aragorn was born 1 March 2931. His father died two years later, and he was fostered at Rivendell. The events of The Hobbit occurred in 2941. The quest to destroy the One Ring began in 3018. The goal was accomplished on 25 March 3019, and Aragorn was crowned King Aragorn II Elessar on 1 May of that year. Aragorn and Arwen were married on midsummer's day. The Fourth Age began 25 March 3021. Aragorn died in year 120 of the Fourth Age, and Arwen a year later. Aragorn would have been roughly 210 when he died. Arwen was born in the third century of the third age, and was 2,710 years old when she met Aragorn in Third Age 2951. So she was 2,690 when Aragorn was born, and roughly 2,901 when she died. And I bet she didn't look a day over 30! :-)

Jackson may want a different timeline, but screw him. :-)

And the entire rest of the plotline for the Hobbit was different too. There weren't Orcs chasing them the entire trip. Azog was long dead. Legolas wasn't mentioned. Etc, etc.

It seems silly to fuss about a minor timeline change when there's so much else different. Like everything else, it's not something Jackson "got wrong", it's something he changed.


HangarFlying wrote:
No. My assumption is that the base effect is that the images run away. So, if you're unconscious, that's what they'll do. If you want them to do something different, you'll have to actively make them do something different.

It's not clear to me that you have any control over the duplicates at all.

Quote:
four illusory duplicates that either run off in opposite directions or perform other plausible actions that could draw enemy attention away from her.

They go do distracting things on their own is how I interpret that. There's no hint that you control them or that you could make them do anything more practical.

Either way, since you don't have to concentrate it doesn't keep you from attacking anything.


R2D2TS wrote:
Is there any reason that a spoken command word could not be whispered? I have looked through my books and found nothing indicating the command has to be spoken at any specific volume or higher. It just says it must be spoken. (just curious if I am missing something somewhere)

I don't think there's a specific reference, but lacking one, I'd treat it like other magical speaking: You can't whisper vocal casting components, you can't Cackle quietly, you shouldn't be able to whisper command words either.

I believe Silence prevents command words from working, which also suggests the item has to "hear" them somehow.


Fergurg wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Fergurg wrote:
ShinHakkaider wrote:
Fergurg wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:

This is precisely why we never get anywhere in the conversation of race related to police actions.

Cops kill/beat/whatever an African American, people get heated, people protest, some of the protesters get violent or cops get killed, cops cite it as a reason they are justified, protests are either outright ignored or given promises and token efforts that amount to nothing.

Rinse, cycle, repeat.

"Quit calling my group violent or else me and my group will attack and kill you!" has never worked for any group, but that doesn't stop people from trying anyway.
More like stop murdering our unarmed civilians. If you really think this is JUST (Emphasis here by the way, NOT shouting. Just to be clear...) about being called "violent" then that explains a lot about your particular tone deafness on this subject.
But that's what the underlying complaint is - people assuming that Black men are violent, and therefore, force is used against them more.

No. The underlying complaint is that black men are killed. And shot. And beaten. And choked. And generally harassed.

The stereotype of black men as violent is one explanation for why that happens more often to blacks, but it's not the problem itself.

So do you treat the disease, or the symptoms? The ultimate problem is the stereotype. The killings are just a symptom, albeit a pretty severe symptom.

One reason. Not the only problem.

That stereotype isn't the reason for the petty harassment, though it's part of the reason it escalates so easily.
Of course the stereotype is just a part of broader racism. Fix that and most of the problems go away.


Abraham spalding wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
thejeff wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
I would argue that those who need saving most are those who have fallen farthest. Now, Demons and such don't have children, so that's out, but without resorting to metagame information, characters (if good) should at least think about trying to save/reform ANY youngling, as long as they have the capacity for thought! Is the baby black dragon to blame for it's parents transgressions?

Dragons fall into a different category, both from humanoids and from evil outsiders. Dragons have young, but those young appear to be independent and quite capable from near birth. They're not paying for their parent's transgressions, they're quite capable of committing their own - on a smaller scale, but that's a matter of power not moral culpability. Wyrmling dragons make good BBEGs for low level adventures. They're smart, dangerous and can pretty easily get a tribe of kobolds or something for minions.

It's a bit of stretch to think that even wyrmlings need to be treated as innocents despite their own actions, just because they're technically young. Much less, for example, a CR 11, 40 year old, juvenile red dragon.

Yeah that's why I did wyverns for my dragonish write up. Going with a full blown dragon considering the age categories and so on was just too much for what I wanted to write.

And interesting thought though would be if different dragons matured at different rates than other dragons did. For example if white dragons 'matured' quicker than say gold dragons.

But even without the length of the age categories, the very youngest seem quite independent. Dragons are never helpless innocents in the way a human child is.
Yeah dragons tend to be more like cats -- get them past that initial spot and they are probably going to be alright.

I'm not sure what you mean.

Though the idea of baby dragons being like baby kittens, adorable, blind and helpless for the first few weeks has its appeal, I think of them born as predators - ready to fly away and start hunting within hours of hatching.


Fergurg wrote:
ShinHakkaider wrote:
Fergurg wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:

This is precisely why we never get anywhere in the conversation of race related to police actions.

Cops kill/beat/whatever an African American, people get heated, people protest, some of the protesters get violent or cops get killed, cops cite it as a reason they are justified, protests are either outright ignored or given promises and token efforts that amount to nothing.

Rinse, cycle, repeat.

"Quit calling my group violent or else me and my group will attack and kill you!" has never worked for any group, but that doesn't stop people from trying anyway.
More like stop murdering our unarmed civilians. If you really think this is JUST (Emphasis here by the way, NOT shouting. Just to be clear...) about being called "violent" then that explains a lot about your particular tone deafness on this subject.
But that's what the underlying complaint is - people assuming that Black men are violent, and therefore, force is used against them more.

No. The underlying complaint is that black men are killed. And shot. And beaten. And choked. And generally harassed.

The stereotype of black men as violent is one explanation for why that happens more often to blacks, but it's not the problem itself.


thejeff wrote:

Damn. Killing cops is not a good thing. Aside from the obvious that killing anyone is bad, the consequences for this are going to be ugly.

It does look like this guy did reference the Garner case, so there's definitely a link. OTOH, he apparently killed his girlfriend in Baltimore this morning, so his motives don't seem exactly pure.

Correction: Shot, but didn't kill his girlfriend. Shot in the stomach, but expected to survive.


It will be interesting, in a sort of sociological way, to compare how the media, the cops and the country respond to this murder with how they responded to the murder of 2 cops by a couple right-wing militia nuts in Las Vegas this summer.

I expect this is either going to shut down the protests or explode. That had essentially no effect on the Cliven Bundy case, to which they were directly linked or the Open Carry movement in general.


Fergie wrote:
When did he reference the Garner case?

The Instagrams, which you can dismiss as NY Post "entertainment", but that doesn't mean it won't turn out to be true.

Tagged Mike Brown as well.

No mention of a direct connection to protestors or anything like that.


Fergurg wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:

This is precisely why we never get anywhere in the conversation of race related to police actions.

Cops kill/beat/whatever an African American, people get heated, people protest, some of the protesters get violent or cops get killed, cops cite it as a reason they are justified, protests are either outright ignored or given promises and token efforts that amount to nothing.

Rinse, cycle, repeat.

"Quit calling my group violent or else me and my group will attack and kill you!" has never worked for any group, but that doesn't stop people from trying anyway.

Not unless you're violent (and powerful) enough to win. Then you get to write the history books.

It actually works pretty well.


Damn. Killing cops is not a good thing. Aside from the obvious that killing anyone is bad, the consequences for this are going to be ugly.

It does look like this guy did reference the Garner case, so there's definitely a link. OTOH, he apparently killed his girlfriend in Baltimore this morning, so his motives don't seem exactly pure.


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I really have to say that discussions like this are the reason I like the approach 5E has taken (and that the old Basic took). Just describe what the item does without hiding details and changes behind references to other things.

However you actually want the item to work, actually say that in the item description. If you want it to cast invisibility on the wearer when the command word is said, say that. If you want it to make the wearer invisible until he attacks, say that. If you want it make the wearer invisible when the command word is said, but only for up to 3 minutes or he attacks or the ring is removed, say that.

It's a style of rules writing that purports to standardize everything but doesn't actually succeed, because it's not clear what falls into what category. It generally worked with potions, scrolls and wands since they really are standardized, but not so much with more complex items.


Undone wrote:
So if a scroll is on the chronical I can scribe without buying it? That's cool.

No. Only if it's one of the rare things that are specified as given for free.

I've never seen one, but apparently they exist.


Grey Lensman wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:

As long as you mean "Voltron the 5 lions" as opposed to "Voltron the fifteen-car pile-up" I agree.

I admit to being a fan of the Star Trek animated series, and of SeaLab 2020.

I feel like I am alone in my feelings about those shows. I thought the lions, while looking cooler, were piloted by 4 (quickly 5 when Sven was written out) very flat characters who never grew in any meaningful way. And the villains they had were even more one-dimensional. Plus the lame -try-everything-even-though-the-only-thing-that-ever-works-is-the-sword- is something that destroyed my suspension of disbelief even as a kid (I got a soft spot for the vehicle pileup solely due to seeing something other than blazing sword take out the monster of the week in the first episode I saw).

Voltron confused me so much as a kid. I don't know if they were playing them out of order or if I was just catching it occasionally and missing the entire plotline or maybe they were playing different parts at different times/days, but it felt like everything changed whenever I saw it. Lions one time. A whole ton of little vehicles the next. Probably the US distributor's fault for marketing them as one series.


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Prince Yyrkoon wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
Prince Yyrkoon wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
Prince Yyrkoon wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Prince Yyrkoon wrote:
Well, I'm most disappointed as GM. This essentially makes a hat of disguise useless for masquerading monsters hiding amidst the humans. It also seems rather counterproductive for an item ostensibly used for infiltration to require you to vocalize a command word every ten minutes to maintain a disguise.
The hat, not being a ring, might be mental activation. The ring of invisibility however is most definitely a command word. What happened was the ring discussion took over the hat thread. :)
That seems much more sensible.
Also, you're the GM. So, if you want the item to be mental activation, then make it mental activation.

Oh, I'm more than willing to do so if necessary. I do, however, prefer to run things 'by the book" as it were when possible.

That, and it just bugs me that an item whose sole purpose is to make a magical disguise has such a glaring flaw. It just makes no sense.

It depends on of you think the item is supposed to make a relatively permanent disguise or not. It's supposed to be limited by the spell's duration, so the disguise isn't supposed to be unending. Basically, the design of the item isn't really to guarantee long term undercover work; it's supposed to help you pass by the guards, etc.
Just getting past guards is what a potion is for. As a Hat of Disguise has no limit on the number of uses per day, it is effectively an unlimited duration, and as such the disguise is, in fact, unending. Requiring a command word activation would just an unnecessary burden.

That's my basic problem with all these items. Command word (or even mental) activation every 3 minutes or every 10 minutes is an unnecessary hassle, since it really is unlimited except in some odd circumstances.

I'm also amused by fretgod hand waving the price calculation of the hat away after so many pages arguing based on the price guidelines. The hat is the only item we've talked about that actually matches the command word pricing, but hey, no reason it can't be use-activated.


HangarFlying wrote:

While I see no reason for it to not be greater invisibility, ultimately I believe the distinction is irrelevant. Either a) you're unconcious, or b) have to concentrate to direct the illusions*. In either case, you're unable to attack anything.

* Yes, I do realize that the ring doesn't specify that you must concentrate, it is a reasonable assumption that you would have to do so; and no, I don't have to house rule it to make it this way**. The assumption can be found within the rules.

** It saddens*** me that I have to even make such a disclaimer in the first place.

*** No, I'm not really sad. It's just a figure of speech.

If you have to concentrate to direct the illusions, what happens if you are unconscious. Do they just stand there?


Queen Moragan wrote:
If you're going to add spell casting time to initiative, then you should add weapon speed factors to initiative, and armor check penalties to initiative, and have multiple attacks occur later in the initiative order. Just to be fair.

Because the most important thing when trying to limit casters is to make sure martials are limited even more.

It's only fair.

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